Birdie, by Southern Pines town officials, for making innovative use of its new fire station space. The town’s second station, soon to open off Waynor Road near the Moore County Airport, will also house a second location, of sorts, for the town’s library.

The station will host a 24/7 “kiosk” for town residents to peruse and check out library books, bringing convenience and maximizing investment in the building. “It’ll be kind of like a vending machine. Think Redbox, only bigger,” Lynn Thompson, Southern Pines’ director of Library Services, tells us.

“We’ve been thinking about this for a number of years. It was actually part of some strategic planning we did more than five years ago — the idea of expanding our services,” she said.

This strategy will help meet the need for a growing part of the town without adding excessive costs for the town to keep up with. We expect this to be a story with a happy ending.

Birdie, by the Moore County Airport Authority, for landing yet another grant to improve its infrastructure. The $438,000 grant will pay for the initial steps in the process to replace all of the airport’s lights with new, high-performance, energy-efficient LED lighting.

“This is a huge win for our airport,” said Moore County Airport Manager Ron Maness. “We only requested these funds in January. The state is being very helpful and responsive to our requests.”

Recent studies of the airport have shown growth in its use, and projections show that only continuing. The airport has made critical investments in planning, funding for taxiways to serve new hangars, and now the lighting, much of which is old and corroded.

“We’re changing burned-out light bulbs every week,” Maness noted. “These are expensive, industrial-grade lights, but they’re old technology and just don’t last a long time.”

The airport is a major community resource that requires we keep it in top working order.

Birdie, by the 68 people who filed this month to compete for 32 open municipal seats in the 2019 local elections.

Maybe more than any other race, municipal government affects residents’ daily lives, from garbage collection and police protection to property taxes and zoning. Over the years, though, interest has waned for a number of these seats, especially among some of the smaller towns. Many of our local officials have assumed their seats through uncontested elections. Not so this time.

The real winners this time are the residents of the village of Whispering Pines. It has 12 people competing for four open seats on the Village Council, including a former council member and county commissioner; a former county sheriff; and a former council member — Denise Racey — who resigned just last month halfway through her term only to have a change of heart.

Public service is not a popularity contest. It takes time and energy, and rarely leads to many “thank-yous,” so here’s one for all 68 of our candidates.

Birdie, by the town councils in Carthage and Aberdeen, who are investing in notification technology to keep their residents up-to-date on news and emergencies.

Aberdeen, which had been using the CodeRed system that sent alerts to residents’ smartphones, is switching to a new service called Nixle. And Carthage, which did not have any system, has chosen to use CodeRed.

In Moore County, the system has been adopted by police departments in Southern Pines and Whispering Pines. Nixle is used by the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.

Whatever the service, these technologies can add precious minutes in the event of severe weather — like we’ve had recently — and road closures or other emergencies that require reaching out to local residents.

They’re wise investments for our towns.

(1) comment

Kent Misegades

The new fire station is the latest Taj Mahal government building that is dramatically increasing our taxes. It could have been built for far less. Grants are just another name for taxes. In the case of an airport, the money comes from fuel taxes, collected locally, sent to D.C. where it is spread around the states. Then N.C. Department of Aviation decides between winners and losers. At each step money is lost through the cost of bureaucrats and crony businesses.

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