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Read the FRCOG Quarterly Updates!

Here are the updates we gave our Council members at their quarterly meeting on July 20 – full of information on the work of the staff and committees over the last quarter!

2017 JULY updates

Legal Marijuana: Municipal Options and Next Steps

Margaret Hurley, Municipal Division Chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office,  joined us on September 7th for a review of what the final legislation says and what next steps are for select boards, planning boards, and boards of health. Notes from that session are here: Retail MJ Muni Info Session Notes 2017.9.7

Another great resource is the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies Recreational Marijuana Resource Page.

First West Nile Virus found in mosquitos in Franklin County

Press Release about WNV risk in Franklin County from DPH.   Recorder article on West Nile Virus.

Please spread the word to residents to: (1) wear bug spray,  (2) repair torn screens, (3) prevent ALL standing water around houses. For more information on mosquito-borne diseases check out the Mass DPH website at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito 

Kudos to the Deerfield and Greenfield Boards of  Health for their leadership in this arena!

Flu Clinics

FRCOG’s Cooperative Public Health Service (CPHS) and the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition (MAPHCO) are pleased to offer influenza vaccines (with no insurance co-pay) to area residents at Flu Clinics at various locations throughout the fall. Information on each individual clinic is available via a link below the schedule.

CPHS Clinics: 

All Flu Clinics Poster 2017 as of 9_20
Charlemont Federated Church 10/10/2017
Conway (COA-Town Hall) 10/6/2017
Conway (Grammar School) 11/1/2017
Deerfield (SCSC) 9/19/2017
Deerfield Site Drill (Elem School) 10/14/2017
Gill (Elementary School) 10/18/2017
Gill (Stoughton Place) 10/13/2017
Hawlemont 9/30/2017
Leyden 10/29 and 11/7/2017
Mohawk Trail Regional School (Buckland) 10/30/2017 
Shelburne Falls (Highland Village) 10/24/2017
Shelburne Falls (Sr Center) 10/2

Other Town Clinics: 

Ashfield Board of Health Clinic — Sanderson School 10/21/17  10 AM-2PM. Contact: Carrie O’Gorman, BOH

Everyone six months of age or older needs a flu vaccine. When we all are vaccinated, we build community immunity that protects the elderly, children, and those with compromised immune systems from the terrible effects of influenza.

Peak Month of Flu Activity
1982-1983 through 2015-2016

For information on prevention, symptoms, and treatment of influenza, visit www.flu.gov

For more information on the CPHS, click here.

Celebrate FRCOG’s 20th Anniversary!

We are pleased to announce that July 1, 2017, marked the FRCOG’s 20th birthday.  In the two decades since the FRCOG Charter was enacted by vote of all 26 Franklin County towns, we have been honored to work on behalf of all of you on many diverse projects, including town accounting, brownfields redevelopment, teen substance abuse prevention, health and building inspection, and planning for healthy and vibrant communities.  All summer we will be celebrating our history of working together as a region by digging into our archives to highlight what the towns of Franklin County have achieved together through the FRCOG.  You can follow our daily posts of historical milestones on Facebook  and on Twitter

Not on social media? You can see the posts here: 20th anniversary posts through Sept 6

Also — no big anniversary is complete without a party! Please join us on Friday, October 13 from 3-5:30 for an anniversary celebration! Click here for flyer with all the details!

FRCOG’s front office in the Courthouse… now the District Attorney’s office.

Our staff in the early 1990s, when we were still the Franklin County Commission.

About 2/3 of our staff in 2017!

Communities That Care Coalition explores the health effects of social injustice

The Communities That Care Coalition’s spring meeting focused on health equity and social justice. Kat Allen provided background information about CTC’s approach and work on social justice. The 2017 Sarah Cummings Leadership Award went to Nicole Zabko for her decade of service as Director of the Greenfield Department of Health, and for her collaboration with groups across the county, including active involvement in Communities that Care.

Jeanette Voas shared a very accessible and interesting presentation on what the social determinants of health are and how they result in health disparities. Powerpoint slides are available here.

Stand Up, a Community Action group for youth of color, engaged the whole audience in an experiential activity about racial inequity. Stand Up members stayed and participated in discussions during the rest of the meeting, providing input based on their experiences in the community as youth of color.

Kent Alexander and Rachel Stoler led the group in discussions about racial disparities and health equity after a viewing excerpts from Unnatural Causes and a TED talk by Dr. Camara Jones.

 

 

Summer Reading: FRCOG 2016 Annual Reports are available online

FRCOG’s Annual Reports for 2016 are online and available!

Click here to see the full regional report.

Click here to find  your town’s appendix. These appendices include just the town-specific work done, and were distributed to each town bound into the back of the full Regional Report.

COG staff member Bob Dean’s photo of Zerah Fiske Road in Shelburne – a location used in the movie The Judge

The Town of Montague’s new skate park at Unity Park

Franklin County/North Quabbin Community Health Improvement Plan

On April 7 the FRCOG was pleased to host a broad group of community based organizations, health care providers, local and state government representatives, school officials, and public health professionals for the release of the region’s first Community Health Improvement Plan, in conjunction with the release of the 2017 National County Health Rankings. The FRCOG has been working for over a year with a dozen other organizations to assess health needs, identify evidence-based interventions, and prioritize strategies. 

To review the Community Health Improvement Plan, a list of the partners,  and the slides from April 7, visit: http://frcog.org/program-services/regionalization-special-projects/chip/

For more information on the County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org 

United Way’s Sandy Sayers introduces the CHIP.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center CEO Cindy Russo reviews the CHIP’s clinical care priorities.

Representative Paul Mark on legislation to improve health outcomes.


How to Avoid Home Electrical Accidents

Most electrical hazards can be prevented with common sense and good wiring.  For most people, preventing an electrical accident means not plugging too many things into a feeble extension cord or not using a hair dryer while taking a bath.  While these are valid and important precautions, there are many other potential home electrical safety hazards.

Follow the link below for important information from the FRCOG’s Electrical Inspector, Tom McDonald, about some of the most common causes of electrical accidents which will help you appreciate the considerable power – and potential danger – of electricity and how to use this power safely.

Avoiding Home Electrical Accidents

FY18 Budget under development

The FRCOG Finance Committee will be developing the FRCOG’s FY18 budget through the months of December and January.  The budget will be presented to the full Council at the end of January and, once endorsed, sent to all member towns in early February for municipal budgeting purposes.   Early identification of issues to be addressed during the development of the FY18 budget include:

  • Expected staff retirements in FY17, 18 and 19 that will potentially result in increased retiree health insurance costs and transition funding.
  • Potential increase to health insurance costs, especially with the current ambiguity of National Health Care (Obama Care) and possible reverberating costs to all health care systems.
  • Transition to new accounting software that could result in one-time technical support or IT costs.
  • Need to diversify grant sources to be less reliant on federal funding.

As always, the need to create a budget so far in advance results in some uncertainties, perhaps more true this year, but the Finance Committee has become adept at projecting conditions and developing budgets that maintain quality services at the most affordable cost to member towns.  To learn more about the FRCOG budget, refer to the FRCOG Budget Development Workbook.