Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 26, 2018

CDS planning awareness campaign for ‘Stepping Up Day of Action’

The national initiative in May is to keep people with mental illnesses out of jail, prison systems
Apr 10, 2018

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Although April is just getting started, Henry County Coordinator of Disability Services Sara Berndt is already looking to May, preparing a public awareness campaign for the National Stepping Up Day of Action.

Stepping Up is an initiative through the National Alliance on Mental Illness to keep people who have mental illnesses out of the jails and prison systems. During the Board of Supervisors meeting on Thursday, April 5, Berndt told Supervisors that she is working with surrounding counties and jail administrators to come up with an activity sometime in May to draw awareness to the campaign.

“If you could be involved in that activity, that could be great,” Berndt said, inviting Supervisors to be a part of the planning and execution of National Stepping Up Day of Action.

Other county department heads also updated Supervisors on progress in their departments.

At the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Henry County Treasurer Ana Lair said they have seen a 20 percent increase in driver’s license issuance since last year.

The DMV is also offering web-based operator knowledge tests at Mt. Pleasant Middle School for students seeking their instructional permit. Lair is working with Mt. Pleasant Middle School Principal Nathan Lange, who is now taking sign-ups for students who wish to do that.

Lair said this is a great service for students and families because parents don’t have to take time off work to take their child to the DMV. Although they do have to come to the DMV to be issued their permit, everything else can be done in the school setting with teachers acting as exam proctors.

Also in the schools, Henry County Emergency Management Director Walt Jackson spoke with kindergarten through 12-grade students in New London earlier this week about how to respond if an active shooter is in their building. He thought they did a good job of giving age appropriate information, saying that in the kindergarten classes they talked more about stranger danger.

Jackson said his department is also working with area churches on security plans, adding that a lot don’t even have plans for fire or inclement weather. “We’re getting down in the weeds, starting at ground zero and building stuff up,” Jackson said. “We’re working with some churches on (organizing) a safety team and we’re holding CPR and first aid classes.”

Public Health Director Shelley Van Dorin said that it’s grant season in the Public Health Department. She has already applied for a local Public Health grant and is working on applying for a Care For Yourself grant and a Cancer Awareness grant.

Adding to Van Dorin’s update, Supervisor Greg Moeller said that the county is continuing progress with plans to move Public Health from Henry County Health Center’s (HCHC) campus to a recently vacated county-owned building at 106 N. Jackson St. in Mt. Pleasant.

If renovations to the building are not completed by the end of June when Public Health becomes a county entity, the county has arrangements with HCHC to keep Public Health at their current location as needed.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Joe Buffington is working on verifying county addresses for the upcoming census. He said there are just short of 10,000 addresses, so the process is “pretty tedious.” So far, he has added several addresses to the list and also removed some that no longer exist.

Henry County Recorder Mindy Fitzgibbon announced that 2018 spring turkey season is starting soon. Youth season for residents only is April 7 to 15. Season one will be April 16 to 19. Season two will be April 20 to 24. Season three will be April 25 to May 1. Season four will be May 2 to 20.

Fitzgibbon also said customers who have a lapse in boating registration should be seeing renewal. reminders in the mail. There are approximately over 10,800 boat notices that will be mailed. If someone receives a notice and no longer has a boat, Fitzgibbon said customers need to bring it to her office and they will mark their status as inactive.

Henry County Veterans Service Coordinator Roger Pittsenbarger said that Veterans Affairs saw an increase in clients in March, which he suspects is from the weather starting to warm up. “People are getting out and coming in,” he said.

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