Georgetown | October 2020

GEORGETOWN EDITION

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2  OCT. 15NOV. 11, 2020

ONLINE AT

IN A MASK MOURNING

The novel coronavirus has interrupted the practice of saying goodbye to a loved one as well as the funeral industry as a whole.

INSIDE

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Emanuel “Manny” Perry’s funeral was held Sept. 23 at St. Helen Catholic Church in Georgetown. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Voter condence, safety alter 2020election plans Nervousness over risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic is contributing to a higher number of voters choosing to cast their ballots by mail for the rst time. In fact, both Williamson County and Travis County election ocials are preparing for record-setting numbers of ballots by mail in the upcoming election. BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE & TAYLOR JACKSON BUCHANAN

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Visit: www.wilco.org/bbmstatus

ballot? WHERE’S MY Williamson County launched a new online tool inmid-September. One of the rst of its kind in Texas, the system allows registered voters who have requested a ballot bymail to track the status of their ballot. SOURCE: WILLIAMSON COUNTY ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Ballot lookup

Enter your date of birth 2 Enter your driver’s license number 3 View your status 4

Completed ballot received by elections sta

Ballot accepted for counting by Early Voting Ballot Board

Application received

Ballot mailed to applicant

Need assistance? 5

Email: bbm@wilco.org

Call: 5129431630

CONTINUED ON 26

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Georgetown ISD equity in education initiative underway

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NEWS REPORT

EDUCATION BRIEFS

FIRST LOOK

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Be informed. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest GISD news.

A GEORGETOWN ISD PROGRAM

Designed to support GISD families with resources, information, and opportunities that foster collaboration and enhance the educational experience of the students we serve.

www.georgetownisd.org

Don’t put off your mammogram. Schedule now. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. The fact is mammograms can find cancer before a lump can be felt and early detection saves lives. If you have delayed getting your mammogram, now is the time to schedule. ARA’s imaging centers are set up to protect you from COVID-19 so you can feel free to get your mammogram safely. Visit ThanksMamm.com to schedule your appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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m Adela Nino-Cochrun The Cochrun Group, a licensed sales representative in Austin and urrounding areas. hen it comes to Medicare, one size definitely doesn’t fit all. What works well for your neighbor may not be the best fit you. And what met your needs last year might not be the best fit this year. Take advantage of this time to explore your edicare choices so you can enroll in a plan with confidence. I’m here to help. I know the ins and outs of Medicare, and I can lp make it easier for you to understand too. o ahead, take advantage. Adela Nino-Cochrun The Cochrun Group Licensed Sales Representative Cpl, US Marine Corps, 8 years served 512-627-3475, TTY 711 www.MyUHCagent.com/the.cochrun.group United Healthcare Enrollment Center 1150 S Bell Blvd Bldg 5, Cedar Park, Tx 78613 www.thecochrungroup.com • info@thecochrungroup.com Adela Cochrun 512-627-3475 Daniela Thomas 210-872-0984 Antonieta Graham 210-872-0873 Tim Graham 915-539-9035

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Denise Seiler,

FROMDENISE: Losing a loved one is never easy, but it brings people closer together. We lost my husband’s grandmother this August, and though we were looking forward to being comforted with hugs by family and friends, COVID-19 made it even more heartbreaking. We had to hold the service in a small gazebo at the cemetery, and the chairs were set up 6 feet apart. I am a hugger, and to not be able to embrace others made it even more dicult to mourn. The Perry family knows this feeling all too well as they went through the same experience recently saying goodbye to their loved one. Read more about how this pandemic has changed the funeral industry and how the Perry family and others are dealing with this dicult time (see Page 24). Denise Seiler, GENERALMANAGER

dseiler@communityimpact.com EDITOR Sally Grace Holtgrieve REPORTER Ali Linan GRAPHIC DESIGNER Chance Flowers ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Ann Miller METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 Mobility bond proposed for May 2021 ballot EDUCATION BRIEFS 13 News from Georgetown ISD CITY& COUNTY 16 The latest local news FIRST LOOK 19 City Post

