August 28, 2012

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Special Meeting

The Union County Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 8:30 a.m. in the Personnel Training Room of the Union County Government Center in Monroe.


The purpose of the special meeting is to:


1. Present information and options to the Board regarding the structure and funding of an economic development program and obtain direction.

2. Discuss proposed boundary changes within Union County for the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) and Rocky River Rural Planning Organization based on the 2010 Census data and the rewrite  of MUMPO's Memorandum of Understanding.  


Be Safe on the Roads and Water this Weekend

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Wildlife Resources Commission and the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division are combing efforts in saving lives this Labor Day weekend. Whether on the road or on the water, law enforcement officers across the state will be on the look out for impaired drivers by conducting DWI checkpoints near recreational boating areas as well as public service announcements that  educate motorists on the dangers of drinking and driving.


"On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink and Drive" campaign is a multi-agency initiative that is designed to combine law enforcement resources to ensure that all motorists can safely travel on highway and waterways. The Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Labor Day holiday. 


"The Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods as the summer season is ending," said Colonel Michael Gilchrist, State Highway Patrol Commander.  "We are asking all motorists to buckle up and be extremely careful when traveling to their various destinations. Troopers along with other agencies will be aggressively cracking down on motorists who drink and drive."


Operation "On the Road, On the Water, Don't Drink & Drive" campaign initially kicked off during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and was extremely successful. 


The operation will begin on Friday, Sept. 1 and conclude at midnight on Monday, Sept. 3.


For additional information, please contact First Sergeant Jeff Gordon, Public Information Officer at 919- 733-5027.


Jeff Yates Named Finance Director



Jeff Yates has been appointed finance director for Union County. Wes Baker served as interim finance director for the past year.


"I'm pleased that Jeff Yates has joined Union County as our new finance director," said County Manager Cindy Coto. "Jeff's experience in local government makes him exceptionally qualified for the position."


Prior to joining Union County, Yates was director of finance for the City of Dunedin, Fla. for two years. Yates also served as chief financial officer for the City of Kansas City, Mo. from 2008 - 2010, the City of Lubbock, Tex. from 2005 - 2008, director of fiscal policy and strategic management for Lubbock from 2004 - 2005 and as budget officer for the City of Portsmouth, Va. He also has taught economics, accounting, business management, ethics, government and leadership courses.


Yates has served on various committees for the General Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and was most recently on the board of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association. He recently taught a national GFOA training course on "Capital Budgeting and Infrastructure Finance," and regional training courses on "The Finance Officer's Role in Economic Development" and "Investments and Cash Flow Planning." He has also served on several pension boards and local government investment pools as a trustee.     


"I am excited to join Union County and the opportunity to become part of a great team, and on a personal level become part of the community," Yates said.  


Yates earned a bachelor's degree in social science and education from Liberty University and a master of public administration from Regent University.


Yates is responsible for planning, coordinating and directing all aspects of Union County financial management and administration including planning and directing the receipt, disbursement and accounting of County revenues and expenditures, managing the investment of County funds and assisting the county manager in preparing the annual budget.


Yates and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons, Jayden and Jonathan. He enjoys reading, photography and professional sports.



Union County Labor Day Closings


Union County government offices and facilities will be closed this weekend and Monday in observance of Labor Day. Below is a schedule:

  • Union County offices closed Monday, Sept. 3
  • County libraries closed Saturday, Sept. 1 - Monday, Sept. 3
  • County Landfill closed on Monday, Sept. 3. The transfer station will be open from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Animal Shelter closed Saturday, Sept. 1 - Monday, Sept. 3
  • Cane Creek Park will be open its normal hours. Jesse Helms Park and Fred Kirby Park will be closed Saturday, Sept. 1 - Monday, Sept. 3 except for those with confirmed reservations.

For more information, call 704-283-3500.



4th Annual Charlotte Area Know Your
Farms Tour: Volunteers Needed at
Union County Farms


The fourth annual Know Your Farms Tour proudly features five Union County farms during the weekend of Sept. 15 - 16.

Volunteers are needed to coordinate farm tourists at New Town Farms in Waxhaw, Peaceful Meadows Farm in Marshville and  Poplar Ridge Farm in Waxhaw on Saturday, Sept. 15. Additional volunteers are needed at Happy Hills Alpaca Farm in Monroe and Windcrest Farm in Monroe on Sunday, Sept. 16. Farm tour volunteers have a unique opportunity to assist Union County farmers showcase their farms and the important work they do helping to feed our families. Volunteers work 3 1/2 hour shifts and receive a free pass to visit other farms on the two-day tour.

