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East Central College trustees gave approval to a proposal by the Franklin County Treatment Court to establish a community vegetable garden on the campus in Union.  Action came at the April 1 meeting of the board.

 

Participants in the treatment court program will have the opportunity to work in the garden as part of their community service requirement.

 

Judge Stan Williams, treatment court judge, explained that the Franklin County Treatment Courts began in 1999 with input from law enforcement and the judiciary to develop strategies for helping addicts in the criminal justice systems. 

 

The treatment program is broken into four phases and lasts 15 to 24 months.  There are about 60 participants at this time.  “They receive individual and group counseling, appear in court regularly, are routinely tested for drugs and alcohol, and must have employment or be in enrolled in school or college,” said Williams.  “Treatment court participants are often compelled to perform community service and for many DWI participants that could total 480 hours.”  Williams noted that a community garden would be an excellent mechanism for performing community service.

 

Frances Miller, a volunteer with the treatment court, outlined the proposal to create a 30 foot by 20 foot raised bed garden on a plot behind ECC’s Training Center on the southwest corner of the campus.  Miller said that she and other volunteers will work with the treatment court participants to prepare the site, provide all materials and labor, and maintain the garden throughout the growing season. 

 

“We would primarily tend the garden evenings and weekends and clients will schedule their work sessions with me,” noted Miller.  She will also notify campus security when participants are working in the garden.  Miller stated that she has met with four master gardeners who are willing to offer their time and expertise to the project.  Miller hopes to have two to six participants working in the garden each session.

 

Williams mentioned that new participants to the program in phase one would not be allowed to work in the garden.  “We would only allow people who have been doing well for a considerable length of time to work on this project,” he said. 

 

It was noted that ECC would incur no liability if someone was injured while working in the garden.  “We will have participants sign our hold harmless agreement and make sure they understand that ECC is tobacco free,” noted College President Jon Bauer.  In addition the clients will sign a statement declaring that they know the rules of the community service established by Judge Williams and understand that those rules must be followed before their community hours work sheet will be signed.

 

The harvest will be divided among community food pantries and treatment court clients.

 

Personnel

 

The re-employment of 67 full-time faculty members was also approved by ECC trustees at their April 1 meeting.  Other personnel matters included one hiring and a resignation.   

 

Board members approved the appointment of Dana Riegel as grants specialist effective April 15.  Riegel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Since 2009 she has worked at Sanford-Brown College.  She started as a tuition planner and since 2010 has served as registrar at their Fenton site. 

 

Trustees also accepted the resignation of Lora Warner as career navigator, a position funded through the Missouri Health WINs and Graduate St. Louis grants.         

 
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