Vendor’s hopes of cashing in on firework sales in Johnson County went up in smoke Monday. The Johnson County Commissioners Court, during their Monday meeting, first voiced opposition to the request.
“I think the two times of the year when the state mandates we have to allow fireworks sales, Fourth of July and New Year’s, are enough for the year,” Commissioner Kenny Howell said. “If someone calls and asks we’re required to put it on the agenda for consideration, and I know we’ve had a lot of rain lately, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Commissioner Larry Woolley agreed.
“Given what everyone’s going through right now with this COVID-19 situation I don’t think it’s a good time, especially for our first responders,” Woolley said. “They don’t need the extra load of worrying about possible problems from fireworks. They’re already maxed out now as it is.”
Commissioners in the end took no action on the request, which in effect prevents sales from going forward.
Lawyers battle over collections
Referencing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic saga and making note of the bounty of barristers in attendance, Commissioner Jerry Stringer joked that there ought be a rule prohibiting the congregation of more than 10 lawyers in one spot. Joining in on the fun, County Judge Roger Harmon quipped that they should also be required to stand 60 rather than 6 feet separated.
Attorneys from Arlington law firm Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott and from Fort Worth Firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson pitched their pitches as to why they should be the firm chosen to handle collection of delinquent court fines and fees for the county’s four justice of the peace courts.
Corey Fickes, attorney with Linebarger, cited experience and said his is the largest firm in American that specializes in the collection of government receivables, and the one that realizes better results than other firms.
Fickes encouraged commissioners to check with Alvarado and other cities Linebarger represents for references on their track record.
Perdue attorney Tony Fidelie said his firm, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is the oldest firm concerned solely with representation of governmental entities with more than 2,000 clients and a managing a portfolio in excess of $1 billion. Fidelie cited as well Perdue’s 30 years of experience of assisting Johnson County in delinquent property taxes and other matters.
Commissioners credited both attorneys with top-flight presentations but in the end went with Perdue.
Child abuse proclamation
Harmon proclaimed March as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Johnson County and at times became emotional discussing the subject.
In 2019 264,245 alleged and/or child abuse victims in Texas, Harmon said. Johnson County saw 2,266 intake reports over that same period of which 1,802 investigations remain open. The same year saw 616 confirmed victims and 306 children in conservatorship with CPS.
Harmon said he served on the county’s grand jury about 40 years ago.
“I was naive but my eyes were open during that time,” Harmon said. “More than 50 percent of the cases were abuse of children cases. For many of us that’s hard for us to believe or understand but it woke me up. How some of these parents can treat kids the way they do I just don’t understand.
“Fortunately, we have Tammy King [executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County], Sheriff [Adam] King and many other programs working to help these kids and I thank all of them from the bottom of my heart.”
Commissioner Larry Woolley credited the county and district attorney’s offices, local judges and area law enforcement for their efforts toward protecting children.
Harmon agreed but added that he wonders how such people deal with horrible situations involving children they encounter.
“This shouldn’t happen in our society, but it does,” Harmon said. “It’s reality. But thank God we have good people here fighting to make a difference. Anything we can do to improve these situations we should certainly do.”
Tammy King said her center dealt with 1,701 children last year involved in primary and secondary cases. The center remains open, King said, though steps have been taken to protect children and employees from COVID-19 risk.
This being an anxious time for all but especially children is also a time when all children need support and reassurance, King said.