OPEI Newsletter - September 29, 2022

Posted in: Madison Park

Dear Friends, 


I hope my message finds you and your family healthy and well.

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!

Hispanic Heritage Month started September 15th and continues until October 15th. This month is a time to appreciate and celebrate the rich history, colorful culture, and diversity of the Hispanic and Latinx Communities while also recognizing these communities’ contributions to the greater good of North Carolina. This year's theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.

Governor Cooper is committed to uplifting and supporting the inclusion and equitable access of resources for our diverse Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx communities, which represent an important and growing demographic in North Carolina. In 2017, Gov. Cooper signed Executive Order No. 23, establishing the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino/Latinx Affairs to advise the Governor on issues related to the Hispanic, Latino and Latinx population and how North Carolina can better support the communities.

“Thanks to the countless contributions from generations of Hispanic, Latino and Latinx people, our state is a stronger place to live and work,” Governor Cooper said. “As we celebrate their achievements, we must continue working to make North Carolina more just and equitable for all.” Join the Office of Governor Cooper as we celebrate the Hispanic and Latinx Communities and strive towards a more inclusive state.

Please share our newsletter so your friends and family can stay up to date with the latest news, information, and resources relevant to the Cooper Administration. 


Emma Hubacher


Office of the Governor


Governor Cooper Signs 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation



In preparation for 2022's hurricane season, gather some emergency supplies or refresh your emergency kit. 

The Governor and state officials advise these additional tips to make sure people are personally prepared:

  • Have multiple ways to receive emergency information, including watches and warnings. Make sure emergency alerts are enabled on a cell phone and download a weather app.
  • Have an emergency plan. Know where to go if there’s a need to evacuate. Make a plan to stay with family, friends or at a hotel. Public shelters should be a last resort.
  • If people live at the coast, be aware if you live in a coastal evacuation zone. Visit KnowYourZone.nc.gov to see if you are located in a pre-determined evacuation zone. Learn your zone and listen for it if evacuations are ordered by local governments.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th.


Governor Cooper Honors UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team,

the 2022 NCAA National Champions

UNC Women's Lacrosse Team finished the season undefeated.

Governor Roy Cooper honored the University of North Carolina Women’s Lacrosse Team on winning the 2022 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship on September 26th.

“This Tar Heel team showed an amazing never say die determination in their run to the NCAA National Women’s Lacrosse Championship,” said Governor Cooper. “Coach Levy and her team deserve high praise and I’m proud to give them this special recognition today.”

“Our women’s lacrosse team has achieved incredible victories and cemented their legacy in Carolina athletics,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. “We are grateful to the governor for this honor and I want to congratulate Coach Jenny Levy and the entire team on an amazing season.”

“What an honor it is to be able to visit the Governor’s mansion to celebrate our team’s remarkable 2022 season,” said UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team Head Coach Jenny Levy.

“Playing for North Carolina is a privilege our student-athletes do not take for granted, and we’re so proud of their accomplishments on the field, in the classroom and their contributions to our community. We’re extremely grateful to Governor Roy Cooper and his staff for making this such a special, memorable occasion for us.”

At the event, the Governor signed a proclamation proclaiming September 26 as a day in recognition of the 2022 UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team. Event attendees included the UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team, UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team Head Coach Jenny Levy, UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and middle school and high school lacrosse teams from across the state.

The UNC Women’s Lacrosse Team finished the season undefeated with a winning record of 22-0, making them the first undefeated national champion since 2017 and setting a school record for wins. This is the team’s third national title in program history, including wins in 2013 and 2016. UNC Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Jenny Levy has been the head coach since the team’s inception in 1994.


Governor Cooper Tours Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina 

September is hunger action month. This initiative's goal is to help inspire people to take action and raise awareness and help people experiencing food insecurity.

Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper took part in hunger action month on Friday, September 23rd. They toured the facility and the growing garden on the food bank's campus full of fresh produce, before heading inside to help volunteers with sorting sweet potatoes

Governor Cooper said 12% of North Carolinas population cannot count on a good meal everyday.

"1 in 6 of those people are children. That is unacceptable. We have a lot of work to do, our Department of Health and Human Services is working to administer several programs that help people," said Cooper.

Governor Cooper said they encourage people and programs that help teach people how to grow their own foods.

Jennifer Caslin with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina said over the summer they served over 300,000 kids in the area who needed a meal during the day.

She said inflation has hit them just like everyone else, but has high hopes as the move into the fall and winter months.

