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NACo
County Solutions and Innovation Blog​​
(NACo Podcasts) County Innovations in TransportationNew

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Counties are major players in transportation. They own 45% of all public roads, almost four in ten bridges, and are involved in a third of transit and airport systems. NACo recently sat down with a group of experts including Emilia Istrate, NACo Director of Research, Commissioner Jeff Haste, of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, and Chris Hodgkins, the concessionaire for the Port of Miami Tunnel to discuss some of the unique funding and financing challenges facing counties and the innovative solutions they have come up.


Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will be automatically pushed to your device.  For other devices, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.

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12 hours ago | 0

Creating Lasting Wealth: New Tools and Approaches to Economic and Community DevelopmentNew

​Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
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Counties across the country are seeking innovative ways to build more self-reliant and robust economies that increase jobs for residents and strengthen emerging industries. An initiative of the Ford Foundation, the WealthWorks approach helps local communities identify business opportunities and engage a wide range of partners to help turn those opportunities into on-the-ground realities that build and capture wealth. County leaders can apply WealthWorks tools and principles to provide a framework for market-based economic development that enhances quality of life and livelihoods. 

On April 3, NACo hosted the webinar, Creating Lasting Wealth: New Tools and Approaches to Economic and Community Development, to introduce the principles of WealthWorks, with an emphasis on how county leaders can apply the approach to advance their own economic development goals and increase local livelihoods.  

During the webinar, Deb Markley, Co-Director for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, gave an overview of the fundamental elements of the WealthWorks approach to economic and livelihood development. In her presentation she noted that the ultimate goal of the WealthWorks framework is to build wealth that sticks in communities by: 

  • Intentionally incl...

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29 hours ago | 0

Limiting Wildlife Impacts through Green Design New

Written by Rob Pressly, NACo Program Manager.

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Credit: Flickr User S.Zelov.  Buildings like the Aqua Tower in Cook County, Ill. use bird-friendly design to minimize collisions. The building’s wavy balconies and fritted-glass windows reduce the risk of collisions by breaking up reflections that can attract and confuse birds.

Developing wind and solar power projects are a great way for counties to generate clean, renewable sources of energy. While much focus has been given to the positive financial and environmental impacts renewables can have—e.g., energy cost savings and reduced carbon dioxide emissions—some of the unintended consequences of renewable energy projects are less known by the general public. One such consequence is the effect on wildlife–namely birds.

Wind turbines are responsible for the death of at least 10,000 birds each year (including 67 bald eagles in the past six years) in the U.S. alone, causing conservationists to push for more regulations around turbine siting. While a number of research and design efforts to minimize the risk of turbines to migratory birds are underway, one of the biggest threats to birds is actually our buildings. 

Two major components of gre...

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2 days ago | 0

NACo’s First Community Dialogue to Improve County Health Held in Leon County, Fla.

Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.​​
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The National Association of Counties (NACo), in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute​ (UWPHI) is conducting community dialogues in six counties across the country. The NACo Community Dialogue to Improve County Health sessions are intended to assist counties in assessing, planning, and strategizing current efforts toward coordinating health initiatives to improve the overall health of residents in these counties. These sessions are a part of NACo’s Elected County Officials’ Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project which aims to bring together public and private partners to share innovative ideas and strategize about how to resolve various challenges counties face. The first of these sessions was held in Leon County, Fla. on April 3rd. 

The Leon County Community Dialogue focused on access to care in the county and featured participation from the County Commissioners, the County Administrator and other county staff, staff from the Florida Department of Health in Leon County, and included leadership from community partners for the two major university medical and pharmacy schools,  the hospital...

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7 days ago | 0

BJA Grant to Provide Funding for Counties to Improve Pretrial Justice Systems

Written by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate.
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The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) recently announced that is it seeking applications for its Smart Pretrial Demonstration Initiative (SPDI). The SPDI grant program seeks to build upon analysis-driven, evidence-based pretrial justice by encouraging local jurisdictions to effectively implement risk assessment and appropriate supervision and/or diversion strategies targeting pretrial outcomes within their jurisdictions. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 27, 2014.  Click here to view the solicitation.

