“Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest

Show how you can help keep the air clean for Earth Day this year!  The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) has officially launched the 5th Annual “Keep Our Air Clean” Student Art Contest, where students in North Carolina from kindergarten through high school can submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on billboards across the state!

Students’ artwork should focus on actions that people can take to reduce air pollution from vehicles and help keep our air clean. Examples include walking, biking, using public transportation, carpooling, using electric vehicles or biofuels, and more. Please make artwork family-friendly, non-partisan and non-copyrighted. You can learn about the alternatives at cleantransportation.org or fuelwhatmatters.org or see examples from past winners and best practices for art submissions here.

Submissions will be accepted through Monday, April 25. Please read the rules below to find out how to submit your artwork. Public voting will begin on Wednesday, April 27 and last through Wednesday, May 4 – stay tuned for a link to vote once submissions have closed!

For more information or questions please email Heather Brutz at hmbrutz@ncsu.edu

Winners will be announced in June. Stay tuned on www.facebook.com/NCCleanTech and www.FuelWhatMatters.org!

To learn more, click HERE.

Request for Statements of Qualifications for Research, Development, Analysis, and Planning Support-EDA CEDS

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments (KTRCOG) hereby solicits written Statements of Qualifications from professional consulting firms interested in contracting with KTRCOG to perform research, analysis, development, and related professional planning support activities associated with the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the KTRCOG region (Franklin, Granville, Person, Vance, and Warren Counties).

This planning project is federally funded and will required adherence to all federal regulatory conditions required by the US Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The selected firm will be eligible to negotiate a contract with KTRCOG.  No minimum order of work is guaranteed.  If the selected firm is unsuccessful in negotiating a contract or does not maintain the minimum stated requirements, KTRCOG, at its discretion, may select the next ranked firm for contract negotiation.

A Request for Qualifications package with detailed requirements and evaluation criteria is available HERE.  Questions related to this request should be directed to Michael Kelly, Regional Planning & Economic Development Director at mkelly@kerrtarcog.org.

Responses shall not exceed 20 pages in length and must be submitted in Word of PDF format.  Submit all proposals to Michael Kelly via email at info@kerrtarcog.org by Friday, April 8, 2022, 12:00 pm (EST).

US Department of Commerce Invests $761,040 to Support Infrastructure Improvements and Create Jobs in Henderson

WASHINGTON – On March 8, 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $761,040 grant to the county of Vance, North Carolina, to make critical infrastructure improvements needed to support business growth in the Henderson-Vance Industrial Park.

This project will promote job creation through roadway and sewer upgrades necessary for business expansion. This EDA grant, to be matched with $190,260 in state investment, is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $3.2 million in private investment.

“President Biden, the Commerce Department, and the entire administration are committed to building a better America, and these critical infrastructure investments are exactly what is needed to achieve that ambitious goal,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “These grants will have an enormous impact on the regional economy, generating good-paying jobs and over $3 million in private investment, and will serve as an important down-payment on the over $7 billion coming to further repair and enhance North Carolina’s roads and bridges thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in helping communities implement their plans to provide the vital infrastructure that businesses need to be successful,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support necessary infrastructure upgrades to serve Vance County industries and accommodate future growth.”

“We can build a stronger future for all by making smart investments in roads, water systems and other infrastructure,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Vance County is a great place to live, work and raise a family, and this grant will help make necessary improvements and create more jobs.”

“This infrastructure grant is a big win for Vance County and the continued growth of the Henderson-Vance Industrial Park,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I was proud to advocate for this award on their behalf, and I want to thank Vance County Commissioner Tommy Hester and Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments Executive Director Diane Cox for their partnership as we worked together to create more jobs in rural North Carolina.”

“I am very pleased with the Economic Development Administration’s decision to invest in Vance County. This grant award is well-deserved and will provide needed funding for infrastructure improvements that will support business and job growth at the Henderson-Vance Industrial Park,” said Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01). “These EDA funds will support infrastructure improvements and economic development that will be felt not only in Vance County, but within all five counties of the Kerr-Tar area.”

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

State Health Officials Update Mask Mandates

On February 17, 2022, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 metrics and trends. As North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics continue to move in the right direction and with vaccines widely available, Governor Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end their mask mandates.

“We are taking a positive step on mask requirements to help us move safely toward a more normal day to day life,” said Governor Cooper. “It’s time to focus on getting our children a good education and improving our schools, no matter how you feel about masks.”

As entities decide how to move forward, people and businesses should continue to make the best decisions for themselves, their employees and their customers. There are still some places, such as health care, long-term care and transportation like airplanes, where a mask will be required because of the setting or federal regulations.

As it has throughout the pandemic, North Carolina is adapting its response based on the data and for the current stage of the pandemic. Vaccines and boosters are widely available and have protected millions of people against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Treatment is available for those at higher risk of severe disease. And the state’s COVID-19 trends are decreasing, lowering the risk of infection, and improving hospital capacity.

“NCDHHS has always been committed to using the right tools at the right time to combat COVID-19 and chart a course for us all to get back to the people, experiences, and places we love,” said Secretary Kinsley. “At this time, the most effective tools are vaccines and boosters. Everyone five and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine and everyone 12 and older should get a booster as soon as they are eligible. It’s not too late to vaccinate.”

To date, North Carolina has administered over 15.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 71 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. About 75 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 96 percent of North Carolinians 65 and over. About 51 percent of eligible adults have received their booster shot.

North Carolinians can learn more about the state’s vaccine distribution at myspot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). Find a nearby vaccine provider using NCDHHS’ online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline number is 888-675-4567.

View a summary of the changes to the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit and the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit.