The Williamson County Sun

Governor’s order keeps vaccinations voluntary

 

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order Monday stating that “no entity” in Texas may require employees or customers to take the Covid-19 vaccine. 

"The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced," Mr. Abbott said Monday.

According to the order, no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a Covid vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination. 

Mr. Abbott’s order allows objections “for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from Covid.” 

However, the order does not define what organizations qualify as an “entity,” which could include any business, institution, or government agency. It also does not specify requirements for businesses that operate in Texas and other states. Multi-state and multinational companies, like Williamson County-based Dell Technologies, may have to comply with mandates from multiple governments at the same time. 

Mr. Abbott’s order suspends relevant statutes to the extent necessary to enforce this prohibition. He allowed for fines, but not jail, for violations of this order. 

The executive order in Texas could contradict future federal mandates. 

In a Covid-19 action plan announced in September, U.S. President Joe Biden said that he would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop an emergency vaccination rule for all employers with 100 or more employees. 

Mr. Biden’s action plan calls for the rule to ensure that the “workforce is fully vaccinated, or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” 

OSHA is a federal agency under the Department of Labor that is usually responsible for workplace safety. Neither OSHA, nor the DOL, has published such rules as of this writing, although it has been reported that drafts of the rules went to the White House this week.

 


 

Williamson County

Covid-19 Statistics
Cases in 28 Days 5,755
Deaths in 28 Days 86
Total cases 74,866
  Confirmed cases  63,872
 Additional Probable cases 10,994
Total Deaths 678

Vaccinated: Eligible Population (age 12 and up)

Fully 70.58%
Partially 79.39%

Vaccinated:
Total Population

Fully 58.95%
Partially 66.3%

Find a vaccine provider

CDC vaccine info

Hospital beds available 751
% hospital beds avail. 19%
ICU beds available 59
% ICU beds avail. 12%
GA-32 Total TSA % 5.63
Phase Red
  • Green - Minimal Spread
  • Yellow - Moderate Spread
  • Orange - High Spread
  • Red - Uncontrolled Spread

Updated October 15


  •  
  • WCCHD strongly encourages vaccination, social and physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.

*Available Hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators includes all units in Williamson County.

 

Cases by City

City C Δ
Georgetown 13,570 +73
Round Rock 17,161 +81
Hutto 4,905 +20
Cedar Park 4,716 +23
Leander 5,864 +22
Austin (in wilco) 6,044 +29
Other towns 9,214 +70
Confirmed Cases by Age
Age C Δ
Under 5 1,657 +7
5 to 10 4,829 +102
11 to 13 3,093 +30
14 to 17 4,049 +14
18 to 30 13,789 +51
31 to 40 11,181 +57
41 to 50 10,052 +40
51 to 60 7,261 +43
61 to 70 4,200 +18
71 to 80 2,298 +4
81 and over 1,463 +13

  C=Confirmed Cases
  Δ=Change (Since 10/5)

Deaths by Age Group
Age Total Δ
18-50 68 +1
51-60 89 --
61-70 115 +3
71-80 164 +1
81+ 242 --

Outside Wilco


Location Cases Deaths
Bell 37,998 672
Travis 117,954 1,130
Texas 4,168,664 68,467
U.S. 44,770,331 721,573

 

Sources:

 

Definitions

 


 

Wag Heaven


Historic tree

One of Georgetown’s oldest residents, the 500-year-old oak tree at First Texas Bank on Austin Avenue, fell and was destroyed during Wednesday’s storm. Bank President Van Sewift said it was a great loss, and the bank is working to create something out of the fallen tree to give back to the community. Photo by Kathryn Manasco

 


 

Early voting details 

Where, when and how to vote early beginning Monday 

 

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Early voting begins Monday for residents of Williamson County, running from October 18 - 29. Election day is November 2.

Texas law requires voters who go to the polls in person to present a photo ID, but also allows exceptions. Certain expired IDs are allowed and those who cannot get a photo ID may provide other documents and sign a form to vote. 

Early voting schedule
• Monday, October 18 through Wednesday, October 27, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Thursday, October 28, and Friday, October 29, from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.  
• Williamson County polling places are closed on Sundays.

Voter ID requirements

Residents who vote in person will have to show a photo ID as they check in at a polling place and receive their ballots.

Accepted types of photo ID include a Texas driver license, a Texas personal ID card, a Texas election ID certificate, a Texas handgun license, a U.S. military ID, a U.S. citizenship certificate with photo and a passport.

Voters over the age of 70 may present an acceptable ID that has been expired for any length of time, as long it is their ID and the information on the ID is otherwise correct. For voters aged 18 – 69, an ID can be expired for up to four years, as long as the information is correct. 

Voters who do not have one of these types of ID and cannot readily get one may present alternative documents at the polling place and sign a Reasonable Impediment Declaration. 

