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Local Government
Senator Nickel Calls On DEQ To Deny RDU Quarry Permit PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 June 2020 13:30

Senator Wiley Nickel, State Senator for the 16th Senate District (Cary, Morrisville & NW Raleigh), calls on DEMLR to stop the frenzied efforts of Wake Stone Corporation to quarry land neighboring William B. Umstead State Park. After listening to extensive comments from local residents on the harms of this potential quarry, and as a public official, father, and resident of the RDU area, Senator Wiley Nickel states:

“Like many residents of the RDU area, I’ve followed Wake Stone and RDU’s actions in relation to the Odd Fellows tract with disgust. Over the last few years, I’ve seen the voices of locals silenced, small business leaders ignored, and environmental justice thrown to the wayside in favor of corporate greed.

The dangers of this potential pit are numerous, but center around the following areas: (1) Environmental Damage. This quarry would cause direct harm to fragile wetlands, the neighboring state park, and necessary woodland areas. (2) Public Health Concerns. Individuals who live near the quarry and folks who utilize the highly trafficked Old Reedy Creek entrance of Umstead State Park, as well as Black Creek Greenway, will be choked by sediment and put at risk of long-term health impacts by nearby blasts. (3) Economic Impact. This quarry will be a disaster for local businesses and real estate companies who rely on a healthy, thriving recreation scene to pull in new hires and residents.

Beyond the numerous clear flaws of this potential quarry, its creation would set a destructive precedent for North Carolina: the first private rock quarry on public land in the state. Let that sink in. The first private rock quarry on public land in North Carolina. If this permit is granted, what comes next?

I sincerely hope and pray that the Division of Energy, Minerals, and Land Resources will stand on the side of reason and deny this dangerous, poorly planned permit request. Granting Wake Stone Corporation permission to quarry this forested gem would be a disaster for our environment, the health of my constituents, and the State as a whole.”

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Forsyth County Initiatives Win National Acclaim PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 24 June 2020 13:24
Two Forsyth County initiatives have been recognized by The National Association of Counties (NACo)  2020 Achievement Awards for innovation in county government.
 
Emergency Medical Services’ Community Paramedics program won in the Health category. The program addresses the needs of those who’ve become dependent on Emergency Medical Services by addressing the issues that are causing them to frequently call 911. Community paramedics also divert patients from the emergency department when other services may be more appropriate to address their needs, such as behavioral health and substance use services.   
“The community paramedicine program is a hidden gem inside of Forsyth County that serves the public at large,” said Emergency Services Director Tim Black. “It‘s only fitting that they would receive an award to champion their efforts.”
 
A collaboration between Moji Coffee + More and the Forsyth County Central Library won in the Human Services category. The nonprofit Moji Coffee provides good paying jobs with transferable skills for people with intellectual developmental disabilities. The nonprofit approached the county for start-up funds in 2019. When a space for a coffee shop opened up in the Central Library, the county offered it to Moji Coffee. The county used Behavioral Health funds to help support Moji opening up at the library to provide training and employment opportunities for those with intellectual developmental disabilities. 
 
“Moji's mission so clearly dovetails with the public library's mission to lead in lifelong learning through community engagement, innovative programs, and inclusion,” said Associate Library Director Elizabeth Skinner. ”When a happy marriage of core service values and the opportunity to build social capital occurs, everyone in the community wins.”
 
Forsyth County libraries are currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, but are expected to reopen, along with the Central Library Moji Coffee location, on June 29.
 
Healthcare Company WIll Build Multi-Cancer Early Detection Laboratory In Durham PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 15 June 2020 10:54
GRAIL, Inc., an innovative healthcare company pioneering a test that detects more than 50 cancers with a single blood draw, will invest $100 million and over time create 398 new jobs in Durham, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The project will bring a new state-of-the-art laboratory facility with office and warehouse space to North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park.
 
"Even in tough economic times, companies like GRAIL see that North Carolina is ready to support the life sciences sector with a strong workforce,” said Governor Cooper. “North Carolina had a solid foundation for job growth before the virus, and that will make the road to recovery faster in the coming months.”
 
GRAIL, headquartered in Menlo Park, California, has developed a testing approach supported by evidence from a population-scale clinical study program believed to be the largest ever conducted in genomic medicine. GRAIL's team of leading scientists, technologists, and clinicians are working urgently to revolutionize cancer detection.
 
“We want to thank Governor Cooper, Secretary of Commerce Anthony Copeland, and our local Durham partners for their leadership and support of GRAIL’s expansion to North Carolina, known for its large pool of skilled talent and innovative spirit that is critical to the success of our mission to detect cancer early and save lives,” said Uplaksh Kumar, Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations and Scale at GRAIL. “This expansion is an important step forward in making our pioneering, multi-cancer early detection blood test widely available to patients and healthcare providers across the country.”
 
The unmet need for early cancer detection is significant. The five cancers with existing screening recommendations in the U.S. today represent less than 50 percent of the cancers in individuals 50 to 79 years of age. Current screening critically improves cancer outcomes, but nearly 80 percent of cancer deaths are attributable to cancers with no recommended screening tests, according to GRAIL estimates.
 
Although wages will vary depending on position, the average salary will be in line with the current average annual wage in Durham County of $71,756.
 
"The coronavirus pandemic heightens our awareness of the critical role science and research play in keeping us healthy,” said Secretary Copeland. “North Carolina and our culture of innovation will support GRAIL as it brings hope to many people with its innovative approach to early cancer detection.”
 
