Archive for the ‘News section’ Category

4-26-2022 – Expo helps young students find their business passion

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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April 26, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Apr 21, 2022

 

HUDSON — The Small Business Center at The HUB Station, together with the IMPACT by Rotary Club of the Foothills and the town of Hudson, will be hosting a Small Business and Entrepreneurial Expo on Thursday, April 28, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Expo will take place during their three-day Camp Enterprise event for 20 rising 10th and 11th graders in the county.

 

“We want to encourage and inspire those young people to have that dream and start their business here,” said Carmela Tomlinson, director of the Small Business Center for CCC&TI. “There’s been an increase in start-up businesses in North Carolina since COVID, and we need to keep those young people here.”

 

The Small Business and Entrepreneurial Expo is a free event that is open to the public. Community leaders and business entrepreneurs are invited to join other business owners to get the latest information on cyber security, legal planning, marketing strategies, financial planning, and business operations. The keynote speaker for the evening will be Pace Bradshaw, deputy head of U.S. Government Relations with VISA. The CCC&TI culinary department will provide light hors d’oeuvres, and 3 Doors Down Beverage Co. will be open for attendees to purchase beer and wine.

 

“When the students finish here, they’ll have connections with leaders, mentors, and coaches in the community,” said Tomlinson.

 

Camp Enterprise will start on Wednesday, April 27 and continue until Friday, April 29. Twenty rising 10th and 11th grade students will be divided into four teams, and each team will have a coach. Every student will be learning about various topics related to business, such as the operational needs of business, financial and marketing advice, how to research and implement a business plan, and more. All four teams will pitch their business plans and ideas on Friday, April 29, and the winning team will receive $1,000 in scholarships each.

 

“For the kids, obviously it’s good for them to come and see, be a part of the networking experience,” said Tomlinson. “They’re going to gain a lot of knowledge.”

 

There will be more speakers coming to talk to the students about business during the three-day Camp, including Bob McCreary of McCreary Modern, Dr. Don Phipps, the superintendent for Caldwell County Schools, Kenston Griffin, owner of Dream Builder’s Communications, Inc., Bill Warren, owner of the Gold Mine in Hudson, and others coming in from out of state.

 

Camp Enterprise was established by Ann Smith, who is the first female Rotarian in Caldwell County. Along with Kathy Carroll, a member of IMPACT, Smith wanted to create an entrepreneurial camp for students in this county.

 

“You’re catching these kids at the right time,” said Patrick Longano, president of IMPACT by the Rotary Club of the Foothills. “They’re making decisions about what they’re going to do. If this county is going to continue to grow, we need to retain that talent here. If we can get in their minds that there are resources here to help, then with their goals of starting a business, we’re going to affect the way that we do things overall in the county.”

 

The Small Business Center, in partnership with the town of Hudson, is the business center hub and serves the entire county. The main goal of the Small Business Center is to help businesses get started, to grow and expand businesses, and to create and retain jobs within North Carolina.

 

IMPACT by the Rotary Club of the Foothills is a service-oriented rotary club that began over two years ago in Caldwell County and has since grown to 70 members who are passionate about service.

 

Email Carmela Tomlinson at ctomlinson@cccti.edu or Patrick Longano at patricklongano@gmail.com for more information. To register for the Expo online, visit https://members.caldwellchambernc.com/events/details/small-business-entrepreneurial-expo-4445, or find the “Small Business & Entrepreneurial Expo” event page on Facebook.

4-18-2022 Climate Change Event – JE Broyhill Civic Center

Posted on: April 18th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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April 18, 2022

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CCC&TI Small Business Center will be offering an event on Climate Change with special speaker Ron Sznaider. Mr. Sznaider is speaking in Lenoir at the JE Broyhill Civic Center on Tuesday, April 19th from 10:00-11:30 am. This leadership presentation will focus on “Climate Change: Today’s Reality and Tomorrow’s Future, Global Warming and Local Impacts, Leadership Needed to Preserve our Future Generations”. Because this topic is important and vital to our community, I see it as a benefit to businesses, anyone concerned about climate change and how it affects us locally including our economy. Mr. Sznaider is a global expert and has testified at the US Senate in Washington DC to explain how the changing weather may impact the economy. 

