LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council paused on Monday as Rep. Charles Graham took to the podium to honor a former city councilman with a certificate from the state House of Representatives and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine — the state’s highest civilian honor given to individuals with a proven record of service to North Carolina.
Wyatt Johnson, who served for a quarter of a century in Lumberton’s Precinct 2, “reached out to the citizens of this community, the citizens of Lumberton, earning respect and admiration from all he met,” Graham said.
Johnson was elected to Lumberton’s Precinct 2 in 1985, and resigned in 2010, with two years left on his term, at the age of 82.
“My success here in Lumberton has been because of the people who work in Lumberton — the real people,” he said. “The people who performed the tasks that I was charged with getting done.”
Johnson, who was born in Alabama, served in the U.S. Army for 28 years, including the Korean and the Vietnam wars. It was while in the Army in the 1950s that he met his wife LaJoan Stewart, a Lumberton native, who later brought him to her hometown. He worked with the Public Schools of Robeson County for 13 years and was heavily involved in civic endeavors, including the Special Olympics, the Girl Scouts and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8969.
“This is really an honor here to receive these accolades,” Johnson said. “I appreciate it so much and I can’t say it enough.”
Also on Monday, the council:
— Recognized Councilman Erich Hackney for 10 years of service to the council, and retired Lumberton police Capt. Ertle Jones for 26 years of service to the city.
— Proclaimed November 2012 as National Home Care Month.
— Awarded a bid for about $2 million to Step Construction, of LaGrange, for the Tanglewood Sewer Rehab Project.
— Authorized the city to apply for a $150,000 building reuse grant from the North Carolina Rural Center to help a company cover the $310,000 cost of renovations to a Lumberton building as part of “Project Flow,” which is expected to bring 40 jobs at an average wage of $15 per hour plus benefits.
— Authorized the city to proceed with closeout documents of two Community Development Block Grants totaling about $1.1 million, which funded projects at housing developments.
— Accepted a grant of about $4,000 from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services for the Pine Street Senior Center.
— Approved a change order from Chancel Builders in the amount of $6,357 for modifications in the construction of the new Lumberton Police Department at 1305 Godwin Ave.
— Approved contracts with Espy Services and Davenport Lawrence, advisory firms that look for ways that the city can save money.
— Approved about $3,600 in tax releases for the month of November.
— Approved a solid waste franchise agreement with Robeson County for removal of waste at Robeson Community College.
— Approved the purchase of four acres of land at about $23,000 beside the Lumberton Municipal Airport as part of the Acquisition & Obstruction Removal Runway 5 approach grant, which will pay for 90 percent of the purchase price.
— Adopted a resolution declaring city property as surplus to be sold at an auction by Lloyd Meekins Realty and Auction Company on Dec. 27.
— Adopted a resolution naming City Manager Wayne Horne as the agent for Mosquito Control.
— Authorized the Planning and Neighborhood Services Board to review a re-zoning and conditional-use permit request for 511 E. Second St., and set a date for a public hearing on the request. Melody Campbell, who operates Carolinas Home Care Agency Inc. at the property, wants to add a mental health day treatment for adolescents to the facility.
— Authorize the Planning Board to review a request for a conditional-use permit for a home on 411 Carthage Road., and set the date for a public hearing on the request. K&L Veterans’ Homes and Services, previously housed at 903 Glenn St., wants to relocate there. The council on Monday heard from Mary Hill, who said that documents Carter had submitted to the council were misleading. Hill, former owner of New Life Services, said Carter had once managed a veterans home for the company at 801 E. Seventh St. and had been fired.
— Set the speed limit for Sessoms Street, near East Fifth Street, to 25 mph and approved posting of “We Love our Children” signs.
— Designated $5,550 of community revitalization funds.