Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams installed as 1st Vice President of N.C. Association of County Commissioners

[September 13, 2019] — Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams was installed as 1st Vice President of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) during the association’s annual conference, held Aug. 22-24, 2019 in Guilford County. The other newly installed officers are President Kevin Austin of Yadkin County, President-elect Ronnie Smith of Martin County and Second Vice President Tracey Johnson of Washington County. Brenda Howerton of Durham County is Immediate Past President.  Williams served as 2nd Vice President for the past year and was unanimously elected 1st Vice President during the association’s business session on Saturday, Aug. 24. Former North Carolina Governor James G. Martin, who served as NCACC President in 1970-71, administered the oath of office to the newly installed officers.

“When it comes to government, counties are where the rubber meets the road,” said Williams. “County governments all across North Carolina provide important, basic services that impact citizens’ daily lives, including school construction, trash collection, courthouse construction and operation, funding our Sheriff’s Office and Register of Deeds office, building and maintaining water and sewer infrastructure, and managing local emergency response efforts, just to name a few. While every county is different, all North Carolina Counties face certain common challenges, and we must address those issues with a strong, united voice.”

“Actions taken by the state and federal governments impact county governments and county residents in many ways, and often bring unintended consequences,” Williams added. “It is critical that North Carolina’s counties speak with a strong voice on these issues, and I look forward to continuing to work with commissioners from all 100 counties to ensure that the NCACC remains that voice. With that said, Brunswick County is and remains my number one priority. I only have the opportunity to serve our association because I serve our great county.”

Williams is in his second term as a Brunswick County Commissioner and currently serves as the board’s chair. He also serves as chair of the Cape Fear Rural Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee and on the boards of the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WMPO) and Brunswick Business & Industry Development (Brunswick BID).  He previously chaired the NCACC General Government steering committee.

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. Founded in 1908, the Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of lobbying, fiscal and legal research, communications, intergovernmental relations, information technology, field visits and risk management services. For more information visit http://www.ncacc.org

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Thoughts on Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

Sept. 1, 2019 — Less than a year after Hurricane Florence inflicted its devastating wrath on Brunswick County, another major hurricane is staring us down: Dorian. As of this writing, Dorian is an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane — tied for the second-strongest wind speed in Atlantic basin history — and is barreling through the Bahamas. I’ve seen and heard comments along the lines of “I can’t go through this again,” and one person even referred to “post-Florence PTSD.” I think all of us who experienced the brunt of Florence have had those feelings. While we cannot control what the storm does next, we can learn the lessons of Florence and do our best to be prepared.

What Info Should You Share?
Please be judicious in what information you forward and post prior to, during and after the storm. I encourage you to only share or post information from known, credible, and ideally official sources. There are lots of official-looking pages on Facebook that are anything but official.

Focus on the Potential Impacts, Not Every Little Shift

Basing your preparations on every shift in the forecast path is like basing your financial plan on every gyration in the stock market: you might get lucky, but it’s not a wise strategy. The official forecast path has shifted east, and now slightly west, in the past 24 to 36 hours alone, and it will likely wobble again. The average four-day forecast error is 170 miles, and that increases to 200 miles at five days. The current forecast path has Brunswick County squarely within the cone, with the center of the storm skirting past us offshore. A slight last-minute jog either direction could make a tremendous difference in the level of impacts we feel, ranging from a direct hit to much ado about nothing. With that said, impacts extend well beyond the center and can extend outside the forecast cone.

Be Prepared, But Don’t Panic
There is still a great deal of uncertainty in terms of Dorian’s future impact on our area. Now is the time to prepare for a possible direct impact, even though we hope that will not happen.

Resources & Information:

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Hundreds Gather for NCACC’s 112th Annual Conference, Kevin Austin, Yadkin County Commissioner Sworn in as President

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. [August 28, 2019] – More than 350 county commissioners, county officials and staff, state leaders and others gathered in Guilford County August 22-24, 2019 for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ (NCACC) 112th Annual Conference.

