Stewart to seek county board seat
County Commissioner Chad Stewart, appointed to complete his late father’s term, has announced that he will seek election in 2014.
“It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the people of Johnston County as a county commissioner,” Stewart said in a news release. “I have enjoyed working with my fellow commissioners, our legislative delegation and our school leaders to advance educational and economic opportunity for our citizens and their children. These advancements have taken place without a tax increase due to our ability to work together and adhere to conservative principles.”
Stewart’s father died unexpectedly in January 2013. “My father taught me that government should respond to the citizens, not the reversal, where citizens are required to respond to the government,” Stewart said. “I will always represent your interests and make sure government is responsive to the people.
“My platform for the next four years will be to improve our educational programs, support our fire and rescue and work with local municipalities to provide the infrastructure required to grow our economy.”
Stewart, 43, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He is president of 301 Service Center and Auto Sales.
Hospital reports phone scam
Johnston Health says it has been made aware of a phone scam that appears to be targeting patients.
On Dec. 30, a patient and his wife reported getting an automated phone call seeking their personal information for an updated billing from the hospital.
These calls are not coming from any representatives of Johnston Health, which includes Johnston Medical Centers in Smithfield and Clayton, the hospital said. The caller is using the phone number 866-218-7985.
A search of the Internet shows that a scam associated with this phone number has been going on in other states for the last few months, the hospital said. In other instances, the unidentified caller is claiming to remind patients to refill their medications.
In all of these cases, the scammer is trying to gain access to personal information.
If you receive such a phone call, hang up right away. Also, report the call to the N.C. Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM, or write to the agency at ncdoj.gov/complaint.aspx.
Jobless rate falls
Johnston County’s jobless rate fell to 6 percent in November from 6.5 percent in October, the N.C. Employment Security Commission reported last week.
In November, when the county’s labor force stood at 81,856, the number of jobless Johnstonians was 4,890. The statewide jobless rate in November was 6.9 percent.
Here are the November jobless rates in counties surrounding Johnston: Harnett, 7.9 percent; Nash, 8.9 percent; Sampson, 6.5 percent; Wake, 5.3 percent; Wayne, 7 percent; and Wilson, 9.5 percent.
Free voter IDs
The State of North Carolina has begun issuing free voter-identification cards.
Starting in 2016, North Carolina will require voters to have a valid photo ID to cast a ballot when voting in person. No-fee ID cards are available for people who have no other valid form of photo identification.
Applications for free voter ID cards can be made at any North Carolina driver’s license office. Applicants will need to present documents that verify their age and identity, and they will need to show a valid Social Security number.
Voter ID cards are mailed to applicants within 10 to 15 days.
JCC offering scholarships
Johnston Community College is offering former students scholarships to return to school.
The Back to Class Scholarship is available to students who received a curriculum certificate, degree or diploma or graduated from JCC with certification in Biowork, EMS, fire 1 or 2 or nursing assistant 1 or 2.
The scholarship will pay for up to 50 continuing-education hours.
To apply for the Back to Class Scholarship, you must attend the following session: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Learning Resource Center on the Smithfield campus.
To register for the session, or for more information, about the scholarship program, call 919-209-2222 or go to johnstoncc.edu/foundation/backtoclass.aspx.
Schools to hold parent meeting
The Johnston County school system has announced that it will seek an Indian Education Formula grant for 2014-15.
The school system invites American Indian parents to comment on the grant application during a meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the A.G. Glenn Building, 501 S. Second St., Smithfield.
For more information, call Ana Lucia Milazzotto at 919-934-4361, Ext. 371.
Fire department gets federal grant
The Four Oaks Volunteer Fire Department has received $85,198 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The fire department will use the money to increase its number of trained firefighters.
“Making sure that our fire departments have the resources and personnel they need to protect our communities is a top priority for me, and I am pleased these funds are coming home to help the Four Oaks VFD,” said Congressman Mike McIntyre, who announced the grant. “Congratulations to Chief Barry Stanley and all of those involved in the fire department.”
Student named to state council
Gov. Pat McCrory has named Don Byrd of Johnston County to the N.C. Youth Advisory Council.
Byrd is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is majoring in business administration. At West Johnston High School, he was president of the Future Farmers of America and represented North Carolina at the National FFA Convention in 2012.
The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council will meet at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at the Johnston County Public Health Department on North Bright Leaf Boulevard in Smithfield.
The Johnston County Airport Authority has moved its January meeting to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, in the terminal building at the airport, 3149 Swift Creek Road, Smithfield.
The Johnston County Veterans Service Advisory Board will meet at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the conference room at the Land Use Center at 309 E. Market St., Smithfield.