Did you go by the new Harris Teeter since it opened on Wednesday? Odds are pretty good that you did.
In a small town like New Bern, folks here can be relied on to try something new. Remember when Cook Out opened?
On opening day, I saw city officials including Jeff Odham, in whose ward the new Harris Teeter is located, and City Manager Mark Stephens proudly roaming the vast floor space of the gleaming new store.
Coke Mann, a partner with Columbia Development Group, developer of the shopping center, was quoted in the Sun Journal crediting Odham and Mayor Dana Outlaw for their bringing the super-expanded HT to New Bern.
I saw lots of regular people combing through the almost 100,000-foot feet of shopping space, which is more than just a simple supermarket. (Some say the store actually has 105,000 square feet of floor space.)
We are not wedded to a particular grocery store. We shop at Publix most often, but not exclusively, and mainly due to its modern and wide selection coupled with its less crowded aisles.
With the opening of the new Harris Teeter, that may change.
The store replaces a 55,000-square-foot store on South Glenburnie Road, which closed the day before the new store opened.
It is claimed to be the largest Harris Teeter out of the chain’s 246 stores. Some media outlets have called it the largest in the world, but since its world is pretty much contained within Southern states, that’s a somewhat pretentious claim.
Still, it’s plenty big, and within it are sections that by themselves are impressively large.
There is a Starbucks inside the Harris Teeter, just as there was at the old location, but this one has a dining area that has to make this particular Starbucks one of the largest in the world, and that’s saying something.
Then there is the food court, contained within an area that could be a nice-size grocery store all by itself.
There is a bakery, fresh produce and meats, a deli, a sushi bar, a buffet, a burger bar, a specialty bar with changing themes, and a bar-bar. Yes, a bar … where you can get beer and wine by the glass.
As for the grocery aisles, they are so long they are subdivided, with a third row intersecting at the middle. Looking from one end toward the other, the aisles extend almost as far as the eye can see.
Filling all those aisles with merchandise must be a challenge by itself. I have not looked deeply into it, but the few places I did look showed a much-expanded variety of brands and varieties.
Staffing this store must be equally challenging. I counted six people working at the Starbucks counter, four at the burger bar, three at the beer and wine bar, and so on.
I am not sure if they staffed up for opening week or if they plan to maintain that staffing level.
Sarah, Mark and I went there on opening day and had dinner. We bought a couple of items from the grocery aisles before going home.
We returned on Saturday to find the same buzz one encounters when surrounded by hundreds of happy people. The store is large enough to accommodate a thousand customers without feeling overly crowded.
Sarah got several selections from the sushi train and described the quality as good as any restaurant in New Bern. I went for simple–a burger and fries. The way I figure it, if you can’t do a burger and fries right, then what can you do right?
And boy, did they do it right. It paired nicely with the glass of Mother Earth pale ale that I got at the bar.
While waiting for my order, I ran into four people I knew, and that’s the great thing about a venue like this. It’s a magnet that draws people together, and for more than one purpose.
Before, you would go to Harris Teeter for groceries. Maybe you might grab something from the salad bar or deli or the Starbucks counter, but there was really nothing that set it apart from any other modern grocery store.
This Harris Teeter is not just a retailer, it is a community amenity. You can literally spend the day there, enjoying a fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a couple of glasses of beer or wine later in the day before actually doing any grocery shopping.
Note: the beer and wine bar opens at 10 a.m. daily except Sundays, when it opens at 11 a.m. But who’s judging?
The parking lot is large and full but sufficient and well laid out. Other stores in the shopping center, which is called New Bern Marketplace, round out the remaining two-thirds of retail floor space at the 34-acre, 325,000-square-food retail venue.
One thing it has over Downtown New Bern: parking is not limited to two hours.
So what can you expect at the Teeter?
Greeting you as you arrive at one of the entrances is the floral counter managed by Mary Gierie-Merrell, who Mayor Outlaw has described as New Bern’s unofficial mayor.
At that same entrance, off to the right, is the Starbucks counter with its spacious and open dining area. It is equipped with tables and booths and two big-screen TVs. The window-wall is lined with a long counter with tall chairs for computer users and enough USB ports and electric sockets for every two chairs.
Beyond is the amazing food court, and to its left, the expansive grocery aisles.
One glitch was WiFi. Though it is provided, I was unable to connect to the internet using it. Another quibble is that if you want to sit at a table and plug in your device or computer to a power source, there are just two tables within range of just one wall socket, and they are right underneath a big-screen TV. That may be by design. It is understandable why a store would not want its tables taken up by people using computers all day.
The impacts of the new Harris Teeter on New Bern will be interesting to see.
It will undoubtedly cut into business of other existing grocery stores. But being so large, it will draw shoppers from outside New Bern and maybe from outside Craven County.
When the N.C. 43 connector is extended from U.S. 70 to U.S. 17 in the next few years, it will make access to New Bern Marketplace easier to reach from Pitt and Lenoir residents. It’s already the easiest retail center to reach in New Bern from Jones and Onslow counties.
As I said, this Harris Teeter is not just a store, it is a community amenity.
