County emergency 911 to benefit from federal grant

by Dennis Sharkey

The federal government this month answered Jefferson County 911 Director Susan Newell’s biggest wish.

Newell informed county commissioners on Monday that a $238,000 federal grant to continue to upgrade the county’s 911 system was approved. Newell said she was somewhat surprised the county received the full amount requested. Regulations and requirements have become tighter and grants have become more competitive the last couple of years.

“This was the one big improvement we needed to make,” Newell said.

The money will help the county’s system move toward the next generation of 911 which includes text messaging and email capabilities. Some of the money will go towards maintaining current equipment.

Newell stressed that changes to the system will not happen fast and that federal regulations for the next generation of 911 are still being developed.

In other actions:

• Residents of the Northwind Subdivision are moving farther away from road construction beginning.

After a meeting with residents last week that at times became heated, it was discovered that part of the proposed road for the neighborhood is not part of the road district. As far as commissioners can determine, the road has an easement and it’s unclear who actually owns the road.

First District Commissioner Lynn Luck said on Monday that maybe a cul-de-sac could provide a solution to the latest problem. However, a cul-de-sac would require more property for the road. The cul-de-sac has to be big enough for a school bus or fire truck to turn around.

• In a related note, County Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard said county engineers will review the county’s gravel road standards to determine if changes are needed.

• County Road and Bridge crews were busy working Monday morning along Wellman Road between K-16 Hwy. and 94th Street clearing fallen trees. Many trees fell over the weekend due to strong winds.

• County Health Department Director Eileen Filbert reported that there are increased cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in the county. Filbert said many people could be confusing a bad case of influenza with the ailment. Filbert also said there are a heightened number of conjunctivitis (pink eye) cases being reported.

• Filbert shared some vital statistic numbers for Jefferson County from 2009. Last year there were 204 births. Of the births 22 percent had mothers who smoked.

There were 138 deaths and for the first time in the county’s and the state’s history more people died from cancer than heart-related issues. More than 51 percent of deaths were attributed to cancer.

• There were 126 marriages and only 49 divorces.

The teen birth rate continued to drop. Only 14 births happened with mothers under the age of 15.

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Posted by on Dec 20 2010. Filed under County, County Commission, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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