Leading up to the application deadline, NACo, in partnership with BJA and the Pretrial Justice Institute, will provide assistance in understanding the key elements of the project and the application process. An informational video will be available on April 22, and Q&A sessions will be held on April 29 and May 6, from 2:00pm – 3:00pm EST, to answer any questions about the application process and the project.

Register below for one of the Q&A sessions:
Tue, Apr 29, 2014 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
Tue, May 6, 2014 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

Counties spend $9 billion each year housing inmates in their jails.More than half of these inmates are in jail awaiting trial, not because of the seriousness of the crimes they’re accused of ...

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8 days ago | 0

(NACo Podcasts) Forest Fire Mitigation and Resiliency

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Forest fires are unsettling events in any community and unfortunately, an increasing number of America’s 3,069 counties are facing these types of disasters each year. They are becoming more prominent, and a fact of life. Gila County, AZ​, has been a leading county innovator in resilience and in mitigating forest fires. County Supervisor Tommie Cline Martin recently participated in the NACo’s Rural Action Caucus​ fly-in in Washington, DC, and sat down with NACo Executive Director, Matt Chase to discuss their efforts in this episode of NACo Podcasts.


Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will be automatically pushed to your device.  For other devices, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.

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9 days ago | 0

NACo’s Juvenile Justice Forum: Implementing Change and Improving Outcomes

​Written by Kathy Rowings​, NACo Justice Associate.
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​Did you know that 70 percent of kids in the juvenile justice system suffer from mental health disorders? Or that most youth who are arrested will not reoffend, and that incarcerating low-risk youth can actually increase their chances of committing another crime?

Are you interested in learning more about what’s really going on in the juvenile justice system, and how your county can make its system more fair, effective, rational and developmentally appropriate?

Come to NACo’s forum on Juvenile Justice Reform: Implementing Change and Improving Outcomes May 7-9 in Cook County, Ill., to learn much more (often surprising!) information about the juvenile justice system and how your county can enhance its own programs and policies.  

Experts and county leaders from across the country will present on a wide range of topics, including research that explains why youth benefit from different treatment than adults, coordinating local and state systems for improved outcomes, meeting the needs of youth with behavioral disorders, reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system, and much more.  Attendees will also participate in a roundtable discussion, designed to encourage conversation among peers and identify ways in which they can apply information learned at the forum in their own communities.

Registe...

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2 weeks ago | 0

Coastal County Newsletter: March 2014

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W​elcome

This is the first NACo Coastal County Newsletter.  Future issues will be sent out every other month, and are meant for county officials, GIS personnel, department of natural resources staff, engineers, emergency preparedness personnel, land use planners, and anyone else working at the county or local level interested in coastal issues.  The Newsletters will highlight resources, stories and projects relevant to coastal counties.  To make sure you're caught up on all of our workshops, forums, webinars and other items, sign up for the Coastal County Newsletter by contacting Alyssum Pohl; apohl@naco.org​.

 

Get Involved!

Nominate Your County's Coastal Innovation for NACo's 2014 Achievement Awards
NACo’s Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program which seeks to recognize innovative county government programs, and we want to showcase coastal counties’ innovations this year! Consider entering under one of these categories: Community/Economic Development, Emergency Management and Response, Environmental Protection and Energy, Planning, Risk Management, or another of the 21 categories. Deadline to apply has been extended to April 14th, 2014.  For information on the 2014 NACo Achievement Awards, please go to the webpage herewhich also features a short “about” video and the pr...

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3 weeks ago | 0

NACo Participates in Social Coast Forum

​Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow and Jen Horton​, NACo Program Manager.

