Gov. Roy Cooper directed $25 million from the North Carolina Education Lottery Fund on Tuesday to speed repairs to K-12 public schools damaged by Hurricane Florence.
“Students need to get back to learning and educators need to get back to teaching, but many school districts can’t afford the repairs schools need,” Cooper said. “The lives of thousands of students, teachers and families are on hold and they need our help to recover.”
While many schools have reopened since Hurricane Florence struck last month, seven North Carolina school systems remain closed, keeping more than 130 schools out of operation and nearly 90,000 students out of class.
Just four of Craven County’s 23 public schools were open for class on Monday. Three schools in Jones County will have to be entirely rebuilt.
Several affected school districts have depleted most of their contingency funds and need immediate financial assistance to repair roofs, flooring and electrical wiring, eradicate mold and mildew and replace furniture to get schools reopened.
The emergency funds will be administered by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Priority will be given to district and charter schools in Brunswick, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties that have immediate repair needs and are not currently in operation.
Some of the repairs should be reimbursable by federal disaster recovery funds. Transferring the money now gives schools quicker help and allows them to retain contractors to speed repairs.
Craven County Schools will provide two information sessions for parents and community stakeholders to provide details regarding the process and scope of work needed at facilities so students and staff are able to return to the safest environment possible.
Robert Herrick P.E. CIH, external industrial hygienist, will be on site to help answer questions about the procedures being completed at each school site as well as the desired outcomes.
The first session will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at p.m. The second session will be on Friday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m. Both sessions will be held at The Board of Education located at 3600 Trent Road, New Bern.
Hurricane Michael could bring significant rain and wind to our area Thursday, according to National Hurricane Center projections.
For an area still recovering from devastation from Hurricane Florence in mid-September, this is obviously bad news.
Michael is predicted to become a major hurricane (with wind speeds in excess of 110 mph) in the Gulf of Mexico by 8 p.m. Tuesday and make landfall near Panama City, Fla., late Wednesday morning.
It is predicted to pick up speed but lose strength, becoming a tropical storm somewhere over Georgia on Thursday morning.
Its eye, or what is left of it, should pass over our area (Craven County) sometime later Thursday, either as a tropical storm or a post tropical storm. Though by that time nowhere near as powerful as Florence, wind and rain are predicted to be significant, and the cone as projected at 11 a.m. Monday centers squarely on New Bern midday Thursday.
Residents with roof damage unrepaired since Florence are particularly vulnerable. Also, soils still soggy from Florence-caused flooding could experience more trees downed by Michael.
There is no word about Mumfest, the street festival and concert scheduled for this weekend. Mumfest was rescheduled a month later in 2016 following Hurricane Matthew. Although Michael will have cleared the area by the weekend, it is impossible to predict what damage it will cause and whether that will affect Mumfest planning.
Tune in to Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, when officials with the New Bern Housing Authority will give an update about the status of Trent Court.
Trent Court was hit hard by Hurricane Florence. Alderwoman Jameesha Harris and several other volunteers braved rising floodwaters to evacuate residents who had sheltered in their homes during the storm.
Several feet of water flooded the rows of apartments closest to Lawson Creek, and recovery has been a question, especially considering what has been said in the past about Trent Court’s future.
The Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) plan calls for Trent Court to be razed and replaced with mixed-income housing and green space.
The New Bern Housing Authority has been shopping for acreage to build a new apartment building that would be used to house displaced Trent Court residents during the transition, and Housing Authority officials said the displaced residents would have the opportunity to move back once newly constructed units become available in the future development formerly known as Trent Court.
However, the Housing Authority has been having difficulty finding suitable land for an offsite apartment complex. One location off Carolina Avenue (which is between Trent Road and the Pembroke community) is attractive — located close to shopping and services and is owned by the city — but Alderwoman Harris has raised objections from Pembroke residents who don’t want Trent Court residents to move into their back yard.
Meanwhile, many Trent Court residents don’t want to leave Trent Court.
Next up, however, is Hurricane Florence. Housing Authority officials have said for several years that no more money would be spent to renovate flood-damaged buildings at Trent Court. If that’s the same story now, the race is on to find affected Trent Court residents places to live so that the storm-damaged apartments can be torn down.
Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney did not answer a request to be interviewed by the Post. Granted, he has had a lot on his plate.
Steve Strickland, a member of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, said, “The exact outcome is still to be determined. We’re working every possible option right now, alongside our efforts to get the current places as habitable as possible as soon as possible for those with no other short-term options.”
