Category: Top Headlines

Proposed Cuts Would Jeopardize Public Safety

Fairfield EMS is facing funding cuts that could impact services the ambulance could provide, according to Director Billy Perez. “We are facing drastic Medicaid Cuts up to 36 percent, effective October 1, 2017 and Medicare reimbursement decrease of 22.6% effective January 1, 2018,” says Perez. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has proposed huge cuts in Medicaid reimbursements to ambulance services. The effect of the cuts, however, goes far beyond Medicaid recipients: They would severely and negatively affect public health and safety for all Texans. Texas EMS agencies already operate on very tight budgets. To cope with the proposed cuts, cities, counties, emergency service districts and ambulance agencies would have to decide whether to reduce service, cut staffing or postpone or cancel the purchase of lifesaving equipment. Many communities   would be forced to choose between raising taxes, reducing other public services or drastically reducing EMS coverage. These cuts also would result in an increased burden and risk to local police and fire departments, other first responders and all agencies that work together to provide lifesaving services. In areas where the hospital provides ambulance service, it would be forced to divert money from other critical needs to subsidize the EMS operation. The reimbursement reduction is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1. Six groups representing Texas counties, hospitals, firefighters and EMS have joined together to oppose the cuts. These six...

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Freestone County Responds to Hurricane Harvey with Rescue and Aid

As Hurricane Harvey continues to dump massive amounts of rain on the southern part of the state (on top of the already 9-trillion gallons of flood water already on the ground), some of Freestone County’s own have joined in the rescue efforts. Fairfield EMS Medic 6, several members of our area volunteer fire departments, law enforcement officers, and local residents with boats have all made their way down to the Houston area to lend aid. Justin Romine of Teague VFD reports that Freestone County was well represented this past weekend with four boats rescuing more than 50 people, ranging in age from 3-months to 80-years of age. They teamed up with Houston PD, Houston Fire, and the National Guard. Romine suggests that anyone wanting to help should have a boat with a mud motor, a jacked up UTV or something similar. Officials say that they welcome help from persons with boats and high water vehicles, but ask to please contact Houston PD at 713-881-3100 before attempting any rescue on your own. River of Life Church of Fairfield deployed a semi-trailer with fresh produce and water on Monday. They will continue to take donations for at least the next month or more. They are asking for paper towels, baby food & formula, diapers & wipes, sanitary items, toilet paper, and other toiletries, as well as monetary donations to help fund...

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Google releases new alert system for Hurricane Harvey and Major Grant for Affected Areas

On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm and Level 7 disaster, the highest American Red Cross disaster designation. It’s the most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade. Initial reports estimate that several hundred thousand people have been temporarily displaced or affected by this storm.   Google stands with those affected, and here are the ways we’re hoping to help through our products and our philanthropy.   SOS Alerts for Hurricane Harvey We launched an SOS Alert for Hurricane Harvey, offering the following resources:   For people outside the affected area, the SOS Alert features the latest news, a crisis map, tweets, and the ability to make a donation for those affected. For people in affected areas, the SOS Alert features the latest news, a crisis map, tweets from local officials, and help and info content for transit and flooding conditions.   The Harvey Crisis Map launched for this event, and featuring within our SOS Alerts, includes the latest active alerts for the affected area, Waze-sourced shelters and road closure information, and weather information. Also, this map is embeddable for media outlets to freely use, with iframe functionality available through the share button on the map.   $500K from Google.org & Google Employees To support the organizations working directly with impacted communities, we’re making a $250,000 Google.org grant...

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Animal Shot In Anger: Woman Arrested for Threatening Human, Killing Pet

Twenty-nine year old Jamie Lee West, female, was booked into Freestone County Jail on Saturday evening, August 19, 2017 after she reportedly pointed a handgun at another subject during a verbal altercation. The disturbance was called in to Freestone County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch and Sheriff’s Deputies, DPS Officers, and a Mexia Police Officer responded to the scene on County Road 903, west of Teague, Texas. Following an investigation that included witness observations and statements, a deceased dog, and a recovered handgun, it was learned that West subsequently shot the dog out of anger after pointing the gun at the other subject. She has was placed under arrest and booked into Freestone County Jail with charges of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Cruelty to Non Livestock Animals. West was released on a surety bond the following...

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