Beginnings, Endings and Best Wishes
By Bill Ross
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
January 2007 has brought with it a flurry of beginnings, endings and best wishes.
A bright and promising new year has begun. Its brightness and promise are not without sadness, however.
Three of our department‟s experienced leaders have announced plans to leave the agency at the end of the
month. Each has served the people of this state with distinction, and each moves on with our best wishes.
As our three move on, 261 lawmakers move in. The legislative season begins Jan. 24 when the 103rd
Session of the N.C. General Assembly convenes. Clearly, there is a lot going on, both inside the department
and in the external environment in which we operate. Here are a few thoughts and feelings about the
important developments I‟ve mentioned:
As the year begins, I send to each of you and to your colleagues, family and friends best wishes for a happy
and healthy New Year! In 2006, we and our partners worked together and worked hard. We made
important headway in carrying out the mission we‟ve been given, and we laid the foundation for 2007 to be
an exciting, productive and enjoyable year. Thank you for your hard work and for your teamwork!
Congratulations on the important headway we made. As we steer our course through this flurry of
beginnings, endings, and best wishes, our mission remains the same: to conserve and protect our natural
resources and maintain an environment of high quality, for the health, well-being and benefit of all.
In the midst of the excitement and anticipation brought on by the new year, I am sad that Jan. 31 will be the
last day at the department for Dempsey Benton, Pres Pate and Dan Smith. Here are a few words about each:
Dan Smith is deputy director of the Division of Forest Resources and has led the division since last May as
acting director. A veteran of almost 30 years with the division, Dan has been a leader in the agency‟s
efforts to manage, conserve and protect our forest resources. As his experience, ability, and reputation as an
incident commander grew, Dan earned incident command assignments taking him all over the United
States. During those assignments, Dan responded to many major forest fires and natural disasters. Dan also
has been a leader in the department‟s and division‟s efforts to make a higher priority out of statewide
conservation of working lands such as privately owned forest land.
Back in November, the National Association of State Foresters offered Dan the job of national fire director,
and he accepted the position. In that role, Dan will represent the NASF, and thus all 50 states, at the
National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. NIFC is the nation‟s support center for fighting wildland
fires. Dan, along with representatives of numerous federal agencies with a stake in fighting wildland fires,
will sit on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. This is an important, difficult job on the national
stage and will require that Dan spend considerable time in Boise.
Even though his job will take him outside the state frequently, Dan will be able to continue living in North
Carolina. So, he and his wife look forward to getting to Hyde County, where they have a home, whenever
they can. Dan was a district forester in the Hyde County community of Fairfield for 11 years before moving
to Raleigh in 1989. If you run into Dan in the airport over the next few months, and he says he‟s from
Hydaho, you‟ll understand what he means.
Pres Pate has spent a career focused on North Carolina‟s coastal resources. He began his resource
management career in 1971 and now ends his career with the same agency - the Division of Marine
Fisheries. Back then, he was studying river herring in the Albemarle Sound area. His next assignment was
the review of applications for permits for proposed coastal development projects. In 1980, his duties were
shifted to the newly created Division of Coastal Management. From 1984 until 1997, he served as assistant
director of that division, responsible for permitting and enforcement in the coastal counties covered by the
Coastal Area Management Act.
Gov. Jim Hunt named Pres director of the Division of Marine Fisheries in 1997. He has been an effective
leader in that role ever since, not only in North Carolina, but also on a national level. Pres has just
completed a successful term as chairman of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, a federally
empowered organization of the states from Maine to Florida that establishes management plans for
approximately 15 important marine species. His colleagues on the commission praised Pres‟ leadership,
and described him as a strong proponent of a science-based, precautionary approach to fisheries
Closer to home, the Seafood and Aquaculture Committee of the N.C. General Assembly, led by N.C. Sen.
Charles Albertson and Rep. William Wainwright, chose a committee meeting just before Christmas to
surprise Pres by bringing in his family, friends and colleagues. In the presence of all of them and the
committee, they honored Pres with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Pres leaves his division on a firm
foundation and moving ahead on a series of important innovations, including the development and
beginning implementation of the Coastal Habitat Protection Plan and the Coastal Recreational Saltwater
To borrow a phrase from the Long Leaf Pine certificate, Pres has been an “Ambassador Extraordinary” for
North Carolina‟s coastal and marine resources. And, just to show that what goes around, comes around,
Pres‟ last weeks at work have taken him full circle back to the issue he started with: how best to help the
The third departure that takes place on Jan. 31 will be that of Dempsey Benton, our chief deputy secretary
since January 2001. Dempsey and I came to the department together six years ago. Working with Dempsey
has been a special pleasure for me, both professionally and personally.
