Archive for the ‘News section’ Category

5-22-2023 – No property tax hikes expected for 2023-24

Posted on: May 22nd, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 22, 2023




May 19, 2023


LENOIR — Municipal and county leaders throughout Caldwell County have begun the process of planning budgets for fiscal year 2023-24.


According to Lenoir City Manager Scott Hildebran, for fiscal year 2023-24, the city’s General Fund revenues/expenditures estimate is slightly more than $22 million. The budget is balanced with the current property tax rate, which will remain at 57 cents per $100 valuation. The Utility Fund (water and sewer) revenue/expenditures estimate is $10.7 million. The Main Street fund (Special Downtown Tax District) revenues/expenditures estimate is $236,900. The recommended budget contains no new debt and does not use any fund balance.


Lenoir City Council will hold a public hearing to discuss the 2023-24 budget in the City/County Chambers (located on the lower level of the Alden E. Starnes County Office Plaza) on Tuesday, June 6 at 6 p.m.


Hudson Town Manager Jonathan Greer reported the town’s proposed 2023-24 budget does not have a tax increase and the tax rate will remain the same at 43 cents per $100 valuation. Projected revenue is $4.6 million and the budget is balanced. General Fund operating expenses are projected to be $313,415 less than the current fiscal year.


Town of Hudson officials are proposing to purchase a new mini-excavator ($60,000) and asphalt roller ($26,300) for Public Works; new kitchen equipment ($7,500), HVAC upgrades ($15,000), and parking lot expansion for the HUB Station ($100,000); and two new picnic shelters ($15,000) for Redwood Park to replace an aging shelter. They are also proposing to resurface certain town streets sometime next year ($85,000).


The public hearing to discuss Hudson’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-24 is set for Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall. The proposed budget is still a working document, subject to change, until the public hearing and adoption by the Board of Commissioners.


According to Rick Justice, Rhodhiss town manager, the current property tax rate in Rhodhiss will remain at 55 cents per $100 valuation.


The town’s expected revenues are $820,500 from the General Fund. Out of that, $292,800 will be spent on administrations, beautification, and capital outlay. Some projects are currently underway to clean up properties in the town. Town Council has asked for extra funding for the Rhodhiss Police Department that would go toward hiring a part-time officer and providing the department with supplies. The town of Rhodhiss has also been granted funds to replace a water line across the bridge.


A public hearing to discuss the town of Rhodhiss’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-24 will take place at the Boy Scout Building (102 Church St.) on Monday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m.


Village of Cedar Rock officials do not anticipate a change in the tax rate, which is currently 20 cents per $100 valuation. In addition to normal expenditures, Cedar Rock’s budget includes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that will be used primarily for drainage system work and public safety issues.


A public hearing to discuss Cedar Rock’s proposed budget will be prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, June 20.


Cedar Rock Mayor Bob Floyd, Jr. explained that council can provide income and expense information at that time. The above information is tentative and preliminary until final budget approval.


Gamewell Town Manager Bonnie Caudle explained that Gamewell does not charge a property tax. The town still has some ARPA funds left that contribute to the General Fund balance of $1.1 million.


Town officials are planning to start two large capital projects and will move some fund balance over to do so. A little over $400,000 will go toward half of the planned sewer extensions. A foot bridge will be added to connect Gamewell Park to the medical park.


A public hearing to discuss the Town of Gamewell’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2023-24 will take place in the Town Hall on Monday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m.


The town of Cajah’s Mountain does not have a property tax. Town officials are planning to rebuild the pump station that will be paid for with ARPA grants and COVID funds.


A public hearing to discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, June 5 at 1800 Connelly Springs Rd.


Officials from the towns of Sawmills and Granite Falls did not immediately respond to the News-Topic’s budget inquiries prior to the deadline for this story.


The town of Granite Falls will hold a public hearing on Monday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the proposed budget.


Caldwell County Manager Donald Duncan explained that the county’s property tax rate will remain at 63 cents per $100 valuation. The General Fund balance is $113.5 million. The Water Fund balance is $4.4 million, and the Opioid Fund balance is $560,709. In total, that’s a projected $118.1 million in revenue for Caldwell County.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners will vote on the budget at their 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, June 12.


