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November 25th, 2008
Commissioners Court discusses fire safety, historical marker

The Hays Country Commissioners Court met Tuesday to discuss issues pertaining to fire hazards, flood solutions, and recognizing two famous figures in Civil Rights history.Hays County Fire Marshal Mike Chambers gave a presentation explaining a fire marshal’s duties and expressed his concern for the hazards associated with the upcoming fireworks season.

“Each year during fireworks season our office conducts fire inspections of all regional fireworks stands in and around unincorporated Hays County,” Chambers said.

He said a fire code needed to be implemented considering the dryness of the area. He said burn bans and fireworks bans are going to be placed in effect in order to curb the chance of accidental fires.

“We are in extreme fire danger,” Chambers said. “We definitely need to put a ban on fireworks in the area.”

Chambers called for more structured fire prevention programs in schools so children know how to react in the case of a fire. He also suggested developing funding for a program to install smoke detectors free of charge for homes in the county. He said a recent study found that three in five American home fire fatalities occurred in homes that did not have a smoke detector.

Commissioner Will Conley said he was excited to move forward with the fire code.

“The use of fireworks is a luxury that we can’t afford,” Conley said. “It is just something we can not allow this year. Personally I love shooting fireworks, but I don’t believe there is a blade of green grass in Hays County to allow it.”

In another matter of business, the Court approved the preparation and submission of a grant application for up to $300,000 for a Flood Protection Planning study to be conducted by the Texas Water Development Board. The section of Hays County lying within the Guadalupe/ Blanco River basin is going to be the main focus of the study. Potentially, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could provide finding as well for the project that could cost $1,200,00. The study will determine what measures need to be taken to eliminate the risk of flood damage to people and property in the area.

“We’re working on drainage as we speak in different county areas,” Hays County Grants Administrator Jeff Hauff, said. “It would be great if this grant is approved and we are able to move forward with the project.”

In an effort to recognize two important figures in U.S. history, the Court approved a commemorative marker to be placed in a 1350 square foot area at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Lyndon B. Johnson Drive, where the two roads intersect.

King and Johnson worked together to produce the 1964 Civil Rights act and the National Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“This (marker) has been something that has been talked about in the community for 12 to 15 years,” said San Marcos Place 4 City Council member Chris Jones. “According to my research it is the only place where L.B.J. and M.L.K. intersect in Texas.”

Design work for the marker is to be developed through Texas State University with input from San Marcos residents. Commissioner Jeff Barton suggested unveiling the marker on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Commissioners Court will meet again Dec. 9.

by Rasmi Hunt

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