Monday, March 23, 2015

Luncheon in Munday Discusses Rural Healthcare

Knox County community leaders from Knox City and Munday hosted a regional network luncheon sponsored by Texas Midwest Community Network (TMCN) on Thursday, March 19th at the Perry Patton Community Center. Community leaders from the neighboring communities of Haskell and Seymour were also in attendance with Caroline Garcia providing a delicious enchilada dinner. 

The focus of the luncheon was “Healthcare in Rural Texas: Successes, Challenges and the Future”. Discussions were led by Stephen Kuehler, CEO at Knox County Hospital District and Kelly Cheek, Center Director at the West Texas Area Health Education Center -- Big Country Region.  Both provided insight into their respective healthcare stories, services offered and their perspective of the future of rural healthcare which in Knox County looks extremely bright!

Special thanks go out to Jimi Coplen, Director of the Knox County Visioning Group for hosting and organizing the events and Judge Travis Floyd for providing a warm welcome to the attendees.

Texas Midwest Community Network is a regional organization for community and economic development, regional promotion, education, and legislative awareness. It is an organization of “communities working together to accomplish what one community cannot do alone.” TMCN sponsors networking events during the year and projects to market the region for business and tourism development.

TMCN Member cities are: Abilene, Albany, Anson, Aspermont, Baird, Ballinger, Brady, Breckenridge, Bronte, Brownwood, Buffalo Gap, Cisco, Clyde, Coleman, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, De Leon, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Eden, Goldthwaite, Gorman, Graham, Hamilton, Hamlin, Haskell, Hico, Jacksboro, Knox City, Menard, Merkel, Miles, Munday, Ranger, Rising Star, Robert Lee, Rising Star, Roscoe, Rotan, San Angelo, San Saba, Santa Anna, Seymour, Snyder, Stamford, Strawn, Sweetwater, Throckmorton, Tye, and Winters      

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Knox-Haskell TRLP Holds 2015 Sessions

The Knox-Haskell Texas Rural Leadership Program (TRLP) has held three sessions in 2015, including two, day-long classes in both Haskell and Knox Counties as well as a two-day trip to Austin to meet with Texas state agencies and each county’s state legislators.

The TRLP, which is in its first year, began in October 2014 and is a combined effort between Knox and Haskell counties to encourage individuals to become better educated about resources and community leadership roles in rural communities. The Knox Haskell TRLP 2014-2015 class has a total of 12 participants from both Knox and Haskell counties. The participants have met once a month since October 2014 and will continue to meet once a month until their graduation in May.

The January 9 TRLP class – which was the fourth class in the eight class series – was held at Haskell City Hall. The topics for the day included Organizing and Group Dynamic as well as City and County Leadership. Karen Kaigler-Walker led the group through curriculum to better understand Organizing and Group Dynamics by using role playing as well as informational charts and case studies. 

Next, the class heard from Haskell City Manager Brandon Anderson and Haskell Mayor John Gannaway regarding the City of Haskell’s planning, operations and leadership. After lunch at Mi Familia, the group met with Haskell County Judge David Davis and members of the Haskell County Commissioners Court as well as elected Courthouse representatives to discuss their responsibilities at the County level. 

Last, but not least, the TRLP participants met with City of Haskell Chief of Police Scott Kennedy, as well as the Committee to Help Haskell County representative Lynn Dodson and the Haskell Noah Project representatives Janis Brozowski and Cynthia Alvidrez.

TRLP in Austin with State Legislators and agency liaisons 
DaLinda Black, Parris Pittman, Rick Rhodes (Texas Department of Rural Affairs), Laura Bowers, James Frank (Texas State Representative), Erin Dunham, Drew Springer (Texas State Representative), Lorrie Coop, Scott Bearden, Carl Milburn, Joy Lynn Pool, Mitzi Welch, Tatiana Nchotu,  Mary Drury

The fourth session was held February 3 – 4 in Austin. The TRLP participants departed as a group from Haskell City Hall on the morning of February 3 and made a stop in Goldthwaite to visit the Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretive Center. During the visit to the center, the TRLP group met with Jan Fischer, who was the catalyst for the nearly $2 million dollar center which has brought national recognition to their community and a partnership with the Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Museum. 

After leaving Goldthwaite, the TRLP participants continued on to Austin. The group’s prescheduled meetings began on the morning of February 4 and included a private meeting with TX State Representatives Drew Springer and James Frank as well as TX State Senator Charles Perry. Later on in the day, the TRLP group also met with the following individuals in five 20-minute sessions: Leadership Austin’s Programs Manager, Ashely Phillips; TexasDepartment of Agriculture’s Administrator for Rural Affairs, Rick Rhodes; KeepTexas Beautiful’s Senior Programs Director, Christine Chute Canul; Texas TargetCommunities’ CEO, Dr. John Cooper; Texas Rural Leadership Program’s Executive Director, Ronnie McDonald; and Texas Commission on the Arts’ Program Administrator, Chuck Winkler. From these meetings, the TRLP participants heard about programming and grant opportunities that are available for rural communities and how they can be applied for.

TRLP Students visit a $2 million community development project in Goldwaithe, TX
Carl Milburn, Jimi Coplen,  Laura Bowers, Mary Drury, Mitzi Welch, Joy Lynn Pool, Lorrie Coop, Tatiana Nchotu, DaLinda Black, Erin Dunham, Parris Pittman, Scott Bearden

The fifth session was held March 6 in Knox City. The topics for the day included Leading Together as well as a focus on local Health Care, Social Services and Education. Karen Kaigler-Walker and Bud Walker led the group through the curriculum on Leading Together which included lecture material as well as group discussion and application. 

Next, the TRLP group met with the Knox County Hospital Administrator Stephen Kuehler as well as Dr. Ezekiel Duke. After lunch at Pepper’s Dry Goods, the group toured the new Knox City Clinic and Pharmacy, heard from Aging Center Administrator, Maggie Maghee, Double Mountain Coach Director, Rick Ake, and Ministerial Alliance member, Gary Schnable. 

To finish out the day, the group traveled to Rochester to tour the Vocational Tech School. While at the Rochester campus, the group met with the Vo-Tech’s Director, Monty Moeller and CNA instructor Anita Williams to discuss the programs available through the school and its future.

TRLP visits the Rochester Vocational School to learn more about its program and students.
Erin Dunham, Jimi Coplen, Tammy Cunningham, Lorrie Coop, Tatiana Nchotu, Scott Bearden, Anita Williams, Parris Pittman, Laura Bowers, Monty Moeller, Rick Ake

TRLP students meet at the Knox City Clinic during their March session
Mitzi Welch, Sheena Crosson, Tammy Cunningham, Teresa Martinez

The group will participate in one more leadership meeting in Haskell on April 10. During this meeting, the TRLP participants will choose a community development project to complete. The projects will be announced during their May 4 graduation ceremony. 

The Knox County Visioning Group and the Development Corporation of Haskell are sponsoring the TRLP. Partnering organizations are the Knox and Haskell County Extension Offices. Applications for the next leadership course will start in August of 2015. For more information, call 940-459-4121 or 940-864-3424.