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March 6, 2021

Biz Roundup: Chamber prepares for January Power in Partnership program

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday morning will host its January Power in Partnership program.

Chung

The virtual event will start at 7:30 a.m. and will feature North Carolina Economic Partnership CEO Chris Chung. He will present a 2021 economic outlook and share information on the state’s economic development partnership. In 2015, Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina as CEO, bringing more than 23 years of state-level economic development experience to the role.

As a public-private partnership, the EDPNC is responsible for a number of economic development functions on behalf of the State of North Carolina, including new business recruitment, existing business support, international trade and export assistance, small business start-up counseling, and tourism, sports and film promotion. With a staff of 70 professionals and an annual operating budget of more than $25 million, the EDPNC is focused on improving the economic well-being and quality of life for North Carolina’s more than 10 million residents.

This month’s Power in Partnership is being sponsored by the Rowan Economic Development Commission. 

If you are not a Power Card holder, individual reservations are welcome; however, the reservation deadline is Tuesday by 5 p.m. The cost is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. Contact the Chamber for information on reservations or sponsorship opportunities at 704-633-4221 or info@rowanchamber.com.

PIP events are held the Third Thursday of the Month from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

The upcoming PIP slate includes:

State Legislative Breakfast – Feb. 18

Salute to Agri-business – March 18

Healthcare speaker, sponsored by Novant Health Rowan Medical Center – April 16

Leadership Speaker: Steve Chandler – May 20.

Kannapolis Fire Department receives state certifications

KANNAPOLIS — The city of Kannapolis Fire Department has been recognized for achieving the highest standards for training and equipment following a detailed inspection by the North Carolina Association of Rescue and Emergency Medical Services.

The fire department earned this recognition for meeting the highest standards in five specific rescue emergency medical categories: heavy rescue (large vehicles such as buses/tractor trailers), confined space rescue (tunnels/manholes), high angle rescue (multi-story buildings/scaffolding), agriculture rescue and as an ambulance provider.

A majority of the department’s personnel are now trained and certified in these areas.

“As Kannapolis continues to see tremendous growth, it is critical that our department constantly evaluates its capabilities to be ready to respond to any emergency calls we receive from our residents. For example, one area where we have seen a significant increase in calls is hazardous materials. Usually these are the result of vehicle accidents where there may be a fuel spill or a truckload of hazardous materials,” Division Chief Greg Summitt, who also serves as the department’s Special Operations Chief, said in a news release. “Our Special Operations Team has extensive training in hazardous materials to ensure we handle these incidents safely and appropriately.”

In order for Kannapolis fire personnel to achieve this certification they completed a multiyear process of training and acquiring the necessary equipment. The department was also recognized as a certified land search team and has been sent to several areas around the state to help other cities when needed in the last year. The department was already certified and continues to provide water rescue and hazardous materials services to residents of the city when needed as part of their special operations team.

 The Kannapolis Fire Department is part of the Rowan County Special Operations Task Force, which is composed of departments in the county who respond to these types of incidents. 

The task force includes Rowan County Rescue as well as the Salisbury, Locke, Cleveland, Miller’s Ferry and Rockwell Rural fire departments. Formed several years ago, the departments in the task force work together to share equipment and specialized personnel and response teams. This allows area departments to save money, avoid duplications of services and strengthens working relationships between all personnel. 

The Kannapolis Fire Department is also part of the Cabarrus County Land Search Team and serves as a backup to the Concord Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team for Cabarrus County.

 “I am proud of the work that has been put in over the last few years, not only to become certified in these specialty areas, but also of the important role that we play in supporting the Cabarrus and Rowan County Special Operations,” Kannapolis Fire Chief Tracy Winecoff said in a news release. “Together, we can more effectively provide trained, certified and equipped personnel for these infrequent events without this becoming a significant financial burden to any one department. The teamwork of all these departments in their effort to provide a higher level of service is a testament of their commitment to their communities.”

Small Business Administration launches platform to help female entrepreneurs

The Small Business recently launched a free, digital e-learning platform called Ascent geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses.

A joint initiative between the SBA and several government agencies, Ascent features valuable content such as tips on preparing and recovering from disasters, strategic marketing and businesses financial strategy development.

“Throughout this year alone, we know that small businesses need our support now more than ever as they evaluate, retool and pivot from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said in a news release. “Ascent includes valuable and timely resources to help women business owners navigate and prepare their business models from potential impacts. I want to thank former SBA Administrator and business owner, Linda McMahon, who planted the seed for this endeavor. It is an incredible privilege to assist women-owned businesses – a key pillar of our nation’s economic firepower – thrive and achieve success.”

