Extreme Makeover: Austin’s DSHS Moreton Building Gets Facelift

Moreton Building, showing construction equipment in front, and some of its facade already removed.

Photo: Jeff Carmack, DADS Communications Office

Concrete panels weighing more than 50,000 pounds each are being stripped from the seven-story Robert D. Moreton building at the central campus in Austin.

Over the years, the precast panels deteriorated, causing them to crack and pull away from the building. To save the structure, they are being replaced.

The 122,000 square foot office building housed 550 DSHS employees who were relocated last year. They expect to move back in by late Spring 2014.

The $20 million project is managed by the Texas Facilities Commission.

Fellow Workers at Terrell State Hospital
Mourn Shooting Victim

Cynthia McLelland

Cynthia McLelland

Employees at Terrell State Hospital are mourning the tragic death of one of their own after nurse Cynthia McLelland was killed March 30 along with her husband, Mike McLelland, the Kaufmann County District Attorney.

Cynthia, 65, had worked for the state hospital since 2001, before that she worked at the Corpus Christi State School from 1994 to 2001. Mike, 63, worked for Mental Health and Mental Retardation from 1976 to 1981. He also worked as a special litigator for DFPS from 2002 to 2005.

“My heart goes out to Cynthia’s family and her friends at Terrell State Hospital,” said Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey. “This is a tragic loss that has been felt across the agency, especially by those who worked by her side at the hospital caring for patients. She will be missed by her DSHS family.”

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Free Classes, Webinars Can Help You Improve Research, Tame Your Inbox and More

If National Library Week, April 15-19, isn’t on your professional development calendar, it should be.

Free webinars, classes and a puzzle drawing are part of the celebration presented by the DSHS Library and Information Services Program, Center for Health Statistics.

Offerings range from email etiquette and conquering your Inbox to improving data presentations and beginning grant writing.

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Test Your Legislative IQ: A Slice of History

In addition to debating the state budget last week, the Texas House of Representatives also left room for dessert. Pecan pie, to be specific. The House passed a resolution naming pecan as the official state pie. Pecan pie joins a list of other beloved state symbols designated by the Legislature, like the bluebonnet (state flower), mockingbird (state bird), armadillo (state mammal), Texas sweet onion (state vegetable) and chili (state dish, but only if without beans).


What state motto was adopted by the Texas Legislature in 1930?

Lone Star
Come and Take It
Better than Oklahoma

Legislature at a Glance

Whether you want to keep up with legislative action and news through the clippings service, follow specific bills through bill-tracker e-mail alerts or watch a committee hearing live, you can find the links on our at a Glance page.

Update: Microsoft Home Use Program for DARS Employees

Free copies of Office Professional Plus 2010 now are available for DARS employee home use. Instructions are posted on DARSNet in the DARS Help Desk section under Microsoft Office for Home Use.

The home use program allows most health and human services employees to download, install and use on their home computer a single licensed copy of the same Microsoft Office programs they use at work for no charge.

Access and guidelines are being distributed one agency at a time. Information for DARS employees is available on DARSNet. (Search for "Microsoft Home Use" for more information).

Employees at DADS will be notified when access for their agency is available.

I am Health and Human Services
Chaplain Greg Freijo, DADS, Lufkin

Greg Freijo

Greg Freijo

From the nomination:

Mr. Freijo works tirelessly to provide comfort, spiritual guidance, and support to our individuals, families and staff. He goes above and beyond his job duties by lending a
hand in projects, creating wonderful and engaging activities for our individuals and for always being available when needed. He gives his time and talent abundantly and with a happy heart and a big smile.  In addition, he truly cares about our clients and is never too busy to stop what he is doing and provide an encouraging word. I have been in social services for many years and I have rarely seen an employee who “shines” as he does. We are blessed to have a Chaplain Greg at our facility.

I conduct worship services in the chapel and in homes on campus several times each week.  I also provide Bible classes and other religious activities at the chapel.  I visit the sick in their homes, in the infirmary, and in the hospital.  I counsel individuals on a range of issues, from bereavement to personality conflict, or just if they need someone to talk to.  I conduct funerals and memorial services of individuals. I make myself available whenever and wherever I’m needed, for example, taking individuals to vote, translating for admissions or Christmas caroling. 

I’ve wanted to be a chaplain since I was in high school, but didn’t know how to go about it.  I’ve been involved in religious ministry since I was in college.  I was worship director and student minister in church for years.  I realized I was happier visiting people than I was in my office planning a worship service or musical or ski trip or youth camp.  I applied for a position as a chaplain at Hospice of Palm Beach County (Florida).  I got the job and a few years later, a music therapist friend encouraged me to apply for the Lufkin Living Center.

My best day was when I baptized a young man in the swimming pool on campus.  He had wanted to be baptized for a long time, and didn’t understand why the pastor at his church refused to do it.  I’ll never forget the smile on his face. 

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