Overall, it’s been a pretty good year economically in Johnston County, except for the fact that railroad company CSX didn’t choose the county for a $272 million cargo hub.
That loss weighs on Selma, Smithfield and Johnston County leaders who spoke Tuesday during the annual State of Our Communities luncheon, a project of the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce.
“Any State of the Communities address this year should probably include a comment about the CSX intermodal hub project,” said Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver. “There has been plenty of talk about why JoCo was not selected. There’s been plenty of finger-pointing.”
County Commissioner DeVan Barbour acknowledged the CSX loss while celebrating the expansion plans of drugmakers Novo Nordisk and Grifols.
“This has been one of those years that’s been up, down, exciting, frustrating, aggravating, rewarding,” Barbour said. “We’ve had a lot of wonderful things happen, and we’ve had some frustrating things happen.”
Oliver said that when landowner opposition prompted CSX to move on from Selma, town leaders turned their attention to keeping the cargo hub in North Carolina. CSX eventually settled on the Rocky Mount area.
“When the controversy began, everyone was saying that this was the project that no one wanted in their backyard but everybody wanted to be near to,” Oliver said. “Well, look what happened.”
To qualify for a federal grant to purchase new police radios, the town of Benson needed a policy that protects employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing.
Town commissioners unanimously approved the whistleblower policy this week. Benson personnel policies already require employees “to observe high standards in their business practices and personal ethics” and to report suspected violations of town policies and local, state and federal laws. The new policy protects employees who report suspected violations from retribution.
Under the new policy, no one who reports a suspected violation will suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse consequences. Any employee who does retaliate against someone who has reported a suspected violation will be subject to discipline, including firing.
▪ N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Judge Vince Rozier, a candidate for the state Court of Appeals, will speak to the Wake Senior Democrats on Wednesday at the Golden Corral, 6129 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. Meeting starts at 11 a.m. with lunch, followed by the program at 11:30 a.m.
▪ Western Wake Dems is hosting a campaign rally and volunteer training event on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Cary Senior Center, 120 Maury Odell Place. Doors open at 1:30 p.m., and candidates will speak from 2 to 3 p.m. followed by training sessions on voter registration, canvassing, phone banking and poll greeting.
Compiled by Abbie Bennett
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