Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

Lee County’s annual United Way campaign to kick off Thursday

The United Way of Lee County announced today it will kick off its annual campaign season from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Depot Park in downtown Sanford. The event will be just before the summer’s last “Function at the Junction” concert

The campaign’s theme is “Back to Basics,” and the kick-off event begins at a Business After Hours gathering organized by the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce. The two-hour social also marks the beginning of “Giving Change That Makes Cents,” a combined effort by the United Way and Downtown Sanford Inc. to curb panhandling downtown and provide homeless people help.

This year’s campaign focuses on providing “basic” services like food, shelter and medical care, said United Way Executive Director Jan Hayes in a press release.

“Obviously, many families have been hurt by the economy,” Hayes said. “Not everyone, by any means, but you can read about all of the lost jobs, and you can imagine how devastating it can be when you’re struggling to get by and then lose a good share of your family income.”

The popular “Automobile Give-Away” also returns this year. Anyone contributing the equivalent of one hour’s pay per month — or making an annual donation of $500 or more — may enter a drawing to win a new car. About 70 finalists in last year’s event received a prize donated by area businesses, with Ed Angel driving off with the grand prize.

Local band RN5P will take the stage in Depot Park for this season’s “Function at the Junction” finale after the campaign event. RN5P, spearheaded by band member David Spivey, is known for its renditions of beach music and classic rock.

August 24, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Chatham school board calls special meeting

The Chatham County Board of Education will hold a special called meeting at 2 p.m. Monday via telephone conference call. Board members will consider a resolution approving a grant application so the district can apply for more federal stimulus funds that would go toward capital projects.

School board representatives previously approved in July an application for no-interest school construction bonds. Superintendent Robert Logan said that money (about $1.6 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds) would go toward bathroom improvements at various schools across the district.

The conference call will be based in the superintendent’s office at the central office in Pittsboro.

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Education | , | Leave a comment

Song of the week

We’ll take a different pace for the song of the week from the last edition. This is an upbeat number called “Down”  from Jay Sean, featuring Lil Wayne. Definitely a dance number.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Sanford, Social media | , | Leave a comment

Lee County Schools posts bus routes

Lee County Schools has posted bus routes for the 2009-10 school year, which begins Tuesday. The district also has a list of bus safety tips.

View the bus routes here.

Also, here are some tips from the school district:

  • Look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Obey the bus driver.
  • Once seated, remain quietly in your seat.
  • Do not eat or drink on the bus.
  • Keep your arms, legs, and head inside the bus.
  • Do not throw things out of the window.

August 20, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

Love’s end-of-session Raleigh Report

I received the end-of-session Raleigh Report from Rep. Jimmy Love Sr’s (D-Lee) office. In it he takes some time to go over some highlights of the session and some of the final issues legislators dealt with for the summer session. (See the last post about the Raleigh Report for budget information).

Here are Love’s thoughts in his own words:

The 2009 session of the General Assembly has adjourned, but not before we finished up work on a number of important matters. Since passing our budget, we have concluded work to strengthen criminal laws, reform the state’s coastal insurance plan, improve transportation and clear the way for more efficient use of energy.

As I have shared a number of times, this has been a difficult session. The global economic crisis reached North Carolina this year and hurt our workers and businesses. The work by those of us in the General Assembly was in large part a response to this crisis, and I am happy to have supported a number of measures that create and protect jobs, help people protect their homes and ease the burdens on small business owners.

I will share more detailed information about the work of this session in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, thank you for your interest in state government and please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Here are some of the highlights Love mentions:

  • Sex offenders would be prevented from driving a bus with children under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly (HB 1117). The bill has now been presented to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
  • Taking indecent liberties with a student would be added to the list of sex offenses that require registration under the sex offender and public protection registration program under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly (HB 209). The bill has now been presented to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
  • Smoking would be prohibited on the premises of correctional institutions under a bill that has been ratified by the General Assembly (SB 167). The legislation would also prohibit the possession of tobacco products or cell phones outside of a locked vehicle on the premises of correctional institutions and make it a criminal offense to provide tobacco products or cell phones to inmates. The bill has now been presented to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.
  • State lawmakers have ratified legislation that improves the state’s Coastal Property Insurance Pool, presently known as the Beach Plan (HB 1305). Among other things, the bill would decrease the maximum coverage limit per home from $1.5 million to $750,000 and caps the amount of money that private insurance companies who participate in the plan are liable for at $1 billion. Homeowners outside of the 18 coastal counties that participate in plan could be asked to pay up to 10 percent more a year only if storm damage in a season exceeded $2.4 billion. The most the plan has ever paid out in claims in a previous year is $150 million. The bill has now been presented to Gov. Perdue to be signed into law.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

Commissioners meet tonight

Tonight’s August meeting of the Lee County Board of Commissioners (6 p.m. at Lee County Government Center on Hillcrest Drive) has a shorter agenda than recent meetings, but there are a few items of interest that officials are slated to discuss.

  • County Manager John Crumpton will give a report to commissioners about the financial impact of issue no-interest construction bonds and how much debt the county can handle (see my Sunday story in The Herald for more details on that.)
  • Commissioners also will consider adopting a resolution that states if November’s quarter-cent sales tax referendum passes, the money generated would be used solely for Lee County Schools and Central Carolina Community College construction needs.
  • Lee County Health Director Howard Surface will talk about preparations for swine flu vaccinations.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Song of the week

The latest song, “Hurry Home,” from N.C. native Jason Michael Carroll makes our song of the week. It fits perfectly into his sappy, story-telling songs that I love, focusing on a father/daughter relationship. Enjoy!

August 14, 2009 Posted by | Sanford, Social media | , | Leave a comment

Delving into Lee County Schools’ ABCs

Here is a further breakdown of Lee County Schools’ ABC statewide testing performance. Assistant Superintendent Andy Bryan presented the results this week to the Lee County Board of Education.

READING:     3rd grade         4th grade       5th grade         6th grade
2008
57.5%                  58.2%               54.6%                      59.2%              
2009
66.7%                 68.8%               65.7%                       71.5%

MATH:
2008
79.1%                  78.2%               75.1%                       67.8%             
2009
88.3%                 84.4%               81.8%                      81.5%

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

A look at Lee County school board expenses

Below is a copy of the Lee County Board of Education’s expenses by individual school member for 2008-09. (Use the plus button to zoom in.)

View this document on Scribd

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

Get paid to go to church

The church I attend in Sanford, Brickcity Community Church, is offering $50 gift cards to Walmart for the first 50 new families who attend service. The main requirement is that you are visiting for the first time. The offer starts this Sunday, Aug. 16th.

The next five weeks will feature messages with the theme “face the music: finding God in your iPod.” Next week will be about “If Today was Your Last Day” (current Nickelback hit).

The church is located at 1408 Burns Drive (near the Coke plant on Hawkins), and service times are 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Sanford | , , | 1 Comment