When asked if the storm was an opportunity to kickstart the CNI plan by housing South Front Street / Walt Bellamy Drive residents elsewhere so that the buildings most damaged can be razed and replaced, Strickland replied, “Possibly.”
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
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.
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.
Analysis by the Environmental Finance Center compares water and sewer revenues with operation and maintenance costs. Gray dots show municipal systems that have enough revenue to cover expenses. Peach-colored pentagons show show those with enough revenues to cover their combined expenses and debts. The bright red squares represent those without enough revenue to cover regular operating and maintenance expenses. Almost a quarter of systems across the state fall in those categories coming up short. Thanks, in part, to Florence and Matthew, many of those are clustered in the east.
CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS
Taking stock of what it will take to rebuild after Hurricane Florence, it’s important to remember that even before this year’s hurricane season started, the finances of dozens of water and sewer systems throughout North Carolina were already underwater.
Some were damaged in prior storms. Many more across the state are caught in a long-term downward spiral of declining jobs and population.
As policymakers begin to shape the state’s rebuilding program in response to Hurricane Florence, they must deal with the already distressed systems and those damaged in the most recent storm. They must also come up with a long-term solution to a chronic statewide maintenance backlog.
These will be the key steps toward building resiliency, especially in the hard-hit eastern region of the state.
At a recent General Assembly committee meeting in Raleigh, Edgar Starnes, legislative liaison for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer, said 37 water and sewer systems in Florence disaster areas are going to need significant help dealing with the damage.
“The repairs they’re going to face are going to be very expensive,” he told members of a joint House and Senate committee studying water and sewer systems in a post-storm assessment held in late September. “They’re in a lot of trouble because of the flood right now.”
The damage to those systems and the floods that followed resulted in tens of millions of gallons of wastewater and sewage spills.
Some of the systems were the same as those damaged in 2016, when Hurricane Matthew roared through many of the same communities.
In an emergency called meeting of the Craven County Board of Education on Thursday, an appropriation of $3.5 million was approved for damage repairs, school climate stabilization, and restoration and remediation services for our schools.
Superintendent Meghan Doyle said that this expenditure will not cover the full damages of Hurricane Florence to Craven County Schools.
“We continue to make progress and are happy to say that we are beginning the transition back to school,” the district said in a news release.
Craven County Schools has completed the process of testing air quality samples at all 23 of its school sites by an external industrial hygienist. Based on the results, six school sites are cleared for students and staff to safely return to campus on Monday, Oct. 8. The schools are:
Ben D. Quinn Elementary
Grover C. Fields Middle
New Bern High (except Vocational Area)
Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary
West Craven High
Based on the air quality reports, nine schools have been partially cleared and once these buildings are restored and cleaned thoroughly they will be re-tested again. They are:
AH Bangert Elementary
Brinson Memorial Elementary
Havelock Middle (ECE Wing has been cleared)
HJ MacDonald Middle
JT Barber Elementary
Oaks Road Academy
Trent Park Elementary
W.J. Gurganus Elementary
Once the air quality samples are reviewed and safely cleared, these campuses will be released for school to start back. Crews will be working throughout the weekend to remediate the impacted areas be prepared for future announcements for these sites
Eight other school sites have not been cleared and will need remediation by external companies contracted to complete the work in an effective and efficient manner. Funds for this work will come from the Board of Education fund balance appropriation made at Thursday’s meeting. The schools requiring greater detail to be cleared to safely return back to school are:
Arthur W. Edwards Elementary
Graham A. Barden Elementary
James W. Smith Elementary
Roger Bell New Tech Academy
Tucker Creek Middle
West Craven Middle
“We appreciate the patience and understanding our school families and the community as we anxiously work to get our facilities at a safe level for all to return,” the district said in the news release.
“Craven County has never experienced a storm of this magnitude and while the structural damage to our facilities does not appear to be great on the outside, the length of power outages at each site combined with moisture and humidity is a direct correlation to the air quality on the inside.”
The tentative goal date for all facilities to be operational is Monday, Oct. 15.
While Hurricane Florence has meant minor changes in the Ghostwalk line-up, the New Bern Historical Society is finding that when a ghost site has had to step out, others step in. This includes the William B. Blades house on the corner of Johnson and Middle streets.
Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “What a generous offer from the owners of the Blades House. How wonderful it is that they want to help make Ghostwalk successful. This is yet another great example of New Bernians working together to make our town so successful.”
