COMMUNITY SERVICES

The quality of life found in a community is partially determined by its community facilities and services.  The presence of adequate medical care, library facilities, public safety, refuse collection, recreation, social services and child care is of major local concern.

 

In Highland, many services are provided or supplemented by an active network of volunteer organizations.  These groups contribute greatly to the quality of life here, both for the essential services they provide and for affording citizens the opportunity to serve their community.

 

Medical Care

 

The Highland Medical Center, Inc.

The Highland Medical Center is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation that, after incorporation in 1992, opened the doors of a 10,000 square foot building in September 1996.

 

The mission of the center has been to provide high quality, primary and preventative medical services to the community regardless of the ability to pay.  Staff includes one full time Family Practitioner, a part time Internal Medicine physician, a full time Family Nurse Practitioner, a full time Dentist, a Physical Therapist, and a Behavioral Health provider.  The center offers a variety of primary care services including the treatment of acute and chronic illness, cancer screenings, electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, ultrasounds, minor surgical procedures, x-ray, laboratory services and some pharmacy services.  There is also a wellness center.

 

In 2003, the center attained status as a Federally Qualified Health Center, making the center eligible for federal grants geared toward removing barriers for the underserved.

 

The center has also, with the assistance of grants-in-aid, been equipped with a high speed communications line (T1) that allows for telemedicine consultation with specialists and attaining professional services such as interpretation of x-rays.

 

The center relies on grant funding and donations to sustain operations and prepare for the future.

 

Highland Health Department

Located in Monterey, the Highland County Health Department, a Virginia state agency, offers children’s specialty services, communicable disease control, environmental health services, health education, medical and nursing services, nutritional services and vital records.

 

Bath Community Hospital

Located approximately 35 miles south of Monterey in Hot Springs, Virginia, Bath Community Hospital is a critical access hospital with a licensed capacity of 25 beds although no more than 15 beds are used for acute inpatient care at one time including two intensive care beds.  The remaining beds are skilled nursing care beds.  Emergency services are provided 24 hours a day in the emergency department.

 

Health care is provided for emergency illnesses, in an inpatient setting and in outpatient clinics.  Elective ambulatory surgery and endoscopy are also performed. 

 

Arrangements have been made with Alleghany Regional Hospital, Augusta Medical Center, Carillion Roanoke Memorial, Medical College of Virginia and the University of Virginia for the transfer of critical access inpatients who require extended stays greater than 96 hours and who require services such as cardiac, neurology, trauma, oncology, obstetrics, orthopedics, urology and pediatric intensive care.

 

Other departments are Community House Home, Hospice of the Highlands and Bath-Highland Rehab.

The active medical staff of BCCH consists of three family practitioners who see inpatients, patients in the emergency department and maintain private office practices.  Two family nurse practitioners provide patient care for inpatients under the direct supervision of a physician.  Several specialty practitioners see patients in outpatient clinics and consults with the active medical staff as needed.

 

Bath County Community Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

Augusta Medical Center

Located in Fishersville, Virginia, the Augusta Medical Center is a full service hospital that offers behavioral health services, a birthing center, community services, diagnostics, an emergency department, a pain management clinic, radiology, rehabilitation services and surgical services.

 

Augusta Regional Free Clinic

Located in Fishersville, Virginia, the Augusta Regional Free Clinic offers medical care, pharmacy services, laboratory, radiology, referrals and patient education.

 

Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center

Located in Fishersville, Virginia, the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center offers medical rehabilitation services that include occupational therapy, assistive technology, neurophysiology, spinal cord injury and audiology/speech-language.  Vocational rehabilitation services include peer mediation, independent living skills, vocational evaluation and educational support.

 

Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents

Located in Staunton, Virginia, this facility serves children and adolescents who have threatened or attempted suicide, have aggressive or assaultive behavior or need evaluation or medication management.

 

Western State Hospital

Located in Staunton, Virginia, this facility serves citizens of the Commonwealth with serious mental or substance abuse disorders.

 

Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind

Located in Staunton, Virginia, this facility provides comprehensive educational services to deaf, hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired children who require specialized instruction.

