Hertford Co. accepts grant

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 7, 2008

WINTON – Golden Leaf is investing nearly $2 million in Hertford County.

During their board meeting in December, the Golden Leaf Foundation awarded three grants in Hertford County that will help with education, workforce development and recreation. The grant funding totaled $1,998,040.

“We’re excited about this grant funding,” Hertford County Manager Loria D. Williams said. “I was pleased with the process and how we arrived at prioritizing the projects.

“We received fine representation from education, municipalities and community organizations,” she said. “The process was transparent, open and fair and the outcome is nearly $2 million to support good projects.”

The lion’s share of that money (nearly $1.4 million) will be to support the Early College High School project, a joint venture between the Hertford County Public Schools and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.

That project will allow rising ninth graders to enter the Early College High School, based on the campus of Roanoke-Chowan Community College. They will graduate after five years with both a high school diploma and a two-year associate’s degree.

Hertford County Superintendent Dr. Michael G. Basham said he felt the grant would help maintain this project for the future.

“The way I look at the whole procedure with Early College High School is that it is a concept that will be around for many years,” Dr. Basham said. “The grant from Golden leaf makes that possible and we’re very appreciative.”

The second grant went to the New Choices Program at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

That program, which was piloted at the hospital from 2002-2005, will allow people to retrain in the health care industry and provide jobs for them when they graduate.

“We recruit people who are left behind by the economy,” RCH Spokesperson Lisa Newsome said. “We help people who are looking for a career or who have been left displaced by the economy.”

The scholarship program pays for tuition, books and fees for those people to attend school. In return, they agree to work at a University Health Systems hospital when they graduate.

“We are looking primarily for low-income people who are often single heads of household,” Newsome said. “As a result of the pilot program, we were able to get 27 people into health care careers.”

Newsome said the pilot program was collaboration between RCH, the Roanoke Center and Roanoke-Chowan Community College. They will continue to work together.

“When we heard about Golden Leaf, we thought this program was a perfect fit,” Newsome said. “They are interested in workforce development and that’s what New Choices does.”

The New Choices Program was funded at a $360,000 level.

The final project funded will allow Hertford County to begin a comprehensive study to begin recreation.

“I’m excited about all the programs,” Hertford County Commission Chairman Howard J. Hunter III said. “I believe they will all benefit the citizens of Hertford County.

“Bringing recreation to the county is something that has been near to my heart,” he continued. “It is something that was on my platform when I ran for county commissioner. I am excited about seeing it develop.”

During Monday morning’s meeting of the Hertford County Commissioners, that body formally accepted the grant award.

Williams told the board the county would begin working towards county recreation and would work together with the municipalities in the county and community organizations.

“Now the work begins,” Williams said.