Please click on the below link to view the BizFest 2011 Video.
On Tuesday, Oct. 11, a group representing Elkin City Schools attended the Graduation Achievement Awards Recognition and Luncheon in the Research Triangle Park. Attending from Elkin were Elkin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe, ECS School Board Chairman Mr. James Freeman, Elkin High School Principal Mr. Mark Byrd, Elkin City Schools 2011 “Teacher of the Year” Mrs. Tonya Smith and EHS 2011 “Teacher of the Year” Mrs. Erin Jones. For the second time in four years, Elkin City Schools was recognized for having the highest graduation rate in the state for the 2010-2011 school year. Elkin City Schools has been ranked in the top four systems in the state during each of the last four years. Elkin City Schools Graduation Rate was 91.7 percent, well above the state average of less than 80 percent. Elkin City Schools was also recognized for having the highest graduation rate for small school systems, which were defined as systems with a graduation cohort of less than 1,000 students. This was the first time that the state has recognized school districts based on size, thus ensuring that Elkin City Schools received two major recognitions during this ceremony. I would hope that every teacher, staff member, student and community member associated with Elkin City Schools take great pride in this recognition. This is certainly something that we should all be proud of, and something we strive to improve until we reach 100 percent. Because of the term graduation, many think of this as simply a high school recognition, but this is more of a testimony of the job that teachers in grades K-12 do in this school system. This should be a source of pride not only for teachers and students, but for bus drivers, custodial staff and cafeteria workers. Each of these roles play a vital part in the success of students on a daily basis. I would also like to make sure that students and parents in our community are aware of upcoming changes which impact our students. North Carolina announced recently that every junior in the state will take the ACT in March of 2012. This test will be used to measure “Career Readiness” and will be used for the school accountability model in 2012-2013. At Elkin High School, steps will be taken to ensure that our students are prepared for success with this test. Test strategies for the ACT will be shared with students, such as the fact that students scores are not impacted negatively for incorrect answers. Our students will be well prepared prior to this March test date. Sophomores in our state will take a test called the PLAN in December of 2011. This test is a practice exam for the ACT, and will help students to understand what is expected for the ACT during their junior year. More information will be shared with students as it is received. In conclusion, while numerous changes take place on a daily basis, our teachers and staff will continue to work to ensure success of all students who walk through our doors!
Please click the link below to see the Opening Cermony.
Friday’s persistent rainfall didn’t dampen any enthusiasm for the official announcement of a new manufacturing plant in Pilot Mountain that’s expected to create 54 jobs after production begins next spring. “This is very exciting for us,” Earl Sheppard, the town’s mayor, said of the coming of Elastrix LLC, which will make a polymer rubber compound to be used by other industries. Sheppard was speaking during an afternoon event attended by about 35 local government, economic-development and other officials along with Elastrix owners Bruce Maxwell and Duncan King. There had been indications earlier this month that the company would be locating here based on a deed recorded in Dobson on Sept. 1 regarding the purchase of a site at 523 S. Stephens St. in Pilot Mountain. The 9,600-square-foot building involved was formerly the location of a Granite Tactical Vehicles plant and before that housed textile-manufacturing operations of Intex Corp. “This will be a great opportunity to breathe new life into an old building — a plant that’s sitting here dormant doing nothing,” Surry County commissioners Chairman Paul Johnson said during Friday’s gathering inside the cavernous facility. As the short program progressed, a view visible from an open door revealed sunlight peeking from the clouds and glimpses of a blue sky. “We say thank you and welcome to Elastrix,” Johnson told Maxwell and King. The company will provide an annual payroll of $1.6 million, which Mayor Sheppard said represents a “tremendous” boost to Pilot Mountain and Surry County. The owners also will be investing more than $3 million for the upfitting of the building and equipment, which Johnson said will supply work for building contractors and others in the economy. “It will have a trickle-up effect,” the county official added. A building re-use grant is being sought from the North Carolina Rural Center which would assist with some of those costs.
