Category: New Bern

December 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Habitat for Humanity of Craven County was presented with a grant award of $20,000 from International Paper’s New Bern Mill to assist with Habitat’s repair, rebuilding, and recovery efforts with Habitat and non-Habitat homeowners in Craven County. Pictured from left are Allison Arens of IP New Bern Mill, Board President Richard Peebles, Volunteer Coordinator Deedra Durocher, Executive Director Mike Williams, and Catherine Burgess of IP New Bern Mill.

Posted in Craven County, Habitat for Humanity, New Bern

December 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

News Release — United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that over the course of the last week in federal court, before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, multiple defendants have been sentenced in a large-scale heroin and marijuana trafficking organization.

The investigation was part of OCDETF Operation 190, which was named in memory of New Bern Police Department Officer Alexander Thalmann.  Officer Thalmann was shot and killed in the line of duty in March of 2014 by associates of the defendants in this case.

An Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The defendants’ convictions and sentencings were the culmination of a multi-year investigation into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, North Carolina, and led primarily by two men: DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN and CALVIN MARK WILSON.  Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and members of the New Bern Police Department learned that BROWN, WILSON, and others had been involved in ordering heroin from New York City and arranging it to be brought down in multi-kilogram amounts over a period of several years.  BROWN and WILSON then supplied various mid and lower-level dealers in and around New Bern with the heroin for sale.

As part of the investigation, law enforcement conducted over twenty controlled purchases of heroin from organization members between November 2016 and July 2017, along with traffic stops and other encounters in which they confirmed that members possessed drugs and guns.  Based on that investigation, ATF then obtained authorization for a federal wiretap of cellular phones associated with WILSON and two co-defendants.   As a result, agents intercepted calls and texts over a three-month period in late 2017 showing that WILSON was directing the supply and distribution of kilogram-levels of heroin from New York to New Bern, NC.  Based on intercepted calls, agents were able to stop and arrest WILSON and two co-defendants traveling back from New York with 3lbs of marijuana and 7 bars of heroin cutting agent.

ATF made arrests of many of the defendants on October 24, 2017, along with searches of five residences associated with the organization.  Through the life of the investigation, law enforcement has seized over a kilogram of heroin and twenty firearms.

The defendants include:

• DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN, aka “Dame,” 36, of New Bern, NC.  BROWN was convicted in August 2018 by a federal jury of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, possession with intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, and possession of a firearm by felon.  BROWN was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment.

• DERRICK LAMONT DAVIS, aka “Gucci,” 35, of Kinston, NC.  DAVIS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin.  DAVIS was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment.

• DWAYNE LEE STALLINGS, aka “Smiley,” 35, of Cove City, NC.  STALLINGS was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment.

• NASSAR TURE MACK, 37, of New Bern, NC.  MACK was convicted of possession of a firearm by felon and was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.

• MARIO CORRELLUS BARGNEARE, aka “Rio,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  BARGNEARE was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  BARGNEARE was sentenced to 204 months’ imprisonment.

• DEREK JACQUAN WIGGINS, aka “DJ,” 38, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, several counts of distributing heroin, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.

• ROY JAMES NOLON, aka “Henny,” 21, of New Bern, NC.  NOLON was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• MICHAEL QUALEEK VELASQUEZ, aka “Moo Moo,” 23, of New Bern, NC.  VELASQUEZ was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• LAMAR HOSEA WIGGINS, aka “LB,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• LASHAWNNA JAQUETTE MCCOTTER, aka “Flossy,” 47, of New Bern, NC.  McCOTTER was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  She was sentenced to 30 months’  imprisonment.

• LATREKA DENISE HARDESTY, aka “T,” 27, of New Bern, NC.  HARDESTY was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to time served.

• ADRIENNE MICHELLE HALL, 35, of New Bern, NC.  HALL was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to time served.

• CAROLINE LOUISE HUGHES, 28, of Alliance, NC.  HUGHES was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to 5 years probation.

Three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced over the course of the next few months.  They are:

• CALVIN MARK WILSON, aka “Bali,” 34, of New Bern, NC.  WILSON was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one thousand grams or more of heroin and a quantity of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  WILSON faces a sentence of not less than 20 years’ imprisonment.

• WILLIE FRANK JAMES AHERN, aka “White, White Bread, Dribs,” 39, of Bayboro, NC.  AHERN was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and several instances of distributing quantities of heroin.  AHERN faces up to life imprisonment.

