In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are responding to emergencies only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

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**COVID-19 Updates**

For the data dashboard  from the Franklin County MACC, click here

For the latest situation reports from the MA COVID Command Center, click here.

For the COG’s COVID Municipal Resources Page click here.

For the Region 1 Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, click here.

To read the FRCOG’s Municipal Leader COVID-19 updates:

FRCOG Racial Justice Work

The murder of George Floyd and resulting international protests highlight again the dire consequences of systemic racism and inequity in our society. We all must proactively work to right centuries of wrong.

At the FRCOG, we are already involved in projects to improve racial equity. The Communities that Care Coalition, staffed by our Partnership for Youth, has a 5-year grant to address racial justice in our county’s school districts. Welcoming and Belonging Franklin County, in which we participate with the Franklin County Community Development Corporation and Greenfield Community College, among others, has received a grant to address racial equity and inclusion in our workplaces and community. The FRCOG’s research conducted to produce last year’s Community Health Needs Assessment identified troubling health disparities for people of color in our county. These inequities must be considered in all local and regional planning efforts moving forward. The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Pan Flu Planning Subcommittee has acknowledged systemic racism as a public health issue, and has recognized that domestic terrorism inflicted upon black and brown people is a Homeland Security issue. The FRCOG also works closely with our county’s first responders, and we will collaborate with them to ensure greater racial equity in our region.

Public Comment Period for Draft Amendment to the 2020 TIP Highway Project List

The Franklin County Transportation Planning Organization will open a 21-day public review and comment period on Draft Amendment #1 to the 2020-2024 Transportation Improvement Program. Comments on the Draft will be accepted from Monday, March 30, until Monday, April 20, 2020. The Draft document is available for review at the links below or by calling (413) 774-3167 x 139 to request copies.  Comments should be submitted in writing to lscarbrough@frcog.org or to Franklin regional Council of Governments, 12 Olive Street, Suite 2, Greenfield MA 01301.

The Draft Amendment and a summary are available for review at the following links:

2020 Franklin TIP Highway Project List Amendment 1 DRAFT
2020 Franklin TIP Amendment 1 Summary

COVID-19 Activity at FRCOG and Municipal Resources

Here at the FRCOG we are working on the global Coronavirus outbreak and resulting cases of COVID-19 illness, and how to prepare for potential cases in our communities in a number of ways. We have created a municipal resource page at:  https://frcog.org/covid-19-resources/ This page is a list of links to important and frequently-updated resources for different municipal roles, including boards of health, first responders, and select boards.

The FRCOG’s Emergency Preparedness Program has two initiatives underway:

The Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition has activated a Joint Information Committee to align messaging from local boards of health to their municipal partners and residents. The committee co-chairs are Carolyn Shores Ness, Deerfield Board of Health, and Norene Pease, Shutesbury Board of Health. The Committee’s goal is to provide credible information sources, and to provide actions citizens can take to protect themselves. The Committee also requests that local officials share any public messaging your community is creating or sharing so that they may better align the regional messaging. You can see this week’s message at the COG’s COVID-19 page.

Staff have developed and shared a resource page for Long Term Care, EMS, Hospitals and Public Health at the Western MA Health & Medical Coordinating Coalition’s website at region1hmcc.org The HMCC Duty Officer is actively responding to concerns and resource requests from partners in healthcare and public health.

The FRCOG ‘s health district, the Cooperative Public Health Service, serves 14 towns. CPHS Public Health Nurse Lisa White is in contact with senior centers, schools, and others as part of preparing for the local response to any person who is screened as having or being exposed to COVID-19, which will be managed through the MAVEN database we already use for infectious disease surveillance. Our response in coordination with DPH and providers may include developing systems for daily monitoring of temperatures of quarantined residents, investigating contacts, and conducting clinical investigation and reporting for individuals who have tested positive for COVID19. Additional staff capacity to manage future cases has been identified, and CPHS is working with its boards of health to help them prepare for town-level activities.

On a side note, FRCOG is working to advocate for attention to the needs of our communities in responding to this outbreak: Lisa White was at the State House last week testifying before the Public Health Committee on rural COVID-19 preparedness status and needs.

And finally, we are examining the FRCOG’s own Continuity of Operations Plan and  having a discussion with the COG’s governing committees to discuss work-from-home protocols in the case of either personal or community quarantines. We are happy to share any protocols we develop with towns.

Please check the COVID-19 page regularly for updates and staff contacts.

FY21 Assessments

FY21 Assessments for each Franklin County Town, as well as all members of the Franklin County Emergency Communications System (FCECS), are available. These assessments support the budgets for the General Fund and Fee for Service Program budgets voted by the Council on January 30, 2020.

Although this information has been mailed to each Town, we hope posting it here will be useful to Administrators, Town Coordinators, Finance Committees and other Departments as they plan FY21 budgets and Town Meetings. Call Claire McGinnis x111 or Bob Dean x108 with questions.

Franklin County town assessments

FCECS assessments

Build your community’s immunity: take time for a flu shot!

Flu season is here and local boards of health and public health nurses are hard at work making plans to build community immunity!

Check out the calendar of vaccination clinics here: https://frcog.org/flu-clinic/

According to the CDC, flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

FRCOG is hiring!

Would you or someone you know like to join our team?

Please check out the positions available here by visiting our Employment Page!

 

Rural Policy Advisory Commission Drafting MA Rural Policy Plan

MA Rural Policy Plan Released

The MA Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC) released its Rural Policy Plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (PDF file, 30mb). The Plan identifies, highlights and offers policy recommendations related to the unique issues and challenges faced by rural Massachusetts.  The Plan provides a socioeconomic summary of rural Massachusetts and addresses 15 Focus Areas that were identified through listening sessions held across the state in late 2018. The goal of the Plan is to provide a thorough but succinct outline of each Focus Area that identifies the issues and highlights sub-regional differences, describes current related state policies and a best practices from Massachusetts or other parts of the country or the world, and provides prioritized recommendations.  Members of the RPAC and rural Regional Planning Agencies have shared in the effort to engage and solicit input from a large swath of stakeholders throughout Massachusetts through meetings and other efforts, and in sharing in the writing of the Plan.

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Introduction

Broadband and Cell Coverage

Climate Change and Resiliency

Cross-Jurisdictional Service Sharing

Economic Development

Education

Housing

Land Use and Working Landscapes

Municipal Board and Staffing Constraints

Municipal Financial Capacity Constraints

Public Health and Healthcare

Reversing Population Trends

Transportation – Other Modes

Transportation – Roads, Bridges and Culverts

Water and Sewer Infrastructure

Workforce needs

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