01/16/2019
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By Erin Smith

The Healthy Bladen Collaborative met on Tuesday morning and learned about the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center (ECAC). April Oxendine with ECAC told the group there will be a clinic for parents regarding Individualized Education Plans (IEP).

The IEP Clinic will be held on Tuesday, October 10th, at the Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown from noon until 3 p.m. and is designed to assist parents in better understanding their child’s IEP. The IEP Clinic is open to any parent with a child with an IEP who would like to attend but pre-registration is required. To pre-register, contact Oxendine by calling 910-671-3423.

Bladen County Health Department Educator Marianne Valentiner told the group the Health Department is pursuing a grant for a parenting grant which is similar in nature to the former Young Families Connect grant. The Young Families Connect grant is ending on October 13th.

If the new grant is awarded, the county will receive $75,000 per year for four years, said Valentiner. She said the grant had two options—a teen pregnancy prevention option or a parenting education option.

“We felt like a parenting program would be a better a fit,” said Valentiner.

If awarded, there will be one position with the grant.

In other business, Carol Strickland, with Young Families Connect, updated the Collaborative regarding the closing out of the grant. She said all of the county-level reports have been submitted to the state office. The local office will close on October 13th and the state office will close in December.

Strickland said all of the Young Families Connect participants have been notified of the program’s demise and those seeking referrals to other programs have received the information needed for their referrals.

Bladen Community College Human Resources Director Tiina Mundy told the group about some of the upcoming activities to mark the college’s 50th anniversary celebration. Throughout 2017, the college is celebrating 50 years of educating students in Bladen County.

From October 1 through December 1 folks are asked to walk 50 miles. Mundy said officials are laying out a course on the campus folks can come out and walk.

Ernest Watts with the NC Tobacco Branch told the group Bladen Community College had received the CVS Tobacco grant which is a continuation grant for the school’s efforts at creating a tobacco free campus.

He also told the group International Paper Company is going tobacco free. Watts said since the company merged with Weyerhaeuser they have been working towards going tobacco free. Watts said his group has presented some smoking cessation programs at the plant.

He told the group about a $500,000 grant which had been awarded to the NC Tobacco Branch for the creation of a Youth Tobacco Specialist. Watts said the job will be based out of Cumberland County but will work with all of the 19 counties in the NC Tobacco Branch.

Bladen County 4-H Coordinator Stacie Kinlaw updated the group on the upcoming Ag ‘Em up Days set  for October 4th and 5th at the Bladen County Park located on US 701. She said all of the schools in the county have been invited to take part.

She also said there will be activities for National 4-H week and the Fall Clover Sale is coming up at the Elizabethtown Tractor Supply Store from October 5th through October 15th.

Kinlaw also reminded the Collaborative members of the upcoming Pork and Beats Festival scheduled for November 18th at the Cape Fear Farmers Market in Elizabethtown. She said there will be educational booths manned by 4-H members and the local FFA groups and plenty of fun and activities for everyone. The Blackwater Rhythm and Blues Band will also be performing that evening.

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