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PittCo Happenings

Author: Pittsylvania County

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Learn more about what Pittsylvania County leaders are up to, stay up to date on county developments, and hear about decisions that are being made and why they are made, all in just 15 minutes a week.
38 Episodes
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When to Call 911

When to Call 911

2021-10-1814:59

911 Manager Ronnie Fowler, who oversees the Pittsylvania County Dispatch Center, talks about the role of dispatchers and his experience over the past 30 years in the Dispatch Center. With many regional hospitals and emergency rooms frequently going on diversion due to short-staffing, the dispatch center is constantly adjusting where they direct transport agencies to take patients, which can have a negative impact on the whole public safety system. Ronnie encourages citizens to use discretion before calling 911 to save critical resources for true emergencies where every second and minute matters. 
RiverStreet Networks

RiverStreet Networks

2021-10-1115:03

Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Schools recently announced a partnership with RiverStreet Networks to expand internet access across the county. RiverStreet President & CEO Eric Cramer joins the show to discuss the company's unique business model and success leveraging outside funds to expand in rural areas like Pittsylvania County. He also highlights some of the history of electrification, the government-aided expansion of phone lines, and how that history reflects internet expansion today. Let RiverStreet Networks know you are interested in their service at join.buildpittsylvania.com
Internet Is Coming

Internet Is Coming

2021-10-0415:08

Assistant County Administrator Dave Arnold talks about the recent announcement that Pittsylvania County, Pittsylvania County Schools, and RiverStreet Networks are partnering together to bring reliable internet to county residents. To start, this will feature a $75 million fiber-to-the-home network to reach 12,000 unserved locations. Dave talks about why so many county residents don't already have reliable internet access, the status of fiber-optic cable as the most reliable internet service, why Pittsylvania County is willing to invest so much in this project, the details of our partnership, and why RiverStreet Networks was selected. You can learn more at pittsylvaniacountyva.gov/broadband
1% Sales Tax

1% Sales Tax

2021-09-2014:59

Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mark Jones talks about the 1% sales tax increase that is on the ballot for all Pittsylvania County voters in this election. If approved, the proceeds from that 1% sales tax increase, which would generate approximately $3.3 annually, would be used exclusively to fund school capital projects and renovations. In this episode, Dr. Jones speaks more about the background of the sales tax and some of the specific projects that would be funded. 
Chief of Callands Volunteer Fire and Rescue Damian Maurakis talks about the difficulties facing the agency, particularly when responding to EMS calls. After responding to just 30% of EMS calls in FY 2020, they were able to increase that number to 50% in FY 21, and 67% so far in FY 22. The key has been paying part-time staff to man the station during the busiest hours of the day, and his goal is to bring that response rate up to 100% by whatever means necessary. Damian also talks about increased training requirements, difficulties recruiting, and other challenges facing volunteer fire and rescue agencies in Pittsylvania County. 
Pittsylvania Pet Center Brent Weinkauf joins PittCo Happenings again to discuss several upcoming fundraisers in September and October and highlight how the Pet Center is adopting out and transferring many animals to reduce the animal population. Brent also talks about the importance of fundraising to bolster the emergency medical fund and explains the need for more people to foster and adopt animals and volunteer. 
Music Festivals

Music Festivals

2021-08-2315:06

Jonathan Slye, CEO of Purpose Driven Events, joins PittCo Happenings to discuss three upcoming music festivals in Pittsylvania County at the Blue Ridge Ampitheater. Worship at the Mountain will take place September 3-5, the Blue Ridge Rock Festival will happen September 9-12, and the Blue Ridge Country Festival will happen October 1-3. Jonathan talks about Purpose Driven Events as a company, explains why Pittsylvania County was chosen as a new venue and what work is being done to prepare the ampitheater, gives some more details about each of the festivals, and highlights the impact that positive impact that music festivals can have on a community. 
John Harris, Executive Director of the Olde Dominion Agricultural Foundation, talks about tourism and agrotourism in Pittsylvania County. John discusses what agrotourism is and how it's evolving in Pittsylvania County. He talks about the role of the Agricultural Complex in furthering tourism in the county, and he highlights how the County is becoming more of a tourist destination. 
Eric Clark, Chief of Cascade Volunteer Fire and Rescue, joins PittCo Happenings today to discuss the department's history and dramatic turnaround in the past few years. Cascade Volunteer Fire Department had reached a point a few years ago where volunteers weren't responding to calls, and it seemed as if the department would shut down. New leadership and focus as well as focused recruitment and training allowed a swift turnaround. Not only did Cascade begin answering calls for fire service again, but beginning in July of 2020 it became a transport EMS agency - and responded to 99% of its calls in fiscal year 2021! 
Pittsylvania County Human Resources Manager Holly Stanfield discusses some of the open positions in Pittsylvania County government, as well as the creative means that are being taken to fill them. The Board of Supervisors recently created a $1,000 sign on bonus and a $1,000 referral bonus in an effort to attract qualified employees. Additionally, Pittsylvania County is looking to find talented, passionate people that are interested in working for us and connecting them with positions. To find specific positions, visit pittsylvaniacountyva.gov/jobsTo tell us you are interested in working for us, visit pittsylvaniacountyva.gov.jointheteam
Chairman Bob Warren