Beat Out Tennessee
Maxwell and King also spoke during the announcement program, and described how Pilot Mountain was selected for the company. “We did a nationwide search,” Maxwell said of him and his business partner, who met at the Stanford University business school 25 years ago. “We traveled all over the country looking for a site,” he added, “and this is the site.” Pilot Mountain beat out a location in Tennessee, a choice King said was made on the basis of Duke Energy offering better rates than the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Elastrix co-owner explained that the company will use a large amount of electricity in its operations. Both men plan to live in the community, King coming from Minneapolis while Maxwell said he has “spent the last 25 years in Silicon Valley.” Maxwell, a leukemia survivor, has specialized in helping to launch technology companies, saying that Elastrix represents his 76th start-up. “I’m an entrepreneur who hasn’t hit a 12-step program yet,” he joked. However, Maxwell assured that Elastrix won’t be a company that the two “flip,” adding that he hopes to make it his last stop and retire here. The facility on South Stephens Street will be the first Elastrix plant started by the pair. “We ultimately hope to be opening plants all over the country,” Maxwell said. “We look forward to building a strong partnership going forward,” King told the various local officials assembled, “and getting people back to work.”
About The Product
Maxwell said Elastrix LLC will employ unique technology to re-use rubber. It will be an environmentally friendly process that makes use of scrap tires and other rubber materials which normally would be thrown away. These will be ground to the consistency of fine powder and coated with a special polymer that leads to the product being vulcanized. “We’re a substitute for rubber,’ Maxwell explained. King said the company won’t be manufacturing “final products” in Pilot Mountain, but instead supplying big blocks or sheets of the rubber compound that can be used for automotive parts, shoe soles and plastic containers. Maxwell said the company’s processes will provide a stronger type of material for those kinds of items. Also, for every 10 pounds of rubber processed, a corresponding amount of carbon dioxide will be kept out of the air and result in one less gallon of oil being imported from the Middle East, according to Maxwell. Elastrix officials further say their operation will serve to take jobs from China, a large producer of tires. “They’ve been eating our lunch for a long time — this time we’re getting a few jobs back,” Maxwell said. “It’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s something.” In the coming months, most of the work at the now-empty plant will involve getting it tooled up for the manufacturing process, which initially is expected to involve 26 employees and gradually reach the 54 figure. “I think for the first six months we’ll just be getting the place kitted out,” Maxwell said. “I think we’ll start shipping our first pound by April.”
Mount Airy High School learned Thursday it has been named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. The school is the only high school in the state to receive this designation, joining seven other schools from North Carolina to complete the list of 255 public and 49 private schools in the country to be recognized. The schools were recognized based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. “We were honored to be the only high school in the state to be nominated for this award. We were thrilled to find out that we were named a Blue Ribbon School,” said Mount Airy High School Principal Sandy George. “This recognition showcases the exceptional teachers we have at Mount Airy High School and is a testament to the success of our students. We hold high expectations and our students rise to the expectations.” The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. “America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” said Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.” The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: Schools whose students are high performing, including being ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or on nationally-normed tests; and schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the department of education asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education nominates private schools. A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools are invited by the secretary of education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School. “We truly are a team at Mount Airy High School. I recognize the important contributions that are made on a daily basis from our secretarial staff, our cleaning service, our cafeteria employees, our assistants, our teachers, our assistant principal, our parents and our students. I also need to acknowledges the work that is done at B. H. Tharrington, Jones Intermediate, Mount Airy Middle School and the central office. Mount Airy High School would not have the success we routinely enjoy without the contributions of all of these people,” said George. Mount Airy High School was named a school of distinction by the 2010-11 ABCs of Accountability released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. The school also had an 85 percent graduation rate in four years or less and an 85.7 percent graduation rate in five years or less, well above the state average. The school was nominated by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Recipients of the award will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. Nov. 14-15.
