Category: Community issues

March 14th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

N.C. DOT work on U.S. Highway 70 and the Pembroke Road offramp on Monday caused the worst traffic jam in Downtown New Bern in decades on Monday.

The roadwork included closing down the Pembroke offramp. The repaving and repair work being done on U.S. 70 has caused backed up traffic, but the offramp closure compounded the problem by an order of magnitude.

Some motorists had a great idea. Instead of slogging through backed up traffic on 70, they opted to take surface streets and go through the downtown. “Some” being defined as thousands.

The ensuing traffic all converged on the two-lane Cunningham Bridge, creating a funnel effect that magnified the problem.

Traffic was backed up for several miles on Broad Street, Neuse Boulevard, and Trent Boulevard. Many motorists took side streets through neighborhoods to avoid the jam.

Alderman Bobby Aster, during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, described the event as “unspeakable.”

He said it took one driver one hour and 12 minutes to get from Pollock Street to Cunningham Bridge three blocks away.

City officials said they were caught off guard by the situation and were not contacted by DOT in advance of the closure (cough-cough-there were electric signs all over the place days before-cough).

Aside from that, Aster wondered why the Police Department didn’t do more … or rather, didn’t do anything … to deal with the traffic jam.

“I’m just wondering the reason why our police department didn’t get out and start directing traffic and moving this traffic outside of our city.

He said one citizen stuck at an intersection for 18 minutes saw a police car drive up, turn around and leave.

“…If you think that it’s bad now, wait ’til the construction starts in James City. I hope our Police Department’s got a plan.”

N.C. DOT is getting ready to upgrade U.S. 70 through James City from a surface street with intersections, to a controlled access expressway (jargon for “freeway”) with frontage roads on either side. See video

Aster, a retired fire chief, wondered what would have happened if there was a major accident blocking access. He said the Police Department needs to develop an action plan.

“It’s going to happen again,” he said.

Oldtimers remember when U.S. 70 came through downtown. Traffic was so bad during summer months that downtown workers either left work early or waited until the evening to get home.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Community issues, Traffic

March 12th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Colorfest will hold its annual event, Night Out With The Arts (NOWTA), on May 10 at the New Bern Golf & Country Club.

Attendees will be introduced to the Colorfest Team, sponsors, and learn more about the things that Colorfest aspires to do in the community. The event will also feature live music by Songstress Rasheeda Waddell and Band, comedy, art exhibition from local artist, live painting and an art auction. All proceeds raised go towards paints, supplies, art scholarships and to the community Colorfest serves. Dinner will also be served.

Those who wish to become a sponsor can call 404-725-3053 or email colorfestinnewbern@gmail.com by March 20.

EVENT INFORMATION:

  • Night Out With The Arts
    • Date: May 10, 2019
    • Time: Doors open at 7 p.m. Show is 8-11 p.m.
    • Location: New Bern Golf & Country Club, 4301 Country Club Road, New Bern
    • Cost: $30 General Admission (include entertainment, meal and one complementary raffle ticket)
    • On the web: www.colorfestinc.org

Since 2011, founder, Derrick Bryant has come back to his hometown and helped beautify the area by painting murals downtown on Queen Street in 2011 and 2016. He’s developed an event/program for youth to tackle problems and have fun at the same time.

Colorfest is an event for youth of all ages to come out and take part in helping to beautify the city of New Bern. Future Colorfest projects are being planned to reach the communities in Eastern North Carolina and Georgia.

A main focus of the Colorfest Team is to break chains in impoverished communities. It sees the arts as a way to give young artist positive ways to channel their creative energy and talents.

“For many years we have seen the decline of funding in schools for art based programs, causing children to lose access to curriculum that would otherwise enhance and nurture the creative process,” Bryant said in a news release.

Colorfest Inc. active sponsors 2018-19 include Walmart, American Airlines, Kiss 102, Baker’s Kitchen, Bern Investment Group,The Tiny Tornado, and B.L.U.U.

Posted in Community, Community issues, Downtown New Bern, Education, Entertainment, Events, Food, Fundraiser

March 2nd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

GATHERED for a check presentation and celebration of a $50,000 grant award for disaster relief from the national Unitarian Universalist Association are some representatives of the Duffyfield Phoenix Project, the Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern.  They are, first row, seated, Paula Saihati, Grace Hudson, the Rev. Dr. Ethel Sampson, Fred Pittinger, and Anne Schout.  In the second row, Elijah Brown, Johnny Sampson, the Rev. Robert Johnson, Carole McCracken, The Rev. John Robinson, Robert Benjamin, Jim Schout, and the Rev. Charlie Davis.   Standing behind are Mike Avery and Sully Sullivan.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern (UUFNB) received a $50,000 grant from the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Disaster Relief Fund to aid in disaster recovery in New Bern, primarily in the Duffyfield area.  

