Home in Henderson http://homeinhenderson.com News and views from the heart of Vance County, N.C. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:11:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Michael Bobbitt: Notes From The Peanut Gallery (VC BoC Planning Environment and Water Planning) http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/opinion/michael-bobbitt-notes-from-the-peanut-gallery-vc-boc-planning-environment-and-water-planning/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/opinion/michael-bobbitt-notes-from-the-peanut-gallery-vc-boc-planning-environment-and-water-planning/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:04:06 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66634 Our Board of Commissioners has divided their collective responsibilities into committees, each committee headed by an active commissioner. Logically the reason for the committees system is simple. Each commissioner is dependent on the integrity and honesty of fellow commissioners when learning of the voters desires, needs, and wants before making a decision that will affect the whole community. Last week two important committees met to find consensus among the committee members on their respective issue of zoning or the water project.

Planning Environment Committee

The Planning Environment Committee was challenged with the review of the zoning ordinance allowing the erection of large scaled arrays of solar panels within the county. The need for this review became an issue when one commissioner converted to NIMBYism following his self discovery that his lassie fare attitude three years ago sandwiched his property between two large scale arrays of solar panels. Commissioner Wilder’s primary concern has been focused on the esthetic visual value of large scale (industrial sized) arrays of solar panels on the adjoining property values. The topic of adjoining property values along with the unintended environmental impact on wildlife that is being attributed to large scale arrays of solar panels are both subject of strong disagreement. Apparently the City’s recent zoning ordinance on the same topic has quelled the developers need to show their face to the committee members since only the committee members and county staff attended the committee meeting. The committee members agreed to the zoning changes that established among many changes a one hundred (100) foot buffer from street right of ways and property buffers. Nothing in the ordinance changes or restricts the distance between adjoining properties with the arrays. The public (including the out of town developers) will be allowed to voice their views on this zoning change during the designated public hearings at the July 6, 2015, Board of Commissioners regular meeting. It is worth noting that the Economic Development Commission is scheduled to meet behind closed doors with the Board before the public has had an opportunity to express their desires, needs, and wants regarding the erection of large scale (industrial sized) arrays of solar panels.

Water Planning Committee

The Water Planning Committee met last Thursday in part to review the construction project status reports and hoping for a Disney ending to financial disaster created by the county’s water project. Mr. McMillen assured the committee that if enough construction crews are employed immediately, then the county will have achieved its goal of completing the placement of water pipe in the ground without ready, willing, and able buyers to pay for the system by September 2015. The full debt repayment meter begins after the end of construction in September. Since the county’s water system is not self-financed as required county property owners, excluding city property owners, are paying the bill for a system less than half the potential customers need, want or desire. Attending the committee meeting were four property owners. Julie Booth derailed the otherwise scripted committee with the statement, [We] “need to put to rest the negative discussion within the community” on this project. Only two commissioners attended the meeting; the third was working with a youth group shingling a roof. Committee Chair Garrison and Commissioner Taylor allowed Ms. Booth to fully express her revelation of the $150 lifetime deposit to cover potential non-payment of water. This opened the door to comments and questions from the other three property owners. During the comments and questions Mr. Ronnie Perkinson asked a new question; how does he convert his tap to a dry tap adding he is willing to pay the $800 dry tap fee? Mr. McMillen was quick to attempt a blunt Mr. Perkinson’s request warning the committee members that others may ask for the same opportunity further reducing potential customers. The $800 fee is required for the privilege of a wet tap at some future date. The permanent $30 a month “privilege fee” was again batted about. In reality the $30 a month “privilege fee” is each wet or dry tap customers’ payment of the debt for the water system. Committee Chair Garrison pointed out the need to find a way to pay for this water system without a user fee or property taxes. He added that unlike Warren County, Vance County turned its back on grant funds offer 1970s to build a water system. The final point Mr. McMillen wanted to address was the early incentive tap fee. Initially this fee was considered as an inducement for sign-ups by charging $125 for a water tap before the water line passes by the homeowner, after which the fee would be $2,000. Mr. McMullen, being the good engineer, pointed out it is time to close out the early incentive tap fee and begin charging the $2,000 tap fee. The Chair was unable to see the marketing advantages of a $2,000 tap fee on top of a $150 life time deposit and a $30 a month “privilege fee”. Commissioner Taylor asked Mr. McMillen, what is the economic impact of the $2,000 tap fee vs the $125. The meeting adjourned with Commissioner Taylor thanking those attending for bringing to his attention the issues.

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Senator Richard Burr: Highway Bill, Veterans Waiting for Care, Medicare http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/press-release/nc/senator-richard-burr-highway-bill-veterans-waiting-for-care-medicare/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/press-release/nc/senator-richard-burr-highway-bill-veterans-waiting-for-care-medicare/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:03:44 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66639 defaultContent">
This past week, the Senate Environment and Public Works committee included two pieces of my legislation in the highway bill, which will improve and expand North Carolina’s infrastructure on I-44 and US 70. Not only is this a boon to the North Carolinians living along the corridors, but also for all of those who will have better access to our state, whether it’s to do business or to visit our scenic treasures. You can read the text of the legislation here.
 
Last week, Washington Post reported on this disturbing statistic: One year after the VA scandal, the number of veterans waiting for care is up 50%. I’ve been using these words a lot in relation to the VA, but this is totally inexcusable. A year later, under new leadership and with billions more dollars, the VA can’t seem to fulfill its primary mission, serving our veterans. I have to agree with the Speaker Boehner that “[t]he VA’s problem isn’t funding – it’s outright failure. Absolute failure to take care of our veterans. Maybe the VA wouldn’t jump from crisis to crisis if it actually had a long-term plan to clean up this mess. 
 
The Senate Finance Committee passed my legislation to make better, more cutting edge technologies available to Medicare recipients this week. Medicare doesn’t always recognize innovations in health care, which is leaving our seniors behind in getting the latest medical technology. Passing this bill sends the clear signal that seniors should be able to benefit from the best American innovation has to offer. These innovative disposable products help patients heal faster, and this legislation increases access to some of these ground-breaking technologies so seniors can enjoy a better quality of life. You can read more about this legislation here and watch my comments on this new legislation here.
 
Finally, Wednesday I introduced a resolution naming the daisy as the official flower for military caregivers. Caregivers play an important role in caring for injured veterans, both physically and emotionally, and often at great personal sacrifice. The family members and loved ones who serve as primary caregivers are rarely acknowledged for their hard work and compassion. The daisy symbolizes unwavering loyalty and love and is a fitting symbol of military families and their sacrifices in sustaining our nation.

        Sincerely,

        Richard Burr

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City of Henderson Meeting with USDA/Rural Development State Director http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/city-business/city-of-henderson-meeting-with-usdarural-development-state-director/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/city-business/city-of-henderson-meeting-with-usdarural-development-state-director/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:03:37 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66641 The Henderson City Council has been invited to attend a meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 3:00 p.m with USDA/Rural Development State Director Randy Gore regarding housing issues.  The meeting will be held at City Hall, 134 Rose Avenue.

It is possible a quorum of City Council may attend; however, no action by Council will be taken.

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Master Gardener Volunteer Training Begins Late July http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/agriculture/master-gardener-volunteer-training-begins-late-july/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/agriculture/master-gardener-volunteer-training-begins-late-july/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:03:30 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66645 Cooperative Extension in Vance and Warren Counties announces that the biennial Master Gardener Training Class will begin on July 28th. Participants will learn all they need to know to join this pre-eminent volunteer program. Prospective volunteers will receive 40 hours of instruction in all aspects of horticulture, including trees, lawns, flowers, vegetables, fruits, pest management and much more. Upon successful completion, participants are then required to provide 40 hours of volunteer service on community projects. Past projects have included demonstration gardens, school gardens, gardening workshops, and many other educational activities.