Harris Teeter’s previous largest stores, measuring at 80,000 square feet of store space, are located in Pinehurst and Charlotte.
The New Bern store is only the second location to have a juice bar.
It is the first to have a build-your-own burger bar.
New Bernwas selected as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations and one of its best small retirement towns byWhereToRetire.comin its sixth edition of “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire,” a guidebook of the country’s most appealing retirement towns.
WhereToRetire.comspent 11 months researching more than 800 cities. The chosen cities vary in size, climate, amenities and lifestyle, and each falls into one of 10 categories that focuses on the city’s defining feature, such as beaches, mountains, low costs, four seasons and appealing downtowns. Each city profile combines extensive research, local knowledge and in-depth interviews with retirees who made the move.
New Bern is a certified retirement community. The Certified Retirement Community designation means a city has completed a comprehensive evaluation process with requirements outlined by the North Carolina General Assembly.Certified Retirement Communities are recognized for providing the amenities, services and opportunities retirees need to enjoy active and productive lives.
New Bern was recognized in April 2015 as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Towns in North Carolina,” and one of the “Top 10 Coastal Towns Where You Can Afford to Retire.”
Founded in 1710, New Bern it is the second oldest city in the state. It was the last colonial capital of North Carolina and its first state capital. “The City is a grand mix of carefully restored and maintained historical homes with old growth trees, a historic downtown, and contemporary houses ranging from condos to mansions, many with riverfront locations,” according to the website,Visit New Bern.
“New Bern’s character is palpable, and the people you meet are as vibrant as their surroundings. In addition to its beauty, New Bern is well-situated at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, and only 35 miles from the Crystal Coast. The Atlantic Ocean is accessible by boat from New Bern, and New Bern’s rivers and creeks make a perfect playground for sailing, yachting, kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and fishing. New Bern has direct access to rivers and beaches without the high costs associated with beachfront living.”
Eight North Carolina cities were selected as top retirement destinations in “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.” Other North Carolina towns are Boone/Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Durham, Hendersonville, Sylva, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.
North Carolina had the second highest number of towns on the list, behind only Florida. In addition, Winston-Salem was among the Best Four-Season Towns; Charlotte and Durham were among the Best Low-Cost Towns; and Boone/Blowing Rock, Hendersonville and Sylva were among the Best Mountain Towns.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13,
The disaster declaration covers the North Carolina counties of Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson; for economic injury only in the contiguous North Carolina counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Dare, Davidson, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stanly, Stokes, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington; and the contiguous South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Lancaster and Marlboro.
SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.
Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.
Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
Michelle Lee, Principal of Roger Bell New Tech Academy, has been selected as the 2018-19 Principal of the Year for Craven County Schools.
In her role as Principal of the Year, she will serve as the local adviser to the Board of Education and will represent Craven County Schools in local, regional and state events.
Lee’s selection qualifies her to compete with other local award recipients for the Southeast Regional Principal of the Year title. From the regional winners, one will be named the 2019 NC Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.
Lee was one of the two finalists that interviewed with a local selection committee on Oct. 24.
During her interview, Lee stated that she has been lucky to be able to create the environment that exists at Roger Bell this year.
“This has been the greatest gift to be able to build basically a new school from the ground up. I’m not going to say that it wasn’t hard, because it was.”
Lee said parents had to learn to trust her and know that she was there for the long haul.
“I had some parents to push back on me, but I let them know that I wanted to make good decisions for their family.”
Changes made to the school by Principal Lee include hiring Instructional Coaches to assist teachers and creating a space where lessons are modeled and practiced by teachers while receiving real-time feedback.
“I’m completely invested in the school, parents and the children there, and they know that I care about their children. During the hurricane, I had parents to call me and ask for help. They now look at the school as a resource and we want to be able to provide them with resources and services outside of the traditional scope. We have to deal with basic needs before we can start working on higher order thinking skills.”
Lee said that her goals were to hire strong teachers for every classroom, be highly-visible in the building and to create an environment where teachers can get their work done at the school, and then go home and have family time.
“These things allow teachers to re-energize and it builds community. We’re all in this together and I wouldn’t ask them to do anything that I wasn’t willing to do. I’m willing to get into the weeds with them and get the job done.”
The Wells Fargo Principal of the Year Award was introduced in 1984 to recognize outstanding leadership in North Carolina’s schools and the role of the principal in establishing an environment conducive to the pursuit and achievement of academic excellence. Wells Fargo sponsors the award in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Each district winner will receive monetary awards from Wells Fargo in recognition of their achievement and will continue in the regional selection process. The culmination of the Principal of the Year Program is a ceremony in Raleigh where the statewide winner is announced.
The announcement is set to coincide with the N.C. State Board of Education meeting. The N.C. State Superintendent and other State Board members will also attend this event.
The following schools are currently on normal hours for students, Friday Oct.12.
◦ Ben D. Quinn Elementary
◦ Bridgeton Elementary School
◦ Craven Early College
◦ Creekside Elementary School
◦ Early College EAST
◦ Grover C. Fields Middle School
◦ New Bern High School
◦ Oaks Road Academy
◦ West Craven High School
◦ Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary
If you are interested in reviewing the Air Quality Reports for the Cleared schools from the External Industrial Hygienist Click HERE. An Information Session for Parents will be held on Friday, Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. at the Board of Education.
