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Top News Stories Dec. 7 - 20, 2011
WHY: This list will be issued twice monthly to assist media in identifying potential news stories that reflect the total spectrum of Mecklenburg County government services.

1. DSS Job Boost II Program Reports Success, Additional Funding for Jobs
Due to its successes over the past few months, the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) has been awarded additional funding from the North Carolina Job Boost Program grant. The supplementary allocation is for $600,000, allowing for an additional 100 job placements. This will increase the total number of placements to 300 through June 30, 2012, the program closing date.

2. Low Income Energy Assistance Program
The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) has begun taking applications for help with energy bills. This year DSS was awarded $1,056,285 in LIEAP funds. LIEAP applications will be taken through Jan. 31, 2012 or until funds are exhausted. If funds remain past this date, other eligible households, such as households with children under 5 years of age at up to 130% of poverty level receiving public assistance, will be allowed to apply through Mar. 31, 2011 or until funds are spent. 
3.  Little Sugar Creek Restoration Project
On Dec. 15, Storm Water Services will complete a six-year effort to restore Little Sugar Creek near uptown. The restoration was from 7th to Morehead Streets. The stream work included removing tons of concrete that covered the top of the creek and lined the banks, reshaping the stream path with gentle curves, replacing a tangle of weeds along the stream with native grasses and trees, and adding wetlands to the floodplain. This project will not keep the creek from flooding. The goal is improved water quality. See before, during and after pictures of the stream work. Construction of the Park and Recreation greenway trail along this section of the creek will be completed in the spring.

4. New Security Measures Help Ensure Safety at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Library
After outsourcing its security team to Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library is reporting a decline in security incidents by 26 percent since 2009.

5. Domestic Violence Memorial Tree
The DV Memorial Tree will be on display through the end of the year at CMPD headquarters in uptown Charlotte. The tree commemorates the 62 lives lost due to domestic violence this year in North Carolina. Three of those homicides were in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

6. Panthers Tailgate Recycling
The Panthers Tailgate Recycling Program has had tremendous success this year collecting more than 16 tons of recyclable products. The next Panthers home game is this Sunday, Dec. 11. If you would like to participate as a volunteer, contact Jake Wilson at 704-432-1772.

7. Help with the Holiday and Winter Blues
In these uncertain and trying economic times, many are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness. Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health (AMH) would like to remind everyone that it is important to reach out and ask for help when stress, anxiety, depression, and alcohol and substance abuse become uncontrolable. MeckLINK is Mecklenburg County’s central call center for mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability service referrals. MeckLINK will assess immediate needs and refer individuals to local providers that can help. Residents can contact MeckLINK at 704-336-6404. Additionally, AMH has a Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) that can be dispatched wherever mental health crises occur in the community. The Mecklenburg County Mobile Crisis Team phone number is 704-566-3410.

8. Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
The Mecklenburg County Health Department offers tips that will help you and your family have a healthy holiday season.

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