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NC Dept. of Agriculture Issues Notice for Essential Food and Agriculture Employees

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences is taking preventative measures to help farmers, agribusinesses, and food workers in the event that the state of North Carolina issues a shelter-in-place order. At this time, the state of North Carolina does not have a shelter-in-place order in effect, although several North Carolina counties are issuing their own local orders.

Steve Troxler, NC Commissioner of Agriculture, is providing a notice to be used by employees performing essential job functions in the area of food preparation and distribution and agriculture. The purpose is to ensure that workers in agriculture and food systems are not impeded as more COVID-19 response restrictions are adopted. It is vital, in this time of emergency, to allow our agricultural-related industries to move freely to keep our food system functioning.

“Many agriculture-related companies in Warren County, from farmers and timber companies to food packaging manufacturers, will be able to continue operations as more COVID-19 restrictions are adopted,” advised Stacy Woodhouse, Director of Warren County EDC.

The notice identifies individuals as being employed in one of the US Department of Homeland Security’s 16 critical industries for national security.

The Department of Homeland Security defines food and agriculture workers as:

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carry-out and quick-serve food operations – Carry-out and delivery food employees
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
  • Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically
  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operation from wholesale to retail
  • Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agricultural industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids
  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce
  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper and other wood products
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution
  • Agricultural workers supporting the green industry to include nursery operations, garden centers, landscape companies critical to the environmental and physical living conditions necessary in our communities. (NCDA&CS addition)

Commissioner Troxler is encouraging workers to keep a copy of the notice with them as they travel. “As our local farming community continues to work in the new norm, your local Cooperative Extension is available to assist with educational assistance, resources, and information,” stated Crystal M. Smith, County Extension Director.

The notice can be obtained by contacting the Warren County Economic Development office at 252-257-3114 or by email at [email protected]

The notice can also be obtained by contacting Warren County Cooperative Extension at 252-257-3640. This notice is also available at https://www.warrencountync.com/736/Business-Community-Resources.

For more information, you may also contact Tim Ivey, Agribusiness Developer, of the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at 919-707-3117 or email [email protected]

Warren County Animal Control Awarded $3K Grant for Spay and Neuter Program

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

The Warren County Animal Control is pleased to announce that the department has been awarded a grant from the Petco Foundation in the amount of $3,000 for the Spay and Neuter Program.

This grant will be used for the following:

  • Any Warren County resident who surrenders a litter of puppies or kittens can have the mother of that litter spayed for free;
  • Free spay or neuter for lost animals reclaimed from the shelter in lieu of fees associated with redemption;
  • Free spay or neuter for trap-neuter-release of feral and unowned cats

These funds will help to reduce the number of unwanted animals in Warren County and to reduce the number of animals impounded at the Animal Ark.

For more information, contact Warren County Animal Control at 252-257-6137.

Warren Co. Urges Businesses to Research COVID-19 Assistance Resources

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Many businesses across Warren County, the state, and the country have been affected by the regulations and preventative measures surrounding the COVID-19 virus. It is important for businesses to take advantage of the resources being made available by the state and federal government, as well as other organizations in a timely manner.

If you require assistance, Warren County Economic Development can help. For more information, contact Stacy Woodhouse, Economic Development Commission Director, at 252-257-3114 or by emailing [email protected]

The following are some of the assistance programs available to businesses:

SBA Disaster Assistance Loan (SBA)

Loans up to $25,000 do not require collateral. Note that the SBA website is crashing regularly during business hours due to increased traffic; businesses are encouraged to apply from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. during off-peak hours. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index

N.C. Division of Employment Security

If you have lost your job or been laid off, file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. New changes to the state’s unemployment system have occurred due to the current impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus in North Carolina. COVID-19 specific information can be found at https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information. This website has information for both employers and people seeking unemployment benefits. The NC Division of Employment Security can also be reached at 888.737.0259.

Facebook Small Business Grants

Facebook has a small business grants program. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants.