Craven County parents, whose families have been displaced due to Hurricane Florence can visit the HERE and provide information so that the school district can reach out to help.
The five-day cone prediction of Hurricane Michael as issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for New Bern and surrounding areas as Hurricane Michael is set to make landfall in the Florida panhandle today.
Tonight’s forecast is showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 76. Southeast wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
On Thursday, tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 83. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
Thursday night, tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 71. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New rainfall amounts between three quarters and one inch possible.
On Friday, showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 8 a.m., then a chance of showers between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. North wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Clearing is expected Friday evening, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s on Saturday and Sunday.
Here is addition information from the National Weather Service:
Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane
along the Florida Panhandle today, then weaken to a tropical storm as
it tracks through the Carolinas Thursday and Thursday night.
Tropical storm force winds, especially in gusts, are expected across
Eastern North Carolina later Thursday afternoon through early Friday.
The strongest winds are expected near the coast and areas adjacent to
the sounds. Winds along the coast could gust 50 to 70 mph, while inland
areas could see gusts of 40 to 50 mph. These winds could result in downed
trees causing sporadic power outages, and even some minor structural
damage. Be sure to secure any tarps on rooftops from previous storm
Periods of heavy rain are expected today through late Thursday night.
At this time rainfall is expected to range from 2 to 3 inches near the
coast to 3 to 5 inches well inland, with locally higher amounts. This
could result in localized flash flooding given the already saturated
ground and debris from Florence potentially clogging drainages. River
levels along the Tar and Neuse are expected to reach moderate flood
stage late this weekend and early next week.
Some minor to locally moderate storm surge impacts will be possible
with Michael. Based on the current forecast track, minor inundation of
1 to 3 feet above ground level will be possible for areas along the
coast and adjacent to the sounds. Local amounts of 2 to 4 feet above
ground may be possible on the sound side of the Outer Banks,
especially north of Cape Hatteras late Thursday night and early Friday
as Michael lifts north of the area. A slight shift in the track could
change which locations may see the most inundation. Minor beach
erosion and overwash will be possible along the beaches as well due to
wave run up.
A few tornadoes will be possible Thursday and Thursday night.
Dangerous marine conditions are also expected, with seas building to
10 to 20 feet. A high threat of rip currents and large and dangerous
shore break is expected.
Prepare for hazardous wind having possible limited impacts across
Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts include:
– Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored
mobile homes. Unsecured lightweight objects blown about.
– Many large tree limbs broken off. A
Be sure to let friends and family members know of your intentions for
weathering the storm and your whereabouts. Have someone located away
from the threatened area serve as your point of contact. Share vital
contact information with others. Keep cell phones handy and charged.few trees snapped or
uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are
shallow rooted. Some fences and roadway signs blown over.
– A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban
or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on
bridges and other elevated roadways.
– Scattered power and communications outages.
* FLOODING RAIN:
Prepare for dangerous rainfall flooding having possible significant
impacts across portions of Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts
– Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and
– Rivers and tributaries may quickly become swollen with swifter
currents and overspill their banks in a few places, especially
in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and
– Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations.
Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid
inundation at underpasses, low-lying spots, and poor drainage
areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as
storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions
become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures.
Prepare for locally hazardous surge having possible limited impacts
across coastal areas of Eastern North Carolina, especially for the sound
side of the Outer Banks north of Cape Hatteras. Potential impacts in this
– Localized inundation with storm surge flooding mainly along
immediate shorelines and in low-lying spots, or in areas
farther inland near where higher surge waters move ashore.
– Sections of near-shore roads and parking lots become overspread
with surge water. Driving conditions dangerous in places where
surge water covers the road.
– Moderate beach erosion. Heavy surf also breaching dunes, mainly
in usually vulnerable locations. Strong rip currents.
– Minor to locally moderate damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks,
and piers. A few small craft broken away from moorings.
Prepare for a tornado event having possible limited impacts across
Eastern North Carolina. Potential impacts include:
– The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution
of emergency plans during tropical events.
– A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power
and communications disruptions.
– Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys
toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned,
large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow-rooted trees
knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats
pulled from moorings.
Be sure to let friends and family members know of your intentions for
weathering the storm and your whereabouts. Have someone located away
from the threatened area serve as your point of contact. Share vital
contact information with others. Keep cell phones handy and charged.
Listen to local official for recommended preparedness actions,
including possible evacuation. If ordered to evacuate, do so
For those not under evacuation orders, assess the risk from wind,
falling trees, and flooding at your location. If you decide to move,
relocate to a safer location nearby. If you do not relocate, help
keep roadways open for those under evacuation orders.
* OTHER PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION:
Now is the time to check your emergency plan and emergency supplies
kit and take necessary actions to protect your family and secure your
home or business.
When making safety and preparedness decisions, do not focus on the
exact forecast track since hazards such as flooding rain, damaging
wind gusts, storm surge, and tornadoes extend well away from the
center of the storm.
