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Vice President of Diversity Affairs: Nick Harvey Jr., Lenoir County Public Schools
Staff: Laura Lee Sylvester, President
The Diversity Affairs Committee is an extension of the Chamber of Commerce that works to identify and pursue projects that will result in developing and expanding the economic prosperity of diverse businesses within Kinston and Lenoir County.
In 2013, the Chamber’s Lenoir 2020 Committee identified the need for a community lead Human Relations Committee. In 2014, the Chamber, with the help of City and County government, formed the Human Relations Council which acts independently of the Chamber. The appointed group will be responsible for promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment among our residents. As we move forward, the VP of Diversity Affairs with be the liaison between the Council and the Chamber reporting council activities to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Chamber Board may also make suggestions or inquires to the Council through the VP of Diversity Affairs.
Important links: Office of Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Institute of Minority Economic Development Resources/Networking Links North Carolina Department of Administration Latin Business Association U.S. Small Business Administration
The Woodmen of the World hosted a Business Before Hours at the Folded Napkin on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
Affordability, opportunity and diversity are what describe the residential real estate market in Kinston. There are a variety of choices ranging from unique downtown lofts, cozy neighborhoods etched in history and newly constructed family homes. This diverse housing market greatly contributes to the desire to move to Kinston, NC.
“There is something to suit everyone’s taste and price range from large single-family houses to condominiums or townhouses,” says Deborah Hood, president of the Kinston Board of Realtors. Amenities range from converted tobacco warehouse lofts with exposed brick and 14-foot ceilings to brand new homes surrounded by lush lawns.
Because the cost of living in Kinston, NC is substantially lower than the national average housing is a greater bargain than in neighboring markets. Affordable housing is especially important to two of the area’s fast-growing segments - senior citizens and retirees. Kinston’s first gated community was planned around seniors’ values on convenience and access to services and shopping.
”Kinston, NC is one of the few markets where affordable housing is so prevalent,” Hood says. “For example, one can purchase a lovely home with over 2,500 square feet in a nice neighborhood in Kinston for well under $200,000.”
Kinston’s real estate market is dynamic, Hood says. The average price for a house in Kinston, NC is $110,018 and the home turnover percentage is 19.29 percent. The percentage of residents who have lived in Kinston a long time also attests to the great cost of living found here. Sixty-one percent of residents have lived in the same house for five years. Seventy-four percent of new Kinston residents already live in the Lenoir County area and 65% already live in NC.
Kinston and Lenoir County are rich in history and cultural opportunities. From Civil War sites to museums featuring fire fighting equipment, farm equipment to art galleries, visitors and residents find plenty to do.
C.S.S. Neuse State Historic Site: Classified as one of North Carolina’s Historic Sites is the C.S.S. Neuse State Historic Site, and the Richard Caswell Memorial located in Kinston. The site is open year round and hosts various programs during the year. Admission is free. For additional information and seasonal hours, please contact: Site Manager: C.S.S Neuse Historic Site 2612 W. Vernon Avenue, PO Box 3043, Kinston, NC 28502-3043 or call 252-522-2091.
Harmony Hall: The restored home of North Carolina’s first Constitutional Governor, is open for tours, and meetings. The site includes an authentic one-room schoolhouse. For hours and additional information, please contact: Harmony Hall 109 E. King Street Kinston, NC 28501 or call 252-522-0421.
Civil War Site: Will King Memorial – 1st. Battle of Kinston.
The Caswell Center No.1 Fire Station Museum, built in 1895, contains one hundred years of the sights and sounds of firefighting in Lenoir County. It houses an extensive collection of fire fighting equipment, including a 1922 American LaFrance Pumper. Hours are: Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or by appointment for groups. Caswell No.1 Fire Station Museum 252-527-1566 or Group Appointments 252-522-4676
Heritage Place is Lenoir Community College’s genealogical research center and local history museum. For more information, phone 252-527-6223
Wilbur A. Tyndall Tractor Museum is located in Pink Hill. The Museum is available for visitors to view and learn about farm equipment. For Details, phone 252-568-3261.
Neuseway Planetarium, Nature Center and Health & Science Museum
The Community Council for the Arts, located at 400 N. Queen Street, is a non-profit organization, which brings many cultural programs to Lenoir County. The Arts Center features four galleries, which change exhibits on a six-week schedule, as well as a gallery shop that showcases artwork and gift items.