No gardening experience required, we only ask that participants have a desire to learn and a will to serve! The training class will be held on Tuesday mornings, 9 am to noon, beginning July 28th and continuing until November 3rd (location will alternate between Vance and Warren County Extension offices).

For more information and to meet some of our current volunteers, stop by our Open House on Tuesday, June 30,4:30 to 6 pm at the Vance County Extension Center (305 Young St., Henderson). We will have more details including a training schedule, application forms, and information about class fees. Or simply call 252-438-8188, 252-257-3640, or e-mail paul_mckenzie@ncsu.edu.

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Vance County Board of Commissioners Meetings July 6th, 2015 http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/county-business/vance-county-board-of-commissioners-meetings-july-6th-2015/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/news/county-business/vance-county-board-of-commissioners-meetings-july-6th-2015/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:03:19 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66643 Please note that the July 6th meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m.  The reason is to enter into closed session to discuss economic development matters that will be addressed in two public hearings later in the meeting.

The HR Committee will meet at 4:30 p.m.

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Tuesday Open Line http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/quick-hits/open-lines/tuesday-open-line-193/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/30/quick-hits/open-lines/tuesday-open-line-193/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 04:01:28 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66647 The first electric power company in America, and perhaps the world, was formed on this date in 1879 in San Francisco. This was nearly four months before Thomas Edison successfully tested his practical incandescent light bulb, but there was no lack of customers, as the power supplied by the California Electric Light Company illuminated some three dozen arc lamps in downtown hotels and businesses. This electric supplier was the predecessor to the current Pacific Gas and Electric company. Today in the U.S., there are over 10,000 electric power distribution establishments, employing over a half-million workers. Utilities in general, including water, sewer and gas, employ around 650,000 workers, and have annual revenues of more than $530 billion. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.

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From the Rolling Stones to the Beach http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/news/from-the-rolling-stones-to-the-beach/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/news/from-the-rolling-stones-to-the-beach/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 04:03:41 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66619 Raleigh – Two big summer events this week – The Rolling Stones concert and Fourth of July – will mean more drivers on area roadways, including the Fortify I-40/I-440 work zone in Raleigh where crews are shifting lanes in advance of construction on an 8.5-mile stretch of I-40.

Nearly 40,000 fans will converge on Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 1, to see the iconic rock band. To help drivers know before they go, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol are working to get the word out ahead of the show.

“We are anticipating this venue will attract a large number of attendees,” Highway Patrol Sgt. Michael Baker said.  “Concertgoers are encouraged to arrive early and plan ahead for traffic delays. By doing so, each person can assist us with our primary goal of guaranteeing an enjoyable and safe event.”

Starting Friday night, there will be several message boards along area roads notifying motorists of Wednesday’s concert. On the day of the show, the message boards will alert drivers of the best ways to get to the show without having to drive through the Fortify work zone.  Each sign will have an alternate message, should traffic back up on the suggested route.

Drivers traveling through the Fortify work zone on I-40 West, at mile marker 294, for example, will be notified to take Exit 293-B to I-440 East to Exit 3 (Hillsborough Street) to Blue Ridge Road. In case of congestion on that route, drivers would take Exit 290 (N.C. 54 East) to Edwards Mill Road to Trinity Road.

Drivers traveling through the Fortify work zone on I-40 West, at mile marker 294, for example, will be notified to take Exit 293-B to I-440 East to Exit 3 (Hillsborough Street) to Blue Ridge Road. In case of congestion on that route, drivers would take Exit 290 (N.C. 54 East) to Edwards Mill Road to Trinity Road.

Other routes that the Highway Patrol suggests:

• Drivers headed on I-440 West can take Exit 4-B (Wade Avenue) to Blue Ridge Road to Westchase Boulevard.
• From I-495 South, drivers can take Exit 419 (I-440 West) to Wade Avenue to Blue Ridge Road to Westchase Boulevard.
• From U.S. 1 North, drivers can take I-440 East to Exit 3 (Hillsborough Street) to Blue Ridge Road to Trinity Road. 
 
Drivers heading for the concert are reminded that they will also be dealing with rush hour traffic in the area, so they will want to allow extra time to make it to the stadium. The Highway Patrol will have more than 30 posts sets up in and around the stadium assisting traffic before the concert and after it wraps up around 11:30 p.m.

Traffic is expected to get even heavier in the days after the concert, as with gas prices lower than this time last year, more people are expected to head to the beach over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, putting more traffic on I-40. NCDOT recommends arriving and leaving the beach early.  I-40 will have heavier traffic not only through the Fortify work zone but heading to the beach and for the ride back.

To help ease congestion, there will be no additional lane closures in the 8.5-mile section of I-40 in the Fortify zone to make the ride a little easier.  
 
And as a reminder, there are alternate routes to use instead of traveling through the Fortify work zone. Drivers staying in the Triangle can go onto I-440 East or West to go around the construction area, and then continue on to I-40 East or West. For drivers planning to just pass through Raleigh between the eastern part of the state, including the southern beaches, and areas west of the Triangle, they can use I-540, I-495, U.S. 264 and I-95 to not only miss the work zone, but on Sunday afternoon and evening, the traditional traffic congestion on I-40 West as it approaches the Triangle.

As always, remember it is a work zone, drive the posted speed limit and be aware of lane shifts that are in place between Lake Wheeler road and U.S. 1.

Whether you are going to the Rolling Stones Concert of the beach over the holiday weekend remember to not drink and drive.

Fortify Project update

Work on I-440 section of the project should be completely done by Mid July.

On I-40 East, orange cones continue to be replaced with concrete barriers between Lake Wheeler Road and U.S. 1, blocking off the inside lane.  That was scheduled to be completed this week but has been delayed because of the weather. Similar barriers were already put in place on I-40 West in the same area.  These barriers are being placed so crews could safely do work in the median.  Work in this area is expected to increase now.   Traffic has been shifted to the outside lane.

The next phase of construction work on the 8.5-mile stretch of I-40 is now expected to pick up by mid-July, when lane shifts are expected to begin between Lake Wheeler Road and the I-40/I-440 Split.  They should be completely finished  in August, weather permitting. Once in place, all traffic on I-40 East and West will be reduced to three lanes in either direction.

Once this happens is when commute times are expected to increase for drivers who can expect their commutes to be an additional 30 minutes each way.  That does not factor in incidents on the roadway or inclement weather.

 

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Newsletter from the Office of Senator Angela R. Bryant http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/press-release/nc/newsletter-from-the-office-of-senator-angela-r-bryant-2/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/press-release/nc/newsletter-from-the-office-of-senator-angela-r-bryant-2/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 04:03:33 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66615

 

   

Halifax, Nash, Vance,  Warren and Wilson Counties

 

District – 4

 

Senator Angela R. Bryant

Volume 11, Issue XIV

Friday, June 26, 2015

To unsubscribe to this newsletter, please click here

 

NEWS FROM RALEIGH…

I always welcome your comments, project updates, suggestions, and visits. My office door and electronic door are always open to you!  You are also invited to attend any and all Sessions and Committees.  Visit the website for Session and Committee meeting times.  As always, thank you for your support!