When I think about the hallmarks of his time at the department, I think about Dempsey‟s leadership,
professionalism, and dedication. He has been a public servant in the best and highest sense of that phrase.
He has been a leader by example.
His intelligence, creativity and ability to make things happen and to forge partnerships have served the state
well. A few of the highlights during Dempsey‟s six years with the department include his topnotch work
with the department‟s budget, his leadership in establishing the innovative Ecosystem Enhancement
Program and in responding to the fire in Apex. A few more areas where Dempsey has been instrumental
include his attention to improving the department‟s customer service, his strategic thinking on geographic
information systems and other information technology initiatives as well as his work on landslide mapping
after the 2005 hurricane season.
He has lived his philosophy that an agency like ours should lead and steer in challenging and changing
times and not just be along for the ride. We are grateful for his many contributions to the success our
department has enjoyed over these last several years.
Dempsey, Pres, and Dan: Thank you for your service to the people of North Carolina and best wishes for
the days ahead.
I‟ll close this column in a moment with some speculation about what Pres and Dempsey will be doing next
(we know Dan will be in Hydaho), but first here‟s a quick look at our legislative agenda for this session.
As this is written, Gov. Mike Easley is finalizing his budget and legislative proposals. Of course, we will be
guided by the decisions and directives that the Governor gives us, and are looking forward to seeing those
soon. However, we anticipate that the primary focus of our legislative work this session will be on three
themes: protecting groundwater and restoring contaminated sites, sustaining the resources that sustain us,
and advancing the effectiveness of our organization.
In connection with protecting groundwater and restoring contaminated sites, we are considering bills that
would improve the way the state regulates landfills, establish a statewide surcharge or tipping fee for solid
waste disposal, encourage better ways of recycling electronic equipment, address concerns about the
funding and pace of the cleanups of releases from underground storage tanks, and implement the
recommendations of the task force (co-chaired by Dempsey) that studied hazardous waste facilities after
the fire in Apex.
Under the heading of sustaining the resources that sustain us, we are working on recommendations about
the best way to fund the state‟s open space and greenway programs, about next steps to implement the
Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, and about continuing to gear up our efforts and partnerships aimed at
conserving and protecting working lands and waters in our state.
With respect to advancing the effectiveness of our organization, we are looking at proposals to create an
internal audit position to ensure compliance with all state and federal regulations, improving our permitting
efficiency and inspection of landfills and beefing up NC OneMap to make it more user-friendly to North
It promises to be an interesting and productive session.
Enough about business. Let me wrap up with that speculation I mentioned. Many of you have asked me
what Dempsey and Pres will do next. I do not know the answer in either case. Given their dedication to our
state and their affection for eastern North Carolina and the coast, I would not be surprised to see both Pres
and Dempsey, after they rest a little from their labors, find projects or ways that allow them to continue
their service to this state and its citizens. In the meantime, I speculate that speckled trout are in Pres‟ future
and sailing on the Pamlico River is in Dempsey‟s. Pres wouldn‟t tell me where he‟ll be fishing, but I know
that a good place to find Dempsey will be under sail out on the Pamlico River, running before the wind past
Indian Island or maybe coming into Bath Creek at sunset. He‟ll be answering the call that the poet John
Masefield described in one of Dempsey‟s favorite poems:
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
By John Masefield (1878-1967).
(English Poet Laureate, 1930-1967.)
Division of Water Quality Recognizes Andrea Thomas as Employee of
Susan Massengale, Water Quality
The Division of Water Quality named Andrea Thomas, who works in the division‟s Environmental
Sciences Section, Employee of the Year at a
Dec. 6 ceremony.