Women entrepreneurs start and own nearly half of all businesses in the United States, employ 9.4 million workers, generate $1.9 trillion in revenue and represent all industries. The SBA recently announced that it has plans to open 20 women’s business centers in 2021 to further support female entrepreneurship.

Ascent offers several key “journeys” to assist women business owners with strategies towards growth and success, including Disaster & Economic Recovery, Strategic Marketing, Your People, Your Business Financial Strategy and Access to Capital.  Each journey contains content and tools needed to grow your business. Additional topics will be added over time.

“The Ascent digital learning platform is a practical, user-friendly tool and a one-stop-shop for female entrepreneurs to gain knowledge on how to elevate their business goals, overcome burdensome challenges and grow their existing business,” Allen Gutierrez, associate administrator, Office of Entrepreneurial Development, said in a news release.  “The launch of this useful and timely platform will provide women-owned small businesses the resources they need to start, grow and expand their business. We hope that you enjoy your journey with Ascent.”

Visit Ascent.SBA.gov and register for free access today. For additional opportunities on how women entrepreneurs can start, grow and recover, visit SBA.gov or contact a local SBA District Office.

Charlotte public-private partnership targets a million vaccines by July 4

Honeywell, Atrium Health, Tepper Sports & Entertainment and the Charlotte Motor Speedway have announced a public-private partnership with the state of North Carolina and backed by Gov. Roy Cooper to support the goal of 1 million COVID-19 vaccination by July 4.

“I am very pleased that Honeywell is leading this coalition of private and public organizations that will strive to put North Carolina on the top of the list for vaccination rates in the United States and to get as many North Carolinians vaccinated as soon as possible,” Darius Adamczyk, chairman and chief executive officer of Honeywell, said in a news release. “Honeywell is world renowned for managing highly complex logistics, information technology and operational issues, and we’re looking forward to helping streamline the vaccination process to deliver as many vaccinations as efficiently as possible to our community.”

Honeywell is a Fortune 100 technology solutions company. Tepper Sports and Entertainment is owned by David Tepper, the controlling owner of the Carolina Panthers and the team’s Bank of America stadium.

In collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, these organizations aim to unleash their combined strength to vaccinate as many frontline workers, members of the general public and of underserved communities as quickly and efficiently as possible.

To meet the goal of 1 million vaccinations, the partners will work together to administer the vaccine, provide logistics and operations support and offer a venue for an efficient and safe initiative. Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte Motor Speedway and a soon to be determined location in the Winston-Salem area will serve as initial venues to contribute to this public-private initiative.

“Getting vaccines in people’s arms as quickly and equitably as possible is a top priority for North Carolina,” Cooper said in a news release. “Partnerships with businesses, health providers and governments like this can help get it done.”

More information about Atrium Health’s vaccination plans for the public, including frequently asked questions and scheduling vaccinations, can be found at AtriumHealth.org/COVID19Vaccine.

IRS warns North Carolinians about COVID-19-related scams

As a new wave of direct Economic Impact Payments begins to be dispersed to taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division is warning North Carolinians about COVID-19-related scams.

In the last several months, the IRS-CI has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers. Criminals are taking advantage of the second round of Economic Impact Payments – as well as the approaching filing season – to trick honest taxpayers out of their hard-earned money.

“As this second round of Economic Impact Payments are being issued and as we approach tax filing season, I’d like to remind taxpayers to remain vigilant,” IRS Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line said in a news release. “Fraudsters continue to exploit this pandemic to victimize the American public by seeking ways to gain access to taxpayer’s personal and financial information in an effort to line their own pockets.”

Some common COVID-19 scams include:

  • Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.
  • Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).
  • The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills, and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments).
  • Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the disease.
  • Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.

Although criminals are constantly changing their tactics, taxpayers can help protect themselves by acting as the first line of defense. The best way to avoid falling victim to a scam is knowing how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. The IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards. IRS-CI continues investigating hundreds of COVID-19-related cases with law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad and educating taxpayers about scams.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies. Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Reports can be made online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.

Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, should forward the message to phishing@irs.gov. Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone.

To learn more about COVID-19 scams and other financial schemes visit IRS.gov. Official IRS information about COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief page, which is updated frequently.

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