In the News
N.C. Litter Sweep a sweeping success
Volunteer groups and other participants removed more than 4.2 million pounds of litter from North Carolina roadsides during the N.C. Department of Transportation's 2010 fall and spring Litter Sweeps. To put it in perspective, that's the equivalent of 1.9 billion cigarettes, 134 million soda cans or 42,000 couches.
Participants filled more than 288,000 bags with roadside litter, and nearly 40 percent of those were filled by volunteers. Totals included:
? 134,800 bags filled by Adopt-A-Highway groups and volunteers from garden clubs, civic groups and community organizations;
? 102,400 bags filled by N.C. Department of Corrections inmate crews and Community Service Work Program participants; and
? 50,900 bags filled by NCDOT crews.
The N.C. State Highway Patrol also participated during both Litter Sweeps by citing motorists for littering and failing to secure their loads. Troopers issued more than 240 citations during the last two weeks of April and September 2010.
NCDOT encourages North Carolina residents to get involved in the Litter Sweeps, which are biannual roadside cleanups generally held the last two weeks of April and September. The 2011 Litter Sweeps are scheduled for April 16 through April 30, and Sept. 17 through Oct. 1.
For more information about Litter Sweeps and litter prevention, visit the NCDOT Office of Beautification Programs website at http://www.ncdot.gov/~beautification.
U.S. 321 construction nearing completion
The end is near for the U.S. 321 widening project between Blowing Rock and Lenoir in Caldwell County.
After more than six years of moving utilities, adding two travel lanes, retaining walls, box culverts, rock bolts, road drains, fill slopes, and curbs and gutters, all four lanes of the 6.6-mile mountainous stretch of U.S 321 from Kirby Mountain Road to Blackberry Road are open to traffic.
Before crews can call the project complete, however, a final layer of asphalt, road reflectors and permanent markings on the last mile of the project have to be installed.
"It's been a long, difficult process, but we are very pleased with the results," said N.C. Department of Transportation Resident Engineer Frank Gioscio. "We appreciate the public's patience with this project and hope they appreciate this much-improved stretch of highway."
Prior to the recent bad weather in the area, project contractor W.C. English Inc. laid an initial layer of asphalt down on the last part of the project at the foot of the mountain. They also installed concrete curbs and gutters, new piping and a drainage system.
The contractor is scheduled to put down the final layer of asphalt after March 16, when the weather warms up, followed by the final road markings and reflectors, completing the project.
For more information on this project, contact Gioscio at (828) 265-5088.
Tickets on sale for Hospitality House Ball Feb. 4
For the past 16 years, the Hearts of Hospitality House has held its annual ball as an opportunity for the community to come together to celebrate the successes of Hospitality House and raise support for the agency that offers programs and services to those experiencing crises and homelessness in the High Country.
On Friday, Feb. 4, the organization will host its 16th annual Hearts of Hospitality House Ball to raise funds for the Hospitality House in conjunction with the dedication of the new shelter. The dedication will be held earlier in the day at the new shelter at 338 Brook Hollow Road at 1 p.m. The ball will follow that same evening at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Festivities include a silent auction, cocktail reception, dinner and live music.
Reservations can be made by picking up a packet at the High Country Bank at New Market Center, or by calling Rose Bridgeman at (828) 264-2733. Visit hospitalityhouseofboone.org to register online. This year's event costs $100 per person.