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‘Santa’ arrives early in Northampton

JACKSON — Christmas has come six months early in Northampton County as the Golden LEAF Foundation Board has decided on projects totaling more than $1.5 million in funding.

On Tuesday afternoon, Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins was notified by Golden LEAF Vice President of Programs and Community Assistance and Outreach Pat Cabe that the Golden LEAF Board approved five projects totaling $1,554,100 through the Community Assistance Initiative Program at their June 3 meeting.

“It’s like Santa Claus has come to Northampton County,” said Jenkins on Wednesday.

Those projects awarded Golden LEAF funds include:

$540,000 to Northampton County Schools for a Rich Square Career Training Center;

$242,700 to the Lake Gaston Community Center for up fit of the community center and expanded services;

$43,000 to the Tri-County Airport Authority for runway lighting;

$294,498 to the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR) for advanced IT (information technology) and electrical systems; and

$433,902 to Northampton County for the Northampton County Library Renovation/Addition.

Jenkins noted the current struggles in the county with unemployment listed at 12 percent, citizens struggling to pay their taxes and county itself wrestling to balance their budget without affecting services.

“For Golden LEAF to infuse $1.5 million in the county…I’m just ecstatic,” he said. “This certainly will impact the majority of our citizens in the county.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a Rocky Mount-based non-profit created by the North Carolina General Assembly to administer one-half of North Carolina’s share of the Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers to help bolster the state’s long term economy.