by Jane Porter
The Endowment Fund of N.C. State University has signed a 50-year contract with a private timber investment company to manage 54,334 acres of Hofmann Forest near Jacksonville – a deal that will earn the fund $78 million.Black bears, otters, and rattlesnakes get to keep their homes. Sensitive wetlands are protected. Students get to keep doing research and the N.C. State College of Natural Resources gets funding. This is what we call a win.
The contract covers the majority of the 79,000-acre forest, which was acquired by a foundation in 1934 as a research and demonstration forest that would also generate income for NCSU’s forestry program. Hofmann Forest was deeded to the university’s endowment fund in 1977 specifically to aid the College of Natural Resources.
Under the deal announced earlier this month, the forest lands will remain accessible to NCSU students and faculty for research. Meanwhile, the company, Resource Management Service, agrees to manage the forest sustainably, leaving stands of trees of various ages when the 50-year contract ends.
“This new agreement ensures the sustainability of the timberland for the long term,” N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement.
The proceeds from the timber lease will be invested in the endowment fund and are expected to generate about $3 million a year for the College of Natural Resources, NCSU officials said.
The timber contract is part of a larger plan for the forest announced last year. It includes selling 1,600 acres of agricultural land and seeking funding from environmental groups for conservation easements that would permanently protect a sensitive 18,000-acre section of “pocosin” or wetland. It also proposed the possible sale of rights to the Department of Defense to allow continued training on and over the forest.
An organization that helps rehabilitate former prisoners has abandoned plans to open a halfway house in north Raleigh because of opposition from his would-be neighbors.
Pardoned by Christ wanted to buy the house at 2216 Yorkgate Drive, at the intersection of Lead Mine Road, for its second area halfway house, but residents in the Yorkshire Downs neighborhood got wind of the group's plans for the house and mounted opposition to it.
Some expressed concern over the number of single women and widows in the neighborhood, while others worried about lower property values. Some area residents did say they felt a halfway house wouldn't pose any threat.
Pardoned by Christ founder Michael Shank said he wants to help prisoners but doesn't want to cause any undue friction, so he's moving on.
Members of the local homeowners association were given the option to contribute $200 per household to help offset the costs Shank incurred during the process of purchasing the property. Shank wouldn't confirm that he had received any money, saying only that he is at peace with how the situation turned out.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is the only Republican candidate in a statewide non-judicial race who has so far reported raising more money than his Democratic opponent in the second quarter of 2016.Now get out there and do the Thursday thing!
Forest raised $364,348 from April through June, starting July with $210,436 on hand – putting his fundraising well above that of Democratic challenger Linda Coleman, who raised $226,060 and had $97,889 on hand during the same period.
Forest has been one of the state’s most vocal supporters of House Bill 2 and its provision on transgender bathroom use. And he’s the highest-ranking North Carolina official to speak at one of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rallies.
Forest’s fundraising numbers are a rare bright spot for Republican candidates running in statewide, non-judicial races.
Gov. Pat McCrory raised nearly $2 million less than challenger Roy Cooper in the second quarter. Democrat Josh Stein raised 10 times as much money as GOP attorney general candidate Buck Newton during the period. And incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr also lagged his Democratic challenger in fundraising, although he has raised far more than Deborah Ross overall.