Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Education notebook: Grant targets drunk-driving crashes among young people
More education stories
- Salem Montessori to host open house
- William Fleming, Blacksburg high school seniors honored for community service projects
- Students from Roanoke, New River valleys shine in regional arts competition
- Virginia Western Community College gets geospatial career grant
- 9 Roanoke-area teachers earn board certifications
Roanoke County is one of eight localities in Western Virginia to receive a federal grant to prevent drunken driving among 15- to 24-year-old drivers, U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy announced Tuesday.
"We are not simply going to arrest our way to public safety," he said, during a news conference at the Roanoke County schools administrative offices.
The Prevention Council of Roanoke County will receive about $145,000 each year for three years in the form of a Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant. Franklin County and Roanoke each received $120,000 grants.
The funds will be used to develop an initiative to reduce the county's rate of motor vehicle crashes among 15- to 24-year-olds in which alcohol was a contributing factor.
"This is our youth's number one health problem today," said Judge Philip Trompeter of Roanoke County's Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Roanoke County's rate of alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes for that age bracket is significantly higher than the state's, which is part of the reason the county qualified for the grant, according to Brittany Sandidge of the prevention council. The state's rate in 2008 was 32 crashes (involving alcohol and drivers between the ages of 15 and 24) per 10,000 people, and Roanoke County's is 40.8, Sandidge said.
The council will partner with Virginia Tech during the first year to evaluate data and to better understand drinking and driving behaviors, said Nancy Hans, prevention council director.
"For every dollar we spend on substance abuse prevention, we as a state save $10 on accident, treatment and court costs," Hans said.
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Cave Spring High School's academic team is the AA division winner of the Virginia High School League's Scholastic Bowl. Coach Bob Powers said six or eight students from the southwest Roanoke County team will travel to Atlanta in late May for the national competition.
"It is a first for us. I think it's a first for the county actually," Powers said.
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Sarah Cocowitch, the guidance counselor at East Salem Elementary School, is the Salem school division's 2012 teacher of the year.
A news release from Salem schools describes Cocowitch's job as a blend of social worker and teacher, whose lessons include the pillars of character, communication, teamwork, good manners and promptness.
Cocowitch has worked at East Salem since 2009.
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Locher Grove, a senior at Roanoke's Patrick Henry High School, organized the Noteworthy Music Festival, which is slated for 2 to 9:30 p.m. March 10 at the school. Locher, who attended the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado as a Bezos Scholar last summer, planned the local event to raise funds to purchase instruments for Roanoke's elementary school music programs. The festival will feature more than a dozen bands and admission is $10, Locher said.