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Work Begins On Streetscape Project August 23, 2017

State Sen. Andy Dinniman recently announced that work is currently underway on the Third Avenue Streetscape Project, the first phase of revitalization work related to the new Coatesville Train Station.

The streetscape project aims to transform Third Avenue as a gateway into the city from the new train station and includes the repaving of Third Avenue and the installation of sidewalk amenities, including ADA accessibility improvements from Lincoln Highway to Fleetwood Street. It also calls for the repaving of and significant improvements to the nearby parking lot of Olivet United Methodist Church, which will be available to rail riders under an agreement being worked out with the church.

The streetscape project is expected to be completed in about a year.

In addition, Dinniman said the design work on the realignment of the station's location on Fleetwood Street is ongoing, but he added that the preliminary design work is complete. These designs include plans for commuter and bus access and a review of conceptual designs offering transit-oriented development projects related to the new train station.

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School Bus Law Reminder Posted August 23, 2017

This school year, more than 1.5 million children will be transported an estimated 400,000-plus miles on school buses. The Pennsylvania School Bus Association is asking motorists to pay extra attention as school buses ride their daily routes.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended.

Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Vehicles cannot proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety. Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record, and a 60-day license suspension.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

For more information and tips for school bus safety, readers may visit www.penndot.gov and click on Safety under Travel in PA, scroll down to Traffic Safety and Driver Topics, and click on School Bus Safety.

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Concussion Tips Posted August 23, 2017

With many student-athletes back at school for fall sports practice, it is a good time for students, parents, and coaches to be vigilant at preventing, recognizing, and managing concussions. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.

Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing. In 2011, the Safety in Youth Sports Act was signed into law in Pennsylvania, requiring all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student-athletes with concussions, as well as requiring related training for coaches.

Readers may visit the Department of Health's website at www.health.pa.gov and search for Traumatic Brain Injury for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources. Most importantly, if a parent thinks their child has a concussion, they should seek medical attention, discuss the injury with the coach, and do not allow the athlete to return to play without permission from a health care professional.

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"A Matter Of Balance" Classes Set August 22, 2017

The York County Area Agency on Aging will host "A Matter of Balance" classes at Providence Place, 3377 Fox Run Road, Dover, from 9 to 11 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, Sept. 6 to Oct. 2.

"A Matter of Balance" is designed for people who have concerns about falling, have fallen in the past, have restricted their activities because of falling concerns or are interested in improving balance, flexibility and strength.

The program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls. Participants will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance.

Participation is free, but preregistration is required, as class size is limited. To register, call Megan Craley at 717-852-4902, ext. 1017, or 800-632-9073.

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Satellite Office Hours Announced August 21, 2017

State Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill invites residents of the 93rd Legislative District to take advantage of satellite office hours scheduled for the month of August. Satellite office hours will be offered on Thursday, Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon at Citizens Volunteer Fire Company, 171 S. Market St., Fawn Grove.

Staff will be available to answer any state government questions residents might have and offer assistance with filling out paperwork such as Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. For more information, readers may call Phillips-Hill's district office at 717-428-9889 or 877-207-2272.

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HealthyWoman Program Posted August 21, 2017

Women who are uninsured or underinsured can receive free cervical cancer screenings and mammograms under the Pennsylvania HealthyWoman Program. The program is funded by the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The program is open to women ages 40 to 64 who are Pennsylvania residents and have a gross household income below 250 percent of the federal poverty annual guideline, about $61,500 for a family of four. If breast or cervical cancer is detected through the HealthyWoman Program, the individual may be eligible for free treatment through the Department of Human Services' Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program.

For more information, readers may call 800-215-7494 or visit www.health.pa.gov and search for "HealthyWoman."

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Active Work Zone Reminder Posted August 21, 2017

Motorists are reminded to follow state law in highway work zones. In posted work zones, state laws requires all motorists to travel with their headlights turned on. Drivers in vehicles with daytime running lights must turn on their headlights to activate their taillights.

Interstate work zones with a project cost exceeding $300,000 will have a speed-monitoring device to alert motorists of their speed prior to entering the work zone. In active work zones, a white flashing light attached to the "Active Work Zone When Flashing" sign will only be activated when workers are present.

