Category: Community

June 30th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

On June 23, 2020, after a Public Hearing; the New Bern Board of Alderman denied a request to rezone 2409 Oaks Road from Residential R6 to Commercial C4. Only the owner of the property was in favor, and all others were opposed. A previous request to rezone this property from Residental to Commercial C3 was denied in 2019 (corrected year).

As Craven County has no zoning, the property had been used commercially in the past. When 2409 Oaks Rd became part of the City it was Zoned residential. This amounted to a promise to the community, that there will be no future commerical use. Citizens throughout New Bern pay taxes for the benefits that zoning provides. All residents of New Bern are lawfully entited to equal protection of the law.

The next two items on the agenda were essentially the same for other properties, both were denied after unamious opposition from their communities. The above is fact In my opinion spot zoning results in a windall for the property owner and the destruction of neighboods.

After the third denial a recess was called.

After the recess a motion was made to rescind the vote on Oaks Road. The motion passed after all who spoke against the change had left and with only the property owner remaining the descion on Oaks Road was rescinded.

I reccomend checking orginal sources to protect against misinformation, so view the metting here and decide for yourself.

See New Bern TV 3 Board of Alderman June 23 items 6A and 6B.

This is a perfect example of spot zoning from Residential to Commercial, which only creates a windfall for property owner, while neighboring residental properties lose value and neighborhoods go downhill.

Anyone can see Oaks Road is a fragile community, I ask you to help residents who are working to improve it.

I urged all Citizens in New Bern who care about their neighborhoods and open government, to speak at the New Bern Board of Aldernan meeting July 7 at 6 p.m., during the Petition of Citizens and also there may be a future public hearing on this matter.

You may contact members ofthe New Bern Board of Alderman here.

Mike Duffy, New Bern NC
Where every one comes together

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Commentary, Community, Community issues, Mayor, New Bern

June 22nd, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Stories and reminiscences of New Bern’s “used to be” — Captain Ratty’s used to be Duffy’s Drug Store; First Citizens Bank sits where there used to be the Hotel Queen Anne.

“New Bern Then and Now” by New Bern Historical Society Curator Jim Hodges is chock full of historic photos and images and is one of the Society’s most popular presentations, selling out 4 times.

Now it is going virtual and free of charge.  Be sure to be on the New Bern Historical Society Facebook page at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8 when they will live stream the presentation, and he will be on hand to answer questions.

He will reveal the past and current status of more than 30 New Bern landmarks.  He has scoured the New Bern Historical Society collection to share with you these images from the city’s past.  In some cases, the buildings have been carefully renovated and saved in their original condition.  In others they have been saved and re-purposed, while sometimes they are simply lost.

New Bern Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said of this new project, “Jim’s ‘Then and Now’ is the first of several presentations we’ll bring to live stream this summer.  We are delighted to explore a new venue to share New Bern’s stories with an even wider audience.  And we want to thank Charles Tendell for guiding us through this technology.”

Hodges was raised in New Bern and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a post graduate dental degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After satisfying a military commitment and enjoying several years of international travel, he returned to New Bern and practiced dentistry until his retirement in 2012.

His current life chapter involves his passion for New Bern and its rich history as a member of the Historical Society’s Board of Directors.  As the volunteer Curator of the New Bern Historical Society he spends his days maintaining, conserving and finding ways to share the collection.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad Street in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety .

Posted in Community, Entertainment, History, New Bern Historical Society

June 18th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

In December 2012, An officer from City of New Bern, NC Police Department pulled a gun out on me, I was 13 years old, walking to the post office to mail a Christmas present, if I was Black I would probably be dead.

2012 was the year that New Bern Chief of Police Toussaint E. Summers Jr assumed his position as Chief of Police.

Over the past 8 years it has become increasingly evident that under Mr. Summers Leadership that The New Bern Police Department has operated in a culture that is at best disorganized, and at worst, a calculated effort of community intimidation.

In 2015 Mr. Summers along with a Captain and Two Lieutenants rushed to a local media outlet in an attempt to intimidate a Journalist for reporting in a way that Mr. Summers did not like. (PS. This particular situation has to do with reports of human trafficking.)

At a peaceful protest just last week in New Bern, The New Bern Police Department deployed a multitude of undercover police, something that many, including myself, view to be a complete and absolute waste of taxpayer money.

Now this week Officer Nick Rhodes with The New Bern Police Department made a public post stating that the shooting of #RayshardBrooks was justified, even after The Atlanta Police Department itself found that action to be so despicable that the officer that shot Rayshard Brooks was fired and has been charged with murder.