Ghostwalk is an annual event presented by the New Bern Historical Society, this year held Oct. 25-27. Each Ghostwalk brings a whole new batch of historical characters from New Bern’s colorful and varied past to tell you their stories. This year’s theme: Graves’ Anatomy, brings tales ofMedicine, Mystery and Mayhem. That would leave the ghostly field open to everyone from well-respected surgeons to snake oil salesmen.
The current line-up of Ghostwalk sites and an online map are available at www.GhostwalkNewBern.com.
Ghostwalk is a family-friendly event with entertaining stories from our history, tempting dinners available at historic churches, and this year something new. At the historic Judge Gaston Law office, each Ghostwalk ticket-holder can have their picture taken at the professional Tap Snap photo booth. They will go home with a free photo souvenir as well as a digital image, all as part of their Ghostwalk ticket.
Tickets are available at www.GhostwalkNewBern.com or by calling 252-638-8558, and at the following outlets: The New Bern Historical Society, Mitchell’s Hardware, Bank of the Arts, Harris Teeter on Glenburnie and in Carolina Colours, ITT Office aboard Cherry Point Marine Air Station, and ASAP Photo in Greenville.
The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education. Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern. For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety.
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.
Though Florence has come and gone, people affected by the hurricane are still cleaning up and rebuilding. Those in affected areas with asthma and allergies must be extra careful during this time. There are many things to consider as they remove debris, clean up flood damage and make repairs.
Long after waters have receded, flood waters can leave behind chemicals, bacteria, viruses and mold. These can create long-term health issues if you have asthma and allergies.
Mold is one of the biggest concerns after a flood. Mold, a fungus, can grow in any damp environment. It is different from plants or animals in how it reproduces and grows. The “seeds,” called spores, travel through the air. Mold spores get into your nose and cause allergy symptoms. They also can reach your lungs and trigger asthma.
Here are some precautions to consider during the recovery process:
Mold grows quickly after flooding. As you remove flood damage, wear a mask with a particulate respirator. Look for NIOSH and N95 or P100 printed on the mask. It should have two straps and should cover your nose and chin.
Also wear a mask as you clean up debris. Many neighborhoods are still lined with debris from downed trees and damaged homes. These piles can harbor mold, pollen and toxic chemicals as you wait for your county or city to pick them up.
Don’t burn debris. Smoke and toxic materials can irritate your airways. If neighbors burn their debris, shield yourself from the smoke as much as possible.
Consider hiring a professional to do the cleanup.
Throw out furniture and other items that cannot be cleaned immediately.
If possible, find another place to stay until the mold has been cleaned up.
If your home has been flooded or has water damage, mold may start growing in places you don’t expect. It does not go away as the water dries. Mold may grow inside furniture or under carpet that got wet, making it hard to find. If not replaced, it can make you and your family very sick. Items that have gotten wet from a flood have to be thoroughly cleaned and dried or discarded. Many allergens and asthma triggers can stick around long after a hurricane has passed. Keep these tips in mind in the coming months as you rebuild. For more information, visit http://www.aafa.org/mold-allergy/.
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.
Craven County Schools are tentatively planning to return students to school on Monday, Oct. 8. These dates are subject to change.
Information about athletics and support for students will be forthcoming in the next couple of days. Staff and students are not allowed in school buildings until they have been cleared.
Over 80 members of Craven Count Schools staff have been personally affected with losses of home and personal property.
Students throughout the county have been also severely impacted in multiple communities.
Initial damage assessments of Craven County Schools revealed roof damage to several schools resulting in leaks and breaches of water and water intrusion into several schools resulting in isolated flooding.
Also serious and challenging was the loss of power to schools across the district resulting in the lack of climate control and the addition of moisture to buildings.
After initial assessments, the scope of damage to Craven County Schools’ buildings is greater than was originally thought after Hurricane Florence.
Additional assessments of air quality are being conducted this evening, and through the weekend with results coming in the first of the week of Oct. 1.
Repairs that staff can complete have been addressed continuously over the last week. The most significant structural damages have been addressed. They are sanitizing and removing damaged materials and stabilizing HVAC systems. However, their first priority is to ensure that the buildings we will return staff and students to are safe.
“We are keenly aware that the days of closure are challenging and frustrating. And we want our students to return as soon as possible. We want nothing more than to bring our schools back to normalcy for our community and most importantly for our students and staff,” the school district announced.