Thomas coordinates the division‟s ambient monitoring system, a network of 365 active stations that
provide site-specific, long-term water quality information on significant rivers, streams and estuaries
throughout the state. Stations are visited at least monthly for the collection of a variety of physical,
chemical and bacterial pathogen samples and measurements. Managing this program requires extensive
skills in coordinating logistics, data organization and the ability to respond quickly to requests for
In addition to her work with the monitoring data in-house, Thomas has been instrumental in making North
Carolina the No. 1 contributor to the Environmental Protection Agency‟s STORET data warehouse – the
country‟s principal repository for information on marine, freshwater and biological monitoring data. She
also has created a reliable geo-referenced database of all monitoring locations including those represented
by the state‟s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System discharge coalition programs. That‟s more
than 3,500 locations.
Thomas has improved the quality of data, developed new sampling techniques to prevent contamination of
low-level analysis, and helped train new staff – all with a great attitude and helpful demeanor. Her co-
workers at the Environmental Sciences Section and across the division congratulate Andrea on her great
work and well-deserved honor.
Employees who received recognition for their excellent work in other sections and regions of the division
Administration – Lois Thomas
Aquifer Protection Section – Ed Hardee
Chemistry Laboratory – Tonja Springer
Construction Grants and Loans – Jennifer Kinghorn
Planning – Dave Toms
Surface Water Protection – Laurie Dennison
Asheville Regional Office – Ted Campbell
Fayetteville Regional Office – Steve Guyton
Mooresville Regional Office – Kevin Bunak
Raleigh Regional Office – Buster Towell
Washington Regional Office – Wayne Bryant
Wilmington Regional Office – Ginny Henderson
Winston-Salem Regional Office – Corey Basinger
Division of Waste Management Earns First
Cathy Akroyd, Waste Management
The Division of Waste Management recently became the first state agency honored by a workplace safety
The N.C. Department of Labor recognized the division with its Public Sector Star Worksite award. That
honor is part of the labor department‟s Carolina Star program, which recognizes local governments and
state agencies that have achieved outstanding safety performance and have shown that they are committed
to preventing workplace injuries.
Waste Management Director Dexter Matthews accepts the
Public Safety Star Award from Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.
Attending the ceremony were: Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, DENR Secretary Bill
Ross, Chief Deputy Secretary Dempsey Benton, Waste Management Director Dexter Matthews and DENR
Safety Risk Management Program Director Chuck Stanfill.
Program applicants must have exemplary safety records and demonstrate management leadership and
employee involvement, complete a work-site analysis, institute hazard prevention and control measures.
They must also conduct safety and health training. OSHA representatives review all required safety
programs, inspect the facility and interview employees. Carolina Star participant sites generally experience
from 60 percent to 80 percent fewer lost workday injuries than would be expected of an "average" site of
the same size in their industries.
During the ceremony, Waste Management‟s Safety Consultant Brian Polk and the the division‟s safety
committee were recognized for their crucial role in applying for the Public Sector Star designation and in
working to implement completion of the extensive requirements involved in the process. Safety Committee
members include Chairman Jim Edwards, Special Activities Chairman Pete Doorn, Safety Audit Chairman
Brian Polk as well as Sharon Brinkley, Ethan Brown, Lillie Hinnant, Sherron Hinton, Kathy Lawson, Dave
Lilly, Bobby Lufty, Rob McDaniel, Pam Moore, Holly Murray, Phil Orozco, Scott Ryals, Sondra
Skaradzinski and Linda Smith.
Zoo Employee Receives Top State Award
Loretta Tweed, N.C. Zoo
Bob Langston, an interpretive specialist with the N.C. Zoo, was presented with the North Carolina Big
Sweep‟s top state award during the 20th anniversary celebration at the zoo recently.
Langston, who also serves as the Randolph County Big Sweep coordinator, was honored with the Caroline
Parker Outstanding Achievement Award for his wonderful volunteer efforts for litter-free watersheds.
“Bob did a fantastic job going out in the community and schools to recruit volunteers,” said Judy Bolin,
N.C. Big Sweep president. “He totally shattered his county‟s previous volunteer record.”
Thanks to Langston, Randolph County boasted 815 Big Sweep volunteers in 2006 – far more than the
previous record of 181 volunteers a year earlier. Those numbers paid off.
Randolph County volunteers cleaned almost 20 miles and retrieved 9,605 pounds of debris during the 2006
N.C. Big Sweep.
“Because the community support was so great, they were able to retrieve more debris than ever before too,”
Bolin said. “This is really important because litter can affect our economy and our health and can be deadly
Langston said the group‟s success was a collaborative effort.
“This year‟s growth would not have been possible without cooperation from Trees Asheboro, city and
county schools, municipal governments and local businesses,” he said.