Mr. Sznaider is speaking at ASU the day after our event so I want to get as many people as possible participating at CCC&TI. I have attached flier (PDF and jpg) if you could send to your business contacts to help promote the event. CCC&TI has set up this event on our website: https://www.cccti.edu/leadership with a link to register. It’s a FREE event but registration is required due to limited space.

4-6-2022 – Lake Hickory bridge to undergo repairs

Posted on: April 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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April 6, 2022

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By NEWS-TOPIC STAFF

Apr 4, 2022

 

HICKORY — Repairs to the bridge at Lake Hickory on US Highway 321 are underway this week.

 

The southbound bridge carrying U.S. Hwy. 321 over Lake Hickory will close on weeknights, narrowing the road to one lane in each direction, as reported by the Hickory Daily Record.

 

Repairs are scheduled to take place starting as early as Wednesday, April 6th from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. The bridge work is expected to take seven months, with a tentative completion date of Wednesday, Nov. 30th. The road will not be closed on weekends or holidays.

 

When the southbound bridge is closed, drivers heading south will cross onto the northbound bridge, which will carry one lane in each direction.

 

The southbound bridge is in need of repairs to the steel beams holding it up and the asphalt on top.

 

According to the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the bridge was built in 1962, and over the years the steel beams of the southbound bridge have weakened and now require regular maintenance. The asphalt overlay placed on the southbound lanes nearly two decades ago is also worn down and often creates potholes. Repairs to the steel beams and removal and replacement of old concrete will eliminate the need for frequent maintenance.

 

Both the north and southbound bridges are expected to be replaced entirely when U.S. 321 is expanded to six lanes, according to NCDOT. The expansion project is not scheduled to begin for several years.

4-6-2022 – JD’s Smokehouse anticipates May opening

Posted on: April 6th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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April 6, 2022

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By DAWNFLEMING DFLEMING@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Apr 5, 2022

 

LENOIR — Just in time for summer BBQ, JD’s Smokehouse in Lenoir anticipates opening in mid to late May.

 

When Jim and Debbie, “Jowls & Dimples” Goare opened JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College in 2013, they did not anticipate the smokehouse’s reputation would catch fire and spread so quickly.

 

The smokehouse was intended to be a small mom-and-pop style restaurant as part of the couple’s retirement, but its reputation grew, making JD’s Smokehouse one of the Unifour’s premier BBQ destinations.

 

Prior to coming to North Carolina to be closer to family, Jim and Debbie owned a restaurant in Georgia. Jim has worked in the hospitality food industry since he was a teenager. He jumped started his career at the age of 15 at the Holiday Inn in the 1970s. On the day he turned 18, he was promoted to the director of food and beverage at the hotel.

 

The plans to open the Lenoir location were snuffed out the day the owners signed the contract on March 17, 2020, the same day COVID restrictions led to the closing of dine-in restaurants. Now, the plans to open the Lenoir location have been rekindled and progress is blazing.

 

Overall, the kitchen is ready to roll, but they are still working out a few quirks with equipment. In addition, the general manager and operations manager are putting the finishing touches on the interior, including finishing construction of the booths.

 

Although there have been a few challenges to overcome, Matt Goare, manager, said that there have been no major issues.

 

To keep the restaurant from feeling corporate, family heirlooms and collectibles, as well as memorabilia from the JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College, are used to decorate the restaurant and sets the tone for a friends-and-family oriented dining experience.

 

The large A-framed wrap around porch creates an open air breezy feeling and begs for rocking chairs. Inside, dropped lighting that is designed from wooden Coca-Cola crates and large mason jars accentuates a large stone bar, creating a feeling of warmth.

 

As folks walk into the restaurant they will be greeted by a host, or hostess, who will take their order, then seat them for service. When customers leave, there is no waiting for the check.

 

Local wood is used to fire up and fuel the high tech BBQ smoker and is supplied by Barry Austin, who lives in the Patterson area. Austin was putting the finishing touches around the exterior of the building, as Matt Goare spoke with a contractor about the smoker.

 

The Lenoir restaurant offers over 100 years of combined experience, in a nine-year period.

 

Nick Burban, general manager, brings with him restaurant management experience from Atlanta. Burban and his wife moved from Atlanta to help open the JD’s Smokehouse restaurant in Lenoir in 2020. Burban and Goare have known each other for years and have a long-standing professional relationship.