5-12-2023 – CCC&TI announces Continuing Ed courses

Posted on: May 12th, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 12, 2023





Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) is now registering for several upcoming continuing education and workforce training courses. Following is a schedule:


Mental Health Technician – Online Course


CCC&TI will offer an online Mental Health Technician course from May 15 to July 28. This course provides students with the knowledge and skills for safe, therapeutic care to patients with mental and behavioral health needs in an effective and ethical manner. Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to take the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians (AAPT) Level 1 certification exam and qualify for entry-level positions within the special mental/behavioral health care programs. The course covers topics such as patient rights and documentation, trust and communication in health care, safety in the workplace, common psychiatric disorders, and chemical dependency and its effects. Topics will include: History of mental health care, identifying normal growth and development, importance of trust and communication in health care, proper safety in the workplace, chemical dependency and its effects, common psychiatric disorders, proper documentation for patients and understanding and respecting patient rights. The cost of the class is $181. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Mental Health First Aid


CCC&TI will offer a Mental Health First Aid course on the Caldwell Campus on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., from May 17 to May 24 in H-215. This course is designed to develop competencies in identifying and understanding risk factors and warning signs for mental health and responding to signs of mental illness and substance use. Upon successful completion, students will possess the skills needed to reach out and provide initial support to an individual who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate care resources. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Upholstery for Spanish Speakers


CCC&TI will offer an Upholstery for Spanish Speakers course on the Caldwell Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., from May 31 to August 24. Introduction to Upholstery is designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to become an entry-level upholsterer. In addition, students will learn the soft skills needed for employment. The course includes core skills, training in upholstery manufacturing concepts, tools and safety, and training in employability skills, communication, problem solving, and critical thinking. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


CCC&TI ofrece: Clases de Tapicería en Español. Clases comienzan el 31 de Mayo de 2023 hasta el 24 de Agosto de 2023. Hora: 5:30 p.m. a 9:30 p.m. Dias: Martes y Jueves. Costo: $182. Lugar: Recinto de Caldwell, Hudson Para más información o para registrarse llame al: 828-726-2242


Trade-Up Pre-Apprenticeship


CCC&TI is now enrolling for the Trade-Up Pre-Apprenticeship summer program. Rising high school juniors, seniors and class of 2023 graduates in Caldwell and Watauga counties are eligible to participate. The program is designed for students with an interest and aptitude for a career in construction-related skilled trades, including general contracting, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, masonry and heating and air conditioning. Upon completion of the first 48 hours of classroom instruction, students will have the opportunity for a paid summer position as a pre-apprentice with a local construction company. The classroom and on-the-job portion will take place June 9 to Aug. 4. On-the-job hours are established by the employer and will vary. For more information, visit To apply or for questions, contact Justin Harris at or call 828-726-2611.


Mental Health First Aid


CCC&TI will offer a Mental Health First Aid course on the Caldwell Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., from June 20 to June 22 in H-215. This course is designed to develop competencies in identifying and understanding risk factors and warning signs for mental health and responding to signs of mental illness and substance use. Upon successful completion, students will possess the skills needed to reach out and provide initial support to an individual who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate care resources. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Nurse Aide Refresher – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI will offer a Nurse Aide Refresher course on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., from July 24 to Aug. 9. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Emergency Medical Technician – Basic


CCC&TI will offer an Emergency Medical Technician – Basic course from May 22 to July 19. This 284-hour course is designed to train individuals to provide basic emergency medical care in the pre-hospital setting. Coursework provides students with basic essential knowledge and skills required to work as an EMT Basic. The cost is $203 and the textbook is $282. Scholarships are available. For more info or to register, call 828-726-2242.


BioWork Process Technician


CCC&TI will offer the BioWork Process Technician course Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., from June 1 to Aug. 10 on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson. The course will combine classroom lecture and online instruction. The total cost for the course is $262, which includes textbook. The BioWork Process Technician course provides basic preparation for process technician jobs in bioprocess manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing and chemical manufacturing. The course will include understanding the role of a process technician, safety, quality processes, measuring process variables, transforming matter, process technology (including processing equipment and plant utilities), controlling the process, maintaining sterile processes and growing living cells. For more information or to reserve a seat for the BioWork Process Technician course, please call 828-726-2242.