UUFNB has partnered with the Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance (CCDRA) and will coordinate efforts with the Duffyfield Phoenix Project, (DPP).

Individual Unitarian Universalists locally, and from various parts of the country, sent unsolicited donations for UUFNB disaster relief efforts shortly after Hurricane Florence created such devastation in the area.  

UUFNB formed a committee to distribute the funds to UUFNB congregants impacted by the storm and in most need of assistance Concurrently, UUFNB strengthened its partnership with CCDRA to undertake a community-wide effort.  CCDRA is a group of faith-based, non-profit, government and business organizations formed to provide coordinated recovery efforts to county residents. Of primary concern to the UUFNB is the large number of hurricane victims in urgent need of assistance in New Bern’s Duffyfield area.

UUFNB prepared and submitted a grant application to the UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund and was given $50,000 to support CCDRA efforts in the Duffyfield community.  Ten percent is available to respond to emergencies outside of Duffyfield. The remainder will focus on priority Duffyfield cases identified by CCDRA with the assistance of DPP.  This is a natural fit as DPP’s mission is to improve both the physical surroundings and quality of life for Duffyfield residents.

On Friday, Feb. 8, representatives of all three entities gathered at UUFNB to announce the grant to the press, answer any questions they had and formally turn over the grant funds to CCDRA.

   

Posted in Achievements, Community, Community issues, Craven County, Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern

March 1st, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Thirty-three college students from Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, along with 34 high school students and chaperones from Missouri, will be spending their spring break helping build Habitat for Humanity homes in New Bern. 

WHO

  • March 4-9 – Sacred Heart University (Connecticut) with 15 students
  • March 11-16 –  Lycoming College (Pennsylvania) with 18 students, University of Rochester (NY) with 7 students
  • March 25-30 – St. Mary’s Catholic High School (Missouri) with 34 students and adult chaperones

WHAT

Collegiate Challenge is Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative break program, founded in 1989

WHEN

Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of the three weeks

WHERE

  • March 4-7 – Habitat home #68 at 876 Howard Street, New Bern
  • March 11-14 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street
  • March 25-28 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street

WHY

To provide opportunities for students from colleges, high schools and youth groups to spend a week volunteering in partnership with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the US. Additionally, the program is designed to empower communities and create environments where exchange and interaction between student groups and community residents can take place to share concerns about ending substandard housing.

HOW

Coordinated by Habitat for Humanity of Craven County with the support and hospitality of the New Bern community. Overnight accommodations are being provided by area churches and meals are generally hosted by individuals, churches, or civic organizations. 

Habitat for Humanity of Craven County is celebrating its 30th year as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit Christian housing ministry. Since 1989, the local organization has built 66 homes in partnership with homeowners who are deemed eligible by the Selection Committee, impacting 105 adults and over 120 children. When each home is completed, the homeowner is responsible to pay a no-interest mortgage and other expenses associated with owning their own home. To date, the mortgages on 16 homes (25 percent) have been fully paid off.  Habitat does not give away houses, but does make it possible for deserving families to realize strength, stability and self-sufficiency through homeownership.

For additional information about Habitat Craven County, contact the Deedra Durocher, Volunteer Coordinator at 252-633-9599, 252-670-1907 or volunteerhabitatcraven@gmail.com

Posted in Community, Community issues, Habitat for Humanity, Housing

February 21st, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) will host a symposium entitled “Stop the Cravin’!” in an effort to promote substance abuse education, prevention and intervention.

This free event will take place at Orringer Hall on the New Bern Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14.

The event will feature a diverse panel of speakers from local health care providers, local and state law enforcement and community-based organizations. It will provide statistics for the area, health effects and the science behind the many aspects of addiction, case studies and firsthand accounts from those in the medical field. There will also be perspectives shared by former addicts, an emergency room charge nurse and local law enforcement.

Professional panelists include Kenneth W. Wilkins, Jr., MD, FACP, endoscopist and president of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA; Matt Knight of the NC Task Force for Safe Schools and NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) branch; Henry D. Beckwith, PsyD, a licensed psychologist; and Nadine Williamson, a certified substance abuse counselor.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to: participate in a Q&A, learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid and related substance abuse issues, how to intervene and prevent future addictions. Equipping people with knowledge so they know what to do in such situations can ensure that loved ones don’t become just another statistic.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the substance abuse epidemic that is steadily increasing and affecting our community and communities throughout the country, and in turn aid in the prevention of their use,” said Megan Johnson, AEP coordinator. “It is our hope that this symposium will be of great benefit to those who have been touched by this crisis and who are impacted in their daily personal and professional lives.”

