Category: Economy

December 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Relocates disaster Loan Outreach Center in Craven County

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. 19, 2018 deadline.

SBA announced the relocation of a Disaster Loan Outreach Center from the Old Rite-Aid Building, 710 Degraffenreid Avenue, New Bern, NC 28582 to the New Bern Water and Sewer Department, 2825 Neuse Boulevard, New Bern, NC 28582 as indicated below:

  • Craven County
    • New Bern Water and Sewer Department
    • 2825 Neuse Boulevard
    • New Bern, NC 28582
    • Opens: Friday, Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.
    • Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Closed: Saturday and Sunday
    • Closes: Thursday, Dec. 20 at 5 p.m.

SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application.

“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business
assets,” said SBA’s North Carolina District Director Lynn Douthett.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 2 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 19, 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.

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA Tagged with:

December 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

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.

Fun facts

  • 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.
  • It is the first to have a sushi train.

Posted in Achievements, Activities, Aldermen, Beer, Board of Aldermen, Business, Commentary, Community, Craven County, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, Entertainment, Events, Food, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Opinion

December 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern was selected as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations and one of its best small retirement towns by WhereToRetire.com in its sixth edition of “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire,” a guidebook of the country’s most appealing retirement towns.

WhereToRetire.com spent 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.

For more information on visiting or relocating to New Bern go to www.VisitNewBern.com or www.visitnewbern.com/retire-new-bern/ Questions may be directed to marketingdirector@visitnewbern.com

Posted in Business, Community, Craven County, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, Education, Entertainment, History, Housing, New Bern, Retirement

November 26th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The parcel that had been the Strike Zone bowling alley on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard has been acquired by Aldi LLC as shown in this Craven County GIS map.

While there has been no official statement, it sure appears that Aldi, the German grocery chain, has its sights set on New Bern.

Aldi LLC acquired the former Strike Zone bowling alley in New Bern from SZ Properties on Nov. 14 for $1.68 million.

The city approved a site plan for Aldi in early 2017. The plan calls for the 30,600-square-foot bowling alley that’s there now to be removed to make way for the new 20,000-square-foot grocery store.

Strike Zone closed in 2017.

Aldi operates a store in Kinston and two in Jacksonville and two in the Greenville area among about 1,800 stores it operates in 35 states.

A New Bern store would be the first in Craven County. Lidl, another German-owned grocery chain, has opened stores in Havelock and Kinston.

Posted in Business, Economy, Economy and Employment

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

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

LONGLEAF POLITICS | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on Oct. 9, 2016.

A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June.

Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild.

The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters.

Why is recovery taking so long?

It mostly has to do with the processes set up to distribute the roughly $1.7 billion in recovery aid expected from the federal and state government.

While the initial response from the N.C. National Guard and FEMA came quickly, North Carolina has been in no hurry to distribute money intended for longer-term recovery.

And as it turns out, there’s a huge difference between money that’s been approved — and money that’s actually been used.

The breakdown of funding sources is an alphabet soup of agencies, each with its own policies and mechanisms and hoops to jump through. State governments have incentives to get roads repaired quickly. Homes, not so much.

Here’s a quick explanation of how disaster recovery works. It’s ordered by how quickly money has been distributed.

More

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, FEMA, Health, Housing, Hurricane, Infrastructure, Longleaf Politics, State news, State politics, Weather

October 4th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Pictured are left to right, Ervin Patrick, PIE past president; Millie McLaney Chalk with Duke Energy; Darlene Brown PIE executive director; and Don Brinkley, PIE president.

Craven County Partners In Education won a grant from Duke Energy for $4,500 for the STREAM Lab at Bridgeton Elementary.

The grant demonstrates  Duke Energy Foundation’s continued support of education, environment, economic and workforce development, and community impact. This grant will take Bridgeton Elementary’s STEM Lab to a STREAM Lab (including reading and art) and expand it to include grades K-2.

The mission of Craven County Partners In Education is to support and advance educational experiences within Craven County Schools through collaborative community involvement.  If you would like to learn how your organization can make a difference through Craven County Schools’ local education foundation, PIE, contact Darlene Brown, Executive Director, at 252-514-6321.

Posted in Business, Craven County Schools, Economy, Economy and Employment, New Bern

September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

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.

Steps available:

  1. Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
  2. 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
  3. Download FEMA’s mobile app
  4. 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.

Posted in Craven County, Craven County Schools, Economy, Economy and Employment, Housing, Hurricane, New Bern

September 25th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) announced it will donate a total of $250,000 to several organizations providing relief efforts in eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

The grants will be distributed to disaster-relief and community-service organizations in the company’s operating areas. The Coastal Carolina and Eastern North Carolina chapters of the American Red Cross will receive support for their relief work in Craven, Beaufort and Washington Counties.

Additional donations will be made to the Salvation Army for efforts in Beaufort and Washington Counties; Religious Community Services (RCS) for needs in New Bern; and Disaster Recovery Partner for support in Pitt County.

“We’re pleased to announce donations to our community partners who are providing much-needed relief for the citizens of eastern North Carolina,” said Brian Chaney, Regional Timberlands Manager. “More than 500 Weyerhaeuser employees call this area home including the Timberlands management team based in Vanceboro. The company’s support for local relief organizations will complement all the ways they are helping neighbors and giving back in their communities during this challenging time.”

Alan Sherrington, East Region Manufacturing Vice President, added: “Our employees and communities were significantly impacted by Hurricane Florence. Weyerhaeuser will be part of this long recovery and we are grateful for the critical work our partner organizations do in times like this. We appreciate the close-knit family of Weyerhaeuser employees and the supportive communities near our lumber mills in Vanceboro, Greenville and Plymouth.”

Weyerhaeuser Company is one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands, with 12.4 million acres under its ownership or control. The company has been in business since 1900.

Posted in Business, Economy, Economy and Employment, Hurricane, New Bern

September 6th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Map from Realtor.com identifying the most affordable retirement towns in the nation.

Realtor.com listed New Bern as the fourth least expensive retirement town in the nation.

With a median home list price of $209,800 and a share of residents aged 60 and up at 26.8 percent, New Bern ranked fourth after  Sebring, Fla., Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Ocala, Fla.

“Not everyone wants to retire on the ocean, especially in the wake of last year’s devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” the website said. “For the well-known town of New Bern, located along Neuse River, this has actually worked to its advantage.

“‘People are scared of hurricanes and don’t want to be on the beach,’ says Steve Tyson, a broker in New Bern. New Bern is close enough for a day trip to the shore, but just far enough away for when storms roll through. And retirees like that New Bern isn’t packed with tourists either, despite its historical chops. (Fun fact: This is the original state capital of North Carolina, not Raleigh.)

“Folks here are pleasantly surprised to learn that their 2,500-square-foot home will have a property tax bill of only around $2,500—a bargain compared with what they were paying up north.

“In addition to all the outdoorsy opportunities, many boomers are lured to the area by the commercial airport in town. The Coastal Regional Airport  has direct flights to Atlanta and Charlotte—something many small retirement towns can’t say.”

The most expensive retirement town? San Luis Obispo, Calif., where a median home list price is $729,600.

The full article can be found here.

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, Housing, New Bern, Retirement

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