Furthermore The Chief, Members of The Governing Board, and The City manager have been notified of this statement by Officer Nick Rhodes and have yet to make a statement or take appropriate action.

In fact The City of New Bern leadership itself has taken no adequate action, and made no adequate statement to address the obvious racial inequities across North Carolina and The United States that have led to our current Civil Rights Movement.

What I have stated above are just a small snippet of the culture of intimidation and fear perpetuated by The New Bern Police Department, and so just like in the 1990s it would behoove the citizens of New Bern to possibly have an SBI investigation opened into The New Bern Police department to evaluate their practices and culture.

Nick Rhodes should resign by the end of the day.

I would also like to See Dana Outlaw, Mayor of New Bern call for a special session of The Board of Alderman, for the public to come and comment on their experiences with The New Bern Police Department.

Finally it is clear that Chief Summers does not hold the trust of the community and if he cannot take appropriate action to handle this moment, and allow for an investigation into his department, in a transparent manner, should resign himself. #NoJusticeNoPeace
City of New Bern, NC Government

Braedon Oliver, used with permission

Note: New Bern Post has reached out to Officer Rhodes, Chief Summers, City Manager Mark Stephens, and Mayor Dana Outlaw for their comments about the post by Officer Rhodes.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Civil Rights, Community, Mayor, New Bern, Police Department, Public safety

June 18th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

After working diligently with community leaders from the Duffy field area for two years, receiving 8 million dollars in grant money from FEMA, and designing/quoting the project with an architect in totality, members of the New Bern Board of Aldermen want to re-locate the Stanley White Recreation Center.

This may seem small if you are outside the community, but believe me when I tell you just how much this land means to the people who have grown up in the facility. I am seriously shocked at the city’s adamant attempts to relocate this major asset seeing as every opinion that they have carefully considered has echoed the need to re-build on the existing site.

I want to address a few frequently asked questions, in my opinion —

the new land is built outside of the flood zone, so it won’t flood anymore!

The land at Henderson Park and the streets around it are poorly maintained. That’s why Duffyfield flooded so terribly in 2018. With an eight million dollar investment, the city is able to build Stanley White up to code (for only ~$400k) AND integrate the new building with the retention ponds, ditch renovations, and other proactive responses to basic land maintenance. If this is done correctly, the risk of flooding should be minimized greatly.

But the flood insurance is so high, $100k a year? Just to maintain a community center?

Flood insurance in downtown New Bern will ALWAYS ALWAYS be high. From now until forever. Duffy field still exists, and if this project is moved even 100 feet outside of the current building zone, I fear that the neighborhood will never see the investment that it so deserves. While the population has dwindled due to storm damage, we cannot let it slip through the cracks. This maintenance is long overdue and the money was given because there is a serious need.

If they build the building back where it was, it can’t be used as a shelter anymore. Where will the people stay?

This issue is totally independent of Stanley White Rec Center. City of New Bern should be building a shelter that can house thousands of people or multiple community buildings that are more centrally located. Yes, they will be able to find funding for this. Yes, there are plenty of undeveloped buildings that would be available to accommodate this. No, it is not the burden of the community in Duffyfield to hold. If they put the center out on Gaston Blvd. they will totally neglect the issues that remain in the community and it will flood horribly again and the neighborhood will fall to disrepair and the city will clear the land and it will suddenly be a bougie park or a shopping center or some other form of gentrification that does not serve the community that it surrounds. It may seem like a proactive decision, but it totally ignores the complexities of the land and the neglect that it has faced over the years.

The land will always be a park! They can’t build a road through it.

The fact that they felt compelled to re-state that a road could not be built through it proves their intentions in “finding” this new land to begin with. If they’re just going to build a park on the land, why can’t they rebuild Stanley White? Why are they so quick to use the 8 million elsewhere? Why do we have to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to investing in low-income neighborhoods? It’s a shame. Especially after dragging the community along for the last two years.

Curious to know what everyone else thinks and even more interested in how much money has been granted to the city using the statistics of low-income neighborhoods, and how much of that money was actually seen by the people it was supposed to serve. I have SO MUCH TO SAY about housing in New Bern — but let’s talk about this for right now.

— Kelly Rogers, used with permission

Posted in Civil Rights, Commentary, Community, Community issues, Parks and Recreation

June 17th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

When I cut on the TV I see an illusionary model of black people that this is Black people. I stepped off the porch as a young black male and tried to reenact the sequel.

In 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson proved that we are not equal. How is it that every portrayal of a black man is nefarious, criminal, evil.

In schools we are taught that Black People didn’t contribute to America. We are falsely taught about slavery, Dr. King, only to prove we are inferior.

