LRCOG News & Updates
Our Mission
"In its dedication to regional excellence, the Lumber River Council of Governments is
proactive in identifying local and regional needs and the resources to address
those needs in an effective and fair manner."
Great Trails State Plan

​The Great Trails State Plan will draw upon existing plans and new recommendations to identify a network of shared-use paths and trails that connec​​​ts every county in North Carolina, with a focus on connections between population centers and North Carolina State Parks. 

The primary outcome of this planning process is to develop a statewide trail map coupled with an action-oriented network plan and 5-year implementation strategy.
Committee Leadership Celebrate Final Passage of Supporting Older Americans Act

The House unanimously passed the  Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020  (H.R. 4334), a bipartisan proposal that increases funding for vital programs that help aging Americans live independently and with dignity. The legislation – which passed the Senate last week – reauthorizes the  Older Americans Act  (OAA), the primary legislation that covers social and nutrition services for older Americans and their caregivers.

The OAA serves roughly 11 million older Americans every year, including three million older Americans who regularly rely on OAA programs to meet their basic needs. The  Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020  responds to the challenges facing a growing generation of aging Americans by providing a 35 percent total increase in funding for OAA programs over five years.
2020 Census Self-Response Rates
Are you curious about how many people in your community are responding to the 2020 Census? Stay up to date with a map of self-response rates from across the United States.
Take a Look at Our Local Area Self-Response Rates
as of April 7, 2020
Meals Program puts extra measures in place to try to keep vulnerable clients safe from COVID- 19
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Robeson County Congregate Meals Program began a “drive-thru” service at 5 sites this week. This modified service delivery ensures the current participants receive a hot lunch while maintaining social distance. The Area Agency on Aging staff, along with volunteers and dedicated town staff, were on site to assist.

Congregate sites in Bladen, Hoke, Richmond and Scotland counties have also modified their service delivery to adapt to C OVID-19 concerns.

Thank you for remaining committed to making sure food insecure senior citizens have healthy meals during this unprecedented time.
30 Days to Slow the Spread
Tuesday, March 31 – President Donald J. Trump announced the extension of the Coronavirus Guidelines for America for an additional 30 days through Friday, April 30th. The recommendations  are simple to follow and will continue to have a resounding impact on public health.
COVID-19 Public Assistance Hotline

The NC Division of Emergency Management has stood up a COVID-19 Public Assistance Hotline to help local governments answer questions about FEMA Public Assistance for COVID-19. Applicants (local governments and eligible non-profits) are encouraged to call the number below or send an email to get questions answered.
NCEM PA Hotline Number: (919) 825-2548
NCEM PA Hotline Email:
 Also linked below is a FEMA fact sheet on eligible emergency protective measures for COVID-19.
Please review as it may answer some of your questions.
Apple Announces COVID-19 Screening Tool in Partnership with the White House and Administration

As a direct result of President Donald J. Trump’s All-of-America campaign to combat COVID-19, Apple Inc. has partnered with the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop an interactive COVID-19 Screening Tool, now available on and as an app named COVID-19 in the App Store. Users can also find links to these tools at This new tool guides users through a set of questions covering symptoms, risk factors, and potential exposure. The tool then generates recommendations provided by the CDC for users based on the inputs they provided. Those CDC recommendations will be updated regularly. In addition, the CDC will be open-sourcing the underlying recommendations and algorithms, allowing other private-sector entities to build additional innovative tools. The recommendations and algorithms will be published at The White House commends companies like Apple Inc. for answering President Trump’s call for a public-private alliance against this invisible enemy.
COVID-19 Public Assistance Applicant Briefing Schedule

The NC Division of Emergency Management has scheduled a series of COVID-19 Applicant Briefings over the next two weeks. These briefings will be conducted virtually via WebEx. Two duplicate rounds of Applicant Briefings will be offered during the weeks of March 30 and April 6. After the second round of Applicant Briefings are completed, more will be scheduled as needed. You only need to participate in one briefing.
Briefings for our region are:
Richmond and Scotland
April 7 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Bladen, Hoke, and Robeson
April 9 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Releases Updated Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance for States and Localities

State and Local Elected Officials –
Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the  COVID-19  emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being. Certain critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times to continue operations. 
The guidance and accompanying list are intended to support State, Local, and industry partners in identifying the  critical infrastructure sectors  and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response. State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are responsible for implementing and executing response activities, including decisions about access and reentry, in their communities, while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. Officials should use their own judgment in issuing implementation directives and guidance
Scotland Health Care System

Scotland Health Care System has implemented three services in an effort to reduce the spread of respiratory illness.
President Donald J. Trump Signs the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
The Ability for Local Public Bodies to Conduct Open Meetings Electronically

