A grant Burke County has received will be used to help local jail inmates get off drugs.

County commissioners this week approved a $500,000 United States Department of Justice grant for the implementation of the Burke County Recovery Court.

Sheriff Steve Whisenant told commissioners that since becoming sheriff in 2011, one of his primary concerns is substance misuse and the direct correlation between substance misuse and crime.

The $500,000, four-year grant will seek to reduce the rates of drug addiction and criminal justice involvement in the community and recidivism among offenders seeking recovery, Whisenant said. A collaboration of organizations will work with high-risk, high-need adult non-violent offenders where alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor in the crime they committed, he said.

Whisenant said the program is a partnership with a large group of agencies, including: The Cognitive Connection, Catawba Valley Behavioral Health, Burke Recovery, TASC, Burke Integrated Health, Burke County Public Health, North Carolina Probation, Local Law Enforcement and the North Carolina 25th Judicial District.

The grant won’t cost the county any money, Whisenant said.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office will serve as the financial contact for the grant. The grant period will start on Jan. 1.

Whisenant said his department has been able to collaborate with a large group of organizations to begin the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program and now have counselors in the jail who work with inmates.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners approved a request to rezone 4.16 acres located at 2350 Brookwood Drive, Valdese, to the Planned Residential Mixed Use–Conditional District, from Conservation District–Low Density zoning. Eddie Jolly, general manager of WSVM radio station, plans to construct a 100-foot tall AM communications tower with a single antenna for the radio station.

The parcel has a single-family home and a 328-square-foot accessory building on it. The development where the property is located is made up of 14 single-family residences on 17 residential lots, according to the county.

The radio station will have to provide written notice to the county whenever the use of the communications tower will be discontinued. The owners of WSVM Radio will be responsible for removing the tower from the property and plant vegetation in the disturbed area.

The board also:

» Approved an engineering services contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates for the Fonta Flora State Trail-North Powerhouse and Cobb Roads sidewalk project for a section that extends approximately 2.5 miles along the southeastern edge of Lake James. Burke County has been awarded and accepted $870,000 in combined grant funding for the project, according to information from the county.

» Approved its consent agenda, which included the school system purchase price of $90,000 for 4.04 acres located at 3901 East Burke Blvd. for the potential construction of a new school; Lake James Fire Department to finance a new fire truck with Home Trust Bank for $402,237 over a 15-year period; Birth control and immunization fee schedule changes for 2019; a resolution to expand funding for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils in relation to the Raise the Age legislation.

Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.