A nonprofit that works with sexually abused children and another that helps low- and moderate-income people find affordable housing are two of the 13 groups expected to divide $38,000 in grant funding from the city of Elizabeth City.
City Councilors recommended both Kids First Inc. and River City Community Development Corp. each be awarded a $5,000 Community Support Grant at a work session on Monday.
The grants and the 11 others council recommended won’t be final, however, until after a public hearing is held on council’s recommendations at its next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
The 13 nonprofits asked for a total of $86,180 in Community Support Grant funding. But given the city had only $38,000 to spend, councilors recommended only two groups — Harbor of Hope and Mid-Atlantic Christian University — receive the full amount they requested.
If councilors follow through with their recommended allocation of Community Support Grant funding next month, Harbor of Hope and its SOULS Feeding Ministry will receive $3,500 and MACU will receive $1,500.
Harbor of Hope plans to use its grant making improvements to its location in the former Elizabeth City Middle School building. MACU plans to spend its grant on a study called Adverse Childhood Experiences it’s conducting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Several council members expressed support giving Harbor of Hope its full request. Early discussions during the work session Monday had the organization being recommended for a $2,000 grant.
“They feed a lot of people,” Councilor Gabriel Adkins said.
“They do need the money” Councilor Kem Spence added. ‘We can’t go wrong giving them money.”
One other group, Elizabeth City Habitat for Humanity, was the only nonprofit actually to be recommended to receive more grant money than it requested. Councilors agreed to allocate it $2,500 instead of the $2,000 it requested. Habitat plans to use its grant buying meals for volunteers and purchasing construction materials.
Neither Kids First or River City CDC were recommended for the full amounts they sought.
River City CDC asked for $12,000 to help low-to-moderate income residents purchase affordable housing. Kids First asked for $10,000 to support its mission of helping abused children. The two groups received $6,000 and $7,500 in Community Support Grants, respectively, in fiscal year 2018-2019.
The Boys and Girls Club of Elizabeth City and iEmpower were each recommended to receive grants of $4,000. The Boys & Girls Club plans to use its grant to help with utility payments. iEmpower, which made the largest request at $13,200, seeks to empower underserved students in the city through education, mentoring and leadership programs.
Other nonprofits recommended for Community Support Grants and the amounts include the Dream Hunt and Fish Foundation, $1,500; the Elizabeth City State University Foundation, $1,600; Encore Theatre Company, $1,600; the N.C. Blazers basketball team, $2,100; Arts of the Albemarle’s Rising Stars Academy, $2,500; Arts of the Albemarle’s Jazz Series, $1,600; and the YMCA swim safety program, $1,500.
Mayor Bettie J. Parker thanked councilors for their work in making the grant recommendations.
“I like the idea of everybody getting something,” Parker said.
The grant process began with applications in August and nonprofit representatives made their case before council’s Finance Committee earlier this month.
Betty Meggs, a former city councilor who helped lead efforts to get Elizabeth City named both a Coast Guard City and a Tree City U.S.A., died Saturday. She was 85.
Meggs served three two-year terms from 2005-11, representing the city’s 1st Ward.
Councilwoman Anita Hummer, who represents the city’s 2nd Ward and who served with Meggs, remembered her as “a pleasure to work with.”
“She saw something good in everybody,” Hummer said. “She was always cheerful.”
Meggs and Hummer worked closely together on beautification efforts and on the push to have Elizabeth City recognized as a Coast Guard City. Hummer said she was chairing the joint city-county Economic Development Commission when officials began the effort to have Elizabeth City declared a Coast Guard City.
A first push failed, Hummer recalled, but the second time around Meggs was tapped to chair the committee that was overseeing the Coast Guard City drive — and that second effort was successful.
When the Coast Guard named Elizabeth City a Coast Guard City, both Meggs and Hummer were recognized for their efforts, “and she was thrilled,” Hummer said of Meggs’ reaction.
