Ellmers declares ObamaCare a “War on Women”

Eastern North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) used her appearance presenting the Weekly GOP Address this Saturday to up the ante of criticism of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.

Congresswoman Ellmers, whose opposition to “ObamaCare” facilitated her victory in 2010 over previous incumbent Bob Etheridge, spoke directly on the impact of the legislation on existing health insurance for North Carolina residents, including women.

Like many of you, I’m frustrated with the president’s health care law, especially where jobs and working families are concerned.   I say this not only as a congresswoman and chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee; I say it as a nurse and the mother of a son in college.

After all, it’s often women who make the healthcare decisions for our families.  We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they’ll affect our budgets

So by canceling your insurance – despite a promise to let you keep your plan – the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what’s best for you and your family.   Not only that, they are making you pay more – usually much more – and in many cases, taking away the doctor you’ve been seeing for years.

If you want to talk about a ‘war on women,’ look no further than this health care law.

Congresswoman Ellmers presented specific cases from constituents to prove her point.

Marian from Pittsboro told me that she and her husband received cancellation notices and that the replacement would double their premiums.  When she called to ask for help, the insurance company told Marian that if she doesn’t sign up for a new plan, the law requires that they enroll her in the “suggested policy.”   This increase, she says, will consume their gas and grocery money for the month.  She now sees no choice but to cancel their insurance altogether.

Kent and Ulli from Cary are in their mid-50s and they report that their premiums are about to jump from $248 to $968 per month.  That is nearly four times higher.  Ken and Ulli have always preferred a high deductible policy because, they work hard to stay in good health and when they do need care, they like to shop for the best value. But as we have seen, this administration thinks it knows better than they do.

And then there’s Liz from Sanford.  She’s a small business owner with only two employees: herself and her husband.  Their premiums went up 127 percent on account of the new law. Liz told me that she and her husband are regular, hardworking, healthy Americans. She said “we are not wealthy.  I really don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Seeing so many hardworking people have to spend the holiday season wondering ‘what’s next?’ – it’s heartbreaking.  And it’s wrong.

Watch Congresswoman Ellmer’s remarks below.

NC Employers Face End-of-Year Employee Withholding Form Mandate

Changes to North Carolina’s tax law taking effect January 1st, including reductions in the individual income tax rate and simplification and eliminations of deductions and exemptions, necessitated changes to the basic paperwork used to register employees with their employers for payroll deduction of state income tax payments.

Guidance issued mid-November by the North Carolina Department of Revenue requires all employers in North Carolina to have their employees complete and submit new Withholding Allowance Certificates (NC-4 and NC-4 EZ Forms) by December 31st.

The DOR’s guidance included the following overview:

Under this new law, all taxpayers will pay a lower rate and be granted a higher standard deduction. Taxpayers may no longer claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse, children, or any other qualifying dependents. Additionally, many deductions and tax credits that impact North Carolina withholding tax are no longer available for tax years beginning on or after January 1.

…The new form must be completed by the employee and provided to the employer so the correct amount of State income tax is withheld for any payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

Likewise, all recipients of pension or annuity payments must complete and provide to their payer a new Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments, Form NC-4P ,(Revised 11/25/13) in order to withhold the correct amount of State income tax for any pension payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

The NC Department of Revenue set up a special page on their website (click here) with all relevant information regarding these changes. Employers should consult the formal notification packet, which includes the revised NC-4 EZ, NC-4 and NC-4P forms and instructions.

Employers and pension payers with questions are encouraged to call 1-877-252-4487 to receive special assistance. This number will be active until February 28th.

NRMS focuses on 3rd Grade Reading

(NEWS RELEASE) Nashville, NC – Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools will host a series of four parent meetings for parents of third grade students regarding the potential impact of the Read to Achieve legislation on student promotion and retention.

The meetings are scheduled for December 2 at Nashville Elementary, December 3 at Bailey Elementary, December 10 at Benvenue Elementary and December 12 at OR Pope Elementary.  Parents of students in kindergarten, first and second grades are also invited to attend the meetings.

“Read to Achieve is part of the Excellent Public Schools Act, which became law in 2012 and took effect this school year,” said Melissa-Dancy Smith, Executive Director of Elementary Instruction. “We want all parents to be informed of how this impacts promotion and retention for third grade students.”

The goal of the legislation is to ensure that every student reads at or above grade level by the end of third grade. If a student is not performing on grade level, he or she can enroll in a Summer Reading Academy that will be offered by the school district. Parents have the option to decline enrolling the student in the Summer Academy, but students who do not attend will be retained in a third grade classroom next school year.

Each of the parent meetings will be hosted in a town hall format. A moderator will pose questions to a group of panelists including school administrators, instructional coaches, directors and other staff. Parents will also have the opportunity to ask additional questions, as needed.

For more information on Read to Achieve, parents are encouraged to visit the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools website, www.nrms.k12.nc.us, and click ‘Read to Achieve’ on the district homepage.

Edgecombe CC Collecting Bikes for Students

(PIctured) Ralph Willis rides to classes at Edgecombe Community College on a bicycle that was donated to the college. (Photo Courtesy Edgecombe CC)

(NEWS RELEASE) When Kim Hampton asked her coworkers at Edgecombe Community College for a little help, she said she expected few responses.

Instead, what she got made her realize there’s no shortage of kindness on her campus.

“Transportation for students is our No. 1 problem,” says Hampton, the college’s counselor/student support specialist. “Nine out of 10 students who come to me ask for help with transportation.

“We have a lot of students who walk to school.”

In August, Hampton sent out an email to employees asking for bicycle donations to make it easier for some students to get to classes.

“I expected maybe one; I received three,” she says.

The bikes needed minor repairs, but Hampton didn’t have to worry about that either. Al Carroll, chair/instructor of Automotive Systems Technology, and his students jumped at the chance to help, she says.

One bike was missing a seat, so a student donated one. “Out of the goodness of their hearts, they said they’d take care of the bikes,” Hampton explains. “They really didn’t have time for it, but it was wonderful for those students to do something for other students. They were proud to fix the bikes.”

Jaime Raya, a 23-year-old student who attends classes on Edgecombe Community College’s Rocky Mount campus, received one of the donated bikes.

“Sometimes, I didn’t have the funds to ride the bus, and I’ve had to ask for a ride or for someone to loan me money to get to school,” Raya says. “I’ve even had to walk about 45 minutes to get to class. But, I had to do it, so I am very thankful for the bike.”

Hampton said Raya and Ralph Willis both received bikes this year, and the third bike soon will be ready for another student to ride.

“The students who received the bikes were overjoyed and really, really excited,” Hampton says.

The college offers Tar River Transit bus tokens to students who need transportation to classes, but offering them a bike instead gives them more flexibility and freedom. “It makes it easier for them to get to school,” Hampton says. “And I would rather give them the means than bus tokens.”

She hopes to get more donated bicycles in order to provide additional students with a dependable ride.

Anyone who would like to donate bikes to the college can contact Hampton at 823-5166, ext. 259, or hamptonk@edgecombe.edu.

NC Wesleyan Facilitates Transfers from Robeson CC

(NEWS RELEASE) Representatives from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC, visited the campus of Robeson Community College on Friday, November 22, at 11:00 a.m. to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions.  Robeson President Dr. Pamela Hilbert and Vice President Dr. Mark Kinlaw met with North Carolina Wesleyan President Jim Gray, Provost Dr. Michael Brown, Vice President Dr. Evan Duff, and Director Katie Farrell in the Robeson Community College Health Science Building Conference Room where Presidents Hilbert and Gray signed the agreement.

Seated (left to right): NC Wesleyan College President James Gray and Robeson CC President Dr. Pamela Hilbert; standing (left to right): RCC Assistant Vice President William Locklear, NCWC Director Katie Farrell, NCWC Vice President of Adult Education Dr. Evan Duff, RCC Vice President Dr. Mark Kinlaw, and NCWC Provost Dr. Michael Brown

The memorandum, which will provide options for Robeson Community College students who might wish to transfer to North Carolina Wesleyan, offers assurances that courses taken at Robeson Community College in the areas of Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Associate of Arts, and Associate of Science will transfer to comparable programs at North Carolina Wesleyan for students desiring to continue their education towards a bachelor’s degree.

Gray stated, “We are delighted to be in partnership with Robeson Community College because it will greatly benefit our two schools’ students. It really is all about the educational opportunities we can give our students and graduates, and this is a welcome step forward.”