Electrical Lineworker I


CCC&TI will offer an Electrical Lineworker I course Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from June 26 to Aug. 15 on the Caldwell Campus. The Electrical Lineworker Institute prepares students for a career as an apprentice for a journeyman lineworker. In this program, students will develop the knowledge and skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair outdoor residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems, and associated power transmission lines. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Intro to Residential Wiring – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Introduction to Residential Wiring on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Aug. 21 to Dec. 13 in J-221. The course introduces the electrical trade, electrical circuits, theory and safety, conductors and cable, device boxes, hand bending and residential electrical services. Students will learn basic electrical wiring concepts, electrical theory, Ohm’s law and types of services for residential applications. The cost of the class is $190. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Industrial Maintenance I


CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Intro to Industrial Maintenance on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Aug. 29 to Dec. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., in S-103. This course is designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair equipment found in a variety of industries. Designed for the “jack-of-all trades” technician, this course covers all five major areas of industrial maintenance knowledge: Electrical Maintenance, General Maintenance, Mechanical Maintenance, Preventative Maintenance and Welding. The cost of the class is $182. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Phlebotomy – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI will offer a Phlebotomy course on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson in H-210 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., from Aug. 15 to Nov. 2. The cost of the class is $203. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Phlebotomy – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI will offer a Phlebotomy course on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson in H-210 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., from Aug. 16 to Nov. 6. The cost of the class is $203. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


HVAC I – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI’s Caldwell Campus will offer Introduction to HVAC on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 21 to Dec. 13 in J-221. This course serves as the entry-level requirement for all other courses in the HVAC program. The curriculum focuses on basic carbon steel piping practices, basic copper and plastic piping practices, basic electricity, intro to heating, cooling, and air distribution systems, soldering and brazing and trade mathematics. The cost of the class is $190. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2242.


General Contractor Exam Prep


CCC&TI will offer a General Contractor Exam Prep class from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Sept. 12 to Nov. 16 in H-207 on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson. This 60-hour course prepares students for the General Contractor’s licensing examination. Emphasis is placed on blueprints, laws and regulations, employment security laws and workers’ compensation. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to sit for the N.C. Contractor’s licensing examination. For more information on this course or to register, call 828-726-2242.


Massage Therapy – Caldwell Campus


CCC&TI will offer a Massage Therapy course from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday from Oct. 2 to Sept. 30, 2024 and the third Saturday of each month from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Caldwell Campus in Hudson. This course is designed to prepare students for the certification examination required for the North Carolina licensure application process. The course will include anatomy and physiology, multiple massage styles, multiple therapy styles, ethics, North Carolina laws and regulations and wellness and self-care. Students who successfully complete this massage therapy training will receive three points toward competitive admission into the Physical Therapist Assistant program at CCC&TI. For more information or to register, call 828-726-2341.

5-10-2023 – Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation accepting grant applications

Posted on: May 10th, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 10, 2023





LENOIR – The Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2023 grant cycle.


Applications are accepted online at through July 31, 2023.


The Foundation is seeking grant applications that reflect tangible economic and community development initiatives from organizations that foster job opportunities and enhance the quality of life. Additionally, programs, projects, and organizations that are important components of a community’s overall quality of life, emphasizing public safety, awareness, healthcare, emergency services, and self-sufficiency, will also be considered for 2023 funding.


Grants are available for nonprofit organizations serving the Blue Ridge Energy service areas in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander, Burke, Catawba, and Wilkes counties of North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia.

The Foundation Advisory Committee, an all-volunteer group of cooperative members, will review all applications and make grant recommendations to the Blue Ridge Energy Board of Directors at their October board meeting. The grant recipients will be announced in early December.

The Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation was formed in 2007 to expand the cooperative’s mission of helping local communities in its service area. Foundation funds are used in two ways: to provide crisis electric bill assistance to members who need emergency financial help and to support the long-term efforts of organizations that help sustain and build our communities. Since 2007, the Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation has awarded 304 grants totaling over $1,580,000.

Funding for Foundation grants comes from members participating in Blue Ridge Energy’s Operation Round Up and Operation Round Up Plus programs as well as contributions from the cooperative’s propane and fuels, and telecommunication subsidiaries.

