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Juvenile facility to open in Crockett
Trinity Standard -
CROCKETT – The Crockett Manager for Cornerstone Programs spoke to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) board at their pre-meeting luncheon in Crockett. Tyreen Green will be managing the juvenile treatment center the Colorado-based for-profit company is opening at the former Crockett State School. The Texas Youth Commission closed the facility two years ago, and Cornerstone expects to have it re-opened and handling juvenile offenders in April. Like at the Garza County facility they operate in Post, Texas, the Cornerstone facility in Crockett will be accepting juvenile offenders from federal, state and county courts. Having the program located in Crockett will benefit the counties in the DETCOG Region that are currently transporting their juvenile offenders to and from a state facility outside Dallas. Cornerstone will even be operating transport vehicles that can pick up and return offenders directly to the region's courts. The facility is currently undergoing renovation and refitting with furniture and appliances. The state removed all its furniture and appliances when the Crockett State School closed in 2012. Green told those gathered that he will be hiring managers and staff in March and conducting training. Their plan is to be open and accepting juvenile offenders by April. The facility will start with thirty to forty personnel and was expected to grow to a staff of one hundred. Through the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation, the City of Crockett worked hard to find a new occupant for the facility. Cornerstone will restore jobs and have other economic benefits to the community that were lost when the state closed the facility. In other news The DETCOG Board started their meeting with the major task of approving an Area Agency on Aging of Deep East Texas plan for 2015-2016 that shifts resources to older senior citizens in the region and a restructuring of its budget. Those changes are being driven by the difference in the services older senior citizens need, in comparison to what younger "baby boomer" seniors want. They will be doing it with less money as the state changes the way it allocates funds to reflect the rural to urban population shift in Texas. The board also acted to approve new members of the Deep East Texas Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Advisory Council as well as the Deep East Texas Regional Solid Waste Advisory Council's proposal to use its 2014 budget to complete a statutorily required "closed landfill inventory". The board went on to approve resolutions in support of two grants from the Governor's Office of Criminal Justice totaling over thirty thousand dollars. DETCOG Executive Director, Walter G. Diggles, Sr. started his report with an update on its Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery Housing program. He said that two hundred fifty six applications for assistance have been received, and the program has just gotten approval to begin outreach to the general population. Diggles also noted that program is lining up contractors for stick built, manufactured and modular homes and will present the results to the board after those proposals have been scored. In closing his report, Diggles thanked board members, DETCOG staff and friends for their prayers and support over the past month. "As you can see from today's meeting, DETCOG is open for business and carrying on the agencies duties and responsibilities," he continued. Diggles disclosed that DETCOG staff had picked up all of its fiscal files from the FBI in the past week. After commenting that DETCOG had heard nothing new from the officials involved in the federal investigation, he stated his continuing confidence in the agency's accountability and internal controls, its audits – both from independent auditors and state and federal agencies – and that DETCOG looks forward to the report from the investigation. The next DETCOG Board Meeting will be held in Shepherd at their new Community Center which, San Jacinto County Judge, Fritz Faulkner pointed out, was built with Disaster Recovery money. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 27.