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A SUMMERTIME DIGEST EDITION


Thursday, July 22, 2021
Stories and photos by Wingate Lassiter (unless noted otherwise)




A scene to catch your eye in the middle of July

If Smithfield recognized a "Yard of the Month," this display in front of a Crescent Drive residence across from the First Christian Church would surely be a nominee.
 


CORONAVIRUS REPORT

Health director: "This pandemic is not over"

Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Johnston County's director of public health, made that statement to the County Commissioners this week. "We're seeing an increase in new cases," she reported, and "we know that the Delta variant (of COVID-19) is causing significant spread" across Johnston and the rest of the state and nation.

As a result, the county's Public Health Department has stepped up its testing for coronavirus infections, and that has pushed the positivity rate to 7% --- up from a rate closer to 3% a month ago, she noted.

Acknowledging a recent lag in persons showing up at vaccination clinics, Dr. Pearson urged Johnstonians, especially young people making up a larger portion of persons hospitalized with COVID-19, to get the shots that are provided free of charge and are "94-98% effective."

And if you haven't been vaccinated, wear a face mask in public places, she advised.

According to the federal CDC (Centers for Disease Control), more than 99% of recent COVID-19 deaths have occurred among unvaccinated people, and more than 97% of recent hospitalizations have come among the unvaccinated.


VIEW the current list of Health Department vaccination clinics in Johnston County>
 

CORONAVIRUS
weekly
measurements
Case total
since 3-20
 
(last week)
Deaths
since 3-20
 
(last week)
Hospital
patients

(last week) 
Fully
vaccinated

(last week)
JOHNSTON COUNTY 22,391
(22,155)
244
(243)
15
(18)
79,380: 38%*
(78,183: 37%)
NORTH CAROLINA 1,028,131
(1,020,833)
13,550
(13,512)
694
(487)
4,823,732: 46%*
(4,751,949: 45%)
UNITED STATES 34,187,437
(33,921,230)
609,604
(607,881)
  161,631,676: 49%
(159,675,163: 48%)
WORLDWIDE 191,723,832
(188,028,448)
4,122,346
(4,052,742)
  3,708,491,772
total doses given
Information from: County of Johnston at 4:00 p.m. July 20
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services at 12:00 p.m. July 21
Johns Hopkins University at 1:21 p.m. July 21
* Percentage of total population (all ages)
 

Johnston's County Commissioners get an earful

Several citizens addressed the board during Monday's morning session, offering their opinions on district election of commissioners, "bullying" in regards to school funding, "door-knocking COVID vaccine snooping," and "transgenders in sports."

In actions taken, the board voted 4-3 to provide county funding for domestic-violence prosecution and approved a $1.25-million "wrongful death" settlement.

READ MORE in the Weekly Sun's report from Monday's sessions>

 


Johnston Health CEO among new trustees at JCC

Recent appointees to the Johnston Community College Board of Trustees are: (left to right) Cody Peedin, incoming student-government president; Tom Williams, CEO of Johnston Health; and Suefan Johnson, a Smithfield realtor. With them is Clerk of Court Michelle Ball, who administered their oaths of office. Mr. Williams noted that nearly 65% of new hires in Johnston Health's clinical areas have training from JCC and nearly all of JCC's nursing students complete at least one clinical rotation with Johnston Health, which employs between 10 and 25 JCC nursing graduates yearly. (Johnston Community College photo)
 


Amazon site may become a "Foreign Trade Zone"

The Triangle J Council of Governments Board of Delegates has approved the site of the new Amazon distribution center under construction in West Smithfield as a potential "Foreign Trade Zone" --- a designation that allows a company to reduce or delay custom duties or taxes on imported and exported products.

Chris Johnson, the county's economic development director, said Amazon's application will now go before the U.S. Foreign Trade Zone Board. "Once docketed we should have a response in about 30 days," he said.

Triangle J notes on its website that "foreign trade zones help U.S. businesses compete in the global economy by leveling the global playing field." The website currently lists 10 FTZ sites within Triangle J's jurisdiction covering 15 counties revolving around the Research Triangle's core of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.


Here's the latest aerial photo from the Johnston County Economic Development Office of Amazon's 620,000-square-foot warehouse under construction beside Highway 70 not far from Johnston Regional Airport.

 


WHAT'S COMING UP?

Downtown's Third StrEATery will try it again this Friday

Rained out two weeks ago, the next installment of Downtown Smithfield's dining-in-the-street event is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Friday outside along the 100 block of South Third Street where tables will be set up for patrons taking out meals from nearby restaurants. This week's featured entertainer is Adam Pitts, a one-man band.

Schools offering webinar Saturday about Virtual Academy

Scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, the "Virtual Town Hall" is for parents and guardians to learn about specifics of the online, stay-at-home Virtual Academy to be offered as an option for students of all ages by Johnston County Public Schools during the academic year that begins in late August. Registration is required through this link>

 


DEATHS & FUNERALS
Click on the name to read an obituary, usually posted by the funeral home

JOANN JOHNSON LANE, 86 - died July 18

MILDRED TAYLOR JORDAN, 97 - died July 17

HENRY EUGENE WARD, 64 - died July 14

DOROTHY (DOT) MOSLEY ELLMORE, 76 - died July 13

ELIZABETH DEPPE MONTGOMERY, 83 - died July 13


WILLIAM (BILL) JAMES HARRELL-SHIPLEY, 61 - died July 9

 


A WORD (OR TWO) FROM THE EDITOR

Sometimes you take the medicine you'd rather not

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, apparently spurred by the Delta virus variant. COVID-19 vaccinations are lagging, leaving many among us unprotected and thereby likely to spread infections in the weeks and months before us.

So it's no surprise Governor Roy Cooper's administration is recommending continued use of face masks among most school children and staff as we head toward the start of a new school year.

How will the Johnston County Board of Education respond to that? Based on a discussion at last week's monthly meeting, the seven board members appear to be split on the question: three siding with "parental choice" over mask mandates and the other four expressing preference for following public-health experts on the matter.

Chairman Todd Sutton promised last week to call a special meeting of the board right away to deal with the issue. At this writing (mid-morning Thursday) that meeting has yet to be called, and perhaps that's a good thing as this matter deserves thoughtful consideration.

After all, we're talking about public health and safety, not the political whim du jour.

 


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