Burton Signworks Inc. recently expanded into an industrial facility that had been vacant for a few years, an encouraging sign for local officials who hope to see new jobs created and abandoned buildings revitalized in the city. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday for the Burton Signworks annex now located at a former apparel manufacturing facility on Riverside Drive in Mount Airy. The business was able to use a grant from the North Carolina Rural Center to renovate the building, which led to the creation of 12 new jobs this year. Representatives from the city of Mount Airy, the county, Surry County Economic Development Partnership, Sen. Richard Burr’s office, the Rural Center and various businesses and organizations were present for the ceremony. State Rep. Sarah Stevens also attended. LeeAnn Stokes, Surry County EDP vice president, counted 75 people at the event. Todd Tucker, president of Surry County EDP, said, “We all work together to make these things happen.” The EDP and Mount Airy Community Development began efforts to assist Burton Signworks’ expansion last November. The city was able to apply for a grant from the Rural Center’s Building Reuse and Restoration Grants Program on behalf of the company. Near the end of February, the Rural Center notified city officials that the city had been awarded $76,899 to assist the company with its expansion. The company recently began moving in equipment to the annex. Tucker said the county often depends on Rural Center funding for economic development projects, and the agency has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to Surry County businesses, he said. “It does a great job for rural counties,” said Tucker. Patrick Woodie, vice president of rural development programs for the N.C. Rural Center, was on hand to deliver remarks at the ribbon cutting. He explained the Rural Center started the Building Reuse and Restoration Grants Program in 2004 and has since helped fund 294 projects in 85 counties for a total of $39.4 million, leading to the creation of more than 6,000 jobs and leveraging $541 million in investments. Woodie said the purpose of the program is to put people back to work and to make existing facilities assets and places of economic activity. He said of Burton Signworks: “It’s great to see it’s still growing strong and adding jobs.” T.J. Payne, president of Burton Signworks, said during the program, “We are growing … We’re excited about the future." He said he was thankful for the grant. “It’s been great, and it’s worked out really well,” Payne said. The annex will now be used for production of channel letters and awnings, Payne said. The move will free up 10,000 feet of space at the business’s main building on Junction Street for production of larger items, according to David Shirley, general manager of Burton Signworks. The building on Riverside, which was formerly used by Cross Creek Apparel, had been vacant for around three years, according to Todd Surratt, one of the building’s owners. Around one-third of the 207,000-square-foot building is leased now, he said. Tucker said expansions into existing facilities help maintain taxable value of property and keep businesses from decaying and becoming an eyesore in the community. He said an industrial facility is like a live animal; it has to be maintained or it will die. Tucker said of the grant, “It’s a good use of money. It puts taxable equipment and real property back on the books.” Other officials delivered remarks at the program before Mayor Deborah Cochran performed the ribbon cutting. Betty Ann Collins, president of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said the project should be an example for other businesses in the community. “This investment has put life back into this facility,” she remarked. Cochran thanked the company for the jobs it created. She said, “It encourages me when I am in the presence of a company who is not satisfied to merely compete for business, but is willing to take bold action to lead their industry.” Burton Signworks now employees around 70 people, Shirley said, and plans to hire more people in the future. He said the company, which has been around for more than 30 years, has grown significantly in the past few years, from 27 employees five years ago to 70 now. The business is now becoming a national company.
Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories will receive an award from Lynn Douthett, N.C. district director for the Small Business Administration, during her visit to its factory in Mount Airy next week. The award will recognize Leonard and its CEO, David O'Neal, for job creation and economic development, accomplished with the help of SBA counseling and assistance, according to an announcement of the event. Douthett will present the award at Leonard on June 15. Leonard currently employs about 310 people, a 22 percent increase since 2009, a year when retail sales for the firm fell by 30 percent. With guidance from the SBA, the company designed and implemented a new "rent-to-own" business model that allowed it to expand product lines and increase sales. The new strategy was funded by a $1 million SBA-guaranteed loan from Surrey Bank & Trust (OTC: SRYB), one of the most active SBA lenders in the Triad. John Canosa, vice president at Surrey Bank, will also receive an award at the ceremony.
