At our second meeting in August, we:
- heard from Napan Shirley Isola regarding her disappointment that she is required to vote by mail. Ms. Isola made a reasonable request: if she is required to vote by mail, then she wants to see the results in a timely manner. The Board will be discussing elections department issues at our October 22 meeting.
- approved a new agreement with the Town of Yountville for extended library hours of operation. I have been active with County Librarian Danis Kreimeier in negotiating this agreement to enhance service to the residents of Yountville. A recent study of the patterns of use at the Yountville Branch showed that the library receives the most visits during the late morning and early afternoon. The new schedule adjusts hours to respond to the results of the study. The volunteer program at the Yountville Branch will be expanded to include all three weekdays that the library is open.
- accepted a donation of animal food with an annual value of $40,000.00 from Pet Food Express and WellPet, and donation of a storage container for this food from Napa Humane. Pet Food Express makes monthly deliveries to the County Animal Shelter to supply the cats and dogs with Wellness brand animal food. This will be an ongoing donation, and allow us to direct funds to other needs at the Shelter. Thank you, Pet Food Express, WellPet, Napa Humane!!
- adopted an ordinance that will allow the expansion of the Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC), to which we belong, adding eight other Northern California counties. Under the new federal health care law, we are required to move MediCal patients into a managed plan. The PHC is a way for counties to meet this requirement, and also spend fewer $ on administration and more $ on patient care. Further, as part of a larger group, Napa will have more bargaining influence with the State regarding other health care mandates.
- received the second annual report from the Napa County Gang and Youth Violence Prevention Commission. The report was largely the work of outgoing chair Vanessa Luna Shannon, and it reflected her excellent leadership and knowledge of the subject. The Commission’s primary function is to serve as a forum to identify local resources related to prevention. There are 26 members, including Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht. A multitude of local agencies are represented; the Commission includes young professionals just beginning work in this area as well as more seasoned professionals like the County’s Chief Probation Officer, Mary Butler. Particular attention was paid to the Legacy project at Vintage High, led by Napa Valley Unified School District board member Carlos Hagedorn and Napa Police Officer Omar Salem. It is very effective, and receiving many kudos locally.
- received a presentation on the “Live Healthy Napa County” project from Napa County Public Health Officer Karen Smith, M.D. The project is a public-private collaboration among Kaiser Permanente, St. Helena Hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, the Napa Valley Coalition of Non-profit Agencies, and the County to increase the health and quality of life for all individuals, families, and communities throughout Napa County. More than 30 people serve on the steering committee and core support team, including representatives from the Angwin Community Council and Calistoga Family Resource Center. The goal of the project is to work on prevention of illness, not treatment of illness. The former ultimately costs less.
The project identified many health “strengths” in the county. We generally live in clean, safe neighborhoods. There is very little violent crime and very little pollution. Half of the county population lives within half a mile of a park. We have a declining teen mother birthrate. we have unusually strong collaboration in our community.
But our challenges are alarming. The obesity rate among low income preschoolers is 20%. Child obesity is a sad fact across the United States, but it is unacceptably high here in Napa County. Further, 60% of adults are overweight and obese. This contributes directly to the rising cost of health care. Alcohol and marijuana use among middle and high school students is high.
The project identified four broad priority areas, so that every organization that participated has a connection to the plan of action, and the specific task for each will be relevant to the whole. It is a very practical plan, and we look forward to seeing the assessment of it that will be done next spring.
The complete report and much more information about Live Healthy Napa County can be found at http://www.countyofnapa.org/LHNC/.