NCDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Application Period Open Now Through Mar. 4 At Noon

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Nonprofits and government agencies have until noon on Mar. 4 to submit applications.

Applicants can submit a draft application for staff review by Jan. 26 to gain feedback on their grant proposals. A .pdf of the draft application should be sent to jenni.keith@ncagr.gov.

The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is managed by the department, through funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“In 2021, we awarded $2.9 million for 16 projects across the state, which included one-time funds of $1.6 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. We anticipate $1.2 million in funding this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The success and growth of specialty crops are important as North Carolina agriculture continues to diversify and as the industry inches closer to the $100 billion mark in economic impact.”

The department will accept grant requests up to $200,000 from nonprofit organizations, academia, commodity associations, state and local government agencies, colleges and universities. Grants are not available for projects that directly benefit or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual.

Eligible projects must involve fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, culinary herbs and spices, medicinal plants, nursery, floriculture or horticulture crops.

For grant guidelines and an application, go to www.ncspecialtycrops.com. For questions, contact Jenni Keith at 919.707.3158 or jenni.keith@ncagr.gov.

VGCC Logo

VGCC to offer Sustainable Agri-Tech Class

Vance-Granville Community College will soon offer a sustainable agri-tech program at the school’s south campus in Creedmoor. This is a 96 hour program with 30 hours in class and 66 hours on line. The instructor for this class is Kelly Dixon. Classes begin on February 22nd and continue through May 2nd and will be held on Tuesdays from 6 to 9pm. Tuition scholarships are available to those who qualify. For more information contact wearyt@vgcc.edu or call 252-738-3521. Space for the class is limited and those interested are encouraged to register now.

Duke Energy

Damaged Transmission Structure Results in Over 13k Without Power

The widespread power outage in Vance and Warren Counties is over now with all customers restored.

District Manager Tanya Evans with Duke Energy told WIZS News, “Around 2 a.m., a tree fell and damaged a transmission structure in Warren County. As a result, the Warrenton and Henderson North Substations locked out.”

She said the outage affected about 13,780 customers in and around Henderson and Warrenton.

Duke Energy Progress performed “some initial switching and back feeding to restore about half of the customers affected” sooner than the remaining customers’ power could be restored, Evans said.

By 10 a.m., the power company had been able to make repairs to the transmission line and was in the process of energizing the remaining feeders and substations.

As it was explained by Evans, “This process requires testing and load balancing,” but any intermittent and momentary outages were expected to be over by noon or shortly thereafter.

That goal of noon was met as the Duke Energy Progress outage map showed just two customers without power at 12 o’clock.

(Duke Energy Progress is an advertising client of WIZS Radio. This is not a paid ad.)

Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments

Town Talk: Talent Connect Connects People To Employment

A short informational virtual session could be the jumpstart to a new career path, and Desiree Brooks said staff at NCWorks is available to follow up with individuals who have questions about next steps toward seeking meaningful employment.

Brooks spoke with John C. Rose on Monday’s Town Talk about Tuesday’s 10 a.m. Talent Connect series, sponsored by the Kerr-Tar COG.

The session lasts 10 minutes, she said, but will be chock-full of information for participants.

“There’s a pathway for every person,” she said, adding that there’s no one set way for prospective employees to find a job that suits them and their skill sets.

Participants will have a chance to interact with presenter Helen Bradby during the virtual session – Tues, Jan 11 – Register at: bit.ly/pathways0111.

Anyone without internet access can simply call NCWorks at 252.438.6129 in Henderson or 919.693.2686 in Oxford  to schedule an appointment to learn more.

“We’ll figure out a way to get them the information they need,” Brooks said.

Other virtual sessions are scheduled for Tuesdays in January – the topic for Jan. 18 is professional communication and interview skills (register here – bit.ly/professionalskills0118) and the topic for Jan. 25 is resume building (register here – bit.ly/resumebuilding0125).

These “soft skills” can be important for interviews, Brooks said; prospective employers are looking for new workers who will be a good fit, and job seekers should feel confident when going into an interview.

The Jan. 18 session will give tips for gaining the confidence to kind of help you “shake those nerves…to go in and get the job.”

The Jan. 25 session about resume building will help participants create a resume, which doesn’t necessarily have list a long job history to be a powerful tool. “If you don’t have work experience, that’s OK,” Brooks said. There is plenty that you can put on a resume, from extracurricular activities like church, civic and community service participation.

