Richmond County commissioners to consider health grant application

By: By Gavin Stone - Staff Writer

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s waistline will be on the agenda next Tuesday when the Board of Commissioners considers approving a grant application for new equipment designed to help county employees stay active during the grueling eight-hour workday.

The Richmond Community Foundation has offered to fund the Sit Less Work Health grant to purchase exercise ball chairs, yoga mats to be used in classes and standing desks for the eight employees of the county Cooperative Extension office. Their health progress will be measured as part of a study by Janice Roberts, a family and consumer sciences agent with the Extension who focuses on nutrition.

If the Extension employees show improvements in their health, Roberts will take the equipment and classes “on the road” to other county departments and businesses interested in improving wellness in their offices, according to Extension Director Susan Kelly.

“We’re going to be the guinea pigs,” Kelly said. “Once (Roberts) sees successes, she can share (the wellness programs) with others.”

The summary of Kelly’s presentation to the board states: “Research suggests that regular exercise does not eliminate the negative health problems caused by sitting at work all day.” The county allows county employees 30 minutes a day for exercise as long as it’s not at the beginning or the end of the day, but “then we go sit for another four hours,” Kelly said.

The equipment will cost $5,068.71, which will be covered by the Foundation. No matching funds from the county are required, according to the summary of Kelly’s presentation.

In a column published in the Daily Journal on March 1, Roberts argued that exercise is “for everybody, not only for the fit.”

“You should exercise because you were designed to be active!” Roberts wrote. “Our bodies were not made to sit down all day, but somehow we designed our whole lives around sitting down.”

She recommends that instead of a 30-minute exercise break, people should do three 10-minute exercise sessions throughout the day at moderate intensity.

Other business on the agenda for Tuesday will be public comment from representatives of the Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, a public hearing for a Community Development Block Grant application, consideration for approval of a new member of the Health and Human Services Advisory Board and consideration for approval of reselling four properties purchased by the county after foreclosure.

Kim McCall, secretary for the Concerned Citizens, will speak to the board about a complaint having to do with Barnhill Contracting Company and the Mingo Mine Pit. Debra David, treasurer for the Concerned Citizens, will speak about the county’s public comment policy itself.

The Health and Human Services Advisory Board is recommending that the Board of Commissioners appoint Patricia H. Solomon to fill the remainder of former County Manager Rick Sago’s term, which ends in February 2019.

The four foreclosed properties being put up for sale are: 1285 Derby Road with a starting bid of $6,688,83; a Lincoln Street property northwest of Rockingham with a starting bid of $13,231.01; an Airline Street property in East Rockingham with a starting bid of $3,510.23; and a vacant lot on Hamlet Avenue with a starting bid of $2,493.70.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]


By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer