Creating Regional Solutions Since 1971
March 2021
News
UCPCOG is Hiring!
UCPCOG is hiring a Regional Planner. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and completed application to Ron Townley, Planning & Development Services Director at rtownley@ucpcog.org.

REGIONAL PLANNER: The Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments (Wilson, NC) is seeking a skilled professional to serve as a Regional Planner and assist the Planning & Development Services Department with meeting the priority needs of our 5-county region, member governments, and stakeholders to help ensure the growth of local and regional resources and improve communities quality of life. Responsibilities include performing grant writing and award administration, project implementation, facilitation, research and analysis, professional and technical planning, project budgeting and basic finance. 
 
Click here for the full job description


Click here for the application: 

Governor Cooper Announces Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions as North Carolina Trends Stabilize

Below are some key points:

The new Executive Order lifts the Modified Stay at Home Order requiring people to stay at home and businesses to close to the public between 10 pm and 5 am. The number of people who may gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25, while 50 remains the limit for outdoors. The curfew on the sale of alcohol for onsite consumption will be moved from 9 pm to 11 pm. Some businesses, including bars and amusement parks, will now be open for patrons indoors as they adhere to new occupancy restrictions. Many businesses, venues and arenas will have increased occupancy both indoors and outdoors. 

Executive Order No. 195 has two general categories of occupancy restrictions: 30% capacity and 50% capacity. Because indoor spaces have a higher risk of spread for COVID-19, indoor facilities in the 30%-occupancy category may not exceed two hundred fifty (250) people per indoor room or indoor space. 

 30% Capacity Limit (may not exceed 250-persons in indoor spaces)
  • Bars
  • Meeting, Reception, and Conference Spaces
  • Lounges (including tobacco) and Night Clubs
  • Indoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Movie Theatres
  • Entertainment facilities (e.g., bingo parlors, gaming establishments)
  • Sports Arenas and Fields*
  • Venues*

Indoor event venues with more than 5,000 seats may be excepted from the 250 person limit if they follow additional safety measures up to 15% capacity.

50% Capacity Limit 
  • Restaurants 
  • Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries
  • Fitness and Physical Activity Facilities (e.g., gyms, bowling alleys, rock climbing facilities)
  • Pools
  • Museums and Aquariums
  • Retailers
  • Outdoor areas of Amusement Parks
  • Salons, Personal Care, Tattoo Parlors

Safety protocols such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing will continue to be important as people adjust to the new order, health officials said.
View Executive Order 195 as well as the FAQ
Announcing the Eastern NC Entrepreneurial Promise!
NCIFund and the National Institute of Minority Economic Development are launching The Eastern NC Entrepreneurial Promise (ENCEP), a virtual regional incubator for diverse companies in underserved counties of eastern North Carolina. Generous funding for ENCEP comes from NC IDEA FOUNDATION.

ENCEP will deliver high quality, intensive support to 15 companies through a series of workshops, mentorship, peer networking, and 1:1 coaching. Eastern NC companies with less than $250,000 in annual revenue and the potential to create 50 jobs and/or achieve $1 million in revenue within 5 years are eligible to participate. At least 75% of ENCEP companies will be owned by women ("WBE") and people of color ("MBE"), and 75% will be located in economically distressed counties east of Interstate 95. 

Applications will be available in March/April 2021.
Host a Blood Drive in Your City or Town

NCLM, Red Cross Partnership to Address Critical Blood Needs

The League is proud to continue to partner with the American Red Cross to broadly share the impacts of the coronavirus on the blood supply here in North Carolina. In last week's Town Hall, we hope to have provided information which motivates you to help the American Red Cross maintain a sufficient blood supply as this pandemic wears on.
For NCLM members who were unable to participate in last week's Town Hall, or would like to view the webinar again, we have provided a video recording of the presentation. Please feel free to also share this video recording with your colleagues.

For those interested in learning more requirements for host sites or becoming a blood drive sponsor, we invite you to get started by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/HostADrive.

Please feel free to also reach out directly to:

Thank you again for your leadership during this time and for your commitment to the health and safety of our local communities. Please don’t hesitate to contact either NCLM or the Red Cross directly with your questions, suggestions or concerns.
COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health

In late 2020, the Wilson Wellness Collaborative implemented a comprehensive campaign to increase awareness for local resources and to strengthen the understanding of the connection between mental and physical health. Isolation and stress have negatively impacted people's mental health and created additional barriers for people who already suffered with mental illness and substance misuse. In a recent study by the CDC, 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder, symptoms of a trauma or stressor related disorder due to the pandemic, or having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.*

Collaborating WWC members have prioritized an urgent focus on the mental health challenges imposed by COVID-19 and have partnered to connect the community with information and resources for supporting mental health. Communication platforms include social media, Wilson Times, and printed brochures. Several local partners have contributed articles to the Wilson Times, and these articles can be viewed using this link. The printable flyer is available here.  

Some Quick Facts About Mental Health in the United States*

  • 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness.
  • Approximately 10.2 million adults in America have co-occuring mental health and addiction disorders.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. 
  • Nearly 60% of adults and 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.

Health Disparities Were Devastating BIPOC Communities. Then Came COVID-19.

The factors determining a person’s health go far beyond what happens in the doctor’s office. To be healthy, a person must not only have access to healthcare but also be able to obtain healthy food and have a safe place to work, live and exercise. Community and social support also play an important role.

In one out of five communities in the U.S., people can’t access what they need to be healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem and revealed just how much an individual’s health depends on their surrounding community.
During the 2020 Business of Healthcare conference presented virtually by the UNC Center for the Business of Health in November 2020, experts from various parts of the nation’s healthcare system discussed contributors to social inequalities that affect health and examined how innovation and interconnectivity can build a more robust healthcare system. View the full conversation.
Please be advised that the COVID Triage Plus toll-free line formerly operated by CCNC has been replaced by a new toll-free hotline effective January 30. The newly expanded COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center can be reached at 888-675-4567 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
 
Callers can get help with general COVID-19 questions, information on vaccination eligibility groups, clinical questions about the vaccine, and assistance in finding vaccine locations and transportation to these locations.
 
The COVID-19 vaccine help center supports English and Spanish calls, and TTY. Callers will be able to select call back assistance where they receive a call when agents are available instead of waiting in line for an agent. The language line will be available for all other languages needed. 
 
For more information, please see the NCDHHS press release.
COVID-19 Vaccine 


This is your spot for ready-made materials to help you communicate about safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone who is sharing information about the COVID-19 vaccine with their community, including health care professionals, team leaders, community and business leaders and non-profit organizations, can use and adapt the resources here to build confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

North Carolina’s online spots for reliable and accurate information
Funding/Grants
USDA Accepting Applications to Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training

USDA Rural Development invites eligible applicants (States, counties, cities, townships, and incorporated towns and villages, borough, authorities, districts, and Indian Tribes on Federal and State reservations) to submit applications for Technical Assistance and/or training with respect to essential community facilities. Through this program, resources are provided to help eligible entities identify and plan for community facility needs that exist in their area. To learn more, please go to:

Christopher & Dana Reeve Announces Opening of Quality of Life Grant Cycle

Deadline: March 16, 2021

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation National Paralysis Resource Center has announced grant funding opportunities through its 2021 1st Cycle Direct Effect and special focus COVID-19: Addressing Social Isolation Quality of Life initiatives.

Quality of Life (QOL) grants are federally funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL).
Direct Effect QOL grants offer up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations for projects that clearly impact individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers.

COVID-19: Addressing Social Isolation QOL grants are intended to fund projects that address social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of enhancing the connectedness of people living with paralysis and their caregivers to their communities and preventing adverse health outcomes. Grants will range between $25,000 and $50,000.
    EDA Invites Applications for Economic Development Grant Opportunities
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) invites applicants to submit applications under its Public Works program and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs. Through these programs, EDA invites applications to request grant assistance for clearly defined construction or non-construction assistance projects that will advance job creation, job retention and private investment or enhance economic development decision-making, respectfully. Through EDA’s grant programs construction may support the construction of new public assets or the renovation of existing public assets, which include but are not limited to water/sewer lines, tanks, systems, pumps; incubators; access roads; workforce training facilities; commercialization centers; and port improvements.  EDA’s non-construction projects can support a wide array of activities, including highest and best use analysis, cluster and supply chain mapping studies, and regional technical assistance projects. Matching share funds are required and must be committed at the time of the project and for the same scope of work. For Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs the match is generally 50 percent, although communities may qualify for a higher grant rate. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

To learn more and to discuss potential projects, please contact Hillary Sherman at hsherman@eda.gov. To access the funding notice and application forms, please go to: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=321695
SBA announced that the deadline to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic Economic Injury Disaster Loan has been extended to December 31, 2021.

To date, SBA has approved $197 billion in low-interest loans, which provide U.S. small businesses, non-profits, and agricultural businesses working capital funds. Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications will continue to be accepted through December 2021, pending the availability of funds.

Loans are offered at affordable terms, including a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. All eligible small businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply.

Apply at sba.gov/disaster
FEMA accepting applications for 2020 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) program

FEMA invites applicants to apply for resources under the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) application. Applications must be received by 5pm on Friday, March 12, 2021. 


If you need further assistance with the submittal of your application, call or e-mail the SAFER Help Desk. The toll-free number is 1-866-274-0960; the e-mail address for questions is firegrants@fema.dhs.gov. The SAFER Help Desk is open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET.
AARP Livable Communities Challenge Accepting Applications

AARP has released its 2021 Livable Communities Challenge to provide grants to fund quick-action projects to help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are due April 14 at 8 ET.   

To learn more, please go to:
Planning and Development
Duke Energy Forms eTransEnergy to Assist Business, Municipality Electrification

Duke Energy, a U.S.-based energy holding company, says it is helping large businesses and municipalities with planning, financing, acquisition and deployment services to electrify their fleets. 

The company, eTransEnergy LLC, a new, wholly owned subsidiary, will provide unregulated services to assist school districts, transit services and companies across the country achieve their economic and sustainability goals as they transition to clean energy transportation options. Duke Energy says commercial fleets looking for reduced emissions, less noise, better performance and lower operating costs now have one comprehensive source for transitioning their fleets to electric vehicles (EVs) – from start to finish. 
 
“Electrifying vehicles represents an incredible opportunity for our customers and communities to reduce carbon emissions,” says Doug Esamann, executive vice president of energy solutions for Duke Energy. “Through eTransEnergy, we’re offering a low-risk, realistic solution for customers to transform their fleets.”
The Center for Energy Education (C4EE) is amping up the effort to discover more about how the climate crisis impacts communities of color in northeastern North Carolina and is searching for volunteers. Halifax and Northampton Counties are included in the project (in addition to Bertie and Warren). Residents of these counties are encouraged to contact the C4EE before March 19, 2021, to participate.

Findings from this project will assist C4EE in developing educational programs based on the stories shared by residents in these communities. 

"This is an important project for the community to participate in. We hope that through conducting these interviews, it will lead to solutions and change in the disparities that are present in northeastern North Carolina as it relates to climate change," says Mozine Lowe, Executive Director of C4EE.

Interested participants should call: 252-541-3004 or emailChristina.hill@center4ee.org
Congratulations 
Secretary Michael S. Regan!  


The Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments would like to extend special congratulations to Secretary Michael S. Regan of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality in his nomination from President Joe Biden to lead the nation's Environmental Protection Agency. 
Photo Caption: Secretary Michael S. Regan and Planning & Development Services Director Ron Townley at the Climate Resiliency Workshop, which was hosted by UCPCOG in partnership with NCDEQ on November 12, 2019. 
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Releases New Toolkit for Rural Communities to Build Their Outdoor Recreation Economies

Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), working with Oregon State University’s Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative and the National Governors Association Outdoor Recreation Learning Network, is helping rural communities build their outdoor recreation economies through a newly developed resource, the ORR Rural Economic Development Toolkit. Outdoor recreation is a powerful economic force nationally, generating $788 billion in economic output, comprising 2.1% of U.S. GDP and supporting 5.2 million jobs, and can also be utilized to strengthen individual communities across the country. The toolkit was developed with input from over 60 ORR stakeholders, includes links to resources and videos, and outlines real steps and actions rural communities can take, whether they already have a burgeoning outdoor recreation economy or they’re just getting started.