With open-meetings law, even in bad weather, North Carolina cities and towns know what they're doing. But given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 impact on operations head-to-toe, new questions are coming to mind. With that, State Attorney General Josh has produced  a new guidance document on what law allows  under these special circumstances. 
New US DOL Guidance on Enforcement of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Leave Provisions

It states that it will not enforce the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) until April 17, 2020 (so one-month from enactment, not from the effective date of April 1, 2020.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Get the latest information on COVID-19 in North Carolina
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Coronavirus (COVID-19)
website designed specifically for COVID-19 in conjunction with the White House, CDC and FEMA
NC  2-1-1
Get up to date information on COVID-19
 NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.
Text COVIDNC to 898-211 for announcements and updates
Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week
Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
Resources and Engagement Opportunities for
Organizations Supporting Under-Served Communities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery (NCIDR) network has developed a living document for organizations serving historically under-resourced and marginalized communities.
UNC School of Governments Offering Webinars on a variety of subject areas about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)


Employment Law Issues and COVID-19
April 7, 2020, 2-4 p.m.
Click here to join this call , or dial (929) 205-6099 and use meeting I.D. 319 588 401.


View UNC School of Governments' website for a complete list of webinars as well as resources and blog post related to COVID-19.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
COVID-19 Internet Service Offerings

In response to COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus, many North Carolina residents are being asked to work and learn remotely. To help ensure they can access high-speed internet, NC DIT has compiled a list of new and existing free or affordable service offerings from vendors across the state.
Department of Homeland Security announces IT resources to aid counties in response to COVID-19
Social Distancing Scoreboard
data provided by unacast
Funding Opportunities
Coronavirus Funding Options
Our nation's small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.

In addition to traditional SBA funding programs, the CARES Act established several new temporary programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Paycheck Protection Program- An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
  • EIDL Loan Advance- This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.
  • SBA Express Bridge Loans- Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.
  • SBA Debt Relief- The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FY 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is seeking applications for the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program.

The Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program will provide funding to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus.

Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses, and addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers.
North Carolina Business Relief Resources – COVID-19 provided by The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)
Golden LEAF deploys $15 million in funding to launch NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Golden LEAF Foundation announces $15 million in funding to launch a rapid recovery loan program in response to economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Golden LEAF funding will support the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program by enabling loans to be made to eligible businesses for up to $50,000 with zero interest and no payments for six months. If not repaid in six months, the loan will automatically convert to a term loan.
Suggested Reads
Governor Cooper’s COVID-19
Statewide Stay at Home Order:
What Effect Does It Have On
County and City Emergency
 A uthored by: Norma Houston
In response to the escalating COVID-19 crisis, Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 121 imposing a series of statewide restrictions, prohibitions, and directives referred to as a Stay-at-Home Order (“EO121” or “the Order”). The Order goes into effect on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and remains in effect for 30 days until April 29, 2020 unless rescinded, revised, or extended. While the Governor has urged voluntary compliance with EO121, the Order is nonetheless mandatory, and violations are punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor. To read EO121, click here For FAQs and guidance on EO121, click here .
Governor’s EO 124 Prohibits Local Government Utility
Disconnections and Late Fees and Mandates New Reporting
Authored by: Kara Millonzi
On March 31, 2020, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 124 which, among other things, prohibits all end-user providers of residential water, wastewater, electric, and natural gas utility services from disconnecting these services and from charging late fee penalties. It also mandates certain payment plan parameters and imposes a new weekly reporting requirement. This blog analyzes the details of the Executive Order (EO).
As discussed below, there is some ambiguity about certain provisions of the EO. The post will be updated as additional implementation guidance from the State Attorney General’s office or the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The School of Government hosted a Zoom call on April 2, 2020, on EO 124 and a recording of that call is here .
Visit Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law 's blog for additional articles on interesting topics such as:
Remote Participation in Meetings and Hearings
Kenan Insights (Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise)
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Small Business Employment

18 million jobs at small businesses are at risk
The now-certain economic recession that is unfolding in the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 global heath shock has monumental implications for our nation’s labor force. As an early indication of the severity of the situation, initial jobless claims for the week ending March 21 soared to nearly 3.3 million, the highest number of initial claims since the U.S. Department of Labor began tracking such data in 1967. Fortunately, Congress responded with an equally unprecedented $2.2 trillion emergency spending bill; this move (along with complementary policy efforts by the Federal Reserve) reflects the government’s growing understanding that intervention is imperative to keep the country from falling into a black hole. While some aspects of this crisis are, thankfully, temporary, this boldness reflects acknowledgement of the deeper vulnerabilities of certain businesses and households and the need to mitigate the degree to which they suffer irreversible negative trajectories.

Lumber River Council of Governments | Phone: 910-618-5533 | Fax: 910-521-7556