Alternative documents for this declaration include copies or originals of government documents that show the voter’s name and an address, a current utility bill, a  bank statement; a government check; a paycheck; or a qualifying birth certificate. 

Voting by mail

Applications for Ballot by Mail and Federal Postcard Applications must be received no later than the close of business on October 22. 

If either of these application documents is faxed or emailed, the original application must be received in the elections office within four business days.

Applications for Ballot by Mail should be sent to: 
Mail:  Early Voting Clerk, P. O. Box 209 Georgetown, TX 78627 
Email: bbm@wilco.org 
Fax: 512-943-1634 




GISD Propositions D and E   


Prop D proposes partnership for aquatic center



GISD Bond Proposition E - $770,000

Proposition E is a proposal to renovate the tennis center at Georgetown High School. The center has its original infrastructure with temporary upgrades provided by volunteers. Proposed projects include:

• Replacing the dilapidated wood-framed concession/storage building and the center’s perimeter fencing
• Resurfacing the courts
• Constructing a walking aisle between fences that separate north and south rows of courts

 

By KATHERINE ANTHONY

Georgetown ISD’s bond Proposition D — which calls for the construction of a swim center and a full-program YMCA facility to be managed by the organization — is modeled after similar partnerships in other states, and Prop D proponents say it can work in Georgetown as well. 

Successful pool partnerships between school districts and YMCAs in Phoenix; Boise, Idaho; and Norman, Oklahoma; are evidence the model can meet both school and community needs in one facility, according to Scott Alarcón, chairman of the Yes for Georgetown ISD, the citizen committee promoting the district’s bond proposals. 

“Georgetown has always been about partnerships and this would be a fantastic one,” Mr. Alarcón said. 

Proposition D is one of a five-proposition school bond proposal on the November 2 ballot. Early voting begins Monday.

Jeff Andresen, president of the YMCA of Williamson County, along with YMCA Extension Director Cathleen Phelps and Mr. Alarcón recently met with the Sun to explain Proposition D — a proposal to build and manage a two-pool operation that would be home to GISD’s high school swim teams and a full-program YMCA facility. The pools would be an outdoor competition pool and an indoor pool for recreational swimming and swim lesson programming.

From the YMCA’s perspective, this partnership with GISD would be ideal.

“We would have been in Georgetown years ago if we had had a partner,” Mr. Andresen said. “The YMCA is the largest operator of pools in the United States. No one does pools better.”

GISD School Bond Information

October 19, 6 p.m.
Virtual presentation
georgetownisdbond.org/resources

For more information: www.georgetownisdbond.org

 

Proposed partnership 

According to the Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed by GISD and the YMCA, GISD would pay 100 percent of the costs — $23.6 million — to build an outdoor competition pool for its high school swim teams, and shared indoor spaces such as locker rooms, lobby, and equipment and supply storage. Also included is half of construction costs of the indoor pool. 

GISD would pay for 100 percent of operating the outdoor pool (utilities and maintenance); and the YMCA would pay for 100 percent of staffing and administration.

GISD and the YMCA would evenly split the construction and operating costs of the indoor pool. 

The YMCA of Williamson County would pay $8 million for construction of spaces that would be used by Y programs.

The YMCA would pay 100 percent of the operation costs for Y programs.

Read more


GISD Propositions B and C

Bonds aim to upgrade arts center, tech needs 

 

By KATHERINE ANTHONY

Georgetown ISD’s five-proposition school bond proposal on November’s ballot includes purchasing technology in Proposition B, and renovating the 22-year-old Klett Performing Arts Center in Proposition C.

 

Read more

 

GISD Proposition A

GISD voters to decide $381 million school bond election 

 

Bonds could address growth, technology, renovations, and swim center construction

By KATHERINE ANTHONY

Georgetown ISD voters will decide the fate of five different bond propositions during the upcoming November 2 election. 

Read more

 

 


 

Georgetown charter amendments up for vote

 

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Voters who live inside Georgetown’s city limits will have nine propositions for changes to the city charter on their November 2 ballots. Early voting begins Monday. 

The city council forms a charter review committee every eight to 10 years to review the city charter and propose changes and updates. Council members selected these nine from a group of changes recommended by the citizen committee, and Georgetown City Council placed the amendments on the ballot by ordinance over the summer. 

A 10th proposition – related to alcoholic beverage sales at properties that have been annexed into the city since 2010, the last time an alcohol proposition was approved by Georgetown voters – will also be on the city ballot.  

Proposition A - I | Alcohol proposition

Read more


 

District 6 candidates square off in forum ahead of early voting

 

By NICHOLAS CICALE

Discussing topics about the Courthouse Square, city growth and community engagement, the two candidates in the Georgetown City Council District 6 race faced one another during a candidate forum Thursday night. 

Organized by the Wilco League of Women Voters, the hour-long candidate forum was cordial, with candidates Cheré Heintzmann and Jake French answering prepared questions as well as those submitted by participants over Zoom. 