Yadkin County Commissioner Kevin Austin ascended to the role of NCACC during the business Session of the conference. Commissioners elected Martin County Commissioner Ronnie Smith as President-Elect, Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams as First Vice President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson as Second Vice President. Durham County Commissioner Brenda Howerton will serve as Past President.

This year’s conference featured presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin. She discussed her five-decade career examining American presidents, and her latest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times. Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, U.S. Social Impact, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street joined Page Lemel, Transylvania County Commissioner and Jaime Laughter, Transylvania County Manager to discuss their new partnership to build resilient children through local collaboration. The initiative, known as “Get Set Transylvania,” was recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACo), earning the 2019 Achievement Award for Children and Youth Programs. 

NCACC also celebrated the 10th anniversary of YouthVoice, a program created by Mary Accor, a NCACC Past President and former Cleveland County Commissioner. Each year, NCACC teams up with 4-H Youth Development (a service of NC Cooperative Extension) and Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina to bring together youth delegates ages 14-19 and county officials to promote dialogue between current county leaders and the next generation of leaders. It also helps educate youth delegates on the county’s role in their community and the complex art of governing.

Incoming NCACC President, Kevin Austin announced his presidential initiative, which will focus on reducing the rate of disconnected youth by promoting experiential learning and helping students attain higher education or technical certification. The initiative envisions a partnership with myFuture NC, a statewide organization striving to enable 2 million North Carolinians to attain post-secondary degrees or certifications by the year 2030. President Austin plans to convene a county-led Task Force to identify and recommend specific ways counties can help meet this ambitious goal.

President Austin described his initiative. “I’d like to focus on building home grown talent by bridging education and workforce readiness. I want to promote viable employment pathways for students and help them access meaningful careers. My initiative will serve a dual purpose. It will help reduce the rate of disconnected youth while closing the skills gap. In addition, introducing students to local career opportunities can help influence their decision to stay local. This aspect is critically important for the roughly 80 counties in the state that are experiencing population stagnation or decline, including my home county, Yadkin County,” he said.

Several counties received awards from the Local Government Federal Credit Union for establishing innovative partnerships to improve services to citizens. 

NCACC also honored the following four individuals for their achievements in support of counties:

  • Mary Accor, NCACC Past President (2009-2010) and former Cleveland County Commissioner was honored with the NCACC Hall of Fame Award for undertaking a youth leadership development initiative during her year as president. Her initiative evolved into YouthVoice, which is now a key component of NCACC’s Annual Conference.
  • Katie “Kay” Cashion, Guilford County Commissioner was recognized with the Outstanding County Commissioner Award for her life-long dedication to addressing issues related to criminal and social justice and arts education and outreach, among many other important causes.
  • Dr. Mike Yoder, Associate Director and State Program Leader for 4-H, and Ms. Sarah Kotzian, Youth and Adult Citizenship Engagement Specialist for 4-H received the Friend of the Counties Award in recognition of their instrumental role in developing and launching NCACC’s YouthVoice program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

NCACC partnered with Guilford County on this year’s conference, which was themed “Connect Your County,” to showcase the pivotal role counties play in connecting community partners. The conference, which is the year’s premier event for counties, provides a forum to conduct official Association business and offers educational and networking opportunities for commissioners and county staff. The conference included various workshops on important county issues such as school funding, cybersecurity, Medicaid Transformation, human trafficking and more. The Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State also led discussions on ways to reconnect North Carolina by leveraging the strengths in rural and urban communities.

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.

VIDEO: Commissioner Frank Williams delivers keynote address at N.C. 4th of July Festival Naturalization Ceremony

JULY 3, 2019 — Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams was the keynote speaker at the N.C. 4th of July Festival Naturalization Ceremony on July 3, 2019 in Southport. During the ceremony approximately 74 people from 35 nations became United States citizens.

