Grant funds come to Beaufort County schools

Published 3:11 am Wednesday, January 30, 2013

HOME GROWN: Local produce like these tomatoes from the greenhouses of Petals & Produce may supply local school lunchrooms thanks to a USDA grant awarded to Beaufort County Schools. The program also would give students opportunities to learn from farmers.


Washington Daily News

Local produce may end up in Beaufort County school cafeterias thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture.
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service awarded a Farm to School Implementation Grant in the amount of $98,526 to Beaufort County. This grant will assist Beaufort County Schools in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods, according to Beaufort County Schools.
“It is very exciting to know our system can be a part of a project that will benefit not only our students,” explained Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools, “but our community as well. This grant is just the beginning of many great things to come.”
According to officials, hundreds of applicants across the country competed for a limited amount of funding. The overwhelming interest in this inaugural round of USDA Farm to School grants excited them, but also made the selection process extremely difficult. The award notification stated, “Your (Beaufort County Schools Child Nutrition Department) application stood out among so many others because it demonstrated your strong experience and readiness to implement farm to school initiatives; showed that you are thinking critically about opportunities and challenges; outlined goals that are closely aligned with ours; proposed a reasonable scope and budget; and gave us confidence that your farm to school program will be implemented with or without continued Federal support.”
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers. The program covers everything from produce to meat and dairy.
“When schools buy food from nearby producers, their purchasing power helps create local jobs and economic benefits, particularly in rural agricultural communities,” Merrigan said in press release. “Evidence also suggests that when kids understand more about where food comes from and how it is produced, they are more likely to make healthy eating choices.”
The grants will serve more than 3,200 schools and 1.75 million students, nearly half of whom live in rural communities like Beaufort County.
Schools have some flexibility with how the funds are used.


Washington Daily News

The City of Washington’s attorney presented a motion in Beaufort County Superior Court on Monday seeking dismissal of a civil lawsuit field against the city and former and current city officials last year by Jimmy Davis, a former Washington fire chief.
Davis’ lawsuit centers on his termination as a city employee in June 2009. Davis is represented by Brian Jones with the law firm of Hassell, Singleton, Mason & Jones P.A. Phone messages left for Jones on Tuesday were not returned by deadline for today’s edition.
As part of a hearing Monday, Superior Court Judge Rusty Duke took the motion to dismiss under advisement. The city’s attorney also filed a motion to strike a specific part of Davis’ lawsuit, with that motion contending it did not belong in the lawsuit.
No ruling on the motion to dismiss, filed by Ann Smith, the attorney representing the city and the other defendants, had been made as of Tuesday. The motion asks that all 14 complaints in Davis’ lawsuit be dismissed under Rule 12b6 of North Carolina’s civil procedures. Basically, that rule means that even if it’s assumed all allegations are true, the claim should be dismissed because the complaint itself cannot be maintained or fails to properly allege a claim.
“We’re basically saying, ‘Look, Your Honor, if you read through this complaint and look at everything he’s complaining about. There’s nothing here,’” Smith said Tuesday.
Jones and Smith each filed briefs regarding the dismissal motion.
A hearing on the motion to strike has been tentatively set for 11 a.m. Thursday.
In his lawsuit, filed in Beaufort County Superior Court, Davis listed 14 claims for relief, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy, sought a judgment in excess of $10,000, punitive damages and reinstatement with all back pay, raises and “other incidents of employment he would have been entitled to but for the Defendants’ unlawful actions” among others. Davis sought a trial by jury.
In addition to the city, Davis also sued former City Manager James C. Smith, Mayor Archie Jennings and City Attorney Franz Holscher, each individually and in his official capacity.
City Council members and the mayor discussed the case in closed session Monday night, but took no action related to it or talked about it after the closed session ended. Court records show Smith as the attorney of record for the city Smith, Jennings and Holscher.
Since it was filed, the city and city officials have declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The complaint is rife with claims and counter-claims between Davis and the defendants. Davis contends the defendants conspired to deprive him of his employment with the city, deprive him of a meaningful grievance hearing and make false allegations against him.
In November 2010, Davis filed a petition with the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, seeking to appeal the city’s dismissal of his grievance. Davis contends the city had no just cause to fire him.
Davis, in a May 2010 interview, said he’s entitled to a hearing before an OAH official because he served as the city’s emergency-management coordinator in his final years with the city. Emails seeking the status of the petition were not returned by NCOAH by Tuesday evening.


The historic doors of Tryon Palace in New Bern will open to the public on “Free Day,” which is Saturday.
Built in 1770, North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol, home of the first sessions of the state’s General Assembly and to state governors until 1794, the historic site annually holds a day in which all are welcome — there’s no cover charge for most events. This year’s theme-based event, “Fresh from the Past: Food and Culture in
Eastern North Carolina,” offers a full menu of family activities, tours and events around the site.
“The whole reason we have ‘Free Day,’ is so everyone can enjoy Tryon Palace,” said Craig Ramey, Tryon Palace marketing and communications manager. “It’s a way for us to open up the doors to people in the immediate area and say ‘thanks for coming all year.’ … It’s a way to make it more accessible to the people in eastern North Carolina.”
Ramey said on ‘Free Day,” most Tryon Palace happenings are free, but not all.
On the free list are: admission into the first floor of the palace and numerous events and activities like guided tours, the art of tea presentations, craft demonstrations, take-home crafts, period cooking, a colonial militia encampment and a statewide scavenger hunt. Many events revolve around this year’s theme: tours to the Governor’s Kitchen Office, samples of colonial foods and demonstrations as to what and how the local militia cooked over the camp fire.
Discounted passes to the site galleries — Pepsi Family Center, Regional History Museum and Duffy Gallery — will be available.
Last year, the site had 2,500 visitors on “Free Day” and has a goal of 3,000 set for Saturday Ramey said most come from the immediate area, but the event does draw quite a few visitors from surrounding counties and from as far away as Raleigh.
“Our hope is that anyone planning on coming to ‘Free Day’ will tell their friends and bring the entire family along. Everywhere you turn there will be a different experience to enjoy and to make cherished memories,” said Brandon Anderson, director of education for Tryon Palace.
A printable map with a full list of the day’s activities is available at For more information, call 252-639-3500 or toll free at 1-800-767-1560.