Click here to access the toolkit.  
May 10 - 12, 2021
Hybrid Event

Registration Now Open
Attend In-Person at the Durham Convention Center
-or- Attend Virtually
The CCRC is a unique learning and networking opportunity connecting climate adaptation practitioners throughout the region. The conference will bring together a diverse group of individuals to share experiences and learn about climate-related tools, resources, and ongoing work in the Carolinas.
 
Attendees include representatives from federal, state, tribal, and local government, NGOs, the private sector, community organizations, and academia.
 
This year's CCRC program includes
over 175 speakers in 38 sessions and 4 pre-conference workshops. Check out the current version of the conference program through the
 
We are committed to making the CCRC safe for everyone in the Carolinas climate resilience community. All sessions and presentations will be hosted through our virtual conference platform. All sessions will be recorded and available to registered attendees until August 31, 2021.
 
In-person participation is limited to 80 people and is first come, first served.

Early Registration Deadline: Friday, April 9
 
More information and a link to the registration webpage is available at: https://cisa.sc.edu/ccrc/venue.html
National Telecommunications and Information Administration Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
 
Congress passed the year-end omnibus legislation that included several broadband and connectivity expansion bills. Join NTIA staff on March 17, 2021, at 2:00 PM for an overview of the new NTIA grant programs, including the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants, and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program. 
Please pre-register for the webinar using this registration link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Want to access past Practical Broadband Conversations webinars? Visit webinar archives for past presentations, transcripts, and audio recordings.
WorkForce Development
DMV Recruiting Event

The NC DMV recently held a drive thru recruiting event at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex in an effort to fill numerous positions at their new Headquarters in Rocky Mount. The Rocky Mount NCWorks Career Center partnered to have referrals register online and attend to provide further information as needed by the Employer. Proper protocol was followed for assistance during the pandemic. Up to 300 could register to attend and according to the update provided by DMV, all spaces were filled. We look forward to a great partnership with this company to fill positions and provide further assistance (pictured are staff of the Rocky Mount Career Center)
as needed.
NCcareers.org continues to provide critical and timely information to help North Carolinians explore career options and choices. During the pandemic, some workers, concerned with contracting the COVID-19 virus, may be interested in exploring occupations with less person-to-person contact. Read more about these types of jobs in this post by our colleagues at the N.C. Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD):
AGING
Social Isolation and the Risk of Investment Fraud
 
FINRA, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the staff of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy have joined to issue this alert in order to raise awareness that increased social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic can have a devastating impact on senior investors.
 
Social isolation, whether voluntary or involuntary, has long been a leading factor contributing to the financial exploitation of older investors. The unprecedented quarantines to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus have made many seniors more vulnerable to financial exploitation.
 
While financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Scammers often gather personal details from obituaries and social media posts and use this information to target their victims. Some also may attempt to exploit trust within seniors’ social and support groups to become more involved in their lives. 
 

  • How to Protect Yourself from Investment Fraud
  • Common Warning Signs of Senior Exploitation
  • Red Flags of Fraud
  • How to Help the Seniors in Your Life
‘Cruel’ Digital Race For Vaccines Leaves Many Seniors Behind

With millions of older Americans eligible for covid-19 vaccines and limited supplies, many continue to describe a frantic and frustrating search to secure a shot, beset by uncertainty and difficulty. 

The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems.

The struggle represents a shift from the first wave of vaccinations — health care workers in health care settings — which went comparatively smoothly. Now, in most places, elderly people are pitted against one another, competing on an unstable technological playing field for limited shots.