If in a place that is vulnerable to high wind, such as near large
trees, a manufactured home, upper floors of a high-rise building, or
on a boat, plan to move to safe shelter.
If you live in a place particularly vulnerable to flooding, such as
near the ocean or a large inland lake, in a low-lying or poor
drainage area, in a valley, or near an already swollen river, plan to
move to safe shelter on higher ground.
When securing your property, outside preparations should be concluded
as soon as possible before conditions deteriorate. The onset of
strong gusty winds or flooding can cause certain preparedness
activities to become unsafe.
Check on those who may not be fully aware of the situation or who are
unable to make personal preparations.
Closely monitor weather.gov, NOAA Weather Radio and local news
outlets for official storm information. Listen for possible changes
to the forecast.
There is a threat from tornadoes with this storm. Have multiple ways
to receive Tornado Warnings. Be ready to shelter quickly.
* ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
– For information on appropriate preparations see ready.gov
– For information on creating an emergency plan see getagameplan.org
– For additional disaster preparedness information see redcross.org
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain invites families in New Bern and surrounding areas to a community dinner for those impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Provided in partnership with sponsors Toyota of New Bern and Taco Bell, guests are invited to take a break from recovery efforts to have dinner and fellowship and pick up much needed supplies for those who need them, with music provided by CapitalDJ.
WHAT: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain holding Community Dinner. Admission is free.
WHEN: Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 6:30pm until 8:30pm
WHERE: New Bern Farmer’s Market, 401 S. Front Street, New Bern
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. There are 17 Clubs throughout Pitt, Beaufort, Lenoir, Martin, Greene, Carteret, and Craven Counties serving approximately 1,400 members daily and 3,600 yearly. For more information, visit the Clubs online at www.bgccp.com or call 252-355-2345.
Due to the increased populations of mosquitoes caused by flooding from Hurricane Florence, Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday ordered $4 million to fund mosquito control efforts in counties currently under a major disaster declaration.
“To help local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve directed state funds for mosquito control efforts to protect people who live in hard-hit areas.” Gov. Cooper said.
Funding will allow control efforts to begin as soon as Thursday. Each county’s allocation will be based upon their share of the total acreage requiring mosquito treatment in the 27 counties. None of the counties will be asked to share in the cost for these services up to their specific allocation amount. They will have the flexibility to determine the most appropriate means to provide this service.
“I’m grateful to Governor Cooper for taking this action to allow us to provide a critical public health service,” said Craven County Health Director Scott Harrelson. “This has been a serious issue for our county and many others impacted by Hurricane Florence.”
Increased mosquito populations often follow a hurricane or any weather event that results in large-scale flooding. While most mosquitoes that emerge after flooding do not transmit human disease, they still pose a public health problem by discouraging people from going outside and hindering recovery efforts.
Although rare, the most commonly reported mosquito-borne illnesses that can be acquired in North Carolina are LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Nearly 70 percent of mosquito-borne infections reported in the state in 2017 were acquired during travel outside the continental U.S.
While outdoors, peoples should remember to:
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET or an equivalent when outside and use caution when applying to children.
For residents who suffered losses during Hurricane Florence, Disaster Recovery Centers are now open in several locations around the state, with information and resources to assist in recovery.
These centers offer in-person support to both individuals and businesses. Specialists can discuss available recovery programs and provide guidance for filing applications for disaster assistance.
All centers are fully accessible to people with disabilities, and for those who need translation assistance.
Whether you are a homeowner, renter or a business owner, it is important to register for disaster assistance prior to visiting a recovery center by going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling FEMA at 800-621-FEMA.
If your home is insured, file your insurance claim before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Be sure to take photos to document your damage.
When you arrive at the recovery center, please bring the following information with you:
Address for home or business that was damaged
Current mailing address
Current telephone number.
Total household annual income.
Routing and account number for checking or savings account to allow for direct transfer of funds into your bank account.
A description of disaster-caused damage and losses.
Centers are open in these locations:
Former Eckerd/Rite Aid Drugstore
710 Degraffenreid Ave.
312 Western Blvd
Grantsboro Town Hall
10628 NC Highway 55 East
County Civic Center
794 Highway 58 South
Bobby Andrews Center
231 East Seventh Street
Additional Disaster Recovery Centers will be opening in the coming days and weeks.
Cleanup, rebuilding, and housing are now the city’s focus in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, officials said during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.
It was the first routine meeting of the board since before Hurricane Florence.
Jordan Hughes, city engineer, was filling in for City Manager Mark Stephens during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.
Stephens and Alderman Jeffrey Odham were out of town on business, including a meeting with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-Winterville.
Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
Hughes described the city’s initial response to Hurricane Florence as outstanding.
The city started preparing for a disaster such as Florence back in the spring, when it began contracting with different companies and agencies to provide the myriad services necessary in a disaster.
Once Florence reached New Bern, it was essentially all hands on deck with city staff, Hughes said.
“We found a lot of creative roles for people to fill way outside their normal duties,” he said.
Firefighters responded to emergencies that included one full-on structure fire in Olde Towne, where a two-story house was destroyed due to a portable generator malfunction.
During the storm, there were 800 swift water rescues, city officials reported.
