Wednesday, August 17, 2011

News from York County


August 17, 2011
As part the ongoing effort to provide low cost, high quality services to its citizens, York County routinely encourages employees to think creatively and develop programs that will enable the county to work more efficiently and effectively.
This year, the county is pleased to have been recognized for those efforts with four Achievement Awards granted by the National Association of Counties for various county programs and initiatives.
"It is quite an honor to be recognized on the national level for programs that county staff has created and implemented," said County Administrator James O. McReynolds. "County employees work very hard to serve the citizens of York, and these awards are recognition of a job well done."
The following are programs that won Achievement Awards this year. For more information on these award winning programs, please contact the Public Information Office at 890-3300.
Detecting the Invisible Killer
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults age 65 and greater have the highest rate of death from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. With the population of our senior citizens increasing, the county's Department of Community Services developed the "Detecting the Invisible Killer" information program to educate senior citizens about the sources of CO, symptoms of CO poisoning, and provide them with CO detectors for their homes. Several sessions were held with senior citizens throughout the county. Those homebound seniors unable to attend a session were visited at home by program coordinators, who also installed CO detectors while they were there. This program was funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Injury and Violence Prevention.
Board of Supervisors Chairman George Hrichak presented the NACO Achievement Award to Special Projects Coordinator Wanda Moore, Housing Rehab Specialist Tiffany Garrett, and Life Safety Educator Officer Annetta Norwood and Video Production Specialist Mike Leonard.
Working Collaboratively to Address the Needs of All Preschool Children
York County's Department of Community Services' Children's Services Division and the York County Public School Division both offer preschool services to the public. This has led to confusion among parents seeking preschool programs for their children and not understanding the requirements for each program, or even that the programs were separate and not related. Often, parents would duplicate their efforts by applying to both programs to ensure enrollment in a preschool program for their child. To help address this issue, the Children's Services Division and the Public School Division worked to create a collaborative agreement that provides one smooth, clear preschool application process for county parents. This agreement allows staff from both agencies to work together to determine the program that best suits the needs of each child and family.
In the attached picture, Board of Supervisors Chairman George Hrichak presents the NACO Achievement Award to Children and Family Services Division Manager Sheri Newcomb and Director of Elementary Education Amy Colley.
Virtual High School
A collaboration between the York County Public Library and the York County School Division, this program's goal is to provide access to information technology and on-line learning for students who may not otherwise have access to a computer. The library provides computers, Internet access, and librarian assistance to students. The school division provides instructors, a learning management system, and training to students and library staff. Since its inception, more than 350 students have been enrolled in the program.
Board of Supervisors Chairman George Hrichak presented the NACO Achievement Award to Virtual High School Principal Reginald Fox and Library Services Manager Kevin Smith.
Functional Circuit Training Fitness Program
The Department of Fire and Life Safety developed this program to help its firefighters improve their health, wellness and safety. Utilizing low-cost items such as tires, rope, webbing, plywood, rubber mats and balls, chain, sledgehammers and more, staff created props that could be used by firefighters to perform functions that mimic those performed on emergency scenes. These exercises were integrated into a circuit to help firefighters simulate some of the physical strength, endurance and cardiovascular demands required during an emergency.
In addition to the NACO recognition, this program just won the Virginia Fire Chiefs' Association's Best Practice in Health and Safety Award.
Board of Supervisors Chairman George Hrichak presented the NACO Achievement Award to Technical Service and Special Operations Captain Marty Tomasek.
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Fourth Saturday Bird Walk at New Quarter Park on Aug. 27
August 17, 2011
The Fourth Saturday Bird Walk at New Quarter Park will begin at 7 a.m., Aug. 27, in the park's parking lot and will include two hours of birding along Queen's Creek and through the park's forested trails and meadows.
The walk, to be led this week by Shirley Devan, Williamsburg Bird Club president, is a regular fourth Saturday event conducted by the local club in partnership with York County Parks and Recreation.
Devan, who is also a member of the Historic Rivers Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists and John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, is an avid naturalist and adds her enthusiasm about birds as well as other flora and fauna to the event. Williamsburg Bird Club members have submitted lists of species sighted on walks at New Quarter Park walks to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology eBird database for more than five years.  
For additional information call New Quarter Park at 890-5840. 


Sept. 3 Walk and Talk about geology at New Quarter Park
August 17, 2011
Explore New Quarter Park's trails and look for clues in its landforms for what lies beneath during a Walk and Talk on Saturday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The parkland was once at the bottom of an ancient sea and beachheads can still be seen in the landscape. Fossilized remains of shellfish that lived here millions of years ago rest in the creek banks.
The Walk and Talk will be led by Pete Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College Geology Instructor and Department Head. Berquist, a graduate of Bruton High, The College of William and Mary, and Vanderbilt University, is highly rated by students for his contagious knowledge and enthusiasm. He led a Virginia Community College System field geology course in Montana this past summer.
"Montana is a great place to go just because of the diversity in geology," Berquist said. He enjoys talking about how geologists see the earth's past in the lay of the land.
New Quarter Park is located at 1000 Lakeshead Drive near the Queen's Lake neighborhood. For more information about this and other programs or to add your email address to the park's e-newsletter, call York County Parks and Recreation at 890-3513 or New Quarter Park at 890-5840.


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