Meggs was also thoughtful, baking cakes for council members when a family member died and doing similar kind gestures for many in the community, Hummer said.
“You could always count on her bringing something,” Hummer said.
Councilwoman Jeannie Young, who currently represents the First Ward on City Council, said she treasured her friendship with Meggs and worked closely with her in the community even though their service on city council did not overlap.
“I think we all should be honored that she served our city and she served it well,” Young said. “I was glad to be able to call her my friend.”
Young described Meggs as someone who made a room friendlier and more welcoming when she walked into it. Like Hummer, she also credited Meggs’ efforts for the city being named both a Coast Guard City and Tree City U.S.A.
“She was one of the people who helped the city grow to what it is today,” Young said.
Young remembered Meggs as someone who loved the city and loved to help people.
“Our city has lost not only an absolutely beautiful woman inside and out but we also lost a leader,” Young said. “She was one of the people who brightened up lives.”
Volanda Watts, who served one term on council representing the Fourth Ward from 2005-07, said she appreciated the information that Meggs shared with her about the history of the city and issues facing the city.
“She was certainly a good person for me to turn to for answering questions that I may have had and she was just full of knowledge as far as the city was concerned,” Watts said. “She was a wonderful person to work with.”
Watts also recalled Meggs providing leadership on beautification efforts for the city, including the planting of crape myrtle trees.
“Her idea for crape myrtle trees for the city was a great idea,” Watts said. “She will be long remembered as we ride by those beautiful trees in the spring.”
A native of Pitt County who grew up in New Bern, Meggs came to Elizabeth City as a young adult, working as a home extension agent and then as a home economics teacher in the Camden County Schools. She also served on the Elizabeth City State University Board of Trustees and was long active in the Democratic Party, including service as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
Meggs was the widow of Dr. David Phillip Meggs Sr. Her survivors include her son, David Phillip Meggs Jr.; daughter, Cathy Meggs Foreman; and two grandchildren. A memorial service for her will be held at First United Methodist Church Saturday at 1 p.m. Twiford Funeral Home, Elizabeth City, is in charge of arrangements.
For the second time in a week, Elizabeth City police are investigating a nighttime armed robbery at a local business.
Police said Wednesday they’re investigating the robbery of the Dollar General in the 900 block of Oak Stump Road Tuesday night.
Barbara Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Elizabeth City Police Department, said officers responded to the Dollar General about 9:32 p.m. There they were advised a man had entered the store, walked toward the counter while the clerk was counting money in the register, pointed a gun and demanded money.
The suspect then took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the store, she said.
Morgan described the suspect as about 5 feet, seven inches tall with a thin build. He was clad in a black sweatshirt with a hood, black pants and black shoes and was wearing gloves, she said.
The armed robbery of the Dollar General comes exactly a week after a similar robbery at the Family Fare gas station in the 1000 block of U.S. Highway 17 South.
In the Oct. 22 incident, police said a man wearing a mask entered the store shortly before 11:46 p.m., displayed a handgun and walked toward the counter where a clerk was counting money in a cash register.
After the clerk handed the man money, the man fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. A police incident report indicated $227 was taken during that robbery.
A spokesman for police described the suspect in the Fast Fare robbery as a light-skinned black male about 5 feet, 9 inches tall. Besides the mask, the man was wearing a black sweatshirt with a hood, black pants and gloves.
It is not clear if the two robberies are linked in any way. Citing the investigation, Morgan said police would not be releasing any more information about Tuesday’s robbery.
Police are asking anyone with information about the Dollar General and Family Fare robberies to call the police department at 335-4321 or Crime Line at 335-5555. All information received will remain anonymous and strictly confidential, police said.
Voters in Edenton, Hertford and Winfall have only two more days to cast an early ballot in their town’s Tuesday election.
Early voting for the towns’ municipal elections ends Friday at 5 p.m. As of Wednesday, 453 — more than a third — of Hertford’s 1,321 registered voters had cast ballots.