Motorists who are caught driving 11 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit in an active work zone, or who are involved in a crash in an active work zone and are convicted for failing to drive at a safe speed, will automatically lose their license for 15 days. Additionally, fines for certain traffic violations - including speeding, driving under the influence, and failure to obey traffic devices - are doubled for active work zones. Five years of additional jail time may be imposed for individuals convicted of homicide by vehicle for a crash in an active work zone.

For more information on work zone safety, including safety tips, readers may visit www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/WorkZone/Pages/default.aspx.

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Borough Recycle Bins August 17, 2017

Columbia Borough has received a grant to purchase recycle bins, and each residence in the borough may receive one free bin. Residents who have not yet picked up a free bin may stop in at the borough office, 308 Locust St., at their earliest convenience. The new bins are round and sturdier than square bins, and they should be used exclusively for recycling.

For more information, call the borough office at 717-684-2467.

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CCEDC Releases Survey Results August 16, 2017

The Chester County Board of Commissioners and Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) recently released the results of a survey of local businesses. Phase 2 of the Take the Pulse business survey shows significant changes from the survey's findings one year ago.

Conducted by CCEDC in partnership with the county commissioners and the county's 10 Chambers of Commerce, the Take the Pulse survey is a key component of VISTA2025, Chester County's 10-year economic development strategy designed to maintain the economic health of the county by striking a balance between progress and preservation.

More than 300 business decision-makers responded to the 20-question online survey assessing the business climate in Chester County. A new question added to the survey this year gained feedback on priorities for economic development investment. Survey respondents strongly favored redevelopment of vacant industrial sites and investment in transportation infrastructure. Other key results from the Take the Pulse survey include the following:

Quality of Place continues to play a critical role in Chester County's economic success. A total of 27 percent of respondents cited it as the primary reason they are located in Chester County (up from 16 percent the prior year). Business owners in 2017 are more optimistic for growth in Chester County (53 percent "improving") compared to one year ago (46 percent "improving" in 2016). Three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) are optimistic for growth in their own companies. Traffic congestion and the availability of qualified workforce candidates remain concerns.

Compared to 2016 findings, respondents in 2017 have a significantly more positive view of several characteristics of the county, including the following: natural environment/open space (90 percent net positive ratings in 2017, up from 76 percent in 2016), location/access to markets (86 percent from 78 percent), and presence of related business clusters (77 percent from 58 percent).

Areas where impressions of the county declined compared to 2016 include the following: availability of workforce (63 percent net positive ratings in 2017, down from 72 percent in 2016), infrastructure (down to 39 percent from 58 percent), roads/highways (37 percent from 62 percent), and permitting process/municipal approval process (19 percent from 26 percent).

The complete results from Phase 2 of CCEDC's Take the Pulse survey will be shared with the Chester County commissioners, local chambers, and the general public to help guide future decision making and policy considerations. CCEDC will also draw insights from the top trends to guide its programs and services for area businesses, including successful practices of job creation, generation of commercial tax ratables, business retention and enhancement, agricultural economic development, and workforce development.

For more information on VISTA2025, readers may visit www.vista2025.com. For details on Chester County, individuals may visit www.chesco.org. More information on CCEDC is available at www.ccedcpa.com.

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Late Summer Programs Set August 16, 2017

Lancaster County Parks Department will offer some late summer activities. Unless otherwise noted, there is a fee to participate and programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster. Preregistration is required by noon the business day before the event. For registration and details, readers may call 717-295-2055.

Campfire Building and a Sing-along will be held from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, at campsite 2. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own marshmallows and other snacks, bug spray, a blanket or lawn chair. A naturalist will lead the group in some campfire songs in English and Spanish. The event is open to all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Geocaching in Central Park will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24. Participants should meet at Pavilion 2 to learn the basic skills of geocaching and to test themselves on a challenging course into the woods, through the creek, and around the park. The program is fun for all, but best for individuals age 8 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Closed-toe creek footwear is required for all participants, and back-up dry shoes are suggested.

A Summer Stream Study will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26. Attendees will join a naturalist for a hands-in exploration of the Mill Creek and the critters that make it their home. All participants must wear closed-toe shoes in the water; no flip-flops or sandals will be allowed in the stream. Minors must be under adult supervision at all times. Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the program.