• WALTER NAJEE GREEN, III, 21, of New Bern, NC.  GREEN was convicted of distribution of a quantity of heroin and faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

The investigation also led to 8 individuals being charged by the state for drug offenses.  Those charges remain pending.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), New Bern Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Trent Woods Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Morehead City Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Howard prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Posted in Crime, New Bern, Public safety

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 10th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Due to expected freezing temperatures overnight coupled with rain-slackened roads, Craven County Schools will start two hours later than normal on Tuesday.

Breakfast will not be served.

Posted in Craven County Schools, New Bern

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

December 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing food safety recommendations for those who may be impacted by a severe winter storm moving through the southern U.S.

The National Weather Service reports that a strong storm system crossing the Southwest early Friday morning will likely take a southerly track across the southern plains to the South and then to the southeastern U.S. coast through the weekend. Snow and freezing rain is forecast in eastern New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles by late Friday, and continuing into early Saturday.

Heavy rain is forecast across southeast Texas. The rainfall rates are expected to be high at times, increasing the threat of flooding. Flash flood watches are in effect for this region. A slight risk of excessive rainfall exists through Saturday night for the central Gulf Coast region.

Through late Sunday, a swath of accumulating snow and ice is expected to extend from eastern Oklahoma to the southern Appalachians. Winter storm watches are now in effect from the Texas panhandle to the Ozarks of northern Arkansas, and also for the southern Appalachians and adjacent Piedmont region.

Winter storms present the possibility of power outages and flooding that can compromise the safety of stored food. Residents in the path of this storm should pay close attention to the forecast. FSIS recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce food waste and the risk of foodborne illness during this and other severe weather events.

Steps to follow in advance of losing power:

• Keep appliance thermometers in both the refrigerator and the freezer to ensure temperatures remain food safe during a power outage. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the refrigerator, 0°F or lower in the freezer.

• Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags or small containers prior to a storm. These containers are small enough to fit around the food in the refrigerator and freezer to help keep food cold. Remember, water expands when it freezes, so don’t overfill the containers.

• Freeze refrigerated items, such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately—this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

• Know where you can get dry ice or block ice.

• Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.

• Group foods together in the freezer—this ‘igloo’ effect helps the food stay cold longer.

• Keep a few days’ worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling.

Steps to follow if the power goes out:

• Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the door is kept closed. A full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

• Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross contamination from thawing juices.

• Use dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible during an extended power outage. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days.

Food safety after a flood:

• Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water—this would include raw fruits and vegetables, cartons of milk or eggs.

• Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those packaged in plastic wrap or cardboard, or those with screw‐caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped caps. Flood waters can enter into any of these containers and contaminate the food inside. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home-canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.

• Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel‐type can opener.

Food safety during snow and ice storms:

During a snowstorm, do not place perishable food out in the snow. Outside temperatures can vary and food can be exposed to unsanitary conditions and animals. Instead, make ice by filling buckets or cans with water and leave them outside to freeze. Use this ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or coolers.

Steps to follow after a weather emergency:

• Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.

• Check each item separately. Throw out any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch.

• Check frozen food for ice crystals. The food in your freezer that partially or completely thawed may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below.

• Never taste a food to decide if it’s safe.

• When in doubt, throw it out.

FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. Infographics on FSIS’ Flickr page outline steps you can take before, during and after severe weather, power outages and flooding. FSIS provides relevant food safety information during disasters on Twitter  @USDAFoodSafety and Facebook.

If you have questions about food safety during severe weather, or any other food safety topics, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888MPHotline or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov. These services are available in English and Spanish from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Answers to frequently asked question can also be found 24/7 at AskKaren.gov.

Posted in Environment, Food, New Bern, Weather

December 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

This map shows Wellons properties including one where developers hope to build a four-story hotel.

The city is considering plans for a four-story, 104-room hotel to be built on 2.82 acres of wooded land off Newman Road, behind New Bern Mall’s back parking lot.

The brand of the hotel has not been named in documents filed with the city.

The developer is East Coast Hospitality, a Washington, N.C. company that has developed 10 Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites, and Candlewood Suites locations in North Carolina, with single locations in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

The company’s portfolio includes four hotels in Jacksonville, two hotels in Havelock, and one hotel in Morehead City. This proposed hotel would be its first in New Bern.