“Going through Irene in 2011 and getting through that with the city, … we’ve made monumental improvements in our emergency planning, how we bulk up our resources before the storm, everybody understanding what their role is during the storm, and you really can see that come together,” Hughes said. “I think we put it through a pretty good test over the last couple of weeks, and I’ll tell you it’s a darn good plan at this point.”
Now the city’s full focus is on recovery and rebuilding of the community, he said.
Every department and offices are fully open except those facilities temporarily closed.
Closed facilities include Parks and Rec admin center, which was flooded and moved to, ironically, the Aquatics Center. West New Bern Recreation Center gym and game room being used as an evacuation shelter. City boat launches, Stanley White Rec Center, Union Point Park, Lawson Creek Park, Glenburnie Park, Dog Park and Bear Plaza are all closed.
A few customers are still without power due to damage to specific services. They can call 252-636-4070 for help and information, Hughes said.
Other items related to Hurricane Florence
Trash pickup resuming normal schedule. Debris collection is underway.
The recycling plant in Jacksonville is out of power. Recycling service in New Bern is suspended as a result. The county’s Convenience Centers are open, for anyone who has recycling they need to dispose of. Absent that, anything that goes to the curb will be picked up, Matt Montanye, public works director, said.
“We spent most of last week preparing the removal sites to receive debris,” he said. The city started removing debris on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, city workers had moved 126 loads, or 3,700 cubic yards, of vegetative debris, 101 tons of construction debris, and were working on fallen and falling trees.
Removing construction debris will be the biggest problem, he said. Ten city trucks are picking up debris. Supplementing thatare truck crews from Wilson, Garner, Rocky Mount, and Greenville. They are all working on commercial debris, from Batts Hill to North Glenburnie Road.
Meanwhile, 31 teams picking up vegetative debris spread throughout the city.
“The city has 188 miles of streets. Please be patient. We will get to you,” he said.
In all, close to 100 people are picking up debris.
The city asks citizens to separate construction debris and furniture in one pile, and appliances and vegetative debris in their own separate piles.
Citizens need to put their debris piles near the street, but not on the street.
“If it is out there, we are going to pick it up,” he said.
Curfew was working really well, said Mayor Dana Outlaw, who ordered the curfew. One evening while trying to make his way downtown on city business, he was denied entrance to the downtown area because of the curfew.
There have been no announcements regarding whether public schools will resume on Monday. Workers were moving evacuation centers from several elementary schools to other locations so that school can resume. School has been out since noon Tuesday, Sept. 11. Expect something to be announced on Friday about whether school will resume on Monday. Onslow County Schools will not be open next week.
Programs are suspended
Parks and Recreation Director Foster Hughes said there was 2-feet of water in Stanley White Recreation Center. The gymnasium floor is ruined, and it will take several months before the facility can be back in shape.
Elsewhere, all city boat launches are destroyed.
“It’s going to take some time for us to get those things together,” he said.
Meanwhile, West New Bern Recreation Center is closed for recreation purposes. It is being used as a consolidated evacuation center, taking in evacuees who had been staying at Brinson Elementary School and Ben D. Quinn Elementary School.
Paying for it all
Getting reimbursed from the federal government can be a tedious, time-consuming process. Said Alderman Bobby Aster, the city has not finished with reimbursements from FEMA for Hurricanes Irene and Matthew.
The city may hire a consultant to shepherd the city’s way through the complexities of reimbursement. The good news is, the consultant fees are reimbursable.
Aster, who was New Bern’s fire chief before he retired, said damage from Hurricane Florence is quadruple that of Irene, which struck New Bern in August 2011.
Alderman Sabrina Bengel pointed out that the reason the city maintains a healthy fund balance is for situations just like Hurricane Florence. The city may get reimbursed for most of its storm-related expenses, but meanwhile, it has to pay those costs up-front.
The King’s English
Alderman Bobby Aster, who has a great deal of experience dealing with disasters, is well-versed in FEMA jargon. During Tuesday’s meeting, he asked Jerry Haney, Area 3 division supervisor for FEMA Region 4, about numerous things using a variety of acronyms. “When will the PA on site, for the PA people,” Aster asked, for example.
After a few more exchanges like that, Alderwoman Jameesha Harris asked if they could use more common terms.
“You guys are like best friends having a conversation and we’re just sitting here …” she said.
How long is this going to take?
FEMA’s Jerry Haney said he hopes to be home by Thanksgiving.
FEMA has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the old Eckerd/Rite Aid store located at 710 DeGraffenreid Ave. in New Bern. The DRC serves as a one-stop location for citizens affected by Hurricane Florence to apply for disaster assistance and other benefits available to them through support agencies. Valuable state, local and federal resources will be provided at the DRC which will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Thursday, Sept. 27, until FEMA determines the community needs have been met.
Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 1-800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 1-800-462-7585
Download FEMA’s mobile app
4. Visit the Disaster Recovery Center
Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if you have registered with another disaster-relief organization such as the American Red Cross, or local community or church organization.
For more information Craven County’s Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, visit the Craven County website at www.cravencountync.gov, on the Craven County Facebook page @cravencounty and the Craven County Emergency Management Twitter account @cravencountync. Visit the Craven County website to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.
