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April 3, 2013     Hays Free Press
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c& .~ ~ .~'~;~: '~ :!2~~ ...... r;~:~ i~,~~' 'i ~,~f~,/'~ '~ ,, ; ,~ " ~, HaysFreePress.com MAIN STRE City of Buda hopes to be eligible for Main Street program. - Page 1D April 3, 2013 Page 1C HAYS FREE PRESS RLE PHOTO Got your wiener dog in training? The 16th an- nual Buda Lions Club Country Fair and Weiner Dog Races will take over the town for the big two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28 in Buda City Park. The theme this year is "Les Wein- erables." In addition to the fun dog races, there will be the pet parade, arts and crafts, and cook offs, entertainment, food and drinks and fun family time for all. Before the four-legged wieners take over Buda, the two-legged Bulldogs will come to town. The old Buda High School reunion is Saturday, April 13, starting at 9:30 a.m. The organizers of the reunion are hoping to see a crowd of Buda High friends coming to- gether for the annual event. As always, there is lots of visiting and reliving of days gone by. One of our "Bulldog" friends, Hal Odell, is at Seton- Hays Hospital where he had portions of three toes ampu- tated on Tuesday. Here's hop- ing he does well and can make it to the reunion. BUDA BITS on the death of her mother, Helen Barsotfini, who passed away on Thursday, March 28 in Pennsylvania. This week the Buda Pub- lic Library is celebrating their 33rd year of serving the residents of our area. Stop by for a visit with all the helpful workers and find a good book too. You also might want to stop by on Saturday, April 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. and learn to make your own home "green" cleaning products. Birthday wishes go out to Gay Dahlstrom and Shir- ley Fowler on April 2; Billy Lancaster on April 4; Sherri McKee on April 6; Donna Bell on April 7; Connie Freeman, Liz Keitz and Cindy Manning on April 8. It was a great turnout for the "goodbye" to the folks at Buda Grocery & Grill last week. As of this week, the keys to the 100-year-old building were turned over to new own- ers and now we will await the opening of a restaurant to fill the space on the corner. Sympathy is extended to Betty Conley and her family Anniversary wishes go out to Benita and Douglas Dunn on April 6th as they celebrate their 50th wedding day. Con- gratulations! ooo Be sure to head downtown Buda on Thursday evening for all the activities for First Thursday and shop the Buda Farmers Market on Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. in your This continues to be a busy (and joyful!) season for gardeners, although we could certainly use some more rain. I wish you all every success with your gardening ventures this month- and don't forget to visit this week- end's Zilker Garden Festival in Austin. It's always fun to meet up and chat with fellow Hays and Travis County gardeners. 1. Spring vegetable garden- lng- Plant those warm season crops. This list includes beans, black-eyed peas, okra, squash, cantaloupe, tomatoes, pep- pers, cucumbers, watermelon, com, and eggplant. There is still time to plant cooler season crops like lettuce, radishes, and carrots. 2. Fertilize your garden- Do this organically with compost. Other sources of nutrition are dried fish flakes and organic fertilizers formulated for gar- IT'S ABOUT THYME den use. You can also use liquid fertilizers, such as fish emul- sion and seaweed extracts. 3.Control weeds- Keep them down with mulch and by weeding a tittle bit every day. 4. Plant spring annuals- This is the perfect time. Work some compost into your flower beds and you will give these new plants just the food they need to flower through the summer. Here are some ideas: begonias, zinnias, marigolds, petunias, coleus, periwinkle, cosmos, larkspur, portulaca, See ASK CHRIS, pg. 2C The Hays County Jail, labeled by current detainees as having conditions that are like the Hilton of criticism over the years. BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com The Hays Free Press made a surprise visit recently to the Hays County Jail, run by the Hays County Sheriff's Office. Following a tour of the facility, we sat down with two female inmates for an inside look at what the conditions are like for them. JESSICA* Jessica, 27, has been at the Hays County jail for nearly three months. This San Antonio native is awaiting trial on a felony drug charge, but hoping her lawyer can get her out on probation. "I've never been convicted of a felony," she said. But she has had her share of trouble with the law. On this day, her dirty blond locks have an almost reddish hue. Her hair is sleeked back and appears wet. les- sica is wearing her county-issued gray uniform. In