The property is owned by CGW Inc. and Jean Elizabeth Wellons Morrice et al of Morehead City.

The Wellons family owned a large swath of land northwest of New Bern Mall and subdivided it. Wellons Boulevard commemorates the Wellons Family’s ties to the area.

The plan will be discussed 9 a.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at the Departmental Review Committee, 303 First St. in the Development Services Conference Room.

Posted in Business, New Bern

December 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College’s New Bern Campus will host a new class, Introduction to Home Brewing, every Tuesday from 6-9 p.m., Jan. 15 through April 2.

The course is designed for entry-level home brewers with little or no experience and will familiarize students with beer styles, expose them to various brewing technologies and provide hands-on experience with beer brewing and tasting in a safe environment.

The class is a collaboration between Craven CC’s Workforce Development department and Brütopia Brewing Company, a craft brew house and homebrew supply store in James City. Tim Dryden, a co-owner of Brütopia, will be co-instructing with Rob Jones. Jones, who has been brewing for 25 years, said this class is for anyone who has the desire to learn about beer and how it’s made.

“Ideally, those that complete the class will be able to get their first brew kit and know exactly what to do with it and make great tasting beer,” said Jones. “The students will get in 12 weeks what took me 25 years to gain.”

A new aspect of home brewing will be explored during each of the 12-week sessions. Classes will cover topics such as chemicals, sanitation and equipment; fermentation; recipe formulation; brewing and bottling; grain preparation; mashing; and sampling.

“We want to provide a well-structured curriculum for those interested in exploring home brewing,” said Jeff Schulze, Craven CC workforce development coordinator. “And who knows—a student in this class could be the next one to open up a microbrew business in Craven County.”

The class has a 15-student limit and the cost is $180, which includes the supply fee. For more information or to register, contact Schulze at 252-638-5467 or schulzej@cravencc.edu.

Posted in Craven Community College, New Bern

December 1st, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

A power outage in New Bern affected more than 1,700 customers.

The city’s outage map acknowledged the problem but none of the city’s online or social media outlets explained the cause or said when power would be restored.

Affected areas are shown in red on the map.

Power was restored to all but five customers by 5:30 a.m.

Posted in Infrastructure, New Bern, Utilities

November 30th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College students impacted by Hurricane Florence may apply for the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund, which is a specific state fund that provides financial assistance for tuition, fees, transportation, textbooks and living expenses.

Craven CC will receive $408,333, or $1,250 distributed among 322 students per semester, in state funds to assist students through June 30, 2019. These funds are available to students who were enrolled at Craven CC or resided in a major disaster area as of Sept. 10, 2018. Craven CC students impacted by the hurricane may utilize funds for assistance with tuition, fees, transportation, textbooks and living expenses.

“When students are stable financially, they are able to stay enrolled, complete a degree or credential and have the opportunity for employment or to further their education and career goals,” said Zomar Peter, dean of enrollment management.

Thanks to a new $18.5 million relief fund passed by the North Carolina General Assembly on Oct. 15, Craven CC is among 21 colleges in the state to receive funding to help minimize the historic storm’s impact on student success. The package includes $5 million in emergency grants to assist students from disaster-affected counties with tuition, fees and expenses so they can stay enrolled. Colleges were required to begin accepting applications by November 1, 2018.

Applications for the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund are available for download. For more information or to download the application, call Peter at 252-638-4597 or visit www.cravencc.edu/florence.

Posted in Craven Community College, Hurricane, New Bern

November 30th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

DOJ News Release: United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that yesterday in federal court, before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle CALVIN MARK WILSON, 34, of New Bern, North Carolina pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one thousand (1,000) grams or more of heroin and a quantity of marijuana.

During the defendant’s guilty plea hearing, the Government summarized the evidence supporting the defendant’s guilty plea.  After a multi-year investigation by the New Bern Police Department into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, NC, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) obtained authorization for a federal wiretap of cellular phones associated with WILSON and two co-defendants.  As a result, agents intercepted calls and texts over a three-month period in 2017 showing that WILSON was directing the supply and distribution of kilogram-levels of heroin from New York to New Bern, NC.  Based on intercepted calls, agents were able to stop and arrest WILSON and two co-defendants traveling back from New York with 3lbs of marijuana and 7 bars of heroin cutting agent.  Calls intercepted after that arrest indicated that WILSON had lost as much as $30,000 on that day alone based on law enforcement’s actions.  Later, after WILSON was arrested on his federal charges in October 2017, investigators searched his cell phone, which revealed additional evidence of WILSON arranging for the resupply of hundreds of grams of heroin at a time from his New York sources of supply and then distributing that heroin to street level dealers in New Bern.