 

Daniel Cox, operations manager, has been with JD’s Smokehouse since the beginning. Cox brings with him his experience with the restaurant in Rutherford College. Cox, who lives in Lenoir, said he is looking forward to having a 4-minute drive to work.

 

Clayton Huffman, who is a student at Western Carolina University where he is triple majoring in business management, hospitality/tourism, and marketing stopped by to visit the restaurant. Huffman, as well as his two younger sisters, have all worked with the smokehouse for years. One of his sisters, Catherine Lunsford, is currently the front-end manager at JD’s Smokehouse in Rutherford College.

 

JD’s Smokehouse, located at 2731 Morganton Blvd. SW in Lenoir, is recruiting individuals who have a dedication to providing exceptional customer service. Visit their website at https://www.jds-smokehouse.com to find out how you can become part of their team.

 

3-30-2022 – Students partake in a career fair

Posted on: March 30th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 30, 2022

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By DAWN FLEMING DFLEMING@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Mar 29, 2022

 

GAMEWELL — From the moment children are able to play dress-up and pretend to be an adult, they are asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

 

Although some people enter the world with a calling, feeling inspired or driven, to do, or to be, others discover a career path through exploring opportunities that are available in their community.

 

Not everyone has a desire to attend a four-year college, or university, preferring rather to pursue a career in a skilled trade through apprenticeships, or certification programs.

 

After years of the education system guiding students toward bachelor’s degrees, or beyond, or toward careers in science, technology, and math, there is a shortage of individuals with knowledge and experience in skilled trades, which has created a tight market and placed individuals with skilled trade knowledge in high demand.

 

“In Caldwell County we do the reality store — all eighth graders participate in the reality store. It is an introduction to financial literacy and career opportunities,” Jamie Watson, instructional leader and curriculum developer, Caldwell County Schools. “It’s important for these students to know that there are careers out there more than what mom and dad do — and also there are careers they can go into right out of high school. We don’t need to push all of our students to go to college.”

 

On Tuesday, March 29, Gamewell Middle School students had the opportunity to explore potential careers as they visited various exhibits hosted by members of the community who serve in various professional positions.

 

The professionals shared their knowledge and insights with the students as students asked questions about salary, education, required skills, number of hours work, and the use of technology within the field.

 

Kelli Kelly, family nurse practitioner, who operates her own business, Family 1st Healthcare, talked with student Aubree Hearn, 8th grader, about the traits needed to be a nurse.

 

“You have to be confident in anything you do as a nurse,” said Kelly.

 

The day’s event was about giving the students the opportunity to explore career possibilities, even if it was not their initial chosen career path.

 

“I think I want to be a librarian because I like to read and helping others find what they like to read as well,” said Hern, while visiting the booth for speech pathology assistant.

 

As students perused the exhibits and spoke to representatives, they asked questions and wrote down information that they may use in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.

 

“What’s your starting salary,” asked Alexis Smith as she visited Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry’s exhibit and spoke with Wyndy Gregg, dental assistant, and Stacy Ingram, dental hygienist.

 

Students learned that the starting salary depends on which career path you choose because of the different levels of educational requirements. As a dental assistant, one may expect to make around $30,000 per year, while a dental hygienist may make upward to $60,000, starting out.

 

“What type of education do you have to have,” asked Anna Triplett.

 

Dental hygienist requires an associate’s degree, while a dental assistant may require certifications.

 

Other questions related to how to prepare for a career.

 

“What advice do you have for someone interested in your line of work,” asked Zoe McElyea, as she spoke with representatives from the State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU).

 

McElyea said she wants to pursue a career as a forensic scientist when she becomes an adult.

 

Officer Causby with the Burke County Detention Center shared with a student that communication is very important and clarified that communication goes beyond being able to talk with people, but also being able to have an understanding of how people communicate through body language and with their eyes.

 

The career fair is a precursor to the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson.

 

Watson said that the Virtual Reality Store was designed by Anna Crooke, middle school education director, and features video interviews of different professionals, from various careers, introducing students to those careers and builds on their knowledge from the event.

 

Prior to participating in the upcoming Virtual Reality Store lesson, students will visit the College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) website to explore and be matched with careers they are interested in.