A house in the Woodrow neighborhood of New Bern collapsed upon itself during Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post
With an estimated 7,000 houses damaged or destroyed in Craven County by Hurricane Florence, attention has shifted from surviving the hurricane’s wind, rain, and flooding, to housing people displaced by the catastrophic storm.
Jerry Haney, Area 3 division supervisor for FEMA Region 4, which includes Craven County, said housing is the biggest issue FEMA is focusing on right now.
“There is just not rental inventory here for the number of houses that were lost,” Haney told the New Bern Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.
Haney said Gov. Roy Cooper was being briefed on the situation on Wednesday, and FEMA officials toured the hurricane-ravaged portions of New Bern on Tuesday.
More information should be coming out soon on what steps county, state and federal agencies will take to address the housing situation.
However, Haney said it is critical that people affected by Hurricane Florence apply for FEMA assistance. That process can be done online, however, FEMA opened a Disaster Recovery Center in New Bern this week.
Anyone who lives in Craven County can apply for the assistance, Haney said. A-n-y-o-n-e. He urged, begged, pleaded for people to apply.
“Registration numbers are kind of low right now. We think they should be higher,” he said.
Alderman Barbara Best pointed out the grave situation that many people face.
A Google map shows the Woodrow neighborhood off of Oaks Road in New Bern.
“Over in the Woodrow area, the homes are no longer there. … Will FEMA help those families rebuild?”
“This gets to the important part of registration,” Haney said. “People must register. … If you don’t register, we have zero chance of being able to tell you yes.”
And what if you are denied?
“You can appeal,” he said. Many times requests are denied because there is a problem with the application that can be easily addressed.
Also available is assistance from the Small Business Administration, or SBA.
“The majority of disaster assistance during federally declared disaster goes to homeowners and renters,” an SBA official told the Board of Aldermen.
SBA offers low interest loans (2 percent for individuals, 2.5 percent for non-profits, 3.6 percent for businesses).
Renters and property owners can get up to $40,000 for personal property loss, and homeowners can get $200,000 for real estate damage.
Between FEMA, SBA and insurance, “the three of us together, that seems to be able to bring most folks back to where they need to be,” the official said.
SBA has set up a field office at Centenary United Methodist Church at Middle and New streets in New Bern.
This house in the Woodrow neighborhood was knocked off its foundation during Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post
A house in the Woodrow neighborhood is a twisted wreck following Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post
Residents of the Woodrow neighborhood reach out for help via this hand-painted sign following the destructive effects of Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post
A Disaster Food and Nutrition Services (DFNS) benefits program will be offered by Craven County Department of Social Services.
The services will be offered at 2818 Neuse Blvd. in New Bern beginning Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 through Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, then resuming on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 through Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, for those who suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.
The hours of operation each day will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What Are Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits?
Disaster FNS Benefits are being provided to residents of Craven County who suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 due to Hurricane Florence. Not everyone will be eligible for these benefits, as certain eligibility criteria must be met. A person must have been living in the disaster area at the time of the disaster. You can only apply for benefits for those individuals who lived with you before Hurricane Florence occurred. If you are unable to apply in person, you may designate (with a signed statement from you) someone to represent you. Please be sure to include the individuals name as it is listed on their form of identification in your written statement if they are going to be your authorized representative. Individuals who are currently receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or more commonly referred to as Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) are NOT eligible to receive benefits nor be included on any DFNS application.
How Do I Apply?
You must file an application for benefits at a local department of Social Services that has been approved for a DFNS program. Your application information must be truthful. A Craven County Department of Social Services worker will interview you and go over your application with you. If you do not understand a question, ask the worker to explain it during the interview. Report all income accurately. Every household that receives disaster FNS benefits is subject to a federal and/or State review or audit.
Because long lines and wait times are possible, individuals are encouraged to bring medications and other necessary items. Due to limited space, individuals are encouraged to limit the number of people accompanying them and to consider arranging child care if possible. Residents should come prepared for inclement weather while waiting outdoors as limited outdoor shelter is available for those waiting in line.
No food vendors will be allowed in the parking lots at application locations. In addition, no donations will be accepted or distributed at application locations.
What Verifications Will I Need to Complete My Application?
Identification: Photo ID and other forms that are not limited to Social Security card, mail, or collateral statement. Identity of the head of household or authorized representative must be verified in order for an application to be made.
How Will We Determine Your Eligibility?
Your total income received (or expected to be received) between Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 6, 2018 plus available resources, minus a deduction for disaster-related expenses and shelter expenses, shall not exceed federal income limits. Individuals must have lived in the disaster area for the counties operating a DFNS program at the time of the disaster; must plan on purchasing food during the disaster period, and suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.
How and When Do I Get My Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits?
All Disaster FNS Benefits are placed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. You will receive an EBT card from the worker if you are eligible, after you complete your application. If you need assistance with using your EBT card, you may contact the NC EBT Call Center at 888-622-7328.
What Can I Use the Food and Nutrition Services Benefits For?