“As a result, we are working to begin the transition back to school. It is important to note that our plan remains tentative and dependent upon our continued assessment of each building. We recognize, however, that our families need information as quickly as possible to make necessary arrangements.”
EARLY COLLEGE AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE CLASSES
For Early College students at Craven Early College and Early College EAST, students will attend any scheduled Craven Community College classes on Monday, Oct. 1. Students will return to high school classes on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Staff at Craven Early College and Early College EAST will return to work on Monday, Oct. 1. All dates are tentative and subject to change. For traditional high school students who are taking Career and College Promise (CCP) courses taught on the campus of Craven Community College, they should plan to attend. For Career and College Promise (CCP) courses taught on the campuses of traditional high schools, these sections will not resume until the High Schools open. If there is an issue with transportation for CCP classes please make contact with your school’s principal by calling the main number. Leave a message and someone will get back with you
For all non-early college schools: school nutrition staff, clerical staff, guidance staff, non-instructional support staff, and assistant principals should return to work on Monday, Oct. 1. Custodial, transportation some school nutrition staff should have already returned to work. These specific staff groups will be receiving separate information from their principal or division head about where to report on Monday later this weekend.
For traditional schools and restart schools, 10-month instructional staff will return to school on Oct. 4 and 5. These dates are tentative and dependent upon assessments of each building.
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.
Hurricane Florence ripped through portions of Eastern North Carolina, dumping historic rainfall on Craven County. Thousands of homes were flooded.
As families rebuild, many will likely be unable to afford to replace school supplies lost due to the flooding.
“You feel kind of helpless. Because you think about your students, who are your family, and you’re like ‘What can I do to help?’” said Craven County Schools Teacher of the Year, Katy Chadwick.
Chadwick was born and raised in Craven County. She attended UNC Wilmington and began her teaching career in Craven County. She said, “People like Antoinette Boskey, an active community member, have been reaching out to me about how they can help, so Darlene Brown, executive director of PIE, and I put our heads together and said we need to do this for our students.”
Brown said, “We just held our Stuff the Bus event, so I guess we are re-stuffing our buses. So many of our students are homeless, and the best thing we can do for them is to get them back into a routine of attending school with the supplies they will need. PIE is pleased to support our teachers and our students.”
School supplies can be dropped off between 9 a.m.– 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the ABC Central Office, 3493 Martin Drive, New Bern, NC (loading dock available) or at Craven County Sheriff’s Office, 1100 Clarks Road, New Bern (contact Investigative Sgt. Mike Sawyer, firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-636-6643 for drop off information).
You can also donate money on line at www.CravenPartners.com. If you would like your supplies to be dedicated to a certain school, please indicate that in the comments section when you donate online. A school supply list can be found on the PIE website. Some suggested items are:
Earbuds or headphones
4GB (or larger) flash drives
Pocket folders with brads (any color)
Blank copier paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
Graph paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
Notebook paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
No. 2 pencils
Blue, black, and red ink pens
Highlighters (any color)
Colored pencils (12-pack)
Colored markers (not permanent)
Rulers (30cm, wooden)
Index cards (3 inches by 5 inches, 100 count, lined)
Pkgs. of dividers
Colored construction paper
Clorox or Lysol wipes
For more information about this event, or how you can support PIE, contact Darlene Brown at 514-6321, or at Darlene.Brown@CravenK12.org. Visit the PIE website at www.CravenPartners.com to learn more about the programs offered by Partners In Education.
Partners In Education is the local educational foundation that provides grant funding and special programs to classrooms and schools within the Craven County Schools 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 New Bern Farmer’s Market re-opens Saturday, Sept. 29, at 8 a.m. thanks in part to the “wonderful Band of Brothers from the 113th Field Artillery of the North Carolina National Guard,” the group said in a news release.
For the near term, The Farmer’s Market will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Market has been power washed and sanitized, debris has been removed, and up to 70 vendors are ready to meet your needs with local produce, baked goods and hand-crafted items.
Celebrating the re-opening, the 22-person “Craven Ukes” will be entertaining shoppers with many of the old time sing-along favorites.
“Downtown New Bern has made tremendous strides in returning to normalcy,” Farmer’s Market announced. “Restaurants and shop doors are open. Support the Heart of New Bern by coming Downtown to shop, to browse and to dine. The Merchants, Restauranteurs and Shoppers need each other.”