In Edenton, 429 of 3,058 registered voters — 13.9 percent — had voted. And 76 — about 19 percent — of Winfall’s 392 voters had voted.
Hertford and Winfall voters can still cast ballots today and Friday at the Perquimans Board of Elections office at 601 S. Edenton Road St., Hertford. Voters in Edenton can cast early ballots at the Chowan Board of Elections office at 730 N Granville St., #D, Edenton.
Voters in all three towns are electing mayors and members of town council for four-year terms.
Each town’s mayoral election is contested. In Edenton, three candidates are vying for mayor. Local businesswoman Jacqueline Hardy-Lassiter and two current members of Town Council, Jimmy Stallings and Steve Biggs, are running to succeed Mayor Roland Vaughan, who chose not to seek re-election.
In Hertford, Quentin Jackson, an incumbent town councilor in the middle of a four-year term, is facing first-time candidate Earnell Brown for the right to succeed Mayor Horace Reid, who also chose not to seek re-election.
Only in Winfall is the incumbent mayor on the ballot. Longtime Mayor Fred Yates is facing a challenge from Preston White, a town councilor who’s giving up his seat to run for mayor.
Conversely, only Edenton and Hertford have contested races for council.
In Edenton, 2nd Ward Councilor Sambo Dixon’s bid for re-election is being challenged by Tray Taylor.
Roger Coleman, a first-time candidate who had been running unopposed for the at-large council seat now held by Biggs, now has a challenger. Earl Willis Jr. of West Church Street said Monday he’s running as a write-in candidate for the at-large seat, but doesn’t plan to actively campaign.
“Folks told me that they regret not having another option on the ballot, so they wrote in my name. That’s flattering,” Willis said. “My candidacy and people writing in my name — it’s been sort of an organic thing. I’m not expecting victory by any shake, but would serve if elected.”
Hackney High, a local attorney and first-time candidate, is running unopposed for the 1st Ward council seat currently held by Stallings.
In Hertford, four candidates — incumbent Gracie Felton and first-time candidates Jerry Mimlitsch, Ashley Hodges and Orlean Jones — are seeking two council seats. Felton was appointed earlier this year to replace, Archie Aples, who stepped down. The other seat is currently occupied by Sid Eley, who chose not to seek re-election.
In Winfall, Carol Cooper and Virginia Powell are seeking the two open council seats.
Thus far, the Hertford election has been the only one of the three to generate any controversy.
Law enforcement officials were called three times last week to respond to disputes over where a candidate’s supporters can stand outside the Perquimans Board of Elections when campaigning for votes. Early voting is done at the board of elections office.
The Perquimans Board of Elections is also investigating whether some county residents who don’t live in Hertford were told to register as town residents and given a street address to use, Elections Director Holly Hunter said.
Jackson also has filed a complaint with the Hertford Police Department, alleging 73 of his 110 campaign signs have been stolen.
One of the signs, Jackson said, was stolen from his mother’s front yard. Jackson said three cameras at his mother’s house recorded the thefts. Other cameras have also recorded the thefts, he said.
“There was a white guy on a bike and someone in pickup truck,” Jackson said, referring to the alleged sign thieves.
Police Chief Dennis Brown said Monday he has posted on Facebook video from a Hertford Housing Authority camera that shows someone riding what appears to be a bike on King Street. Brown said if the person is caught they could be charged with misdemeanor larceny for each sign that was taken. Brown encouraged any candidate who’s had signs stolen to contact police.
Jackson said he estimates the stolen signs have cost him $400. He still expects to spend less that $1,000 on his campaign, the threshold for filing a campaign finance report detailing donors and expenses with the N.C. Board of Election.
Brown, who is running against Jackson, said she hasn’t seen a large number of signs for either her or Jackson missing. She said she did talk with residents of one development who wanted a sign but were told by their landlord they couldn’t. She said she put out about 90 signs.
Miles Layton of the Chowan Herald and Peter Williams of the Perquimans Weekly contributed to this story.