“You can’t have the vaccine distribution be a race between elderly people typing and younger people typing,” said Jeremy Novich, a clinical psychologist in New York City who has begun a group to help people navigate the technology to get appointments. “That’s not a race. That’s just cruel.”
NC Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DSDHH) COVID-19 Resources
 
Given that 30% of people age 65-74 and 50% of those age 75 and up have a hearing loss, the DSDHH has been working hard to address the communication access challenges in the midst of the pandemic; one can find pertinent information and resources at our website: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/services-deaf-and-hard-hearing/covid-19-resources-and-information Please visit this site periodically for updated information. Soon, we will have a series of ASL/captioned videos on North Carolina’s vaccination rollout. And our staff are available to answer questions or assist in any way: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/assistance/hearing-loss/regional-centers-for-the-deaf-hard-of-hearing
Workshops/Webinars
School of Government Upcoming Online Course Top 10 Primer on Transportation Planning

On March 19 from 10am-11:15 am the Local Elected Leaders Academy will host a FREE Top 10 Primer on Transportation Planning in North Carolina. We welcome as our Instructor Amna Cameron, Deputy Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Program Support in the NC Department of Transportation. 
In this engaging, fast-moving on-line class, participants will learn about the department’s structure, funding, and planning processes. The roles of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Rural Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs) will be explained and anticipated future statewide transportation needs will be explored. 
Attendees will gain a basic understanding of the policies that affect statewide transportation priorities and elected officials will learn how they can lend their voices to the decision-making processes. 
In this interactive workshop, questions are invited and participation in the discussion is encouraged. To attend this FREE short workshop, click HERE to learn more and register. 
Join us online on April 23, 2021 as we explore "Innovative Alternatives for Stormwater Funding." The demands of today's stormwater management programs require a vast amount of resources. While these programs are typically funded by stormwater fees or other citizen funds, stormwater managers are often seeking creative approaches to meet growing demands. This Seminar will give you real-world experience and information on how to make the most of the resources you have while exploring ways to increase the bottom line. 
SESWA's 16th Annual Regional Stormwater Seminar
"Innovative Alternatives for Stormwater Funding"

Friday, April 23, 2021
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Eastern

Online Event

Earn up to 5 Continuing Education Hours. Visit the SESWA Seminar webpage for complete details. Hurry, discounted rates end soon! We hope you are able to participate!
Save The Date
Outdoor Economy Conference 2021

So long as it’s safe to do so, we’ll be gathering live and IN PERSON on October 12-15 (with online attendance options as well) for the 2021 Outdoor Economy Conference. We’ve got some awesome new tracks in store for you, other big news and upgrades in the pipeline, and we're excited to announce our core topics and location in early spring. In the meantime, get those dates on the books! 
Save the Date!
2021 State Energy Virtual Conference
April 19-22, 2021

The 2021 State Energy Conference of North Carolina will be held virtually this year due to the continuing unprecedented circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy. You can expect the same great content - 30 sessions and six different tracks - with expert speakers and Q&A opportunities.
In addition, virtual attendees will have access to ALL on-demand and live content throughout the conference for up two weeks after the event. The conference will have a virtual exhibit hall with opportunities to meet with many different vendors and companies to learn more about their offerings.
Registration is currently open and will stay open throughout the conference.
Stay engaged in the discussion about the future of energy in North Carolina. Don't miss this 2021 virtual conference!

Stay up-to-date on the latest with the conference by visiting www.ncenergyconference.com and also by signing up for conference emails.
N.C. Economic Development Association Virtual Spring Conference | March 16-17

As communities, regions and a state, finding a Path Forward today is key to seizing the opportunities of tomorrow. Join NCEDA members and guests for networking, guidance and updates on current topics impacting North Carolina’s economic development community.

The event will feature remarks from N.C.'s new Commerce Secretary, Machelle Sanders, presentations and panel discussions about broadband accessibility, key insight about downtown revitalization and entrepreneurship, and more. 
To learn more, visit the NCEDA's event website here
SERCAP Financial Workshops

Please click here to view the agenda and register for Virtual Basic Financial Workshop for NC Rural Communities 2021.
Two Virtual Training Times:

  • March 4, 2021 (9:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.)
  • April 6, 2021 (9:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.)
121 W. Nash St. Wilson, NC 27893
252-234-5952