orange block letters on the back it says Hays County Jail. She also had on county-issued shoes, orange, that looked like Crocs but less expensive. Does she like them? "They're fine," Jessica said, looking down at her feet. She joked that the letters matched the shoes. "They keep us trendy," she said with a slight smile. Yet she quickly turned serious. "I don't like jail," she said. And no, it's not her first time. But, compared to other jails she's been in, "The conditions are like Dis- neyland here." On a scale from 1 to 10, Jessica gave the Hays County jail a 10. In compari- son, for example, at the Bexar County Jail, Jessica said the food is terrible, inmates have no privacy and the guards are terrible. "They treat us like people," she said, referring to the guards who watch her now. A few feet away was Ericka Her- nandez, a deputy in the female side of the jail. Jessica said her mom, who lives in San Antonio, would rather drive the 45 minutes to Hays County to visit than to go to the Bexar County facility. She said her mother told her, "They treat me like crap." In contrast, Jessica said, "Living con- ditions here are great. There are even Jessica, who is being held at the Hays County Jail awaiting trial, said the facility is like "Disneyland." CONDITIONS AT THE HAYS COUNTY JAIL HAVE NOT ALWAYS BEEN GOOD An April 2009 inspection of the facility found many health and safety violations, including a leaky roof, rusted walls and doors, and mold in the kitchen, which was closed as a result. In November of that same year, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards came close to shutting down the entire jail following another failed inspection. The county spent $1.7 million on repairs and a study on whether the whole facil- ity needs to be abandoned. An inspection in 2010 found standing water in pipe chases (small hallways behind the cells); the inspector said he "could smell the water" but decided not to write up the facility because he knew the administration was working to make improvements. In April 2011, the jail passed inspection with no demerits. However, it spent $2 million for emergency air conditioner repairs. September 2012, the Hays County Jail passed its inspection and was found in compliance with the state standards. murals on the walls. It's very clean. We clean every night." ]essica is what's known as a jail trustee - inmates who are allowed to perform certain jobs around the facility. "We choose to work and clean," she said. Hernandez explained that inmates may be eligible to become trustees under some conditions. PHOTOS BY KIM HILSENBECK compared to other local jails, has received its share First, they have to be classified as either a minimum or medium-secu- rity level prisoner. Next, they must be medically cleared and have no physi- cal problems. If they clear those two hurdles, Hernandez said behavior is then considered; following the rules is key. The jobs trustees can perform include cleaning, kitchen work and grounds maintenance. "I like it [being a trustee]. It helps my time go faster," Jessica said. She expects to be in the Hays jail at least two more months while her case gets resolved. What will she do after she is either released on probation or when she is done serving time if convicted? "Not do drugs anymore," Jessica said. "I was doing so many drugs for so long." She has three children, ages 6, 7 and 8, who live with their father in San Antonio. "They're amazing," Jessica said with a smile. But they don't know where she is and she prefers it that way, at least for now. So they don't visit? "I wouldn't want them to be here," she said. And while her children think she is working out of town, Jessica said, "I'll be honest with them eventually." ROSE Rose Davidson, 44, is serving time in the Hays County Jail on charges of DWI. She said there was no accident or inju- ries - she was just pulled over. She has been in the jail nine months waiting for her court procedures to be completed. Rose is from Austin but was caught in Hays County. As with Jessica, it's not her first rodeo. Will it be her last? "Most definitely," she said. She is soft-spoken and has a pleas- ant smile. Her dark hair is streaked with gray. The lines on her face appear to make her look more mature than her 44 years. Rose talked about how the Hays County Jail compares to other facilities, including Caldwell County and Travis County. '~ctually it's like the Hilton compared to the other jails I've been to," she said. "This is probably the best jail I've been in." See JAIL LIFE, pg. 3C F [ Revenue direct my energy towards helping zlso gratefol tohave time for my three small children at home Best Places to Work I + Cycle Specialist [ Valued Employee Since 2001 Ausfln Business Journal [ I