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April is National County Government Month – art contest open to students

National County Government Month kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, April 1 and in preparation for the observance, Nye County commissioners gave the thumbs up to a proclamation recognizing the month of April as such in Nye County.

Established by the National Association of Counties, more commonly known as NACo, National County Government Month has been celebrated across the United States since 1991, with this year marking the 30th consecutive observance. The last 12 months of public health crisis have helped to highlight the vital role county governments play in the lives of their residents and Nye County officials were more than happy to be able to shine a spotlight on that role by declaring April as National County Government Month with the theme “Counties Matter”.

“Whereas, the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes and boroughs serving more than 300 million Americans provide essential services to create healthy, safe and vibrant communities; and… counties provide health services, administer justice, keep communities safe, foster economic opportunities and much more; and.. Nye County and all counties take pride in our responsibility to protect and enhance the health, well-being and safety for our residents in efficient and cost-effective ways; and… through National Association of Counties President Gary Moore’s leadership, NACo is demonstrating how ‘Counties Matter’ especially in supporting residents and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic; Whereas each year since 1991 National Association of Counties has encouraged counties across the country to elevate awareness of county responsibilities, programs and services,” the proclamation reads.

“Now, therefore, we, the Nye County Board of County Commissioners, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as National County Government Month and encourage all county officials, schools and residents to participate in county government celebration activities,” the proclamation concludes.

Nye County Commission Chair Debra Strickland said she was quite pleased to be a part of the 2021 observance, noting that the pandemic, though devastating in many ways, has has the positive effect of giving the community the chance to see for themselves just how impactful county government can be.

“Nye County is proud of the programs and services we provide to our residents,” Strickland said of the observance. “This year’s County Government Month theme of ‘Counties Matter’ has been evident in the response to residents’ public health needs during the past year. Everything from helping facilitate testing to vaccinations, and now providing COVID relief funding for small businesses and residents, has highlighted the county’s important and positive impact in people’s daily lives even during the most trying times.”

Of course, while commissioners may be the public-forward faces of local government, Nye County is much more than just the commissioners themselves, with hundreds of employees tasked with various functions all coming together to create the local government that serves the public on a daily basis and Nye County Manager Tim Sutton honed in on the staffers’ importance in the pursuit of service to the community.

“I love County Government Month and the opportunity it provides to recognize, at least once a year, the contributions of county staff. We have an incredible team of dedicated employees here at Nye County who work tirelessly to serve the public,” an obviously gratified Sutton stated when reached for comment. “This past year has definitely been a challenge, but we’ve successfully navigated through the pandemic despite increased workloads, health concerns, COVID prevention protocols and occasional fears of an uncertain future.

“Our No. 1 priority has been to continue providing services to the public even amid shutdowns, closed lobbies, social distancing, sanitizer, masks, hand wipes and plexiglass barriers. That priority remains no matter what comes our way,” Sutton continued. “Our employees have often borne the brunt of the collective frustration with the current political and health crises. In doing so, our staff has remained professional and stalwart, continuing to report to duty day after day. I couldn’t be prouder of our Nye County team. They don’t need me to be, but I am.”

Art contest now open

A new feature to National County Government Month has been launched this year, with an art contest inviting youth to submit original masterpieces with the theme, “I Love My County Because”.

“NACo and county leaders are spreading the word about county roles and responsibilities, which are often unknown or misunderstood. By inviting children and young adults ages 18 and under to create artwork for the 2021-2022 ‘Counties Matter’ calendar, NACo hopes to raise awareness about programs and services that impact people’s lives every day,” information regarding the contest detailed.

All artwork submitted for the contest must reflect some aspect of county government, must be horizontal and measure 11 inches by 8.5 inch, the size of a standard sheet of paper. All submissions must be accompanied by a statement from the artist, completing the sentence, “I love my county because…” and include the artist’s name, age, grade, school, teacher or art teacher and contact information for a guardian or teacher, which needs to be submits as a .doc or .docx file.

The artwork itself needs to be submitted as a JPEG or PDF and will be judged based on creativity, technical skill and the artist’s statement.

The contest is open to all students grades 1 through 12 who are 18 years or younger. The deadline for submission is Monday, May 31 at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time. The winners will be announced in NACo’s publication County News, with their artwork to be displayed the NACo headquarters in Washington, D.C. and featured in the NACo 2021-2022 “Counties Matter” 18-month calendar.

Submissions can be completed online at www.naco.org/art and there is no fee to enter.

Additional information on the contest and its requirements, as well as National County Government Month as a whole can also be found on the NACo website.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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