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Hidalgo-County-SealCommissioners heard a presentation from Envirolok Vegetated Environmental Solution Services during the Tuesday meeting of the Hidalgo County Drainage District.

The company comes from Oregon and has worked in several areas of the country devising soil monitoring and detention systems for erosion control.

Specific concerns are storm water management, shoreline restoration and stabilizing riverbeds. The process can be used to prevent erosion of irrigation lines from storm water. The process involves use of bags filled with 80 percent sand and 20 percent topsoil that are stacked to form walls in areas where erosion is a problem. Native plants are planted over the bags. The plants send their roots down into the bags and soil and sand inside, forming a wall against erosion.

After hearing the presentation, commissioners indicated they were interested in learning more about the process and Godfrey Garza, manager of Drainage District No. 1 was to set up a meeting to learn more about how the project could be used in the Rio Grande Valley.

Under the regular County Commissioners meeting, Health and Human Services Director Eddie Olivarez told the court his department received an additional $89,999 in a grant for Community Preparedness and Prevention. Olivarez told the court he would use part of the money to set up a hurricane preparedness conference in the county. Olivarez said there was a conference each year in San Antonio but the county had no money for travel, so by creating a similar conference in the Valley it is a win-win situation. The county did not have to spend the travel money and more employees could be trained.

The rest of the money could be used to purchase special equipment for emergency situations. With the new equipment, employees could be given identification tags with chips that would tell emergency headquarters exactly where the employees and special equipment is located as a safety precaution.

Olivarez said he soon will have the information on when the drawdowns for the money to be multiplied under the state formula for indigent health care would be received.

Under open forum, Virginia Townsend again addressed the idea of ethics among County employees. Since her comments at the previous meeting, one county employee who was out campaigning for Ricardo Rodriguez to be elected District Attorney in the upcoming election was dismissed for campaigning during work hours. Another resigned.

However Townsend received calls during the week that there were other county employees campaigning during work hours as well. She suggested anyone campaigning for a candidate during work hours should be fired. They were hired to work for the county, not campaign for someone.

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