 

Library Facilities

 

The Highland County Public Library

The Highland County Public Library, an independent facility located in Monterey, maintains a collection of approximately 16,400 books, 1000 audio books (tape and CD), 600 music albums, 37 periodicals, and 2200 DVDs and videos for children and adults.

 

The circulation (the number of items borrowed) in 2008-2009 was 32,651. The library receives daily local newspapers from Staunton, Harrisonburg and Richmond and the weekly newspaper from Highland and Bath, The Recorder, and the Pendleton Times. The archives of The Recorder from 1889 through the present are available at the library on microfilm.

 

Local family histories are preserved in the Genealogy section. Services such as faxing, copying, scanning and laminating are available. Services for seniors such as Talking Books, SeniorNavigator.com, and access to the Aladdin Reader are provided.  Children’s programming includes a monthly Family Movie Night, Afterschool Crafts programs, and a Summer Reading Program.

 

The library offers free high-speed internet access to the public on seven computers. Wi-Fi internet access is also provided. A computer in the children’s section provides games and educational programs. The library has a website at www.highlandlibrary.com which offers an online card catalog and password access to user accounts. A meeting room, The Mountain View Room, is available for public use. The library also maintains three book deposit locations; in McDowell, Mill Gap and at the Highland Senior Center.

 

 

Public Safety


Highland County is protected by three volunteer fire departments located in Monterey, McDowell and Bolar.  In an effort to provide overlapping coverage and quick response times, these departments also work with adjoining fire and rescue departments in West Virginia, Bath County, U. S. Forest Service and Dominion Virginia Power.  The Rescue Squad has a station in Monterey and a sub-station in McDowell.

 

Highland County Volunteer Fire Department

Responsible for the areas of Monterey and Blue Grass, this fire department maintains stations in both localities.  The Monterey station houses five units and the Blue Grass substation houses two units.  Maintaining the stations and equipment and replacing older equipment continues to be its main challenge.

 

McDowell Volunteer Fire Department

Responsible for the areas of McDowell, Doe Hill and Head Waters, this fire department maintains a station in McDowell and a sub-station in Headwaters.  Its members seek to acquire a new building to house their equipment and double as an emergency disaster shelter.

 

Bolar Volunteer Fire Department

Responsible for the area from Mustoe to Rocky Ridge and including Big Valley and Little Valley, this fire department has four pieces of equipment. 

 

Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad

This rescue squad covers the entire county with a station in Monterey and a sub-station in McDowell.  Its members cite as their goals to attract additional volunteers and to acquire a building to house their units and a training facility

 

Highland County Sheriff’s Department

Highland County Sheriff’s Department is located in Monterey, Virginia at 145 W. Main Street, and is responsible for maintaining a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) at this location. The Highland County Sheriff’s Department offers round-the-clock service, providing law enforcement, court duty, community service, civil process, corrections and detainee transportation.  In addition to the sheriff, staff includes six deputies, eight civilians and three reserve officers.

 

Law enforcement services include police patrol, investigations, and cooperation with the regional drug task force.   Reserve officer activities include crowd control, traffic control and assisting regular officers.  The department does not operate its own jail but partners with Augusta County in using the Middle River Regional Jail located in Verona, Virginia.

 

Highland County Office of Emergency Management

Highland County has an appointed volunteer Emergency Manager.  Duties include the organized analysis, planning, decision making and assignment of available resources to prepare for, respond to and recover from a disaster.  The goal of emergency management is to save lives, prevent injuries, and to protect property and the environment when emergencies occur.

 

Red Cross

The Jackson River Chapter of the American Red Cross responds to all types of disasters in Alleghany, Bath and Highland Counties.  An integral part of the Red Cross’s disaster mission is to be prepared for disasters before they occur. 

 

The Chapter also provides information about upcoming blood drives, CPR/first aid, life-guarding, water safety, HIV/AIDS education classes and procedures for sending emergency military messages.

