Erin Zureick

Education, politics and observations from Sanford

Lee and Chatham Girl Scouts recruiting new members

The Lee and Chatham county Girl Scouts troops will be recruiting new members with events planned for this month.

Chatham’s event is planned for Sept. 12 from noon to 5 p.m. at Shakori Hills. Girls and their parents are invited to come make a recycle-themed craft and sign up to join a local Girl Scout troop.  The activity is free for the general public. You can visit here for more information.

Girls and adults in Lee County can stop by the main branch of Lee County Library on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Jenny Barrow, membership coordinator for the counties, at jbarrow@nccoastalpines.org.

September 4, 2009 Posted by | Education | , , | Leave a comment

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

Home schooling remains steady in Lee County

The number of families home schooling their children remained fairly flat in Lee County during 2008-09, according to a report compiled by Division of Non-Public Education.

During the year, 207 families reported having home schools compared to 208 families the previous year. Total enrollment decreased to 378 students from 422 students (a more than 11 percent decrease).

Overall in North Carolina, home school numbers were up from 38,367 to 41,042 (about a 7 percent increase). More than 65 percent of those were religiously affiliated.

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

4-H treats commissioners to ice cream

Elissa Neal greets Lee County Commissioner Chairman Richard Hayes at the 4-H Centennial Reception before presenting the Centennial Proclamation at the meeting.

Elissa Neal greets Lee County Commissioner Chairman Richard Hayes at the 4-H Centennial Reception before presenting the Centennial Proclamation at the meeting.

Members of the Lee County Board of Commissioners and residents attending their Monday meeting got a tasty treat when the Lee County 4-H Club served ice cream beforehand  to commemorate the group’s 100th anniversary.

The ice cream was a “campfire” flavor with graham cracker ice cream mixed with marshmellow topping and chocolate chunks — meant to resemble s S’more made around campfires.

A 4-H member also read the proclamation out loud to commissioners during the meeting.

4-H members serve ice cream before the commissioners meeting.

4-H members serve ice cream before the commissioners meeting.

July 23, 2009 Posted by | Education, politics, Sanford | , | Leave a comment

Some community garden photos

Just wanted to pass along some more photos that the Lee County Cooperative Extension shared for our story about the community garden last week. The community garden will be downtown at the Sanford Farmer’s Market selling their produce July 25.

Nathan and Alex Segala investigate their squash plants.

Nathan and Alex Segala investigate their squash plants.

Al Garcia and Izzy Perez share gardening tips

Al Garcia and Izzy Perez share gardening tips

The Britt family examines its garden plot

The Britt family examines its garden plot

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Track swine flu by county online

Similar to the Centers for Disease Control, the state of North Carolina is updating a Web site weekly (by 3:30 p.m. each Wednesday) with new cases of H1N1 flu, commonly referred to as swine flu.

So far, Lee County has five cases (an additional one was added after the state’s last update). The first illness was reported in a Deep River Elementary School student.

Read tomorrow’s Herald for an update on efforts by the Lee County Health Department to prepare for possible vaccination efforts in the fall.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Lee County commissioners have packed agenda

The Lee County Board of Commissioners has a packed agenda for its 6 p.m. Monday meeting. The meeting also will be preceded by a budget workshop at 4 p.m. at the Lee County Government Center.

Here are some highlights:

  • A public hearing will be held to discuss the fire district tax rates. Several of the districts have proposed slight tax rate increases. West Sanford has proposed raising its tax rate to the maximum approved by voters (15 cents per $100 of valuation) because of a declining property tax base and lower collection rate. Commissioners will discuss adopting proposed rates later during the regular meeting.
  • A public hearing will be held to discuss proposed incentives for Score Energy, located on Tramway Road. The business is looking to expand its facilities on the site.
  • The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and 2009-10 budget ordinance also is on the agenda. The proposed budget this year is a 10 percent reduction from the previous year because of declining revenues (largely based on sales tax income falling).
  • The board also will consider numerous appointments to various boards (such as Parks and Recreation Commission, CCCC Board of Trustees, Board of Health, etc). Check back tomorrow for a fuller post outlining whose up for these positions.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , | Leave a comment

Commissioner roundup

I’m back from Ohio and didn’t have a chance to do my normal roundup from the Lee County Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. My two stories in Tuesday’s paper talked about a potential new homeless shelter for Bread of Life Ministries and possible tax rate increases for some fire districts.

Several people spoke out during a public hearing at the meeting about the proposed 2009-10 fiscal year budget, which would shave 10 percent from this year’s budget.

Comments included:

  • Mike Gaster and David Dycus from the Lee Soil and Water board spoke out about the possible loss of one job from the two-person department. The eliminated position would be a secretarial job and some of those duties would be shifted to a secretary at the extension office. “It would be very crippling in the budget that one of those two positions would be eliminated,” Gaster said.
  • Russ Noel commented that the current budget at 122 pages is too long for the average citizen to read and comprehend. He said he would prefer if commissioners also issued a shorter statement that was structured like a balance sheet.
  • Susan Laudate, chairwoman of the Lee County Library board, expressed concern about proposed cuts because they might mean the library loses even more money from the state through its maintenance and effort funds. She said tough economic times mean more people than ever are using the libraries. “We’re just bursting at the seams,” she said.
  • Kay Ring, executive director of HAVEN in Lee County, said the state might slash 15 to 18 percent of funds next year. Lee County’s budget calls for a 4 percent cut. HAVEN works with victims of abuse and domestic violence.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Lee County Schools going more high tech

Lee County Schools is continuing to improve the way it communicates on its Web site.

Superintendent Jeff Moss has started doing a podcast on budget updates as that process continues throughout the spring and summer. (Download it here under Governor issues executive order — the latest podcast talks about employee furloughs mandated by Gov. Bev Perdue).

The latest agenda packets for the Lee County Board of Education also are now available on the Web site (see the agenda and individual items for Tuesday’s meeting here). The effort is part of a pledge by Moss to continue to make more information to the public easily accessible.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Education, Sanford | , , , | Leave a comment

Full county budget recommendations online

County Manager John Crumpton’s proposed 2009-10 fiscal year budget is posted online now. The budget cuts about $6.6 million — or 10 percent — from last year’s budget. The next fiscal year starts July 1.

A public hearing will be held 6 p.m. May 18 during the Board of Commissioner’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Check back for more updates as I break down the spending recommendations in the budget throughout the week.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | politics, Sanford | , | Leave a comment