My worse fear is to be pulled over because I fit the criteria. Why is it that a black man jogging can only stimulate hysteria.

When will we have laws that increase our chances of owning a business. When will I be able to walk in a bank without being labeled a menace.

When we mention racism in 2020 everyone’s face should grimace. Almost 400 years of a learned hate that egregiously is far from finished.

We spend more in mass incarceration, then we do in education. The cage bird sings of his trials and tribulations.

Our hurt, our pain, what we have undergone for so long we have stood and remained patient. The traumatic storms of our past has now precipitated the uproar in this nation!

We have undergone every type of hate that your mind can perceive. There is a 1 out of 3 chance we’ll go to prison from the time we were conceived.

For years if you wonder what we have gone through think of all the black men just in your own family that has hung from trees. Even back then, back then, they were crying: I CAN’T BREATHE!

Kevin Slade, used with permission

Posted in Civil Rights, Community, New Bern

June 17th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

The city is proposing that Stanley White Recreation Center be moved to a new location with Broad Street frontage so that it won’t be further damaged by future flooding.

Here’s why it’s important to do as much as humanly possible to keep it exactly where it is.

In a map of the predominately black Duffyfield area of New Bern, Stanley White Recreation Center is located toward the center. The city proposes moving the center to Duffyfield’s very edge. It would be more of a Broad Street-oriented structure, almost right next door to the tony, nearly all white DeGraffenreid neighborhood.

Stanley White Recreation Center was built during a different time, when “separate but equal” facilities were required in lieu of integration.

But race remains an issue in our society. Period. I need provide no further proof.

The fact remains, black residents don’t feel comfortable in Downtown New Bern. The New Bern Riverfront Convention Center’s bookings are for events that, whether intentionally or not, are white events. Blacks don’t feel comfortable being out at night. They can’t even cross the river and visit Bridgeton or Pamlico County without encountering racism.

Stanley White Recreation Center is the only example of the city investing the same kind of resources in the black community, as it does elsewhere in predominately white areas.

Now the city plans to move it away from the center of Duffyfield and put it on Broad Street.

There are other options.

 

 

Posted in Community, Community issues, Downtown New Bern, History

June 17th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

The city of New Bern has about $8 million at its disposal to spend on the Stanley White Recreation Center, which has sat unused and moldering while awaiting decisions on its fate since it was flooded during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

Some city leaders say the existing facility is too vulnerable to flooding. Rebuilding it would be putting good money after bad. In fact, the city had just put $1 million into the facility just before Hurricane Florence.

To move things forward, the city spent about $440,000 to purchase several lots between Broad Street, Gaston Boulevard, Third Avenue, and Elm Street.

Mayor Dana Outlaw and Alderman Jeff Odham have led this effort, hoping to build a new recreation center facing Broad Street, or at least with better access off Broad Street, that would be out of the flood plain and have easier access to users from outside the Duffyfield Community.

That’s a sticking point for black residents in New Bern who see Stanley White as more than a gymnasium. It is a community center for the predominately black neighborhoods that surround it.

Proponents of moving the building (and making it much larger and versatile) say it is virtually impossible to rebuild it in place, saying it will cost the city $700,000 a year in flood insurance, that the facility won’t be available as an evacuation center, and that because it would have to be built on stilts (pilings, actually), there would have to be a long stairway to the entrance and an even longer handicap ramp.

That’s what happens when you paint yourself into a verbal corner, then build arguments to support it while avoiding any possible options.

I have another idea.

Putting a rebuilt center on pilings has a lot of disadvantages, but it has one advantage in supporting Outlaw/Odham’s plan: because the pilings are part of the structure, it will remain subject to flooding.

They say it would be expensive to use earth to raise the foundation, adding that including the parking lot in the raised foundation would be cost-prohibitive.

But raising the foundation with earth does something else: because it is not part of the structure but actually raises the building’s elevation, it puts the facility outside the flood zone and would negate the need for flood insurance.

Including the parking lot in the raised elevation (something much easier to do because it is just a parking lot and not a building) would put the entrance at ground level, negating the need for long steps and a handicap ramp.

Rainwater runoff from this raised elevation can drain into a retention pond created within the boundary of Henderson Park. This retention pond can be designed and landscaped to become an amenity, with a walking trail around it along with benches, chess tables, decorative lighting, etc.

The remainder of Henderson Park would be shifted from two soggy ball fields, to a leisure area of covered and uncovered picnic areas with grills, benches, grassy fields, restrooms, and a concession stand.

The acreage recently acquired by the city facing Broad Street can become an active recreation area, such as an outdoor basketball arena, parking, and a leased restaurant facility.

