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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sonoma County Programs Win National Awards

Three Sonoma County Programs Win National Awards
By Jim Toomey

Three Sonoma County programs were selected to receiveAchievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). NACo will present the awards during their national conference, being held July 24th through 29th in Nashville, TN.
The programs being honored are:
- Circles Across Sonoma – Sonoma County Probation Department
- Health Action – Sonoma County Department of Health Services
- Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Sustainability Initiatives – Sonoma County General
Services Department, Energy & Sustainability Division.

Circles Across Sonoma is the nation’s first county-wide implementation of a gender responsive service program for girls involved at all levels of the local juvenile justice system. Program services are built upon the Girls Circle format, a promising practice model recognized by the office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The Circles Across Sonoma Program offers the elegant solution of a consistent, structured, research based program delivered to girls throughout the continuum of juvenile justice, even as they return to their communities and homes. Circles Across Sonoma represents a major step forward in creating a gender responsive system for the Sonoma County. The program has enrolled 456 girls with a remarkable 73.2% completion rate.

Health Action began in 2007 as a health action council sponsored by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS). Health Action’s over-arching mission is community health improvement. Building on widespread interest and commitment, DHS has convened a diverse, multidisciplinary group of key community leaders to identify priority health and health care issues, and to develop specific recommendations on local approaches to promote the health of both the community and the health care deliver system. Since its inception, Health Action has; assessed data on health issues impacting Sonoma County, developed criteria focusing its efforts, developed an initial set of health improvement strategies, received public input on those strategies, and obtained Board of Supervisors approval of its Action plan for 2009 through 2012.

In the arena of climate protection, Sonoma County has created an aggressive and successful program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, motivated by the county’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and to operate in a sustainable way. The program includes a climate protection action plan, an energy project concentrating on facilities and self-generation, and a regional climate committee, comprised of all cities and agencies within the county. Important components of these comprehensive programs include, but are not limited to; collaboration between multiple agencies and jurisdictions on a common goal, the installation of a 1.4 megawatt natural gas fuel cell, the replacement of more than 260 gas powered vehicles with hybrid and electric cars, lighting and water conservation retrofits at facilities, and the creation of an AB 811 program to finance energy efficiency and conservation projects on residential and commercial properties throughout the county.

More information about these programs may be obtained at the following links:
Circles Across Sonoma:

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