February 2021 Newsletter
February Highlights
Here is what you'll find in this month's newsletter:

  • Important Dates
  • New Board Members
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Caregiver's Cup
  • Pandemic Related Services
  • New Aging Specialist
  • Caregiver Vouchers
  • Senior Centers
  • Ombudsman Update
  • Medicare Fraud Prevention
  • KTRPO Update
  • CMAQ Applications
  • COVID Vaccine Appointment Transportation
  • New Henderson-Vance EDC DIrector
  • Community Economic Recovery & Resilience
  • NC FIRST Commission Releases Final Report
  • SBA Announces Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
  • 2021 NC Main Street Conference
  • Resurfacing Projects Awarded to Kerr-Tar Counties
  • VW Settlement Rebate Program
  • Economic Development Grant Opportunity
  • BUILD Transportation Grant Funding
  • Unemployment Resources & Employment Services
  • Workforce Development Success Story
  • Labor Market Overview
  • Contractors Needed
  • NC House & Senate Committees
  • Open for Business Loan Program
Important Dates!
Regional Aging Advisory Council (RAAC) Virtual Meeting
  • Wednesday, February 10
  • 2:00-3:00 pm

  • Thursday, February 25
  • 3:00-5:00 pm
  • Via Zoom

Workforce Development Board Meeting
  • Tuesday, March 2
  • 6:00 pm
New COG Board Members
The Kerr-Tar Council of Governments is excited to announce the appointment of two new COG Board Members.
Derrick Sims was elected as a Person County Commissioner in 2020, and previously served as the past Workforce Development Chairman for the Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board. Derrick serves as the Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at US Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers, Inc.
We also welcome Franklin County Commissioner Michael Schriver to the Board. Michael was elected as Commissioner in 2016 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. He serves as President and CEO of Fidelis Construction, Inc.
Staff Spotlight: Kim Hawkins, Regional Ombudsman
Kimberly Hawkins serves as the Kerr-Tar Regional Ombudsman and has been with the COG for over 26 years. She loves the opportunity to work in her calling, communicating on behalf of others and using her gift (as others call it) of talking. When asked what one of her proudest accomplishments was, Kim shared about an event that has evolved into the Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Walk and how it has grown over the years. Kim is the proud mother of two boys. She is always observing ways she can glean best practices from others. Kim is definitely a ray of sunshine here at the COG.
Caregiver's Cup
The next Caregiver's Cup coffee club will be Friday, February 5 from 12:00-1:30 pm at Sadie's Coffee Corner in Henderson. If you provide care for an adult over age 60 and would like to join us for some non-structured social time and a good cup of coffee, join us! Call Austin with any questions at 252-436-2040, ext 6072. Newcomers welcome!
Pandemic Related Services
Our Aging Department has been very busy with pandemic related services to meet the needs of our region's older adults. The Henderson Daily Dispatch publicized our services in January, resulting in many calls from the public. Our Housing & Home Improvement projects are providing ramps, accessibility features, and heating units for older adults. Family Caregiver services have been publicized through an ongoing presence on WRAL's website. Hundreds of brochures have been distributed to community partners who refer residents in need to the Agency. A new program has been initiated with Working Landscapes of Warren County to provide FarmsShare produce boxes to older adults in the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, and we are pleased to be working with them. We are working with several community partners throughout the region to provide emergency and ongoing food for older adults in need.

KTAAA is working hard to develop virtual tools so that our programs are available during the pandemic. We plan to provide online classes and regular video presentations on many subjects that will interest our region's older adults and their families. Keep an eye on the COG website and our KTAAA Facebook page!
New Aging Specialist
The Department is pleased to announce that Mary Lynn Baldwin has done such a good job in her temporary project role that we have hired her as a regular, permanent employee, as our Aging Specialist. She will be the point of contact for COVID-related referrals and will also support our Regional Aging Advisory Council (RAAC) meetings, state monitoring work, and will participate in several state-wide aging associations. Congratulations Mary Lynn!
Caregiver Directed Vouchers
Are you a caregiver in need of a break or a little extra help? Respite care enables caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities. Caregiver Respite Vouchers are available. To see if you quality, contact the KTAAA at 252-436-2040 or complete the ONLINE FORM to see if you qualify.
Our new round of billboards are up, featuring our Family Caregiver Support Services. During the holiday season, families often notice that their older relatives may be experiencing changes in their needs, and our programs are designed to assess and address exactly these situations. We have a limited number of caregiver respite vouchers available if you are a family caregiver who could use a break. Give us a call at 252-436-2040 to see how we might assist.
Senior Centers
Our Senior Centers continue to provide over 14,000 meals a month to our region's seniors. They also provide phone support, some online connection, and various other services. Call your local senior center to learn more about what's being offered in your community.

  • Franklin County Senior Center (Louisburg) 919-496-1131
  • Franklinton Senior Center 919-494-5611
  • Granville County Senior Services (Oxford) 919-693-1930
  • South Granville Senior Center (Creedmoor) 919-528-0848
  • North Granville Senior Center (Stovall) 919-693-3383
  • Person County Senior Center 336-599-7484
  • Vance County Senior Center 252-430-0257
  • Warren County Senior Center 252-257-3111
Long Term Care Ombudsman
Kim Hawkins, Regional Ombudsman, is here to serve the needs and interests of long-term care residents and their families. Despite the restrictions everyone has faced these last few months, Kim has continued to field calls and provide information to concerned residents and family members. If you have concerns regarding long term care, please contact Kim at khawkins@kerrtarcog.org or 252-436-2040 ext. 2050.
Help Fight Medicare Fraud
Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you, so if anyone asks you to share your Medicare Number or pay for access to the vaccine, you can bet it's a scam.

Here's what to know:

  • You can't pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine.
  • You can't pay to get early access to a vaccine.
  • Don't share your personal or financial information if someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for a fee.

Con artists may try to get your Medicare Number or personal information so they can steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud results in higher health care costs and taxes for everyone.
Kerr-Tar Rural Planning Organization
The next KTRPO joint TAC/TCC meeting will be held Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 3:00-5:00 pm via Zoom. Further details, including the agenda will be provided to members as the meeting date approaches.
Members of the KTRPO TAC and TAC Alternates are required to submit Statements of Economic Interest (SEI) and Real-Estate Disclosure (RED) forms annually to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission. The annual due date for the Commission to receive these documents is April 15. The Ethics Commission is strongly encouraging all TAC and TAC Alternates to submit these forms electronically via the following LINK, as Commission staff will not be in the office to accept paper forms.
NCDOT Announces CMAQ Applications
The NCDOT's Transportation Planning Division--Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program announces a call for CMAQ projects for FY 2022. Statewide and regional projects will be funded through an allocation. The allocation for the KTRPO for FY 22 is $505,265.

If your community is interested in submitting a CMAQ project aimed at reducing transportation emissions and improving air quality, please contact the KTRPO. The eligible CMAQ Counties in the Kerr-Tar Region are: Franklin, Granville, and Person County. All CMAQ applications are due by March 15, 2021.
COVID Vaccine Appointment Transportation
Are you a resident in the Kerr-Tar region in need of transportation to and from your COVID-19 vaccine appointment? The North Carolina Department of Transportation and Department of Health & Human Services are pleased to announce transportation assistance to COVID-19 vaccine appointments through local transit agencies. Residents in Vance, Franklin, Granville, and Warren Counties may contact KARTS at (252) 438-2573 and residents in Person County may contact PATS at (336) 597-1171.
New Henderson-Vance Economic Development Director
Please join us in welcoming Mr. Christian Lockamy, the new Henderson-Vance Economic Development Director. Christian comes to the region with over seven years of experience in economic development, most recently as the Economic Development Director of the Elizabeth City/Pasquotank County EDC. He previously worked with the City of Greenville as a Planner/GIS Specialist, Economic Development Research Manager, Senior Economic Developer, and Interim Economic Development Director.

