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Federal Government
North Carolina Wins Three Transportation Grants PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 10:28

Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Richard Burr (R-NC) announced they have secured three BUILD Transportation grants totaling more than $60 million for North Carolina:

  • GoTriangle will receive $20 million. The project will construct a new bus facility and structured parking to create a multimodal transit center in downtown Raleigh. The project includes an off-street bus transfer facility, pedestrian bridge, BRT platform and other BRT infrastructure, on-street pedestrian improvements and wayfinding, traffic signal prioritization, and new rolling stock.
  • The City of Hickory will receive $17 millionfor infrastructure investment and road improvements. The project will develop an approximately 1.7-mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and a bridge over US 321, and construct a 1.2-mile complete streetscape loop in downtown Hickory that will add designated space for bicycles and pedestrians.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation will receive $23 millionfor Growing Rural Economy and Agriculture through Transportation and Technology Enhancement or Replacement in North Carolina (GREATTER-NC). The project will replace approximately 77 bridges in need of repair across 17 rural counties. The project sponsor will also add broadband capabilities for transportation applications to appropriate bridges during construction.

Senator Thom Tillis:“These grants will be a tremendous help to the Triangle, the City of Hickory, and rural communities across North Carolina, allowing for improvements to our state’s transportation, infrastructure, and safety. I’m thankful to Secretary Chao for recognizing North Carolina’s infrastructure priorities and making a major investment through BUILD grants.”

Senator Richard Burr: “I am grateful to Secretary Chao and the Department of Transportation for awarding North Carolina these vital grants to strengthen and improve infrastructure across the state. This new funding will help build 77 bridges and expand broadband access in rural communities, create new pedestrian and bike trails in the City of Hickory, and get the GoTriangle project closer to its goal of building a new, modern transportation hub for a fast-growing area.”

GoTriangle President and CEO Jeff Mann:“This is an exciting day for GoTriangle, the City of Raleigh and our entire region because this facility is an important part of the transit network we are building together. We want to sincerely thank Senators Tillis and Burr as well as Congressman Price for their strong leadership and partnership in helping secure this grant that will enhance bus connectivity and spur new economic, job and housing opportunities for our community.”

Hickory Mayor Hank Guess:“The $17 million BUILD grant is a major federal investment that will improve Hickory’s infrastructure and better connect our region. I’m grateful for Senators Tillis and Burr for working directly with the City of Hickory over the last year, their support was instrumental in securing the grant.”

N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary James Trogdon:“NCDOT is pleased to have been chosen for a BUILD transportation grant. These funds will replace bridges in many rural communities that depend heavily upon the agriculture industry which is great news.”

BUILD Transportation grants are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD funding can support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation.  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 December 2018 10:30
 
Felon Pleads Guilty To $464,000 In Food Stamp Fraud PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 09:53
United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that Feran Sanchez 51, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to SNAP fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering charges.
 
SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a federally funded, national program established by the United States Government to alleviate hunger and malnutrition among lower income families. The United States Department of Agriculture administers the SNAP through its agency, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). FNS is responsible for the authorization and disqualification of retail food establishments participating in the redemption of SNAP benefits. Social service agencies from each state share responsibility with FNS for administration of the program by authorizing and revoking distribution of SNAP benefits to individual recipients.
 
According to the Criminal Information and information in the public record, Sanchez previously pleaded guilty to making material false statements in connection with the on-going federal crop insurance fraud investigations in EDNC. On April 9, 2010, the Court granted the government’s motion for a departure based on substantial assistance and sentenced Sanchez to 5 years’ probation.
 
Mr. Higdon stated, “This prosecution reflects our Office’s commitment to protecting the integrity of important federal programs like SNAP as well as holding accountable felons who continue to engage in criminal conduct.”
 
Sanchez's 2010 felony conviction made him ineligible to participate in the SNAP program as a vendor and in fact, the FNS-Retailer Operations Division permanently withdrew his authorization to participate in the program. Notwithstanding his debarment, SANCHEZ recruited another person who, at Sanchez's s direction, created a business entity known as Selena’s Mexican Bakery & Store, opened a bank account in the name of Selena’s Mexican Products, and submitted an electronic SNAP vendor application which contained false and misleading information. Based on the application, the unindicted co-conspirator received authorization to be a SNAP vendor in August 2013. The unindicted co-conspirator opened up a bank account, listing Sanchez on the account.
From August 30, 2013, through September 24, 2017, Selena’s Mexican Bakery & Store received approximately $464,385.60 in SNAP benefits. During that time frame, Sanchez trafficked SNAP EBT benefits, allowing individuals to exchange benefits for cash or ineligible purchases.
 
Sanchez and/or another person, through Selena’s Mexican Products, also caused to be transferred the $464,385.60 SNAP funds to Selena’s Mexican Products business account at First Bank. SANCHEZ transferred a portion of the money to an account controlled exclusively by him. He withdrew or otherwise spent the remaining SNAP funds in the Selena’s Mexican Products business account.
 
Investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. Special thanks to the Warsaw Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
 
Foxx To Lead Committee On Education And The Workforce In 116th Congress PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Donna Martinez   
Monday, 17 December 2018 11:53
he House Republican Conference approved Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to lead Committee on Education and the Workforce Republicans in the 116th Congress. Upon the announcement, Chairwoman Foxx released the following statement: 
"The question on everyone’s mind used to be: ‘Where are the jobs?’ Today we have 7 million job opportunities waiting for workers to fill them. We have 4.5 million more jobs than we had two years ago, and a quarter of a million more jobs than we had just over a month ago. The members of the Education and Workforce Committee have worked incredibly hard during the 115th Congress to make this new era of opportunity a reality. It is an honor to have the trust and confidence of my colleagues to help lead all of us to uncovering and implementing more ways to empower Americans to build successful lives.”  
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2018 11:59
 
Wilmington Man Convicted On Federal Child Porn Charges PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 17 December 2018 11:48
The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that last evening, in federal court, Ricardo Jerome Bennett, Sr., 47, of Wilmington, North Carolina was found guilty of two counts of receipt of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography containing minors under the age of 12.
 
In August 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation utilized undercover software to identify an IP address downloading child pornography and offering such files for download by others. A search warrant was issued for the home address associated with the IP address. During that search, law enforcement confiscated multiple electronic devices belonging to BENNETT. In addition, BENNETT made a full confession to law enforcement to downloading and possessing child pornography. A forensic examination of those devices revealed more than 1000 files of child pornography, downloaded in the same manner that BENNETT described in his interview. These files included both still images and videos depicting minors, including minors under the age of 12, engaged in sexually explicit activity.
 
Higdon commented: “We are very pleased with the decision of the jury holding the defendant accountable for his abuse of children through the collection of child pornography. Every time he downloaded one of the more than 1,000 images he victimized the vulnerable child depicted in those images. His is a crime impacting the most precious and vulnerable among us: our children.”
 
This case was part of the Project Safe Childhood initiative, a national program aimed at ensuring that criminals exploiting children are effectively prosecuted by making full use of all available law enforcement resources at every level. For more information about this important national project, Project Safe Childhood, go to www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
 
The Federal Bureau of Investigations conducted the criminal investigation of this case. Assistant United States Attorney Melissa Belle Kessler handled the prosecution of this case for the United States.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2018 11:50
 
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