The award was named posthumously for Caroline Parker, a former two-term president of N.C. Big Sweep
and a staunch crusader against littering. Only one person is eligible to receive the award each year.
N.C. Big Sweep was founded in 1987 as Beach Sweep, a coastal cleanup with 1,000 volunteers. That
cleanup expanded inland and was renamed in 1989 to become North Carolina Big Sweep, the nation‟s first
statewide waterway cleanup. During its 20-year history, more than 230,000 volunteers have retrieved more
than eight million pounds of debris from North Carolina‟s watersheds.
Who Pays for Stormwater?
Chrystal Bartlett, Stormwater Awarness and Outreach Coordinator
After years of successfully controlling water pollution from factory pipes, stormwater runoff is now the
nation‟s No. 1 source of water pollution. About 10 years ago, the federal government required states to
tackle the problem but did not provide a budget. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has cut more
than $600 million in the last two years from the money that states count on to finance improvements
required by law.
While unfunded federal mandates are nothing new, many residents and town officials protest paying to
address our stormwater problems. Most arguments revolve around this being a “new” expense. In reality,
stormwater is an old problem receiving new attention. Previously, stormwater expenses were bundled with
other items, so the individual bottom line was difficult to calculate. But given today‟s vociferous protests,
many seem collectively unaware that we‟ve been paying all along.
Here‟s where our money goes:
Before we drink water from rivers, lake and wells, we have to make it safe and tasty. Taking out
stormwater pollutants like sediment, oil, fertilizer, pet poop and pesticides are just the first step. Even
“healthy” water can be cloudy, taste “funny” or - in the case of algae blooms – have a bad odor. Part of
every water bill reflects some costs paid for stormwater.
If your drinking water comes from a lake, the lake may hold less water now than when it was built.
Sediment, stormwater‟s No. 1 ingredient, erodes from construction sites, agricultural areas and even
overburdened streams. A 1987 World Bank study found reservoirs around the world are losing one percent
of capacity each year. A 1988 U.S. study estimated that annual depleted storage costs are $2 billion. North
Carolina‟s Lake Lure receives 40,000 tons of sediment per year, and anecdotal reports of silted-in coves
and docks come from across the state. Dredging is not cheap and in times of drought, even small
percentages of lost capacity can be crucial. It‟s something to think about the next time you see a failing silt
fence, isn‟t it?
Lake dwellers may become intimately familiar with stormwater‟s impact on property values. Clear water
has value and a study done in Maine showed water clarity accounted for anywhere from three to 15 percent
of property values. Though owners will feel the bite if clarity drops, the community tax base will
collectively take the biggest hit.
Of course, those same communities are home to businesses catering to those on, around or in the water.
Polluted stormwater runoff is the primary cause for swim advisories and one of many reasons for fish
advisories. When people can‟t swim or fish, they stay home with their disposable income or take it to areas
with better water quality.
Even without a water view, homeowners still pay for stormwater. North Carolina is getting new floodplain
maps and some folks woke up in the same old place to find they live in a “new” floodplain. Part of
floodplain growth is better mapping and part is due to simple stormwater physics. When rain can‟t sink into
developed areas like roads, roofs and parking lots, more of it runs off. The result is larger flood plains and a
new bill for flood insurance. You did know your homeowners insurance doesn‟t cover that, right?
We also pay for stormwater whenever we eat shellfish. Shellfish aren‟t cheap, in part because supplies have
dwindled. One reason for this is that North Carolina temporarily closes many shellfish beds each time it
rains due to stormwater runoff.
Stormwater is also the reason other shellfish beds remain permanently closed. What about people who
make their living harvesting shellfish? And the dollars they brought to our state‟s economy? They‟re
paying for stormwater in reduced profits and lost jobs; we pay in reduced tax revenues.
Infrastructure is always a big-ticket item, but North Carolina‟s bill has not really come due. That‟s too bad,
because construction costs are skyrocketing and most of our storm drains and culverts date from the
Eisenhower administration. The North Carolina Rural Center‟s survey of North Carolina municipalities
estimated that stormwater needs alone, between now and 2030, will total $1.47 billion. Moreover, so little
is known about our aging stormwater systems that the final costs will probably be higher.