You may use your EBT card at any store that accepts FNS EBT cards. Only food, seeds, or plants for a garden to grow food may be purchased with the EBT card. You may also purchase infant formula, ice, and drinking water. Prepared hot foods may be bought in stores that accept EBT cards until Oct. 31, 2018. Items that cannot be purchased include but are not limited to paper items, soap, vitamins, diapers, medicine, pet foods, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages with your benefits.
DO NOT give false information or hide information to get or to continue to get Food and Nutrition Services.
DO NOT give or sell your benefits or authorization documents to anyone not authorized to use them.
DO NOT alter any document to get Food and Nutrition Services you are not entitled to.
DO NOT use Food and Nutrition Services to buy unauthorized items such as alcohol or tobacco.
DO NOT use another household’s Food and Nutrition Services or authorization document for your household.
If you intentionally break any of the rules above you may not be able to get any more Food and Nutrition Services permanently, and may be fined up to $250,000 and/or jailed up to 20 years.
It is illegal to receive Disaster FNS Benefits twice for the same disaster. People who get benefits they are not entitled to will be required to repay them. All state and county social services employees who receive Disaster FNS Benefits will be audited at a later time.
Any household denied Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits is entitled to request a fair hearing at the Craven County Department of Social Services.
Ongoing Food and Nutrition Services Benefits
The application you make as part of this program is for Disaster Food and Nutrition Service Benefits only. If you want to apply for the regular FNS Program to receive ongoing benefits, if you are eligible, you must apply separately.
For questions or more information on the Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Program call the Craven County Department of Social Services at 252-636-4900.
The state medical examiner’s office has determined an additional death was related to the storm, the 36th connected to Hurricane Florence. The latest casualty reported was a 67-year old man who died from injuries he received while cleaning up storm debris in Craven County.
It was the first death reported in Craven County related to Hurricane Florence.
“This deadly storm has left a lasting impact on families, neighborhoods and communities across a wide swath of our state,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Now is the time to pull together to help our fellow North Carolinians recover from Hurricane Florence and rebuild even stronger, and smarter, than before.”
The Governor continues to travel to areas hit hard by the storm, touring damage and meeting with storm survivors, local officials and first responders in Wayne and Lenoir counties on Tuesday.
Governor Cooper announces 33 jobs and $2.25M investment in Craven County
McGuckin & Pyle, Inc., a manufacturer of custom lamination and processing equipment, chose Craven County for its new plant, creating 33 new jobs and investing $2.25 million, N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today. The company will bring mechanical and electrical control system assembly and machinery services to New Bern.
“Much of our state is hurting after Hurricane Florence. As we continue to support each other and start to recover and rebuild, McGuckin & Pyle’s choice to move to New Bern and belief in this community underscores North Carolina’s resilience,” said Secretary Copeland. “This is a company that picked North Carolina because of our people, and they are committed to rebuilding together with all of us in North Carolina.”
McGuckin & Pyle produces custom processing industrial equipment such as laminators, winding and unwinding machines, carton forming machines and more. Additionally, the company offers mechanical, electrical and automation control system design and engineering along with machining and fabrication services which will also be located at the New Bern facility. McGuckin & Pyle is privately owned with headquarters and only current facility in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
“Extending our operations into North Carolina is a real game-changer for our company, and we are committed to rebuilding Craven County and helping play a part in getting people back on their feet after Hurricane Florence,” said Keith Connolly, President for McGuckin & Pyle. “Strategically, this growth is a necessity. We have many clients in the Carolinas and this expansion will allow us to broaden our level of support to those businesses. Craven County was integral in navigating the possible incentives that were available for our business. It was a combination of their efforts and the generous support awarded to us that ultimately convinced us that this was the site for our continued growth.”
“Craven County has the workforce needed for manufacturers to be successful, and McGuckin & Pyle knows that no hurricane can take that away from this strong community,” continued Secretary Copeland. “McGuckin & Pyle will move into Craven County Industrial Park, and the strong transportation and utility infrastructure there will support the company’s growth in the Carolinas and beyond.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. (EDPNC) were instrumental in supporting the company’s expansion decision.
Salaries for the new jobs will vary by position but will average $44,304, which is more than the average wage of $37,1746 in Craven County.
A performance-based grant of $70,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate McGuckin & Pyle’s move to North Carolina. The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.
“As we continue to respond and recover from Hurricane Florence, McGuckin & Pyle’s move to New Bern is a welcome bright spot,” said N.C. Senator Norman W. Sanderson. “Our focus right now is getting people back on their feet, and bringing more good jobs can only help that effort.”
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Partnership of North Carolina, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Craven County, the Craven 100 Alliance, North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership and Duke Energy.
Curbside recycling pickup service for all of Craven County is temporarily suspended due to operations of the vendor Craven County delivers those recyclables to being closed as a result of Hurricane Florence. Curbside recycling services are expected to resume on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018.
While curbside recycling pick up service will temporarily be suspended, the seven Craven County Convenience Centers are available for citizens to drop off recyclables. For a complete list of the Convenience Center locations and hours of operation visit the Craven County Solid Waste website.
First Craven Sanitary District is now operating under normal conditions. The office is now open during normal business hours and the treatment plant is operating at full capacity.
