WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Thanks to a new grant secured through the Wythe-Bland Foundation, the Wythe County Parks & Recreation Department will be launching a pilot afterschool program at Sheffey Elementary School this coming year.

Project leaders say they can accept up to 40 participants in the afterschool program on a first to sign up basis. The three days per week program is slated to begin immediately following the end of the school day and will lasting until 6 p.m. Lasting 12 weeks, the program will place an emphasis upon health and nutrition education through fun activities and games.

“Sheffey Elementary School was selected due to alarming health statistics among the student population,” said Kevin Williams, director of Parks & Recreation for Wythe County.

“Students just aren’t getting the level of exercise they need to be getting – not just here in Wythe County, but across the nation. We hope that this program will instill healthy habits that will go with that child for a lifetime,” added Williams.

If successful, regional leaders may look at extending the program to other schools in the county.

The afterschool program will utilize the newly renovated space of the Sheffey Elementary School’s enhanced facilities.

Supervisor Coy McRoberts, who lobbied for the building improvements said he is happy to see the facility put to good use, stating, “This program will be good for the working families of the community and I’m happy to finally see it implemented.”

According to Jeremy T.K. Farley, Wythe County’s grant coordinator, the pilot program has been a dream of several individuals in the healthcare community.

“This project is a joint endeavor, made possible by the work of several agencies and individuals,” said Farley, who went on to express his gratitude to the Wythe-Bland Foundation for offering financial assistance in launching the program.

County officials say that students will be given information regarding the project next month and that the free program will begin in February of 2015.

In the meantime, the parks and recreation department is seeking a part-time director for the afterschool program. The right candidate will be expected to manage and supervise the afterschool program, facilitate activities to achieve program goals and ensure the safety and security of students, staff, and school property during the after school program.

In addition to seeking a part-time director, county leaders are also reaching out to community volunteers, ages 16 and older, who wish to assist in facilitating the program.

Individuals interested in serving as program director or as a volunteer are encouraged to contact Kevin Williams, 276-223-4519 or [email protected].

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – The Wythe County Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting a Christmas Crafts Class on Saturday, December 13, at the Rural Retreat Community Center.

According to Kevin Williams, director of the county’s Parks & Recreation programs, the two-hour event will last from 10 a.m. to noon and will feature three separate crafts: Music Paper Christmas Tree, Snowman Luminaries and a Winter Mini-Wreath.

The class will be led by instructor Ava Creger, owner of The Paper Nest Studio.

Local residents interested in participating are encouraged to register immediately, as space is limited and the deadline for registering has been set for Friday, December 5.

Participation in the class is open to all residents 13 or older.

To register for this event, please call 276-223-4519 or e-mail [email protected].

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Youth Basketball Set to Begin in Wythe County

WYTHEVILLE, Va. – With football season now complete, Wythe County Parks & Recreation leaders turn their attention to youth basketball for fourth and fifth grade boys and girls.

The youth basketball season is set to begin this coming Monday, with games played inside the newly constructed gymnasium at Sheffey Elementary School.

Teams for this year’s JV-boys’ basketball league include the Max Meadows Pioneers, Rural Retreat Indians – Orange, Rural Retreat Indians – Black and Sheffey Wildcats.

The JV-girls’ league will include teams from the Max Meadows Elementary School, Sheffey Elementary School and the Rural Retreat Elementary School, as well as two teams from the Town of Wytheville’s Parks & Recreation Department.

The youth season for both boys and girls will conclude with a single elimination tournament held in mid-December.

The youth basketball season for local students in the sixth and seventh grades will begin in January.

Signups for sixth and seventh graders are ongoing and interested participants are encouraged to contact their local booster club or the Wythe County Parks & Recreation Office at 276-223-4518.

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WYTHEVILLE, Va. – Wythe County Code Enforcement Officer A.B. Dunford is warning local hunters that improperly disposing of animal carcasses is a crime punishable by up to twelve-months in jail and $2,500.

Dunford says the class-I misdemeanor is part of the Code of Virginia and that his office is aggressively enforcing littering violations.

According to the veteran law enforcement officer, each autumn, countless deer carcasses are illegally dumped along roadways, in right-of-ways and on private property; creating an eyesore, foul odor and public health risk.

“Instead of illegally dumping the carcasses of harvested deer, hunters need to either bury or cremate the remains of the animals,” said Dunford, adding that the Wythe & Bland County Transfer Station, located at 169 Kents Lane, just outside of Progress Park, is also accepting deer carcasses; however, Dunford stated that there is a fee attached to disposing of game at the transfer station.

In recent months, Wythe County has launched an anti-littering campaign, aimed at curbing illegal dumping.

Aiding officers in the campaign are hidden cameras placed throughout the county’s high traffic dumping areas. Thus far, code enforcement officers have successfully secured several convictions for illegal dumping, including one within the past month.

With tens of thousands of acres in national forest lands, county tourism leaders say that large game hunting is a proud tradition of the community and something they fully support, but add that hunters have a responsibility to their neighbors to properly dispose of their harvested game.

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