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Top News Stories - Feb. 22 - March 7, 2012
WHY: This list will be issued twice a month to assist media in identifying potential news stories that reflect the total spectrum of Mecklenburg County government services.

1. 2012 BOCC Strategic Planning Conference

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners will hold their annual strategic planning conference Feb. 23 and 24 at the Foundation for the Carolinas in uptown Charlotte. Commissioners will receive briefings on current economic trends and discuss budget and policy issues that will impact County services over the next year. Agenda Watch live.

2. Low Income Energy Assistance Program

The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) will accept applications for the remainder of Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) funds through March 31. The funds are to be used to help pay for heating assistance by such means as natural gas, oil, electric or propane. Funds that are awarded to a recipient will be paid directly to the utility and the amount awarded will be based on need and the amount of energy used.

3. Syphilis Elimination

The Mecklenburg County Health Department launched a community awareness campaign recently to address the rise in syphilis cases in Mecklenburg County. North Carolina has one of the highest incidence rates of syphilis in the nation. In Mecklenburg County the rate of syphilis is high and to address the problem the Health Department has created an educational campaign, radio ads and a web page to help lessen the impact of the disease. The campaign will last through March and is being funding in part by the North Carolina Department of Public Health.

4. Free Composting Classes, Earth-Happy Lawns, Worm farms and More

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste has announced its slate of programs for spring 2012. Composting, organic gardening, worm farming and more training programs are offered free of charge or at reasonable cost.

5. Spring 2012 Park and Rec Get Going Guide Now Online

Park and Recreation’s spring 2012 Get Going Guide is now online at The guide features information on programs occurring in March, April and May as well as a comprehensive list of Park and Rec summer camps.

6. Reid Park Collaboration To Help Students and Families

The Reid Park Collaborative Initiative is the partnership of Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Council for Children’s Rights and several other human services agencies. Working together, these organizations will help to provide the students and families of Reid Park Academy greater access to wrap-around support services. These services will be offered on-campus and are focused around four key areas - human/social services, health/mental health services, family involvement and early childhood education.

7. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library makes FAFSA completion easy

The challenges students face are more difficult than ever before. High tuition, application deadlines, confusing paperwork, and choosing the right college are just some of the reasons many high school students find it difficult to get into college and why some don’t go at all. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s Operation College Launch has teens covered with a variety of events completely free to attend, including two FAFSA Completion workshops this week. The first workshop is at Independence Regional Library at 5 p.m., Feb. 23 and the second is at Beatties Ford Road Library, 10:30 a.m., Feb. 25. See below for all of the Library's Operation College Launch events.

Operation College Launch Schedule

FAFSA Completion Workshop
2/23/2012 at 5 p.m.: Independence Regional, 6000 Conference Drive, Charlotte
2/25/2012 at 10:30 a.m.: Beatties Ford Road, 2412 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte
SAT Essay Writing
2/18/2012 at 2:00 p.m.: University City Regional, 301 E. W.T. Harris Blvd., Charlotte
3/6/2012 at 5:30 p.m.: Mountain Island, 4420 Hoyt Galvin Way, Charlotte
Scholarship Search
2/25/2012 at 10:30 a.m.: Beatties Ford Road2412 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte
3/14/2012 at 3:00 p.m.: Independence Regional 6000 Conference Drive, Charlotte
SAT Test Strategies
2/29/2012 at 5:00 p.m.: West Boulevard 2157 West Boulevard, Charlotte
10 Questions Challenge
4/28/2012 at 11:00 a.m.: Steele Creek 13620 Steele Creek Rd., Charlotte

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