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.”