The Board of Health approved the Wilkes County Health Department’s “State of the County’s Health” (SOTCH) report last week at their December meeting. The SOTCH report updates the community on progress made by community members toward health priority areas identified in the Community Health Assessment. The six health areas addressed by local task forces and reported on in the SOTCH are access to care, chronic disease, physical activity, nutrition, mental health and substance abuse. Highlights in these areas presented to the Board of Health included certified application counselors to assist community members with understanding the federal health insurance exchange, implementation of FitnessGram in Wilkes County Schools, increasing adoption and implementation of Mental Health First Aid for youth, naloxone dispensing by public health nurses, and market voucher and cooking demonstration programs with the farmers markets. The SOTCH also identifies emerging issues, new initiatives for health, resources in Wilkes County that promote active living, health eating and tobacco-free living, and resources needed to support health in our community. The Health Department makes the SOTCH and past community health reports available to community members through their website at wilkeshealth.com and in print at the Wilkes County Library. For more information about these reports, please visit our website or call the Wilkes Health Department at 336-651-7450.
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With all the hustle and bustle and increased traffic in the area including parking lots, there have been a number of wrecks and fender benders in parking lots in Wilkesboro. Police have investigated wrecks in doctor's parking lots, at Rose Glen Village, in shopping centers, and at Glenn Hill Apartments. Damages ranged from 100 to 2000 dollars. No injuries were reported with these most recent parking lot bump-ups. Various citations were issued for unsafe movement. So, even in parking lots this Christmas season, be careful and mindful of all the activity and increased traffic. And speaking of traffic... The Brushy Mountain Road also known as Oakwoods Road Overpass of U.S. 421 in Wilkesboro will open to traffic tomorrow. The overpass has been undergoing some work since October as part of a rehab bridge project that includes fixing 6 overpasses along Hwy 421 in Wilkes.
One person suffered minor injuries in a 3 car pile-up on Tuesday. Wilkesboro Police were called to the wreck Tuesday evening on Hwy 16/18 at West Wood Lane. Two cars slowed for the traffic light, but a third vehicle did not realize traffic had slowed and caused a chain reaction wreck involving all 3 vehicles. Damages ranged from 200 to 6000 dollars. Again, one person was taken to WRMC by Wilkes EMS for back pain. One driver was charged with failure to reduce speed.
The USDA reminds families in North Carolina that they can choose from a variety of insurance plans and many will qualify for financial assistance to help them pay for coverage. To sign up, visit healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 if you need help. Sign up between December 16 and January 15 for coverage that starts on February 1. And for those who enroll between January 16 and February 15, coverage will begin on March 1. The last day to sign up during this open enrollment period is February 15.
The State Board of Elections this week released demographic statistics for the 2014 General Election. Results showed a 16% increase in participation by African Americans statewide and 37% higher turnout among voters aged 18-25 compared to 2010, the last midterm election cycle. According to the summary, 1.2 million Democrats and just over 1 million Republicans in the state cast a ballot in November. This was the first general election held under a compacted 10-day one-stop early voting schedule and new requirements that registrants vote in their proper precinct, among other changes. “We are encouraged that more North Carolinians participated in this election than in any prior midterm,” said Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach of the State Board of Elections. “We will continue our efforts to educate the public and increase the efficiency of statewide voting procedures.”
At least 8700 dollars in property was stolen from a home on Mahaffey Road. The Wilkes Sheriff's Office was called to investigate the theft. The victim reported that someone had come into his home through an unlocked door. Several firearms were stolen from the house. The thief or thieves then went to the victim's outbuilding and stole several power tools. Stolen property included a pistol, 2 long guns with scopes, a muzzle loader, and a semi-automatic gun. Another scope and hunting light were also taken. The list of stolen tools included 2 chainsaws and a Hobart Handler. Again stolen property was estimated at 8700 dollars. No suspects were listed.
With the arrival of cold weather, many North Carolinians are beginning to use their wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. The N.C. Forest Service reminds stove users to never dump hot ashes or coals into a wooded area as you’re risking not only your home, but your neighbor’s as well. Wilkes Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds talks about safely disposing of ashes or coals. AIR Our complete fire safety interview with Fire Marshal Bounds can be heard as a Focus on the Foothills podcast on our website: www.hometownchristianradio.com
With the Christmas season and shopping season, comes the need to be more careful and aware. Often shoppers neglect their safety in all the hustle and bustle. According to Sheriff Shew “This time of year attracts more shopping-related criminal activity because of the larger crowds and the extended store hours." The Sheriff reminds all Wilkes County residents to follow these safety tips: A single shopper is the best target for theft. Always shop with a friend or relative; When going shopping, tell someone where you are going and what time to expect you to return; Shop during daylight hours. If you shop at night, park your vehicle in a well-lit area; If carrying cash, keep it in your front pocket rather than in a purse or wallet. This makes it much more difficult for a pick-pocket to remove; Also store car keys in a pants or jacket pocket. If your purse is stolen, you will still be able to drive home; Pay careful attention to your surroundings and avoid overloading yourself with packages; When returning to your vehicle, check around it and in the back seat. Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason; and Have your car keys in your hand to avoid spending unnecessary time unprotected from the security of your vehicle. In light of these problems, Sheriff Shew warns shoppers to be careful so that they don’t become the victim of criminal activity. Sheriff Shew explains, “Paying attention and taking precautions can help eliminate their chances of being victimized.”
This Friday December 19 Concert on the First Floor will feature soprano Maria Massucco accompanied by pianist Will Green. After several months studying in Italy as a research student, Ms. Massucco accomplished a project on the Italian operatic tradition which included a lecture-recital which she presented for Millers Creek Christian School earlier this year at Benton Hall. Friday’s Concert on the First Floor will feature classics of the season as well as lesser-known gems, all of which celebrate what the evening’s musicians feel is the best gift an artist can receive: the comfort and support of a community as it celebrates the gifts of its youth said Ms Massucco. A short program with guests Jonathan Molai on classic guitar and David Podbielsky at the harp will introduce the concert. Both concerts begin at 7:00 pm. Tickets at $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children under 16. The box office will open 30 minutes before the concert. Refreshments will follow the concert.
MerleFest, slated for April 23-26, 2015, has announced Grammy-winning country vocalist Lee Ann Womack as part of the music festival’s lineup. Additional performers for MerleFest 2015 will be announced in the coming months. The lineup is viewable at www.MerleFest.org/lineup. Tickets for MerleFest 2015 are now on sale and may be purchased atwww.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson.