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Archive for December, 2013

Red Cross delivers Christmas cheer to military

Monday, December 16th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — ‘Tis the season for holiday cheer.

American Red Cross volunteers here in the Port City spent their day delivering cookies and cards to military installations across our area.

“It was great,” S. Sgt. Nikea Dawkins said. “It was such a surprise to walk out the door and see all that. It was pretty great.”

Dawkins was one of the many recipients of the 2013 Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. American Red Cross volunteers have spent the past several weeks sorting cards for service members, veterans and their families.

“Our cards have come from all over the country, from individuals who have mailed them in to our PO box from our national headquarters,” Kelly VanHouten with the Red Cross said.

Volunteers delivered more than 2,000 holiday cards and 30 trays of cookies to more than 30 different military installations in Brunswick, Columbus and New Hanover counties, including Sunny Point, CFCC’s Student Veterans Center and the VA.

“I think it is a really great way, because they do so much and sacrifice so much for us to be able to do what we do, day in and day out, so we can help others, so that way we can live freely,” VanHouten said.

VanHouten says local businesses donated all of the treats.

S. Segt. Dawkins says gestures like that make living in a community like ours worth while.

“You’re here. You are doing this every day, but to know that your community is standing behind you to say, ‘We do support you, and we do support our military,'” Dawkins said.

It’s support she says will last far beyond this holiday season.

Nationally, the American Red Cross has received and distributed more than 6.5 million for members of the US armed forces since the program began in 2006.

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Picketers demonstrate at stores owned by N.C. budget director

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Protestors organized by the NAACP picketed Monday afternoon in front of two stores owned by N.C. Budget Director Art Pope. Their aim was to draw attention to the “extremist and regressive legislative policies he supports,” according to a press release.

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State aquariums to raise admission prices in 2014

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The proposed increase is designed to offset both a dip in state funding and an increase in health-care costs

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New cold storage project at State Port bringing 100 jobs

Monday, December 16th, 2013

RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — USA InvestCo plans to create 100 jobs and invest more than $15 million in a new cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington according to Governor McCrory’s office.

The company is developing the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility (PWCS), a 75,000-square-foot cold storage facility that will store locally produced pork, poultry, fruits and vegetables. PWCS could eventually be expanded to 300,000 square feet depending on demand.

“North Carolina and the Greater Wilmington region have become a very desirable site for companies to locate and expand their operations,” said Governor McCrory. “With the need for secure, cold storage growing throughout North Carolina, we welcome USA InvestCo’s investment.”

USA InvestCo is made up of a group of experienced real estate developers with more than 80 years of combined expertise in both real estate development and management. Its track record includes acquisition, entitlement, development, management and sales. USA InvestCo’s general partners have raised over $100 million for various projects throughout the U.S. including Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, California and Texas.

“We’re delighted about USA InvestCo joining the ranks of companies expanding and developing in North Carolina,” said N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker. “This major project will be a great asset for local and state companies that need cold storage facilities to ship their products from Wilmington’s port.”

“We are excited to be working closely with the State to create the only cold storage facility located on a port in the State of North Carolina,” said Chuck Schoninger, the principal of USA InvestCo. “PWCS’s strategic location on the Port of Wilmington provides our import and export customers with logistical benefits and helps the state by creating new jobs.”

N.C. Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata added, “We appreciate the support of the Council of State and the teamwork between the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture and Transportation in advancing this important, job-producing project for the State of North Carolina.”

PWCS will be led and operated by Charles McCarthy who started his career in the Cold Storage industry in 1984. In his 28 year career he has founded, owned, managed, and operated new-build and major expansions of cold storage facilities.

“North Carolina exported nearly $4 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Upgrades to the port at Wilmington will help our farmers and agribusinesses boost that number even higher. The cold storage facility is a vital piece of infrastructure that our producers have needed for a long time, and I’m happy that a public-private partnership will be able to make it a reality.”

“We are committed to creating new jobs in Wilmington and know that USA InvestCo will become a strong corporate partner for us,” said Representative Ted Davis. “We applaud the USA InvestCo executives for their commitment to invest in North Carolina and expand their footprint in New Hanover County.”

“USA InvestCo is just the kind of company we want to attract to Wilmington,” said Senator Thom Goolsby. “The cold storage jobs that they’ll create will strengthen the port and be an example to others of the strong talent pool and attractive quality of life that characterizes Wilmington, New Hanover County and the state.”

USA InvestCo received assistance through a grant provided by the Golden LEAF Foundation to the N.C. Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership to fund equipment needed for the proposed cold storage facility at the Port of Wilmington.

The Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility is a public-private venture in North Carolina. This project was conceived through a partnership with state agencies within North Carolina as a catalyst for future North Carolina economic development. Influential partners that helped with the project include: the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Department of Agriculture, the N.C. State Ports Authority, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and the N.C. Southeast Partnership.

For more information about the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage, including job opportunities, go to: http://pwcold.com/. For more information about USA InvestCo, go to: http://www.usainvestco.com/.


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Convention Center hotel moves forward after long-awaited approval

Monday, December 16th, 2013

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A convention center hotel is one step closer to becoming reality in Wilmington.

The developer planning on building an Embassy Suites got approval for its financial plan after waiting more than a year.

“We’re making every valid attempt to make this happen,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said.

Wilmington City Council selected Harmony Hospitality back in 2011 to develop the Convention Center hotel. The 186-room Embassy Suites is closer to being a reality after the federal government approved Harmony’s EB-5 investment plan earlier this month. The company had waited more than a year for approval.

“That gave them the opportunity to go out and look for outside investors to go into the project,” Saffo said. “It was an important component for this deal for Harmony Hospitality.”

The EB-5 program allows foreign investors interested in contributing to the $33.6 million project a permanent green card. Harmony Hospitality says it is looking for between 10 and 15 investors to put up at least $500,000 each.

The EB-5 for the hotel is not tied to the EB-5 for another hotel and marina being built next door by Chuck Schoninger, the developer who just sold land nearby to the city for a park.

“This is a separate EB-5 program, separate of Mr. Schoninger’s deal all together,” Saffo said.

Leaders say an agreement between the city and harmony hospitality is being finalized so it can be brought before council either the first or second meeting in January.


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