 

NEWSLETTER NEWS

 

 

SIDE NOTE

 

   Primary Sponsored      

     Bills:

 

·      S39 – State Minmum Wage/Inflation Increases

 

 

·      S50 – Wilson County Occupancy Tax Modification. (Passed Senate; in House)

 

 

·      S103 – Notice to Vote Absentee Ballot W/Out Photo ID (Included in HB 836 – Passed)

 

 

·      S260 – Permit Align School/Comm. College Calendar

 

 

·      S305 – NCEMPA Asset Sale  (Passed)

 

 

·      S337 – Caregiver Relief Act

 

 

·      S339 – Healthy Families & Workplaces/Paid Sick Days

 

 

·      S347 – Up Minimum Wage With COLA/Const. Amendment

 

 

·      S354 – North Carolina Healthcare Jobs Initiative

 

 

·       S570 – Expunction/Boat Violation (Passed Senate; in House)

 

 

·      S571 – Expand Uses of 911 Fee

 

 

·      S613 – Prohibit Discriminatory Profiling

 

 

·      S626 – Amend Expunction Laws

 

 

·      S706 – HBCU Innovation Fund

 

 

S711 – Presumption of Shared Parenting

(Passed Senate; in SB519; In Senate Budget HB97)

·         EVENTS AROUND THE DISTRICT AND MORE

·         THE MORE YOU KNOW, THE MORE YOU GROW: Rocky Mount 5th Grader Heading to National Leadership Conference; KaBOOM! Play Matters for All Kids

·         AWARDS & RECOGNITION: Supt. Sean Bulson, Rocky Mount Communicator’s Award; Rocky Mount OIC Receives Golden Leaf;  Recognition for Volunteer Service of Five Southern Vance High Students

·         LEGISLATIVE NEWS:   Press Release from Sen. Angela Bryant on NC Pre-K and Childcare Subsidy – ; Summary of Child-Related Provisions in the Senate Budget, Senator Angela R. Bryant Sponsors Pages; Ethics Tips; Update on SB305 NCEMPA Asset Sale; NC Policy Watch-Five Things To Know About the New State Surplus; Senate District 4 – Transportation Projects Funded; State Budget Update-From Shift NC; Carolina Justice Policy Center Legislative Update

  • YOUR KIND WORDS ARE APPRECIATED: Thank You Notes
  • SIDE NOTE: Senator Bryant’s Primary Sponsored Bills

 

 

EVENTS AROUND THE DISTRICT

AND MORE

 

  • FREE Event: Summer Night Lights (Rocky Mount): Friday evenings in June, July, and August, 6:00pm-8:00pm. Locations are: Branch Street (June 26th), Three Sister’s Park (July 10th), Buck Leonard Park (July 17th), Stone Park (July 24th), Bea Holeman Park (July 31st), Lancaster Park (August 7th), South Rocky Mount (August 14th), Aycock Park (August 21st). For more information, contact City of Rocky Mount at (252) 467-4925.
  • Youth Advocacy for a Healthy Roanoke Valley: FREE youth training presented by Youth Empowered Solutions by the Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative.  Choose which date works best for the youth, Friday, June 26th 10am-3pm at TJ Davis Recreation Center, 400 E. 6th Street, Roanoke Rapids, NC OR Saturday, June 27th 10am-3pm at Halifax Regional, 210 Smith Church Road, Roanoke Rapids, NC, Building 1, Classroom.  To register or more information, call Aidil Hill at (919) 260-4807 or email aidil@youthempoweredsolutions.org.
  • Women of Virtue, Women’s Conference (FREE event): Scotland Neck Gymnasium, 1310 Main Street, Scotland Neck, NC 27874. Saturday, June27th, 9:00am-2:00pm. Ladies ages 13 and up, casual dress. For more information, contact Robin Sneed Barnes at (252) 301-4492.
  • #TurnUp4JobSuccess Youth Job Ready Orientation and Job Fair: Halifax Community College, 200 College Drive, Weldon, NC Room 401. Orientation is June 29th from 9:00am-2:00pm.  Youth Job Fair is June 30th from 9:00am-3:00pm. For more information, contact

Frince Williams 252-282-1277.

  • Pre-Independence Day Celebration Concert: Tuesday, June 30th at The Centre at Halifax Community College.  Call 252-537-2505 for tickets and other information.
  • Monthly Community Education Series in Edgecombe and Nash (FREE event, open to the public): Presenting “Chosen,” A Closer Look at Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Edgecome: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015 from 2:30-3:30pm at the Edgecombe County Human Services Building, 122 East St. James Street, Tarboro, NC 27886. To register and for more information, call Kim Hickerson at (252) 407-2426 or email khickerson@eastpointe.net.

Nash: Friday, July 31st, 2015 from 10:00-11:00am at Easpointe Rocky Mount Site Meeting Hall, 500 Nash Medical Arts Mall. To register and for more information, call Brooke Mickelson at (252) 407-2402 or email bmickelson@eastpointe.net.

  • Public Education Boating Safety Courses (Warren County): July 18th, August 15th, and September 19th. For more information, call (252) 586-5711.
  • Register Now to Help Define an Advocacy Agenda for Rural N.C.  Last year we, the NC Rural Center, heard from you, our Rural Partners, that rural North Carolina needs to begin speaking with a clearer and more united voice. You asked us to help coordinate an effort to do exactly that, and we took your charge to heart.  This summer, we will be traveling to six North Carolina towns to gather your input as we craft a rural advocacy agenda to benefit the entire stat. we will be in Henderson, NC on Aug. 6th.  For information call 919-250-4314.
  • Be Active Kids PlayMobile summer schedule: July 23rd from 9:00am-1:00pm at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School, 1619 North Carolina 97, Battleboro, NC 27809.
  • 15th Annual Junior Police Academy (Rocky Mount Police Dept.): Offered to youth between the ages of 13 to 18. Session II: July 27th-31st Mon.-Fri., 8:00am-4:00pm. For more information or to complete an application, call 972-1436.
  • NC Association of Community Restituion Program and NC Tean Court Programs: Summer Conference 2015, August 5th -7th, Hampton Inn and Suites, 5606 Lamm Road, Wilson. Cost $50.00 NCACRP members and $60.00 non-members.  For information contact Mark Burdette, (910) 947-1549 ext. 227 or via email mburdette@moorecountync.gov
  • Healthy Lifestyle Programs 2015 Open Community Swim:  Monday through Friday, 1:00 pm to 8:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Reserved for private functions, call for reservations, certified Lifeguards on duty. Pool is open through September 12th. Individual cost per visit: $3.00. Aqua Zumba Tuesday and Thursday 6:30 to 7:30, $3.00 per class. Located at: 281 Bricks Lane, Whitakers, NC 27891. For information call (252)-437-1723.

 

THE MORE YOU KNOW THE MORE YOU GROW…

 

Rocky Mount 5th Grader Heading to

National Leadership Conference

 

A Nashville Elementary School fifth-grader, Jimmy Porter, will soon travel to the nation’s capital to participate in a national leadership conference. Jimmy Porter was nominated and selected to attend the Junior National Young Leaders Conference from June 20-25 in Washington, DC. He will take part in leadership development experience that provides a historical view of leadership and encourages him to develop his leadership skills and provides strategies for success. https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/community/roll-call/nashville-student-selected-nation-leadership-program-2898519

 

                                                                                     ________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Do the children you serve in Edgecombe and Nash Counties need a safe and fun place to play? 

Are you looking for ways to get more support from parents, neighbors, community leaders, and local businesses?

 

 

If you answered yes to these questions, then a KaBOOM! playground project may be right for you! KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty. We are best known for doing this by creating beautiful playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities like yours.

 

KaBOOM! will be working closely with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to advance Healthy Places North Carolina, a place-based initiative aimed at improving the health and overall quality of life for people in rural areas.  We’re kicking off our work in Edgecombe and Nash Counties by mapping playgrounds in order to understand the quantity and quality of play opportunities present. We are also working with the Edgecombe and Nash communities to find sites in need of a great place to play and will be building four playgrounds across the two counties.

 

This is where you come in. We are now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations and municipalities in Edgecombe and Nash Counties that would benefit from and embrace the process of a community-built playspace partnership. Please visit apply.kaboom.org to learn more about the Build it with KaBOOM! grant and access our online application. This link will also provide more information about how we create opportunities for the balanced, active play that all children need to grow and thrive.

 

By working with KaBOOM!, your organization will:

?        Receive a new custom designed playground!

?        Bring community members together in Edgecombe and Nash Counties to work toward a common goal.

?        Establish an ongoing relationship with Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, who wants to have an impact on your community.