GRAIL’s project in North Carolina will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the course of 12 years, the project is estimated to grow the state’s economy by $1.2 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $5.2 million over 12 years. Payments for all JDIGs only occur following performance verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met its incremental job creation and investment targets. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.
 
Because GRAIL chose a site in Durham County, classified by the state’s economic tier system as Tier 3, the company’s JDIG agreements also call for moving as much as $1,717,000 into the state’s Industrial Development Fund – Utility Account. The Utility Account helps rural communities finance necessary infrastructure upgrades to attract future business. Even when new jobs are created in a Tier 3 county such as Durham, the new tax revenue generated through JDIG grants helps more economically challenged communities elsewhere in the state. More information on the state’s economic tier designations is available here [click.icptrack.com].
 
“We are excited to welcome GRAIL to our world-renowned life sciences community,” said Wendy Jacobs, Chair of the Durham County Commissioners. “We look forward to them joining other companies here in collaborating with workforce development and educational institutions to utilize our diverse local talent in their life-saving work.”
 
“Durham’s momentum in economic development continues to build, despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus,” said N.C. Senator Natalie Murdock. “GRAIL’s decision to locate this major facility in the Research Triangle Park brings new jobs and new economic opportunities to our region.”
 
“Many people and organizations in our community collaborated closely to make this day possible,” said N.C. Representative Zack Hawkins. “Everyone in our area stands ready to help GRAIL succeed in North Carolina and believe they’ll be an incredible asset to the Triangle. I am excited about their work and potential positive economic and employment impact on our community.”
 
Partnering with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. on this project were the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System and its N.C. BioNetwork, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Durham County, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Alamance Community College, Durham Tech, Wake Tech, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, and Duke Energy.
 
About GRAIL
 
GRAIL is a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. GRAIL is focused on alleviating the global burden of cancer by developing pioneering technology to detect and identify multiple deadly cancer types early. The company is using the power of next-generation sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology, and to develop its multi-cancer early detection blood test. GRAIL is headquartered in Menlo Park, CA with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom. It is supported by leading global investors and pharmaceutical, technology, and healthcare companies. For more information, please visit www.grail.com.
 
 
Ontex Group Plans to Create 403 Jobs in Rockingham County PDF Print E-mail
Local Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 15 June 2020 10:49
Ontex Operations USA, LLC part of Belgium’s Ontex Group NV, has plans to establish significant new operations in Rockingham County that would create up to 403 new jobs by 2025, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will manufacture a range of personal care and hygiene products that will be sold through leading retailers in the USA and Canada. Expenditures for the land, building, and operating assets including those made by Ontex will generate an investment of $93.3 million.
 
“Even in tough economic times, companies like Ontex see that North Carolina is ready to support their business with a strong workforce,” said Governor Cooper. “North Carolina had a solid foundation for job growth before the virus, and that will make the road to recovery a little faster in the coming months.”
 
Publicly-held Ontex [Euronext: ONTEX] is a leading international maker of high-quality consumer products for baby care, feminine care and adult care for retailers, healthcare providers and institutional customers across 110 countries. Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Aalst-Erembodegem, Belgium, Ontex employs a worldwide workforce of 10,000. Its products are also sold in North America through its affiliate Valor Brands.
 
“Following the previously-announced decision to invest in manufacturing in the eastern part of the country to complement shipments from abroad, we are proud to announce the forthcoming opening of Ontex’ first U.S. production site,” Ontex CEO Charles Bouaziz said. “With this meaningful step we accelerate the execution of our strategic priority to increase our U.S. presence.”
 
“Today’s announcement by Ontex demonstrates that companies from around the world remain confident in North Carolina and its economy,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland said. “All the pieces in place before COVID-19 – our modern infrastructure, unbeatable workforce and convenient access to markets – will still be in place after the crisis is over.”
 
Ontex’s new facility in Rockingham County plans to employ production workers, maintenance personnel, logistics specialists, supervisors and other staff. New positions would offer yearly wages averaging $40,130 in total cash compensation, creating a $16.2 million annual payroll impact for the surrounding community. Rockingham County’s overall average annual wage is $35,146.
 
The arrival of Ontex will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee earlier today. Over the 12-year term of the grant, the project is estimated to grow North Carolina’s GDP by more than $1.2 billion. Using a formula that takes into account the new tax revenues generated by the 403 new jobs, the JDIG agreement authorizes a potential reimbursement to the company of up to $3,080,000 over 12 years. State payments occur only after verification by the departments of Commerce and Revenue that the company has met incremental job creation and investment targets. 
 
By law, projects supported by JDIG must result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a recipient company. The provision ensures all North Carolina communities benefit from the JDIG program. Ontex’s Rockingham County operations are projected to generate $30.3 million in state tax revenue over the life of the grant. 
 
“The fact that major global companies are announcing significant investments in North Carolina during a pandemic says all the right things about North Carolina’s workforce and tax policies,” said N.C. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. “We welcome Ontex Global to Rockingham County and look forward to helping them become a fixture in our manufacturing economy for years to come.”
 
“Congratulations to this growing international company for the success that has led to this exciting venture in Rockingham County,” said N.C. Rep. Jerry Carter. “I commend our county and state leaders for their effectiveness in attracting Ontex to our community.”
 
The North Carolina Department of Commerce worked closely with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) in a collaborative effort to facilitate Ontex’s selection of Rockingham County. Other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, Rockingham County, Rockingham County Economic Development, the Piedmont Triad Regional Workforce Development Board and Duke Energy.
 
 
 
 
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