FROMSALLY GRACE: I appreciate Community Impact Newspaper’s style in that it incorporates strong graphics with stories to ensure readers may truly comprehend an issue. For example, Georgetown ISD’s resolve to create a more inclusive classroom is compelling in itself (see Page 11), but the adjacent illustration exemplifying equality versus equity maximizes readers’ ability to engage with the text and thus the decisions being made in the community right now. GISD’s equity planning process is also broken down for quick reference. We hope such graphics enhance your experience of staying in-the- know each month. Sally Grace Holtgrieve, EDITOR

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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LAKEWAY DR.

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3

6

5TH ST.

Black Sugar Caffe

ALI LINAN/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

6TH ST.

https://rapidexpresscarwash.com/ georgetown Johnson Woods Ranch , a honey bee ranch that raises and protects honey bees, began selling honey bee products such as lip balm and candies in late June. The business does not have a storefront but plans to open one by summer 2021. Currently Johnson Woods products can be found at local Georgetown farmers markets or ordered online. The ranch is located in Florence, but product sales are being operated out of Georgetown. 702-249-3119. www.johnsonwoodsranch.com COMING SOON 4 Tejas Meat Supply plans to open at 101 E. Seventh St., Georgetown, later this fall, the owners said. The full-service butcher shop and restaurant will feature fresh cut meats from sustainable Texas ranches. House made sausages, jerky and charcuterie will be available along with other fine artisan food, beer and wine. www.tejasmeatsupply.com EXPANSIONS 5 Coventry Homes , a homebuilder developing homes in the Wolf Ranch master-planned community, expanded its model home offerings from three to four in August. The new model home is a 2,897-square-foot design known as the Dumont floor plan. Homes are priced from the $350,000s. The Wolf Ranch development is located on Wolf Ranch Parkway near University Avenue. 866-739-7761. www.coventryhomes.com

GEORGETOWN

12 1

4

7TH ST.

2

LEGACY XING

8TH ST.

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BAREFOOT PARK LN.

11 10

29

17TH ST.

8

SCENIC DR.

1460

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 A new coffee shop, Black Sugar Caffe , has opened on the Georgetown Square. The shop, which replaced Cianfrani’s, opened Sept. 19. It is located at 109 W. Seventh St., Ste. 105, George- town. This is the second location for Black Sugar, which can also be found in Cedar Park. The gourmet coffee shop sells espressos, smoothies and specialty coffee as well as breakfast, pastries,

tapas and more. 512-688-3035. www.blacksugarcaffe.com

more. The business accepts dogs and cats and is the seventh Pet Paradise resort in Texas and the first in the Austin area. 512-298-3400. www.petparadise.com/ georgetown.htm 3 Rapid Express Car Wash opened a Georgetown location Sept. 21. The business is located at 3816 Williams Drive, Georgetown. It offers several wash packages, including a basic wash, super wash and deluxe wash.

2 Comprehensive pet care provider Pet Paradise opened its Georgetown location Sept. 30. Pet Paradise, located at 716 S. I-35, Georgetown, offers boarding, grooming and veterinary services. The 20,000-square-foot pet resort also includes amenities such as an indoor bone-shaped pool, outdoor shaded dog park, and webcams for pet viewing and

Dr. Craig P. Torres D.D.S., Endodontist Board Certified (COL US Army Dental Corps RET) • Non-surgical root canal therapy • Root canal retreatments • Root canal surgery Dr. Gloria T. Torres D.D.S., Prosthodontist (LTC US Army Dental Corps RET) 58 Years Combined Experience (Retired Army Dentists)

Call for an appointment 512-868-5999 Advanced Technology CEREC (one day all ceramic crowns) Endodontic Microscopes Digital radiography/photography CBCT (3-D) scans Oral/nitrous sedation www.Torres-Dental-Specialties.com

• Restorative Dentistry • Cosmetic Dentistry • Full mouth reconstruction

(severe wear/malocclusions) • Complex esthetic and functional cases • Dental implants • Dentures / partial dentures