Of course, we pay for stormwater we don‟t manage, too. When parking lots replace grassy fields, it doesn‟t
take an engineer to know that yesterday‟s 40-inch pipe just isn‟t getting the job done. Local urban floods
are the result and we see more urban floods than ever before. What did not flood yesterday may flood
today. Who pays for that?
We even pay for the stormwater we did not mean to manage. Inflow is a technical term for stormwater that
enters sanitary sewers through flooded manholes or aging pipe. The pipes carry both sewage and
stormwater to the wastewater treatment plant, so we needlessly pay to treat this stormwater. When it rains
in Fremont, almost half of the treated water is stormwater. Everyone in Fremont with a water bill pays to
treat that stormwater.
Even without floods or pipe problems, we still pay when overburdened streams begin carrying more
stormwater due to new development. Here, rushing water erodes side banks and scours creek bottoms. The
first result is more sediment in the water, loss of wildlife habitat and – if that creek runs through your
backyard – a loss of land. If the bank erodes six inches a year, how much land will you lose before your
mortgage is paid? And who is paying for it?
Then there are costs that don‟t tally on a balance sheet. No more lazy afternoons spent swimming or fishing
because of poor water quality. You can‟t reach your daughter‟s piano recital because the road is flooded.
There‟s this big mess we‟re leaving for our kids to clean up. Can we really put a price on these things?
Making stormwater costs a separate line item doesn‟t make them higher, but it does make them more
apparent. Next time someone complains about the „new‟ stormwater bill, tell him we‟ve been paying all
along. The only difference is that we have finally started to count the costs.
Stormwater Outreach Goes Mass Media
Chrystal Bartlett, Stormwater Awarness and Outreach Coordinator
Local governments with stormwater permits must conduct stormwater outreach and education programs to
meet their permit requirements, but many are ill-equipped to create campaign materials.
To assist North Carolina‟s local governments with their outreach obligations, DENR contracted with local
ad agency Cross + Associates to create campaign materials using input from local government and
nonprofit groups. The result is spokesfish “Johnny Fishpatrick,” who has a lot to say about stormwater and
how to prevent water pollution!
Because it is hard to tell the stormwater „story‟ in a few seconds, all ads refer consumers to a Web site
created for the campaign, www.KnowWhereItGoes.org. Site visitors can view basic educational materials
(some just for kids!) and then surf to their area‟s stormwater Web site so they „know where it goes‟ in their
To make things more user-friendly, most elements can be downloaded from the Toolkit located on the
www.ncstormwater.org Web site. For quality reasons, the TV commercials are distributed through the mail,
but can be viewed online. In addition to the work requested, Cross + Associates went the „extra mile‟ and
even created a 60-minute version of the TV spot for use on public access cable stations.
If you don‟t “know where it goes” in your neighborhood, why not visit the site and find out? Tell „em
Johnny sent you!
More than 250 Environmental Educators Recognized
Lisa Tolley, Office of Environmental Education
N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources‟ Secretary Bill Ross, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and
the Office of Environmental Education in November honored 257 people who earned their certification as
To earn their certification, the educators had to complete 200 hours of professional development, including
instructional workshops, 50 hours of outdoor experiences, knowledge of environmental education resources
and facilities and some teaching. Many of those recognized at the Nov. 13 ceremony were from DENR
“The environmental education certification program provides educators with the skills needed to engage
children and adults in learning about the environment,” said Bill Ross, secretary of the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources. “This program is adding educators around the state who can inspire
our children in the areas of math and science while building a generation of adults who are capable of
addressing our most pressing environmental challenges.”
The certification program, the first of its kind in the country, establishes a standard for the environmental
education profession, increases science-based environmental education in the schools and has become a
powerful tool for strengthening the field of environmental education in North Carolina. The certification
program ensures comprehensive and sustainable environmental education programs through the
development of environmental education leaders throughout the state.
The program started in 1996 with just 25 educators. Today, more than 1,500 teachers, park rangers, non-
formal educators and North Carolina residents are enrolled in the Environmental Education Program. The
program‟s success has earned it national recognition.
“Studies have shown that outdoor, hands-on learning is strongly correlated with increased academic
performance and can have a positive effect on some of our most troublesome childhood health threats,”
Perdue said. “We are extremely proud that North Carolina is leading the nation in the number of certified
You can view a list of the certified environmental educators in your region on the Office of Environmental
Education‟s web site at http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/certification/certified.htm.
