Thursday, January 10, 2013

Acidified Foods Better Process Control School

Processing and Packaging BPCS for North Carolina Entrepreneurs Packaging in Glass and Plastic Containers

February 27 - March 1, 2013

Asheville, NC
This workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn Asheville - Biltmore West, Asheville, NC. Special room rates are available. See the flyer for details. Registration deadline is February 20, 2013.

Click here
to view or download the workshop flyer and registration form, or contact Lisa Gordon at 919-515-2760 or for more information.  

Senior Citizens and Other Federal Benefit Recipients to Meet March 1 Electronic Payment Deadline



Contact:  Melody Barrett or Brad Benson
Financial Management Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury

(202) 874-6750
Time is Running Out for Senior Citizens and Other Federal Benefit Recipients to Meet March 1 Electronic Payment Deadline
Treasury Department urges remaining paper check recipients to make the switch now to direct deposit or a prepaid card
Washington, D.C. (January 8, 2012) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today reported that 5 million checks continue to be mailed to federal beneficiaries each month. With just two months remaining until the March 1, 2013, electronic payment law goes into effect, the Treasury Department is urging Social Security and other federal benefit recipients to not delay and switch now to either direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card.
“Choosing direct deposit or the Direct Express® card makes it easier, safer and more convenient for beneficiaries to receive their payments. Switching to an electronic payment is not optional – it’s the law,” said David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service. “If you or a loved one still receive paper checks for your benefit payments, now is the time to switch. It’s free and easy – just call 1-800-333-1795 or visit”
Currently, approximately 93 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are being made electronically. Converting the remaining paper check recipients to electronic payments will save American taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years.
Spreading the word about electronic payments
The Treasury Department published a final rule in December 2010 to gradually phase out paper checks for federal benefit payments. Since May 1, 2011, all people newly applying for federal benefits, including Social Security, SSI, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Personnel Management benefits and other non-tax payments, have had to choose direct deposit or the Direct Express® card at the time they sign up for their benefits. March 1, 2013, is the final deadline by which all remaining federal benefit check recipients must receive their money electronically.
The Treasury Department’s Go Direct® public education campaign is working with more than 1,800 partner organizations throughout the country to spread the message about the electronic payment rule and educate federal benefit recipients about their options. The campaign has developed and shared a variety of public service announcements, educational videos, check inserts and other materials to explain how electronic payments work and how to make the switch from paper checks. The videos and materials are available on the Go Direct campaign website at
“The Treasury Department has taken great strides to support and guide check recipients through the change to electronic payments, and we’re increasing our efforts significantly in the final two months before the deadline,” Lebryk said. “We have a team of friendly, helpful agents standing by at our call center, and many financial institutions, caregivers, senior services providers and advocates for people who are homeless or have disabilities have the necessary information and resources to help federal benefit recipients make the switch.”
Switch to electronic payments now before time runs out
Check recipients can sign up for direct deposit or the Direct Express® card by calling toll-free 1-800-333-1795, visiting, or talking to their local federal paying agency office. The process is fast, easy and free.
  • By taking a few minutes to gather the necessary information ahead of time, most federal benefit recipients can sign up for electronic payments with one phone call.
  • Individuals will need their Social Security number or claim number, their 12-digital federal benefit check number and the amount of their most recent federal benefit check. If choosing direct deposit, recipients also will need their financial institution’s routing transit number, (often found on a personal check) account number and account type (checking or saving).
  • There are no sign-up fees or monthly fees to receive benefits electronically.
For the media
Downloadable B-roll is available at
Public service announcements, educational videos and materials, graphic elements – including a national map showing the states with the most remaining paper benefit checks – key numbers and additional information are available for download at:
The Go Direct® campaign is sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks. The Direct Express® logo,Go Direct® and Direct Express® are registered service marks, and the Go Directsm logo is a service mark, of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Management Service. The Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card is issued by Comerica Bank, pursuant to a license by MasterCard International Incorporated. MasterCard® and the MasterCard® Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Produce Lady

Click here to view the January edition of the Produce Lady E-Newsletter.

January is National Radon Action Month


North Carolina Cooperative Extension is partnering with with the NC Radon Program and offering free Radon test kits as well as helping to provide educational information about Radon.  Radon is a tasteless, odorless invisible gas that is naturally occurring from the decay of Uranium found in the soil.

Why should you test?  Radon is second leading cause of lung cancer with the effects depending on quantity/concentration of radon, time exposed and if you are a smoker vs. nonsmoker.

It is also important to test in Alleghany County since we are listed as a Zone 1 which means due to our geologic makeup we have on average the highest potential for having homes with results of over 4 picocures per Liter of air for Radon.  The EPA recommends that homes with results of over 4 picocures install a mitigation method between 2 and 4 pCi/L homeowners should consider fixing their homes.  

Zone 1 - Highest Risk      Zone 2 - Moderate Risk      Zone 3 - Low Risk

You cannot predict Radon levels  from:
  • Style of house
  • Foundation type
  • Heating system
  • Air-tightness
  • Presence of sumps, cracks, or other features
  • Age of structure

*You have to test to find out!

Free test kits are available at the Alleghany Cooperative Extension Office - 90 S Main St, Sparta, NC or for more information, contact the office at (336) 372-5597.