Pamella Mitchell, an LWV leader and District 6 resident, served as the forum’s moderator. 

“I feel like we have great choices in front of us, and it is actually a gift to District 6 that such talent has stepped up to this,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I hope that, regardless of what the outcome [of the election is], that you both stay engaged and involved, because the city needs you, and District 6 needs you.”

Early voting for the November 2 election begins Monday. 

Square safety | Confederate memorial | Downtown parking
Future growth | Community engagement

Read more


 

A girl stands in a field of American flags.

Kayla Pettengill, a member of Georgetown’s American Heritage Girls Troop 1045, pauses while placing name tags on flags at the Georgetown Rotary Club’s annual Field of Honor on its opening day last year. Sun archive

Field of Honor flags a tribute to veterans, first responders

 

Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall scheduled


By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

The Georgetown Rotary Club will hold its fifth annual Field of Honor from November 6 - 14 at open grounds behind the Georgetown Recreation Center on Chamber Way in Georgetown.

Read more

   


Early voting locations

Williamson County residents can vote in the following locations for early voting October 18-29. 

Main and limited ballot location: 

• Georgetown, Williamson County Inner Loop Annex, 301 Southeast Inner Loop 

Branch locations: 

Austin 
• Anderson Mill Limited District, 11500 El Salido Parkway 
• Hartfield Performing Arts Center, 5800 McNeil Drive 

Cedar Park 
• Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Boulevard 
• Cedar Park Randalls, 1400 Cypress Creek Road 

Georgetown 
• Cowan Creek Amenity Center, 1433 Cool Spring Way 
• Georgetown ISD Technology Building, 603 Lakeway Drive

Hutto 
• Wilco Hutto Annex, 321 Ed Schmidt Boulevard, Suite 100 

Jarrell 
• Jarrell ISD Administration, 108 East Avenue F 

Leander 
• Leander Public Library Annex, 1011 South Bagdad Road 
• The Crossover, 1717 Scottsdale Drive 

Liberty Hill 
• Liberty Hill Municipal Court, 2801 Ranch Road 1869 

Round Rock 
• Allen R Baca Center, 301 West Bagdad Street, Building 2 
• Brushy Creek Community Center, 16318 Great Oaks Drive 
• Round Rock Randalls, 2051 Gattis School Road 
• Williamson County Jester Annex, 1801 East Old Settlers Boulevard 

Taylor 
• Taylor City Hall, 400 Porter Street


 

Masks strongly encouraged at polls

 

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Polling locations in Williamson County will have updated Covid-19 precautions beginning with early voting Monday and continuing through election day, November 2. Other adjustments will also be seen.

“Facial coverings are strongly encouraged,” said Jenifer Favreau, deputy elections administrator for Williamson County. 

However, they are not required, per executive orders by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Covid safety protocols the elections department include: 

• having hand sanitizer readily available to all voters and poll workers
• regularly sanitizing equipment  
• having plexiglass shields in place at each check-in station
• putting a Clean Pen product with each voting machine to sanitize pencils voters may use

Physical distance markers will not be taped on the floors at Wilco polling locations, Ms. Favreau told the Sun. Voters trying to social distance can estimate the six feet of separation as about two arm lengths or three steps. 

“Not all equipment will be as physically distanced as last year, though we are trying to space them as best we can in the area we have to work with, while still providing an adequate amount of voting units,” Ms. Favreau said. 

Voters are no longer required to provide a signature on paper when checking-in to vote, Ms. Favreau said. Check-in is now done electronically, she added.

 


Jameson 5K at Southwestern is this weekend

The 2021 Jameson 5K will be both in person and virtual this year, allowing everyone to participate in the fundraiser. 

The Southwestern 5K began in 2001 as a way of honoring the memory of Jaysn Flynn Jameson and to increase the endowment of the Jaysn Jameson Memorial Scholarship Fund. Each year of the race, the goal is to improve upon the last year and build the race to a premiere event for the university and Georgetown. 

The in-person race begins October 16 at 8 a.m., while the virtual option allows runners to race anytime October 15 - 17. Virtual event participants will not be eligible for awards and door prizes. 

It cost $30 for adults to register, and $25 for Southwestern students and seniors. Registration information can be found here.

 


 

Central Texas Philharmonic

 

Tickets are available at CentralTexasPhilharmonic.org.

 

Season schedule

November 7 - Patriotic Pops Program in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Georgetown’s Field of Honor, celebrating U.S. veterans and active-duty military personnel. Complimentary tickets will be provided to veterans, active-duty military and their families.

December 12 - Holiday Program featuring works from Tchaikovsky’s, The Nutcracker, and other holiday classics. Dancers from Capital City Ballet will also preform. 

April 3, 2022 - Performance of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus in collaboration with the Penfold Theatre Company.

May 1, 2022 - Performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The first half of the program will contextualize the symphony with excerpts from earlier Beethoven works and the music of his contemporaries.