At sentencing, the defendant faces not less than 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000,000 in fines.

WILSON’s conviction was the culmination of a multi-year investigation into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, North Carolina, that has resulted in the federal convictions of 16 defendants for drug and gun charges.

The defendants include:

• DWAYNE LEE STALLINGS, aka “Smiley,” 35, of Cove City, NC.  STALLINGS was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment.

• NASSAR TURE MACK, 37, of New Bern, NC.  MACK was convicted of possession of a firearm by felon and was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.

• DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN, aka “Dame,” 36, of New Bern, NC.  BROWN was convicted in August 2018 by a federal jury of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, possession with intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, and possession of a firearm by felon.  BROWN faces not less than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.

• DERRICK LAMONT DAVIS, aka “Gucci,” 35, of Kinston, NC.  DAVIS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin.  DAVIS faces not less than 5 years’ imprisonment and up to 40 years’ imprisonment.

• WALTER NAJEE GREEN, III, 21, of New Bern, NC.  GREEN was convicted of distribution of a quantity of heroin and faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

• MARIO CORRELLUS BARGNEARE, aka “Rio,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  BARGNEARE was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  BARGNEARE faces not less than 15 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.

• WILLIE FRANK JAMES AHERN, aka “White, White Bread, Dribs,” 39, of Bayboro, NC.  AHERN was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and several instances of distributing quantities of heroin.  AHERN faces up to life imprisonment.

• DEREK JACQUAN WIGGINS, aka “DJ,” 38, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, several counts of distributing heroin, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He faces up to life imprisonment.

• ROY JAMES NOLON, aka “Henny,” 21, of New Bern, NC.  NOLON was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He faces not less than 5 years’ imprisonment.

• MICHAEL QUALEEK VELASQUEZ, aka “Moo Moo,” 23, of New Bern, NC.  VELASQUEZ was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  He faces up to life imprisonment.

• LAMAR HOSEA WIGGINS, aka “LB,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

• LASHAWNNA JAQUETTE MCCOTTER, aka “Flossy,” 47, of New Bern, NC.  McCOTTER was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  She faces up to 25 years’ imprisonment.

• LATREKA DENISE HARDESTY, aka “T,” 27, of New Bern, NC.  HARDESTY was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

• ADRIENNE MICHELLE HALL, 35, of New Bern, NC.  HALL was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

• CAROLINE LOUISE HUGHES, 28, of Alliance, NC.  HUGHES was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The investigation also led to 8 individuals being charged by the state for drug offenses.  Those charges remain pending.

The investigation was part of OCDETF Operation 190.  This is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), New Bern Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Trent Woods Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Morehead City Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Howard prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Posted in New Bern, Public safety

November 20th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The public is invited to attend a special webinar about innovative flood mitigation solutions, particularly in the wake of hurricane Florence.

The webinar will air live on City 3 TV from City Hall, 300 Pollock Street, on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. in the second floor courtroom.

The webinar will feature a presentation on and the city’s Facebook page. It will also be recorded and posted to the city’s online Video on Demand portal and YouTube channel.

Henk Ovink, an expert on flood damage and mitigation, was featured recently on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He is the world’s only water ambassador, a title given to him by the Dutch government.

Ovink was interviewed by CBS’s Bill Whitaker and the two toured the Maeslantkering storm surge barrier in the Netherlands. Thanks to special engineering designed to protect nearby coastal communities, the area hasn’t flooded since 1953.

Two large gates were engineered to block storm surge from building into the Rhine River and Rotterdam. You can watch the “60 Minutes” segment and learn more about the Netherlands’ project by clicking here.

Ovink, a special envoy for International Water Affairs, is visiting Washington D.C. this week to speak to leaders in emergency management about flood mitigation solutions. He has agreed to make himself available for this special webinar.

“This is a good opportunity for our residents, businesses, and local leaders to come together and listen to ideas for combating flooding and storm surge,” said Sabrina Bengel, Mayor Pro Tem and Ward 1 Alderman. “We’re all concerned about when – not if – another hurricane like Florence will impact our area. This webinar can help us start thinking about solutions and how we can build our storm resiliency. We hope everyone will join in this special presentation in the courtroom or online.”