A Down River Canoe Trip will be offered to individuals age 12 and older on Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will take a canoe trip down the Conestoga River with park naturalists as guides. Participants will meet at the Environmental Center and be transported to and from the river. Participants should bring a packed snack or lunch and wear shoes and other accessories that can get wet. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Office To Aid Consumers August 16, 2017

To better protect consumers from financial scams, the Office of Attorney General has created a unit dedicated to consumer financial protection. The effort will focus on lenders that prey on seniors, families with students, and military service members, including for-profit colleges and mortgage and student loan servicers.

Individuals who think they have been scammed should contact the Attorney General's office at 800-441-2555 or scam@attorneygeneral.gov. In 2016, the Office of Attorney General's Consumer Protection Bureau handled 19,727 consumer complaints and returned a total of $8.5 million in restitution to consumers.

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Parks Department Sets Programs August 16, 2017

Lancaster County Parks Department will offer summertime activities. Unless otherwise noted, there is a fee to participate and programs will take place at the Environmental Center in Lancaster County Central Park, 1 Nature's Way, Lancaster. Preregistration is required by noon the business day before the event. For registration and details, readers may call 717-295-2055.

Winged Creatures of the Night, for all ages, will be offered on Friday, Aug. 18, from 10 to 11 p.m. A white sheet will be suspended in the woods and the cloth will be illuminated with a light. Insects attracted to the light will be collected, examined, and then released into the night. Naturalists Alison Mallin and Ann Strauss will lead. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hunt, Gather and Cook Insects, for all ages, will take place on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. After a morning of hunting and gathering edible insects from the stream, woods and meadows, the group will cook and eat them for lunch. Naturalist Lisa J. Sanchez will lead. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Meadow Flowers and Wildlife, for all ages, will take place on Sunday, Aug. 20, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Muhlenberg Wildflower Meadow, 548 Golf Road, Lancaster. Sanchez will lead a walk, during which participants will view the flowers, along with the butterflies, birds and insects attracted to the area. Participants may bring binoculars, and a limited supply of binoculars will be available to borrow. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

A Summer New Moon Hike will be held on Monday, Aug. 21, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The hike is designed for adults age 18 and older, and it will be led by Sanchez.

A brief history of environmental protection in the Americas will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The topic will be "Race, Economics, and Environmental Health." Naturalist Erin Freeman will present the program, which is an installment in a brief series of interactive lectures on human environmental impact in the U.S. and beyond. Programs are geared for sixth-graders and up, but all are welcome. The program is pay-as-you-will, and all donations will benefit Environmental Education Summer Camp programs.

A Campfire Building and Sing-Along event, for people of all ages, will take place at Campsite 2 at Mill Creek Camping Area, 19 Nature's Way, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Attendees will learn how to build a campfire and then join naturalist Erin Freeman in singing campfire songs in English and Spanish. Individuals may bring their own marshmallows, bug spray, a blanket or chair, a campfire snack, and song requests. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

A program titled Raptors Up Close will take place on Sunday, Aug. 27, from 1 to 2 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. at Lancaster County Central Park in Pavilion 22. A Hawk Mountain presenter will bring a live raptor or two to the park and share information about the biology, migration, ecology, and conservation of these birds of prey. There is no admission fee for attendees under age 4. Campers who attended a 2017 Lancaster County Parks Department summer camp will receive a discount on the admission fee.

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"Older And Wiser" Sessions Slated August 15, 2017

Rep. Sheryl Delozier will host a series of free Older and Wiser informational seminars featuring topics geared toward older adults, their families, and caregivers. The seminars will offer an opportunity to obtain important information about powers of attorney, living wills, last wills, and living trusts.

The Older and Wiser seminars are presented as a public service by MidPenn Legal Services. All seminars are free to attend and will begin at 9 a.m. "Protection Through Powers of Attorney and Living Wills" will be presented at The Woods at Cedar Run, 824 Lisburn Road, Camp Hill, on Thursday, Sept. 7, and at Bethany Village, 325 Wesley Drive, Mechanicsburg, on Thursday, Oct. 5. "Learning About Last Wills and Living Trusts" will be held on Thursday, Sept. 21, at Mechanicsburg Senior Center, 97 W. Portland St., Mechanicsburg, and on Thursday, Oct. 12, at Essex House, 20 N. 12th St., Lemoyne.

Seating for the events is limited. Advance reservations are requested by contacting Delozier's office at 717-761-4665 or by registering at www.repdelozier.com. The 88th Legislative District in Cumberland County includes Lower Allen and Upper Allen townships and the boroughs of Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, New Cumberland, Shiremanstown, and Wormleysburg.