Christian holds a BS in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and previously served in the United States Navy. He has completed coursework in the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) program through IEDC. We welcome Christian to Vance County and look forward to working with him on economic development projects in Vance County and the City of Henderson. Christian started on January 19th. Please help us in welcoming Christian to the Kerr-Tar Region!
Community Economic Recovery & Resiliency Initiative
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center are pleased to announce the Community Economic Recovery and Resiliency Initiative (CERRI) for communities. The Council of Governments has partnered with the Department in this initiative to assist small towns and rural communities recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19 and build resilient local economies. The Department will work on creating individualized Community Economic Resiliency and Small Business Support Plans. This process will begin with site visits to respective communities along with identifying individuals to serve on Steering Committees. If your community is interested in taking part in the CERRI program, please contact James Cunningham at 252-436-2040 or jcunningham@kerrtarcog.org. We thank those communities who have already expressed an interest in participating.
The NC FIRST Commission Releases Final Report
The NC FIRST Commission formed in 2019, composed of financial, business, and public policy experts, is a state body evaluating the state's transportation investment needs. This Commission has developed a set of recommendations for how to modernize North Carolina's transportation investment strategy, finalized during a virtual meeting on January 8th.

The Commission charged with researching how emerging trends, new transportation technologies and changing demographics throughout North Carolina, will impact current transportation funding models. Among its tasks, the Commission evaluated how best to replace declining motor fuel tax revenues as more North Carolina motorists convert from gas-powered automobiles to autonomous and electric vehicles.

The Commission's extensive Final Report and Findings, prompted by inadequacies and in some cases obsolescence in the state's revenue sources for transportation projects in this fast-growing state, reflects two years of work from the Commission, which includes government officials and has had former Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane as its chair, with Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Smith Lyerly and Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt on board as well. The report, presented to NCDOT Secretary Eric Boyette, highlighted the need to increase investments to maintain and improve the state's transportation infrastructure. It also represents the culmination of more than a year of in-depth analysis and recommends consideration of a laundry list of possible revenue and financing options to address a projected $20 billion shortfall of funds needed over the next 10 years to meet state transportation needs, such as adopting a mileage-based fee for electric and hybrid vehicles and raising the NCDOT's debt-to-revenue ratio.
SBA Announces Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
The US Small Business Administration has announced a grant opportunity for small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) seeks to provide venues whose operations and operating revenues have been affected by COVID-19 with assistance. Venues may not have received a PPP loan. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million or $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. The SBA has yet to release the application, but any interested community with an eligible public venue within the Kerr-Tar region is encouraged to apply. More information on the grant is available HERE.
2021 NC Main Street Virtual Conference: Pivoting for Prosperity
The 2021 North Carolina Main Street Conference will explore a commitment to local. The virtual conference will be held March 9-11, 2021. The key to economic development in small cities and towns is local investment, locally owned businesses, and a vast array of local volunteerism and community engagement. What is the future of North Carolina downtowns, of marketing, of events, of building community? The annual NC Main Street Conference will provide you with the answers to these questions and more! This conference, the largest statewide downtown revitalization conference in the country, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It brings together individuals and organizations interested in economic growth and success for downtowns. Conference attendees include downtown economic development professionals, elected officials and local government staff, rural leadership, volunteers, business and property owners, consultants, vendors, and sponsors that are all involved in the betterment of downtown districts and their communities.

This milestone event will be held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic. Our commitment to safety will not diminish the high-quality learning experience that you will receive at this year’s conference. Expect a mix of inspiring keynotes, engaging plenary and break-out sessions, and a downtown toolkit of pre-recorded sessions with experienced presenters that you can listen to repeatedly and at your convenience. This year’s conference will provide you with the tools, data, and knowledge to take on any challenge that comes your way. The North Carolina Main Street Conference offers the most innovative approaches to downtown revitalization and redevelopment available in the state and, perhaps, in the southeast. We will see you on the computer in March!

