Archive for February, 2020

2-20-2020 – Unnamed company planning expansion

Posted on: February 20th, 2020 by admin

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February 19, 2020

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By Guy Lucas
guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Feb 19, 2020 10:15 AM

 

A Lenoir company plans an expansion that is expected to create 40 new full-time jobs, according to a document reviewed by the Lenoir City Council.

 

Council members voted Tuesday night to help the company, which was not identified except by the name Project Trilogy, apply for a state grant to help pay for the expansion.

 

The company would invest about $400,000 in its building and equipment, a city document said.

 

The 40 new jobs would pay an average of $39,750 a year, the document said.

 

The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners will be asked at its meeting March 9 to offer incentives to the company for its expansion. The incentives would provide the local funding required in order to get a state grant.

 

In other business, the city council approved having a new sewer line installed where the Lenoir Greenway passes under U.S. 321, which will allow the city to abandon a decades-old 8-inch clay sewer line that passes under Smith Crossroads.

 

City council members also learned at a gathering after their meeting that the city’s Main Street program has created a new award to recognize outstanding efforts to aid downtown development.

 

The award is named the Gibbons Award in honor of Mayor Joe Gibbons and Becky Gibbons.

 

The award also was presented to Becky Gibbons, who is a constant presence at downtown events.

 

It was also announced that Lenoir’s Public Works and Sanitation Department has won the 2020 Main Street Champion award from the N.C. Main Street program. Lenoir also has won two more awards, which will be announced at the N.C. Main Street Conference.

2-19-2020 – Grant money keeps rolling

Posted on: February 19th, 2020 by admin

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February 19, 2020

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By Garrett Stell
gstell@newstopicnews.com

Feb 18, 2020 1:56 PM

 

 

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute announced Monday that it has received another $200,000 in grant funding for two projects.

 

Each grant was worth $100,000.

 

One awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission will pay for 12 new machines that will allow manufacturing students in the new Paul H. Broyhill Center for Advanced Technologies to receive training on the types of equipment being used in modern factories. The equipment includes lathes, surface grinders and a CNC turning center, a highly-versatile machine used in the furniture and general manufacturing industries.

 

Randy Ledford, vice president of instruction at CCC&TI, said that he hopes the equipment can last up to 10 years with proper maintenance and upkeep.

 

A grant awarded by the Tides Foundation, a philanthropic group with offices in San Francisco and New York, and funded through Google Data Centers Grants will fund a project called Caldwell Opportunities Now a Network of eLearning through Connection Technologies (CONNECT), which President Dr. Mark Poarch said will allow the college to broadcast classes from the Hudson campus to students at the county’s three traditional high schools around the county.

 

“This allows us to have a faculty member teaching a class here in Hudson and project that class to all three traditional high schools,” he said. “This gives us a way to reach students who maybe can’t drive to campus here but still want to take college classes that are available to them.”

 

He said that there are no specific courses in mind yet but that the technology lends itself easily to courses such as English, psychology and history that are lecture- and discussion-focused.

 

Poarch said he also hopes the technology can be used by the Caldwell County School system to connect classrooms at different schools and expand course options for students who have transportation limitations.

 

In other business, the college released its official enrollment report for the spring semester, confirming an increase of 152 students over last year’s spring semester numbers. This means that CCC&TI’s enrollment has increased in six of the past seven semesters. The only semester in that group that failed to see an increase was last spring, but the dropoff was only three students, and Dena Holman, vice president and Title IX coordinator, said that the difference was made up just a few days after the official numbers were reported.

 

Of the 3,465 students currently enrolled, more than 1,300 are high school students, Poarch said, which makes the Google grant and innovations such as the virtual classrooms an important service for expanding the college’s reach and continuing to grow enrollment.

 

Reporter Garrett Stell can be reached at 828-610-8723.

2-7-2020 – Jobless number hits 15-month low

Posted on: February 7th, 2020 by admin

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February 7, 2020

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By Guy Lucas
guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Feb 06, 2020 12:09 PM

 

Caldwell County’s unemployment rate made another tiny step of improvement in December as the number of residents without jobs hit its lowest level since September 2018.

 

The number of county residents without a job fell by about 30 to 1,263 in December, the lowest number of any month in 2019, the state Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported. That’s also the lowest number since the county reached a post-recession low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent in September 2018, when the number of people without jobs was 1,080.

 

The county’s unemployment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 percent in December. That was tied for 39th lowest among the state’s 100 counties, an improvement from November, when it was tied for 45th.

 

The closure of Heritage Home Group’s last two furniture plants in Caldwell County in late 2018 had pushed the unemployment rate to 4.8 percent in January 2019, but it has steadily improved since then.

 

Unemployment dropped in 92 counties in December and rose in just four.

 

The rate in neighboring Catawba and Burke counties also dropped by 0.1 points, to 3.1 percent in Catawba and 3.3 percent in Burke.

 

The overall unemployment rate in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area was 3.2 percent, tied with Burling and Winston-Salem for the sixth lowest among the state’s 15 metro areas.

2-4-2020 – Development could get grant help

Posted on: February 5th, 2020 by admin

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February 4, 2020

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By GARRETT STELL
GSTELL@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

 

 

Feb 04, 2020 2:15 PM

 

Granite Falls will apply for a state grant to help pay for a new assisted living center being built on a site east of Walmart.

 

The Granite Falls Town Council voted Monday night to apply for a Rural Hope grant of up to $500,000 from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division. Hope grants are meant to establish job growth in the health care sector, while also improving health care quality in rural areas. The town has set aside funds to match 5% of any grant amount received.

 

Work on Grace Village Assisting Living Center, a $12 million, 78-bed assisted living facility, began in November and is expected to be finished by the end of 2020. The project by Spartan Holdings has been described as the first phase in developing a retirement community that will include houses and apartments.

 

In other business, the council scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 17 on a proposed expansion of the town’s restrictions on tobacco and vaping products on public property. Currently, the town does not allow use of tobacco products or vapes inside public buildings, but under the proposed policy tobacco products and vapes would be banned on all town-owned properties, including outdoor areas such as the William B. Shuford Recreation Center.

 

Reporter Garrett Stell can be reached at 828-610-8723.

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