04NC Health and Human Services copyForging the future of local human services agencies

Cumberland County Commissioners have set May 21 as the date they will decide on the future structure of the departments of social services and public health.

The board has been thinking about changing the way the agencies are governed. A revision in state law encourages counties to do that. According to Assistant County Manager Duane Holder, 33 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have made changes.

At present, Cumberland County’s social services and health departments are governed by individual boards appointed by commissioners. Changes in the law allow the county to consolidate the agencies. Or commissioners can take on governance of both departments themselves. Or they can leave things as they are.

“The health care environment is changing globally and could influence the way we go,” said Commissioner Marshall Faircloth.

Cumberland County has a poor health care reputation in national surveys, noted Commissioner Jimmy Keefe. “We cannot lock ourselves in a box,” he said. “We need an all-encompassing approach,” he added.

The Cape Fear River and clean water

Cape Fear River Assembly’s 45th annual educational conference is set for Wednesday, May 23, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The conference will be held at the UNCW Center for Marine Science in Wilmington.

This year’s theme, “Working Together to Protect the Cape Fear River,” is timely given the growing concerns about the risks of unregulated compounds such as GenX and others.

There will be speakers and panelists from various sectors, including government, business, academia and citizen groups. The panel of experts will discuss the effects of current and emerging unregulated contaminants.

Since 1973, the CFRA has uniquely represented and strived to maintain and improve the quality of life in the Cape Fear River Basin. Many groups and individuals, often with divergent view points, are brought together to find solutions to water quality and quantity problems impacting the entire river basin. The CRFA has been a voice for the Cape Fear River and encourages smart management of theriver, its tributaries and adjacent land. The entireCape Fear River basin is the largest and most developedregion of North Carolina.

Registration is $30 per person. Each registration includes a one-year individual membership in CFRA as well as lunch and refreshments. For more information and to register, go to: http://cfra-nc.org/annual-meeting/2018-2

Employment opportunities in downtown Fayetteville

A significant economic residual growing out of the baseball stadium project on Hay Street is the extent to which the general contractor is recruiting minority workers. Barton Malow Co. held a workforce development information session this month at the headquarters library. One objective is strengthening diversified workplace employment of minority and military veteran-owned businesses.

“Barton Malow is committed to investing in the community in which we build, so that the impact of our projects goes beyond the brick and mortar,” said senior project manager Roslyn Henderson.

Barton Malow construction crews are on the job to ensure successful completion of the $38 million minor league stadium by next spring’s opening day.

“We are committed to increasing the presence, skill level and inclusion of small local businesses in this project,” Henderson added. Consultants have connected with over 130 companies and helped to walk them through the pre-qualification process. Small contractors can do the work, but the paperwork often discourages them from applying. As construction continues, additional opportunities become available for businesses to get involved.

School bus strobes lights

Yellow and black school buses are some of the most noticeable vehicles on the road. Officials say that in certain conditions such as inclement weather and low light, added conspicuousness helps other motorists see the buses in time to avoid collisions.

The roof-mounted strobe lights are positioned on the longitudinal centerline of the roof, usually close to the rear. Their lenses are typically clear or white. Regulations on roof-mounted strobes vary by state. The Cumberland County School System is the fifth largest in North Carolina and has about 450 buses on the road every weekday during the traditional school year.

Toys R Us gets bonus life

Toys R Us announced March 15 that it will liquidate operations. There is no publicly confirmed date for when the store will close permanently.

According to a company press release, on April 11, Toys R Us announced it “received $80 million in incremental debtor-in-possession financing to augment liquidity as well as support the working capital needs of the company’s operations in Asia and Central Europe” in the form of a commitment from its Taj Noteholders.

Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “This additional financing further positions our Asian and Central European operations for continued success. We appreciate the ongoing financial support and look forward to continued positive relationships with our vendors.”

In Canada, Toys R Us has been saved by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd, a Toronto investment firm led by billionaire Prem Watsa. They were able to secure the 82-store Canadian operation for $237 million. Another billionaire and toy mogul, Isaac Larian, is seeking to buy the 735-store U.S. operation. His initial bid was declined, and his GoFundMe campaign to raise $1 billion was unsuccessful. But other media outlets report that Larian has said, “We have the financing we need. It’s now a matter of determining how much more we’re able to bid.”

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