Nearly 28,000 members are rounding up their monthly electric bill through the cooperative’s Operation Round Up programs or donating all or a portion of their capital credits.

5-10-2023 – North Carolina Named Number One in Economic Development

Posted on: May 10th, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 10, 2023



Site Selection magazine awards the state its ‘Prosperity Cup’ accolade



North Carolina ranks first in the nation for the third year in a row on a closely watched measurement of state business competitiveness. Site Selection magazine’s 2023 ‘Prosperity Cup’ is awarded based on ten factors of economic performance, including the total number of new and expanded facilities in the state, capital investment, and total number of new jobs created.


“North Carolina continues to be the best place in America to do business thanks to our first-class workforce and excellent quality of life,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “With strong infrastructure and education investments along with our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion, we can continue to lead the country in attracting the most dynamic and innovative businesses in the world, creating good-paying jobs and livable communities.”


The Prosperity Cup, one of several economic development performance measurements published by Site Selection, is an accolade based on data from Conway Data Inc.’s New Plant Database and is also considered a reflection of the strength of a state’s economic development agencies. The Department of Commerce works with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina to manage economic development projects at the state level.


“We have continued to leverage our strengths,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The Department of Commerce is a multiplier for our local and regional economic development agencies. We have continued to invest in and underscore the importance of our number one asset, which is our talent. It’s important for companies to locate in places that employees will enjoy and be able to thrive in. North Carolina offers all of that. That has kept us competitive.”


In the rankings, North Carolina led the field, followed by Georgia, Ohio and Indiana.


North Carolina’s recent successes in economic development include VinFast’s announcement of its first North American electric vehicle (EV) assembly and battery manufacturing plant, bringing 7,500 jobs to Chatham County; Wolfspeed, which announced its newest semiconductor manufacturing plant in Siler City for a $5 billion investment creating 1,800 jobs; Boom Supersonic’s announcement of its supersonic airliner manufacturing and assembly plant in Greensboro, for an investment of $500 million creating 1,750 jobs; and Eli Lilly and Company’s announcement of its new manufacturing site in Concord, for an investment of $1 billion and creating 600 jobs.


The 2023 ‘Prosperity Cup’ rankings evaluating state business competitiveness can be reviewed at

5-8-2023 – New senior affordable housing available in Hudson

Posted on: May 8th, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 8, 2023



HUDSON — In a challenging world where rental prices continue to climb and many seniors continue to face unstable housing options, declining incomes, and increased medical costs, affordable housing is a crucial need for many. The town of Hudson just got a reprieve with the addition of a new development.


A new senior affordable housing property in Hudson, Kirkland Grove Apartments, is a 70-unit age-restricted affordable housing community serving seniors aged 55 and older with household incomes ranging from 40% to 60% area median income (AMI). On Friday, May 5, Greystone Affordable Development and Weaver-Kirkland Development, LLC held a grand opening ceremony to celebrate the completed development.


“Kirkwood Grove is a beautiful, welcoming community that our seniors can be proud to call home,” said Jon Purinai, senior director at Greystone, in his welcoming remarks. “Today, we celebrate not only the completion of Kirkwood Grove, but also the spirit of cooperation and partnership that made it all possible … We look forward to continue to work together to create affordable housing in North Carolina.”


Greystone and Weaver-Kirkland Development (WKD) are committed to bringing quality affordable housing throughout North Carolina, especially in rural communities. They began the planning of Kirkwood Grove Apartments several years ago, with the goal of providing decent, affordable housing that facilitates an improved quality of life and independence for limited income seniors aged 55 or older in Hudson. However, this was no easy feat, as they faced unprecedented times of increasing construction costs, supply chain interruptions, increasing interest rates and lingering remnants of COVID. But they did not let that stop them.


Greystone, WKD and other participating professionals invested tremendous time and over $12.7 million into making this rural community a reality. It would not have been possible without Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) USDA guaranteed construction and permanent financing, HUD HOME funds, and other critical resources provided by North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA). Because of the incredible public-private partnerships with NCHFA, Churchill Stateside Group, Regions Bank and Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPOG), this brand new affordable housing community is now complete.


After only an astounding 13 months of construction, the last resident moved in less than two weeks after the final Certificate of Occupancy was received from the town of Hudson. And now, 70 senior households can proudly call Kirkwood Grove Apartments home. Residents, management staff and owners are now enjoying this new community and will continue to do so for many years to come.


