Civil rights leader dies
An African-American physician who helped bring peaceful integration to Pitt County Memorial Hospital and East Carolina University has died, the Daily Reflector of Greenville reported Dec. 9.
Kinston native Dr. Andrew A. Best, 89, worked alongside a white physician, Dr. Malene Irons, to integrate the infant nursery at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in the early 1960s.
The efforts are recognized in the annual Best-Irons Humanitarian Award, presented each year in Greenville.
No plans for King statue
After two years of discussion, public dissatisfaction and more than $70,000 spent, Rocky Mount has abandoned plans to erect a statue honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, the Associated Press reported Nov. 29.
The $45,000 remaining to fund the statue will instead go toward winter heating assistance and other local needs.
A memorial park with King’s sculpture was proposed several years ago to commemorate his address in Rocky Mount on Nov. 27, 1962.
Fayetteville hospital expanding
A $135 million expansion of the Cape Fear Valley Health System will bring new heart and vascular services, reduce crowding in the emergency department and bring about 200 jobs to the area, the Fayetteville Observer reported Dec. 8.
The expansion would include a six-story tower, parking deck and medical offices.
Mental health may consolidate
Mental health services in Cumberland County will likely see changes in the months ahead because of state mandates, the Fayetteville Observer reported Dec. 3.
The county will likely see its mental health services combined with nearby counties including New Hanover and Robeson.
State plans called for North Carolina’s 32 mental health agencies to join in 10 regional offices, but when counties protested that proposal, it was changed to allow counties to develop their own regional alliances.
Agencies address job layoffs
Several Edenton groups are joining to help about 450 people who have lost their jobs or face unemployment in the weeks ahead, the Elizabeth City Daily Advance reported Dec. 9.
Members of groups are expected to help support the newly unemployed starting in February with job fairs and job-hunting seminars.
Elizabeth City may lose shelter
The Tabernacle of Faith Church Outreach Center, the sole homeless shelter in Elizabeth City, may have to shut its doors to the women and children who rely on it, the Daily Advance reported Dec. 2.
The shelter has been unable to pay its bills for utilities and phone service because of reduced donations that have affected the church.
Wayne donations slow
Wayne County Salvation Army donations are running low, the Goldsboro News-Argus reported Dec. 6.
The organization hopes to raise $70,000 through its “kettle campaign.” So far donations are about $12,000.
The group, which raised more than $80,000 last year, says the world‘s natural disasters likely have affected its donations.
Grant to help business center
The Upper Coastal Plain Development Corporation has received a $60,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to help it create a business incubator, the Wilson Daily Times reported Dec. 3.
The grant will help support a business development center, planned for the Leder-Belk Building in downtown Wilson. Wilson was chosen as the location for the center in May.
The center has received a $200,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, and the city has received $355,000 from the state Department of Commerce in July.
Total renovation costs are estimated to be $1,110,000 and operating costs are estimated at $946,000 for a three-year period.
Land mistakenly clear-cut
The entrance to a Civil War battlefield purchased by the New Bern Historical Society will be replanted after a developer mistakenly clear-cut the more than 2-1/2 acre field.
The society purchased the land in 2003 to create an entrance to Battleground Park. A developer cleared the area of trees while preparing to build townhouses on an adjacent lot.
— Compiled by Marion Blackburn