NC Rapid Recovery Loans

The North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Lending program supports North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. This loan helps small businesses bridge the gap between when crisis strikes and when federal loans, insurance payouts, and other relief funds are approved, or businesses have time to recover. These funds are provided by the Golden Leaf Foundation. For more information, visit https://ncrapidrecovery.org/.

Federal Income Tax Extension

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations, and other non-corporate tax filers, as well as those who pay self-employment tax. For more information, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

NC Income Tax Filing

The deadline for filing NC Income Tax has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. For more information, visit https://www.ncdor.gov/home/ncdor-actions-covid-19.

Warren Co. Partners with Loaves & Fishes Ministries to Offer Food Pickup

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-Press Release, Warren County Government 

Citizens of Warren County and around the world have found themselves in an unprecedented position with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you have inquired about ways to help your neighbors right here in your home community of Warren County.

Warren County government is partnering with Warrenton-based non-profit, Loaves & Fishes Ministries, to help facilitate neighbors helping neighbors and ensuring all of our residents have access to food options during this difficult time.

Food and monetary donations can be dropped off at Loaves & Fishes, located at 538 W. Ridgeway Street in Warrenton, NC (behind the Health Department), on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. All donations will be accepted.

If you, your organization, or business is interested in providing volunteer services for the Loaves & Fishes Ministries food bank, please call Warren County Emergency Services at 252-257-1191. All volunteers for Loaves & Fishes will be coordinated through Emergency Services. At this time, no more than 12 volunteers are needed per day.

Loaves & Fishes is currently available to all members of the public for food pick-up on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information, call Loaves & Fishes at 252-257-1160 on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. You can also call the site manager, Rosa Jones, at 252-431-4445. Loaves & Fishes Ministries is on Facebook @lfmwarrenton.

Warren County Announces Operation Updates

-Press Release, Warren County Government

The following county agencies will be altering their public operations until further notice:

Health Department – Effective March 23, the Warren County Health Department will see visitors by appointment only (Health and Environmental Health). Customers will be asked screening questions prior to coming in for appointments. To make a medical appointment, please call (252) 257-1185.

Environmental Health customers should call (252) 257-1538. Visitors will only be allowed to bring one additional person with them to appointments.

The Warren County Health Department is canceling two community events that were scheduled during public health week. They are the Annual Health Fair (April 7, Armory) and the Child Health Celebration (April 8, Health Department).

Planning & Zoning/Code Enforcement – Planning & Zoning and Code Enforcement will conduct appointments as needed. Staff will be available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Customers seeking permits are asked to contact staff at 252-213-4253. Inspectors will continue to conduct inspections.

To reach Planning & Zoning and Code Enforcement, call 252-213-4253. You can also email [email protected]

Public Utilities – Warren County Public Utilities customers are asked to pay their bills online, over the phone, or via the drop box on the side of the building (please include acct# and/or address on envelope).

Public Utilities staff will still be on-site and will continue to take calls at 252-257-3645 and new services via fax 252-257-3979. To pay online with a credit or debit card, please use the jurisdiction code 3966 (convenience fees still apply). Online payments can be made at https://www.warrencountync.com/131/Online-Payments.

To make payments with debit or credit over the phone, customers can call 1-800-272-9829 (jurisdiction code 3966; convenience fees still apply). Customers wishing to avoid convenience fees should use the on-site drop box located at Public Utilities (712 US Hwy 158 Business, Warrenton).

Social Services – Social Services will operate on a regular schedule. Residents should call Social Services with questions and mail in recertifications. Residents are also encouraged to use the drop box. All visitors to the building will be screened prior to entrance. For more information, contact Social Services at 252-257-2202.

Detention Center – The Warren County Detention Center has suspended all visitation requests; attorneys must get prior approval to visit their client. Weekly religious visits from clergy have been suspended. The Detention Center lobby area is limited to official business only. Each incoming detainee will be properly screened upon arrival and extra hygiene supplies have been distributed to detainees.

Cooperative Extension – Warren County Cooperative Extension will maintain regular office hours. The following Cooperative Extension events have been canceled: Master Gardener Spring Symposium (3/28), Five County Beef Tour (3/28), NC State Day of Giving (3/25), Teen Court (3/26), Small Farms Week (3/23 to 3/27).

