Schools, fire departments give update to Cumberland Board of Supervisors

Published 3:06 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

On Tuesday, April 11, the Cumberland Board of Supervisors heard from county agencies on what happened in March and their plans going forward.

Up first was the school district staff, which put a spotlight on several projects and events happening with Cumberland High students. 

The Cumberland High track team, for example, co-hosted the 804 run invitational with Varina High School. During the event, 24 divisions participated with an estimated 450 in attendance. 

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The Cumberland High School Theater also put on a performance of “The Dark Beyond the Door.” 

“We have some very talented students,” said Cumberland superintendent Dr. Chip Jones. “(A) shout out to Mr. and Mrs. Haugh for writing the script. I saw the Friday evening performance and it was one of the best I’ve seen.”

Teachers and staff also held some notable accomplishments over the last month. That included Cumberland Middle School counselor Emily Ellinhausen, who was highlighted by Virginia State Parks for visiting all the state parks across the Commonwealth in one year. The Southside Regional Technology Consortium, meanwhile, recognized Ashley Postans with the instructional support award and Lisa Cortazar as the technology teacher and high school senior Steven Gills with a technology support award. 

Cumberland Library keeps moving forward

At the Cumberland Public Library, the main focus is to keep daily operations going and fortunately there is a new part-time employee to help with staff scheduling. 

This part-time support was hired to help with back office operations. The library board plans to propose outsourcing the back office work eventually, to take care of accounting and other financial responsibility instead of putting that on the new director. This position will work an estimated three to four hours per day. 

“Today a library director may have a masters of library science and it’s very unlikely that they will have payroll, accounting type background,” said John Newman, treasurer of the board.

The library is implementing new security measures, Newman told supervisors, including an alarm system that sends an alert to employees’ phones when tripped. They also have more camera access with two existing security cameras and three more to be added. There is a need to update the computers as the systems are not keeping up as they used to as technology keeps advancing. 

As to filling the librarian position, there are currently two candidates, with one resume turned in at the time of the meeting. It’s a very competitive market, Newman said, as Appomattox, Amelia and Charlotte counties are all looking for librarians and are paying more. At their next meeting, the library board will take another look at the qualifications they’re requesting for applicants, in hopes of filling the position as soon as possible. 

Fire and EMS

Also at the April 11 meeting, Fire Chief Andy Aigner reported the March statistics for Cumberland County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). 

EMS responded to 107 calls for the month and had an average of 12 minute response time, 20 minute on scene time and 32 minute hospital time. The average total for each call fell between an hour and an hour and 45 minutes. This month, 56% of patients were transported and 23040 remained the busiest zip code. Cumberland Volunteer Fire Station was the busiest with 31 calls as Randolph had 19 and Cartersville had 10. 

Aigner continues to meet with the volunteer fire chiefs to get all the stations on the same page. This month, they met for four hours remapping the districts to get the closest stations to the scenes. They ranked stations, detailing who would be called out first in each situation and then who gets a call in case that first station is not available. 

They also worked to define nature codes for EMS and fire response for a better handle for who gets dispatched for calls.

“Now with the new system that we’ll be able to go to, once we can get everything defined and uploaded, the catalog will recommend the closest fire station, the closest ambulance and the closest rescue unit so we can send that special piece on dispatch so that we don’t delay those types of pieces,” said Aigner. 

Aigner said he and the volunteer fire chiefs will continue to look at the best ways to respond as fast as possible to situations by monitoring data of calls and moving things around as needed.