"We've seen you know a little bit of a dip and donations in terms of the larger donations but overall we've been very lucky and 97,000,000 tons of food last year so it's still coming in it may be a little slower than it was before," said Caslin.

The Office of the Governor encourages people to sign up to donate or volunteer on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina's website.


Governor Cooper Highlights $13.2 Million Investment to Create Water Distribution System in Ivanhoe

North Carolina is investing $2.3 billion in water infrastructure.

 On September 27th, Governor Roy Cooper highlighted the $13.2 million water infrastructure grant that Sampson County is receiving to provide water system connections for the community of Ivanhoe.

“All North Carolinians deserve safe and clean drinking water,” said Governor Cooper. “This investment will help families and business owners in Ivanhoe have confidence that this community will continue to grow and thrive.”

“DEQ created a funding opportunity, but it was the residents of Ivanhoe who saw how this grant could change their lives and organized to petition the county to apply,” said NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “This is a terrific example of the community and the county working together to achieve transformative change.”

Currently, Ivanhoe does not have a water distribution system. This investment will provide Sampson County with $13,283,000 to design and construct a new public water supply system in the Ivanhoe area. The water supply system will create 40 miles of new water lines, connect over 350 homes and includes the connection fees for each home.

In July, the Governor announced $789.4 million in water and wastewater infrastructure funding to help pay for 385 projects statewide, including 140 construction projects. To date, 86 counties are receiving funds to upgrade their water infrastructure. The funding comes from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, state reserve funds and state budget allocations.

The application period for the next round of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects, which will include the first ARPA stormwater funding, closes today, September 30th


Governor Cooper Calls on General Assembly to Waive State Income Taxes on Student Loan Forgiveness

Legislators waived taxes on business loans; working people deserve the same treatment.

Governor Roy Cooper has called on Republican legislators to waive state income taxes on student loans that have been forgiven. The General Assembly passed legislation to ensure that North Carolinians did not have to pay income tax on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that were forgiven. Not only did they forgive the income tax, the General Assembly allowed entities that received PPP loans to deduct expenses paid with the forgiven loans, which essentially gave them a double benefit. Some legislators themselves benefitted from this relief but they have yet to extend any relief to hardworking families who are now facing an unexpected tax hit from the state.

“Legislative leaders need to find a solution that treats student loan forgiveness the same way they handled the PPP loan forgiveness that many of them received,” said Governor Cooper. “Republican legislators were quick to help businesses and should now fix this fundamental unfairness for many hardworking people who will get hit hard by this.”

Under the federal program, individuals making less than $125,000 in annual income will be eligible for student loan forgiveness up to $10,000. The amount increases to $20,000 for individuals who received a Pell Grant.

The White House has stated that student loan forgiveness will not be subject to federal income tax due to the student loan exception contained in Section 108(f)(5) of the Internal Revenue Code. As part of the American Rescue Plan, Congress enacted Section 108(f)(5) to expand the types of student loan forgiveness that would not be treated as taxable income for purposes of federal income tax. The General Assembly has failed to follow those same provisions for the North Carolina state income tax, causing student loan forgiveness to currently be treated as taxable income in North Carolina.

Read more here.




Governor Cooper Proclaims September 26 – 30 as North Carolina Clean Energy Week

Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed September 26 – 30, 2022 as North Carolina Clean Energy Week to highlight the work the state is doing to advance clean energy.

“North Carolina is leading the way in the transition toward a clean energy future,” said Governor Cooper. “We’re taking bold action to create new clean energy jobs that will boost our economy as we tackle climate change to help save our planet.”

Governor Cooper’s administration is focused on transitioning the state to a clean energy economy. In January, the Governor signed Executive Order No. 246 which laid out the next steps to transition North Carolina to a clean energy economy while centering environmental justice and creating economic opportunities across the state.

Executive Order No. 246 takes steps to emphasize environmental justice and equity in the state’s transition to a clean energy economy. The Governor’s Office is currently developing its Deep Decarbonization Pathways Analysis. The NC Department of Transportation is developing its Clean Transportation Plan. Every cabinet agency has designated an environmental justice lead and is utilizing agency public participation plans to enhance transparency and encourage engagement with communities historically left out of the participatory process.

The Governor’s Executive Order No. 246 expanded upon long-standing climate leadership, including Executive Order No. 80 signed in 2018. Executive Order No. 80 highlighted the state’s commitment to fight climate change and took action to reduce emissions and transition to clean energy. In June 2021, Governor Cooper issued Executive Order No. 218 which established offshore wind development goals. The Governor signed House Bill 951: Energy Solutions for North Carolina in October 2021, and the Utilities Commission is currently working to craft its plan along with nearly 40 participating parties.