County residents interested in volunteering may sign-up at

or call Wes Shi at 980-225-1020.

The farm tour is presented by Know Your Farms, along with partners Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, N.C. Cooperative Extension, Piedmont Grown and the 10% Campaign.

The tour is a great opportunity for friends and family to connect with our thriving agricultural community. Children learn to appreciate where their food comes from and are delighted to interact with cows, pigs, chickens, goats and sheep. Adults learn about natural and sustainable production methods that can be used in their own backyard gardens, as well as gain useful cooking and nutritional tips for healthy meal preparation.

The tour takes place from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m. both days and highlights more than 40 farms in 11 counties in the Charlotte region. Now that choosing local food products has become a priority for so many families, the tour provides the opportunity to make these important farm-to-fork connections and discover sources for fresh, healthy food in the greater Charlotte community.

The 2012 tour features a diversity of farms, including fruit and vegetable growers, livestock producers, dairy farms and
even an alpaca farm! With over a dozen new stops added to this year's event, seasoned tour-goers will still have a lot to see. In addition, many farms will be offering fun activities unique to the tour, such as hayrides, petting zoos and cooking demonstrations. Details can be found at knowyourfarmstour.com/farms.

The Charlotte Area Farm Tour is self-guided, and farms are located in clusters all around the Charlotte region for easy touring. To take the tour, purchase a ticket online and plan your route at KnowYourFarmsTour.com. Load up your vehicle with friends and family, pack a cooler in the trunk for all the farm-fresh goodies you'll want to take home, then use the map to plot your course!

The tour cost is $25 in advance per vehicle. Entrance tickets may also be purchased on tour days at every tour farm for $30.

Know Your Farms, LLC is a Davidson-based, family-operated business that works to "rebuild our local food system in a
sustainable way" through distribution of and education about local food. Working with dozens of farms in the Charlotte,
NC area, Know Your Farms provides an alternative to traditional distribution models, seeking to make farm profitability
the priority.


New State Food Rules Benefit Union County Restaurants and Patrons

Union County residents dining out at local restaurants may not notice the changes, but their dining experience may soon be a little safer thanks to changes in North Carolina's food safety code. The new rules are effective Sept. 1.


"Our county health department staff works closely with local eating establishments to promote safe food handling practices," said Union County Public Health Director Phillip Tarte. "These new rules allow us to keep up with changes in food preparation techniques, while keeping public health and safety in mind."


The new food code represents the most comprehensive change in North Carolina's food protection standards in more than 30 years and establishes practical, science-based rules and provisions to help avoid food-borne illnesses, like noroviruses and salmonella.


"Restaurant owners know that safe food is good business," said Larry Michael of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Public Health. "By working together to implement these changes, we can reduce our incidence of foodborne illness across the state."


Under the new rules, employees must avoid handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands and all restaurants must have a certified food protection manager during hours of operation. Restaurant owners also must establish employee health policies to ensure that an ill employee who has the potential to contaminate food is not involved in the preparation or serving of food.


Restaurant rating systems also will change under the new food code. Although sanitation rating cards showing the grade and score will continue to be posted, restaurants will no longer earn a bonus for completing voluntary food safety training since certification will be required.


"Our inspectors have spent the last year learning the new rules and how to administer them," Tarte said. "We have also worked with our local food provider community to help them make the transition to the new system."


Another change people will notice is that local food trucks and pushcarts will also be subject to the new food code rules and will be required to post a sanitation rating card.


Key Provisions of the new North Carolina Food Code:  

  • Each food establishment will be required to demonstrate knowledge of food protection by passing an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited exam. This requirement will phased in and become effective January 1, 2014.
  • Each food establishment will be required to develop and adhere to an Employee Health Policy to prevent and control the transmission of illnesses.
  • Food establishments will be required to refrain from handling exposed, ready-to-eat foods with bare hands.
  • Food establishments will be required to decrease the temperature of refrigerated foods and must date-mark opened, ready-to-eat foods.  

Anyone interested in the new code can view it at: http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/rules.htm



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