The Council sponsors exhibitions, concerts, annual competitions, as well as art, music, and dance classes. The council also provides many cultural and educational opportunities for the school children of Kinston/Lenoir County.
Rental facilities are available within the Art Center Building. For additional information, please contact the Arts Center at 252-527-2517.
For more information on area attractions contact the Kinston Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-869-0032.
Kinston and Lenoir County’s healthcare options and commitment to public safety make this community and region an ideal place to live and raise a family.
For emergencies dial 911; however; listed below you will find the number for the Administrative Offices of Law Enforcement agencies and Rescue Squads:
Lenoir Memorial Hospital is a 306 bed not-for-profit hospital consisting of 263 acute care beds, a 26-bed transitional care unit and a 17-bed inpatient rehabilitation center. LMH provides general medical, surgical, pediatric, and obstetrical-gynecological services and specialized services in cardiology, pulmonology, oncology, gastroenterology, neurology, radiology, orthopedics, urology, ophthalmology, rheumatology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, thoracic and vascular surgery, otolaryngology, and emergency medicine.
Hospital facilities include a nine-bed Family Birth Center, a modern Day Surgery Center, and a 32,000 annual visit Emergency Department which includes Express Care, a fast track for non-emergency and a Chest Pain Clinic for early heart attack identification. Hospital technology includes heart catherization, magnetic resonance imaging, lithotripsy, linear accelerator for radiation therapy, CT Scanning, laser, and laprascopic surgery. A corporate and community health program is also available through LMH to help area businesses provide wellness programs and screenings for their staff members. This service may be accessed by calling 252-522-7014.
LMH also operates a primary care practice located in nearby LaGrange, North Carolina. LMH has a medical staff of over 80 physicians, and an employee population of nearly 1,000. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of HealthCare Organizations and is a member of the Eastern Carolina Health Network. ECHN is a group of 19 hospitals in eastern N.C. that meets monthly to share information, identify opportunities for joint provision of services, and to network about ways to improve quality. Support groups for cancer, alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, prostate cancer, chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome/fibromyalgia, ostomy, and respiratory patients meet regularly at LMH. Call the Wellness Center at 252-522-7014 to find out specific support group meeting times.
For additional information about the services available at LMH, or to arrange a personal newcomers tour, please contact the Community Relations department by calling 252-522-7846. Lenoir Memorial Hospital is located at 100 Airport Road in Kinston. The LMH Cancer Center is located across the street from the hospital at 703 Doctors Drive.
The Kinston Police Department is committed to a community oriented policing style that embraces community involvement in its daily operation. The Police Department consists of three divisions: Uniform Patrol Services, Criminal Investigation, and Support Services. Special Services include: a K-9 Operation, Crime Prevention, and Victim Services, Police Community Action Team, Traffic Safety Unit, Animal Control, and the City-County Narcotics Unit. The headquarters for the Police Department is located at 205 E. King Street in the Kinston City Hall Complex. For emergencies dial 911. For further information call 252-939-3161.
The Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office is a department dedicated not only to law enforcement but also to the enforcement of orders of the court. The Sheriff’s office consists of four divisions: Civil, Criminal Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and Narcotics. Special Services include: narcotics K-9, tracking K-9, and a juvenile officer. The Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office performs the following functions: protector of life and property, security of the courts, serving the orders of the courts, transporting of mental and detox patients, transporting of prisoners, operation of the county jail, community and business patrols, criminal and narcotics investigations, countywide communications, D.A.R.E., crime prevention, jail tours for youth, lectures, speaking to civic groups, youth explorer program, issuance of handgun permits, and many other functions necessary to provide a better quality of life. The Sheriff’s Office is located in the basement of the Lenoir County Courthouse at 130 S. Queen Street with office hours 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday. For general information you may call 252-559-6121. For emergencies, you must dial 911.
The Kinston Department of Fire and Rescue responds to emergency calls involving fire, evacuations, water rescues and vehicle accidents. Full time professional fire fighters are trained in all phases of fire fighting, rescue techniques and in basic emergency medical care. To report a fire or rescue emergency, dial 911. Presently there are three fire stations in the City, which house three engine companies and one Ladder Company. The Department’s administrative offices are located in the City Hall complex. The telephone number is 252-939-3220; Fax: 252-939-3157. In addition, fire protection outside the corporate limits of Kinston is offered through eight Volunteer Fire Departments maintained by 250 volunteer firefighters. For the exact location of which Volunteer Department would service your area, you may contact the Lenoir County Fire Marshal at 252-559-6125.