NCDOT: Overwhelming Public Participation Pushes Back Cape Fear Crossing Preferred Alternative Deadline

NCDOT Press Release [May 30, 2019] — The public hearings concerning the Cape Fear Crossing were such a success that the N.C. Department of Transportation is pushing back the deadline for choosing a preferred alternative route until late this year.

In late April NCDOT held two public hearings and meetings in Brunswick and New Hanover counties to accept comments on the six alternative locations being considered. The department received more than 3,000 comments through the May 16 public comment deadline.

Because of the amount of input, NCDOT has decided to move the date of when a preferred alternative is chosen until December. All six alternatives are still being considered.

An additional six months will allow NCDOT staff to review public comments, analyze more data, and examine each alternative more closely before selecting the preferred choice. Once that’s determined there will be additional public input opportunities to provide feedback as the design phase begins.

The Cape Fear Crossing is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road and high-level bridge over the Cape Fear River that would help improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements from U.S. 17 and Interstate 140 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.

Source: N.C. Department of Transportation

Response to Comments by Leland Town Council on EMS Transfer

[May 24, 2019] — In recent media accounts coverage of the tentative, pending transfer of EMS services in the Leland area from the Town of Leland / Leland Fire & Rescue to Brunswick County EMS, members of the Leland Town Council have said “I can’t believe they would do this,” “I’m not happy about this, but I don’t have an answer,” “We are the biggest town in the county and growing, and where is our respect” and “That’s weird.”

Today, District 5 Commissioner Frank Williams issued the following statement in response to these comments: “When someone asks the County for upwards of three quarters of a million of your tax dollars to help fund a service that the County also provides, we have to look at it to see if we can provide it more cost-effectively without any gaps in service. I have nothing but respect and praise for the Chief, staff and volunteers at Leland Fire/Rescue​, and this is in no way a negative reflection on them. The County’s action, while County-initiated, was a response to the Town’s request for $813,000.”

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Commissioner Frank Williams’ Comments on the Cape Fear Crossing

May 17, 2019 — In recent weeks I have received numerous comments from citizens expressing their opinions on the various alternatives for the future Cape Fear Crossing bridge. I have read and attempted to respond to every email on this subject (I apologize if I missed anyone). I also attended one of the public hearings and watched the video of the second. I understand the concerns stated by those who have emailed us. At the same time, I understand the complexities of the merger process.

Yesterday, I submitted my comments on this project to NCDOT in advance of the deadline. The text of my letter is below, and it can be viewed here as a PDF.

TEXT OF MY LETTER:

May 16, 2019

Attn: NCDOT / Cape Fear Crossing Merger Team

RE: Proposed Cape Fear Crossing

To Whom It May Concern:

I’m writing to share my perspective on the proposed routes for the future Cape Fear Crossing. I represent District 5, which includes Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek, on the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners. I also live in an adjacent neighborhood, and I drive through both Mallory Creek and Brunswick Forest nearly every day. Additionally, I represent Brunswick County on the Wilmington MPO Board. I am writing in my capacity as an individual commissioner, as the Board of Commissioners has not adopted any formal position on this issue.

Let me begin by thanking you for your hard work on a thankless project. Like you, I have received emails from numerous citizens in the areas potentially affected by this future project. One of the challenges of leadership is making difficult decisions that may be unpopular. At the same time, we must understand and demonstrate empathy for those who have contacted us to express their concerns.