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE & ALI LINAN

IN THE NEWS 9 Faith in Action , a Georgetown nonprofit that primarily offers seniors transportation services to medical ap- pointments and errands, is also stepping up to help meet the anticipated demand of mail-in voting for its current clients. To help with those still leery of crowded spaces during the coronavirus pandem- ic, Faith in Action is offering mail-in application assistance, ballot assistance, and transportation to polls and drop-off ballot delivery locations. Faith in Action is located at 2995 Dawn Drive, Ste. 106, Georgetown. 512-868-9544. 10 The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce awarded the Healthcare Cornerstone Award to the nurses of Georgetown ISD on Sept. 10 for their dedication and high level of professional care of students. During the recent pan- demic, GISD nurses not only helped with meal distribution but they also gathered personal protective equipment supplies for Williamson County, monitored and screened guests for a safe graduation and reached out to students with chronic health conditions to ensure they had on- going care. The GISD Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning is located at 507 E. University Ave., Georgetown. 512-943-5000. www.georgetownisd.org www.faithinactiongt.org SCHOOL NOTES

11 Georgetown ISD received the Texas Art Education Association Distinction Award, according to a Sept. 11 news release. The award was given to the top 4% of districts in the state for their outstanding leadership in promoting the arts in school and the community. GISD is one of 42 districts to receive the recog- nition. The GISD Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning is located at 507 E. University Ave., Georgetown. 512-943-5000. www.georgetownisd.org CLOSINGS 12 Burger University , located on the Georgetown Square, closed Sept. 4 after eight years of business. The restaurant was located at 119 W. Seventh St., Georgetown. Menu items included burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken and waffles, and shakes. The business also won Georgetown’s best hamburger in the “Best of Georgetown” contest every year since it opened in 2012, according to its Facebook page. www.facebook.com/ burgeruniversity 13 Sincerely Yours 1848 , or SY48, a women’s and men’s boutique clothing store located off the Georgetown Square, closed Sept. 14. The owners of the store cited wanting to focus on other busi- nesses as the reason for the closure. The business was located at 809 S. Main St., Ste. B, Georgetown.

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Pet Paradise

Burger University

COURTESY PET PARADISE

ALI LINAN/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

6 Lone Star Circle of Care has expanded its offerings to include 24/7 telehealth options for new patients in September. New patients may now access pediatrics, senior care, family medicine, behavioral health, obstetrics and gynecological services through a virtual visit, with select services available 24 hours a day. New patients previously had to visit an LSCC clinic in person to establish initial care. Lone Star Circle of Care is located at 2423 Williams Drive, Georgetown. 877-800-5722. https://lonestarcares.org 7 Lamppost Coffee is expanding into what was formally Sincerely Yours 1848 on the Georgetown Square. Construc- tion on the expansion will begin Oct. 1, but the completion timeline remains unknown due to the potential for COVID-19 to cause delays. The expansion will include additional seating that can also be rented out to accommodate large

groups as well as an expanded patio. The business—which is celebrating its first anniversary in October—also intends to start offering live music on its patio. Lamppost Coffee is located at 809 S. Main St., Georgetown. 512-913-1974. www.lamppost.coffee 8 St. David’s HealthCare added a new texting service in September to provide families of surgical patients with updates. Given the coronavirus pandemic, hospital visitations and waiting room capacity are limited. This service, available in English and Spanish, will provide families with a unique code allowing them to receive automated texts when the surgery begins, when the patient leaves the operating room, and when the patient is ready for outpatient services or is set to be dis- charged. St. David’s Georgetown Hospital is located at 2000 Scenic Drive, Georgetown. 512-943-3000. https://stdavids.com

Don’t Take Our Word For It I took my 3-year-old son

The whole staff is absolutely amazing and how they care for your child is heartwarming. I recommend taking any child that needs work done to them… you will not be disappointed!