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Survey Options Offered By DCNR August 14, 2017

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) announced that a strategic plan for Pennsylvania's state parks of the future kicked off over the Fourth of July weekend with surveys being made available to park visitors and other interested parties. Over the holiday weekend, DCNR launched its initiative, "Penn's Parks for All - Planning for the State Parks of Tomorrow."

Input from the surveys, offered at all 121 state parks across the state, will prove invaluable in the plan's implementation. The public also can take the survey online at www.pennsparksforall.com.

During the last 25 years, DCNR has made improvements in most state parks such as modernizing facilities, adding comfortable cabins, and expanding recreation opportunities. The department also has worked to better conserve and manage the parks' natural resources and expand the number of education staff and programs.

Bureau of State Parks officials' goal will be to have a preliminary report, influenced by the information gathered this year, available in the fall of 2018, with a final report in 2019. Public opportunities to offer input will include a paper survey, the online survey, a phone survey of a statistically significant sampling of Pennsylvanians that can be extrapolated to represent the state's population, a targeted, online survey for minority and young adult audiences, and a series of stakeholder input meetings to focus on specific selected topics.

For details on Pennsylvania's state parks, readers may visit www.dcnr.pa.gov.

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Upcoming Area Code Changes Set August 14, 2017

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recently reminded residents and businesses across central Pennsylvania served by the 717 area code of the upcoming switch to 10-digit dialing for all local calls - in preparation for the activation of a new "overlay" area code, which will serve the entire region.

According to the implementation schedule for the "223" overlay area code, mandatory 10-digit dialing for all local calls will begin on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017. Starting on that date, if callers only dial a seven-digit number, they will reach a recorded announcement instructing them to hang up and redial the number using the area code plus the seven-digit number.

For the past several months, telephone callers in the 16-county 717 service area have been encouraged to voluntarily use 10-digit dialing (717 + the full local telephone number). The new 223 overlay area was approved based on forecasts that the remaining supply of available telephone numbers in the 717 area code was close to exhaustion.

For local and toll calls from the 717/223 area to other numbers inside the 717/223 area, callers must dial 10 digits (717 or 223 + XXX-XXXX). For local and toll calls from the 717/223 area to numbers in another area code, callers must dial 1 + 10 digits (1 + XXX-XXX-XXXX). For operator services, including credit card, collect, and third party, callers must dial 0 + 10 digits (0 + XXX-XXX-XXXX).

To begin preparing for 10-digit dialing in the 717 area code, individuals should start looking at the devices they have by making sure they include all the area codes needed, including 717. Chairman Gladys M. Brown also noted that individuals should check devices like medical alert systems, alarm systems, and any other systems that automatically make calls to be sure they are set up for 10-digit dialing. In the future, when callers start adding new numbers, they should be sure to include the area code.

For the last several months, telephone carriers across the region have been providing their customers with educational materials about the upcoming dialing changes - encouraging them to begin voluntarily using 10-digit dialing for calls within the 717/223 service area and also checking the telephone numbers stored on their phones or other devices to ensure that they include the full 10-digit number.

The commission's order approving the overlay plan specifies that any new numbers for the 223 overlay area code shall not be released until Tuesday, Sept. 26, and that requests for numbers in the 717 area code will continue to be honored as long as resources are available.

The overlay area code relief option was supported by the majority of individuals who submitted written comments or testified at PUC hearings, along with the telecommunications industry. Overlay area codes have now been approved for most of Pennsylvania and are in use across much of the country.

For recent news releases or more information about the PUC, readers may visit www.puc.pa.gov.

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Meeting To Focus On High Energy Power Line August 9, 2017

The York County Farm Bureau invites York County farmers and landowners who live near the proposed Transource Independence high energy power line to an informational meeting. The meeting will take place on Thursday, Aug. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Airville Volunteer Fire Company, 3576 Delta Road, Airville.

Speakers from the state Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Farmland Preservation, the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocates and the Penn State Center for Agricultural and Shale Law will present information. The purpose of the meeting is to inform people about laws involving agricultural security areas (ASAs), condemnation and eminent domain, as well as landowner property rights and preserved farmland as they pertain to utility easements. There will also be substantial information on the background of the power line project proposed by Transource.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is considering the approval of the installation of a high energy power transmission line that would cross through the following municipalities in southeastern York County: Hopewell Township, East Hopewell Township, Fawn Township and Lower Chanceford Township.

