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Are you ready to handle Hurricane Harvey in your town?

Have you been watching the responses to Hurricane Harvey and Irma with anxiety? Do you know what to do in your role as town administrator, elected official, or board of health member if a hurricane hit New England again? Join us for three seminars and a tabletop exercise to learn risk communications skills, how to master FEMA paperwork, and how to effectively manage unexpected and untrained disaster volunteers. Check out the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition‘s webpage for more information.

Upcoming Board of Health Trainings

There are four important upcoming training opportunities for local boards of health. Click on the bold links to see the flyers or websites for each:

1. October 5: Short Term Residential Rentals: Public Health and Safety & Neighborhood Issues. This workshop will cover building codes, zoning, and sanitary codes as they relate to short term rentals, explore models for local regulation, and give information on how current hosts can come into compliance.

2.  October 10: The Western Mass Public Health Association’s Totally Title 5  Conference, bringing together a diverse group of experts on important issues that impact septic systems and water quality in our region.

3. October 18: Western Mass Hoarding Conference (See poster  to the right).  Hoarding is a serious public  health challenge in all of our towns. Come learn how to help people recover.  Registration is open and that we expect the conference attendance to fill up quickly.

4. December 7, Jan 11 and February 8: FRCOG’s Emergency Preparedness program is bringing back its very popular Elected Officials Emergency Preparedness Training Series from five years ago.  Town Administrators, Boards of Health and Select Boards are invited to learn how to prepared for disasters, and then practice those skills in a tabletop exercise. Bring your town hall colleagues!  Click here for Elected Officials Series Flyer

 

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

Brownfields clean-up and demolition underway at Mill in Monroe

Brownfields Clean-up and Demolition at Former Ramage Paper Mill in Monroe

The Town of Monroe and it contractors are completing the clean-up and demolition of the collapsing wooden building at the former Ramage Paper Mill. Funding from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) Brownfields program, the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Great River Hydro (formerly TransCanada) is supporting this work.   Concerns about potential impacts on the Deerfield River and public safety led the Town of Monroe to remedy this situation, with the assistance of the FRCOG, after repeated requests to the property owner went unanswered.

The next stage of this project is to design, engineer, and construct an overlook park on the site, as funded by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.

 Photo of the Ramage Paper Mill site from May 2015


 Photos of the demolition of the wood structure at Ramage Paper Mill site from June 2017

Photos after demolition of the wood structure at Ramage Paper Mill site and with rocks placed along the river’s edge from July 2017