Preregistration is not required and CEUs are available for eligible professionals. Doors open at 7:45 a.m.

This event is sponsored by Craven Community College, the CCHC Foundation, the Harold H. Bate Foundation, ABC of Craven County, Coastal Coalition and Trillium Health Resources.

For more information, contact Johnson at 252-638-7273 or johnsonm@cravencc.edu.

Posted in Community, Community issues, Craven Community College, Health, New Bern, Public safety

February 12th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Request will be made at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting

New Bern community members and non-local activists will urge the New Bern Board of Aldermen to “Ban the Box” for hiring city employees at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

“Ban the Box” is a hiring practice that encourages employers to identify potential hires with the best skills and experience and delay asking applicants about their criminal records until after a conditional offer is made.

Durham and Carrboro are among cities in North Carolina that have already adopted this “fair chance” hiring practice.

Ban the Box is a movement started in the early 2000s by All of Us or None, a national organization created and led by individuals directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal legal system.

People who have been involved in the criminal justice system often face collateral consequences, difficulties people face in finding housing, education, and employment because of a criminal record.  

Trouble finding employment is one of the most common collateral consequences that people face upon release. Those who have a record and disclose it on their initial job application are 50 percent less likely to receive a callback than their peers without a record.

Ban the Box programs do not prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record, but rather calls for employers to remove the initial question about criminal records from job applications (“the box”) and delay any related questions until after a conditional offer is made. This process ensures the best person is being hired for the job and also allows the employer to continue to make decisions about the relevancy of the record to the job.

What: Public comments on ‘Ban the Box’ at New Bern Board of Alderman meeting

When: Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: City Hall Courtroom, 300 Pollock St., New Bern

Who: New Bern community members and representatives from All of Us or None – NC and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice Clean Slate Project

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Community, Community issues, Crime, Economy, Economy and Employment, Housing, Mayor, New Bern

January 30th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The Craven Community College Foundation is accepting nominations for the 9th Annual Community Fabric Awards, an event that awards individual, educational and business leadership in the community. The deadline to nominate is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21.

The Community Fabric Awards were created by the Craven CC Foundation to celebrate and showcase excellence in leadership as demonstrated by outstanding initiative, impact of service and the inspiration of others.

Previous individual recipients include J. Troy Smith, Jr., Dr. Jim Congleton, Linda Staunch, New Bern Alderman Sabrina Bengel, Nelson Bell McDaniel, Maj. Gen. Tom Braaten USMC (Ret.), David L. Ward, Jr. and Robert L. “Bob” Mattocks. Business recipients include Trent Cadillac Buick GMC, Century 21 Zaytoun-Raines, The UPS Store, A Dog’s Dream, Mitchell Hardware, Moen, CarolinaEast Health System and Minges Bottling Group, Inc.-Pepsi. Previous educators to receive the award include Jorge Benitez, David Wang, Dr. Shelly Hines-Brooks, Jessica Cofield, Jeffrey Brown, Jessica Saxon, Donald Carpenetti and Dr. Bruce Waugh.

Funds raised through event sponsorships and tickets are used to support the Craven CC Foundation’s programs, as well as equipment, facilities and emerging initiatives of the college. To date, the Community Fabric Awards have netted more than $350,000 in support of the Foundation’s mission.

Submission forms for all three categories are available online at www.cravencc.edu/cfa.

After all submissions are in, the three award recipients will be selected by a confidential and independent committees. This year’s awards luncheon will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.

For additional information about the Community Fabric Awards, contact Tanya Roberts at 252638-7351 or robertst@cravencc.edu.

The Craven Community College Foundation has supported the vision of higher education for the residents of Craven County and beyond for more than 40 years. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial support to students through scholarships and funding for programs, equipment, new and emerging initiatives, facilities and other priorities on the New Bern and Havelock campuses.A

Craven Community College is part of the North Carolina Community College System. With campuses in New Bern and Havelock-Cherry Point, Craven CC serves about 3,200 curriculum students and more than 10,000 continuing education students each year. The college offers a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, as well as college transfer courses, career and occupational offerings, partnerships with four-year universities, specialized workforce training options, developmental studies and basic skills classes. The Lifetime Learning Center and Adult Enrichment Program offer lifelong learning opportunities. Craven Early College High School programs are available on both campuses. Craven CC is also home to Public Radio East, one of the few community colleges nationally with this distinction. For more information about the college, visit www.cravencc.edu

Posted in Community, Community Fabric Awards, Community issues, Craven Community College

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The City of New Bern will resume certain utility fees that were suspended during hurricane Florence.

Due to the storm’s widespread impact across our area, the Board of Aldermen unanimously agreed in September to temporarily suspend late fees, delinquencies and shutoffs for nonpayment.  The Board also agreed to waive new deposits for current customers until mid-November.  These actions effectively extended the due date of unpaid bills until such time that the City could recover from the hurricane.