These actions are making North Carolina less dependent on fossil fuels, bringing new high paying jobs to the state and helping remedy disproportionate environmental, economic, and health impacts on people of color, low-income communities and indigenous communities.


Governor Cooper Attends Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow Club, Highlights North Carolina’s Golf Industry

2022 Presidents Cup will have an economic impact of over $175 million for the region.

Governor Roy Cooper attended The Presidents Cup golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte on Thursday, September 22nd. This is the first time the tournament has ever been hosted in the Southeastern United States. The economic impact from the 2022 Presidents Cup will be over $175 million for the region.

“North Carolina’s history and tradition in golf is second to none and it’s fitting that the first Presidents Cup to be held in the Southeastern United States is being played right here in Charlotte,” Governor Cooper said. “Hosting this prestigious event and others like it will benefit our economy and be a showcase to the world for Charlotte and all of North Carolina."

The 2022 Presidents Cup is the largest in PGA TOUR history. This year’s event is experiencing record sales compared to previous Presidents Cups. On Wednesday, the Presidents Cup announced the 2022 event’s overall charitable contribution of $2 million, with the majority directed to local Charlotte-based non-profit organizations, including the Charlotte Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative, the Augustine Literacy Project, Charlotte Family Housing, NXT/CLT and Renaissance West Community.

The Presidents Cup is just the latest significant golf event being celebrated in North Carolina. In July, Governor Cooper, the US Golf Association and World Golf Hall of Fame announced the World Golf Hall of Fame will be moved to Pinehurst, investing $25 million and bringing 50 full time USGA staff members to the area. The U.S. Open will return to Pinehurst in 2024, and Pinehurst will host four more U.S. Open Championships between 2024 and 2047. In June, the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open was held at Pine Needles Lodge.

North Carolina is home to 520 golf courses, and golf is represented in nearly every county in the state. According to a 2017 study, golf generated $2.3 billion in direct spending and a total economic impact of $4.2 billion in North Carolina, including nearly 53,000 jobs and total wage income of $1.3 billion.

The Presidents Cup began in 1994 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Prince William County, Virginia. Held every two years, it is a competition between the U.S. team and international teams. The United States has won 11 of the 13 Presidents Cups. President Joe Biden is the Honorary Chairman of the 2022 Presidents Cup, and the event has a long-standing tradition of hosting world leaders.


Governor Cooper Tours Martin Millennium Academy in Tarboro and Delivers Governor’s School Supply Drive Donations

Edgecombe Early College High School Scholar Teachers Program is Training High School Students to Become Edgecombe County Teachers Upon College Graduation.

Governor Roy Cooper toured Martin Millennium Academy in Edgecombe County and delivered supplies collected from the Governor’s School Supply Drive on Tuesday, September 20th. The Governor also visited the classroom of a teacher who graduated from the Edgecombe Early College High School (EECHS) Scholar Teachers Program.

“It’s so encouraging to see how great teachers can inspire students to become great teachers themselves,” said Governor Cooper. “The Edgecombe Early College High School Scholar Teachers Program is a shining example of making becoming a teacher easier and more affordable.”

“It is an honor to host Governor Cooper at Martin Millennium Academy. We are grateful for the generous donation of supplies that will help our scholars as they work towards incredible growth this school year,” said Martin Millennium Academy Principal Kelly Ann Mudd. “At MMA, we are anchored in the belief that we must first and always lead with love and we each have a responsibility to foster space to succeed. Governor Cooper's donation and giving of time is very much in the MMA Trailblazer spirit of leading with love and providing supplies and opportunities to succeed.”

The Governor dropped off supplies and visited several Martin Millennium Academy classrooms to meet with students, educators and support staff. He thanked them for their dedication to helping students learn and grow.

Governor Cooper first held the Governor’s Annual School Supply Drive in 2017 to provide school supplies to help support families, schools and communities across the state. It is held in partnership with the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), Communities In Schools of North Carolina and TeachNC. Governor Cooper’s cabinet members and volunteers with Communities In Schools of North Carolina and VolunteerNC are helping to distribute the supplies to public schools across North Carolina. Paper, pens, pencils, notebooks and sanitizing wipes are among the supplies that are being delivered to schools across the state as part of the annual drive.


