Local leaders in Austin County want juvenile facility to shape up

- The town of New Ulm may be small, but the residents here have a huge problem on their hands: juveniles who run away from a nearby treatment facility and cause chaos in their neighborhood. It's anything from stealing property to setting an entire house on fire.

It was back in January when a 15-year-old boy ran away from Five Oaks Achievement Center, found some lighter fluid from a nearby house and decided to set that home on fire. He stood close by watching as the flames consumed the home. He was arrested and charged with arson and burglary. Thankfully no one was home when the fire took place.

“Our children aren’t here cause they’ve done something bad. They’re here because something bad was done to them,” says the executive director of Five Oaks.

State and local officials addressed the concerns of residents in New Ulm, while some suggested the facility be shut down.

“I look at it, if you have 55 children $101,000 per child that’s a little over $5 million a year. I think we can do probably better and not have two or three infractions a month,” said Senator Lois Kolkhorst.

The fate of Five Oaks won’t be determined just yet. We’ll keep you updated as this story continues to develop.

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