Sandia residents petition for appointment

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Jim Wells County Commissioners, presented with an outpouring of community support from the Sandia area, approved the interim appointment of Karin E. Knolle to the position of Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace effective June 1.

Knolle will take the place of outgoing JP Elois Barham, who has served the county for 23 years and whose resignation will take effect May 31.

A total of 165 Sandia area residents signed a petition requesting the court appoint Knolle to fill the position in Pct 3.

Jerlean Theis, one of the organizers of the petition drive, told commissioners Friday morning that Knolle was the right person for the job.

"She's presently a counselor and has worked with adults and children," Theis said. "We feel Karin is very qualified for this position. She's young, has a lot of energy and a college education. She also has been involved with Homeland Security. We just feel she is a very qualified person to fill this position in the interim."

Commissioner Zenaida Sanchez said what impressed her the most was the unity that Barham has experienced in her precinct.

She told both Barham and Knolle that they've done well by Jim Wells County, and she believes the citizens of Pct. 3 are fortunate to have two very intelligent woman who are willing to serve Jim Wells County.

"It's my pleasure to recommend her. I've known Karin for a long time, and I am very sure that she will be very good in this position. I know that she is very well liked, and I know that her work will be outstanding," Barham said.

Commissioner Oswald Alanis also spoke in favor of the appointment, stating that by the number of signatures provided to the court, it was obvious that the town of Sandia had spoken.

Knolle then presented herself to the court and spoke about her background.

Knolle said she was the first to graduate from Texas A&M University College Station with a Master's Certificate in Homeland Security.

She's served as a substance abuse counselor for the Orange Grove Independent School District for the last three years, working with high-risk students for drug and alcohol abuse.

"I've worked with kids from pre-k all the way to 12th grade," she said. "I also do drug and alcohol education for those kids that have tested positive for drugs at school.

"Before that, I worked as a dairy farmer with my father and grandfather for 12 years, and before that, I was a drug/alcohol abuse counselor in Austin, working in treatment facilities with adults and children. I feel like I'm a fair individual, and I believe in the law."