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Substance abuse the focus of commissioners' proclamations

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Submitted Photo - Ellis County Commissioners declare the month of October “Czech Heritage Month” during the Monday, Oct. 11 regular 10 a.m. meeting in the downtown Waxahachie Courthouse. Submitted Photo - Ellis County Commissioners declare the month of October “Czech Heritage Month” during the Monday, Oct. 11 regular 10 a.m. meeting in the downtown Waxahachie Courthouse.

Czech Heritage month declared

ELLIS COUNTY-  Ellis County commissioners approved both a resolution and a proclamation relating to the problem of substance abuse Monday, Oct. 11.

"The Ellis County Commissioners’ Court has been made aware of a threat to the health and welfare of the citizens of Ellis County posed by the smoking or other consumption of the ‘incense’ or ‘potpourri’ known as ‘K2’ and other like products, apparently intended as a substitute for marijuana," said Commissioner Bill Dodson, pct. 2, reading from his resolution.

"The promotion and increasing popularity of the drug as a ‘benign alternative’ to marijuana lures many new, young users that might otherwise not use drugs," said Larry Wilson from IMPACT Waxahachie in a short presentation on the topic. 

"The only way to stop this is to ban it and give law enforcement the power to deal with it."

Resident Brandy Owen, Libertarian candidate for county judge, spoke in opposition to the resolution.

"It’s ridiculous to think that anything you buy that’s labeled as an herbal incense is going to impair you to the point that you can’t carry on a conversation," said Owen.

"Outside the city limits add a sin tax to it, add a permit to sell it, and the county gets a new bank account. 

One store, I know for a fact, has sold $50,000 on this – that’s great sales tax, as our own county judge says, we have a band aid on a gaping wound."

Ellis County does not levy sales taxes and does not have the authority to prohibit K2 and like products or the authority to issue permits for the sale of the products. 

The court’s resolution asks the Texas Legislature to address the issue in the upcoming session, because it is of concern to the citizens and municipalities of Ellis County.

Dodson also presented a proclamation declaring the week of Oct. 25 - 29 as Red Ribbon Week in Ellis County, encouraging citizens to participate in drug prevention education activities.

Richard Norman of the REACH council addressed the court.

"Red Ribbon Week was started as a result of a murder of a DEA agent in Mexico in the 1980s and it has now gone nationwide," said Norman.

"The REACH council was started as a result of a drug related murder in Midlothian in 1987.

At that time, some high school students involved in the drug culture realized the presence of an undercover agent in the high school, took him out to a field, and shot him in the head.

It was a brutal murder and shocked our community," Norman added. 

"At the time, my son was a sophomore in high school, and he sat right behind the young man that pulled the trigger.  It was a wake-up call to our community."

Red Ribbon Week serves as one of the many vehicles the REACH council utilizes to promote substance abuse awareness and prevention in the community.

On the lighter side, commissioners also proclaimed the month of October to be Czech Heritage Month in Ellis County, with members of the local chapter of the Czech Heritage Society providing a box of Czech Kolaches in honor of the occasion.

"Our next meeting is in Ennis at the KJT Hall on [Sunday] Nov. 14," said Victor Havel. 

"We will show Czech films with English subtitles if you want to learn about the Czech Heritage in the Czech Republic or polish up on your own Czech language."

Some time was spent in discussing upcoming regulatory changes and necessary improvements on the county’s VHF Radio System and Infrastructure, with Constable Terry Nay, pct. 2, gaining the court’s approval for an agreement with Aerowave and Pat Gardenhire to provide licensing of five remote sub-repeater sites and the modification of existing repeater license with the Federal Communications Commission.

"We are going to be forced by the FCC to narrow-band our frequencies effective Jan. 1, 2013," said Nay.

"Engineers in the industry are telling us we can expect a 20 percent reduction in our transmission footprint to the tower and back out."

Nay has been working closely with Dodson and Emergency Management Coordinator John Patterson to meet the challenge.

In a related item, commissioners voted to reject all bids on design and engineering services related to the system.

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