Having qualified environmental educators is very important. Just ask Richard Louv, who served as the
keynote speaker for the event. Louv is a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune and renowned author.
His most recent book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder,” has
drawn national attention to the declining relationship between children and nature.
Louv described how children today are disconnected from the natural environment. He talked about what
effect this phenomenon is having on our children‟s health, academic performance and ability to be future
Soil and Water Districts Celebrate 70 Years of Conservation
Bridget Munger, Soil and Water Conservation
This year marks the 70th anniversary of North Carolina‟s first conservation district, also considered the
first conservation district in the nation.
Thanks to the hard work of Hugh Hammond Bennett, the Brown Creek District was founded in Anson
County on Aug. 4, 1937.
Hammond Bennett, a Wadesboro native, led the early soil conservation movement in the United States
convincing government leaders that soil erosion was a problem that deserved national attention. He is
largely credited with the modern conservation partnership structure that includes federal, state and local
governments working together with local districts to support natural resource conservation programs on
Throughout 2007, the Division of Soil and Water Conservation will celebrate this milestone through special
events and educational outreach, including Conservation Awareness Day planned for March 21 on Halifax
Forestry Museum Breaks Attendance Record
Harry Warren, North Carolina Museum of Forestry
The North Carolina Museum of Forestry celebrated a milestone in November when 1,822 people packed
the Whiteville museum to experience the “Wildlife Encounters” exhibit.
The number of visitors on Nov. 4 shattered the previous attendance mark of 1,500 that came about during
the N.C. Fossil Festival.
The museum, a satellite of the N.C. Museum of Natural
Sciences in Raleigh, celebrates the natural history and cultural heritage of our forests and forestry. The
museum includes interpretive and interactive exhibits, educational programming about the history of forests
and relationship people have with forests.
The museum is a satellite of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
The forestry museum opened in the summer of 2000.
Wanna go? The museum, located at 415 South Madison St., Whiteville, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday
through Friday as well as 1-4 p.m.
The North Carolina Museum of Forestry broke its old attendance record when more than 1,800 people
came to experience the “Wildlife Encounters” exhibit.
Saturday and 2-5 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free.
DENR Helping Feed the Hungry
Staff members at the Asheville Regional Office load boxes of food they sent to a local charity that feeds the
homeless. The charity, A Hope, said no one had ever donated so much food at one time.
Laurie Moorhead, DENR Asheville Regional Office
Staff at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources helped feed a lot of hungry people in
North Carolina this year, thanks to food drives conducted in Asheville and Raleigh.
Folks at the regional office in Asheville celebrated Thanksgiving by providing food to a local charity. After
a four-week food drive, the office donated 3,445 food items to A Hope, a pre-rehabilitative program
developed by Hospitality House to help homeless people. Staff at the charity said no one had ever donated
so much food at one time.
The food was much appreciated because the charity – which was designed to serve about 80 people a day –
typically serves about 200 people each day.
The regional office made the drive fun by rewarding the division that donated the most food items. And the
winner is…staff with the Public Water Supply/Underground Storage Tank section. For their efforts, the
winners in December received a free breakfast at the office.
Staff at eight DENR offices in Raleigh also helped feed the hungry. In September, staff members donated
2,196 pounds of food to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
The largest donations came from department staff at 2728 Capital Boulevard. They donated 538 pounds of
canned goods and dry goods. Staff donated some other items such as diapers, toiletries and deodorant.
“The summer months are typically a very slow time for us in terms of donations," said Anna Davenport, the
food resources manager with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. “But we need the food
because so many kids are out of school and don‟t have access to the school lunches. Y‟all helped answer
that need. That‟s fantastic.”
Grant Takes Aim at Lead in Homes
The Division of Environmental Health will disburse a $3 million federal grant to help several
municipalities cleanup older homes that contain lead-based paint.
The division‟s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program received the grant from the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development.
About $1.2 million of the grant will go to Durham to help families in privately-owned, low-income homes
get rid of lead-based paint. Durham officials estimate that about 20,000 homes could contain lead-based
paint. The rest of the grant money is earmarked for Raleigh, Wake County and several other high-risk
counties in eastern North Carolina.
The most common way children become poisoned from lead is from exposure to lead-based paint. That
type of paint is commonly found in homes built before 1978. Children, especially those under six, can
easily swallow bits of dust and paint chips.