“All that experience definitely needs to be highlighted on your resume,” she said.

Job seekers can practice those soft skills on Thursday, Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oxford NCWorks Center’s hiring event with Express Employment Professionals. The NCWorks Center is located at 111 Hilltop Village off US Hwy 158.

Learn more and bookmark www.kerrtarworks.com.

 

 

Triangle North Grant Cycle Open For 2022; Deadline To Submit Letters Of Interest Mar. 1

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation has announced the launch of its 2022 grant cycle, and is accepting letters of interest through March 1, 2022.

Nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools are eligible to apply for funding projects that will provide positive impact in one or more of the five focus areas: Child Well-Being, Chronic Disease, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, Nutrition and Physical Activity, and Reproductive Health.

The link to the Foundation’s online grant portal is available at   http://www.tnhfoundation.org

Executive Director Val Short said funding local projects brings to life the foundation’s mission to encourage, support, and invest in quality efforts that measurably improve health in the areas it serves.

“Our hope is that the Foundation’s investment of grant funds in our communities will result in long lasting improvements in the health and wellbeing of our children and adults,” Short said in a press statement.

Since 2013, the foundation has invested more than $3.3 million in programs across the four-county region that includes Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin.

Short and the foundation’s grants coordinator Carolyn Powell are available to discuss ideas for grant projects or to assist with grant writing.  Call 252.430.8532 to schedule an appointment.  Information about current and past funded programs and projects is also available on the website.

A regional healthcare grant-making organization based in Henderson, NC, Triangle North Healthcare Foundation was established in 2011, following the merge of Maria Parham Medical Center and Duke Lifepoint.

NCDOT Bike Helmet Program Puts Free Helmets On Kids’ Heads

The goal of the state Department of Transportation’s annual bicycle helmet initiative is to reduce bicycle injuries and deaths. Applications are available now for agencies to get up to 100 free bike helmets for young cyclists.

As part of the initiative, applicants are encouraged to partner with government and non-government agencies to host bike safety events. Examples of partners include police and fire departments, parks and recreation departments, health departments and community centers, as well as churches and other non-governmental organizations.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2022, according to information from NCDOT. Applicants may request 25, 50, 75 or 100 helmets and the groups awarded are scheduled to receive the helmets by April 29, 2022.

The selection process has been revised and is no longer limited to government agencies. Helmets will be awarded and distributed once per calendar year in the spring and awardees will have the remainder of the calendar year to host their safety program and then provide a report within 30 days of the event.

The program was started in 2007 and is overseen by the DOT’s integrated mobility division. Money to fund the program comes from sales of the Share The Road specialty license plate. Since its inception, the initiative has provided thousands of helmets to low-income children – more than 30,000 in the past five years alone. Statistics show that less than half of all children wear a helmet while biking, but wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by almost 90 percent for children involved in bike accidents.

About 20 bicyclists die in biking accidents each year in North Carolina – one in six of those are under the age of 16. The use of bike helmets was found to reduce head injury by 48 percent, serious head injury by 60 percent, traumatic brain injury by 53 percent, face injury by 23 percent and the total number of cyclists killed or seriously injured by 34 percent.

Visit the NCDOT Bicycle Helmet Initiative webpage for more information and to download the application.

Local Extension Agent Shares Ways To Send Help To Areas Hit By Tornado, Wildfires

The recent weather events in Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas and other Midwestern states have left devastation in their wake. Kim Woods, N.C. Cooperative extension livestock agent for Granville and Person counties shares a list of resources to help the ravaged areas rebuild.

“Many of you may have been wondering if there is anything that we in North Carolina can do to help our fellow ag folks in Kentucky and Tennessee after the devastating tornado outbreak in those states or the wildfires in Kansas,” Woods wrote in an email right before Christmas.

In Kentucky:

  • Donate money to the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Foundation. All donations will be used to help local producers in need of farm supplies. These donations can be made by calling 859.278.0899 using the Paypal app at https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=56JBAJJYC3RDQ.
  • Mail a check to: KY Cattlemen’s Foundation Attn: Tornado Relief 176 Pasadena Drive, Suite 4,  Lexington, KY 40503In Tennessee:
    • The Tennessee Farm Bureau established a fund to help farmers and ranchers who incurred damage to homes, farms or personal property.

