Publix in New Bern closed at 5 p.m. today, four hours earlier than its normal 9 a.m. closure, due to approaching tropical-force wind and rain from Isaias. “We’re closely monitoring Tropical Storm Isaias and the impact to our operating areas,” Publix said on its website. “Please be aware that several of our stores in the affected area will be adjusting their hours for the storm. The map below provides the most up-to-date information on changes to store hours.Read More →

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposed a rule that would allow predatory lenders to partner with out-of-state banks for the purpose of evading North Carolina’s interest rate cap. The “true lender” rule would enable the same situation that the North Carolina Banking Commissioner put a stop to in 2006. Payday lenders like Advance America were operating all over the state, charging annual interest rates up to 400%, which violated North Carolina law and trapped people in high-cost debt cycles. North Carolina currently saves $457 million per year in payday and car title fees by enforcing our consumer protections. Payday and car title loans areRead More →

After decades of presence in New Bern starting downtown and ending at Twin Rivers Mall, JC Penney is closing this summer. The company blog announced it Thursday. “Following a comprehensive review of our retail footprint, JCPenney made the difficult decision to close 154 stores. We will continue to operate the majority of our stores and our flagship store, jcp.com, to ensure our valued customers continue to have access to the products and brands they need and want. Please see below for a list of closing locations.” (Here are just the NC stores affected.) Henderson Square380 N Cooper DrHenderson, NC 27536252-492-7141Biggs Park Shopping Center2910 N ElmRead More →

The COVID-19 Small Business Loan Program is being launched at noon Friday, June 5. This program is specifically designed for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to provide emergency, short-term loans for eligible small businesses located within the New Bern city limits. Funds may be used for business related expenses including rent, mortgage payments, working capital, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business. Loan amounts will be equivalent to two (2) month’s actual monthly rental/mortgage payments of the business, not to exceed a maximum total of $10,000 for an individual small business. Loans will be unsecured with repayment terms of a NoRead More →

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of New Bern has amended its ordinance to allow for street cafes. This concept aims to help restaurants citywide in their economic recovery from Coronavirus and allow them more room to serve patrons during the State of North Carolina’s Phase 2 reopening, while also exercising stringent social distancing and capacity guidelines. Phase 2 is anticipated to begin on Friday, May 22 and last for 4-6 weeks. The Street Café Permit allows restaurants, upon approval, to serve patrons outside of their facilities. In the downtown area, the City has agreed to close portions of streets on FridayRead More →

Phase 2 of lifted COVID-19 restrictions would allow restaurants with outdoor seating, and the city is being asked to close parts of some downtown streets to make room for street cafe setups. At its Tuesday, May 12 Zoom meeting, the Board of Aldermen will consider the request to temporarily close portions of Middle Street, Pollock Street, and Craven Street to Vehicular Traffic. This resolution would permit closures of one side of the 200-300 blocks of Middle Street, 300 block of Pollock Street, and the 200 block of Craven Street from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. accommodating street cafes between May 22, and Aug. 1, 2020.Read More →

The New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce is joining the county board of commissioners in asking Governor Roy Cooper to relax COVID-19-related restrictions on Craven County. In a letter submitted to the New Bern Sun Journal, Chamber of Commerce leaders said the following: As we are all well-aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious public health crisis. Fortunately, the New Bern area responded strongly and appropriately when asked to do so in mid-late March. Under direction from our leadership, New Bern residents have diligently shuttered their businesses, closed their schools, and practiced social distancing, all in the name of public health. Everyone accepted that theseRead More →

This week, the Lenoir County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to join seven other Governing Boards in Central Eastern North Carolina to request that Gov. Roy Cooper repeal Executive Order 135, known as the “Stay at Home Order.” The Governing Boards for Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico and Wayne counties cited the extreme economic hardship on their local economies as a major reason for the request. In the letter, the boards of commissioners thank Gov. Cooper for his leadership during this tenuous time in our history and for the governor’s efforts that have helped to save lives and flatten the curve throughout NorthRead More →

The Pamlico News, the Oriental-based weekly newspaper that has covered local news since 1968, is temporarily shutting down due a severe slowdown in advertising revenue. Businesses have stopped advertising, sapping the paper of operating funds, the paper said in a front-page article. The article said the paper would return in three weeks. Meanwhile, the County Compass continues to be chock full of advertising surrounding its stridently right-wing coverage of the pandemic. In New Bern, the Sun Journal laid off it’s last sports reporter, Jordan Honeycutt, whose last day was Friday. Honeycutt has been dividing his time between New Bern and Kinston, one person doing theRead More →

Southeast Plastics in New Bern, which specializes in engraving and print receptive plastic sheets, made and donated several face shields and an “Intubation Box” to CarolinaEast Medical Center for use on potential COVID-19 patients. The box is designed to act as a protective shield between the patient and medical staff, thereby hopefully minimizing the risk of disease transmission. Similar devices have been used in hospitals across the world during endotracheal intubation on patients with COVID-19. The clear plastic cube covers the patient’s head and has two holes through which the clinician passes his or her hands to perform the procedure. CarolinaEast appreciates Southeast Plastics’ effortRead More →