If children are exposed to lead, it can impair learning and behavior or even lead to encephalopathy,
seizures, coma and even death.
Winners From the Holiday Raffle Announced
Tyler Clark, DENR State Employees Combined Campaign
The winners from the DENR State Employees Combined Campaign Holiday Raffle are:
1st Place - Summer Gerrell – Water Quality - $300 Target Gift Card
2nd Place - Jeannie Betts – Controller's Office - $200 Target Gift Card
3rd Place - Milton Hannah - Museum of Natural Sciences - $100 Target Gift Card
Congratulations to our big winners! Thanks to everyone's contributions, we raised $638 for the State
Employee's Combined Campaign General Fund.
New DENR Librarian Joins Staff
Mary Tucker has been hired as the new DENR Librarian.
Tucker has held a variety of positions but she always has been interested in education and applied science.
She averages a degree about every 10 years: A.S. in Horticulture, B.S. in Soil Science, B.S. in
Environmental Health, and a masters degree in Library Studies.
She brings with her a strong interest in sustainable agriculture, 1,500 hours of volunteer work at the DENR
Library, and two years experience as a reference and instruction librarian in the community college setting.
She has returned to the Office of Environmental Education to help DENR employees and the general public
with their environmental research and education needs.
Tucker replaces former DENR Librarian Michelle Czaikowski, who took at position at the State Library of
North Carolina earlier this year.
Feel free to stop by the library or call and introduce yourselves to Tucker.
Water Quality Supervisor Receives Big Award
Susan Massengale, Water Quality
Tom Reeder, manager of the Wetlands and Stormwater Branch in the Division of Water Quality, has been
named a recipient of the 2006 State Employees‟ Award for Excellence for developing innovative
approaches to curbing the impacts of stormwater pollution statewide.
The award was presented to Reeder and 14 other state employees at a ceremony in October at the N.C.
Museum of Natural History in Raleigh as part of the celebration of Excellence in State Government Week.
The awards are the highest honor a state employee may receive and are presented to express appreciation
for meritorious or distinguished accomplishments.
“While many in the division distinguish themselves through their commitment to the protection and
enhancement of the state‟s surface and groundwaters, Tom epitomizes devotion to duty and program
innovation,” said Alan Klimek, director of the Division of Water Quality.
His coworkers nominated Reeder because of his tireless devotion to development or more protective
stormwater control strategies. Reeder initiated an extensive effort to review the effectiveness of current
programs, compiled data from coastal communities on water quality changes and trends in support of the
review and has presented the findings in a number of public forums. One of the most innovative results of
his efforts is the development of the Universal Stormwater Management Program, a voluntary approach to
stormwater management that is easier to implement and more protective of the environment than managing
the host of stormwater programs now in use.
North Carolina State Health Plan Announces Free Generic Drugs for
The North Carolina State Health Plan have announced that generic drugs will be dispensed free of charge to
State Health Plan members, from Jan. 1-March 31, 2007.
Members will not be responsible for co-payments when they use a participating network pharmacy. The
generic co-payment waiver program is being offered to approximately 615,000 State Health Plan members.
Participation in the program is voluntary.
“The goal of our 90-day free generics program is to encourage generic drug prescribing and generic drug
use, resulting in significant cost savings to the member and the State Health Plan over time,” said Executive
Administrator George C. Stokes. “As requested by members, we continue to seek additional ways to
improve their health, while expanding choice and improving affordability.”
Dr. Nancy Henley, the medical director for the State Health Plan, emphasized that quality of care is likely
to be improved.
“A member‟s physician must indicate that generic use is acceptable, and the member always retains the
choice of brand name versus generic drugs,” Henley said. “Medical research has shown improved
medication compliance when cost to the patient decreases, as with waiving or decreasing co-payments. We
expect improved medication use and increased overall satisfaction.”
To participate, members will take new prescriptions or refills for generic drugs to their local participating
network pharmacy, and present their State Health Plan ID card. The pharmacy will automatically waive the
Most generic drugs are the same as brand name drugs in dosage, safety, strength as well as how the drugs
are taken and their quality, performance and intended use. Before approving a generic drug product, the
Food and Drug Administration requires many rigorous tests and procedures to assure that the generic drug
can be substituted for the brand name drug. By law, a generic drug product must contain the identical
amounts of the same active ingredient(s) as the brand name product. State Health Plan members are
encouraged to speak to their doctors or pharmacists if they have any questions.