?        Participate in a planning process that will help you fundraise, strengthen your community, and develop media relations skills that can be used for future community-led projects.

 

An organization should meet the following criteria to be eligible: 

 

?        Serve a low-income and/or high-need community

?        Demonstrate need for a playground in the community

?        Have no playground or the need to replace an existing unsafe or outdated playground

?        Work with a KaBOOM! project manager and your community to fundraise $8,500 towards the cost of equipment

?        Provide at least 3,500 sq. feet in available land and complete any needed site preparation

?        Recruit about 200 volunteers for Build Day and recruit parents who are excited to serve on a planning committee for an 8-10 week period leading up to Build Day

?        Accept ownership and maintenance responsibilities for the playspace upon completion

 

The approximate 8-10 week planning process kicks off with a Design Day where children design their dream playgrounds, and culminates on Build Day where volunteers build the new playground in one day!  If this opportunity isn’t right for you, we encourage you to forward this information to any others who may benefit.

 

Please feel free to contact Jeremy Exell at jexell@kaboom.org or at 202-464-6166 for more information

 

Sample Playground Design

 

 

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______________________________________________________________________________________________

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

 

Congratulations to Superintendent Sean Bulson on earning his

doctorate from George Washington University

Supt. Sean Bulson

 

Congratulations to Ralph L. Fike High School in Wilson on winning a $5,000 grant from the CenturyLink Foundation for innovative technology projects.  Across the country, more than 1,000 grant applications were received.  In North Carolina, more than 100 teachers applied, with 19 winning schools selected by a review committee comprised of community members and a CenturyLink representative.  The winning teachers’ schools received grants to be used to purchase technology to benefit students in the classroom. (from NewsRelease  http://news.centurylink.com/)

________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The City of Rocky Mount Communicator’s Award

 

The city of Rocky Mount was among numerous North Carolina governments to earn recognition at the eighth N.C. City & County Communicators’ Excellence in Communications Awards as part of organization’s annual Spring Conference. Almost 100 entries were received, with 40 winners receiving awards. https://www.rockymounttelegram.com/community/hometown/city-staff-receives-communications-awards-2897739

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Rocky Mount OIC Receives Golden Leaf Grant

 

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors voted to provide $134,000 to the Rocky Mount-Opportunities Industrialization Center to purchase dental equipment for the expansion of services at its Rocky Mount clinic location.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Recognition for Volunteer Service of Five Southern

Vance High Students

 

 

Four students (Moriah Davis, Marques Alston, Taniza Shearin, and La”Asia Harris) of Southern Vance High School have given more than 1,000 volunteer service hours to their community and schools through the “Students Warning Against Tobacco” and “Destination Graduation: Dropout Prevention” programs. These students continued to serve the mission of the Tobacco Reality Unfiltered program after funding stopped and have made presentations to all Vance County School 5th graders for the past seven years.  All four students graduated from Southern Vance High this past school year.

______________________________________________________________

LEGISLATIVE NEWS:

 

Press Release from Senator Angela Bryant on NC Pre-K and Childcare Subsidy

 

This is a time when we can help our NC families who have been left behind with taxes increasing and incomes declining. Many of our families now have to work multiple jobs to stay afloat.  That is why NC Pre-k matters so much.  Sen. Berger – one of the most important things we can do to make sure our most at risk children hit the 3rd grade reading targets is to make sure as many of them as possible have an opportunity for NC Pre-K and quality child care.

 

This budget misses the mark in cutting funding for over 500 current pre-K spots, an already underfunded program that is absolutely crucial in ensuring all children, not just the privileged, have the opportunity to succeed.  NC Pre-k is consistently ranked in the top 5 nationally by the National Institute for Early Education Research.  We are now serving 5000 children less than we were serving in 2008-9.

In the arena of child care subsidy – this is the most important work support we can provide for working families and in particular women especially in these families with multiple jobs and sometimes part time jobs including shift work.

The income eligibility changes have eliminated 3400 children from the program who had quality child care and after school care previously including developing some of the basic skills and socialization that is needed for success in school.  As of April 2015—we had a waiting list of 29,583 that’s even though we have lowered the eligibility to the poorest families.  We are also serving 9,000 less children than we served in 2010.

 

What are the facts:

·         90 percent of brain growth occurs before kindergarten

·         Kids who start behind, stay behind.

·         Nearly 90 percent of the children who are poor readers in the first grade will still be poor readers by fourth grade.

·         One-third of children entering kindergarten cannot recognize the letters of the alphabet and  apply basic math concepts and  are not properly socialized to adapt to the school class format. As a result, kindergarten teachers are forced to provide pre-k skill development instead of the fundamentals of math and reading needed to prepare for first grade.

·         Students who participate in a high-quality early childhood program are more likely to graduate from a four-year college.

·         The majority of reading problems faced by today’s adolescents and adults could have been avoided or resolved in the early years of childhood.

·         One of the biggest findings in  the Excellent Schools Act A-F grading system is the impact of poverty and economic class differences on the academic results.  These two programs are the most direct tools we have to close this achievement gap even before it starts —

Despite the expected $400 million budget surplus, this budget continues to prioritize tax breaks to big corporations and wealthy individuals rather than ensuring a successful future for our children.  This budget takes us in the wrong direction on early childhood education and care.

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Summary of Child-Related Provisions in the Senate Budget

NC Child – The Voice North Carolina’s Children by Rob Thompson

 

Overview

While the Senate’s budget proposal includes a number of positive reforms and funding decisions for children, like extending the age of foster care to 21 and increased funding for the Nurse Family Partnership, it illustrates the difficulty of adequately investing in children with a continuously eroding revenue base. According to the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, the Senate’s tax plan, which is included in the chamber’s budget proposal, would result in the loss of $951M over the biennium and over $1B annually once it is fully implemented.

With that amount of funding, the Senate could eliminate the child care subsidy waiting list of 31,359 children, maintain funding for teacher assistants, and expand NC Pre-K to serve all low-income four-year-olds in the state.

Access to High-Quality Child Care and Early Education

Positive

Market Rate Increase: The budget includes a market rate increase for infant and young toddler child care providers in some rural counties who participate in the child care subsidy program. This means that providers get more money per child, which should help to address the current shortage of high-quality care for infants. This provision is not in the House budget.

Negative

Child Care Subsidies: The Senate failed to include two key provisions that were in the House budget that would expand access to high-quality child care. Specifically, Senate budget writers did not increase income eligibility for children in grades K-3 to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and they did not reinstate the prorated fee for partial day care.

NC Pre-K: The Senate budget would result in the loss of 520 NC Pre-K slots as the budget allocates only $2.3M to replace $5M of nonrecurring funding that expires at the end of the current year. The House budget includes $2.3M in state funding and an additional $2.7M of lottery funding to replace expiring funds.

To Monitor

Smart Start, NC Pre-K, and Child Care Subsidy Merger: The budget directs the Program Evaluation Division to contract with a third party to develop a plan for merging Smart Start, NC Pre-K, and Child Care Subsidies. The plan is required to be complete by March 1, 2016. We believe that a conversation about whether or not this merger is necessary should precede any specific plan to merge the three programs. This provision is not in the House budget.

Children’s Health

Positive

Infant Mortality Prevention: The Healthy Babies Bundle, a package that includes the Safe Sleep Campaign, the East Carolina University High-Risk Maternity Clinic, and prematurity prevention programs, is fully funded in the Senate budget. Aside from the ECU High-Risk Clinic, these programs are also funded in the House budget.

The ABLE Act: The Senate budget includes policy provisions and funding for the ABLE Act, which would allow parents of children with disabilities to set up 529 tax-deferred investment accounts to save for the care of children with disabilities. Funding for the ABLE Act is included in the House budget and the policy changes are moving through in a separate bill.

Nurse Family Partnership: The Senate proposes the same level of additional recurring funding, $900K/year, as the House for this evidence-based home visiting program.