Readers may contact Dolores Krick at 717-487-4556 or sjkrick@gmail.com to reserve a seat and receive an informational packet. The York County Farm Bureau will serve ice cream following the meeting.

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CCAP Elects Officers, Board Members August 9, 2017

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) elected Lancaster County commissioner Dennis Stuckey as the CCAP 2018 president during the organization's 131st annual conference in Erie County. Other county officials elected to be leaders of CCAP include Kathi Cozzone, Chester County commissioner, first vice president; Jeff Snyder, Clinton County commissioner, second vice president; and Michelle Kichline, Chester County commissioner, treasurer.

The following county commissioners/council members were elected as district representatives to the CCAP board: Basil Huffman, Forest County, District 1; Dan Vogler, Lawrence County, District 2; Randy Phiel, Adams County, District 3; Preston Boop, Union County, District 4; Terence Farrell, Chester County, District 5; John Cusick, Northampton County, District 6; and Daryl Miller, Bradford County, District 7.

Those elected will begin their terms on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

CCAP is a statewide nonpartisan association representing the county governments of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. The organization aims to strengthen the counties' abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. CCAP advocates for state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. For more information, readers may visit www.pacounties.org and follow @PACountiesGR on Twitter.

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NPS Announces Grant Recipient August 9, 2017

The National Park Service recently announced $1.2 million in grants that will be used to help local communities preserve and protect America's significant battlefields, to include a project in Pennsylvania for $50,000. From lesser known battles that took place before the American Revolution to those fought as a part of World War II, historians and preservationists will use these funds to study and preserve battlefields that capture the American story across the United States and its territories.

This year's American Battlefield Protection Program planning grants provide funding for projects at endangered battlefields ranging from the Indian Wars to the unification of Hawaii and the American Civil War. Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced $7.2 million in additional grants to help identify, preserve, and protect nearly 1,200 acres of battlefield land as part of the American Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program.

The project will continue an existing preservation plan by examining two properties adjacent to the Battle of Brandywine American Revolutionary War battlefield. A technical report will be written that identifies the defining features of the battle that took place on these properties, recording such details as the location of troop movements, encampments, and other referenced locations in historic letters and reports. The document will be the foundation of future preservation activities, interpretation, and community preservation efforts.

Since 1996, the American Battlefield Protection Program has awarded 579 planning grant awards totaling $19,620,955 to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. Federal, tribal, state, and local governments, nonprofit organizations, as well as educational institutions are eligible for the battlefield grants, which are awarded annually.

More information about the American Battlefield Protection Program Battlefield Planning Grants is available online at www.nps.gov/abpp/grants/planninggrants.htm.

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Immunization News Update August 9, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised Pennsylvania's school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year. The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school.

Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements. If a student is in the middle of an immunization series, and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.

For more information, readers may contact their health care provider, visit www.health.pa.gov, or call 877-PA-HEALTH.

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County WRAP Program Wins Awards August 8, 2017

Chester County's Department of Probation, Parole and Pretrial Services has garnered two more national awards for the Women's Reentry Assessment and Programming (WRAP) initiative.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has recognized Chester County for the WRAP program as part of its 2017 achievement awards under the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. This award was presented to Chester County at the NACo conference held July 21 to 24 in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to the NACo award, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recently announced that Chester County's WRAP program advanced from the "top 100" to the "top 25" finalist level from a pool of more than 500 applicants for the 2017 Innovations in American Government Awards competition. Described as "the vanguard of creative, solution-oriented government," the Ash Center top 25 finalists represent the dedicated efforts of city, county, state and federal governments and address policy issues such as economic development, environmental and community revitalization, public health, equal access to education, criminal justice and health care.

The WRAP initiative was launched in January 2014 following extensive research to meet the needs of women who have been incarcerated, who were struggling for basic survival or who were lacking in skills to transition back into family life. The program began with 50 women, working with one probation officer trained in motivational interviewing and trauma-informed approaches. In two years, WRAP has expanded to the current census of 170 women using three probation officers, two full-time community case managers in partnership with Home of the Sparrow and curriculums and tools that address women's risk factors.

Nationally, the NACo awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services that counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more.

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