Three NC SmartChoiceSM Blue OptionsSM PPO plans were offered to State Health Plan members for the
first time, along with the current indemnity plan, during the 2006 open enrollment. State Health Plan
members covered under all of these plans are eligible to participate in the generic co-payment waiver
The State Health Plan has also announced a second member-focused initiative. Members are eligible to
receive cost-effective smoking cessation therapy through the plan‟s pharmacy benefit. As of Jan. 1 generic,
over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy patches are a covered benefit beginning. Through the
generic co-payment waiver program, members will receive generic patches free for the first three months of
the program. After that, the appropriate co-payment will apply. To participate, members must first obtain a
prescription for generic over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy patches from a physician.
Toula Capetanos, Human Resources
Past UpClose Issues
2007 N.C. State Government Holiday Schedule
Friday, April 06– Good Friday
Monday, May 28– Memorial Day
Wednesday, July 4 – Independence Day
Monday, Sept. 3 – Labor Day
Monday, Nov. 12 – Veteran‟s Day
Thurs./Fri., Nov. 22-23 – Thanksgiving
Tuesday Walks at Prairie Ridge
Tuesdays, 8:30 - 10 am
Jan. 9 & 23, Feb. 6 & 20,
March 6 & 20, April 3 & 17, May 8 & 22
Minimum age: 8
Fee: $4 per walk ($2 Friends of the Museum)
Join Museum naturalists on a morning walk at the Museum‟s Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh.
Walks will be on trails through the 38-acre site, visiting several habitats, including a Piedmont prairie, a
lowland forest and wetlands. Wildflowers and wildlife are some of the natural highlights on these 1/2- to 1-
mile walks. All trails are natural, with variable surfaces and pitches. Participants are responsible for their
own transportation to Prairie Ridge. Meet in the parking lot in front of the Museum‟s research facility at
4301 Reedy Creek Road. Bring binoculars and good walking shoes, and dress appropriately for the
weather. Registration is required. Contact Mary Ann Brittain at 919.733.7450, ext. 675.
Office of Environmental Education
The Unhuggables: The Animals That Nobody Loves
Friday, January 26, 2007 (7:00 PM - 8:30 PM)
Saturday, January 27, 2007 (11:00 AM - 12:30 PM)
Join us at Reedy Creek Park, Indoor Shelter #3 for David Stokes, renowned entertaining Naturalist as he
shares his philosophy of entertaining while educating. David thinks that no one is too old to get involved
and the secret to life is to participate. His programs include using live creatures, animal artifacts, songs,
jokes, and short stories.
Note: This program is put on through the Reedy Creek Nature Center but the program will be held at the
Reedy Creek Park, Indoor Shelter #3.
Admission: $5 per person
Parking fee: None
Event Phone: 704-598-1902
Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC 28215
Traveling I-85 to or from Charlotte
Follow I-85 to Exit 45-A (East W.T. Harris Blvd.). Travel on East W.T. Harris Blvd. to the 4th stoplight
and turn left onto Rocky River Rd. Follow Rocky River Rd. for approximately ½ mile, turn left at the stop
light, and then just past the fire station turn right into Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve. Follow the
main park road to a t-intersection and stop sign, then turn right and proceed to the Nature Center parking
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
WHERE: N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 West Jones St., Raleigh, N.C.
WHEN: SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 9 AM–5 PM
SUNDAY, JANUARY 28, NOON–5 PM
A day of astronomical proportions featuring out-of-this-world presentations, a cosmic array of exhibits and
displays, and a universe of activities that will send you into orbit!
The two-day event is free. It will be held Saturday, January 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, January
28, from noon to 5 p.m. The event offers dozens of exhibits, along with entertaining and educational hands-
on activities and live presentations guaranteed to delight everyone from star-struck kids to novice
astronomers to expert stargazers.
A program guide listing events and activity times will be available at the door. Food and beverages will be
sold on site. For more information, please call 919-733-7450, ext. 503 or visit the Museum's Web site at
http://www.naturalsciences.org. Astronomy Days is co-sponsored by the non-profit Raleigh Astronomy
Gov. Michael F. Easley
William G. Ross, Secretary
Diana Kees, Director of Communications
Jamie Kritzer, Editor
Denise Smith, Web Design