Five stars is just not enough... our experience here was amazing! My 10-year-old son is autistic and almost completely non-verbal. Dental appointments are very traumatizing for him. The doctor and his staff went above and beyond to take care of our needs. Their patience, understanding, and bending over backwards to make him comfortable was just more than I could have ever hoped for!

here for his dental checkup today and he loved it! He didn’t want to leave when we were finished.

I absolutely love this office. From the awesome playroom waiting area to the staff etc. Everything is great!

We are new to the area and my kids LOVED this office and all the employees! Despite the pandemic, they greeted us kindly at the front door and gave us a tour of the facility.

*actual patient reviews from Facebook and Google

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATION Proposedmobility bond seeks to increase capacity of Georgetown roads Residents could vote on a tax increase in May

SURVEYINGRESIDENTS These responses were collected from Georgetown residents via an online survey that was live July 15-Aug. 15.

WHERE to SPEND

REACH vs. RESPONSE RESPONSE

BY SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE

bond to be resident driven. City Council appointed 16 people to the Mobility Georgetown 2021 Citizen Advisory Committee at its July 14 meeting. The committee is meeting August through December and will provide the nal recommendations and more opportunities for public feedback before the election is called. A digital survey was live July 15-Aug. 15, and the aimwas to determine residents’ priorities for transportation projects and how they felt about a bond in general. Sta and the advisory committee are working through responses to help identify and prioritize projects for the bond election. Once the committee identies those projects, public feedback will be sought again. The next round of public engagement is scheduled for November. The last transportation bond was approved by voters in 2015 for $105 million to build, design and plan trans- portation projects. As of June, ocials said the city was on track to nish 10 years’ worth of projects in seven years.

Georgetown residents may be voting for or against a mobility bond in the May 2021 election. The bond would aim to advance the city’s connectivity and safety by upgrading streets, bridges, sidewalks and other mobility projects, George- town sta said. “The city needs to issue bond debt because it doesn’t have funding in its annual budget to pay for these signicant capital investments,” sta explained as part of initial outreach about the potential bond. “For exam- ple, constructing new roadways costs $1.5 million per lane mile.” Sta also explained that voter-ap- proved bonds usually result in an increase to property taxes so the city can generate the revenue needed to cover the costs of the projects—a $0.01 increase in property taxes in George- town yields $9 million. Property tax increase as a result of the bond would depend on the length of the bond and the projects chosen, so city ocials have stated they want the

Of the following choices, each respondent was asked to choose their rst transportation spending priority.

The opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed bond was shared in English and Spanish and through social media posts; targeted emails; and about $4,000 spent in advertising in newspapers, on the radio and on Facebook.

Roads & intersections

survey responses 516 s r r s s s 516

331

149

54 51 10

Would you support a potential property tax increase through a bond package? No Yes

70

Something else Bicycle infrastructure Sidewalks Public transit

367

PRESENT vs. FUTURE Respondents were asked to rank their answers on a score of one to ve, with ve being the highest value. This graphic compares the average ranks.

TOP priorities Respondents ranked mobility bond categories in order of importance out of a total of eight, with eight standing for the most desired. The results are the average of those rankings.

Which mode of transportation do you use most often?

Manage congestion on high-travel roadways Improve trac light timing along major roads

Driving alone Walk

Public transportation

Carpool Bike

Improve safety

Improve city connectivity through smaller, local projects

0

1

2

3

4

5

Which mode of transportation would you like to use more often?

Enhance existing streets

Driving alone Walk

Increase travel choices

Build or expand thoroughfares to provide corridor mobility

Carpool Bike Public transportation

Improve the look of streets

0

1

2

3

4

5

0

1

2

3

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

#LoveWhereYouLive

Georgetown is proud to honor its veterans. Georgetown has a long tradition of celebrating its veterans. We’re the first Purple Heart City in Texas, and the City is honored to sponsor the Field of Honor and Healing Arts for Veterans programs in November.

The Field of Honor at San Gabriel Park is presented by the Rotary Club of Georgetown and displays more than 1,700 full-size U.S. flags.