 

Refuse Collection


Highland County operates a solid waste and recycling center at the former landfill, located south of Monterey on Route 621 (Airport Terrace Road).  This facility accepts household trash and recyclable material as well as large items such as white goods.  Tires are accepted after payment of a disposal fee.  The county also operates four convenience centers located at Blue Grass, McDowell, Headwaters and Vanderpool.  These convenience centers accept household trash only and each site is equipped with a compactor.  The Town of Monterey offers curbside trash collection to town residents every Friday at no charge.

 

Highland County engages independent contractors to service the convenience centers and haul the solid waste to the Augusta County Regional Landfill.

 

Recycling, a priority program, is funded in part by an annual grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.  The grant is used to fund the operation of a recycling trailer that was custom built by local service clubs.  On the first, second, third and fourth weekends of each month, the trailer is parked at Blue Grass, Bolar, Mill Gap and McDowell, respectively.  The trailer has bins to hold the various recyclable materials that include aluminum; tin; #1 and # 2 plastics; clear, green and brown glass; cardboard; newspaper; computer paper; mixed paper; magazines; and catalogs.  These materials can also be received during business hours at the main Route 621 (Airport Terrace Road) location.

 

Recreation


Highland County Recreation Commission

The recreation commission is comprised of volunteers who have been appointed by the board of supervisors.  They offer organized youth and adult athletic programs, organized group trips, a fitness center and sponsor an annual road bike challenge.

 

The recreation commission funds much of its programs through donations, fundraisers and user fees. 

 

The recreation commission spearheaded an effort to construct a Junior Olympic size swimming pool and a small building to house a bath house, equipment room, storage and an office.

 

The recreation commission continues to look for additional recreational opportunities for Highland County.

 

Laurel Fork/Locust Springs

Located in the extreme northwest portion of the county and accessible through West Virginia, this facility offers primitive camping, a shelter, picnicking, hiking and fishing.

 

Stonewall Ruritan Building

Located in McDowell, this former school used by the Ruritans offers a multi-purpose room, softball field and a picnic shelter.

 

Blue Grass Ruritan Building

Located in Blue Grass, this former school used by the Ruritans serves as a community center for area residents.

 

Mill Gap Ruritan Grounds

Located in Mill Gap, the Ruritans maintain this five acre facility that includes a picnic shelter, restrooms, softball field, basketball court and children’s play area.

 

The Needles Eye

Located two miles south of Monterey, this facility is a privately-owned nine-hole golf course.

 

Highland County Public School

Located in Monterey, this facility houses grades K-12 and has ball fields and gymnasiums available for sports activities.

 

Highland Park

Located adjacent to the public school, this proposed multi-use facility includes a pool, athletic fields and cycling and pedestrian facilities.

 

Organizations and Clubs

 

The Highland Center

The Highland Center was established as a non-profit organization in early 1998.  It has grown into a multi-purpose community and business incubator that promotes economic, cultural, and community development in Highland County and the surrounding region.  Community and cultural development are nurtured through maintaining space for public events, providing a home for community organizations (Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Highland County Arts Council, and Highland Senior Center), and offering support and development services.

The building was originally constructed in 1922 and stands as an historic landmark.  The Center is committed to preserving the historical integrity of the building and combining its preservation with regional development.  In 2001, it was listed on the Virginia Register of Historic Places, and in 2002 received designation on the National Register of Historic Places. 

 

The Center facilitates business counseling and free technical assistance services are provided by SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and SBDC (Small Business Development Center) to start-up and existing businesses.

 

The Center’s food-based business initiatives include an inspected commercial kitchen, seasonal farmer’s market, and technical assistance for food and agricultural based businesses.  Together with many partners, the Center has brought forward a regional Ag Center project – a USDA inspected slaughter facility that will give livestock producers the ability to realize increased income through value-added sales.

 

Other programs include the Youth Employment Program, which gives actual work experience as well as employment and life-skills training to local youth.

 

The Center has developed extensive partnerships with local organizations and economic development agencies.

 

The Center is embarking on a major renovation of its building and facilities, with the intention of preserving the historical integrity of the building itself for future generations and upgrading the building to improve its mission of promoting economic, cultural, and community development.  As part of the renovation, the Center is developing a conference/retreat space that will draw businesspeople and other professionals into the area all year round, adding business for local restaurant and lodging establishments, increasing employment opportunities, and injecting needed income into the local economy.  In addition, the conference/retreat component will add income to the Center’s operations, increasing its sustainability for the future.