The entire campus can be well suited for seasonal and annual events and festivals.

Let me know what you think, and if you have other ideas.

 

 

Posted in Community, Community issues, Hurricane, New Bern, Parks and Recreation

June 11th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

RiverTowne Players is holding a 10-minute Summer Play Contest for New Bern area teenagers, with cash awards for the top three finishers. It is open to any New Bern area resident ages 13-18.

Here are the details.

Jury: Author and playwright Leslie Tall Manning and Author and screenwriter Ted Peterson

Theme: Write a 10-minute (approximately 10-15 pages) play with no more than five characters and minimal set changes. Play must be original, unpublished and never performed publicly. Play subject matter should be age appropriate for all teens.

Submission Deadline: July 15, 2020

Applicants may submit only one play. Attach a cover sheet with name and contact information. Name and contact info should not appear ANYWHERE else on the submission. Mail entries to PO Box 796, New Bern, NC 28563.

Include on cover sheet ONLY: Name, address, phone number and email, title of play.

Receipt of each play will be acknowledged by email but only winners will be notified. Winners will be posted on http://rivertowneplayers.org and via Facebook by August 15, 2020.

Sponsors: The Next Chapter Books & Art, and Wit Clothier

Prizes: 

First Prize – $100 and a chance to cast and perform the play on the RTP stage!

Second Prize – $75

Third Prize – $50

Please note: Parental permission must be obtained for performance, if the winner or actors are under 18.

BIOS OF JUDGES:

Leslie Tall Manning is a Theatre Arts graduate from Long Beach State University. She left Southern California for the real South on a whim, and over a decade later calls North Carolina her home. As a private English tutor and writing specialist, Ms. Manning spends her evenings working with students of all ages, and her days working on her own writing projects. When she isn’t clacking away at the computer keys or conducting research for her books, she loves traveling with her artist husband.

Ted Peterson has been a professional writer for 30 years. Working in video games, he helped create the Elder Scrolls, one of the biggest game franchises of all time. He went on to write scripts, which he sold to Francis Ford Coppola, MGM, and several other studios before working as a story editor on the long-running Fox drama, “Bones.”

 

 

Posted in Community, Entertainment

May 20th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

North Carolina’s combination of trends (COVID-like syndromic cases, lab-confirmed cases, positive tests as a percentage of total tests and hospitalizations) over 14 days remain stable overall and North Carolina will move into Safer At Home Phase 2 on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. See the Phase 2 FAQs.

As of this morning, NC has 20,122 positive cases, 277,603 completed tests, 554 hospitalizations, and 702 deaths.

Restaurants, swimming pools and personal care businesses, such as salons and barbershops, can re-open at 50 percent capacity, with distancing and cleaning requirements. These businesses will have face covering and cleaning requirements, while also reducing the number of people in waiting areas. Guidance for Phase 2 is here.

Some businesses and venues will remain closed in Phase 2 including bars; night clubs; gyms and indoor fitness facilities; indoor entertainment venues such as movie theaters, bowling alleys and museums; and public playgrounds.

Mass gathering limits in Phase 2 will be no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. These limits apply to the following: event venues; conference centers; stadiums and sports arenas; amphitheaters; and groups at parks or beaches.

North Carolina has more than doubled the daily testing rate with more than 8,000 tests completed daily on average. More than 300 testing sites across North Carolina are posted on the DHHS website. Contact tracing is advancing, and the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative has hired 152 new tracers.

New information has been added to the upgraded #COVID19NC Dashboard. Search by ZIP code and count for cases and outbreaks with new and improved maps. See the #COVID19NC Dashboard.

Remember to make the 3 Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) part of your daily routine.

1) Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.

2) Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.

3) Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

#StayStrongNC

Posted in Community, Economy and Employment, Health, New Bern, State news

May 7th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

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 North Carolina with his Executive Orders 121 and 135.

However, the letter goes on to state that Eastern North Carolina can “no longer sit idle as those orders cause vast economic despair and irreparable harm to our small businesses and citizens.”

The letter also references the common struggle this region has faced from recent hurricane events and the impact those natural disasters have already had on these communities.

Additionally, the letter requests that Gov. Cooper consider the plight of Eastern North Carolina counties and to not group the communities in a broad-based, statewide response that may be better suited for the Triangle, Triad and greater Charlotte area of the state.

The request would allow for the ENC counties to have their own decision-making authority during the pandemic.

“We realize COVID-19 is indeed still a very serious threat, but at the same time we realize our business owners and the folks employed by those businesses must have some relief from the shutdown of our local economy,” Lenoir County Board of Commissioners Chair Linda Rouse Sutton said.