The 4H Poultry Show and Sale is postponed till further notice. For more information, contact Cooperative Extension at 252-257-3640.

Parks and Recreation – Spring sports practice and all events at the Warren County Recreation Complex are suspended until further notice. The John Graham Gym is currently closed through April 6. Anyone needing to communicate with Parks and Recreation staff should first call 252-257-2272.

Effective March 23, the Parks and Recreation employees will be on-site and will answer phone calls and emails.

Tax Office – Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, the tax office will be closed to the public (appointments as necessary) until further notice from the County. All collections staff will report as normal and assist taxpayers with phone, online or telephonic payment of tax bills. All assessment staff will report as normal to assist taxpayers via phone, or email. Operations will continue as normal via phone, email, scan, fax and mail.

The Tax Office can be reached at 252-257-4158.

Veteran Services – Veteran Services has suspended in-person meetings. Clients submitting documentation can email or fax documents into the office. Interviews will take place over the telephone. To contact Veteran Services, please call 252-257-3385.

Animal Control – Effective March 23, kennel walk-throughs will be limited. Animals will be brought outside to the playground to have a one-on-one meeting with interested adopters. Potential adopters are referred to the shelter’s Facebook page @WarrenCountyAnimalArk. Visitors will not be allowed beyond the adoption rooms. Rabies vaccinations will stop until further notice.

Animal Control will be available Monday- Friday from 8:30 a.m to. 5 p.m. and on-call during weekends.

Register of Deeds – Effective March 23, public access to the Register of Deeds will be limited. There will be a drop box by the door so that documents can be dropped off for recording. This box will be checked frequently throughout the day. If customers need a Plat Map recorded, please call the Register of Deeds at 252-257-3265 to let staff know. Map and payment will be taken at the door. Customers will wait in the hallway while map is recorded.

The public is strongly encouraged to request certified copies of birth, death and marriage licenses by calling 252-257-3265, or go to www.warrenrod.org to complete an application and bring with them. To obtain a Marriage License, Renew Notary, and file military discharge, please call 252-257-3265 for further instructions.

Landfill/Transfer Station and Convenience Sites – The transfer station/landfill will be open normal hours (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and convenience sites will operate on the regular schedule. Landfill customers should pick-up envelopes in the breezeway of Public Utilities and submit payments via the Public Utilities drop box on the side of the building. For more information, contact Public Works at 252-257-1948.

Finance – The Warren County Finance Office is closed to the public. Staff will be on-site to handle operations. The public should use the drop box as needed.

Soil and Water, Economic Development, and the County Manager’s Office will operate on a regular schedule. The public is encouraged to call before stopping in.

In addition to precautionary measures set in place by federal and state health agencies, all departments have been advised to implement a screening assessment prior to conducting face-to-face appointments. This includes asking visitors if they have a fever, are coughing, have shortness of breath, have recently traveled to high-risk areas, and if they have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19.

Warren County will be monitoring updates and advisories and will conduct weekly assessments to all changes in operations.

Updated information related to COVID-19 is posted online and on the Warren County Facebook page @WarrenCountyNCOfficial. For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at 252-
257-3115 Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit www.warrencountync.com.

The Warren County COVID-19 Information Line is 252-257-7132 (operated Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.).

Warren Co. Health Department Closed Friday for Maintenance

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

The Warren County Health Department and Planning/Code Enforcement Offices will be closed on Friday, March 20, 2020, for building repairs and maintenance and will reopen on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 8:30 a.m.

Citizens may still contact Health Department staff if they need general information by calling (252) 213-2845. Citizens may contact Planning/Code Enforcement at (252) 213-4253.

For questions or concerns related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), please call (252) 213-0266.

If you need to make an appointment, you should call the Health Department’s main number (252) 257-1185 on Monday, March 23.

Warren Co. Announces Closing of Senior Center, Library

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

The following county agencies will be closed to the public beginning March 18:

Senior Center Closing – The Warren County Senior Center will be closed to seniors and the general public starting Wednesday, March 18. Staff will still be on-site to answer phone calls.

