North Carolina Newspapers

Long Wait For Day Care May Be Over For
The stale plans to expand its chil
dren's day-care services to working
poor families by the end of the year,
but Brunswick County Department
of Social Services Director Jamie
Orrock says the county's day-care
program is in better shape now than
it has been in a number of years.
*'We no longer have a waiting list
for day care," Orrock said. "We
have clcared our lists and are now
on a walk-in basis."
Day-care services in North Caro
lina are provided for children of
poor or working poor families. State
funds come from a variety of sourc
es, Orrock said. Last year, those
funding sources dwindled, creating
a wailing list of eligible children
that was kept on a first-come, first
serve basis.
That waiting list grew to as high
as 268 children last September. As
more state funding became avail
able, the list began to shrink. It fell
to 1 56 in October, to 1 34 in Decem
ber and to none this month.
An additional $20,000 in funds
helped to eliminate the waiting list
that had been growing sincc the
1988-89 fiscal year. Orrock said
some families had remained on the
lisl for a couple of years.
"The First opportunity for day care
was given to those who had been on
the list the longest," Orrock said.
To quality for day care services,
the parent must be working and in
need of help based on income eligi
bility. Low income "working poor"
families of four can qualify if they
earn less than 60 percent of the state
median income, or less than
516,000 per year.
Persons who are going to school
or undergoing training for full- or
part-time jobs can also qualify.
Orrock believes that Brunswick
County will be able to avoid wait
ing lists in the future. The state will
receive about $45 million in new
federal funds to pump into its day
care services program in the fall.
Under the program, called "Uplift
Day Care" by Gov. Jim Martin, an
estimated 14,000 children on wait
ing lists around the state --vonld be
"/ really don't see a problem in out
county for two or three years down the
road , at least."
? Jamie Orrock
DSS Director
able lo get those services. The state
now serves about 23,000 children in
day care.
Gov. Martin's proposal calls for
raising the eligibility level to 75
percent of the state median income,
which means a family of four earn
ing less than S24.000 a year would
be eligible for assistance. The pro
gram would also use a SI million
revolving fund to offer loans and
grants to church groups and other
nonprofit agencies to open day care
centers in areas that have few facili
ties. The loans would help those
agencies meet state building codes
for day-care centers.
State officials believe that expen
sive day care keeps some parents
Students lo Practice School Tornado Drill
Local school students arc expect
ed to take part in a statewide torna
do drill Wednesday, March 6, as
part of Severe Weather Awareness
Week in North Carolina.
The drill is scheduled for the
morning hours so it will not inter
fere with school lunches, according
to a news release from the National
Weather Service in Raleigh.
There arc two parts to the drill, a
tornado watch and a tornado warn
ing. Messages will be sent over the
Emergency Broadcast System
(EBS). If there is severe weather on
March 6, the drill will be postponed
until March 8.
A tornado watch means there is a
potential for tornadoes because con
ditions in the area are favorable for
them. A warning is issued only after
a tornado has shown up on radar,
has been sighted or has actually
touched down.
Gov. James Martin proclaimed
the week March 4-10 as a time to
teach how to take cover during a
tornado. The program is a coopera
tive effort of the N.C. department
of Crime Control and Public Safety
Division of Emergency Manage
ment, the N.C. Department of Publ
ic Instruction and the National
Weather Service.
"We were lucKy in 1990. There
were no major severe weather
events in North Carolina last year,"
said Gov. Martin. "But we must not
be complacent in 1991. Education is
our most effective tool in protecting
ourselves against severe weather."
Joe Meyers, director of the Divi
sion of Emergency Management,
said knowing how to protect your
self and your family is the key to re
ducing injuries and saving lives in
severe weather.
"Because North Carolina has not
had a major tornado outbreak in a
while, people may forget how dan
gerous tornadoes arc," said Joe
Dean, secretary of the Department
of Crime Control and Public Safety.
"Now is the time to remind every
one how vicious mother nature can
be if she wants to."
In 1990, 17 tornadoes struck the
state, 12 in the eastern half. Al
though none reached the devastating
category, four injuries were reported.
In other severe wcalhcr events
last year, lightning claimed the lives
of five people in the state. Three of
those deaths occurred on golf cours
es between April and early Sept
ember. North Carolina remains
number two in the nation in light
ning fatalities, behind Florida.
The National Weather Service of
fers safety tips on ways to protect
yourself during a tornado. People
should find shelter below or near
ground level or go to a central, inte
rior scction of the building, under
neath sturdy furniture if possible.
Mobile homes should be evacuat
ed and residents should either take
cover in a shelter, ditch or other
low, protected area. Motorists
should also seek cover in a perma
nent structure or ditch if a tornado is
Downed Line Sparks Fire
A downed power line sparked a
fire Friday that burned about eight
acres near the Carolina Power and
Light Co. Brunswick Nuclear Plant
in South port before the N.C. Forest
Service could bring it under control.
"We were told that the power line
just broke," said Larry Hall of the
Forest Service office in Bolivia. "It
caused quite a bit of activity. It's
just one of those things."
The activity Hall referred to also
included a power outage in parts of
Boiling Spring Lakes and the
Southport area around 3:40 p.m.
Power was restored within hours.
The Forest Service sent one fire
plow to contain the fire. Hall said.
When firefighters arrived, they
found that a line that had apparently
fallen from a pole was lying on the
"It was a main transmission line,
or that's what they told us," Hall
Last week's dry conditions also
sparked a number of small woods
fires last Wednesday afternoon.
Firefighters from various depart
ments responded to calls at Sunset
Harbor, Maco Road, Sandy Creek
Acres and the Phoenix community
in northeast Brunswick County. All
of the fires were quickly contained.
'The rain this past weekend has
helped us tremendously," Hall said.
"We are almost in what we call the
spring fire season."
The spring fire season in Bruns
wick County usually begins in late
February and continues through
March, Hall said. As of Tuesday, he
noted, the county had been placed at
a lower level of woods fire danger.
; t '
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from working, thus placing them on
public welfare programs.
In Brunswick County, if parents
qualify they can choose where they
want their children placed from a
list of centers DSS has contracts
with all across the county, said John
White, director of child services.
"We let them sec the list and they
make the decision," White said.
"We do nol and cannot make a rec
White said 72 children received
child care services from the depart
ment in January. That figure jumped
as the waiting list was eliminated,
but final figures arc not available,
he said.
Eliminating future waiting lists.
White said, will depend on avail
able funds.
"It depends on how our budget
goes this month," he added. "As of
now, I see us adding some people
The county's JOBS program that
will begin in July will also provide
child care for people who partici
pate in that job training program.
JOBS will provide training for pco
ple who receive Aid to Families
with Dependent Children, the feder
ally-funded assistance program for
the poor, in an attempt to get them
paying jobs, thus removing them
from welfare lists.
Funds for the "Uplift Child Care"
program art expected to be avail
able to counties in October.
"I reaiiy don:l sec a problem in
our county for two or three years
down the road, at least," said Orrock.
Orrock reported the good news to
the Brunswick County Board of
Social Services, which met Monday
for about 45 minutes to approve
routine department reports. The
board also met in executive session
for about 15 minutes at the request
of Chairman Frankie Rabon, but no
action was taken on the personnel
matter discussed.
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