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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 up to July 12

Also — no big anniversary is complete without a party! Please plan to join us on Friday, September 8, in the afternoon for a celebration and Open House (more details TBD)

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.

Our staff in 2014 at our new home in the John Olver Transit Center

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

Municipal Resources on Marijuana Legalization

The FRCOG recently hosted a workshop with Attorney Joel Bard and State Rep. Steve Kulik on the many changes coming as a result of the legalization of recreational marijuana. We have collected a number of resources for towns and others on our website.   Click here for a collection of useful information on the new law.

New Accounting Software Required

As it turns out, the rumors we kept hearing were true!  We received official notice that the Fundware accounting software used by the FRCOG and by the regional Town Accounting Program will no longer be maintained or supported by its parent company, Blackbaud, beyond December 31, 2017.  Staff are actively examining options for a post-Fundware operation, including searching for grant funds to pay transition costs, and considering opportunities for additional electronic efficiency improvements to modernize the Program.

To date, Accounting Program staff have viewed demonstrations of four different accounting software programs and are evaluating each in relation to the accounting needs of the Program member towns.  Throughout the process we are searching for software that is easy to use, improves staff efficiency while using the software, and continues to allow member towns with populations under 2,000 residents to benefit from the software without needing to purchase their own expensive software licenses.  With Fundware, all towns are able to participate in the Program under the umbrella of the FRCOG’s master license.

FRCOG has applied for state grant funding to purchase accounting and cash management software to be used for the benefit of all Program towns.  Individual software licenses can be prohibitively expensive for small town budgets.  Grant funding will help us modernize our accounting software and add cash management software that will help streamline the cash reconciliation process by more quickly and accurately sharing data between the town treasurer and the accountant.

Additionally, the grant application requests funding for consulting assistance to help develop and implement additional electronic efficiencies that will allow the Program to evolve into a more efficient centrally-located operation.  More robust software should offer the opportunity to improve efficiencies and help modernize the Program’s operation so we can spend less time traveling and more time doing accounting work for our towns.  We should hear whether or not we will receive the grant before the end of December, 2016.

Flu Clinic Schedule

Flu season is here — do your part to build community immunity!  For information on the symptoms and treatment of influenza, and information about the vaccine, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

Ready to get your vaccination?  The eleven towns of the Cooperative Public Health Service health district have released their regional flu clinic schedule!

To download a flyer for a particular clinic:
all-flu-clinics-poster-2016-v3
gill-flu-clinic
leyden-flu-clinics
mohawk-flu-clinic
shelburne-flu-clinic
charlemont-hawley-flu-clinics
charlemont-hawley-flu-and-rabies  (just the 10/29 date)
conway-flu-clinics
deerfield-flu-clinics

all-flu-clinics-poster-2016-v3

cphs-fy17-members-by-type

Low-Cost Food Safety Certifications

The Cooperative Public Health Service health district is pleased to offer three opportunities this fall for residents and businesses to improve their food safety skills and build their resumes.  On October 7, the evenings of November 3,7, and 9, and during the day on January 27,  CPHS Food Safety Agent Randy Crochier will teach  a low-cost ServSafe, Allergen, and Chokesaver certification for people living or working in food service establishments in CPHS health district towns:  Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne.  Residents of other towns will be accommodated as space allows.

CPHS Member Boards of Health are offering these workshops to both improve food safety in their towns and build employment skills for local residents. These certifications are made possible through the support of the FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Standards Program, which has awarded the health district a five year food safety grant.

Information about how to register can be found here:

ServSafe Flyer 10-7-16

servsafe-flyer-11-3-7-9-16

servsafe-flyer-1-27-17

 

Commercial Wood Pellet Heat and Air Quality Workshop

Handouts from the 7/26 workshop presented by Dr. Rick Peltier of UMass Amherst and Marc Wolman of the Department of Environmental Protection are below:
Presentation by Mark Wolman, MassDEP
Presentation by Dr.Rick Peltier, UMass Amherst
Recorder article about workshopIMG_5863

FRCOG Program Updates

Interested in learning a bit more about what has been happening here at the FRCOG in the last three months? Check out the updates presented to our Council members on July 21:

Click here for July 2016 Updates

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Public Health Nurse Lisa White recommends the following steps to “fight the bite” and avoid infection with West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”):

Applying Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Repellents with DEET, permethrin, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 are effective.  Be sure to use these according to the instructions on the product label and note precautions for use on infants and children.

Avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours. The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes.

Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors to help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Draining standing water where Mosquitoes lay their eggs.  Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, store wheelbarrows upside down, and change water in birdbaths frequently.

Installing or repairing screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protecting your animals.  Flush water troughs at least once a week and keep horses in indoor stalls at night with lights off to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.

Zika virus, Dengue fever, Chikungunya are other mosquito-borne diseases you can get when traveling abroad.  At this time, only people traveling to places with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks or engaging in sexual activity with someone who has traveled to these places are at risk for getting these infections.  For up to date information about where Zika virus is occurring: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices.

For more information on WNV, EEE, repellent use and other mosquito-borne illness prevention visit www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito or contact Lisa White, Regional Public Health Nurse for the towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Heath, Leyden, Monroe, Rowe and Shelburne at 413-665-1400 x114.

Lisa White, the new public health nurse for Deerfield, takes a woman's blood pressure in her office in the Town Offices in South Deerfield. 07/03/22 Franz

Lisa White takes a woman’s blood pressure in her office in the Town Offices in South Deerfield. Recorder/Franz