Chairman Bob Warren

2021-07-2615:14

Hear from Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bob Warren about a whole variety of different topics, including: The rationale behind increasing the meals tax from 4% to 6% and enacting a new transient occupancy tax: to reduce the burden on property ownersSome of the biggest accomplishments this Board of Supervisors has made in the past few years: economic development success, increasing education and fire and rescue funding, and reducing debt. Some of the biggest challenges facing Pittsylvania County in the coming years: large capital costs for schools, infrastructure like a jail and courthouse, and the continued challenge of providing fire and ems with the volunteer system. 
Treasurer

Treasurer

2021-07-1915:12

Pittsylvania County Treasurer Vincent Shorter shares some insights about what his office does and his office's role in the taxation process - the collections arm. Additionally, he explains why Pittsylvania County is a non-pro-rating jurisdiction and shares about the factors that, when combined together, caused citizens' car tax bills to increase between 2020 and 2021. 
Chatham Rescue Squad

Chatham Rescue Squad

2021-07-1214:39

Hear from Noah Robbins, a Volunteer with Chatham Rescue Squad, about how the agency managed to rebound from answering only 25% of its call in FY 2020 to 82% in FY 21. Noah, who served as the captain during these years until a few months ago, when he took a position with Pittsylvania County Public Safety, oversaw the agency's shift from being run exclusively by volunteers to having paid staff. With a general decline in both the number and availability of volunteers, many volunteer fire and EMS agencies like Chatham Rescue Squad have had to make difficult decisions about how to continue providing consistent, quality service. 
Meet the Interns

Meet the Interns

2021-07-0514:39

Meet a few of the interns working with Pittsylvania County government this summer. Hear about the work experiences of Cora Wilson (Community Development), Eben Leigh (Public Relations), and Pranav Shah (Finance) - three of the more than 15 interns that are working across Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Schools this summer. This internship program was made possible through a financial investment and the assistance of organizations like the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, Pittsylvania County Schools, the West Piedmont Workforce Development Board, and Pittsylvania County Community Action. 
Clerk of Court

Clerk of Court

2021-06-2815:03

Pittsylvania County Clerk of Court Mark Scarce discusses what his department handles, highlights some of the less heralded responsibilities of the clerk's office, and talks about the impacts COVID-19 had on the courthouse. 
Extension Agency

Extension Agency

2021-06-2122:40

Hear from Stephen Barts, Unit Coordinator and Extension Agent, about all things agriculture in Pittsylvania County! He explains what the extension agency is and some of the services that it provides, talks about Pittsylvania County's rich agriculture history and heritage, and discusses some current trends in agriculture, including declining production, smaller profit margins, and the uncertainty in industrial hemp. 
Water and Sewer

Water and Sewer

2021-06-1414:58

Hear from Pittsylvania County Public Works Director Chris Adcock about Pittsylvania County's water and sewer services, which were previously part of the Pittsylvania County Service Authority. He talks about work to update the master plan for water and wastewater services, including a new extension policy that will guide future developments and extensions into new areas with two guiding principles: need and economics. 
Social Services

Social Services

2021-05-3014:54

Pittsylvania County Social Services Director Christopher Spain talks about some of the many services and programs that the Social Services department offers, how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how they offer some services, and encourages citizens in need to take advantage of these programs. Subsidised childcare eligibility has been expanded, and Christopher Spain encourages Pittsylvania County residents who need childcare for ages 0-5 to apply. 
Gretna Fire and Rescue

Gretna Fire and Rescue

2021-05-2414:52

Ben Meeks, Chief of Gretna Fire and Rescue, talks about how the merging of the Gretna Volunteer Fire Department and Volunteer Rescue Squad has drastically improved the performance of the two agencies. The agency now pays staff to run EMS calls and also has had significantly more success recruiting volunteers, leading the agency to have the highest call volume of any agency in the county. Take a listen for a front row view of some of the struggles and success of Pittsylvania County fire and rescue agencies. 
Pittsylvania County Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Haskins talks about what his office does, the time involved in prosecuting different types of cases, and how some upcoming legislative changes will impact their office's operations. 
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