The Edgecombe Early College High School (EECHS) Scholar Teachers Program provides Edgecombe County High School students who desire to become teachers with an advanced preparatory program. The Scholar Teachers program is building capacity in Edgecombe County to recruit highly qualified high school students into the teaching profession and employ and retain them in Edgecombe County upon graduation from college. The first cohort of the Scholar Teachers Program began teaching at Edgecombe County Schools this year. The Scholar Teachers Program aligns with several of the recommendations from the Governor’s Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education (DRIVE) Task Force to increase the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of North Carolina’s educator workforce.


101 North Carolina Small Businesses Win Grants to Build Next-Generation Technologies

Largest and most geographically diverse cohort of award winners in the latest round of One North Carolina Small Business Program grants.

The North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation announced today that 101 North Carolina small businesses have received 117 grants to advance the commercialization of innovative new technologies. The One North Carolina Small Business Program awarded a total of $4.95 million to innovative companies in 22 counties across the state.

“Support for early-stage technology companies pays off in better jobs, more investment, and new ways to make our state a great place to live and do business,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These small businesses are tackling society’s most pressing challenges in many areas, including the life sciences, defense, and clean energy. Innovative small companies drive growth and competition, keeping our economy healthy and quality of life high.”

The One North Carolina Small Business Program, established in 2005, provides state grants to companies that are pursuing or have won federal awards through two highly competitive federal programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These federal programs, referred to as America’s Seed Fund,™ support small businesses that are developing technologies with a high potential for commercialization. The SBIR and STTR programs are the single largest source of early-stage technology development and commercialization funding for small businesses—more than $3.7 billion annually nationwide.

“Innovation drives our economy forward, and small businesses are the very best incubators of innovation,” said North Carolina Commence Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The One North Carolina Small Business Program has supported the state’s small technology businesses for many years and I’m proud we’ve been able to extend the program’s reach and boost the number of small companies engaged with the program.”

Two types of state grants were awarded during the new funding round, Incentive grants and Matching grants.


Read more here. 


Governor Cooper Appoints Department of Adult Correction Secretary

On Thursday, September 22nd, Governor Roy Cooper appointed Todd Ishee to lead the newly created Department of Adult Correction. The Department was formed as a stand alone Cabinet Agency in the 2021-2023 budget that was passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor in November of last year.

“Todd Ishee brings decades of knowledge and experience to this role and I am confident in his ability to stand up and lead this new Department,” said Governor Cooper. “He is a nationally sought after leader and I am grateful for his willingness to serve as Secretary here in North Carolina and continue his critical work in our corrections system.”

“I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of North Carolina and lead this new agency. Our state’s corrections system is essential to not only keeping our state safe, but to help people move beyond their mistakes and live meaningful lives when they reenter our communities,” said Ishee.

Ishee brings more than 30 years of correctional experience to his new role as Secretary. He most recently served as North Carolina’s Commissioner of Prisons within the Department of Public Safety. He previously served as the Deputy Director for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s Office of Reentry and Enterprise Development. He started his career in corrections as a correctional officer and took on increasingly more supervisory roles, eventually serving as a region director, warden, security administrator, and operations chief. He has provided oversight of prison security, unit management, violence reduction, security threat groups and is a trained evaluator of all aspects of institutional security operations.

Ishee is a certified U.S. Department of Justice auditor for the Prison Rape Elimination Act and a certified auditor for the American Correctional Association (ACA). He has provided technical assistance to the National Institute of Corrections as an instructor for management of violent, high-risk offenders housed in the highest security level. He is a national and international presenter on a variety of correctional topics, including reducing the effects of solitary confinement, the importance of providing viable reentry opportunities for offenders and prison reform. Ishee received his bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Malone University.

Though Ishee was recruited in August to lead a national correctional organization, he will remain in North Carolina to start his new role as Secretary on October 3rd


Medical Sterilizing Company to Build a Major Facility in Burlington with a $60 Million Investment

SteriTek, a contract sterilizer, will create 50 new jobs in Alamance County, Governor Roy Cooper announced on Monday, September 19th. The company will invest $59.9 million to build an East Coast sterilization facility in Burlington.

“SteriTek’s new facility in Alamance County is a great addition to our already thriving biotechnology and life sciences industry,” said Governor Cooper. “Companies value our central location, skilled talent, and thriving life science ecosystem as they execute their strategies here in North Carolina.”

