Work of HCCAC praised in Granite Shoals

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Kelly Forister, executive director of the Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center (HCCA), left, is joined by Sgt. Paul Chrane of the Granite Shoals Police Department to discuss the center's work in the interest of children who are victims of violent crime.





By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

An introduction to Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center (HCCA) was on the Granite Shoals City Council agenda Tuesday night and HCCA Executive Director Kelly Forister received a warm welcome.

HCCA was created in 1992 to resolve inconsistencies inherent in investigations of child abuse and to stop the re-victimization of children being seen in agencies around the country responsible for protecting them. The center, through its Sunshine House in Burnet, provides forensic interviews and exams, trauma-informed counseling, as an interface among agencies and as an education provider for families, communities and law enforcement.

“We take a team approach to approach to addressing needs of children who are victims of violent crime here in Burnet County and in Blanco, Llano, Mason, and San Saba counties,” said Forister. “I have to commend the city of Granite Shoals for their work as part of that team with us, with Child Protective Services and other agencies in the interest of children. Part of our work as a non-profit agency is helping to provide training for officers and we are very pleased officers like Sgt. Chrane take advantage of it.”

Granite Shoals Police Department Sgt. Paul Chrane, honored this month by the Hill Country 100 Club as an Officer of the Year, was at the meeting and by coincidence was leaving the next day for more training.

“I have been working with crimes against children since 2007 and it would be difficult to imagine any level of measurable success without them,” said Chrane.

“Paul and I have worked more cases of sexual abuse than we would care to say,” said council member Tom Dillard, a former member of the Marble Falls Police Department and now the Burnet County Sheriff's Office. “It would be difficult to overstate their value.”

Reports at the top of the meeting pertained in part to transportation.

City Manager Ken Nickel said city staff and the city finance adviser Chris Allen of are beginning to see private, rather than public, sale of the $3 million in bonds for the road infrastructure project as the most economical route.

“This would be $3 million for 10 years,” said Nickel. “We initially talked about four percent interest, but we believe that might drop closer to three percent interest. That would save us from $10-$15,000 per year.”

The council agreed to a special meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 to finalize their contract with K.C. Engineering for services on the project. The contract is lengthy and City Attorney Brad Young perferred a final review before the council vote.

Mayor Carl Brugger shared a letter from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicating that the long-discussed project for a traffic light at Ranch to Market Road 1431 and Prairie Creek Road is still on track for this summer.

The council lamented the 14 openings on citizen committees, commissions, boards and advisory groups reported by Elaine Simpson as well as scarcity of applicants of open positions.

“If you want to do something for the town you live in and want to do something good, come and join one of these groups and make a difference,” said Lisa Crane, a local resident in the audience.

The council was pleased to meet the city's new code enforcement officer, Bryan Wendt, who has joined Granite Shoals from the City of Marble Falls.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Davant invited everyone to the next Coffee with the Council event to be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3. He and council members Anita Hisey and Shirley King will join him to get to know residents and to answer questions.

The council set aside the idea Garage Sale Ordinance after a lengthy discussion.

Hisey, who serves as liaison with the Planning & Zoning Commission was able to provide background on how litter left in residents yards from one periodic sale to the next and sparked the first discussions in the P&Z that finally judged the topic to be something out of their purview.

“This is just a solution looking for a problem,” said Dillard at the conclusion of the debate. “We can deal with the rare event of a continuous garage sale in ways other than blanket restrictions.

“We've gotten into it before on the question of short-term rentals and fencing. Because we have a few problems, we had a big fight. In fencing we tried to please everybody and I'm not sure we pleased anybody.”

“I am so glad that we have Anita Hisey as our liaison to the P&Z to let the council know the full story of what is happening,” said King. “We can over-regulate everybody for what one or two are doing.”

Before the council agreed to table the discussion they made it clear they did not intend to bring it back to the table in the forseeable future.

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