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429 Jefferson Street, Kerrville, Texas 78029 · phone (830) 896-7000 · fax (830) 896-7010

Jan. 24, 2013 To whom it may concern, The Texas Department of State Health Services announced early last year that it would accept proposals from companies interested in privatizing one or more of six state mental hospitals, including the Kerrville State Hospital. There was community concern as to what privatizing the Kerrville hospital would mean for jobs and the economy. After the lone proposal was submitted in July, small rumors started circulating that GEO Care, a subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group, may have submitted a bid to privatize the Kerrville State Hospital. After GEO Care and the state refused to respond to the rumors, The Daily Times launched an investigative series starting Aug. 13. During the investigation, staff writer Beth Elderkin uncovered and reported several details regarding the proposal and the relationship between the hospital and GEO Care, including former KSH superintendent Stephen Anfinson’s transition to GEO Group as one of its corporate employees and internal hospital emails showing that state hospital employees were being kept in the dark about the privatization proposal. “Without the KDT coverage, I don’t believe that the broad cross-section of Kerrville residents who spoke out against the proposal ... would have been as mobilized or informed,” said Bob Libal, executive director of Grassroots Leadership. The Daily Times was the first organization to confirm GEO Care’s proposal to privatize the Kerrville State Hospital with a breaking story published online. We also were the first organization to break the news that the state commission had rejected the proposal on Oct. 3, as acknowledged by Kerr Economic Development Corporation executive director Jonas Titas. “Without the coverage, it would be difficult to assume that the public would have been aware of the issue. The coverage helped organize the community,” Titas said. The information we reported was shared on multiple websites and news outlets, including the Austin American-Statesman, Change.org, San Antonio Express-News, KUT Austin and the Texas Observer. The six-part series was a successful hard-hitting investigation that community leaders such as Libal, Titas and Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, recognized as having a direct influence on awareness of the privatization proposal. Community members wrote letters, commented on our website and even visited the news office to thank us in person for our coverage of the proposal. “Today’s (front page) story was well done and fulfilled the ‘watchdog’ role entrusted to newspapers and other media that is so infrequently pursued these days,” said Robert McCorkle with Texas Parks & Wildlife. This campaign is a prime example of effective enterprising journalism, breaking news and editorial teamwork to fulfill a variety of our fundamental goals — to serve the community, build awareness and share unique stories, while maintaining our viability as a business. Sincerely, Carlina Villalpando Managing Editor The Kerrville Daily Times carlina.villalpando@dailytimes.com 830-257-0337


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