Friday, April 24, 2015

Update on Riverbed Lawsuit

I want to provide everyone with a brief update on the riverbed lawsuit that began this week in U.S. District Court in Elizabeth City, NC. The court ruled that the Yadkin River is non-navigable. We're pleased with the court’s ruling as it is a key point in demonstrating ownership of the land. 

As to the remaining issue of ownership, Judge Boyle directed the parties to submit their motions for summary judgment on title issue within 30 days. We look forward to proving ownership in the next phase of the case.

Here is an Associated Press article that summarizes the trial.

Associated Press
April 23, 2015

US judge: Riverbed property rights next in Alcoa dams fight
By Emery Dalesio

A federal judge ruled this week that boats could not navigate North Carolina's second-largest river system at the time of American independence, a decision that helps Alcoa Inc. as it tries to prove it owns the riverbed on which some valuable hydroelectric dams were built.

Judge Terrence W. Boyle said late Wednesday that the 40-mile section of the Yadkin River where Alcoa Inc. operates four hydropower dams was not navigable at the time the United States was born. States took control of their navigable rivers when they joined the union, so Boyle's ruling is a setback to North Carolina proving it still owns the riverbed.

Boyle opened a nonjury trial on Tuesday to hear a 2013 state lawsuit challenging whether Alcoa had property rights to build the dams. The dispute is about who will control the Yadkin's flow and billions of dollars of clean power for the coming decades.

Boyle's ruling means the trial now is likely to take up whether Alcoa can show property records proving it owns the riverbed the dams were built on.

Lawyers for both sides dug deep into the state archives and the Library of Congress to review accounts describing the river's navigability dating to before and soon after North Carolina became a state upon ratifying the Constitution in 1789.

The evidence included letters from an American Revolutionary general, expressions of sour grapes from Moravian settlers in the 1750s disappointed the land they bought near present-day Winston-Salem offered no navigable routes, and an 18th century landowner describing how he was able to use the Yadkin to ship his crops.

Family friendly events planned at High Rock Lake on Saturday

To celebrate the start of the boating season at High Rock Lake, Alcoa and the High Rock River Rats are hosting a series of family-friendly events on Saturday, April 25 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Buddle Creek Access Area in Lexington. A lake cleanup effort sponsored by the High Rock River Rats will take place at the same time.  

“We encourage everyone to come out to High Rock Lake on Saturday to enjoy a free hot dog, grab a free life jacket and learn how to stay safe on the lakes,” said Karen Baldwin, a natural resources manager for Alcoa Power Generating Inc. who spearheads the company’s water safety efforts.
“We want to use this kickoff event to remind families about the different ways they can protect themselves when they are swimming or boating.”

Activities will include:
Interactive Games:
Take part in fun, family friendly games and activities that reinforce the importance of water safety.

Boating Safety:Representatives from NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and local law enforcement agencies will be there to share boating safety tips and show off the boats used to patrol the lakes and rescue those in need.
Free Life Jackets:
Alcoa will give away free life jackets to 100 children under 13 years old. NC law requires children under 13 to always wear a life jacket when on a boat.
Hot Dog Lunch:
Enjoy a hot dog lunch, courtesy of the High Rock River Rats

Lake Cleanup:
The High Rock River Rats and Piedmont Triad Regional Council’s Stormwater SMART program encourage people to join the cleanup effort and help keep High Rock Lake clean.

The Buddle Creek Access Area is located off Holloway Church Road in Lexington. A similar event will be held at Badin Lake in May.

Alcoa Power Generating Inc. has been sponsoring a water safety campaign at the lakes along the Yadkin River for more than 10 years. Providing free life jackets is one of several ways that Alcoa works with law enforcement agencies to promote water safety. The company also provides financial support to local sheriff departments for increased patrols of the lakes and sponsors an advertising campaign to remind people to “Put It On.”
North Carolina consistently ranks near the top of the list when it comes to boating. NC ranked 5th in the nation in boating accidents (139), 6th in boating injuries (90) and 10th in boating deaths (16) last year. Some of those accidents happened at High Rock Lake.

