Policies changed to aid in crisis

By Kitsey Burns Harrison - kburns@yadkinripple.com
Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard reads a resolution declaring Oct. 7-13 as National Fire Prevention Week. -
Yadkin County GIS Administrator Steven Ratcliffe is recognized for his work as emergency officials planned for possible local effects from Hurricane Florence. -

Yadkin County’s GIS Administrator Steven Ratcliffe was given special recognition at Monday’s meeting of the board of commissioners. Ratcliffe was instrumental in aiding emergency officials as they planned for the possible local effects of Hurricane Florence.

County Manager Lisa Hughes explained that as emergency officials continued to watch the weather reports regarding the storm, major flooding was predicted for the area. Ratcliffe was brought in to help identify areas most at risk for major flooding if the Yadkin River did crest at the predicted 26.6 feet.

“He spent a lot of hours working on maps and tweaking maps and he ended up identifying over 1,800 homes and business that could be lost if this flood really happened and it would be to the level of a 100-year flood, and not only that, it would cut Jonesville up into three different islands,” Hughes said.

The maps created by Ratcliffe allowed emergency personnel to get a better visual on the predicted flooding and how it would affect the county.

“It really changed the direction of the planning that was going on at the Emergency Operations Center,” Hughes said. “Steven’s work had a major impact on guiding the response for the entire county.”

Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal wrote a special commendation for Ratcliffe for his work during the storm preparation.

Hughes added, all emergency and other personnel who were helping the county prepare for possible impacts from the hurricane “did a tremendous job.”

During the commissioners’ comment portion of the meeting, all the board members again reiterated their pride in the job done by those staffing the Emergency Operations Center during the storm.

“I remain proud of all of our county departments. We have as a good a staff as anybody in the world,” said Commissioner Kevin Austin, chairman of the board.

Yadkin Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard spoke at Monday’s meeting, reading a resolution for the board’s approval to declare National Fire Prevention week as Oct. 7-3.

The resolution stated, “Yadkin County is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all those living in and visiting Yadkin County.”

The resolution also noted that “home fires killed 2,735 people in the United States in 2016, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and fire departments in the United States responded to 352,000 home fires; and, the majority of U.S. fire deaths (4 out of 5) occur at home each year; and, the fire death rate per 1,000 home fires reported to U.S. fire departments was 10 percent higher in 2016 than in 1980.

“The 2018 Fire Prevention Week theme, ‘Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware – fire can happen anywhere,’ effectively serves to remind us that we need to take personal steps to increase our safety from fire,” concluded the resolution.

The board also approved a change in policy that would offer some reimbursement to the county’s fire departments to aid in them purchasing Viper radios.

During a debriefing following the hurricane, one item that came up was the need for more area agencies, such as the fire departments, to have access to the Viper radios for more efficient communication county-wide and beyond during times of crisis.

A policy that allows for reimbursement funds to help fire departments replace outdated turnout gear was updated to include an option for departments to purchase Viper radios.

Also approved on Monday was some updated wording on the requirements for students to take advantage of the Yadkin Guarantee program. The Yadkin Guarantee provides funding to cover tuition costs as well as a portion of textbook costs for Yadkin County students who plan to attend the Yadkin Center of Surry Community College.

Hughes said the criteria for eligibility for the program needed to be clarified.

After some discussion by board members, particularly regarding the residency requirement, the wording was clarified to the following:

Expenses Covered:

• All In-state tuition and fees not covered by financial aid or scholarships

• $750 per semester for textbooks

Eligibility for the initial student enrollment (first semester):

• U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, residing in Yadkin County

• Graduated from/enrolled in a Yadkin County public school, private school or home school

• Earned at least a 2.3 unweighted GPA

• Complete the FAFSA and scholarship application processes annually

• Enrolled in a curriculum program at SCC-Yadkin Center within four semesters after graduating from high school

Qualifying continuing students (second semester and beyond) must:

• Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, residing in Yadkin County

• Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA

• Complete at least 67 percent of credit hours attempted each semester

• Complete the FAFSA and scholarship application processes annually

• Be enrolled in a curriculum program at SCC-Yadkin Center

• Complete program in 150 percent of program time (i.e., a 60-hour program must be completed in 90 hours)

• Not change programs more than twice

Hughes said there are 14 students who are taking part in taking part in the Yadkin Guarantee program at present.

Austin noted the goal of the program is to give opportunities to Yadkin residents they haven’t had in the past and to build the programs at the Yadkin Center.

“I think we’re well on our way,” Austin said.

The next meeting of the Yadkin County commissioners will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard reads a resolution declaring Oct. 7-13 as National Fire Prevention Week.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_20181001_130852299_iOS_formatted.jpgYadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard reads a resolution declaring Oct. 7-13 as National Fire Prevention Week.

Yadkin County GIS Administrator Steven Ratcliffe is recognized for his work as emergency officials planned for possible local effects from Hurricane Florence.
https://www.yadkinripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_20181001_133136166_iOS_formatted.jpgYadkin County GIS Administrator Steven Ratcliffe is recognized for his work as emergency officials planned for possible local effects from Hurricane Florence.
Oct. 7-13 deemed National Fire Prevention Week

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

kburns@yadkinripple.com