Lenore County has been hard-hit not just by the economic impacts of COVID-19. With 97 confirmed cases and four deaths, it has almost twice as many cases as Onslow County, a county with three times the population.

Wayne County, meanwhile, leads the Eastern North Carolina region in total cases, at 685 as of earlier this week, and deaths, with 11 as of earlier this week.

Here’s the text of the full letter:

May 6, 2020

The Honorable Roy Cooper
North Carolina Office of the Governor 20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Dear Governor Cooper,
This letter serves to represent the desire of a group of Counties in Central Eastern North Carolina to reopen our local County economies to avoid any further damaging effects caused by Executive Orders 121, 135 and 138. We appreciate your leadership thus far related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the decisions you have made, saved lives and helped flatten the curve in North Carolina. Like you, we have had to make difficult decisions that have been challenging and have changed the lives drastically for many of our citizens. These orders have placed an extreme economic hardship on our local County economies. We no longer can sit idle as these orders cause vast economic despair and irreparable harm to our small businesses and citizens.

As a region we ask that you authorize local control of decision making in regards to a phased reopening approach to local County governments. We know this is the best methodology to ensure that local data, metrics and expertise are used in local decision making. We request that you repeal Executive Order 135, better known as the “Stay at Home Order” and the subsequent phased reopening approach and allow local County Governments to individually determine the process and timing of any needed local restrictions.

Eastern North Carolina has faced significant challenges over the last four years as a result of devastating hurricanes that have caused personal property loss and strain on our local economies. Hurricanes Matthew, Florence and Dorian changed fundamentally how our local economies function. Each of our counties has seen small businesses fail, citizens lose their jobs and families struggle to make ends meet. We continue to work in partnership with the State of North Carolina to rebuild our communities after these disasters. To this day each of our counties is still challenged with finding normalcy in our local economies and the massive task of achieving long term recovery. We have worked collaboratively with the State of North Carolina, in a manner where local government input and citizen input was valued and helped develop the direction for which we create a recovery plan. County governments have always been a partner in these discussions and served as the front line for local recovery initiatives. We are asking that the State of North Carolina and County governments follow that very same process as we begin the reopening of local County economies. County Governments have worked in unison with the State of North Carolina just like in times of natural disaster to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Counties have served on the front line, as our public health departments take on the responsibility of testing, contact tracing and caring for the sick during this pandemic. Our local data collection and ability to interpret such is the key to understanding the timing of when our local economies can begin to reopen in a safe manner. We all recognize that certain restrictions must remain in place to ensure that our local counties remain focused on slowing the transmission of COVID-19, we however feel those restriction decisions should be made at the local county level. Local County Governments would continue to seek consultation with our local hospitals, local health authorities and state health experts to make educated decisions in regards to reopening. As local elected leaders we take these decisions seriously and would use all the tools and information available to protect our citizens and vulnerable populations and at the same time restore the economic health of our Counties.

We come with one voice, to defend our local businesses, industries and the overall economic well-being of our citizens. Our goal is simply to request local authority of decision making and avoid being grouped in a broad based, statewide decision making model. Our rural geography and low population density should not be lumped together with much larger urban counties that face very different challenges. We all agree that the most recent data clearly reflects that the curve in Central Eastern North Carolina has flattened and that our timing for reopening should be much sooner than other parts of North Carolina. Our region of North Carolina is unique and our Counties very diverse, but we all agree that the challenges facing the Triangle, Triad, or Charlotte regions of North Carolina are greatly different than that of Central Eastern North Carolina. By allowing for local authority, you are allowing parts of North Carolina to move forward towards regaining losses in our economies and not hindering our long term recovery efforts not only from COVID-19 but the devastating hurricanes which have affected our region.

We want Eastern North Carolina to prosper again and to do so we need your help. By empowering county governments with decision making authority to make determinations locally to reopen our economies we can bring some normalcy back to our citizens. Additionally we request that you communicate with the local County leaders in our region to further address our concerns.

Jerry Evans
Chairman, Beaufort County Board of Commissioners
Bill Smith
Chairman, Carteret County Board of Commissioners
Thomas Mark
Chairman, Craven County Board of Commissioners
Frank Emory
Chairman, Jones County Board of Commissioners
Linda Rouse Sutton
Chairman, Lenoir County Board of Commissioners
Jack Bright
Chairman, Onslow County Board of Commissioners
Pat Prescott
Chairman, Pamlico County Board of Commissioners
Ray Mayo
Chairman, Wayne County Board of Commissioners

Posted in Business, Community, Craven County, Health, New Bern, State news

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