Posted in Hurricane, New Bern

November 12th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

CITY OF NEW BERN

BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING

NOVEMBER 13, 2018 – 6:00 P.M.

CITY HALL COURTROOM

300 POLLOCK STREET

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES REQUIRING SPECIAL ASSISTANCE SHOULD CALL 639-7501 NO LATER THAN 3P.M. THE DATE OF THE MEETING

Agenda and Explanations

  • Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Alderman Kinsey. Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Roll Call.
  • Request and Petition of Citizens.

This section of the Agenda is titled Requests and Petitions of Citizens. This is an opportunity for public comment, and we thank you for coming to the Board of Aldermen meeting tonight to share your views. We value all citizen input.

Speaker comments are limited to a maximum of 4 minutes during the public comment period. At the conclusion of 4 minutes, each speaker shall leave the podium. Comments will be directed to the full board, not to an individual board member or staff member. Although the board is interested in hearing your comments, speakers should not expect any comments, action or deliberation from the board on any issue raised during the public comment period.

In the board’s discretion, it may refer issues to the appropriate city officials or staff for further investigation. If an organized group is present to speak on a common issue, please designate one person to present the group’s comment, which shall be limited to a maximum of 4 minutes.

Consent Agenda

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Amend Article II “Definitions”, Article X “Permissible Uses” and Article XVIII “Parking” of Appendix A of the City of New Bern Land Use Ordinance.

The Board is asked to call for a public hearing on November 27, 2018 to consider proposed amendments to Sections 15-15, 15-146 and 15-342 of the Land Use Ordinance. The proposed amendments will create standards for marinas in the City of New Bern. At their September 4, 2018 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Board voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the proposed amendments.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Calling for a Public Hearing to Amend Article II: Section 15-15 – Basic Definitions and Interpretations of the City of New Bern Land Use Ordinance.

The Board is asked to call for a public hearing on November 27, 2018 to consider proposed amendments to Section 15-15 “Basic Definitions and Interpretations” of the Land Use Ordinance. The proposed amendments will clean up the residential definitions found in the basic definitions and interpretations section. The last overhaul of the Land Use Ordinance created errors in formatting that lead to the retention of some older, now redundant, definitions for residential uses. Adopting the proposed changes will make sure there is no confusion in how different residential uses are defined. At their June 5, 2018 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the proposed amendments.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Closing Specific Streets on December 1, 2018 for the Craven County Jaycees 2018 Christmas Parade.

(Ward 1) David Ricks, Event Coordinator, has requested the 300-800 blocks of George Street, 400-600 blocks of Broad Street and 200-300 blocks of Middle Street be closed from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. on December 1, 2018 for the annual Christmas parade. Additionally, it is requested the south side of Broad Street be closed to parking from 12 a.m. until the conclusion of the parade.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Closing Specific Streets for the City’s First Annual New Year’s Eve Celebration.

(Ward 1) The City of New Bern plans to hold its first annual New Year’s Eve Celebration on December 31, 2018. As a result, it is requested the 200-300 blocks of Craven Street and 200-300 blocks of Pollock Street be closed from 8 a.m. on December 31, 2018 until 8 a.m. on January 1, 2019.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Closing Specific Streets for Tryon Palace’s Candlelight Christmas Celebration.

(Ward 1) Rebekah Hornek, Cultural Arts Coordinator, has requested the 600 block of Pollock Street and 300 block of George Street be closed on December 8th and 15th from 9:15 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. for fireworks associated with Tryon Palace’s Candlelight Christmas Celebration. She has also requested a temporary block of South Front Street at the location of Palace Point Commons behind the palace’s south lawn.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Closing Specific Streets for Beary Merry Christmas Events.

(Ward 1) Amanda Banks, Event Chair for the Downtown Council’s Beary Merry Christmas, has requested to close the following streets for the identified activities on the dates and times noted: a) the 200 block of Middle Street on November 23, 2018 from 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. for “Light Up the Season”; b) the 200 block of Craven Street and the “Talbot’s Lot” on December 9, 2018 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. for the “Sledding Shopping Sunday” event.

  • Consider Approving a Proclamation for Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

Thomas Smith, Director of Craven County Hospice, has requested a proclamation recognizing November as National Hospice and Palliative Care Month.