Please allow me to share a few facts and principles which guide my thinking on the potential alternatives:

  • The selected route should meet the project’s stated purpose and need: to improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements from U.S. 17 and I-140 in Brunswick County across the Cape Fear River to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County. While the Port is an important part of this equation, it is not the only
  • Brunswick County is the fastest-growing County in North Carolina and one of the fastest in the United States. Much of this growth is centered in and around Leland and is pushing further south down U.S. 17. The selected route should help accommodate that growth while not driving a stake through the heart of it.
  • Because Brunswick County’s growth will likely continue in years to come, we should not kick the can down the road.
  • Because of the potential adverse impacts of ongoing uncertainty on property values and the real estate market, we should select a route as soon as is practically possible.
  • Because of the two previous bullets, I cannot support any changes that move the merger process back to concurrence point #1.
  • While impacts on residential properties are only one of a long list of factors considered in the merger process, the human impact should not be taken lightly. As has been stated in many of the emails we have received, many of the people in the potential paths are seniors who have invested their life savings in their homes. This is an important factor that should be given its due consideration.
  • While it would be ideal to select a route that has no impacts on homes, that is not realistic given the practical realities of the merger process, the myriad of agencies involved, and federal laws that impact the process. With that said, the route should impact as few homes as practically possible, and NCDOT should not seek to short-change citizens whose homes are required to be purchased during future right-of-way acquisition.
  • The recent completion of Interstate 140 opened a northern route in and out of Brunswick County and a direct connection from Wilmington to Navassa. The causeway connecting the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and Isabel Holmes bridges to Brunswick County provide a connector from U.S. 74/76 and the heart of Leland and Belville. A future southern route will meet the purpose and need by increasing connectivity between southern New Hanover County and the southern portions of the Leland and Winnabow areas.
  • If the proposed route is to improve traffic flow, it should NOT dump traffic back onto US 17 or US 74/76. Instead, it should effectively be a southern extension of Interstate 140.
  • A southern route will provide quicker access for emergency vehicles serving southern portions of Leland and surrounding areas to reach the trauma center at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
  • None of these alternatives is perfect, but some will more effectively meet the purpose and need while creating as few adverse impacts as possible than others.

Given these facts, I strongly encourage the merger team to immediately eliminate alternatives B, Q & T. Further, while I am not as strongly opposed to alternative V-AW as proposed through the merger process, it is my understanding that the Federal Highway Administration has already stated that they could not sign off on this alternative. Regarding the modified VA-W proposal, it is my understanding that the NCDOT is evaluating it to determine whether it will meet the project’s purpose and need and whether it will have adverse effects. Of the alternatives currently under consideration by the merger team, I encourage the merger team to adopt alternative MA or NA, as unanimously recommended by the WMPO Board in May 2017, and then make every possible effort during the next phase (Avoidance & Minimization) to reduce or eliminate impacts to residents in Stoney Creek, Snee Farm, Snowfield and surrounding areas. Specifically, every effort should be made to route the road around neighborhoods rather than bisect them. Finally, I encourage NCDOT to take steps to mitigate the impact of noise on homes near the selected route.

Thank you for your consideration, and thank you for your diligence.

Sincerely,

Frank Williams
Brunswick County Commissioner
District 5

Commissioner Williams attends White House Conference on Opportunity Zones

WASHINGTON, D.C. [April 22, 2019 ] — Brunswick County Board of Commissioners Chairman Frank Williams was one of two North Carolina County Commissioners who attended the White House Opportunity Zone Conference with State, local, tribal, and community leaders on Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2019. Williams, who serves as 2nd Vice President of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), joined NCACC 1st Vice President Ronnie Smith of Martin County in attending the conference.

“It was exciting to learn more about how opportunity zones incentivize private investors to invest in impoverished and under-served communities,” said Williams. “I look forward to further exploring how this program can be leveraged to benefit Brunswick County and other North Carolina counties.”

Martin County Commissioner Ronnie Smith & Brunswick County Commissioner Frank Williams

President Donald J. Trump delivered remarks at the conference, stating that the Opportunity Zones provision is “really a crucial part of our new tax law to help low-income Americans.”