FOR MORE INFORMAT ION, V ISI T GEORGETOWN.ORG.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION Georgetown ISDmoves forward with equity in education initiative

EQUALITYVS. EQUITY

BY ALI LINAN

expectations and outcomes for every learner. “Success in equity work is evi- denced by reducing or eliminating predictable disparities in learner outcomes based on students’ demo- graphic identities,” she said. During a Sept. 21 school board workshop, the board discussed what role it plays, to which Superintendent Fred Brent said ensuring equity for all students is a key part of their job. While Brent is not a member of the board as the trustees provide oversight of Brent’s work as manager of the district, he does work closely with the board. “We talked about our moral imperative as a board and what we do in public education,” Brent said. “Equity is denitely a core of that moral imperative.” The equity initiative began in December 2018, when the district reached out for community feedback on what people believe is a future- ready child. In that, the community stated they wanted their children to be culturally aware, to which Pike and her team began to break down what cultural awareness is and how to attain it. Pike said after months of collab- oration, discussion, research and ne-tuning the

Georgetown ISD is working to provide not only a quality education, but also an equitable one in order to create a more inclusive classroom. That is why, on July 20, the district launched its equity planning initiative, working to dismantle pre-existing beliefs at the highest level with plans to disperse what is learned through the teacher, student and even community level, ocials said. The process will focus on every learner, especially those who are culturally and linguistically diverse, said Cynthia Pike, GISD director of college, career and military readiness. Pike, who read o the district’s mission of inspiring and empowering every learner to grow and serve, said it is the word “every” that speaks to the reason why equity is so important. “It’s not about all learners ... some ambiguous qualier, [but] it’s every individual,” Pike said. “Every single learner deserves the opportunity to be both inspired, empowered and to create the future that they desire.” Pike said while many may inter- change the words equity and equal- ity, they are dierent. Because while equality means treating each person the same and

Equality Treating each person the same and giving everyone equal access to opportunity

Equity Providing proportional resources so that everyone can reach the same goal

SOURCE: THE EDUCATION TRUSTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

GEORGETOWN ISDDEFINITIONOF EQUITY Equity means every learner is inspired and empowered to fully develop their individual talents, gifts, and academic and social potential, no matter their race, gender, ethnicity, language, ability, family income or any other social factor. GISD EQUITY PLANNINGPROCESS Georgetown ISD is currently at the third level in its equity planning process. 1. Establish the district’s institutional why 2. Dene equity 3. Develop an equity lens 4. Applying that equity lens through systems, processes, experiences and outcomes 5. Evaluate the root causes 6. Co-create goals and strategies 7. Continuous adaptions Current GISD level

program, district leaders began the created courses this September and will have monthly meetings on dierent aspects of equity in education through May. She added that the initiative will be ever-evolving as leaders, teachers, students and the

giving everyone equal access to opportunity, equity is providing proportional resources so that everyone can reach the same goal, as dened by The Education Trust, a national

“IFWE BELIEVE THAT PUBLIC EDUCATION IS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR COMMUNITY, THENWE GET TO CREATE THE COMMUNITY THATWE WANT TO LIVE IN.” CYNTHIA PIKE, GISD DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE, CAREER AND MILITARY READINESS

SOURCE: GEORGETOWN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

players, but we have to empower our teacher leaders to be able to support teachers through that work so that this doesn’t become a false start for them where they’re experimenting in something that they don’t have someone to lead them and support them in,” she said. Teachers, however, can get involved immediately through teacher virtual sessions available only to educators where information can be unpacked, Pike said. In August, the district also began disseminating monthly newsletters

to the public in English and Spanish in order to create a more informed community on equity, provide resources so that the individual denition on equity can expand and show the district’s growth in the program, Pike said. The newsletters oer a single topical focus with mul- tiple resources, including a featured editorial specic to the subject of focus for that month, she said. “If we believe that public education is the foundation of our community, then we get to create the community that we want to live in,” Pike said.

nonprot that works to close opportunity gaps in education. “Equity work requires developing and nurturing a true sense of empow- erment and belonging for every learner,” Pike said during a Sept. 21 school board meeting. Pike said this is achieved by exam- ining biases, interrupting inequitable practices, and ensuring equally high

community continue to learn about and develop equity in education. She also said that it was important for the initiative to start at the district leader level so that they can lead in a more meaningful way. “The magic happens in the classroom, and the teachers are key

11

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Georgetown ISD

Football isback on theeld for Georgetown ISD

District names newdirector of assessment

BY ALI LINAN

BY ALI LINAN

GEORGETOWN ISD Deb Jacobson was named the Georgetown ISD director of assessment following board approval Sept. 21. For four years, Jacobson has served as district state assessment coordi- nator in Leander ISD and previously worked in Hays CISD as a district assessment specialist, according to a news release. Jacobson is also a former teacher, it said. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences. Jacobson’s assessment experience in large, fast-growth school districts will benet GISD by helping the district build eective, sustainable systems and processes for assess- ment and feedback, the release said. She will lead eorts to use a variety of data to inform student-centered decision making that results in eec- tive teaching and learning, it said. She replaces Gabi Nino, who was recently selected to lead elementary campus leadership eorts in Belton ISD, the release said. Jacobson will start in her new role Oct. 19. Georgetown ISD board of trustees meets Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning Boardroom, 507 E. University Ave., Georgetown MEETINGSWE COVER

GEORGETOWN ISD The district kicked o its 2020 football season with a series of scrimmage games between Georgetown High School’s and East View High School’s freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams Sept. 18. The games took place at the GISD Athletic Complex Birkelbach Field. Tickets were limited, and masks were required for all attendees.

Georgetown ISD kicked o its 2020 football season with a series of scrimmage games between Georgetown High School’s and East View High School’s football teams. (Photos by Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Players and coaches remained masked as much as possible.

Attendees were limited and asked to maintain distance.

The East View cheer team also showed its support at the scrimmage.

Georgetown ISD looks to purchase land for future education center

BY ALI LINAN

district. The exact location will not be released until the purchase is nal, ocials said. CTE prepares students for post-secondary education, voca- tional work, trade school or the workforce while providing state- of-the-art instruction and practical lab experience, according to the district’s website. In 2018, voters approved a $150.5 million bond package that included $2 million

to plan and design a new CTE center, but due to bond savings, the district was able to pursue a land purchase, GISD Executive Director for Commu- nications Melinda Brasher said. Ocials said the agenda item only moves the project forward, and the purchase of the land will not be nal until a feasibility study is conducted and the district completes its due diligence. Then the district will go before the board for nal approval.

GEORGETOWN ISD The Georgetown ISD board of trustees approved the purchase of a 35-acre tract of land for a future career and technical education, or CTE, facility during a Sept. 21 meeting. The approval from the board authorizes Superintendent Fred Brent to negotiate and execute a contract to purchase the land located near the center of the

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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GEORGETOWN EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

CITY& COUNTY

News from Georgetown & Williamson County

Diverging diamond intersection coming to Williams Drive at I35 breaks ground virtually BY SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE

includes the construction of a new Williams bridge over I-35 to accommodate a diverging diamond intersection, northbound and southbound intersection bypass lanes under the Williams bridge, extension of the northbound I-35 frontage road, and improvements to the existing southbound I-35 frontage road and the Austin Avenue intersection at Williams, a news release said. The project is intended to reduce backups on frontage roads and cross streets.

GEORGETOWN The I-35 at Wil- liams Drive project in Georgetown is ocially underway as of Oct. 6. The Texas Department of Transportation was joined by Texas Transportation Commission Chairman J. Bruce Bugg; U.S. Rep. John Carter, RRound Rock; and Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross to celebrate a virtual groundbreaking for the project. “Today, I am happy to announce we are beginning construction on a new innovative intersection in Williamson County,” TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson said. “This project will enhance safety and mobility by reconstructing the I-35 at Williams Drive intersection, building bypass lanes and constructing frontage road improvements.” The I-35 at Williams project

Williamson County Sheri Robert Chody (right) and his attorney Gerry Morris said he did not tamper with evidence in the Javier Ambler case. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

