Archive for November 29th, 2017

Of interest … Ware County , GA

Excerpts from 

A Georgia mom said she was heartbroken when no one showed up at her autistic son’s 7th birthday.

“He kept saying his friends were just getting ready, going to get presents, that’s why they were late,” Amanda Bridges said, adding that her son invited everyone in his class.

When Holden realized none of his classmates showed up to his party, he started crying. So his father did the first thing he could think of – he flagged down a passing fire truck and asked Ware County firefighters if they could stop by the party.

The firefighters ended up showing up in a fire truck, along with several EMTs, two ambulances, and several police officers. They brought Holden presents, a fireman’s hat, and a badge.

“He was super excited,” Ware County Fire Lt. Drew Mccarthy said. “His daddy said he always wanted to be a firefighter, so that made it special.”

Now, Holden also wants to be a police officer and EMT.

Amanda said what could have been a lonely birthday for Holden became one of his most memorable.

“We were all crying, it was very emotional for all of us,” Amanda said. “My son has always been my hero, but they are our new heroes.”

In a Facebook post, Amanda thanked all the emergency personnel who showed up at her son’s birthday party. The post has been liked and shared thousands of times.

“They didn’t do it for any rewards or recognition,” she said, “they did it out of the kindness of their hearts.”

From Amanda Bridges’ Facebook page:

The Ware County Firefighters, Police Officers, and EMTs will always have a special place in this momma’s heart. When no one showed up at my Autistic son’s party, my husband had to leave due to being upset himself, but also because he couldn’t find his phone which he thought was at our nearby house. While he was out, he saw a fire truck and flagged it down. He explained to the firemen the situation with Holden’s party and asked if they could stop by. The firemen stated that they would love to, but they had to get permission first. Well, when they showed up, it was beyond our wildest imagination. They had called in some more reinforcements and brought a police officer and emts. The firemen even brought him a birthday gift. Holden said the firefighters are his heroes and they brought him the best birthday gift ever!! He now wants to be a firefighter, police officer, and emt when he grows up. Thank you Ware County fire, police, and emt departments!! You guys made a little boy’s bad day into a memorable one with all the adults in tears!!

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Consolidation of fire districts in McHenry County

Excerpts from the

The four fire protection districts in the North Quad are working toward a functional consolidation of their departments that would provide benefits in coverage and mutual equipment purchases and discussed initial forays, during a Nov. 18 meeting of the district’s chiefs and members from their respective boards of trustees.

Each district would maintain its distinct identity, and an exploratory committee is the next step.

“The operative word is functional and not meant as a total consolidation,” said Spring Grove Fire Protection District Chief Rich Tobiasz. “Our taxes, boards, companies, and equipment would still reflect four separate units … we can do more things together that would benefit us all together such as training, sharing staff, and purchasing equipment.

The North Quad is composed of McHenry County fire protection districts in Spring Grove, Richmond, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood, and Wonder Lake. The grouping has been together for more than a dozen years, and the new name would come under the heading of “North Fire Alliance.”

“Its basic purpose is that we’re all in the same boat, and the quad approach is such a benefit,” said Richmond Fire Protection District  Chief Rick Gallas. “When Richmond gets a call, the other three departments get the same call, they hear what we hear, and have a pre-planned operation mode for action, as needed. It’s four departments coming together as one, and the immediacy makes it effective.”

The concept had been discussed informally, for a number of months, and took shape  Nov. 18 at Spring Grove’s headquarters. Meetings between the four districts are held every other month with Tobiasz, Gallas, Hebron-Alden-Greenwood District Chief Thomas Linneman, and Skip Sorensen of the Wonder Lake District in attendance. Topics are varied and related to the service calls, ranging from dispatching to auto-aid.

Tobiasz noted, “Let’s say Wonder Lake needs 20 air-packs, Spring Grove needs 16, Richmond needs 18 … the price break on that amount by purchasing together would save funds. Other things like having an opening in one district, staff could cover from the other district, as needed.”

The current plan is for the chiefs and trustees to return to their respective boards, which will meet during November and December and getting a better reference point. 

The next meeting for the North Quad units is slated for January 2018.

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Bartlett Fire Protection District news (more)

Excerpts from the

Though Bartlett Fire Protection District trustees have already discussed the service cuts they’d make if voters reject a tax-hike proposal via a March 20 referendum, they have yet to decide the exact percentage of the requested increase. That decision is scheduled for their next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the district’s headquarters, 234 N. Oak Ave. in Bartlett. They believe that’s when they’ll have the most up-to-date financial information ahead of the referendum filing deadline on Jan. 2.

Last April, 59.5 percent of voters rejected a requested 19.5 percent tax-levy increase.

While discussing the financial consequences of that vote during the summer, trustees said that not having detailed information on service cuts may have been a weakness of the information campaign for the referendum. And because the service cuts they said are necessary without a tax hike are so significant, the trustees opted to try one more time at the polls before implementing them.

Fire Chief Michael Falese told trustees the district’s core financial issue is its increasing volume of calls combined with its extremely low tax rate in comparison to other fire districts. Without a sufficient tax increase to maintain today’s level of service, Falese recommended reducing the number of responders firefighters per shift from 14 to 11.

The three per shift who would be cut are the one paid-on-premises firefighter and two private contractors who provide a lower-cost supplement to the 10 more experienced union employees and their battalion chief.

Because the district’s three engines and two ambulances require a specific number of people, the only way to reduce staffing effectively is to take a whole vehicle out of operation — in this case, an engine, Falese said.

As a result, the recommended cuts also would entail closing one of the district’s three stations on a rotating basis throughout the year.

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