 

Students will select one of the careers from the CFNC website, then complete a mock job application for a position within that career field.

 

In addition, students will be prepped to participate in the lesson by learning about financial management.

 

Watson took the lead to organize the career fair made possible by members of the community and through coordination of the eighth grade teachers at Gamewell Middle School.

 

“All of the eighth grade teachers have worked hard in teaching the reality store lessons: Chrissy Byerly, Tori Greene, Carrie Holland, Babette Surratt, Leslie Nivens, and Beverly Norman,” said Jennifer M. Dineen, assistant principal, Gamewell Middle School, in an email

 

Representatives from the following agencies dedicated their time to spark students’ interest in the multitude of career opportunities available within the community: Berkshire Hathaway Realtors, August Creed Counseling, PLLC; UNC Blue Ridge, Speech Works Therapy Services, Gamewell Fire Department, Evans Funeral Services, Brushy Mountain Builders, Wells Fargo, Taste of Havana, Hickory Police Department, Burke County Detention Center, Waterlife, State Employees of Credit Union, Truist Banking, Caldwell Pediatric Dentistry, Family 1st Healthcare.

3-25-2022 – $48M is available for rural economic development

Posted on: March 25th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 25, 2022

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By NEWS-TOPIC STAFF

Mar 24, 2022

 

RALEIGH — The Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a new source of support for rural economic development in North Carolina, is now accepting applications from local governments seeking to overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and its Rural Economic Development Division will administer the $48 million grant fund.

 

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we must help our rural communities become stronger, vibrant, and resilient places to live and work,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This new fund will supply both grants and expertise to help transform and expand our rural economies.”

 

The new grant fund, the centerpiece of a broader Rural Engagement and Investment Program from Commerce, will address a wide variety of needs, from revitalizing downtown districts, building the capacity of local government staffs, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering small business recovery, and generally supporting economic growth initiatives.

 

The Rural Transformation Grant Fund will award grants in four categories:

 

  • The Downtown Revitalization category will support downtown development initiatives that help grow and leverage a community’s commercial core into an asset for economic growth and prosperity.
  • The Resilient Neighborhoods category will offer grants focused on community development and quality of life improvements, such as eliminating food deserts, creating healthy living initiatives, and increasing access to affordable housing options, among other initiatives.
  • The Community Enhancements for Economic Growth category will provide grants to local governments to smooth the way for economic development opportunities, such as the acquisition of land and buildings, the preparation of business sites, and the removal of structural and physical barriers that may be limiting development.
  • The Rural Community Capacity (RC2) category will provide educational programming, technical assistance, and focused guidance to local government staff in rural and distressed communities. RC2 will begin as a pilot initiative in partnership with Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business.

 

“Commerce’s rural team has focused for many years on helping communities make the necessary preparations that lead to economic growth,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Now, with the Rural Transformation Grant Fund in place, we can tap additional resources to turbocharge the approaches we know work well and that can take rural North Carolina to the next level of prosperity.”

 

More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, including access to the online application, is available at nccommerce.com/transform.

3-23-2022 – Dairi-O is coming to town

Posted on: March 23rd, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 23, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Mar 22, 2022

 

LENOIR — Residents who have eagerly awaited the arrival of a new restaurant in Lenoir will be excited to hear they have not waited in vain.

 

An official from the restaurant Dairi-O has confirmed that a new location will be operating in Lenoir on the northwest corner of Smith Crossroads by the end of this year.

 

Rusty LaRue, chief operations officer for Dairi-O, said the opening of the restaurant has been delayed significantly by the pandemic.

 

“With COVID, it’s been a lot,” he said. “From planning to site work, a lot of things we kind of had planned on moving forward right as the pandemic hit. We bought the lot a while ago … right now, we’re in the final planning stages. We don’t know this far out, but our goal is to have it open by the end of the year, if possible.”

 

Dairi-O is a “fast casual” restaurant that was first established in King, N.C. in 1947. Inspired by the roadside American hot dog stand, Dairi-O has since grown into sit-down restaurants and expanded their menu to include items such as grilled chicken wraps, specialty salads, veggie burgers, 32 flavors of ice cream, and more. Their food is made fresh every day.

