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Moving Bedford County Forward!

Every month of the year is busy when you’re the commissioner of Bedford County but this September was especially busy!

September was a particularly accomplished and successful month—full of projects and productivity for our area!

One of the topics Josh Lang has specifically focused on this past month has been youth initiatives, and answering the question: “What makes a place great to live in for both youth and adults?” “For years,” Lang said, “Bedford has struggled with retaining youth in our area and keeping young adults here. And no one has been able to come up with a solution.” However, recently Lang has taken on this youth retention issue with new vigor and bringing new strategies to the underlying approaches that have not delivered much success in the past. Lang has gathered a diverse group of individuals into a committee with the next meeting being held this Thursday in Room 101 at 6:30 pm in the Bedford County Courthouse. The common theme of issues facing young adults in Bedford County are: education, housing, activities, jobs, transportation, and promotion, Lang said the committee has determined.

“But one thing I’ve implemented is the way I’ve structured these meetings —it’s something different called the ‘Adaptive Leadership Model’ by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky from Harvard Business School,” Lang said. The premise of the model is that 90% of a workday is spent in work we already know how to do with a sense of authority called technical work. The other 10% is spent dealing with issues that do not have clear-cut, or long-term answers, and require us to develop solutions. “This means we need to work to come up with new solutions to old problems, and one of those ways is to stop funding studies that give us the same old answers instead of working on setting up new strategies.” Lang believes one way to start this process is to collaborate and “come to the table to overcome the obstacles our area faces—ready to find a way with deep, methodical, deliberate, yet realistic steps while still being able to maintain what we all love about Bedford as it is.”

One comment at the comprehensive planning meeting that stood out to Lang was—despite the issues we face was—“ Bedford County is cool.” And we agree! And we want to keep it that way and build on that foundation!

More exciting news to announce: “The Wall That Heals”—The Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica is being pursued to come to Bedford.

“Ever since I can remember when I was growing up, I had a deep appreciation for veterans, especially following the attacks on September 11, 2001, that really put me over the edge. This has been something on my mind—‘How can we honor Vietnam Vets here in Bedford County?’ All vets we can’t do enough for but I thought of this Vietnam Veterans Wall as a way of bringing together the community. We can get behind this project and be a part of it and make it happen,” Lang said.

Lang took it upon himself to submit the application for “The Wall That Heals” and went to the local Vietnam Veterans Association for their endorsement of the project.

Sponsorships and more formal information will be released soon about this wonderful opportunity for Bedford.

Speaking of great opportunities—a free grant information session was held in September with more than 100 people in attendance at the American Legion in Bedford. Members of the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission worked with Lang to bring the networking event to fruition.

Lang said, “About a dozen exhibitors set up for the session, and lunch was provided. We got a lot of positive comments from many of the attendees.”
For Lang, these programs are part of the promise-keeping he made to the residents of Bedford County—to get things done, to keep us moving in a positive direction, to provide us with resources and strategies to come up with long-term solutions to our issues for the betterment of everyone.

More good news: Josh Lang made the motion in September to approve the proposed Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission’s Broadband Pilot Project. We’re working together with a regional task force to bring high-speed wireless internet and reliable cellular service to even the most rural areas of Bedford County. This ongoing initiative is crucial for the development of our region and Josh Lang is committed to seeing this project through to completion.

In other news, on September 30, Josh Lang spoke at the Republican Fall Dinner held at Whispering Hollow Estate along with keynote speaker Congressman John Joyce. Other speakers were nominees on the November 5th ballot.

Lang shared again his message of confidence for the path forward under his leadership for Bedford County for the next four years, and his vision for so much more we can all accomplish by working together. He has stayed true to his core campaign hope for this election and for what lies ahead in our county—“It starts with me. It includes you. Together we can move Bedford County forward.” We have. We are. We will. Thank you for joining in and being part of that experience, journey, solution, and success. We look to the future to even better and brighter days to come. We thank you for your continued support.

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