County Impact received an alert from the North Carolina Justice Center. Please see the text of that alert below. County Impact stands in support of the Justice Center’s position to tell your Senator to VOTE NO on House Bill 4!

TAKE ACTION NOW: Tell your Senator to vote NO on House Bill 4, stop attack on working families

A bill to impose the harshest cuts to unemployment benefits anywhere in the nation has passed the North Carolina House and is heading to the Senate Floor on Tuesday, February 12.

House Bill 4 would:

  • Cut the maximum benefit amount by 1/3 to $350 per week. No state has ever made such a severe cut.
  • Cut the maximum weeks of benefits from the standard of 26 weeks to a sliding scale of 12-to-20 weeks. Only two other states (Florida and Georgia) do this.
  • Make it harder for many lower-income, temporarily laid off and seasonal workers to qualify for any unemployment benefits, and end eligibility for workers leaving jobs due to health or family issues.
  • Shut down federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) extension benefits — cutting off federal jobless aid to 80,000 unemployed North Carolina workers and their families on July 1, 2013.
  • As of July 1, North Carolina — with the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 9.2% — would offer only HALF the total weeks of benefits as North Dakota – the state with the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.2%.

COUNTY IMPACT ALERT! Pope Benedict XVI Resigning

The Vatican reported early morning that the Pope would be resigning at the end of this month.

Pope Benedict announced his resignation effective February 28, 2013, catching the world by surprise. The thought of a living pope resigning his post has comment boards across the world by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, abuzz with chatter. With his resignation, ends six centuries of tradition .

The pope was said to make his announcement that “before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise.”

In 1990, I can remember visiting the Vatican with my husband and two children on our way to Kenya, Africa on a medical mission’s trip. The faith of the people was remarkable and their respect for the office of the Pope was quite evident. Long lines formed at St. Peter’s Square, everyone was waiting for an opportunity to touch and be graced by the presence of the Pope. Just as their faith was alive then, I’m sure it is still today.

Spiritual leadership when it is disrupted, impact’s believers

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everywhere. Although I am not a Catholic, my prayers abound for those who are and pray their journey today, takes them by faith.

Support for SBE Opposing Corporal Punishment

This letter is in support of the State Board of Education passing a resolution opposing the use of corporal punishment in public schools.

As a staunch supporter of both school systems and a student and their family’s right to opt out of corporal punishment, corporal punishment as an option carries with its administration, tremendous risk on behalf of all involved. It may feel like an ally when confronted by an unruly student, but in the end, the risks involved far outweigh the legal right to act.

The role physical force play in a classroom is a bit of a quandary for many. Debated does it bring about corrective behavior, or does it exacerbate deeper issues a child face that is unspoken and unknown? Historically, moms and dads have exercised their right to use corporal punishment as a tool to build character, respect for elders and others in authority.

As a former teacher in an inner-city school in Philadelphia, a consistent message to an inconsistent child is in harmony with a work written long ago, Jeremiah 1:5. In this historical document, the writer Jeremiah defines the value of every child and gives hope to every life when there seems to be chaos and disorder.

Yes. The stress in the classroom was overwhelming at times. When all else failed, policy pointed me to the principal’s office and from there into the hands of parental discipline. This answer seems too simple I know … times have really changed; it was much more complex.

Be reminded corporal punishment is a form of discipline. It is not the only method that systems have within their cadre of choices. There are forms of discipline that invites a child into a conversation about his or her actions.  In recognizing this, the need to swaddle, paddle or inflict physical harm is less an option to be considered. For sure, there are a number of kids who need discipline beyond a stern conversation. It is here we rely on capable policy makers to adhere to principles of child behavior and development in a classroom setting, to set the legal standard for school discipline separate and apart from corporal punishment.

In closing, modern-day thought and principles of child rearing bars the intellect from this method of school discipline. Moms and dads may still choose to reprimand using corporal punishment at home but dare not to give this option to a stranger.  Banning the practice? Yes it’s time.

Overhauling State Unemployment

This letter is in opposition to the North Carolina General Assembly overhauling the state’s unemployment system until there is a more intensive vetting of the impact this legislation will have on families and local communities. It is understood that fiscal changes must happen to secure a future for generations not born yet, such a position loses its merit if we fail to secure the “present-potential” of children who will be harmed if this legislation is signed into law. Without question, an abrupt elimination of resources will further devastate and destabilize already fragile people, families and communities. The ability of either to absorb the effects of the proposed legislation without dire consequences is unrealistic. Therefore, it is imperative that decisions are made within the context of that reality.

The General Assembly of North Carolina has taken steps to overhaul its unemployment system. Inherent in their decision is a human challenge, what to do about those who are at risk of further insecurity. The need to balance the state budget and secure ratings it needs to demonstrate competitive might is forthright and a responsibility of those elected. At issue is not the simplicity of such aspirations, it is inherent in being chosen to lead, but it is the complexity of the position when a policy is enforceably abrupt. It is when such decision making fails in accounting. What is the real cost? Such actions proposed by the legislation impact the life of and the local community of real people with real families whose fragile financial status is of public record.

Families and communities have to live on. Their need to survive during difficult economic times is as instinctual as that of our God-given nature. Mapping state, regional and local community resources and assets that target the development of a person’s natural proficiencies must be on the table.Lastly, no one is born favoring a lifestyle dependent upon governmental systems that stymie their God-given ability. It is my belief as a community leader and formerly elected official that we have been given a public trust to act on behalf of and in the best interest of all citizens. In all of my work over the past 30years, on behalf of those living within a distressed community context, the overwhelming majority dream of job security, providing for themselves and their families through hard work, entrepreneurship and lastly, being meaningful contributors to their community. It is with tremendous hope that we not forget the poor will always be with us as is written in the book of Matthew 26:11.

Our job is to ensure there are fields from which families in need can glean; intervene in ways that preserve and protect the dignity of the human spirit, while honoring the public trust of a state that’s as strong in its commitment to the condition of its families, as it is in securing its fiscal might into posterity.