The home-delivered meals service will continue as normal; those seniors that typically come to the center for congregate meals can be switched to home-delivered meals by request (criteria must be met). Seniors with need must call the Senior Center to request the home-delivered meals program. Those individuals needing to purchase liquid nutrition should call the Senior Center and set up an appointment.

The Warren County Senior Center can be reached by phone Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 252-257-3111.

Library Closing – The Warren County Memorial Library will be closed to the public starting Wednesday, March 18. During this time, the library staff will be on-site and available by phone Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. For information and assistance with online resources, please call staff during this time. All renewal dates will be extended.

Patrons are asked to use the book drop to return all materials. For more information, please call the Memorial Library at 252-257-4990, visit their Facebook page @warrencountymemoriallibrary, or the website at http://www.wcmlibrary.org/.

Additionally, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has announced an executive order effective by 5 p.m. on March 17 that closes restaurants and bars for dine-in customers but allows them to continue takeout and delivery.

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at 252-257-3115 Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. or visit www.warrencountync.com.

Warren Co. Establishes Centralized Resources; Updates County Operations

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County Government has established a local line for information dissemination in regard to local information and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Warren County COVID-19 Hotline is 252-257-7132. This information line will be manned from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Warren County has also established a centralized area on its website, www.warrencountync.com, for information related to COVID-19. A quick link can be found on the website’s homepage. Information will be updated as it unfolds related to local government cancellations and closings, as well as health alerts and community health information. Links are also provided to connect residents with Warren County Schools, state and federal agencies, and local news outlets.

Warren County Memorial Library will continue to operate with normal business hours; however, all community programs and meeting room usage are suspended until March 31.

Warren County Recreation programming has been suspended until April 6, including open gym access at John Graham Gym.

The Warren County Senior Center is currently open, providing congregate meals, breakfast and lunch, as normal. However, the Senior Center is implementing a new closing time of 4 p.m. (this allows one additional hour for cleaning prior to the start of the next business day). Hours of operation will be 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Seniors are advised that if they decide to shelter in place and nutrition becomes an issue, they should contact the Senior Center at 252-257-3111; staff will work to get these seniors meals (either the frozen entrees and accompaniments or shelf-stable meals).

NCDHHS has provided senior centers with a waiver to allow for converting congregate clients to home-delivered meal clients for purposes of grant reimbursements and streamlining of DHHS documentation.

For more information, contact the Warren County Manager’s Office at 252-257-3115 or visit www.warrencountync.com.

Warren’s Five County Beef Tour Postponed

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-Information courtesy Matthew Place, Livestock & Field Crop Agent, Warren Co. Cooperative Extension

The annual Five County Beef Tour, originally scheduled for Warren County on Saturday, March 28, 2020, has been postponed due to current health concerns. A new date will be announced as soon as available.

For more information, please contact Matthew Place at (252) 257-3640, [email protected] or visit https://go.ncsu.edu/warren_beef.

Keep Warren Co. Beautiful Committee to Hold Community Training

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-Press Release, Warren County Government

Warren County is working towards becoming an affiliate of the national organization Keep America Beautiful, an organization that works to end litter, improve recycling, and beautify communities.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, Isaac Nicholson, a representative from Keep America Beautiful, will be conducting a training held at the Warren County Armory Civic Center. The training will be held from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; the first hour is for the general session and open to the public.

The Keep Warren County Beautiful Committee was organized by the Warren County Board of Commissioners to address the problem of litter on roadsides throughout the county and to educate citizens on the importance of proper garbage disposal and the impact that untidy roads have on community members, visitors, and potential for economic development.

The goal of the Keep Warren County Beautiful Committee is to ensure that local government, citizens, and visitors work on community solutions to address the problem of littering and identify opportunities for beautification efforts in Warren County by initiating diverse partnerships with a wide array of community stakeholders.

The Warren County Armory Civic Center is located at 501 US-158 Business East, Warrenton. For more information, contact Warren County Public Works at (252) 257-3795.