Increase Reimbursement Rates for Primary Care Providers: The Senate budget includes a 22% increase in reimbursement rates for Medicaid primary care providers, which is an important step to ensure that primary care physicians continue to see Medicaid recipients. This increase is not included in the House budget.

Negative

Funding for Mental Health Treatment: The budget cuts $185M in funding for the agencies (LME/MCOs) that provide mental health services. This funding cut is not included in the House budget.

Wright School Eliminated: The budget also eliminates the Wright School, which provides intensive inpatient services for the highest-need children in the state. The elimination of the Wright School is not in the House budget.

Elimination of Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC): Though this is part of the broader Medicaid reform plan, we believe it is ill-advised to eliminate the state contract with CCNC. CCNC has improved health outcomes for children by enhancing the quality of pediatric care and providing medical homes for pregnant women. CCNC is not eliminated in the House budget.

Eliminates the Office of Minority Health: The Senate budget eliminates the Office of Minority Health and transfers funding to a competitve block grant program aimed at eliminating racial disparities. While the funding remains dedicated to a similar purpose, we believe it is important to maintain an institutional, statewide focus on racial health disparities. This is not included in the House budget.

To Monitor

Medicaid Reform: The Senate budget includes a complete overhaul of Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for over 1 million children statewide. The Senate’s Medicaid plan would do the following:

-Change the current fee-for-service system to a managed care system in which a private managed care company or Provider-Led Entity receives a lump sum to care for a specific patient population.
-Integrate behavioral health with physical health.
-Move oversight of Medicaid and NC Health Choice to a new Health Benefits Authority to be appointed by the Governor, Speaker and President Pro tem.
-Fully implement the new system by August 1, 2017.
-Eliminate Community Care of North Carolina, the state’s highly-successful care coordination program.
-Increase rates to primary care physicians.

Nurturing Homes and Communities

Positive

Child Welfare Case Management System: Currently, the state of North Carolina is unable to track children in the child welfare system across county lines, which leads to obvious safety concerns. The Senate budget includes funding for a new case management system ($5.8M in FY16 and $13M in FY17) that is specifically not NCFAST, which has been plagued by problems since its original implementation. This funding is not included in the House budget.

Foster Care through Age 21: The Senate budget would increase the age of foster care to 21, which provides critical support for children in foster care as they move towards independence. This funding is not included in the House budget, but the House has passed legislation extending the age of foster care to 19.

Foster Care Caseload: The Senate budget, like the House budget, includes a $4.5M allocation in FY16 and $7.5M allocation in FY17 to fund an increase in the foster care caseload. While it’s important to adequately fund foster care, we should also be proactive in preventing the abuse and neglect that leads to foster care.

K-12 Public Schools

Positive

Class Size Reduction: The Senate budget reduces class size in grades K-3 by one student per teacher in FY16 and two students per teacher in FY17 (for grades 1-3 only). This is funded by an $80M allocation in FY16 and a $192M allocation in FY17. This is not included in the House budget.

Negative

Teacher Assistants: Senate budget writers cut 5,289 teacher assistants in FY16 ($57M cut) and 8,592 in FY17 ($166M cut). The House restores funding for teacher assistants. Textbooks: The Senate budget includes only $29M in new recurring funding for textbooks, which is less than what the House proposed and far lower than pre-2011 levels.

Driver’s Education: The Senate budget includes no funding for driver’s education, and requires that the schools establish fees for the courses. In addition, the Senate asks the Community Colleges Board to study the whole issue, and transfers responsibility for driver’s education to the community colleges in July 2016. Finally, the Senate deletes the driver’s education requirement to apply for a Limited Learner’s Permit at age 15, but increases the hours of required parental supervision before attainment of a Level 2 Provisional License at age 16. The House budget includes $26M in funding for driver’s education and does not include the transfer to the Community College system.

 

 

Senator Angela R. Bryant Sponsors Pages

 

 

Cameron E. Rogers, a student at Kerr Vance Academy, served as a Page the week of June 8th. She is the daughter of Michael and Camilla Rogers of Henderson. “My experience as a Senate Page was a success. I learned so much about the government and will continue to pursue my interest in politics and government.  This experience was an eye opener to issues in my community and how I can change those issues.”

 

Dajah Keyanna Ellis, a student at KIPP Gaston College Preparatory, served as a Page the week of June 15th. She is the daughter of Flossie Janet Jefferson of Roanoke Rapids. “Participating in the Senate Page Program has allowed me the opportunity to not only meet people my age from a variety of diverse backgrounds all within the state, but has also been a great learning experience.  I’ve truly enjoyed my time with the Pages, Senators, and staff.”

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Ethics Tips

  • Academic or athletic scholarships based on the same criteria as applied to the public are not considered gifts under the State Government Ethics Act.  G.S. 138A-3(15).
  • Gifts made to a nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international legislative organization of which the General Assembly is a member or a legislator or legislative employee is a member or participant of by virtue of that legislator’s or legislative employee’s public position, or to an affiliated organization of that nonpartisan state, regional, national, or international organization, are not a violation of the gift ban.  G.S. 120C-303(d).
  • Please contact the State Ethics Commission at 919-715-2071 or at ethics.commission@ncmail.net if there are any questions.

 

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Update on SB305 NCEMPA Asset Sale

We are pleased to report that all City Council approvals needed for the NCEMPA Asset Sale to Duke Energy Progress are now complete. The 33 governing bodies approved the necessary contracts during May and June. This marks another major milestone towards the completion of the transaction. As you recall, Senate Bill 305 – NCEMPA Asset Sale – was enacted by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in April.

 

The first NCEMPA member to consider the contracts was Lumberton, approving the three required contracts on May 6. The remaining members, the 32 NCEMPA members and the Greenville City Council, approved the contracts during public meetings held in May and June. The final approval was obtained this morning. The contracts met overwhelming support from the City Councils, anxious to close the transaction and the lower wholesale costs it will bring.

 

The asset sale will immediately reduce annual NCEMPA debt payments by more than 75 percent and result in an immediate 18 percent reduction in wholesale (NCEMPA) power costs.

 

The NCEMPA asset sale and new power supply agreement will provide a reliable, cost-competitive power supply to all NCEMPA communities. The sale will provide immediate savings by reducing wholesale power costs and will also have substantial long-term benefits to NCEMPA communities.

 

Each NCEMPA member is responsible for their retail reduction (the impact customers will see on their monthly power bills). Some members have already announced reductions and some members are conducting rate studies to determine the amount of their reduction. Requests for information about individual city impacts should be made directly to the city.

 

Duke Energy Progress continues to pursue the remaining regulatory approvals necessary to complete the transaction. Both parties are working to close the transaction on June 30, pending the completion of the remaining approvals; however, there has been a slight delay in regulartory approvals that might go further into the summer.

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Five Things You Need To Know About the New State Budget Surplus

May 12, 2015

By Rob Schofield

There’s been a great deal of back and forth inside the Raleigh beltline in recent days about the state revenue surplus that state leaders announced last week.

To the hardliners on the Right, the fact that state revenues for the current fiscal year that ends next month look now as if they will come in around 1.9% above what has been projected last summer is seen as divine validation of the 2013 tax “reform” package. Indeed, to members of the state Senate leadership, the new projections were reason enough to crow about their supposed triumph over “chicken littles on the left.”

In contrast, some progressive critics have attempted to push the message that the surplus is directly attributable to the Great Tax Shift that accompanied the 2013 reforms. In this narrative, the fact that the 2013 changes effectively raised taxes on millions of households by doing away with some deductions and expanding the number of transactions subject to the sales tax is all one needs to know. Put simply, conservatives have surreptitiously raised taxes on working folk and thereby padded state coffers.

Both of these takes are too simplistic. While the Right is way off-base in drawing such a triumphal conclusion from what really amounts to a minor, short-term bump in state revenues that features several more plausible explanations, some progressives err in confusing causes and effects.