North Carolina Wesleyan, a four-year coeducational liberal arts college with a traditional enrollment of about 650 students on its Rocky Mount campus, also serves another 900 students in its adult education programs and has similar agreements with Cape Fear, Brunswick and Southeastern Community Colleges in southeastern North Carolina as well as several others in the central and northeastern part of the state.

Officials at both colleges see this opportunity as a win-win situation for both schools and their respective students. The opportunity to pursue a four-year degree upon completion of an Associate’s degree will be attractive to Robeson Community College students; North Carolina Wesleyan has the opportunity to grow its enrollment with a pool of students who have proven that they have the academic skills to succeed in an institution of higher education.

Dr. Evan Duff, Vice President of Adult & Professional Studies at North Carolina Wesleyan, said, “Partnerships and articulation agreements are an important and necessary element in higher education.  North Carolina Wesleyan College strives to provide access to a bachelor’s degree to as many NC community college graduates as possible.  Establishing these effective and seamless transfer opportunities to the graduates of Robeson Community College brings life to our school’s mission in regards to lifelong learning.  Adult students will have access to several degree programs in Whiteville at Southeastern Community College and students who want a more traditional path can join our main campus in Rocky Mount. ASPIRE classes are offered in an accelerated 8-week, one-night-a week format, and we also offer many classes online.”

For more information about North Carolina Wesleyan College, visit www.ncwc.edu. For more information about Robeson Community College, visit www.robeson.edu.

Nash CC Faculty, Students Reach Out

(NEWS RELEASE) Nash Community College’s commitment to showing “blue love” has been especially apparent over the past few weeks. The term “blue love”, coined by a faculty member, refers to college employees’ earnest efforts to make every student feel welcome, to assist students in working toward their educational goals, to ensure proper advising and to help overcome barriers to learning that come with everyday life. In celebration of this blue love and spring semester advising, faculty, staff and students held a blue out on Thursday, November 7th marking their commitment.

Photo posted by Nash Community College

Continuing in the same spirit, each year Nash Community College reaches out to the community to help those in need. To kickoff the campus’ season of giving, the NCC Student Government Association recently led a campus-wide food drive to benefit Edwards Middle School’s Backpack Buddies program. The campus collected 3,662 items weighing in at 907 pounds. Student leaders challenged student clubs to see which group would collect the most food. The Student Nurses’ Association won the competition.

The Backpack Buddies program provides a backpack filled with ready-to-eat food for students who are identified by the school who may not have adequate food to eat over the weekend. Edwards Middle School has 42 children who benefit from the program. The backpacks are distributed each Friday at the end of the day prior to leaving school for the weekend.

Saturday’s “Shark Tank” features Great Entrepreneurs, Judges


Click on the Image to Obtain a Free Ticket for Saturday’s Shark Tank Event

SpringBoardNC’s inaugural “Shark Tank,” to be held this Saturday, November 16th, at 6 p.m. at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts at North Carolina Wesleyan College, will feature local entrepreneurs competing for the chance to advance their business ideas with funding and technical support.

The public is invited to attend this free event, as well as help select winners in each category. Tickets are required, and can be obtained online by clicking here or visiting the SpringBoardNC website, www.sprinboardnc.com.

“Shark Tank by SpringBoard is a way for entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs to broadcast their ideas and businesses to the people that matter: customers, mentors and investors,” said SpringBoardNC Vice President, Jeff Tobias. “That’s aside from the opportunity to win significant cash prizes.”

Each finalist will present their idea to the audience and four special judges:

Mayo Boddie, Chairman, Boddie-Noell Enterprises

Brian Wordsworth, Executive Vice-President, MBM Corporation

Frances Gravely, Founder, Vietri, Inc.

David Walker, Eastern North Carolina Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Wesleyan College

More than 50 entries were submitted for the competition in 3 categories: business, college, and young entrepreneur academy. Business category applicants provided abbreviated business plans for new business and business expansion ideas. College students competed against each other, developing general business ideas and assessments. Participants in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) organized by The Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce shared business ideas they’ve developed while participating in the program.

Business category finalists are:

Syntervention, a Rocky Mount-based company developing innovative products for use in the medical and surgical fields. They will be represented by Fuz Furbush.