According to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Opportunity Zones website, the Opportunity Zones Program (Sec. 13823) provides tax incentives for qualified investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into low-income communities throughout the state, and across the country. Low-income census tracks are areas where the poverty rate is 20% or greater and/or family income is less than 80% of the area’s median income. Investments made by qualified entities known as Opportunity Funds into certified Opportunity Zones will receive three key federal tax incentives to encourage investment in low-income communities, including temporary tax deferral for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund, step-up in basis for capital gains reinvested in an Opportunity Fund and permanent exclusion from taxable income of long-term capital gains.

According to a release from the White House, Opportunity Zones are a critical part of President Trump’s efforts to bring economic opportunity to communities that have been left behind. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a new Opportunity Zones incentive designed to bring investment to struggling communities across the country. Over 8,700 communities in all 50 states, D.C. and five U.S. territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones. State, local, tribal, and community leaders have championed Opportunity Zones and today’s conference sought to highlight and explore further opportunities to maximize investment and development.

President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at the Opportunity Zone Conference with state, local, tribal and community leaders in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

According to a release from the White House, the following individuals were scheduled to attend the conference:

The White House
President Donald J. Trump
Brooke Rollins, Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives
Larry Kudlow, Assistant to the President & Director, National Economic Council
Joe Grogan, Assistant to the President & Director, Domestic Policy Council
Kevin Hassett, Assistant to the President & Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers
Doug Hoelscher, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director, Office of Public Liaison
Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President, Office of American Innovation
Francis Brooke, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, National Economic Council
Ben Hobbs, Special Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Council
Rosemary Lahasky, Special Assistant to the President & Director of Domestic Issues, Office of Economic Initiatives & Entrepreneurship
James Redstone, Special Assistant to the President, Domestic Policy Council
William Crozer, Special Assistant to the President & Deputy Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Nic Pottebaum, Special Assistant to the President & Deputy Director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Scott Turner, Executive Director, White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council

Trump Administration
Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Department of the Treasury
Secretary Ben Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Michael Faulkender, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy, Department of the Treasury
Mark Cruz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Economic Development, Department of the Interior
Laura Peter, Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trade Office
Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Department of Education
Molly Conway, Deputy Chief of Staff and Acting Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, Department of Labor
Bette Brand, Administrator for Rural Business Service, Department of Agriculture
Bill Manger, Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access, Small Business Administration, Small Business Association
Dan Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary, Department of the Treasury
Michael Costigan, Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
McKenzie Snow, Special Assistant and Policy Advisor, Department of Education
Alfonso Costa, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Loren Smith, Senior Advisor, Office of the Undersecretary for Policy, Department of Transportation, Department of Transportation
Bill Manger, Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access, Small Business Administration, Small Business Association

