WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – Each year, thousands of Americans travel to Southwest Virginia in order to enjoy the breathtaking fall foliage offered by the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Many visitors will enjoy Wythe County’s scenic byways, +100 miles of hiking trails and some will dare to climb to the top of Big Walker Lookout, a 100’ high observation tower overlooking the Jefferson National Forest.

In an effort to offer even more autumn-related activities to residents of the community, along with the more than 75,000 motorists who pass through the county each day, the Wythe County Department of Parks & Recreation has partnered with Wythe County Tourism to host a pumpkin carving workshop on Saturday, October 3, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The event will be held at William’s Orchard located on U.S. Rt. 11 (W. Lee Highway) between Rural Retreat and Wytheville.

According to Kevin Williams, Wythe County’s Parks & Recreation Director, the workshop will be anything but your typical pumpkin carving class.

Designated as being “Not Your Ordinary Pumpkin Carving Workshop,” students who attend the three-hour session will learn how to make three-tone pumpkin carvings.

“Most everyone knows how to carve triangles and circles into a pumpkin,” said Williams, “This class will teach people how to actually carve intricate designs into pumpkins and attendees of the class will walk away with the knowledge, tools, patterns and ability to carve awesome pumpkins for the rest of their lives.”

Registration for the class is $30, which will included the cost of a pumpkin, professional carving tools, stencils, materials and hands on instructions.

Williams is advising individuals who may be interested in participating to register as quickly as possible, as the class is limited to only 20 participants. Participants must be at least ten-years-old. Deadline for registering is Wednesday, September 30.

Additional community activities hosted by the county in the month of October will include a Bob Ross Painting Class, which will be held in Rural Retreat. Cost of registering for the painting class has been set at $65 and will cover all materials needed.
To register for either of these events, residents should contact Kevin Williams: (276) 223-4519 or [email protected].

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September is National Preparedness Month

WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” That’s the message emergency managers are sharing with people all over the nation during the month of September.

September is National Preparedness Month and the Wythe County Department of Emergency Management is urging everyone to take steps to make a plan and know what to do during an emergency.

Whether you deal with the possible threats of flooding, winter weather, hurricanes or power outages, the preparedness steps to take are the same. They include:

• Knowing your risk for where you live;
• Having an individual and family preparedness plan in place;
• Practicing that plan;
• Putting together an emergency kit with water and non-perishable supplies to last for at least three days for you, your family and your pets;
• Ensuring that your contact list is up-to-date for people you may need to reach out to during a disaster; and
• Establishing alternative methods of communication in case traditional means are not available.

Additionally, September 30 is “National PrepareAthon Day.” Residents are encouraged to participate by doing a simple, specific action or activity to improve your preparedness and your family’s preparedness; or it can be something more elaborate that involves your neighborhood, your place of worship, your entire workplace or your community.

Visit www.ready.gov or www.ready.gov/prepare for more information on America’s PrepareAthon! You can find tools to stage your own emergency preparedness drills, as well as register any preparedness activities for you or your community.

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – This past week, Wythe County unveiled plans to move forward with a new accounting software which local officials say will play an instrumental role in creating greater accountability, efficiency and transparency in government finances.

The software, Munis Financial, is a product of Tyler Technologies and is used widely throughout the Commonwealth and the nation.

Once fully integrated, the new system will modernize the method with which data is entered – eliminating hundreds of man-hours for numerous county agencies and departments.

“Presently, a host of accounting software systems is being used throughout county government. Due to the differences in software, it is not easy for the county finance department to access the financial records of other governmental agencies funded by the Board of Supervisors,” stated Tim Reeves, Chairman of the Wythe County Board of Supervisors, adding, “By getting everyone on the same software system, we will be able to eliminate many of the obstacles that have existed in previous years. We’re really excited to have the Wythe County Public Schools on board for this much needed update and believe that the tax payers will appreciate the added layer of transparency this move will bring to local government.”