Using electron beam and X-ray systems for sterilization, SteriTek supports the medical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and tissue industries. From research and development to validation, the California-based company offers turnkey processing services with a proprietary system for sterilizing high-volumes of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, human tissues, and other complex products both safely and with efficacy. The new location in Burlington will increase SteriTek’s sterilization capacity to meet the industry’s increased demand with four E-beam machines and one X-ray system in a 125,000 square-foot facility.

“SteriTek is excited to offer contract sterilization services to the medical device and pharma communities in the state of North Carolina.” said Larry Nichols, CEO of SteriTek. “We are purchasing extra land next to our facility to attract life science companies to open facilities near a sterilizer.

Read the full press release here


SunTree Snack Foods Selects Wayne County for East Coast Operations

SunTree Snack Foods will create 94 new jobs in Wayne County, Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday, September 15th. The company will invest $10.1 million to establish an East Coast manufacturing site in Goldsboro.

“SunTree Snacks has made a great decision to establish an East Coast headquarters in Wayne County,” said Governor Cooper. “Our quality of life, affordability, and manufacturing workforce continues to attract businesses from across the globe.”

SunTree has an industry-leading reputation for innovation and commercializing new on-trend snack nuts, trail mix, and other better-for-you products for national and regional retailers, with a focus on its customers’ private labels and store brands. SunTree’s new facility in Wayne County will increase its manufacturing capacity and its national footprint, allowing it to deliver additional products and serve new customers while creating new jobs in the Goldsboro area.

"We are so pleased to be working with Governor Cooper and the state of North Carolina to establish this new facility in Goldsboro and offer high-quality jobs to so many talented and capable North Carolinians," said Jeff Vogel, CEO of SunTree Snack Foods. "The addition of this East Coast facility will allow us to efficiently serve the eastern U.S. distribution centers for national and regional retailers, and the expanded capacity will reduce lead times for our customers and minimize the ecological impact of long-haul shipping. We look forward to continuing our company's growth and partnership with the state as we expand our market share in this geographic area."

“North Carolina’s $90 billion agricultural economy is deeply rooted in our bountiful food processing industry and access to more than 170 million customers,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “When companies are ready to expand, they want to operate in places where they are centrally located and have access to a pipeline of skilled talent.”


NCDHHS to Extend Grant Program Supporting Early Care and Learning Teacher Pay

“These NC Child Care Stabilization Grants are supporting our state’s childcare programs and early childhood educators while providing parents with the time and flexibility to obtain good-paying jobs”

– Governor Cooper via official Twitter page

Grant support to boost compensation for North Carolina’s early care and learning teachers and staff will continue through December 2023, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced on September 13th.

Since October 2021, the NCDHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education has distributed $655 million in Child Care Stabilization Grants to 4,247 child care centers and family child care homes across the state. Funded by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, the grants have helped North Carolina’s long under-paid child care programs begin to rebound from pandemic-driven business losses and expenses and compete in the tight job market. With the funding running out and programs still struggling, DCDEE will use about $150 million in discretionary ARPA funding allocated for workforce initiatives to continue one component of the grants – compensation supports, which have helped to boost teacher pay and benefits. However, the compensation support grants will not be large enough to fully replace the stabilization grants funding.

"This extension of compensation grants is another important step toward recognizing the crucial work of early educators and helping child care programs stay open for the families who count on them," said Susan Gale Perry, NCDHHS Chief Deputy Secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being. "At the same time, we can’t rely on temporary solutions; we need long-term investment to strengthen the early care and learning workforce and ensure access to high quality care. This workforce is fundamental to our economy and foundational to the well-being of children and families."

To learn more and apply for North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants, visit ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov/Stabilization-Grants.

To learn more about the value of the state’s early care and learning network, visit Raise North Carolina at RaiseNC.nc.gov.



North Carolina is Aging. Will We be Prepared?


Our population is aging. Approximately 1.7 million North Carolinians are age 65 or older and that number is growing. By 2030, fully one in five will be older than 65 and for the first time ever, North Carolina will be comprised more of older adults than children.


Our state’s aging population has become a cause for concern, as the nature of urban and rural development, daily living, work, leisure and retirement are expected to change in order to keep up.


In addition to our growing metro areas, North Carolina is a rural state, with 80 of our 100 counties being outside major metropolitan areas. Approximately 2.2 million people call rural North Carolina home.


What is Age My Way NC?


Age My Way NC is a collaborative effort between the State of North Carolina and AARP NC to help identify priorities for making our neighborhoods, towns, cities, and rural areas great places for people of all ages.


Age My Way NC is surveying people 45 plus all across the state to identify priorities such as safe and walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.











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