Statewide: Eastern region, January 2015

 In 2015-01

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Healthy investment

A $30 million cancer center in New Bern will bring more specialized care to eastern North Carolina residents through a partnership between CarolinaEast Health System and Chapel Hill-based UNC Health Care. Expected to open within three years, the center will bring CarolinaEast’s cancer services under one roof and give patients local access to UNC oncology specialists. The center will offer clinical trials and other treatments for which patients now must travel to the Triangle area, Executive Director Dawn Peele says. The drive from the CarolinaEast hospital in New Bern to Chapel Hill is about 280 miles round-trip. “While our cancer-care capabilities have traditionally been exceptional and leading-edge, our program has been very fragmented and gaps have existed.” The New Bern hospital will finance construction costs, and its foundation will help pay for the project, says Ray Leggett III, CarolinaEast President and CEO. The center is expected to create an undetermined number of jobs. Cancer is a pernicious problem in eastern North Carolina. Of the seven counties CarolinaEast serves, six  — Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Jones, Lenoir and Onslow — have cancer incidence rates above both the state and national averages. (Pamlico County is the exception.) On average, more than 2,400 people from those counties are diagnosed with cancer each year. Last year, CarolinaEast diagnosed or treated about 820 cancer patients, and a new center could attract more from the broader region.

 


Briefs

WILMINGTONVertex Rail Technologies plans to add 1,300 jobs and invest up to $60 million in a factory to make tank cars for transporting crude oil. The Middleboro, Mass.-based company will renovate a 559,000-square-foot plant once occupied by Westport, Conn.-based cranemaker Terex Corp., which shuttered operations in 2011. Jobs will pay an average annual salary of about $40,000, lower than New Hanover’s $42,340. The privately held company did not ask for state or local incentives. Vertex Rail CEO Don Croteau is also managing director of Vertex FD, a company that designs and makes specialty storage tanks. Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is one of its customers.

ELIZABETH CITY — Coleen Santa Ana became president of Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in December. She succeeded Kenneth Wood, interim president since March, when the Norfolk, Va.-based Sentara Healthcare system took over operations of the 182-bed hospital. Santa Ana had been a senior strategist since 2012 for Sentara, which operates 12 hospitals in North Carolina and Virginia.

NEW BERNMoen, based in North Olmsted, Ohio, will open a 203,000- square-foot distribution warehouse to support its faucet-assembly plant and will add 75 jobs to its 700 by year-end. Craven County will provide $650,000 in incentives for the $12.4 million project. Jobs will pay an average salary of more than $32,000.

TARBORONomaco will close its 500,000-square-foot plant, which makes foam products here, in July. About 80 of the company’s 106 employees will be eligible to apply for jobs at its Zebulon headquarters.

JACKSONVILLEN.C. State University canceled plans to sell Hofmann Forest, the 79,000-acre research woodlands it owns near here, to Birmingham, Ala.-based Resource Management Service and a Danville, Ill.-based agribusiness investor after the prospective buyers didn’t obtain financing. The university plans to seek another buyer despite a pending lawsuit filed by activists (Statewide, December 2014).

GREENVILLENorth Carolina’s Northeast Alliance, the Williamston-based economic-development organization that represents 15 counties in northeastern North Carolina, planned to merge with the NCEast Alliance on Jan. 1. NCEast, which markets and recruits business for 13 eastern counties, will move its headquarters here from Kinston.

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