“Thank you for choosing our community,” said Hudson Mayor Janet Winkler at the grand opening celebration. “We’re a small community of about 4,000 people, but we’re a very progressive community. We offer not only partnerships with community development, such as these affordable housing units, but we offer so many amenities, such as the Mitford Museum, art galleries, and so many things at our HUB Station for all of the residents here to enjoy. We hope you will take advantage of all the amenities we have.


“For you to invest in over $12 million right here in the middle of Hudson, we say thank you,” Winkler continued. “We are so fortunate that you have chosen Hudson, and we hope that Hudson can help you continue to grow in any way we can. If we can find more land for you, then we will do that.”


Teresa Townsend, a resident of Kirkwood Grove Apartments, expressed her immense gratitude for the new apartment complex that offers senior citizens a place to live in a safe, welcoming environment in Hudson.


“I love living here,” said Townsend. “I hear from not just myself, but tenants who live here, they are so thankful to be here. I am so thankful to be here … This has done something for me, personally, for depression wise or whatever. I see with that other people, too. I hope the investors who are here today, I hope that means more to you than money ever did.


“A lot of us appreciate that the neighborhood is lit up,” Townsend continued. “It makes these elderly people feel safe. I love the friendships that we’ve made here.”

5-5-2023 – North Carolina Main Street Communities Achieve Main Street America Accreditation for 2023

Posted on: May 5th, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 3, 2023




The National Main Street Center has designated 42 North Carolina communities as accredited Main Street America™ programs for 2023, the North Carolina Department of Commerce announced today. Each year, the national group and the Commerce department’s Main Street & Rural Planning Center recognize communities demonstrating exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.


“The North Carolina Main Street programs have once again met the rigorous standards of the National Main Street Center,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Our local Main Street programs help drive North Carolina’s economy by working with Commerce’s community developers to increase the economic vitality of their downtown districts, helping attract new jobs, more small businesses, and additional investment across the state.”


The following communities that have earned national Main Street accreditation for their 2022 performance: Albemarle, Asheboro, Belmont, Brevard, Cherryville, Concord, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Fuquay-Varina, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Laurinburg, Lenoir, Lexington, Lumberton, Marion, Monroe, Mooresville, Morehead City, Morganton, Mount Airy, New Bern, Newton, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Roxboro, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva, Tarboro, Tryon, Wake Forest, Washington, Waxhaw, Waynesville, Whiteville, Williamston, and Wilson.


The Main Street & Rural Planning Center works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet the performance standards. To quality for national accreditation status, communities must demonstrate a commitment to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.


“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” said Hannah White, Interim President & CEO of Main Street America. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions.”


“The list of nationally accredited communities demonstrates the necessary hard work to build sustainable organizations that spur investment, business development, and job creation” said Liz Parham, Director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.


Since 1980, N.C. Main Street programs have leveraged $4.52 billion in private and public investment.  In 2022, N.C. Main Street downtown districts generated 301 net new businesses, 1,941 net new jobs, 360 façade rehabilitations, 303 building rehabilitations, and recorded 103,277 volunteer hours.


For more information, visit the N.C. Main Street webpage or contact Liz Parham at 919-814-4658.


About Main Street America
Main Street America leads a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. For more than 43 years, Main Street America has provided a practical, adaptable, and impactful framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. Our network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have generated more than $101.58 billion in new public and private investment, generated 168,693 net new businesses and 746,897 net new jobs, rehabilitated more than 325,119 buildings, and levered over 33.7 million volunteer hours. Main Street America is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit


5-3-2023 – Google, Foxx announce $75K robotics grant for schools

Posted on: May 3rd, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 3, 2023





LENOIR – Students within Caldwell County Schools now have a head start in pursuit of robotics careers thanks to a Google data center grant.


The grant will fund after-school robotics programs for third through 12th grade students at three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school in the district. The curriculum will focus on Lego Education Robotics League materials and Vex Robotics.


The announcement came during a CS (computer science) First Roadshow event Tuesday at William Lenoir Middle School where students participated in hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) activities designed by Google.