SheriRobert Chody indicted for tamperingwith case evidence

35

BY ALI LINAN

N

two to 10 years in the Texas Depart- ment of Criminal Justice correctional institutional division or probation and up to a $10,000 ne. Chody has maintained his inno- cence saying he did not tamper with evidence and handed over all video footage from the night of Ambler’s death, instead claiming the allega- tions are a political ploy brought forth by his enemies. He added that he has no intention to resign. “DA Shawn Dick is pushing and misleading stories while pursuing false prosecution,” Chody said. “I nd it shocking and disgusting that our district attorney uses his oce for [his] political agenda.” Chody is also up for re-election and will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY Sheri Robert Chody was indicted by a grand jury Sept. 25 for evidence tampering following the death of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died in the William- son County Sheri’s Oce’s custody in 2019. The charges stem from a report that video evidence of the incident was destroyed. This is a third-degree felony, according to documents. Jason Nassour, general counsel to Williamson County, was also indicted on similar charges. Williamson County District Attor- ney Shawn Dick said a trial against Chody for evidence tampering is scheduled for Nov. 30. He added that the charge carries a punishment of

Williamson County commissioners end renting of historic jail, considering sale

BY ALI LINAN

The Commissioners Court said it does not have any intention to again use the jail for county purposes, making the return on investment for upkeep and repairs too costly to keep on the county payroll, so they will look into selling it. “It’s not a facility that I think [the county] will ever use again,” Com- missioner Cynthia Long said. “It’s costing the taxpayers to have it.”

WILLIAMSON COUNTY The Commissioners Court voted Oct. 6 to no longer lease or rent the His- toric County Jail in Georgetown, citing safety concerns. The jail, located at 312 Main St., Georgetown, was in use from 1889-1989. To date, it holds a historical identication and is often used as a lming location, ocials said.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Local bars are permitted to open WILLIAMSON COUNTY Judge Bill Gravell said he intends to allow bars and similar establishments to operate following Gov. Greg Abbott’s Oct. 7 announcement, while Travis County ocials said they will hold o before a decision is made. BY ALI LINAN

Friends of the library seeking donations GEORGETOWN The Georgetown Library’s Second-Hand Prose book- store has been seeing reduced trac— providing fewer dollars to support the library—and music programs and the Hill Country Authors series have been postponed until further notice due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, the library’s book- mobiles are currently serving BY SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE spokesperson, in an email to Community Impact Newspaper . Although visitation to the library has dropped to 25% of last year’s visits, e-books are being checked out at a rate 50% higher than last year’s rate, which will require considerably more funding, she added.

Georgetown City Council Meets second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 6 p.m. 101 E. Seventh St., Georgetown 512-931-7715 • www.georgetown.org Williamson County Commissioners Court Meets Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m. 710 S. Main St., Georgetown 512-943-1550 • www.wilco.org MEETINGSWE COVER news release. “Our county residents have shown that they can be smart and protect themselves and others. This is another step forward for us as a community, and we can do this safely and wisely.” Conversely, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe intends to take the next several days to speak with the county attorney’s oce and determine what authority has nally been returned to local governments, per a separate news release.

Abbott announced that bars will be allowed to open Oct. 14, as will river tubing operations, movie theaters and amusement parks, among others. For bars, facial coverings must be worn by employees and patrons when 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained or when seated to eat or drink, Abbott said. Addition- ally, outdoor bars will not be subject to an occupancy limit, he said. Gravell said the establishments will operate with in-person service at 50% while following Abbott’s minimum standard health protocols. “It is time for all of our businesses to be open to serve our public while following the governor’s health protocols to be safe,” Gravell said in a

To help, the Friends is initiat- ing a new campaign called the “Giving Season.” Ocials hope the December fundraiser will become an annual event.

the community on a wider scale, said Ricki McMillan, Friends of the Georgetown Public Library

Although visitation to the library has dropped to 25% of last year’s visits, e-books are being checked out at a rate 50% higher. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)

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