 

Highland County Chamber of Commerce

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce works to preserve, promote and assist businesses in the community.  The Chamber serves as a resource for inquiries related to business opportunities, tourism, and relocation of families and businesses.

 

The following is a list of its primary functions:

• Community support

• Economic development

•Information resource

• Educational partnerships

• Regional partnerships

• Networking opportunities

• Legislative lobbying

 

The Highland County Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Highland Maple Festival, an annual event that attracts upwards of 30,000-50,000 people, as well as the Hands & Harvest Fall Festival and Wintertide Weekend.  The Chamber also co-sponsors the Highland County Fair and McDowell Heritage Days. 

 

Throughout much of the 20th century, events and festivals were the driving force behind the tourist industry in Highland County.  In 2000, the Chamber re-defined its marketing strategies and began promoting Highland County as a year round tourist destination.  The Board of Supervisors matched funds from Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce to produce a county brochure designed specifically to attract tourists to the area. 

 

In 2001, Virginia’s Western Highlands Travel Council (a partnership that includes Allegheny, Bath, and Highland Counties) initiated an eco-tourism project that markets the region to birders, wildflower enthusiasts, hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders. 

 

 The Chamber has also partnered with the Valley Conservation Council to secure funding through the Transportation Enhancement Program to:

 

• Study the historic significance of the Staunton-to-Parkersburg Turnpike;

 

• Develop the Staunton-to-Parkersburg Turnpike as a tourist destination by publishing an interpretive driving tour brochure;

 

• Collaborate with the Highland Historical Society to fund a museum/interpretive center for the Turnpike and the McDowell Battlefield (Highland Museum and Heritage Center);

 

• And, to develop walking tours of the towns of Monterey and McDowell that both highlight local history and culture and also direct tourist traffic to retailers and restaurants. 

 

An increasing number of visitors are attracted to Highland County each year for its unspoiled beauty, rich Civil War history, outdoor recreational opportunities (with bird watching, topping the list), festivals and events.  Tourism is a steady-growth industry in the region, with Highland County welcoming an average of two new tourist-related businesses per year for much of the past decade. 

 

Virginia Cooperative Extension

The mission of Virginia Cooperative Extension is to enable people to improve their lives through an educational process that uses scientific knowledge focused on issues and needs.  Areas of emphasis are:  agriculture and natural resources, 4-H youth development, and family & consumer sciences.

 

Programming efforts in agriculture and natural resources address a broad range of problems from traditional agricultural management and production issues in livestock and crops, to farm business management, farm labor, soil and water conservation, environmental issues, pesticide applications, forestry and other natural resources, commercial and consumer horticulture, water quality, and skin cancer prevention.

 

 4-H is a comprehensive youth development program for youth between the ages of 5 and 18 engaged in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of adult or teen 4-H volunteers trained by 4-H agents.  4-H members learn how to:  make decisions, manage resources, work with others, and utilize effective communication skills. 

 

Family and Consumer Sciences programming is focused around three broad areas:  nutrition and wellness; financial management, housing and consumer education; and family and human development.

 

Virginia Cooperative Extension is an educational service of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, Virginia’s land-grant institutions, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and local governments cooperating.

 

Monterey Lions Club

The Monterey Lions Club was formed on September 17, 1941 with 18 charter members.  The club now has approximately 35 members.  All Lions clubs share the motto “We Serve” and all clubs are committed to building a brighter future for their communities.  Traditionally, the Lions Clubs main mission was helping people with sight and hearing problems but it has grown to include many other projects and services.

 

The club is very involved with the community and its members actively participate in local events such as the Maple Festival and Highland County Fair.

The club hosts Bingo throughout the year and the Ground Hog Supper in February and a street dance in Monterey in July.  These fundraisers not only support sight and hearing conservation but enable the club to support other local groups and organizations for example: two $1000.00 scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors from Highland High School each year.  These activities also provide fellowship for its members and provides each member an opportunity to work toward making their community better through service.