State, Local, Tribal, & Community Leaders
Scott Andes, Program Director, City Innovation Ecosystems, National League of Cities
Joseph Baker, Mayor of Dacono, Colorado
Travis Blosser, Deputy Executive Director, West Virginia Municipal League
Timothy Blute, Director of National Governors Association Future, National Governors Association
David Bornn, Chief Counsel, Office of Governor Albert Bryan, U.S. Virgin Islands
David Bowman, Mayor of Montrose, Colorado
Ruby Brabo, Supervisor, King George County, Virginia
Bruce Bracker, Vice Chairman, Santa Cruz County, Arizona
Edward Brady, Deputy Secretary, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Sharon Carney, Economic Strategy Director, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development, Washington, D.C.
Taylor Caswell, Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs
Ginger Chinn, Managing Director of Urban & Rural Business Services, Office of Economic Development
Henry Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville, North Carolina
Jill Connors, Economic Development Director, Dubuque, Iowa
Tony Copeland, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, North Carolina
Daniel Corona, Mayor of West Wendover, Nevada
Daria Daniel, Associate Legislative Director for Community, Economic and Workforce Development, National Association of Counties
Samuel DeMarco, Councilman, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Marc DeMott, Commissioner, Colquitt County, Georgia
Beverly Donovan, Economic Development Director, Town of Derry, New Hampshire
Andrew Dorsett, Town Manager, Town of Littleton, New Hampshire
George Endicott, Mayor of Redmond, Oregon
Terrence Evans, Councilman, Gila River Indian Community
Rick Figueroa, Commissioner, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Texas
George Flaggs, Mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi
Jennifer Fletcher, Deputy Secretary, South Carolina Department of Commerce
Brian Foster, Alderman, Savannah, Georgia
Paul Freitas, Town Administrator, Plymouth, New Hampshire
Wesley Henderson, Executive Director, Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities
State Representative Joshua Higginbotham, West Virginia
Juanzena Johnson, Executive Director, National Black Caucus of State Legislators
Graham Knaus, Executive Director, California State Association of Counties
David Kooris, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development,
Jeff Kraft, Director, Business Funding & Incentives, Colorado Economic Development and International Trade
KV Kumar, National Chair & CEO, Indian American Chamber of Commerce
State Senator Daniel Laughlin, Pennsylvania
Tamika Ledbetter, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Robert Legare, Mayor of Aurora, Colorado
Joshua Levy, Mayor of Hollywood, Florida
Stephen Lewis, Governor, Gila River Indian Community
Forrest McDaniel, Commissioner, Rome, Georgia
Timothy McDonough, Mayor of Hope Township, New Jersey
Elijah McIntosh, Secretary of the Nation & Commerce, Muscogee Nation
Carlos Mendez, Mayor of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Melanie Mendiola, Administrator of Guam Economic Development Authority
Miles Menetrey, Supervisor, Mariposa County, California
Gregory Mengarelli, Mayor of Prescott, Arizona
Kunal Merchant, President, CalOZ
Daffney Moore, City Manager, East St. Louis, Illinois
Bonnie Moore, Director of Community Development, City of Shreveport, Louisiana
Cory Noonan, Commissioner, Allen County, Ohio
Timothy Nuvangyaoma, Chairman, Hopi Tribe
Malachi O’Brien, Pastor and Executive Team Member, One Cry
Jennifer Olson, Administrator of the Community Development Division, Montana Department of Commerce
James Parks, Supervisor, Coconino County, Arizona
Russell Paul, Mayor of Sandy Springs, Georgia
Ramiro Pena, Senior Pastor, Christ the King Baptist Church
Matt Peters, Assistant Director, Ohio Development Services Agency
Chad Peterson, Vice Chairman, Cass County, North Dakota
William Pikolycky, Mayor of Woodbine, New Jersey
Rurico Pintado, Mayor of Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Mike Preston, Executive Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Lamont Price, Director, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development
Stefan Pryor, Director, Rhode Island Department of Commerce
Cassidy Rasnick, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Virginia Department of Commerce and Trade
Fred Reeves, Mayor of Port Gibson, Mississippi
Keith Richel, Mayor of Silt, Colorado
Ramon Rivera, Mayor, Baymon, Puerto Rico
Nicole Ryf, Director of Business & Community Development, Texas Department of Economic Development & Tourism
Ben Seigel, Baltimore Opportunity Zones Coordinator, Baltimore Development Corporation
Adrian Servetnick, Deputy Director of Policy and Strategy, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Fuad Seweiss, Executive Director, Santa Ana Public Works
John Sikes, Chairman, Toombs County, Georgia
Sara Smallwood Cocke, Director of Public Policy, Choctaw Nation
Ronnie Smith, Vice President, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
Rex Steninger, Commissioner, Elko County, Nevada
Stan Summers, Commissioner, Box Elder County, Utah
Martin Thomas Jr., Vice Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia
Steven Tramell, Mayor of West Point, Georgia
Karen Weaver, Mayor of Flint, Michigan
Colin Wellenkamp, Executive Director, Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative
Paula White, Pastor, New Destiny Christian Church
Majority Leader Terry Wilbur, Oswego County Legislature, New York
Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City, Georgia
Frank Williams, Commissioner, Brunswick County, North Carolina

LINKS:

NCDOT Holding Open Houses, Public Hearings for Future Cape Fear Crossing

[April 22, 2019] — The N.C. Department of Transportation will hold two open houses and public hearings next week concerning a major project in eastern North Carolina.

