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County gov't. works on economic, mental and social well-being

Monday, June 30, 2014 - Updated: 7:52 AM


Express News Staff

LAKE PLEASANT -- Economic health, mental health and social health are often interrelated, connecting three county departments that may at first seem dissimilar.

Representatives of each updated Hamilton County's town supervisors on what they are doing Monday, June 23.

In Hamilton County, many jobs are directly dependent upon tourism, while others are indirectly affected.

Tourism Director Dean Nervik provided a quarterly report on what he, in conjunction with the Regional Office Of Sustainable Tourism in Lake Placid (ROOST), is doing to promote tourism.

"It has been a positive relationship with ROOST. Our website is under the direction of ROOST but it is our website, and I have been working with them to update it," Nervik said.

He said a new launched in May and, as with any new website, it needs continuous editing and tweaking to get it just right. It includes some new features such as blogs on hiking, canoeing, culture and history, with more to come.

Nervik said social media is now an important component of marketing, and he posts daily on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.


Personal mental health affects not only an individual but also his or her entire family. Poor mental health can affect job performance or be caused by a job or lack of sufficient income.

Community Services Director Robert Kleppang said his department currently has 109 clients. Sixty-nine have been receiving help for over a year, 19 for six months to a year, eight for three to six months, and 13 for three months or less.

The numbers are fairly divided among the towns when prorated for population, he said, with the most clients coming from Indian Lake and the fewest from Morehouse.

Ages 45-54 and 55-64 comprise the greatest percentage of clients at 23 percent each. The lowest, at 4 percent, is ages 13-18.

Kleppang believes the need is greater than the numbers indicate in that group, and hopes schools and parents will be more proactive in referring troubled teens to his office, before problems result in criminal behavior.

He also expressed hope that the county will win a grant that would pay for telepsychiatry services, psychiatric services provided through videoconferencing.


Roberta Bly, commissioner of the Hamilton County Department of Social Services, who often works with Community Services, said she has also been working well with the Sheriff's and Probation departments on child protective services.

She said temporary assistance is up slightly, which has resulted in caseworkers being very busy. "But they have been doing a great job," she said.

Bly also said her office is having good results working with OneWorkSource, which helps teenagers find summer employment. She expects DSS will help at least five teens find jobs in their communities for this summer.


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