*Conference Registration is $90.
Resurfacing Projects Awarded for Kerr-Tar Counties
Thanks to four new contracts awarded by the NC Department of Transportation, totaling nearly $4.5 million, more than 70 miles of area roadway will be resurfaced.

  • Under a $2.76 million contract, ST Wooten Corporation of Wilson will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 27.9 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Granville and Vance counties.
  • Under a $700.414 contract, Fred Smith Company of Raleigh will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 16.3 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Granville, Vance, and Warren counties.
  • Under a $663,670 contract, Whitehurst Paving of Richmond, VA will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 17.9 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Franklin County.
  • Under a $338, 714 contract, Carolina Road Solutions of Center Valley, PA will mill and resurface pavement and improve shoulders along 8.1 miles of state-maintained roads throughout Person County.

This work will start by this summer and must be complete by August 2022.
VW Settlement Level 2 Charge Rebate Program
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has begun accepting applications for Level 2 charging projects to be funded by Phase 1 of the NC Volkswagen Mitigation Settlement Program. The agency has allocated 25% of the Phase 1 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure allocation, or approximately $1.1 million, to Level 2 charging infrastructure projects.

NCDEQ anticipates awarding a total of approximately $1.1 million towards Level 2 charging infrastructure projects in Phase 1. Rebate applications will be prioritized by the urban-suburban/rural split described in the NC VW Mitigation Plan, with about 68% of the funds allocated for urban and suburban counties, and a minimum of 32% allocated for rural counties. The primary goal is to increase use of ZEVs in place of gas-powered vehicles to mitigate nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina.

Local governments are required to submit Rebate Applications following the criteria in the Charging Infrastructure Guidelines available HERE. If your community is interested in participating in this rebate program, please contact the Council of Governments.
Economic Development Grant Opportunity
The Creative Give Back is an award of up to $25,000 of consulting services for a unique economic development project. Creative Economic Development Consulting has given away one consulting project a year since 2014. The winner is selected through a competitive proposal process. More information can be found HERE.
DOT Issues NOFO for $1 Billion in FY 2021 BUILD Transportation Grant Funding
The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. Previously known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grants, Congress has dedicated nearly $8.9 billion for twelve rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact.

DOT has published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $1 billion in FY 2021 discretionary grant funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. The Department's NOFO is available HERE.
Unemployment Resources & Employment Services
Unemployment Insurance

The recent COVID aid legislation has provided for an additional $300/week in unemployment for those who qualify (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation). The fastest and most efficient way to apply for unemployment benefits is to create an online account and file online HERE or call 888-737-0259.

Employment Services

For individuals who are seeking assistance with employment, NCWorks Career Centers are available to help! Centers offer the following services:

  • Career Counseling
  • Job Search
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Skills Training
  • Veteran Services
  • Re-entry Services

To find a center near you, click HERE.
Success Story
Mr. Archie Burwell of Vance County was displaced from employment as a tour bus driver due to the economic downturn due to COVID-19. He has held a CDLA license for many years, but driving a tour bus does not require a CDLA, therefore his experience did not apply to the many truck driving positions for which he applied. He contacted the Career Center seeking a refresher course. This training was not supported, however he was enrolled into WIOA in order to receive in-depth re-employment services. He was also referred to Business Services for job placement.

Select Products Holdings had recently opened a new location in Henderson, NC. They were seeking a driver to transport their raw materials from their Pennsylvania and New York locations to North Carolina, as well as someone to deliver products to customers along the East Coast. Mr. Burwell's knowledge of the routes made him an excellent candidate, but he lacked the recent CDLA experience needed.