 

Mill Gap Ruritan Club

The Mill Gap Ruritan Club was chartered in 1960 as part of Ruritan National, which has over 33,000 members in 24 states enjoying the spirit of fellowship, goodwill and community service.

 

The club is a generous supporter of Highland 4-H through camp scholarships and support of young livestock growers.  It gives numerous scholarships to college students each year.  It also supports the Highland Medical Center, fire and rescue squads in Highland and Pocahontas counties and the public library.

 

All told, the club supports over 30 organizations each year.  Honoring veterans is a special focus of the club.  In an ongoing project, the club has created an archive of Highland County veterans which is available at the Highland Public Library.

 

Blue Grass Ruritan Club

The Blue Grass Ruritan Club was chartered on April 15, 1952 with 29 members.  It still has two charter members active in the club.  The goal of the club is to make their community a better place to live and to assist those who are in need.  Each Maple Festival the club serves up buckwheat cakes and pancakes along with maple syrup, sausage and homemade sausage gravy at their location in Blue Grass.  The proceeds from this fundraiser go towards scholarships to deserving seniors at Highland High School, Highland 4-H, the Medical Center and local fire and rescue.

 

Other groups and organizations also receive support and the club often sponsors benefit dinners for those in the community who have experienced a health crisis.  Another ongoing project of the club is the necessity to replace the existing windows in their facility located in Blue Grass with energy saving windows.

 

Bolar Ruritan Club

The Bolar Ruritan Club was formed in 1954 and is committed to making the community a better place to live and work.  The club has twenty-six active members and seven associate members.  Meetings are held in the Ruritan Hall at 7:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

 

The members strive to promote fellowship, good will and to meet the needs of the community in both Bath and Highland counties.  The club participates in Highland’s annual Maple Festival and county fair.  Funds raised in these two events are reinvested in their neighbors through college scholarships and financial support for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H and numerous other organizations.  The Ruritan Hall is available for community use.  It is the regular meeting place for the Bath-Highland Bird Club and has served as a training location for both

4-H and EMT classes.

 

Stonewall Ruritan Club

The Stonewall Ruritan Club was chartered in October, 1951 and still has two active charter members.  Ruritan clubs serve America with fellowship, goodwill and community service in urban areas, small towns and rural areas.  The Stonewall club also conducts fundraisers at the Maple Festival and fair each year.  The proceeds maintain a historic old school house that serves as a meeting place for the club, a Mennonite church and the community.

 

The Ruritan grounds also include a regulation softball field, playground and basketball court that is available to area citizens.  The club supports area youth at the Highland County Fair 4-H and FFA Livestock Show and Sale, through several college scholarships and through donations to the FFA, 4-H and other clubs.  The club also supports the local fire and rescue squads, Hunters for the Hungry, radio WVLS and other worthy caused in the county.

 

Highland SPCA

The Highland SPCA was founded in 1997 by a small group of citizens concerned with the humane treatment of stray animals and the prevention of further strays.  Not affiliated with the American SPCA, the Highland SPCA is a private corporation which contracts with the county to operate the county animal shelter.  The goal is to get as many stray animals as possible happily adopted through advertising in The Recorder and to be as near as possible to a no-kill facility.

 

The Highland SPCA is supported mainly by The Attic, a local shop where generously donated items are resold at very moderate prices.  Proceeds from this fundraiser have enabled the pursuit of the second goal of preventing stray animals.

 

Highland Arts Council

The Highland County Arts Council is a non-profit membership organization formed to promote the arts and to provide cultural enrichment for the community.  Activities include organizing public concerts, hanging art shows at the library regularly, providing plays through its community theatre group, and sponsoring various classes and events.  The Arts Council organizes the Art and Photography Show at the County Fair each year.  It also provides summer drama and arts camps for students, brings professional performances to the school system annually, and provides one or two scholarships per year to high school seniors planning to pursue their study of the Arts. 

 

Monterey Garden Club

Formed in 1927, the Monterey Garden Club hosts a house and garden tour in July of even-numbered years.  With the proceeds of this event, the club buys plants to beautify the park in front of the courthouse in Monterey and makes donations to the library, rescue squad, medical center and more.

