ROCKINGHAM – In its first gathering following last week’s local elections, the Rockingham City Council held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
Newly re-elected mayor Steve Morris called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. And the invocation was led by Rev. Mark Shular, Pastor of Highland Acres Church of God.
The consent agenda, including minutes from the October meeting and the tax collectors report was reviewed and approved unanimously by the board. The planning board had no items to report this month.
One of the top agenda items was the 2017 Annual Report of the Rockingham Housing Authority, which was presented by RHA Executive Director Chereka Belton.
“The Rockingham Housing Authority Housing Choice Voucher Program is considered a high performing program,” Belton noted in her presentation. “We received that designation this year and it is the highest agency rank awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Belton also said RHA has been awarded the AmeriCorps Grant through the NC Commission of Volunteerism and Community Service. This grant provides funding to RHA, the City of Rockingham and Richmond County to provide economic development opportunities for low income citizens.
“As you can see from the copy of the annual report you received we had a very good year this year,” Belton concluded. “We are looking forward to the future, we could not have done all this without the support of you all, the City of Rockingham, and all of the other agencies and organizations we worked with throughout the year.”
As Belton was returning to her seat, Monty Crump, City Manager said that Belton, “inherited a less than ideal situation and you’ve done an extraordinarily good job, you and your board.”
Morris then called for business by visitors. There was none.
In business by the city manager, Crump discussed a project in the works for removal of Midway Dam. This dam is owned by Cascades and is the last dam on Hitchcock Creek.
“We’ve made very good progress in discussions with Cascades’ corporate offices,” Crump commented. “We are really close to having an agreement in place to remove the dam.”
The goal is to allow the natural flow of the creek to open up additional fish passage. Hitchcock Creek would then flow freely all the way from Roberdel to the Pee Dee River.
“We will use a third-party company, Resource Institute, to work on getting grants with American Rivers,” Crump said about once an agreement is reached with Cascades. “There are so many beneficial uses with a dam removed: historical fish passage, aquatic habitat, and in our case we will use for recreation and eco-tourism.”
During comments by council and the mayor, there were congratulations offered to the three council members and the mayor on their re-election, as well as thanks to the public from newly re-elected council members Anne Edwards, Gene Willard and Denise Sullivan and Morris. Morris gave a reminder that the annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on November 28 at 7 p.m. on the grounds of Cole Plaza.
Kristina Leyden, CEO of Richmond County Hospice, speaks to the city council.
A proclamation brought on behalf of the Mayor and City Council was read by Morris proclaiming November as “Hospice & Palliative Care Month”. In the proclamation, it was noted that 2017 is the 32nd anniversary of the Richmond County Hospice Unit and that this year they are celebrating the 6,000 patients they have had the honor of serving. This year’s national theme is “It’s about how you live” and the proclamation noted each year 1.5 million Americans receive care form Hospice programs with 400,000 volunteers contributing 20 million hours of service annually.
Kristina Leyden, CEO of Richmond County Hospice was on hand to accept the proclamation and gave remarks on the designation.
“It is about living,” Leyden commented. “We talk a lot about how we’re there to help people have a better quality of life in their last couple of days, weeks, months sometimes year. We try to make that the best we can for their families and for that patient. It’s about their life and that’s what we’re here to celebrate, their life.”
A new program started this year, is called “Last Wish”.
“I have a nurse and social worker right now doing the mountains and the parkways in Asheville with a patient for their last wish,” Leyden said of the program. “So many people think you go to Hospice Haven to die. At Hospice Haven, we get people to come there and we get their symptoms better and they get to go home. A lot of the patients do get to go home.”
The meeting ended with Morris mentioning the recent Veteran’s Day Parade and celebration and how it had grown significantly from last year. Morris then adjourned the meeting.
For additional details about this meeting please contact Rockingham City Hall at (910) 997-5546.