An On the Job Training plan was developed to provide the skills Mr. Burwell needed for this position. He was trained in using the tracking hardware and software required to drive over the road tractor trailers. He received training in all other aspects of OTR hauling, as needed to perform the job for Select Products. Mr. Burwell successfully completed his training and continues to be happily employed.
Looking for a job?
Labor Market Overview: January 2021
The NC Department of Commerce has released it's most recent Labor Market Overview. This report includes change in employment, unemployment rates, who's hiring, what jobs are available, and a breakdown by county. To see a regional snapshot of the Kerr-Tar Labor Market, click HERE.
Next Workforce Development Board Meeting:
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
In Other News...
Like us on Facebook!
Beth Davis, our Regional Engagement Specialist, has created a KTCOG Facebook Page. We invite you all to like this page and share any posts that you think might benefit your network. The best kind of advertising is word of mouth, and Facebook is kind of like the digital version. We welcome any and all feedback regarding the content of this page because we want it to be relevant information. Check it out HERE.

You can also find Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging on Facebook as well. Check them out HERE.
Contractors Needed!
Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments (COG) is seeking licensed General Contractors to apply to be included on the approved bidders list. The COG administers the NC Housing Fiance Agency Essential Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool Program as well as the Urgent Repair Program (URP) in the counties of Franklin,Granville, Person, Vance, and Warren. Licensed General Contractors with experience in performing comprehensive housing rehabilitation on occupied units will be considered. Liability insurance is required and references will be checked. Those contractors added to the approved bidders list will be invited to bid on housing rehabilitation projects. Some projects may require contractors to be Certified Renovators working for a Certified Renovation Firm or be a Certified Lead Abatement Contractor. To receive more information or a Contractor's Registration Form, please call Diane Cox, Executive Director, Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments at 252-436-2040.

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages bidding by small, minority, and female contractors. The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments also encourages the participation of locally owned/operated companies and firms that provide employment opportunities to low-income individuals. This information is also available in Spanish or any other language upon request.

Esta información está disponible en español o en cualquier otro idioma bajo petición. Por favor, póngase en contacto con Diane Cox al 252-436-2040.
NC House & Senate Committees
The NC House is adding more committees than it had last session to tackle new focus areas ranging from aquaculture to American Indian affairs. The 40 committees, including budget subcommittees, announced this week is an increase from about 34 committees that met in the last session. Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore, said leadership expects this year will bring "really bold, fresh ideas," and having more committees will mean more time to fully vet bills and garner bipartisan cooperation.

View a few of the noteworthy additions and changes to the House committee line-up in THIS ARTICLE written by Colin Campbell from The NC Insider. Senate leader Phil Berger released his list of committee assignments and designated chairs earlier this month.

For a full list of House committee chairs, click HERE and for a full list of Senate committee chairs, click HERE.
Open for Business Loan Program
Many small and local businesses in the Kerr-Tar Region have been negatively affected by COVID-19. In an effort to provide support to those businesses, the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments is rolling out the Open for Business Loan Program. This loan program is designed to help small to medium size businesses recover from the economic effects of this pandemic.

The Open for Business Loan is a non-forgivable interest free loan, ranging from $10,000-$100,000. Eligible borrowers are small to medium size (1-99 employees) businesses who have been in business for at least 12 months and must be located in Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance, or Warren counties. Documentation providing evidence of a loss of revenue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is required. All loans will require a personal guarantee and additional collateral. Funds can only be used for working capital and/or equipment and require an application fee of $200. Standard loan terms of 5 to 10 years. To apply, CLICK HERE.

The Open for Business Loan Program is locally administered, funded by the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration with funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Applications are available on the Kerr-Tar COG website, or by calling Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments at 252-436-2040. Applications should be completed as soon as possible as funding is limited.
Executive Director
Diane Cox

Area Agency on Aging
Nancy Francis

Planning & Development
Michael Kelly

Workforce Development
Lou Grillo

Mission Statement
Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments aims to
promote regionalism that provides opportunities for
local governments to enhance and improve the quality
of life for our citizens through effective delivery of
services and programs.
Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments
Contact Info:
252-436-2055 fax

Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 709
Henderson, NC 27536