There are several day care centers, which are privately run in Kinston. A listing of these may be found in the classified pages of the telephone directory or by contacting the Kinston-Lenoir Chamber of Commerce at 252-527-1131.
The Lenoir County Health Department is located at 201 N. McLewean Street in Kinston, NC 28501. It is staffed by a variety of public health professionals and support staff who provide a well-rounded program of preventative health care, environmental control and rabies control. Services available include: immunizations, diagnosis, and treatment of communicable diseases, women’s health, WIC, well-child care and environmental health. Clinics are regularly conducted in pediatrics, maternity care, family planning, and communicable disease control for the treatment of STD and TB. Health education, promotion of risk reduction behavior, and vital statistics information are also available. Staff can make referrals to other service providers as needed. For additional information, please contact the Health Department at 252-526-4200.
There are several licensed nursing homes in Kinston and Lenoir County. Information may be obtained from the Lenoir County Department of Social Services (252-559-6400) or from the yellow pages of your telephone directory.
Mental Health Services The Lenoir County Mental Health Center, located at 2901 N. Heritage Street in Kinston, provides comprehensive services for problems arising at all stages of human development. The telephone number is 252-527-7086.
Recently, veteran online marketersÂ Erick GossÂ andÂ Corey Cleek,Â spoke about the idea of “the wisdom of crowds.”
The concept comes from aÂ bookÂ of the same name by New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki. Basically stated, the theory is that “large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant.” Need real-life proof? Of the three “lifelines” on the game showÂ Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the one that’s most often correct is the option that lets the contestant poll the audience for help.
But how about social media proof? Simple–it’s all around us. Crowd wisdom can help you buy the right toaster onÂ Amazon, find new movies atÂ NetflixÂ and pick a restaurant atÂ Yelp. As the crowd sends out its daily headlines and news links onÂ FacebookÂ andÂ Twitter, the collective wave can clue us in — in real time — to what’s important that day.
Is it time to get in on the conversation? Never before have there been more opportunities for organizations to hear from their audience, and never has it been more important to know what those people are saying. For better or worse, your crowd is already talking about you. Tap into their wisdom and you’re bound to learn something worthwhile.
Lenoir County boasts a diverse economic base, with a healthy mix of large and small manufacturers and a strong foundation of small businesses, tourism and agriculture. The vibrant downtown areas in Kinston, Pink Hill and LaGrange feature one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and services, and a wealth of businesses are located in commercial centers throughout the county, including Vernon Park Mall, the Shops of Frenchmanâs Creek, downtown Kinston, Herritage Landing and Kinston Plaza.
âSmall business growth is the backbone of our country, and we recognize that here,â says Laura Lee Sylvester, president of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce.
Big business also plays a key role in the countyâs economy, and major employers such as Electrolux Home Products, Lenox China, MasterBrand Cabinets, Associated Materials, Hillco LTD, Smithfield Foods, West Pharmaceutical Services and many others call Lenoir County home.
Suppliers and Demand
Spirit AeroSystems â the worldâs largest independent supplier of commercial airplane assemblies and components â began production in July 2010 at its new, $570.5 million design and manufacturing facility at the Global TransPark near Kinston. The 500,000-square-foot plant plans to employ about 250 workers by the end of 2010, and it plans to hire another 800 within five years.
Sanderson Farms, the nationâs fourth largest poultry processing company, is also moving into Lenoir County. The Mississippi-based food producer is investing $126.5 million in the county to build a poultry processing plant, feed mill and hatchery in Kinston, which will create about 1,500 jobs. The plant is scheduled to open for operation in January 2011.
MasterBrand Cabinets, one of the countyâs major employers, recently announced that 334 new jobs will be created in the next three years. The growth â spurred by the introduction of a new product line that will be released in fall 2010 â will more than double the facilityâs workforce, which now stands at 200.
Cutting Edge of Commerce
The North Carolina Global TransPark near Kinston is a 2,500-acre industrial park offering access to air, rail, highways and the stateâs two international ports. The GTP has a pro-business climate aimed at growing the aerospace, logistics, manufacturing, emergency services, defense contracting and supporting industries. Located midway between New York and Miami, itâs in an ideal commercial location. Visit www.ncgtp.com for more information.