Here, therefore, with a little help from the fiscal policy experts at the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center (BTC), are the five things that everyone serious about understanding the North Carolina fiscal policy debate needs to know about the surplus:

#1 – The surplus is not a huge surprise or especially significant.

Every year, economists in the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly and the Office of State Budget and Management (i.e. the office Art Pope used to run) do their best to project state revenues for the coming fiscal year. The projections are, in effect, educated guesses based on a variety of assumptions. Recent projections have been made especially complicated by the numerous tax policy changes that have gone into effect. Many other state fiscal offices around the country have also had difficulty in making projections in the rapidly-changing U.S. economy.

To make sure they don’t confront the problem of having revenues come in lower than expenses in such an environment, officials regularly offer conservative projections which assume that revenues will be on the low side. That’s what happened in North Carolina for the current fiscal year: economists in Fiscal Research and the budget office readily admitted from the outset that they were offering conservative projections. Happily, as has happened numerous times in the past, they were slightly off and the state received a modest “April surprise.”

#2 – The surplus is not the result of the 2013 tax shift somehow spurring magic growth in the state economy.

As even Pope himself has confirmed in recent days, there is no evidence that the aggressive tax cuts enacted in 2013 on profitable corporations and wealthy individuals somehow brought about the surplus by spurring extraordinary economic growth.

To the contrary, the data show that the surplus was primarily the result of the national economic recovery and, in particular, a bump in income tax revenue from taxpayers who cashed in on capital gains and other assets from business income.

North Carolina is also far from the only state to have gotten good revenue news of late. California has. Arizona has. Minnesota has. This makes sense as the national economic recovery has been picking up steam in some areas – particularly among the well-off. Moreover, none of those states was afflicted with the kind of tax cut fever that has gripped North Carolina in recent years. Minnesota actually raised taxes on the wealthy – a move that has generated significantly more money for core services. – See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/05/12/

#3 – The tax shift didn’t “cause” the surplus directly either.

The “reforms” of 2013 ultimately cut taxes on profitable corporations and people at the top but raised them on many people in the middle and of modest means. Especially in light of the recent uproar surrounding tax deductions and refunds (income tax refunds fell two times faster than projected — the biggest drop in decades), it’s not surprising that some progressives are led to the conclusion that the 2013 reforms “caused” the surplus.

BTC experts, however, believe this conclusion is not supported by the data either. While it’s obviously true that revenues are whatever they are because of the tax laws on the books, the BTC experts caution that it’s important not to attribute the surplus itself directly to the tax shift. Instead, as noted above, the bump in collections appears to be attributable to higher-than-expected capital gains and business income declarations. This point is also consistent with another phenomenon that is confirmed by the data and the observations of millions of average people – i.e. that the overwhelming majority of income growth in the country continues to accrue to the wealthy.

#4 – Revenue is still falling well short.

The Minnesota example mentioned above serves to raise another important point about North Carolina’s situation – namely, that the state would have significantly more revenue to fund essential services like education, health care, courts and public safety and environmental protection if it had not enacted the 2013 tax cuts. The BTC still confidently estimates this figure at around $1 billion. – See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/05/12/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-state-revenue-surplus/#sthash.E6UbZ8Jl.dpuf

Indeed, if North Carolina still took the same share of total state income in taxes that it did prior to the Great Recession, revenues would be $3.2 billion above current levels. Just imagine how much better equipped the state’s core services would be today with such a sum. – See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/05/12/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-state-revenue-surplus/#sthash.E6UbZ8Jl.dpuf

While certainly better than nothing, the $400 million surplus obviously pales in comparison. It’s not even enough to cover enrollment growth for one year in our K-12, higher education and health care systems – much less provide raises or attack other service shortfalls. Add to this the likelihood that most of the windfall is likely to be in the form of one-time, nonrecurring money and the picture grows even more sobering. The bottom line here: Sure, the state will bring in slightly more than was expected this year, but that doesn’t make either the projection or the actual figure close to adequate. – See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/05/12/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-state-revenue-surplus/#sthash.E6UbZ8Jl.dpuf

#5 – Things are about to get much worse.

If there’s a most perverse aspect of this whole story, it is that the surplus will, under the 2013 law, trigger yet another round of corporate income tax cuts. These will kick in at the cost of around $100 million in the coming fiscal year and $350 million the year after that. In other words, the surplus hasn’t made things any better; it’s simply given further impetus to the push from hardline conservatives to completely eliminate corporate and personal income taxes. Like some destructive, real life Escher image, the negative, self-fulfilling spiral will continue apace unless lawmakers slow down and honestly reassess the direction in which they are dragging the state.

Going forward

What the political fallout from all of this will be is anyone’s guess. Some, like veteran political observer Gary Pearce, are skeptical that voters will really understand or care about the surplus issue that much come 2016.

“Voters will vote – focusing mainly on President and Governor – based on who they believe can best manage the overall economy.

Raleigh-centric debates about surpluses and deficits aren’t likely to get many toes tapping.”

He may be right.

But that doesn’t absolve all who care about state government and its critical mission in modern North Carolina from doing their best to spread the truth far and wide. Let’s get to work.

See more at: http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2015/05/12/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-new-state-revenue-surplus/#sthash.LjGVSIfY.dpuf

 

 

 

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Senate District 4 – Transportation Projects Funded

 

The following projects were presented at the North Carolina Board of Transportation meeting on June 4, 2015 (financed from the Division-wide Small Construction and Contingency Fund):

 

Div 4

Halifax

 

 

WBS 75009 was established (12/12) for the construction of a left turn and right deceleration lane to provide safe access.  Grade, base, and pave access road to provide access to new industry – approximately 0.40 tenths of mile

Increase funds

 

 

Contingency

___________

TOTAL

 

 

$200,000.00

___________

$200,000.00

Div 4

Nash

Town of Castalia – Curb, gutter, and widen existing roadway, reinforce concrete pipe and move utilities along NC-58 in front of new park

WBS 80008

Small Construction

___________

TOTAL

 

$110,000.00

___________

$110,000.00

Div 4

Wilson

City of Wilson – Pipe ditch on east side of SR 1323 (Tilgham Rd) from the ditch northward for approximately 90 ft and rework driveways to improve drainage and increase shoulder width; resurface roadway with thermoplastic and install raised pavement markers

WBS 80010

 

 

Small Construction

___________

TOTAL

 

 

 

$100,000.00

___________

$100,000.00

Div 4

Wilson

Remove and relocate the existing supplemental sign (Lucama, Smithfield, Mount Olive) and install new supplemental sign (Fremont, Pikeville) along I-795

WBS 80011

 

Small Construction

___________

TOTAL

 

 

$15,000.00

___________

$15,000.00

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State Budget

UPDATE

 

From SHIFT NC (Formerly the Adolescent

Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of NC)

 

Last week, the NC Senate passed its version of the state budget bill and included critical funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs. 

 

While the House budget included prevention funding, funding for teen pregnancy prevention initiatives is $450,000 greater in the Senate budget than in the House budget. 

 

We encourage leaders to maintain this investment during ongoing budget negotiations. 

 

Investments in Teen Pregnancy Prevention

  • $2,950,000 from TANF block grants for the Division of Public Health’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives, restoring funding to 2012 levels (The House version only includes $2,500,000.)
  • $650,000 from the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives (House and Senate Budget are equal) 

These two allocations go to fund local prevention programs, including the state’s evidence-based Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Adolescent Parenting Programs, as well as the state’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives branch.  

 

Other Items of Interest

 

Budget proposals also include the following items that may be of interest to health and prevention advocates:

 

  • Maternity Homes – Both the House and Senate budgets maintain level funding ($925,000) for maternity homes. 
  • Justification Review (included in both House and Senate budgets) – Certain maternal and child health initiatives would be reviewed to see if they fit into a statewide effort to focus on evidence-based programs, including Maternity Homes and Young Families Connect. 
  • Nurse-Family Partnership – Both House and Senate budget proposals include approximately $1.4 million for this evidence-based home visiting program. The Senate budget directs that $225,000 of funds be used to expand programs to rural eastern and western NC. 

What’s Next? 

 

The House and Senate will work to reconcile their budgets. We will be working through the negotiations process to help them understand the importance of funding teen pregnancy prevention efforts. 

 

Beyond North Carolina

 

Congress is also working on its federal budget. Among the proposals, the US House has proposed eliminating the Title X family planning program and cutting 90% of funds to federal teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. This drastic move would have severe consequences for North Carolina: Researchers estimate that the teen pregnancy rate in North Carolina would be 32% higher without Title X, and every dollar allocated to Title X saves taxpayers more than $7 by preventing unplanned pregnancies and STIs. National organizations are spearheading an awareness campaign to save these programs under the hashtag #ProtectPrevention

 

 

 

 

Carolina Justice Policy Center Legislative Update – June 17, 2015

http://www.justicepolicycenter.org/

Senate Releases Budget

 

The Big Picture – The Senate released its budget on Monday revealing  sharp differences with the House on major spending items including Medicaid, teacher assistants and state employee raises. Overall, the Senate spent less than the House and increased spending by 2% while the House increased it by approximately 5%.  

The Senate chose to use the additional $400 million in revenue to reduce taxes even further and to increase the rainy day fund.  These choices are particularly stark in a context of steady budget cuts since 2009.  The cuts have left every state agency starved for funding increases and struggling to provide adequate services with budgets that have not returned to pre-recession levels.  While neither plan fully addresses these problems, the House plan is preferable overall.


It Could Be a Long Hot Summer 
– The Senate has set major policy changes in both the Revenue and spending side of the budget.  This sets the stage for a long hot summer as the two chambers negotiate their differences. 

Some of the biggest differences between the House and Senate center around:

Major cuts to Teacher Assistants – The Senate proposes to reduce class sizes by hiring new teachers at the same time it cuts 13,881 Teacher Asst. positions.  Starting pay for new teachers is raised to $35,000 and while the average increase in teacher pay is 4%,  the most experienced teachers can expect little to no increase. 

A complete change in how Medicaid is organized and elimination of Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC).  The Senate moves entirely away from CCNC, the provider led award-winning structure for medicaid delivery. Medicaid would be transferred to an outside agency that would be overseen by a board appointed by the House, Senate and the Governor.  This is a totally different approach from the House.

State Employee salary increases – The House provides 2% pay raises to state employees and the Senate does not.  The Senate plan allows for some targeted increases in positions that are hard to fund.

A reduction in the personal income tax rates and a change in corporate taxes  that will reduce revenue by $971 million for the biennium and $1 billion annually after that.  This will further restrict the revenue  available at a time when state agencies are starved for sufficient funds.  North Carolina will be one of the few states that is not moving closer to  pre-recession funding. 

A redistribution of how sales tax income is allocated between rural and urban areas.

Further Tax Cuts Jeopardize Our State’s Health  – Further tax cuts are bad for North Carolina’s future. Our state cannot sustain yet another billion dollar cut and keep needed state services in justice, public health, education and mental health in  a healthy condition. 

Click Here to find your Senator and let him or her know that you value a healthy North Carolina and that further tax cuts jeopardize our state.

Scroll below for items in:

Courts
Law Enforcement
Pay Raises
Corrections
Juveniles
Indigent Defense
Jails
Justice
Mental Health/ DD/SA
Minority Health
Veterans

                                        COURTS
Technology – After a plea for funding by the new Chief Justice, Mark Martin, the House increased funding for Court technology by nearly $19 million over the biennium .  The Senate did not.  Instead, the Senate appears to be including Court technology needs in a statewide consolidated technology plan.  At this writing, it is unclear what that might mean for the courts and even if such a plan might be litigated since the Courts are a separate branch of government.  This is a matter of top priority to the Courts, so stay tuned for more information.  House and Senate differ.

Superior Court Judges Cut/ Business Courts Added  – The Senate cut 3 Superior Court judges and added funds for Business court judges and staff.  This appears to be a preference for Special Superior Court judges who are assigned to Business court.  The House funded the Business Courts without cutting existing Superior Court Judges.  Senate funds at lower level.

Family Courts – We’re glad to see Family Courts continued in the Senate budget.  These Courts need to be expanded statewide; they have proven to be an effective way to expedite family issues in less time through a process that helps families.  Senate and House.

Special Asst US Attorneys – Minority Leader Sen. Dan Blue wondered in committee if the $713,514 allocated for this item would place 6 state-funded DAs in federal offices.  The answer appears to be yes and the purpose is to transfer state cases into the federal system where the feds will pick up incarceration costs. We’d prefer to see these prosecutions take place within North Carolina. 

                      LAW ENFORCEMENT

Use of Force Training – Funds for Use of Force training are spread across the all state and local law enforcement agencies.  This is a much-needed step.   House and Senate.

Samarcand Training Facility – Start-up funds are allocated for this facility designed for Corrections personnel.  Minor Differences.

                          PAY INCREASES
There is no 2% pay raise for all state employees as was provided in the House.  There is a provision for targeted raises to continue staff in hard to hire positions.  Senate Only.

There are STEP increases across Asst. and Deputy Clerks, Magistrates, and the Highway Patrol.  House and Senate

Correctional officers received increases amounting to $25 million by 2017 that are associated with position reclassifications based on custody levels.  House and Senate

CORRECTIONS

Community-Based Services –  TECS (Treatment for Effective Community Services) and substance abuse services are funded at the current levels in both the House and  Senate.  This fund is being renamed to Recidivism Reduction Services (RRS) and should have sufficient funding to continue the 5 pilot Re-entry council sites. House and Senate.

The Broaden Access to Community Fund includes $1.359 in much-needed substance abuse funds that will be carried into 2016.  This is a non-recurring allocation initially proposed by the Governor. Senate is at a higher level.

Education Funds Reduced– The Senate decreases the Inmate Education budget by 5.6%. even though education has a positive impact on reducing recidivism.   House and Senate.

Prison Mental Health Funds Reduced
– The Senate provides the funds to open 72  mental health beds by 2017.    It does not provide the House level of funding  to provide behavioral health treatment units at 8 close custody prisons.  House and Senate.

Instead, it provides one behavioral treatment unit at Maury Correctional plus positions at the Diagnostic Centers to improve the assessment of inmates’ mental health status.  House is at a higher level.

Electronic Medical Records – Corrections is moving in the direction of electronic medical records which will hopefully provide both prisons and communities necessary information to improve treatment.  Fewer funds are allocated for an outside vendor in the Senate. Senate is at a lower level.

Increased Electronic Monitoring – The Senate provides a 17% increase in electronic monitoring in 2015-17 with a total of $4.9 available for this purpose.  The increase appears to be related to additional electronic monitoring for post-release supervision.  Supervision alone – without treatment or services – has not been shown to reduce recidivism.  Senate is at a lower level.

                                 JUVENILES
 $2 million is allocated for Level II beds in contracted and state-run facilities.  This increases the total available for juvenile community programs by 11%. Senate Only.

                             INDIGENT DEFENSE
Capital Defender’s Office Cut – One of the few budget cuts is aimed at the Capital Defender’s office.  Seven positions are targeted for an 18.9% reduction.  This is a costly move in the wrong direction as IDS has been able to show that dollars are saved by using salaried staff in this position.  Senate Only.

Private Appointed Counsel Increase – Indigent Defense has been struggling with a shortage in private appointed counsel funds and this 7.1% increase is welcome. Senate Only.

No funds for Automated Kiosks – The Senate chose to study the option of automated kiosks for meetings with public defenders.  The House funded a pilot site at $1.6 million.  Senate lower than House.

                                       JAILS
Misdemeanor Confinement Fund – The Misdemeanor Confinement Fund for sentenced misdemeanants confined in local jails has been completely transferred to the General Fund in an amount of $22.5 million.  The fees that supported the Misdemeanor Confinement Fund will now go the the General Fund.  Senate and House.

                                    JUSTICE
Crime Lab Technicians – Six new technicians are added to the crime lab making it possible to increase the lab turn around time. House and Senate. Senate and House.

Forensic Analysis Outsourcing – The Senate allows $750,000 for outsourcing toxicology and DNA analysis – both of which have been backlogged.   Senate Only

 

            MENTAL HEALTH/ SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND
                  DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITES

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers – These treatment centers are being incorporated into the LME/MCO structures.  As a result they will not receive direct general fund appropriations.  There funds will be allocated through the LME/ MCOs.  Senate and House.

 

Foster Care Expanded to 21 – Funds are included to expand Foster care to age 21.  This is a positive move for 18 – 21 year olds who are at risk for becoming involved in the justice system.  House has higher funding levels.


Behavioral Health and Public Safety Study – The Legislative Study committee will study the intersection of  Justice and Public Safety and Behavioral Health.  Senate and House.

LME Balances Reduced – The Senate has been unhappy with LMEs retaining balances that Senators consider too high.  As a result, they cut funds to LMEs by $185 million which will require them to spend down the balances.   Senate Only.

 

Non-Profit Competitive Grants Process – The Senate retains the grant process for non-profits to apply for programs providing a variety of statewide services.   TROSA (Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers) was not earmarked for funds in 2016 -17 as it was in the House.  Senate and House – different approach.

 

TASC IncreaseTreatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC) is increased by $1.86 million.   Senate and House.

 

Three-way Psychiatric Beds – This increases funding for psychiatric beds in community hospitals by 7%.  Unfortunately, it does not fund operating costs; when the same situation existed in the prison system, the beds were not able to be used for patients with psychiatric needs. 

Senate lower than House.

             Minority Health and Human Relations Commission

Two targeted eliminations that have a negative impact on the minority community are the Office of Minority Health and the Human Relations Commission.  The Senate eliminates 3 positions in Minority Health and transfers grant administration to the office of the DHHS secretary. Recent events around the nation continue to demonstrate the need and importance of effective Human Relations Commission..  Senate and House.

                    Veterans Services – A New Department
The focus on merging, saving and cutting does not extend to Senate and House proposals to establish a new Department in state government.  This will be the Department of  Military and Veterans’ Affairs; it will be a small Department with the function of coordinating and highlighting services for Vets.  Senate and House.

 

 

 

YOUR KIND WORDS ARE APPRECIATED…

 

Dear Senator Bryant,

 

Thank you so much for seeing us this week. We appreciate that you took the time to consider those things important to us and that impact the health of the community.

                        Karen Daniels, Halifax Regional

*************************************************************************************************

Dear Senator Bryant,

 

The Wilson Church Musicians’ Guild would like to express our deep appreciation for the awarding of the grant for our local Adult Choral Festival.  Otherwise, we would not have been able to offer this fine musical evening.  Also, I would like to express my gratitude for your serving our state in such a selfless role. 

                         Many thanks for helping us keep this tradition,

                                Joan Gibbs, Director of Music

*************************************************************************************************

Hello Mrs. Hardy,

 

Please let Senator Bryant know how much we appreciate her endorsement.  I shared our MESS-E story with several of the representatives and her office is the only one to respond and for that we are truly grateful. Have a Blessed and Wonderful day!

                          Sincerely,

                               Jan Fuller

*************************************************************************************************

Senator Bryant,

 

Thank you for your eloquent remarks on early childhood education today and your wonderful interweaving of data and personal stories.  It was extremely uplifting to hear despite the disappointing response from Senate leadership.

                          Thanks again,

                             Matt Ellinwood, Policy Analyst/Attorney, Education and Law Project at North Carolina  

                             Justice Center

 

             

 

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Wake County Resident Arrested on Heroin Charges http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/news/crime/wake-county-resident-arrested-on-heroin-charges/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/news/crime/wake-county-resident-arrested-on-heroin-charges/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 04:03:26 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66621
John Gregory Smith

John Gregory Smith

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, members of the Henderson Police Department Special Operations Unit arrested a Wake County resident on heroin related charges.

John Gregory Smith, 23, 488 Horace Baker Road, Zebulon was charged with one count of possession of heroin. Smith was placed in the Vance County Jail after failing to post a 20,000.00 secured bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled in Vance County District Court on July 2, 2015.

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Congresswoman Renee Ellmers: Continuing to Fight Obamacare http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/press-release/nc/congresswoman-renee-ellmers-continuing-to-fight-obamacare/ http://homeinhenderson.com/2015/06/29/press-release/nc/congresswoman-renee-ellmers-continuing-to-fight-obamacare/#respond Mon, 29 Jun 2015 04:03:16 +0000 http://homeinhenderson.com/?p=66609 Photo of the Week:

On Saturday I hosted a reception for an incredible group of young men and women from the Second District who were accepted to attend U.S.Military Service Academies. It was truly an honor to meet these bright students and their families and to congratulate them on their accomplishments. Thank you for your commitment to our great country!

 

Weekly Update:
Upon arriving in Washington in 2010, I have worked tirelessly to repeal Obamacare and find a patient-centered healthcare solution. This week, it was disappointing to see the Supreme Court prop up this floundering law yet again in the King v. Burwell Ruling. We have seen time and time again that Obamacare’s policy is inadequate and unaffordable Americans across the country. This decision further institutionalizes the President’s damaged health care law and ultimately disadvantages the American people. Click here to read my full statement, or read more about my thoughts in this WRAL article.

Participating in the Bipartisan Women’s Softball Game was one of the highlights of my week. The game is played to raise awareness, and to motivate the thousands of women who are battling cancer today. I played in honor of my dear friend from Dunn, Fonnie Godwin, who courageously fought her battle with breast cancer for 4 years. The game was so much fun, and beating the Bad News Babes was just the cherry on top!

This week also gave me the opportunity to speak with many constituents, including a group of 4-H Youth Development students and a group from Generation Opportunity. I particularly enjoyed meeting Lauren Freeman of Asheboro, the NC-02 winner of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition! Her watercolor will be on display in the Capitol for the remainder of the summer. I hope you will scroll down to see photos from a few of my meetings this week.

 

 

Congressional Art Competition Winner

I was so happy to meet Lauren Freeman, the NC Second District? winner of the 2015 Congressional Art Competition, when she was in Washington this week for a reception honoring the winners. Lauren, the daughter of Bryan and Cheryl Freeman of Asheboro, is a recent graduate of Southwestern Randolph High School. The name of her watercolor artwork was “Melancholy.” ?

 

#BeatCancer

Wednesday night I played in the 7th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game for a great cause, the Young Survival Coalition, which helps women who are battling or recovering from breast cancer. Our Congressional Women Members’ team beat the media team, the Bad News Babes, for the 2nd year in a row as we all came together to ?#?BeatCancer?. Here are a few photos from the game including one of my staff, who really got into the spirit of the event.

 

In Washington This Week

It was great talking with 4-H Youth Development students from Alamance, Randolph and Davie Counties this week! They also met with my staff to learn about the Capitol and how things work in Washington.

I spoke at a press conference outside the Capitol in support of H.R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, which I cosponsored. I look forward to passage of this bipartisan bill that will ensure states retain control of their electric markets and help keep the price of electricity affordable for families.

I enjoyed meeting with Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg of Duke Medical Center and Cord Blood Association and her husband, Dr. Henry Friedman, to discuss Carolina’s cord blood banking.

 

Miss North Carolina 2015 from NC02!

Last weekend NC02’s own Miss Dunn 2015, Kate Peacock, was crowned the new Miss North Carolina! Read more about the new Miss North Carolina in this article in the Fayetteville Observer.

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