Wilkes and 11 other counties in the Northwest Prosperity Zone and 10 counties in the South Central Prosperity Zone or Sandhills can compete for portions of $12 million in grant funds. The announcement was made at a meeting last week on the campus of Wilkes Community College when the Golden LEAF Foundation President met with town and county officials. The applications for the grant money is to be directed at doing the most economic good for the most people. The new Community Based Grants Initiative equaling $12 million are divided into $1.5 million per county. A project application needs a 20 percent local cash match for approval. Golden LEAF is asking county managers to screen, choose and submit projects for their counties for funding consideration. County managers are to send a completed letter of inquiry form for each selected project to Golden LEAF by October 17. The Golden LEAF Board will vote on December 4 to decide which projects are to submit full grant proposal packages by March 13, 2015. Then, Golden LEAF staff will make site visits with applicants in April 2015. Golden LEAF will vote on which proposals to fund on June 5. Golden LEAF was created with money when major cigarette companies settled a lawsuit in 1998.
Many people have taken road trips and are having cook-outs this weekend. The American Red Cross offers safety tips: When traveling take emergency supplies and a first aid kit, Let someone know your destination and route, Buckle up, Don't text and drive, and Don’t drink and drive. For Safe Grilling: Keep children and pets away from the grill, Never add charcoal starter fluid after coals have been ignited, and Don’t leave the grill unattended while in use. The Red Cross has a series of mobile apps in case people run into severe weather or need expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. People can go to redcross.org/apps for information.
The thief was caught on video and then caught by police. Wilkesboro Police were called this week regarding the theft of a pocketbook. The victim was leaving Walmart. She placed her purchases in her car but left her pocketbook in the shopping cart. When she realized what she had done, she called Police. Store management and Wilkesboro Police viewed surveillance video and saw a white male take the purse out of the shopping cart and then leave in a white Toyota. The man was wearing a uniform. Police went to a nearby business and asked if they had staff wearing uniforms such as the one in the video. A man matching the suspect on the surveillance footage was found in that business and questioned. He admitted to taking the pocketbook and told Police where he had dumped it. Police retrieved the stolen purse and all of the contents except for 200 dollars. The man was arrested and charged with larceny.
The only thing reported stolen was some food and paper towels. The home break-in happened at a location in Boomer. The Wilkes Sheriff's Office is investigating the theft. According to the report, someone entered the house by forcing open the back door to the residence. The homeowner told Sheriff's Investigators that she could not find anything missing except for some paper towels and food including macaroni and cheese and oatmeal cakes. Value of the stolen property was only about 20 dollars; damages to the back door were listed at 60 dollars. No suspects were given with that report.
The Wilkes Sheriff's Office is also investigating some broken windows. It is unclear if this was an attempted break-in or just an act of vandalism. The property owner reported that someone had broken out two windows at their residence on Bull Run Drive. The windows were broken by someone throwing rocks. Nothing was reported stolen. Damages were estimated at 40 dollars.
The window was fine when she went to work, but it was shattered when she returned. An employee of ResCare on College Street called Wilkesboro Police this week regarding damages to her car. The victim had parked her car before work, and after her shift, she returned to find the back window on the driver's side had been shattered. The window was not totally broken out, so no entrance was gained inside the vehicle and nothing was reported stolen. Damages are listed at 200 dollars. Someone did report seeing a suspicious person in the parking lot, but the identity of that person is unknown.
The USDA this week made an announcement for dairy farmers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that starting Sept. 2, farmers can enroll in the new dairy Margin Protection Program. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the Margin Protection Program. The online resource is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool. The secure site can be accessed via computer or Smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Wilkes County Health Department is offering free Living Healthy workshops to help individuals self-manage their ongoing health conditions. Workshops are open to any adults with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, depression, or any chronic conditions. This free workshop is offered one time per week for six weeks, and will help participants in managing symptoms, in communicating effectively with their doctor, and in making daily tasks easier. Individuals are encouraged to register. Participants will receive a free gift and a $10 gift card for attending at least four of the six sessions. The next series is September 4 and every Thursday through October 9, from 2:00pm to 4:30pm at the First United Methodist Church of North Wilkesboro at 401 6th Street. Another series will start on September 30 and every Tuesday through November 4 from 1:00pm-3:30pm at First Baptist Church of North Wilkesboro at 510 D Street. For more information about Living Healthy or to pre-register for a workshop series, call the Wilkes County Health Department at 651-7449.
Members of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee this week presented nine major recommendations on testing standards and assessments to Governor Pat McCrory. “Since I took office, superintendents, principals and teachers have told me that the testing burden in our classrooms threatens to turn our teachers into proctors,” Governor McCrory said. The recommendations on standards and assessments presented to Governor McCrory are: Prioritize student learning, Use multiple measures, Strengthen teacher evaluation, Promote developmentally appropriate testing, Reduce or eliminate redundant, impractical, or weak assessments, Respond to local needs, Ensure clear communication, Support capacity for online assessment, and Improve Read to Achieve requirements. In addition to receiving these recommendations, the governor also updated members on significant education reforms initiated during the short legislative session. Governor McCrory re-established the Teacher Advisory Committee in September 2013. The committee is made up of 24 K-12 teachers from across the state.
The North Carolina Speaker Pro-Tem of the North Carolina General Assembly is taking exception to current political ads that say, then Speaker and now candidate, Thom Tillis cut millions in education. According to a news release from Speaker Pro-Tem Paul Stam, the education budget before Tillis in 2010-2011 was 10.8 billion and the current education budget is 11.8 billion. Tillis is currently running against Kay Hagan for the US Senate seat from North Carolina.