With Lenoir Countyâs rich Civil War history, bluegrass roots, African-American heritage, performing arts venues, outdoor recreational and sports attractions, tourism is another major economic engine for the county. Restaurants, shops, hotels and other services benefit from the visitors who flock to the county to experience its scenic beauty, Southern charm and diverse attractions.
Connected to the Land
Agriculture continues to play a significant role in the economic development of Lenoir County. Approximately 68 percent of the total countyâs personal income consists of some type of agricultural production or service â not including agribusiness such as chemical sales or agricultural supplies â and farm employment is responsible for 66 percent of the workforce, says Tammy Kelly, county extension director for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Lenoir County ranks ninth in the state in tobacco and cotton production, and itâs among the top 20 counties for production of corn, soybeans and wheat.
The Lenoir County Farmers Market draws increasingly large crowds each year with its locally grown produce, prepared foods, flowers, crafts and more. The farmers market, located at 100 North Herritage St., was recently upgraded with new paint, landscaping and other improvements for the 2010 season. Visit www.lenoir.ces.ncsu.edu for more information.
Biofuels industry announced
Project Eastern Gain is an initiative by the MGTF (Military Growth Task Force), the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and other partners to build a large scale biofuels industry in eastern North Carolina. Initially, this project will work with industry and agriculture to satisfy regional military needs for renewable fuels, then other public and private transportation needs across the region. Â Visit on-line at www.nceastmgtf.org for more information.
Kinstonians show off talents for Crimestoppers event, National Night Out
On Tuesday, August 3rd, some of Kinstonâs most talented performers graced the stage of the Kinston-Lenoir County Performing Arts Center for the second annual Kinston All-America City Got Talent Showcase.Â The event, which served as a fundraiser for Lenoir County Crimestoppers, was held in conjunction with National Night Out, an annual nationwide tradition in which local residents can interact with police officers and other emergency responders. Pride of Kinston was a co-sponsor of the talent showcase, along with Sammy C. Photography, the Kinston-Lenoir County Tourism Development Authority and others.
Dancer brings smiles to elderly
Aliza Matthews, Carolina Princess for Kelsey Holmes, 2010 Kinston-Lenoir County Outstanding Teen, the Kinston 8-year-old is making a lot of people smile these days. She has performed with Holmes to entertain the residents at Kinston Rehabilitation Center. Matthews has taken it on herself to visit more local care giving facilities, and at times recruits friends to perform with her. Sheâs been to Britthaven in La Grange, Spring Arbor and plans to visit Britthaven in Kinston.
Goodyâs Family Clothing Store interviews for positions, July 25, 2010
Administrators with Goodyâs Family Clothing visited Lenoir Community College Monday July 26th to conduct job interviews in preparation of bringing the national department store chain back to Vernon Park Mall in September.Â Positions the company looks to fill include store manager, assistant managers, part-time sales associates and part-time custodian/receiving associate. According to the Stage Stores Inc. website, associates âreport to workâ date is set for Monday, Aug. 23 and the grand opening date of the store is scheduled for Sept. 1.
Mission garden helps feed the community
On Tuesday, July 27th, members of First Presbyterian Churchâs Mission and Outreach Committee dedicated their community garden project. The Mission Gardenâs purpose is to help feed hungry people in the community by providing fresh, nutritious vegetables through ICOR, Maryâs Kitchen, the Homeless Shelter, Six Churches Plaza, etc. The vision is a tangible expression of the churchâs mission, âsharing Godâs love as we grow in faith.â
Kinston area represented at international air show, July 19, 2010Â
Representatives of the Global TransPark, local companies and economic development agencies traveled to England
Local Farmers learn benefits of plastic, drip irrigation
T. C. Smith Produce Farms Inc., located in Lenoir County, NC, was the host farm for Introduction to Plasticulture I on June 15. Farmers were given information on water use in plasticulture, a drip tape demonstration, information on fertilization through drip irrigation, demonstration on fertilizer solubility and information on tissue sampling and analysis. The workshop was sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service Agronomic Division, with funding from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund. Walter Adams, the Agricultural and National Resource technician for the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Service, organized the workshop.
The Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce has been serving Kinston and Lenoir County since 1911. The Chamber acts as a voice and advocate for the community regarding economic, community and government issues and represents Kinston and Lenoir County as a great place to live, work and play.