All past due amounts must be brought current by close of business on Friday, Dec. 7.  If customers are unable to get caught up or current, they are encouraged to visit the Utility Business Office (UBO) at 606 Fort Totten Drive and speak to a customer service representative about a special storm payment arrangement.

The UBO is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  No appointment is necessary.  However, appointments are encouraged to reduce customer wait time.

These special storm payment arrangements will not count toward the four payment arrangements allowed each fiscal year under the City’s current business practices, but customers must remain current once the arrangement is made.

If the special storm payment arrangement is broken, the past due account balance must be paid in full.  Attached is a document reflecting our business practices in regards to deposits and payment arrangements.

Late fees, delinquent fees and shutoffs for nonpayment will resume after Dec. 7.  Deposit requirements will resume after Nov. 15.  Deposits caused by late and delinquent actions will resume after Dec. 7.

The reinstatement of fees comes more than 80 days after hurricane Florence ravaged New Bern and eastern North Carolina.

“The Board of Aldermen and management staff have carefully considered this resumption of fees after the storm,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “We remain sympathetic to the hardships faced by our residents and are implementing special storm payment arrangements to ease the burden on our customers.  We appreciate the community’s understanding during this recovery process.”

Utility staff are prepared to answer questions and assist customers with payment arrangements. As a reminder, customers have several options for paying City of New Bern utility bills: online at www.newbernnc.gov, at the Utility Business Office, and at Walmart stores in this area.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, Community issues, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern, Utilities

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

George Alsberg, age 103, of Wilmington, was one of the oldest voluntary evacuees of Hurricane Florence. Photo credit: Taylor Knopf

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS | 

That’s the takeaway from a state-compiled list of the adults who died as a result of the catastrophic storm. It shows that two out of three North Carolinians who died during or as a result of Florence were 60 or older, and nearly half were 70 or older. The median age of adults who died during or as a result of the storm was 67, while the statewide median age is 38.3.

“Vulnerable adults are more likely to be impacted because of their social isolation, or not having the supports they needed in areas like transportation,” said Heather Burkhardt, program coordinator at Resources for Seniors in Raleigh.

The list of deaths tied to the catastrophic September storm grew to 39 on Oct. 1, when Gov. Roy Cooper announced two deaths, one of a Pender County man, 69, who fell off a roof Sept. 22 while repairing storm damage. A list supplied by the Department of Public Safety showed that people older than 65 represented:

  • Six of 11 people who drowned in motor vehicle accidents,
  • Five of six people who died of medical causes such as cardiopulmonary distress or COPD
  • Three of five who died doing cleanup and
  • A couple, 86, who died in a fire caused by the use of candles while power was out.

Three of the victims were infants and two others did not have listed ages. Of the 34 adult deaths with ages attached, 21 were older than 65.

Perhaps the most poignant death was that of a man, 82, who committed suicide in Carteret County after Florence devastated his home. “Shot self when house condemned,” read the terse DPS account of the death.

More

 

 

Posted in Community issues, Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, FEMA, Health, Hurricane, State news, State politics

September 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) will host a symposium entitled “Stop the Cravin’!” in an effort to promote substance abuse education, prevention and intervention. This event will take place at Orringer Hall on the New Bern campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

The event will host a diverse panel of speakers from the local health care system, local and state law enforcement and community-based organizations. It will provide statistics for the area, health effects and the science behind the many aspects of addiction, case studies and firsthand accounts from those in the medical field, and law enforcement considerations and viewpoints. There will also be perspectives shared by former addicts, an emergency room charge nurse and a local high school student.

Professional panelists include Kenneth W. Wilkins, Jr., MD, FACP, endoscopist and president of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA; Matt Knight of the NC Task Force for Safe Schools and NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) branch; and Henry D. Beckwith, PsyD, a licensed psychologist.

Participants will learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid and substance abuse and how to intervene and prevent future addictions. Equipping people with knowledge so they know what to do in such situations can ensure that loved ones don’t become just another statistic.

“I feel that the symposium is important on a level whether the crisis has hit home, whether you are a parent, whether you are an educator or if you are in the trenches of this crisis,” said Megan Johnson, Craven CC’s adult enrichment coordinator. “We all need to have our boots on the ground so we can tackle this as a community.”

The cost for the four-hour event is $20 and CEUs are available for eligible professionals. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. and light refreshments will be served.

To register or find out more information, contact Johnson at 252-638-7273, johnsonm@cravencc.edu or visitwww.cravencc.edu/aep/enrichment-special-interest/#stop.

Posted in Community issues, Craven Community College

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