 

The club conducts additional fundraising to send one or more middle school students per year to one or more 4-H camps.  Club members also work with the county fair committee every year to organize the floriculture and horticulture exhibits at the fair.

 

Highland Historical Society

The Highland Historical Society is comprised of people who have a deep, abiding interest and compassion for Highland County and her history. The membership includes local people as well as those who live outside the county and state borders. Many members grew up in Highland County and have since moved away. In some other instances, members recall visiting family members that lived here. Still, there are those members who have simply passed through and fell in love with its character and have joined as a way to connect themselves with Highland County.

 

The Highland Historical Society is the parent organization of the Highland County Museum and Heritage Center. The society acquired the property in 2001, embarked upon a rehabilitation project, and opened the museum in 2005. The museum is open to the public on a regular schedule and by appointment.  Plans are under way to outfit one of the museum’s rooms as the family history research room.

 

A board of directors governs the society. They meet once a month to do the organization’s business. All other positions in the organization are volunteers, except the executive director, who is hired to man the day-to-day responsibilities of the society and the museum.

 

Volunteers are a critical component for the Highland Historical Society. Volunteers serve as greeters, educators and docents at the museum. Volunteers are also needed to help catalog and care for museum items, help in the museum gift shop, keep the building and grounds well-maintained, and to assist researchers in the soon-to-be open family history research room. Other volunteers are engaged to help with the organization’s special events like McDowell Battlefield Heritage Days.

 

McDowell Battlefield Heritage Days is held every other year in May, on the weekend closet to the anniversary of the Battle of McDowell. It is the largest authentic campaigner reenactment in the United States. Nearly 1,000 military and civilian reenactors are invited to participate at McDowell. They are all screened using the strictest guidelines.

 

The village is set to look like it would have in 1862 when the troops were occupying the village. In addition to historic first- and third-person interpretation throughout the village, there are lectures on various Civil War topics in the McDowell Presbyterian Church (which was used as a hospital at the time of the battle), a wreath-laying ceremony, and exhibits at the Highland County Museum and Heritage Center.

 

On Saturday afternoon of the event, military reenactors produce a military tactical demonstration to illustrate what may have taken place in some of the 1862 Shenandoah Valley battles. The event typically ends on Sunday morning at a 1860s church service at McDowell Presbyterian.

 

Bath-Highland Bird Club

The Bath-Highland Bird Club was formed in May of 2002.  The organization’s mission is to promote conservation, education and community activities relating to the preservation and study of the unique bird population in the counties of Bath and Highland.

 

The club worked with the Highland Chamber of Commerce and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to help launch the Mountain Area section of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.  The group also has plans to establish a scholarship to be offered to students of Bath and Highland High Schools who are pursuing studies in wildlife related fields.

 

Youth Organizations

Highland offers many opportunities for youth activities, primarily through volunteer organizations.  The recreation commission offers Little League, T-ball, soccer and other organized activities.  4-H offers three community clubs as well as their in-school activities.  There are local Boy and Girl Scouts of America organizations.  Area churches offer a LOGOS program.  The Arts Council offers opportunities to children and there is a youth clogging group. 

 

Social Services

 

Highland County Department of Social Services

Located in Monterey, the department of social services offer benefit programs that include Food Stamps, Medicaid and fuel/cooling assistance.  These benefits are based on income and resource eligibility.  Service programs include adult services, adult protective services, child protective services, day care services, foster care and adoption.  Pursuant to the Comprehensive Services Act, an inter-disciplinary team that accepts referrals for Highland at-risk youth and their families, including but not limited to counseling, treatment and mentoring.  The department also makes referrals to other area/regional agencies as needed.

 

Childcare

Highland is currently without a public childcare facility so local parents seek out private individuals for this service.  A feasibility study may be conducted over the next several years to determine if a certified facility is economically viable.

 

Valley Program for Aging Services

This area agency on aging for Planning District 6 targets those 60 years old and older in the greatest economic or social need.  The agency currently serves 17.8% of Highland’s senior population as compared to less than 4% in most other jurisdictions. 