    In Kansas:

    • The Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Livestock Foundation are assisting ranchers who were affected by fires and high winds across the state in mid-December. To provide monetary donations, click here. Donations may be tax deductible and 100 percent of all donations will be distributed to producers whose operations were damaged by the fires.

 

Warren County Government Holiday Schedules

Warren County government offices, facilities, and services will be closed for the holidays and announce the following schedules regarding hours of operation:

  • Warren County government offices, including County Administration – closed today (Thursday), through Monday, Dec. 27; and also will be closed on Friday, Dec. 31;
  • Warren County Memorial Library – closed through Monday Dec. 27; and closed on Friday, Dec. 31;
  • Warren County convenience centers: will close tomorrow (Friday) at 12 noon through Monday, Dec. 27, and also will be closed Saturday, Jan. 1.

Visit warrencountync.com to learn more.

This information comes from Charla Duncan, community & economic development director and senior assistant to the Warren County manager.

NCTeach Supports Aspiring Teachers Get Prepared For Classrooms

Just two years after its launch, the teacher recruitment initiative called TeachNC reported that it has “significantly exceeded” its second-year goals, with more than 1,400 aspiring teachers applying to an educator preparation program in 2021. That number more than doubles the number of applicants who signed up in the first year.

From September 2020 through August 2021, the TeachNC.org website was accessed in excess of 159,000 times and has attracted over 11,000 prospective educators who are being supported in their quest to become teachers, according to a press statement from the organization, which partners with several state and national agencies to get more educators into classrooms.

More than 1,400 of those applied for an educator preparation program in North Carolina during the initiative’s second year, with many of them also entering the classroom through the state’s residency licensure pathway, allowing them to work as teachers while completing course work necessary for certification. The year-two teacher recruits represents more than a 130% increase over the number of applicants supported in TeachNC’s first year. Of the applicants, 50 percent identified as candidates of color and nearly a quarter of those reporting a focus area say they want to teach a STEM-related subject such as math or science or in special education.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt commended the TeachNC initiative for its success in helping to attract more people to the teaching profession and serving as a key resource of information about teaching careers in the state.

“TeachNC fills a critical need in North Carolina to make it easy for would-be teachers to learn more about the profession and to support them as they begin their journey to the classroom,” Truitt said. “My own North Star is that every student deserves a highly qualified, excellent teacher in every classroom, and the work of TeachNC is helping the state reach that all-important goal.”

TeachNC, which works in partnership with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, delivers research-based tools and supports for prospective teachers, helping reduce the barriers to applying to and enrolling in an educator preparation program. In a survey by the initiative, 60 percent of TeachNC subscriber-respondents reported an increased interest in teaching and 59 percent of TeachNC’s applicants reported that without the support of TeachNC tools, they may not have applied to a North Carolina educator prep program.

The following resources are freely available to anyone in North Carolina who may be considering entering the teaching profession:

  • 1-on-1 coaching from current North Carolina educators (900+ calls in year two)
  • Interactive education preparation program search tool and application tools
  • Application fee reimbursements
  • Scholarships and financial aid search tool
  • North Carolina’s first statewide teacher job board
  • Live chat function to answer questions 24 hours/day
  • Guides on testing, finances, resumes, cover letters, application essays, licensure, and more

Brenda Berg, President & CEO of BEST NC, the nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business leaders that launched and helped fund the TeachNC pilot, said she is pleased with these results.

“When we launched TeachNC in 2019, we knew our state had an urgent need for teachers. With the challenges our schools have faced through the pandemic, this need is greater than ever, making it even more exciting to see that these results have exceeded our expectations,” Berg said.

“It’s not that people don’t want to become teachers. More than 10,000 people have expressed interest in becoming teachers by subscribing to TeachNC; they just need additional information and support to get there,” she said. “We are also happy to see the state take this over as an on-going effort, because we know that an investment in teacher talent is a direct investment in North Carolina students.”

The recently passed state budget includes funding to DPI to adopt the TeachNC initiative and provides a dedicated position within the agency to administer the program.

TeachNC is a partnership of BEST NC, NCDPI, and TEACH.org. TeachNC includes a full suite of strategic recruitment activities including a robust communications campaign, a comprehensive website encompassing all existing resources in the state, and 1-on-1 personalized supports for teacher candidates. These resources create a trusted, safe, and user-friendly support system for anyone considering a teaching career in North Carolina. Visit TeachNC to learn more.