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Volunteers for the Oleta River Wetland Restoration Project in Miami-Dade County, Fla. represent a number of different partnership organizations. Source: Miami-Dade County.​

The second bi-annual Social Coast Forum provided an opportunity for participants from a wide variety of backgrounds to share tools and methods being used as part of successful coastal management.  Held in Charleston, South Carolina in late February, this interdisciplinary forum aims to understand people—where they live, what they do, what they value—and how the application and integration of this information aids in coastal decision-making.  Some common themes addressed at the forum included climate change, land use planning, ecosystem services and human uses of the oceans.

Volunteers for Local Restoration

Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager, also presented at the Social Coast Forum, highlighting how two counties— Miami-Dade, Fla. and Jefferson Parish, La.—have engaged volunteers to meet their environmental restoration goals. Based on interviews with county staff, four themes emerged that describe how local governments have had success with volunteer engagement in their restoration projects.

Theme 1: Partnership Power  Miami-Dade County and Jefferson Parish were able to leverage dollars and volunteer hours through extensive partnerships with corporate entities, non-profit institutions, local schools and universities and other local community organizations. Both communities noted that partnerships with non-profit organizations were especially helpful for outreach purposes because these organizations offered ...

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3 weeks ago | 0

It’s the 5th Anniversary of the County Health Rankings

Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.

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The National Association of Counties (NACo), among other national partners, has teamed up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, to provide county policy makers with information, tools and technical assistance about effective program and policy options to build a culture of health in your county.  As part of this effort, RWJF and UWPHI released the 2014 County Health Rankings on March 26, 2014.  As the Rankings project celebrates its fifth anniversary, it continues to offer counties a snapshot of how healthy their residents are across 29 factors. To explore your county’s health ranking, visit the 2014 County Health Rankings at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

For more information on the release of the 2014 County Health Rankings:

  • Review the NACo special 2014 Rankings Rollout webinar that was held March 20th that featured discussion of new measures, key messages, and ways to tell your story. View the recording here and PowerPoint slides here. 

  • Watch the recording of the 2014 County Health Rankings webcastheld on March 26th to hear from leadership and researchers from RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The webcast provides opportunity to learn about the new data and trends. The webcast highlights communities ...

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4 weeks ago | 0

Getting Ready for the 2014 County Health Rankings

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) will release the County Health Rankings on March 26, 2014. As the Rankings project celebrates its fifth anniversary, it continues to offer counties a snapshot of how healthy their residents are across 29 factors.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is an important partner in building a movement and creating a culture of health. NACo’s leadership has been vital to creating meaningful, sustainable change in counties throughout the nation. NACo members are in a commanding position to drive local collaborative health initiatives and the new County Health Rankings information can help to better inform these efforts.

The Rankings allow communities to see county-by-county where they are doing well and where they need to improve.  This year’s Rankings include new factors, such as housing and transportation, to paint an even more comprehensive picture of what impacts a community’s health.  

In addition to the local-level data throughout the countyhealthrankings.org website, key findings will be available to explore national and regional trends and provide an in-depth look at featured measures including children in poverty, college attendance, physical inactivity, smoking, and preventable hospital stays.

For this year’s County Health Rankings, we hope you will:

  • Join the NACo special 2014 Rankings Rollout webinar on March 20thto hear about new measures, key messages, and...
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5 weeks ago | 0

​​(NACo Podcasts) Using Informed Pretrial Decision Making to Improve Outcomes II

Produced by Kathy Rowings, NACo Justice Associate.
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NACo Podcasts offer a new way to learn about all things counties.  The podcasts tell the stories of innovative local governments, cover new best practices, and provide updates on the issues critical to counties.

In this podcast, we talk with the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI) about the problems with the current pretrial justice system and how the use of pretrial risk assessment tools – much like the determinations your insurance company makes about your driving safety when setting your policy terms – can save your county money and increase public safety. This podcast serves as part one of a two-part series (see part one here​) on the pretrial justice system.


Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will be automatically pushed to your device.  For other devices, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.

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6 weeks ago | 0


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