Congresswoman Virginia Foxx attended and participated in the announcement. Foxx, who represents Caldwell County, serves as the Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Foxx, a former post-secondary education instructor in western North Carolina, heralded the grant and its impact on the community.


“The Caldwell County school system and its many fine students will benefit tremendously from Google’s data center grant. These students will be able to further their educational pursuits and become exposed to valuable curriculum that will surely inspire them to explore the opportunities that exist within the field of computer science,” said Foxx. “It’s abundantly clear to me, and countless others, that this investment will go on to amplify the innovation and talent found right here in North Carolina’s 5th District.”


A big part of the grant will ensure teachers responsible for the robotics clubs have all of the education they need to pass along the skills needed to fully understand the power and usefulness in robotics both today and into the future.


“Our Caldwell County teachers are some of the best and most dedicated instructors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Don Phipps. “A big part of why our teachers and students remain on the cutting edge is thanks to the commitment of Google to make sure we have what we need to prepare our students for STEAM careers. From Rolling Study Halls to Students and Teachers at Work to the most recent BetaBox, our students have the same if not more opportunities to interact with technology than students in much larger school districts.”


This latest grant adds to more than $17 million in grant funding the tech company has made in North Carolina since it announced the construction of a data center in 2016.


“We are proud to call Caldwell County home to our data center,” said Lilyn Hester, Google’s head of External Affairs – Southeast. “As part of our commitment to the places where we call home, we focus on ensuring the students in our public schools have the tools and access needed to succeed.”


About Google in North Carolina


Google has called North Carolina home for more than 15 years after its first data center in Caldwell County came online in 2007. Since then, Google has invested more than $1.2 billion in North Carolina and established a long-term commitment to the state. Google has created jobs for more than 250 people at its North Carolina facility and has awarded more than $17 million to local schools and nonprofits in North Carolina.


Learn more about Google in North Carolina at:

5-2-2023 – Governor Cooper Proclaims Small Business Week in North Carolina

Posted on: May 2nd, 2023 by admin No Comments


May 2, 2023




: Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed April 30 – May 6, 2023 as Small Business Week to celebrate the impact of entrepreneurs and small businesses on North Carolina’s economy.


“North Carolina’s small businesses are the fuel for our economy and we couldn’t be number one for business without them,” said Governor Cooper. “The success of our essential small business community, from innovative startups to family-owned companies, deserves to be celebrated for their contributions to North Carolina’s economic prosperity.”


Established by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which defines small businesses as companies with less than 500 employees, Small Business Week is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses across the country. In 2022, North Carolina’s 994,500 small businesses accounted for more than 99% of the state’s businesses while employing 1.7 million people statewide.


“Small businesses employ nearly 45% of our state’s private-sector workforce,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “As community builders and champions, small businesses have a multiplier effect on the local economies by creating more job opportunities and investments for their communities.”


Small businesses also contribute significantly to the flow of goods from North Carolina to the global market with more than 9,100 small firms exporting merchandise from North Carolina, generating 21.4% of the state’s $26 billion in exports in 2020.


North Carolina’s strategic economic development plan, First in Talent, identifies key goals to prepare North Carolina’s workforce and businesses for success, including bolstering small businesses with inclusive opportunities for new entrepreneurs and women- and minority-owned firms.


Last year, North Carolina was awarded up to $201 million from the U.S. Treasury Department to promote small business growth and entrepreneurship through the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The Department of Commerce awarded 11 NCWorks Small Business Work-Based Learning grants to help local workforce development boards provide training and services to connect jobseekers to small businesses.


The Commerce department’s One North Carolina Small Business Program awards nondilutive grants to innovative, tech-based small businesses that are applying for and/or have previously won federal research and technology awards. Since 2006, the Program has helped more than 500 small businesses create and maintain more than 1,200 jobs across the state and leverage an additional $8 billion in follow-on investment. Applications for the Program are currently being accepted through June 30.


Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division leads economic development initiatives and programs to support small businesses through the Appalachian Regional Commission and Main Street and Rural Planning Center. Together, these rural programs supported the creation or improvement of nearly 900 businesses in rural North Carolina last year.


In January, North Carolina launched a tourism-focused economic recovery initiative to help build economic resiliency for the state’s tourism and outdoor recreation industries, which impacts small businesses.