 

“I’m very excited, I think it’s going to be a great addition to our community,” said Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons. “I’ve never eaten at a Dairi-O … but I’d like to eat at one, I’ve heard great things about it, food sounds like it’s going to be great. We look forward to when it gets here and getting to be part of our community.”

 

“We’ve had a lot of people expressing their excitement about us coming to Lenoir,” said LaRue. “We’re super excited, as well. We’re going to be posting on social media, keep the community updated on what’s coming along and when we’re hiring.”

 

Follow Dairi-O on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram, to stay updated on any new developments, or visit their website at dairio.com for more information.

3-16-2022 – Harmony Timberworks to expand in Hudson

Posted on: March 16th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 16, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Mar 15, 2022

 

LENOIR — Harmony Timberworks, headquartered in Boone, has decided to expand their business in Hudson.

 

During Monday’s (March 14) Caldwell County Board of Commissioners meeting, Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray introduced Tommy Sofield, owner of Harmony Timberworks, to the board and requested commissioners approve EDC incentives for his company.

 

“I’m really, really happy to bring to you a new project and introduce to you our newest member of Caldwell County’s industrial occupants,” said Murray.

 

Harmony Timberworks has been searching for a “rail-sided building” in order to reduce costs related to the transportation of raw materials.

 

“We are looking for the Local Jobs Incentive for $2,000 a job for each of the jobs up to 20 jobs to be created over a two-year period of time, that time to run concurrently with a Building Reuse Grant that is being applied for through the town of Hudson,” Murray said. “[Sofield] will be investing several million dollars in a new facility, renovations, and repairs to put that site back into operation.”

 

Harmony Timberworks has operated in Boone for nearly 40 years.

 

As Sofield explained, “We do large timbers … we’re looking for a rail to do a lot of our transportation, but we’re also looking for somebody who wanted the industry to come into the area.”

 

Before introducing Harmony Timberworks to the board (and the public), the project was given the code name “Project Harry Potter.” The name appears to have been inspired by a real life project that Harmony Timberworks completed for the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios in Florida.

 

“We actually went to Universal and they asked us to do a large … timber frame that you start out in going through [the ride.] We actually were the only company in the country that could engineer and design that for them,” said Sofield.

 

“We appreciate you coming this way,” said Chairman Randy Church. “We seem to get chastised quite a bit anytime there’s a new restaurant that comes into town, that Caldwell County’s not doing enough to bring industry, and I just want to say, this is one of those good things that we’re doing, appreciate you coming and bringing your business here, and the investment you’re gonna make in our community.”

 

Sofield said the company is looking forward to working in Caldwell County.

3-15-2022 – CCC&TI joins initiative targeting adult learners

Posted on: March 15th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 15, 2022

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By SUBMISSION

Mar 13, 2022

 

HUDSON — Adult learners have been a primary focus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) since its founding in 1964. Fifty-eight years later, CCC&TI is joining a partnership to re-energize that focus and help the local adult population acquire valuable training and credentials beyond high school.

 

“We have a lot of underskilled and underemployed people in our community that could really benefit from coming back to school to learn a new skill or earn a credential or degree,” said Dr. Mark Poarch, president, CCC&TI. “This is a direct, intentional effort to reach out to students 25 and older and to re-engage them in what we have going on at CCC&TI.”

 

Representatives from CCC&TI, the John M. Belk Endowment, myFutureNC, as well as local government, business and education leaders from Caldwell and Watauga counties gathered on CCC&TI’s Watauga Campus in Boone Friday morning for the initiative’s local launch. The event also included a facilitated discussion on how to accomplish the project’s goals as well as gather ideas and input from local leaders.

 

The NC Reconnect campaign, a joint effort by the John M. Belk Endowment and myFutureNC, was launched in June 2021 in collaboration with Blue Ridge Community College, Durham Tech Community College, Fayetteville Tech Community College, Pitt Community College and Vance-Granville Community College. The next phase of the initiative adds five more colleges: CCC&TI, Wilkes Community College, Lenoir Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College and Central Carolina Community College.

 

The goal is to connect and inform as many adults as possible about the colleges’ variety of fast, flexible and affordable education and training programs.

 

John M. Belk Endowment President and Board Chair MC Belk Pilon told the audience that an estimated 1.3 million adult North Carolinians lack the post-secondary skills and credentials that today’s employers are seeking. She lauded the North Carolina General Assembly and governor for efforts in 2019 that led to the NC Reconnect project.

