Keep Lincoln County Beautiful Team

George Fischer, Jim Putnam, Betty Hickey, Jeanette Johnson, Josh Grant, Patty Korn, Mark Campbell, and Sheriff Bill Beam. 

The official affiliate ceremony for Keep Lincoln County Beautiful (KLCB) took place during the Board of Commissioners regular meeting on Feb. 18.

The KLCB board is comprised of county staff, citizens and industry leaders. Their mission is to educate, inspire and empower communities to improve the environment through beautification, litter prevention and recycling.

Patty Korn, president of the board of directors, noted the board is a nine-member body made of three representatives from the community, three from business and industry, and three from government. The executive director is Jeanette Johnson, Lincoln County’s recycling coordinator.

Korn praised Sheriff Bill Beam for conducting the first zero tolerance campaign for litter.

Isaac Nicholson, regional director of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), welcomed KLCB to KAB after completion of a six-month certification and affiliation training.

“Lincoln County is home to me so coming back to train the new affiliates has been a great experience,” Nicholson said.

KAB celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2019. Nicholson said that there are 30 KAB affiliates in North Carolina and 600 nationwide. Those affiliates engage over four million volunteers annually. He added that for every dollar invested in local groups in North Carolina over $25 in community benefits are returned.

Sherry Rinehardt, executive director of the Lincoln County Coalition Against Child Abuse, delivered the 2018 annual report from the Lincoln County Community Child Protection (CCPT) and Child Fatality Prevention teams (CFPT) during the board meeting.

Created by the NC General Assembly, the teams review and recommend system improvements that could lead to a reduction of incidents of child abuse, neglect and fatalities.

The recommendations are reported to the Board of Commissioners, Board of Health, and Social Services.

According to the report, CFPT meets quarterly to review records of eight county residents under 18 years of age who died in 2018. Their goal is to search for ways to prevent future child fatalities. CFPT, by law, has no contact with the decedent's family.

The CCPT assists DSS in planning and providing services to prevent further abuse and neglect of children. In 2018, DSS investigated 912 cases of abuse, neglect and dependency in the county, which affected 2,115 children. Voluntary Outreach Services were provided to 91 families. The team reviewed 12 reports in 2018 that met their criteria of abuse and for cases involving a child under the age of one. Twelve issues of concern were identified. Drug abuse was identified in 58 percent, poor parenting skills in 42 percent, substance affected infant at birth in 33 percent, and 25 percent of cases involved domestic violence, physical abuse or sexual abuse.

Rinehardt presented four recommendations identified by both teams.

In approximately 34 percent of cases, families didn’t have access to transportation. They recommended expansion of the public transportation system to include stops in western and eastern Lincoln County, as most services are centrally located in Lincolnton.

The teams recommended additional funding to assist indigent families, especially those at or just above the poverty line, with access to parenting classes, counselling services or if they need help with basic needs.

The team saw a need to increase the capacity of services, like drug and alcohol assessments or domestic violence services, with additional funding or grants.

The final recommendation highlighted the need to combat opioid addiction issues to reduce unintentional overdoses and substance-affected infants. The report suggested additional funding for the Lincoln County Substance Use Coalition.   

Commissioners unanimously approved to award of the E-Rate contract to CNIC for technology needs for the West Lincoln Library.

The E-Rate program provides discounts to schools and libraries to assist in obtaining telecommunications and Internet access. The program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company directed by the Federal Communications Commission.

Funding will reduce the cost of technology by 80 percent.

Commissioners adopted a resolution to hold a public hearing on March 4 regarding the financing of the West Lincoln Library, a convenience site, the senior services facility and the new communications center or PSAP, public-safety access point.

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