Collaboratively, public agencies, education institutions and private-sector organizations assist small businesses with growth strategies and job creation by providing workforce training, business mentoring, financial assistance, research, technical assistance, and export services.


North Carolina provides many services to small businesses through NCWorks, community college small business centers, the N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center, the Rural Center and a toll-free information and referral service known as the Small Business Advisors hotline.


For more information about Small Business Week, including a copy of Governor Cooper’s proclamation, click here.

4-14-2023 – Board OKs EMS base in Cajah’s Mountain

Posted on: April 14th, 2023 by admin No Comments


April 14 2023




Apr 12, 2023


LENOIR — Plans are underway to build an Emergency Management Services (EMS) base in Cajah’s Mountain.


During the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, April 10, County Manager Donald Duncan proposed the purchase of property located at 1901 Connelly Springs Road in the Town of Cajah’s Mountain for the purpose of establishing an EMS base in that area.


Local government leaders from the Town of Cajah’s Mountain, including Mayor Ronnie Setzer, Mayor pro tem Lloyd Robbins, Councilman Richard Andrews, and Town Manager Randy Feierabend, were also in attendance at the meeting.


“One of the requests that had been made not long after I started working here was to find an adequate EMS base location in the southwestern portion of the county because that’s a fast-growing area,” said Duncan. “We have a lot of call volume there.”


Duncan and other county leaders negotiated with the former Valdese Memorial Hospital to purchase the 14-acre property for $625,000. As Duncan explained, funding for this project would come partly from the Town of Cajah’s Mountain and also from an outstanding loan left over from the new Animal Care Enforcement facility project.


“Since we received a gift grant from our wonderful General Assembly, you have about $3.7 million in loan proceeds that you can put toward this project and others if you see fit,” said Duncan. “If you were to renew that loan today under the current interest rates, you would be costing the taxpayers another half a million dollars. It’s a good use of the money while you got it.”


The building on the property, currently a small, bland-looking building, would be remodeled to accommodate the needs of the new EMS base operations.


“I think with some improvements we could make this into a working facility that would not only be an EMS base but also increase size and training opportunities for us,” said Duncan.


He proposed that the redevelopment of the site could potentially add enough space to house two ambulances and additional crew. The front offices of the existing building could be renovated into facilities that train medics in a variety of areas, such as pediatric care, how to enter a home or deliver a patient to the hospital, and more. A lab space and ambulance restocking area, as well as offices with “Jack and Jill bathrooms,” could also be installed, Duncan explained.


He suggested the best course of action for the remaining 10 acres or so on the property might be to build a neighborhood with residential homes.


“When the county owns land, how do we put it back to its best use? Should it be non-residential, should it be something that creates jobs?” Duncan asked. “Right now, there is significant housing shortage in the county, as you’re well aware.”


The topography on the site lends itself well to residential development, with sewer on the south of the property serviced by the Town of Cajah’s Mountain, water and natural gas on site, and an open field ripe for improvement.


“This is not set in stone, but the thought would be that you would try to create a high-density residential development that’s immutable to the community,” said Duncan. “There’s also adjoining property available next door of almost 20 acres that is similarly situated … which would be a real opportunity for a potential developer and a partner in this project.”


Some possible site details include either one or two cottage-style homes, duplexes, or eight-plexes potentially with a common building for dining and socializing; common open space in the interior of the development; and crushed stone walking trails.


Setzer addressed the board of commissioners and thanked them for their efforts in bringing this EMS base to the town.


“I’ve been mayor out there for 17 years, and for the duration, this is one thing we’ve been working towards,” said Setzer. “Much as you want to do what’s best for residents of Caldwell County, we want to do what’s best for the residents of Cajah’s Mountain … It’s going to be well-received.”


After Chairman Randy Church closed the public hearing, the board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the Connelly Springs Road property under the terms described. Next, the commissioners approved entering into an interlocal agreement between Caldwell County and Cajah’s Mountain in which the town will provide some funding for the purchase of this property. They also voted to contract to purchase the property in Cajah’s Mountain from the hospital. Finally, the board voted to approve the budget revision allowing for this purchase.


“It’s a lot to take in, but I’ve been working diligently with staff on this, and I think you’re going to have a great project at the end of the day,” said Duncan.