The number one cause of death in boating accidents is drowning, according to US Coast Guard. Statistics show that 77% of boating fatalities were the result of drowning.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Badin Lake Osprey Cam: Easter Eggs Arrive

The week before Easter saw the special delivery of two eggs on the Alcoa OspreyCam, a live feed that follows a pair of Osprey in their nest atop the Narrows Dam at Badin Lake. People from across North Carolina and around the world can watch these birds live at

After several weeks of building their new nest, the Osprey pair welcomed their first egg on Wednesday. A second egg was spotted on Friday morning. The eggs typically incubate for about five weeks, so viewers can expect to see the chicks hatch in early to mid May. 

Last year, the Alcoa Osprey Cam saw the arrival of one chick – named Miracle – who survived despite facing several challenges. The live camera lets viewers watch as the chicks hatch, get accustomed to their new surroundings and learn to fly. 

Ospreys are large birds — with a wingspan of 5-6 feet — that resemble bald eagles. The birds live along rivers, lakes and other large bodies of water where they can feed on fish. The open water and large tracts of undeveloped shoreline at the Yadkin Project provide the perfect setting for wildlife such as bald eagles, ospreys, great blue herons and great egrets.

Alcoa also operates an EagleCam ( that provides a live look at two bald eagle chicks in Davenport, Iowa.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Catching up with Alcoa scholarship recipients

Nicole Wright (center) meets with Alcoa scholarship recipients
Samir AlSamarraee (l) and Sandra Jimenez-Guillermo (r).
As part of Alcoa’s commitment to supporting education, the company regularly provides scholarships to students at Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College. 

Nicole Wright, Alcoa’s community relations coordinator in central North Carolina, recently had the opportunity to catch up with two recent scholarship recipients during a dinner at Pfeiffer. 

Sandra Jimenez-Guillermo, a sophomore from Burlington, NC, is majoring in Biology. She is planning to go to pre-vet school and would eventually like to work in a zoo or find a job caring for small animals. 

Samir AlSamarraee, a sophomore from Greensboro, NC, is majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology. He plans to become an anesthesiologist. In addition to attending school, Samir is currently working two jobs. 

“Both students couldn’t say enough about their love for Pfeiffer – the quality education, the great staff and the family feel of that school,” Wright said. “Alcoa is proud to support students like Sandra and Samir and help them pursue their college education.” 

During the tour, Wright was impressed with Pfeiffer’s long-term planning and the renovation of many historic buildings on campus.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alcoa Foundation accepting grant proposals

Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation are currently accepting grant proposals from local non-profit organizations that protect the environment, strengthen education and enhance the community. In the past 10 years, Alcoa has donated nearly $2.5 million and supported more than 100 local non-profit organizations in the region.

“Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation have a long history of supporting North Carolina organizations that improve our community. We are proud to continue our support of worthwhile causes that make our community stronger,” said Nicole Wright, who oversees community grants for Alcoa in North Carolina.

Grant proposals are due by March 31, 2015 and should be submitted directly to Alcoa Power Generating’s office in Badin, NC. (Additional contact information is listed below.)

Alcoa Foundation grants focus on two primary areas:

Education: Supporting STEM education and workforce training initiatives to help build the advanced technology workforce.

Environment: Driving measurable and systematic improvements in environmental sustainability through innovative solutions that incorporate the next generation of products, practices and systems. 

In 2014, local recipients of grants from Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation included organizations such as:

Stanly Community College: $20,000 to support its new Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology Center)

Pfeiffer University: $20,000 to support a series of summer camps focused on science,technology,engineering and math)

Uwharrie Community Services: $10,540 to fund a technology program aimed at helping seniors improve their computer skills

Rowan County Rescue Squad: $5,000 to purchase four underwater facemasks and buoyancy control devices for divers

John Murray Community Care Clinic: $5,000 to purchase medications and medical supplies

The Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the United States. In 2014, the foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering.

 The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by the work of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in their communities. Through the Alcoa ACTION (Alcoans Coming Together in Our Neighborhoods) program, employees in Badin frequently volunteer on community service projects and provide small grants to help benefit the nonprofit organization.

For more information about applying for an Alcoa Foundation grant or to receive the format for a concept paper, contact Nicole Wright at Concept letters can be sent via email or delivered to:

Alcoa Foundation
ATTN: Nicole Wright
293 NC 740 Highway
Badin, NC 28009-0576