The Cape Fear Crossing is an approximately 9.5-mile proposed road and high-level bridge over the Cape Fear River that would help improve traffic flow and enhance freight movements from U.S. 17 and Interstate 140 in Brunswick County to U.S. 421 near the Port of Wilmington in southern New Hanover County.

U.S. 17 serves as one of the primary entry points into Wilmington from the west, and the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization determined that an additional crossing is needed to alleviate congestion on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge (U.S. 76/U.S. 421/ U.S. 17 Business).

Maps displaying the location and design of the project are available on the project website or the NCDOT public meetings website.

The public is invited to the open houses and hearings at the following times and locations:

Monday, April 29
John T. Hoggard High School Cafeteria
4305 Shipyard Boulevard, Wilmington
Open House: 5 – 6:30 p.m., Hearing: 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 30
North Brunswick High School Gym
114 Scorpion Drive, Leland
Open House: 5 – 6:30 p.m., Hearing: 7 p.m.

NCDOT representatives will be available at the open houses to answer questions and receive comments regarding the proposed project. The opportunity to provide verbal comments and/or submit written comments and questions will be provided. The public may attend at any time during the above hours. Please note that the same information will be presented at both meetings.

The formal presentations will consist of an explanation of the location of the six detailed study alternatives, right of way and relocation requirements and procedures. The public will have the opportunity to comment. The presentation and comments will be recorded, and a written transcript will be prepared.

If you can’t attend the meeting, NCDOT will live-stream the public hearing on its Facebook page. Questions and comments entered into the Facebook post during the event will not be answered or be entered into the record.

Comments may also be submitted electronically using the project’s website or NCDOT’s online engagement portal. Comments may be submitted through May 16, 2019.

NCDOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has approved the Cape Fear Crossing Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS contains a summary of the purpose and need of the project and the impacts associated with the various route locations under consideration. With the DEIS now available to the public, the formal review period has begun. The open houses and hearings provide an opportunity for the public to make formal comments that will be included in the project record.  These comments will be considered in the selection of the Preferred Alternative for the project.

Copies of the DEIS and maps showing the six detailed study alternatives are available for review at the following locations, through May 16th:

  • NCDOT—Division 3 Office, 5501 Barbados Boulevard, Castle Hayne
  • Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Office, 305 Chestnut Street, Wilmington
  • Leland Town Hall, 102 Town Hall Drive, Leland

Copies of the DEIS are also available for review at the following locations, through May 16th:

  • State Library of North Carolina, 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh
  • New Hanover County Public Library, Main Campus, 201 Chestnut Street, Wilmington
  • Northeast Regional Library, 1241 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington
  • Leland Library, 487 Village Road NE, Leland
  • New Hanover County Public Library, Myrtle Grove, 5155 S. College Road, Wilmington
  • Brunswick County Library, 109 W Moore Street, Southport

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, will issue a public notice describing the ongoing process in choosing the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA) for the subject project, under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. That public notice is available online.

For the open house and public hearing events, NCDOT will provide auxiliary aids and services under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled persons who want to participate in these meetings. Anyone requiring special services should contact Robbins as early as possible so that arrangements can be made. Interpretive services will be provided at each meeting.

Those who speak Spanish and do not speak English, or have a limited ability to read, speak or understand English, may receive interpretive services upon request prior to the hearing by calling 1-800-481-6494.

Charters of Freedom & Foundation Forward: Meaningful Civic Education

Foundation Forward: Meaningful Civic Education – Final – 7 Minutes from Andrew on Vimeo.

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