In addition to replacing the Wythe County School Board’s accounting software, the new product will touch several other agencies, including the Animal Control Department, Treasurer’s Office, Commissioner of the Revenue, Department of Social Services and the County Administrator’s Office.

According to local officials, many financial systems being used throughout county government date back to the 1980s or even earlier.

“Not only will this new system allow elected officials easy access to viewing the financial records of each agency receiving money from the general fund, but it will also prove to be a useful tool to the individuals responsible for entering financial data,” said Bruce Grant, Wythe County’s Finance Director.

Grant said that a considerable amount of work being done in many departments involves making calculations and handwriting financial data. The new system, he says, will reduce the risk for human error and allow staff to efficiently track expenditures and revenues.

The system will be implemented in phases, beginning with the school board and county administrator’s office and is projected to be fully realized within two years.

Upon completion, the new system will make tasks such as finding specific paper invoices or tracking the individual costs per school accessible within a few clicks of a mouse – local officials say this will create an added transparency and efficiency for the tax payers.

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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. – The Joint Public Service Authority of Wythe and Bland Counties will be hosting its annual Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Day this month on Saturday, September 26, 2015.

The event, which is open to all Wythe and Bland residents, will be held at the Transfer Station located at 169 Kents Lane in Wytheville from 8 a.m. to noon.

Part of the counties’ initiative to keep Southwest Virginia litter-free, the hazardous waste collection day will provide local residents with an opportunity to dispose of unwanted items that typically are not accepted at local convenience centers – at no cost to the citizen.

Acceptable items include computers and monitors, copiers, TVs, ballasts, fluorescent lights, batteries, paints, poisons and corrosives.

Organizers of the two counties’ household hazardous waste day say the event plays a great role in reducing the risk of environmentally harmful materials being disposed of improperly.

“This event stands as a safeguard to protecting the critical water sources and scenic beauty of our region,” said Jason Kinser, Wythe County’s emergency coordinator and HAZMAT officer.

Officials of the Joint Public Service Authority of Wythe and Bland Counties say that the event will be on a first come, first serve basis (no scheduling or appointments) and that the contractor will have sole discretion over the acceptance or denial of any substance brought to the collection event.

Prohibited items will include all waste from small businesses, commercial or industrial entities (including home-based businesses), as well as explosive, radiological, asbestos or biomedical waste. (Explosives include Dynamite, Nitro Glycerin, Blasting caps, Ammunition, Grenades, Fireworks, etc.)

Residents who have questions concerning the event are encouraged to contact the Joint Public Service Authority at 276-228-4907.

Click here for a complete listing of rules for the event.

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1. The contractor shall have sole discretion over the acceptance or denial of any substance brought to the collection event

2. Waste will not be accepted from company vehicles. NO EXCEPTIONS.

3. No waste will be accepted from small businesses, commercial or industry. This includes businesses run from a residence. NO EXCEPTIONS.

4. Wastes will only be accepted from Wythe and Bland County residents

5. No explosive, radiological, asbestos or biomedical waste will be accepted. NO EXCEPTIONS. Explosives include Dynamite, Nitro Glycerin, Blasting caps, Ammunition, Grenades, Fireworks, etc.

If an explosive is broth to the collection event, the disposal cost will be at the owner’s expense.

6. The collection event will continue until one or both of the following two conditions are met:
A. Time expires for this event. 8 a.m. 12 p.m.
B. The funds allotted are expended.
When a condition is met, collection of waste will cease at that time. Wythe County regrets any in- convenience that may result.

7. Participants shall remain in their vehicles. Trained personnel will remove the chemicals for you. This will help to minimize the risk of an accident involving the participant.

8. Waste will be collected from cars, pickup trucks and mini-vans. No tractor trailers, dump trucks, buses, or pull type trailers will be allowed on the site.

9. No alcoholic beverages or illegal substances will be permitted at the collection event

10. The County of Wythe will not be responsible for any lost or damaged property at this event.

11. The purpose of this event is to safely dispose of as much waste as possible. However, due to time constraints, participant turnout, and funding limits, we regret that all participants may not be able to leave waste as the collection site.