4-14-2023 – Commissioners endorse myFutureNC

Posted on: April 14th, 2023 by admin No Comments


April 14 2023




Apr 12, 2023


LENOIR — The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners voted to adopt both state and local attainment goals recommended by myFutureNC to increase the number of individuals with post-secondary credentials or degrees in order to improve the local workforce.


Kim Case, the Northwest Prosperity Zone Regional Impact Manager for myFutureNC, presented the information to the commissioners Monday (April 10) and asked them to endorse the organization’s goals and adopt an actionable attainment plan.


MyFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit organization formed in 2019 from the bipartisan legislation House Bill 664 with the goal of having 2 million 25-44 year olds in North Carolina who hold an industry-valued post-secondary degree or credential by 2030.


“That doesn’t mean a four-year degree, that means any degree that leads to an industry-valued or high quality job,” said Case. “We believe that a better educated North Carolina is the key to economic prosperity and upward mobility for all our citizens. Basically, that means we want better lives and better jobs for everyone, and we want to meet industry demands.”


Right now, North Carolina is falling short of that goal by 444,000 individuals. Representatives from myFutureNC have met with state and local leaders from sectors across education, business, industry and government to establish local attainment plans to help reach the ultimate goal of 2 million.


“What this would mean for us is that we develop a plan to reach 11,149 total individuals [in Caldwell County],” said Case. “If we do everything we’re already doing, projections say that we’ll get 9,056 individuals. To reach our goal and do our share, we need 2,093 individuals. That would be our immediate goal, and of course our ultimate goal would be to build a plan that moves us into the future and keeps us moving forward ahead of workforce development initiatives for Caldwell County.”


Case reported that for every 100 ninth graders who start on a post-secondary attainment pathway, less than a third complete that pathway, meaning only about 28 seniors receive a post-secondary credential or degree within six years of graduation.


“Now, as a parent, that mattered to me quite a bit that I had children who were entering the workforce within a timely manner,” said Case. “MyFutureNC looks at that pipeline and at the ways that we can alleviate this and fill gaps.”


MyFutureNC works through accelerating action, such as presentations to commissioners, school boards, or other community groups; identifying and advocating for policy solutions; and monitoring and reporting progress.


Each county in North Carolina has a local attainment profile that will be published every year in February moving forward. This data highlights local key performance indicators, such as NC Pre-K Enrollment and College and Career Access, to recommend local goals and identify opportunities for growth.


“NC Pre-K Enrollment is an indicator that we think is very important for two reasons,” said Case. “It’s workforce preparation for our earliest learners, but also because, if you don’t have child care, you certainly can’t go to work. That also is cutting into our current workforce immediately.”


Case noted three categories with opportunities for growth across the state: Adult and Non-Traditional Learners; College and Career Ready in Math; and Opportunity Youth, which shows that one in every nine 16-24-year-olds are not employed or enrolled in school. This age range represents a critical period in an individual’s transition into adulthood, and myFutureNC aims to support and connect these students to help them build a path to the future.


MyFutureNC also offers R.A.I.S.E. Scholarships (Reinforcement and Investment to Strengthen the Economy) to help learners pay for their credentials.


“How much is this going to cost us?” asked Commissioner Jeff Branch.


“It doesn’t cost anything that you don’t decide you want it to cost,” Case replied. “Collaboration and making a plan together is free, what you choose as a local community to do then is up to each organization. I will say, the resolution that all the other organizations have adopted was reviewed by [N.C. Representative] Destin Hall, so there is no legal obligation as far as financial responsibility, unless you choose for there to be. That’s up to you.”


“I believe what myFutureNC brings together is what the county, county school system and the community college are all already doing … puts them in a nice package and really focuses in on the attainment instead of being kind of scattered,” said Vice Chairman Mike LaBrose. “It will really fill those empty job spaces. I think we all know that we have so many job openings for these skilled labor areas, and we just need to really focus and throw ideas together. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”


The commissioners voted unanimously to approve this resolution and adopt the attainment goal of myFutureNC.


MyFutureNC’s leadership is a cross-sector board of policy-makers, department heads, business and education leaders. The organization also has a 62-member advisory board of commissioners, of which Vice Chairman Mike LaBrose and CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch are members.


For more information, visit

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