 

Services include information, assistance and case management and the operation of the Highland County Senior Center.  The senior center includes congregate meals, disease prevention, health promotion, socialization, recreation and transportation.  In home services include personal care, Meals on Wheels, disease prevention and health promotion.  Other services include long term care ombudsman and legal assistance.

VPAS completes a nutritional survey every year on all clients who receive Meals on Wheels or meals at the senior center.  Survey results indicate Highland seniors are at the highest nutritional risk of any in the VPAS service area.  To address this risk, the agency has increased the number and kind of disease prevention and health promotion programs offered at the senior center.  These programs are designed to improve their quality of life by promoting healthy lifestyles.

 

VPAS’ goal is to make services available to the target population of at-risk seniors.  This must start by addressing the need for transportation.  Several areas in the county have not been served by transportation services to the senior center.  Federal, state and local government financial support for these services will not keep pace with the demand for services.

 

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

Highland County Chapter

Located at the Word of Faith Church in Monterey, this local chapter distributes food boxes to Highland families and individuals who are in need or in crisis.  In 2004, food was distributed to 29 households each month.  These households represent 85 individuals, 42 of whom were children under age 18.

 

Highland Evangelistic Association

A collection of local church representatives, this group provides assistance to individuals and families based on need.

 

Boards and Commissions

 

Board of Supervisors

This board enacts ordinances, manages the fiscal and municipal affairs of the county, acquires and sells property, builds and maintains public facilities, preserves public safety, ensures the safe construction of houses and levies taxes.

 

Board of Zoning Appeals

This board, appointed by the Highland  County Circuit Court, reviews applications for variances to the zoning code, hears questions regarding district boundaries, and reviews decisions made by the zoning administrator or other administrative officer.

 

Electoral Board

This board, appointed by the Highland County Circuit Court, conducts general and special elections and provides voter registrar and election information.

 

Economic Development Authority

This board’s purpose is to promote industry and develop trade by inducing manufac-turing, industrial, governmental, non-profit and commercial enterprises to locate or stay in the area.

 

Planning Commission

The Highland County Planning Commission was established pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-2210 to assist the Highland County Board of Supervisors and the Monterey Town Council to accomplish the following objectives:  improve the public health, safety, convenience and welfare of Highland County citizens; plan for the future development of Highland County to the end that transportation systems are carefully planned; assure that any new community centers be developed with adequate highway, utility, health, educational and recreational facilities; assure that the need for mineral resources and the needs of agricultural, industry and business are recognized in future growth; assure that residential areas are provided with healthy surroundings for family life; assure that agricultural and forestal lands are protected; and assure that the growth of the community is consonant with the efficient and economical use of public funds.  Primary tools used with regularity by the Planning Commission are the Highland County and Town of Monterey Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, and Comprehensive Plan.

 

Media Communications

 

Allegheny Mountain Radio

The Allegheny Mountain Radio Network operates three non-profit public radio stations. WVMR-AM, WVLS-FM, WCHG-FM and a translator located at Durbin, WV ties together the counties of Pocahontas, Highland and Bath.  All stations have generator back-up and are linked to the emergency alert system.

 

The Pocahontas Communications Cooperative board of directors is responsible for the radio network which works closely with the local emergency services agencies.  The network can be on the air 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency if requested to do so by local authorities.  As a daily service, the radio stations provide local, state and national news, local weather and a community calendar.  The stations also promote local arts organizations and provide entertainment.

 

The Recorder

The Recorder is an independently owned newspaper established in 1877. It is the legal paper of record for Bath and Highland counties, published each Thursday, with an average 5,000-circulation subscriber base.  The paper publishes three to five seasonal sections anually to promote the region. Weekly coverage is primarily local in nature, with a focus on government, education, special events, sports, features, area history, a calendar of events, obituaries, classified, public notices, a community message board, and commentary. It has been repeatedly recognized statewide and nationally for quality journalism.  The Recorder maintains a website at www.TheRecorderOnline.com, where breaking news alerts are posted through RSS feeds, and archived copies of all stories are available dating back to 2007. Microfilm of older sections is donated to the Library of Virginia and the Highland County Public Library in Monterey, for public research.  Offices are located in Monterey, Highland County and Mitchelltown in Bath County.


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