News to Use Podcast Transcript: Apr. 3, 2013


Good day, and welcome to the Fairfax County News to Use podcast for April 3, 2013. Coming up, learn about the latest health rankings, a walk for victim’s rights, environmental excellence awards, compost and Tdap vaccines. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at

The fourth annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, released in March by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, indicates that Fairfax County has the healthiest residents in Virginia.According to the 2013 rankings, the five healthiest localities in Virginia, starting with most healthy, are Fairfax County, followed by Loudoun, Arlington, Albemarle and York counties.The County Health Rankings look at the overall health of nearly every locality in all 50 states, using a standard method to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. To learn more about the rankings, visit


Sign up now to walk in the 2013 Crime Victims’ Rights Week sponsored by the Fairfax County Police Department’s Victim Services Unit. The walk will be held at Fairfax Corner on Sunday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m. There will be a resource fair, live jazz and rhythm and blues and a candlelight vigil at the conclusion of the walk. The walk is free. For details and  to register, visit


Do you know someone who’s an environmental champion? You can nominate them for an Environmental Excellence Award from Fairfax County. This award is given to residents, organizations, businesses and county employees who give time and energy to benefit the environment, support county environmental efforts, or who are a role model for others. The nomination deadline is May 31. Nomination forms and more information can be found online at


If you’re a gardener, you’ve heard the term soil amendments, which is really just compost that can be worked into the soil in your flower and vegetable gardens. Compost is organic matter that improves the chemical, physical and biological content of soil. It is not a fertilizer. It’s good food for plants and doesn’t harm the environment.

To make compost, all you have to do is pile up your yard clippings and kitchen scraps, wait a year and you’ve got all the nutrition needed for healthy flowers and vegetables without the expense and potential environmental harm of chemical fertilizers. Compost can be used as a natural pesticide, a soil conditioner, for erosion control and as protection against drought. The nutrients from compost are released slowly, which prevents parasites and groundwater contamination, helps your plants grow and holds water in all types of soil. Less watering means less work for you. You can buy compost at a nursery or a hardware store, or make it yourself. Either way, your flowering plants or vegetables will thrive, your water bill will likely go down, you won’t be making trips to the store to purchase fertilizer and you won’t harm the environment. For more information about composting, call the Stormwater Management team at 703-324-5500, TTY 711, or visit


Finally, the Health Department has again received a free supply of Tdap vaccine, which provides protection against pertussis – better known as whooping cough. Free Tdap vaccine for adults who are 19 and older is now available at the Health Department’s five clinics. The protection against pertussis from childhood vaccination fades over time, which is why adults should get vaccinated if they haven’t already. Getting a Tdap is especially important for pregnant women and adults who will care for or interact with infants because babies are especially vulnerable to whooping cough. Check with your health care provider to learn more, or visit a Health Department clinic. Locations and more information about Tdap vaccine and whooping cough are posted online at

That’s all for this News to Use podcast. Thanks for listening. For more information about the topics in this podcast and for continuous news updates, visit You may also call 703-FAIRFAX, that’s 703-324-7329, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. News to Use is produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia, government.  

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