The water system operated under emergency power from 11:30 a.m. Thursday until 9 p.m. on Sunday. There was a water main break early Sunday morning affecting about 15 customers out of water for most of that day. They were issued a boiling water advisory. That advisory has been lifted.
There was no other issues with the water system and no other boil water advisories were issued. Due to high demand (leaks caused by the storm), district officials did ask customers to conserve water during the storm.
The water district did experience flooding at it facility and lost equipment in its shop. However, the water plant, office, and water system was never compromised.
The White House announced that President Trump will be visiting Marine air station at Cherry point on Wednesday to learn more about hurricane Florence damage.
Other details about the visit are being developed, including his itinerary.
Craven County was hit hard by Hurricane Florence last week.
First the New Bern area was flooded with storm surge up the Neuse River. Then Havelock and other parts were hit hard during the hurricane. Then Western Craven County and Jones County endured flooding in the hurricane’s aftermath.
President Trump has declared North Carolina to be a federal disaster area eligible for federal aid.”Right now, everybody is saying what a great job we are doing with Hurricane Florence – and they are 100% correct,” Trump Tweeted. “But don’t be fooled, at some point in the near future the Democrats will start ranting that FEMA, our Military, and our First Responders, who are all unbelievable, are a disaster and not doing a good job. This will be a total lie, but that’s what they do, and everybody knows it!”
In a video, Trump said, “This is a tough hurricane, one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water. Rarely have we had an experience like it and it certainly is not good.”
Craven County Emergency Management and Craven County Board of Commissioners have rescinded its mandatory evacuation order for all of Craven County effective Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 8 a.m.
There are still homes and roads that may not be accessible as a result of Hurricane Florence. The Craven County Emergency Management reminds everyone to use extreme caution when reentering flood stricken areas.
The curfew for unincorporated areas of Craven County has ended though the State of Emergency in Craven County is still in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21.
The Havelock High Emergency Shelter is currently closed. All residents housed in that shelter have been relocated to one of the other four shelters. The other four shelters are still open to accept any residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Florence. The following Craven County Emergency Shelters are open:
Brinson Elementary (319 Neuse Forest Ave., New Bern)
Trent Park Elementary (2500 Educational Drive, New Bern)
Ben Quinn Elementary (4275 Martin Luther King Blvd., New Bern) * Pet Friendly*
Farm Life Elementary (2000 Farm Life Ave., Vanceboro)
Craven County Government will be closed on Tuesday, Sept. 18, for all county employees except essential personnel.
Craven County Emergency Management is now operating two Points of Distribution (PODs) open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily to provide individuals impacted by Hurricane Florence with a limited selection of items such as water and meals ready to eat (MREs). Additional items such as cleaning supplies, bleach and hygiene items are expected to be available at a later date. The PODs are located at:
Annunciation Catholic Parish, 246 E. Main Street, Havelock, North Carolina.
Tabernacle Baptist Church, 616 Broad Street, New Bern, North Carolina.
For more information call Craven County Emergency Management at 252-636-6608. Craven County Government Emergency Management updates will appear on the Craven County website at www.cravencountync.gov, on the Craven County Facebook page @cravencounty and the Craven County Emergency Management Twitter account @cravencountync. Visit the Craven County website to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.
TRASH PICKUP: Trash pickup for city residents will resume Tuesday. Contractors will begin with Tuesday’s route and resume each route each day. There will be no pickups for services lost in the last several days. If you have extra trash that does not fit in your receptacle, bag it and place the bag next to your receptacle streetside. No stickers are needed and there is no extra charge for these bags. Be aware that construction debris, carpets, clothing, etc. cleaned out from flooded homes should not go in your trash receptacle.
If you have an abundant amount of trash and want to dispose of it ahead of your trash pickup day, you may take it to a Craven County convenience site. However, the convenience sites will not open until Thursday, September 20. Craven County has confirmed that trash stickers will NOT be required.
Questions concerning trash pickup outside of the city limits of New Bern should be directed to your service provider.
DEBRIS COLLECTION: Contractors made it to our state Monday night and mobilzed for debris pickup. City staff and contractor crews will begin today picking up storm debris. Please put debris curbside but NOT in the street. Debris should be properly sorted into three piles: leaf/limb/vegetation in one pile. Construction debris (carpet, sheetrock, wood) in one pile. Brown good/white goods (furniture & appliances) in a third pile. Reminder: please place at the back of the curb, NOT in the street so as not to impede stormwater drainage. City staff & contractor crews will be working 12 hour shifts from 7am-7pm to collect debris. City residents may also take leaf/limb/vegetation debris to the city’s yard waste facility located at 1803 Country Club Road. This facility will operate Monday-Saturday from 8am-4pm until further notice. Or, you can take it to a Craven County convenience center beginning Thursday, September 20.
Questions concerning debris removal for residents outside of the city of New Bern should be directed to Craven County.
RECYCLING: Recycling is operated through Craven County. We understand recycling pickups will resume on Friday, September 21.
OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS: Regular Curbside household trash (with stickers) will begin Wednesday. If your pickup day is Tuesday it will be next Tuesday before it is picked up.