(02/16/2006)
Submitted by Jeff Himes, WVU Extension Agent

Unemployment, drug abuse, obesity, and aging are all current issues in West Virginia, but are they the top concerns of Calhoun County residents?

Results of the COMPASS II Community Needs Assessment will be revealed to area residents at a Community Forum on Monday, February 27th.

The event will be held at the Grantsville Fire Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to attend to hear the results and discuss ways we can address the concerns and affect positive change in Calhoun County. Local input is invaluable to the final report of the project.

The survey conducted in 2005 was mailed randomly to 11,370 households in the Mid Ohio Valley.

This represented about 10 percent of the households. Surveys were completed and returned by one percent of the households.

These were divided into participating counties with overall issues identified as well as issues identified for each county.

Counties participating in the needs assessment were Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt, Wood and Washington Counties.

A second survey was conducted with key informants in each county. Key informants were government, agency, business, and community leaders.

Both surveys asked about community strengths and weaknesses and addressed issues pertaining to topics that included the economy, education, environment, health, housing, safety and transportation.

A similar project was completed in Wood County 10 years ago. In the first few more than $600,000 in grants and other funding was received by Wood County groups using COMPASS data.

In addition to this funding, a few of the successes attributed to COMPASS included the creation of the Volunteer Action Center, a public transportation bus route to WVU-P was initiated, the juvenile delinquency task force was created, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate Program) for children was started.

The current COMPASS project will give Calhoun County a plan to affect positive change based on the issues identified by this needs assessment.

A light supper will be served at the community forum. Please RSVP your attendance to Jeff Himes, Extension Agent, WVU Extension in Calhoun County at 354-6332.


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