It’s no secret that Mount Airy is officially known as Mayberry, U.S.A. and now thanks to a contest by Rand McNally and USA TODAY, the city may soon have the distinction of being the friendliest town in America. Within the next two weeks a panel from Rand McNally and USA TODAY will be visiting Mount Airy to see how it stacks up compared to the five other towns in the running. Mount Airy will be competing against Walla, Wash., Valdosta, Ga., Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Woodward, Okla., and Nacogdoches, Texas. On June 23, as part of the Best of the Road Rally sponsored by Rand McNally and USA TODAY, five teams of travelers hit the road from New York City. They will end up in Los Angeles on July 15. Along the way, each team will visit six towns in an assigned category — most beautiful, most patriotic, friendliest, most fun and best for food — as well as points of interest along the way. At the end of the rally, a panel of travel experts from Rand McNally and USA TODAY will determine which team will win first place and $100,000. To help Mount Airy win the Internet voting part of the contest, links were sent out from the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce so that locals would spread the word to vote for Mount Airy. When that portion of the contest ended recently, Mount Airy received 142 votes for the friendliest town and four votes for the most beautiful town. The number of reviews and the nature of the reviews are posted on www.bestoftheroad.com. Jessica Icenhour, director of tourism with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, said even being named to the top six friendliest towns in America will certainly boost tourism to the area. “It is great publicity that Mount Airy was selected as one of the finalists as the top six friendliest towns. This type of publicity will bring many people into our town as this selection has come through some powerful media including USA TODAY and Rand McNally for the Best of the Road contest,” said Icenhour. Having Mount Airy nominated for the contest came as no surprise to Icenhour. “Visitors that come into the Mount Airy Visitors Center always comment about how friendly our town is and how the people are real and genuine. Mount Airy is not only known as the Granite City and Mayberry but is considered by many as America’s favorite small town because of the friendliness of the people. Visitors also comment on our quality of life and assets such as a thriving downtown full of weekly visitors and tourists,” said Icenhour. Icenhour said one of the Road Rally teams came into the Mount Airy Visitors Center while on their trek across America. “They mentioned that they could not believe how friendly the town was and how welcoming everybody was. They said this was a destination for visitors and guests to come and feel welcome. They also mentioned what gracious hospitality they received while here in town,” said Icenhour. As part of the promotion, those who made the top six list in any category as Mount Airy has will be featured in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas. “Being selected as one of the top friendliest towns will also put us on the atlas which will also be beneficial to Mount Airy in the future as well,” Icenhour said. “This type of publicity will bring more visitors into our area that will stay longer and spend more money and impact our local economy in a positive way.” The winner will be picked on June 22.
Midwest-CBK, Inc. has sold the 416,007 square foot single-story industrial facility on 37.4 acres at 300 Candle Wycke Lane in Elkin, NC, 35 miles north of I-40 in Statesville, NC and 53 miles south of I-81 in Wytheville, VA.The transaction was handled by Doug Faris, Senior Vice President, Realty Group South for Binswanger. As citybiz real estate reported in April, Pittsburgh Glass will ramp up production at the site in 2012, and invest more than $85 million into setting up its North American manufacturing hub in Elkin. The facility will be used to make automotive glass products. It will bring more than 260 jobs to the area and is one of the largest recent economic development projects in Surry County. The asset overlooks the intersection of I-77 and US Highway 21.
Work to be completed over 8 year period
Mount Airy, NC /PRNewswire/ -- Pike Electric Corporation (NYSE: PIKE ), a leading national energy solutions provider, announced today that SCANA Corporation has awarded Pike an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for approximately 250 miles of new 230kV transmission lines associated with the expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina.
These lines will support the two nuclear power units being added by South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G), principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG), and the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper), a state-owned electric and water utility in South Carolina. The new units, known as V.C. Summer 2 and 3, are scheduled for completion in 2016 and 2019. The station began commercial operation January 1, 1984 and this construction marks one of the first U.S. nuclear plants to add reactors in 20 years.
Pike's ability to provide a full portfolio of services including siting, permitting, engineering, procurement and construction was a key consideration for SCE&G in awarding the contract. In addition, because these lines will be built on existing rights-of-way, Pike's experience and safety record in working with energized lines and equipment was another factor in SCE&G's selection.
"This project demonstrates the full spectrum of energy services Pike now offers to our customers and the industry. We are extremely proud to partner with SCE&G on this landmark project," said Eric Pike, Chairman and CEO of Pike. "The engineering for this project begins immediately utilizing Pike's Charlotte office, and construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 for Unit 2 and the end of 2018 for Unit 3."
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 661,000 customers in South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 314,000 customers throughout the state. More information about SCE&G is available at www.sceg.com.
About SCANA Corporation
SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Information about SCANA Corporation and its businesses is available on the Company's Web site at www.scana.com.
About Pike Electric
Pike Electric is a leading provider of energy solutions to over 200 investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in the United States. Our comprehensive services include siting, permitting, engineering design, installation, maintenance and repair of power delivery systems, including renewable energy projects. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PIKE. For more information, visit us online at www.pike.com.
SOURCE Pike Electric Corporation
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Walden Speaks at Annual EDP Meeting