Prsonas, a Durham-based company developing virtual-based customer interaction and presentation services, represented by David Rose.

Tail Gate Buddy, a Roanoke Rapids-based company started by Brian Hux, providing a product that attaches to vehicles to provide seating and cargo space for special events.

The college category finalists are Tyler Freedman, Sabina Paudel, Kristopher Hutchins, and Shadawn Clanton. The YEA finalists are Brianna Barnes, Joshua McKnight, Thane Wooten, Shawndrea Gunter and Gabrielle Taylor

Three business category finalists will present their plans to the judges for the chance to win $10,000 to cover startup or expansion costs. They will also be given access to a committee of advisors who will help them start and grow their business for over their initial 12 months.

The winner in the college category will win $2,500 to use toward college tuition of paying off student debt. The YEA category winner will receive reimbursement of their program tuition, equivalent to $295.

“Shark Tank” is the first business competition of its kind in the local area. It is the product of a broad collaboration that includes North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Eastern North Carolina Center for Business & Entrepreneurship, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise in Chapel Hill, and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, and is supported by Carolinas Gateway Partnership and the North Eastern Entrepreneur Roundtable (NEER).

Arts Center to host “Peanuts” Thanksgiving Party

The Maria V. Howard Arts Center will host, “It’s a Thanksgiving Party, Charlie Brown!” on Saturday, November 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon, in recognition of its current “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibition.

The event will feature tours of the “Peanuts… Naturally” exhibit, along with other Arts Center exhibits, hands-on activities, live Jazz music featured in “Peanuts” specials, and more.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is a national touring exhibit organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The exhibit features more than 50 items from the Museum, including classic strips, Peanuts-inspired art and collectibles. Most of the pieces represent natural and environmental themes Schulz often incorporated into his famous strip throughout its 50-year run.

The exhibit also includes several “hands on” stations where visitors of all ages can learn more about biology, plants, astronomy, weather and the environment.

“Peanuts… Naturally” is on display at the Maria V. Howard Arts Center at The Imperial Centre, 270 Gay Street, Downtown Rocky Mount from now until January 5th. The exhibit is free to the public and open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Tesla brings “Supercharger” to Rocky Mount

California-based electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors will open its second Supercharger station in North Carolina this Thursday on the grounds of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Rocky Mount.

Charging will be available for owners of Tesla’s Model S sedan, a high-performance luxury vehicle capable of 120 mph top speed with a travel range of more than 200 miles at 55 mph.

The Supercharger stations are key to a significant infrastructure program Tesla is implementing to enable greater range for its popular high-end vehicles. The company just completed its first major corridor of Superchargers, enabling travel from San Diego to Vancouver. 31 of these stations are currently in operation in North America.

Tesla sees the new Supercharger station in Rocky Mount as critical to its expansion in the Eastern United States. The station will provide “an important link in connecting East Coast travelers between Boston and Miami.”

So far, these stations have provided Model S vehicles with over 4 million supercharged miles. Tesla claims these stations have reduced national consumption of motor fuel by nearly 200,000 gallons.

Superchargers can facilitate a 50% charge of the Model S battery system in 20 minutes, with 200 miles worth of charge achieved in a half-hour. Stations will be located between city centers to enable free long-distance travel for about three hours at a time.

A public grand opening of the charging station will take place Thursday, November 14th, at 10 a.m., featuring on-site Tesla S show vehicles. The station will be available for use on November 14th as well.

Edgecombe Health Department to host November 22nd Forum for Pastors

In order to address challenges involving the health of local residents, the Edgecombe County Health Department is reaching out to area Pastors, hosting a special Health Forum for this influential part of the community on Friday, November 22nd, 10 a.m., at

Health Department officials will provide local Pastors and church leaders with information they can use to address health disparities with their congregations and work to improve their quality of life.

The most recent information from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics shows that Edgecombe County performs below state averages in several key quality of health indicators, including low birth weight, premature births, infant mortality, cancer cases, heart disease and diabetes.

Encouraging healthier personal habits is also critical to the Health Department’s efforts. Recent data shows that Edgecombe County has among the lowest scores for “healthy behavior” in the State, including its performance with respect to alcoholism, tobacco use and infection of sexually transmitted diseases.

Pastor and church leaders who want to attend should call Meredith Capps at (252) 641-6288.