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RC&D spotlights completed grant projects

The Northwest Alabama RC&D Council has been busy over the past year. The council recently highlighted 12 completed projects, funded by RC&D in partnership with the Alabama legislature, in Franklin County, with a total of $76,800.33 in grant funding:

  1. Weather radios – Northwest RC&D Council partnered with each county’s EMA to distribute weather radios and educate rural communities about weather awareness. This $30,000 project provided 242 weather radios for each of the council’s five counties.
  2. East Franklin Junior High – A total $3,422 funded Chromebooks, MacBooks and headphones for the school. The students use Chromebooks and headphones daily for assignments and instructional games. MacBooks are used each day during intervention time for listening to online stories and for vocabulary instruction.
  3. Franklin County Extension 4-H Farm and Water Projects, $4,500.
  4. Franklin County Extension Farm Day
  5. Northwest Regional Library – Treasure Trove of Books, $5,000. This project allowed for the library to add 206 new books to its collection. The new books have been checked out more than 56 times.
  6. Franklin County Schools – Preventing Child Abuse – $8,738.95.
  7. Russellville High School – Bridging the Math Gap with ILX – $6,000. The IXL math program enables teachers to identify the exact standards for which students need support and provides resources and lessons to build students’ mastery levels for these standards. The program also provided teachers guidance on small groups based on the exact lesson students need.
  8. Vina High School, $3,000. VHS used funds to assist with the cross-country team and for improvements to the school’s softball press box.
  9. Russellville Fire Department – Equipment for a New Advanced Life Support – $12,329.43. This project provided the fire department with the funds to equip a road response vehicle with an iPad Pro, ALS equipment, bed covers, emergency lights, siren, bed slide-out system and radio communications.
  10. Vina High School – Softball press box construction – $13,500.
  11. Hodges Fire and Rescue Department – P25-compliant digital pagers, $7,500. The G2 Unification pagers have the capability of two tones, which covers the jurisdiction in both Franklin and Marion counties. Replacing 30-year-old pagers allowed the department to totally move to a P25-compliant platform, which began in the 1990s because of an increased use of data on radio systems.
  12. Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, $3,809.95. This project provided funds to the Franklin County Commission to purchase bulletproof vests for the sheriff’s office. Each vest was individually fitted for the deputy.

Northwest RC&D Council also completed phase II of the multi-county “GROWN” project. This project provided resources to partners, including County Extension agents, Shoals Master Gardeners, FFAs and local schools, to educate students about the importance of healthy eating and agriculture through the use of outdoor slassrooms. Each county received $3,000 of funding through this project.

“It takes a lot of partnerships, teamwork and communication to complete so many projects in Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Marion and Winston counties,” explained RC&D office manager Vanessa King. “However, the results and impact of these projects will continue to help those in Northwest Alabama for years to come.”

The council’s meeting took place Oct. 14 at the A.W. Todd Centre in Russellville.

“It’s always a treat to have the annual Northwest Alabama RC&D Council meeting hosted in Franklin County,” noted Katernia Cole Coffey, Franklin County Extension coordinator and RC &D Council member. She said it’s annual meetings like this one that help keep everyone educated and informed, as well as provide a networking opportunity.

Lauranne James, executive director for the council, introduced the speakers and gave the closing remarks.

Speakers included Commissioner Rick Pate, Alabama Department of Agriculture; Drayton Cosby, The Cosby Company; Katie Conner, executive director for the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils; Steve Foshee, president and CEO of Tombigbee Electric; and Missy Miles, muralist.

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