07/19/06 — Retired Duplin County employee receives Order of Long Leaf Pine

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Retired Duplin County employee receives Order of Long Leaf Pine

By Turner Walston
Published in News on July 19, 2006 1:47 PM

KENANSVILLE -- Longtime Duplin County employee Judy Brown received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Monday, the state's highest civilian honor.

Ms. Brown, who served Duplin for 27 years as an administrative assistant in the county manager's office and later as assistant and interim county manager, retired in June.

State Sen. Charlie Albertson and state Rep. Russell Tucker presented her with the award at a meeting of the Duplin County Board of Commissioners.

"It's been an honor and a pleasure serving Duplin County and the citizens of Duplin County, and I think, in some small way, I've made a difference," Ms. Brown said.

"We're going to miss you," Commissioner Arliss Albertson told Ms. Brown. "We already do."

In other business, Capt. Timmy Jones of the Duplin County Sheriff's Office talked to commissioners about recent gang activity in the county. The Sheriff's Office arrested several suspected gang members last week after a shooting in Albertson.

Jones said the threat of gangs is magnified when gangs from out of the area come in and try to recruit young Duplin residents.

"We're beginning to see the heavy hitters from other states teaching our . . . wannabes how to do the crimes," Jones said. "It's home grown terrorists, is what it is."

Jones and Commissioner Larry Howard urged the county's residents to be vigilant and report suspicious activity to authorities.

"We just need your constant support," Jones said. "You are our eyes and ears in the community."

Howard said every community in the county should establish a crime watch program.

Commissioners also approved a contract with Beck Disaster Recovery Systems to manage emergency services in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. The contract was presented at no cost to the county. Costs would be paid for by FEMA after a disaster is declared, county officials said.

Dr. Thomas Hunter, owner of ambulance carrier Coastline Care, approached commissioners about transferring ownership of his company to Eastern Shore Acquisition Corporation.

"We want to continue to be able to expand and employ more people," Hunter said.

The request was tabled until Interim County Manager Mike Aldridge and County Attorney Wendy Sivori can meet with the parties involved.

Solid Waste Director Bee Barnette came before the board to ask for a vote of confidence supporting the county's ban of cardboard from the solid waste transfer station in Wallace. The ordinance banning cardboard was ratified in 1994, but was not being enforced, Barnette said.

Commissioners voted to advertise for two months the banning of cardboard from the solid waste transfer station in Wallace. After two months, violations would face legal action.

Rob McDuffy of Elite Medical spoke to the board about establishing an ambulance franchise in the county. The request was tabled until McDuffy can meet with Ms. Sivori and Aldridge on terms and conditions of the franchise ordinance.

Emergency Services Director Craig Forlines recommended the county purchase rather than lease seven ambulances at a cost of $92,900 each. The action would result in a total savings of more than $77,000, Forlines said. Commissioners approved allowing Finance Officer Teresa Lanier to investigate financing options.

Economic Development Director Woody Brinson recommended awarding a contract worth $29,896 to J&W Construction for rail repair in Warsaw near U.S. Cold Storage. The county would need to purchase materials at a rate of $26,061, Brinson said, because J&W Construction is not licensed for projects costing more than $30,000.

Following a closed session, commissioners approved leasing 12,000 square feet at West Park Business Technology Center in Warsaw to Nutragon, a "nutraceuticals" company that manufactures muscadine powder from grape hulls. The three-year lease will cost the company $2,000 monthly, Brinson said following the session.