06/12/05 — O'Berry mentioned in closure discussion

View Archive

O'Berry mentioned in closure discussion

By Turner Walston
Published in News on June 12, 2005 2:03 AM

Sen. John Kerr says he won't stand silently if the state tries to close O'Berry Center.

"I'll fight this. I don't think it's the right thing to do," Kerr, D-Wayne, said Saturday. "A lot of federal dollars come in because of the type of facility it is."

Budget details rolled out in House subcommittees Friday include a proposal to close one of the state's mental retardation centers. The state currently operates five regional centers.

In Saturday's News & Observer, Rep. Jim Crawford, one of the budget commitee chairmen, mentioned that O'Berry in Goldsboro and Caswell in Kinston are within 30 miles of each other. A Democrat from Oxford, Crawford said he thought the state would close the one in the worst condition.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services' Web site, O'Berry serves the South Central region of the state while Caswell operates in the Eastern region.

"Don't panic," Kerr said. There are more steps before any closure would happen.

Kerr said he supported O'Berry because of the hands-on care it gives to the severely retarded. "It's a really great facility."

Efforts to reach O'Berry Center Director Dr. Frank Farrell on Saturday were unsuccessful.