 

Pilon was followed by myFutureNC President and CEO Cecilia Holden, who shared that two-thirds of the jobs in North Carolina require some level of education after high school and about half of North Carolinians have the level of education needed to fill those jobs.

 

“We have a lot of work to do,” said Holden, adding that if no action is taken, North Carolina is projected to fall about 400,000 workers short of what the state will need by 2030. “A systemic and strategic approach to engaging our adult learner population is going to be very important.”

 

Higher education consultant Mike Krause, former head of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, told the group that the number of adults with post-secondary training is a key factor in economic development efforts.

 

“North Carolina is in a dog fight for economic development projects,” said Krause. “If you are in the manufacturing sector, if you are in the logistics or the supply chain sector, you are looking at how many people have done anything beyond high school. And the way that economic development is evolving … you don’t even get the meeting to discuss tax incentives if you don’t have the right number of people with something beyond high school.”

 

“Reaching adult learners in this area is an economic imperative,” said Krause.

 

Much of the focus of NC Reconnect will be on special outreach tactics to reach adults who have completed some college, but never finished, through special events, targeted advertising and customized tactics geared toward adults ages 25 to 44.

 

NC Reconnect will provide a variety of resources and funding to CCC&TI as part of the project.

 

“We have a lot of opportunities for growth,” said Poarch, adding that the college’s foundation also will contribute funding to help with tuition, childcare, transportation and other expenses that serve as obstacles for adult learners.

3-14-2022 – Local couple tapped N.C. Main Street Champions

Posted on: March 14th, 2022 by admin No Comments

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March 14, 2022

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By CADY DAVIS CDAVIS@NEWSTOPICNEWS.COM

Mar 11, 2022

 

LENOIR — A local husband and wife duo were recently honored for their contributions to the revitalization of the downtown area.

 

Steven and Jamie Stewart, owners of Stewart & Associates Insurance, were recognized as the 2021 North Carolina Main Street Champions for the city of Lenoir during a virtual Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, March 10th.

 

Steven said the city nominated him and his wife for this award after they performed extensive renovations on the old building located at 819 Harper Ave.

 

“Me and my wife purchased this building in September of 2020,” he said. “The building had been empty eight or nine years, and it showed; it was in terrible shape. Basically, we redid the building inside and out. There’s a high-end residential rental up-top that we rent out to a local pharmacy company, and the main floor on the bottom is our insurance business.”

 

Steven said he has been in the insurance business for nine years. He left a different company to go out on his own in 2018. He and his wife moved their business to downtown Lenoir last June.

 

Steven is originally from Valdese, but his wife and business partner, Jamie, is originally from Lenoir; her parents used to own the American Trade and Loan before they retired about five years ago. The Stewarts and their children have lived in Lenoir for four years.

 

“I think that Lenoir is growing,” said Steven. “There are projects going on downtown, it’s a great time to be an investor in the community … there are opportunities everywhere for everybody if they want to take that leap of faith and invest in their community.”

 

Thirty-three North Carolina Main Street Champions were recognized for their commitment to downtown revitalization and strong communities in 2021 during the virtual ceremony on Thursday, March 10th. Including this year’s group of honorees, 837 Main Street Champions have been recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce since 2000.

 

Each N.C. Main Street program may designate one individual, couple, organization, business partnership, or civic entity as their community’s N.C. Main Street Champion, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

 

“We are very excited and so proud of Steven and Jamie,” said Mayor Joe Gibbons. “Great young couple who invested in our downtown, and we’re so proud of that. They bought a building that was struggling, turned it into a beautiful place, with office [downstairs] and apartment upstairs. We appreciate that they love Lenoir.”

 

Winners of the award share a common objective — improving the downtown district.

 

“Main Street Champions are the key to success in downtown revitalization. They possess courage to move downtown forward; they fight for positive change and do that with creativity and innovation; and they actively get things done, while staying focused on the downtown’s economic development strategies,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center at the N.C. Department of Commerce.

 

“The N.C. Main Street Champions Program is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the individuals who make a positive change in downtown,” said Kaylynn Horn, Economic Development Main Street director for Lenoir.

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