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Flagpole to salute late South Boston mayor’s memory

The recently completed flag structure at Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston will be dedicated to late South Boston Mayor Carroll Thackston at 5 p.m. on Monday prior to the joint meeting of South Boston and Halifax town councils and the Halifax County Board of Supervisors.

The board of supervisors adopted the joint resolution at its April 1 meeting, and the town plans to present a plaque to the Thackston family Monday afternoon at Oak Ridge Cemetery during a ceremony to dedicate the new flagpole.

A joint resolution by the county supervisors and South Boston and Halifax town councils has been adopted by each jurisdiction and will be presented to the Thackston family during the joint meeting that gets under way at 6 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the Mary Bethune office complex in Halifax.

Also on Monday night’s joint meeting agenda is a presentation from Halifax County Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985.

According to County Administrator Jim Halasz, they recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. Accordingly, the Los Angeles Fire Department decided that some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of citizens to survive and to safely help others until responders or other assistance could arrive.

In 1994, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded the CERT program nationwide.

In 2001, Citizen Corps was launched as a grassroots strategy to strengthen community safety and preparedness through increased civic participation.

CERT is a critical program in the effort to engage everyone in America in making their communities safer, more prepared and more resilient when incidents occur, Halasz said.

Halifax County Emergency Services has gained tremendous community support to implement a local CERT program. The department is seeking permission and authorization to implement the program.

Emergency Services is currently working with businesses and non-governmental organizations to purchase the necessary start-up equipment, the county administrator said.

Saunders is expected to ask supervisors to approve him to move forward with the implementation of a local CERT program.

Following the joint meeting with both Halifax and South Boston town councils, the supervisors are expected to reconvene in a meeting to get an update on changes to budget revenue and expenditures.

County Finance Director Stephanie Jackson and the county administrator are expected to provide a brief update to the board regarding some changes to a few expenditures and revenues in the proposed $87 million 2014 county budget.

These changes and additional information should assist the board in making a final determination of budget expenses for the May 6 meeting.

Following budget discussion, supervisors are expected to go into closed session if needed.