  • Consider Approving a Proclamation for Elinor D. Hawkins Day.

After the unveiling of a bear statute on November 3, 2018 honoring Elinor D. Hawkins, Mayor Outlaw received a request from Rose Williams to establish November 3rd as Elinor D. Hawkins Day in New Bern. A proclamation to this effect is proposed.

  • Approve Minutes.

Minutes from the October 23, 2018 work session and regular meetingss are provided for review and approval.

 

********************

  • Presentation by Friends of Kafer Park.

(Ward 1) A member of Friends of Kafer Park will make a presentation about the group’s desire and plans to raise funds to restore Kafer Park to its original state.

  • Presentation on National Night Out.

Police Chief Toussaint Summers will share a video reflecting upon this year’s National Night Out. The communities that participated will be recognized and presented a certificate. The Board is asked to extend a handshake of appreciation for their involvement.

  • Presentation on Opportunity Zones.

A couple of members of the Governing Board have expressed an interest in Opportunity Zones. To learn more about these zones, a representative from the NC Department of Commerce, Lee Padrick, Chief Economic Development Planner for the Northeast Prosperity Zone and Main Street and Rural Planning Center, will be in attendance to share a presentation. Congress enacted the opportunity zone program in December 2017 as part of tax reform. The program offers incentives for qualified investors who reinvest in low-income communities. Mr. Padrick will describe how the initiative could drive investment in these communities.

  • Discussion of Part-Time Animal Control Officer.

Police Chief Toussaint Summers will provide a verbal update regarding the search for a part-time Animal Control Officer.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution to Initiate the Upset Bid Process for 570 NC Hwy. 55 West.

Edwin B. Franklin, Sr. has submitted an offer of $6,750.00 to purchase 570 NC Hwy. 55 W. The parcel is a vacant lot with a tax value of $13,500.00, and the offer represents 50% of the value. The property was acquired jointly by the City and Craven County through tax foreclosure in May of 2017. The total taxes due to both taxing authorities was $4,860.56. In December 2017, the County transferred its interest in the property to the City. The City subsequently demolished a structure that was on the property due to its deteriorated state and asbestos contamination. As the sole property owner, the cost of the demolition was paid by the City. If the upset bid process is approved and there are no additional bids, the City will receive the full proceeds from the sale, less the cost of advertising the offer.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Contract with the Housing Authority of New Bern for the Sale of a Portion of 703 Carolina Avenue.

(Ward 2) As discussed at previous meetings, the Housing Authority of New Bern has requested to purchase a portion of 703 Carolina Avenue for the purpose of developing mixed-use housing and relocating some of the residents of Trent Court. A copy of the proposed contract will be provided before or at the time of the meeting on November 13th.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving a Revised School Resource Officer Contract with Craven County Board of Education for Local Elementary Schools.

On August 28, 2018, the Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution approving a School Resource Officer contract with Craven County Board of Education for four additional school resource officers who were to be placed in local elementary schools. The City Attorney had requested a couple of revisions to the contract to provide clarity, which were not incorporated into the contract that was previously approved by the Board. The contract before the Board at this time includes those changes, and Mr. Davis or Chief Summers can detail them, if needed.

  • Consider Adopting a Resolution Accepting the FY2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant.

The Police Department has been notified of an award from the FY2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $11,334.00. Grant funds will be shared with the Craven County Sheriff’s Office and utilized to procure equipment and materials for personnel workstations at the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team’s facility. No matching funds are required. The Board is asked to adopt a resolution accepting the grant funds and authorizing the execution of the Memorandum of Agreement.

  • Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment for the FY2018-19 Grant Fund.

In conjunction with the grant described in the previous item, this budget ordinance amendment acknowledges the grant funds and establishes the necessary budget.

  • Appointment(s).
    • Kenneth Brown’s appointment on the Board of Adjustment has expired. He has served two consecutive terms and is ineligible to serve another term at this time. Alderman Best is asked to make an appointment to replace Mr. Brown.
    • Lois Jamison’s appointment on the Board of Adjustment has expired. She has served two consecutive terms and is ineligible to serve another term at this time. Alderman Kinsey is asked to make an appointment to replace Ms. Jamison.
  • Attorney’s Report.
  • City Manager’s Report.
  • New Business.
  • Closed Session.
  • Adjourn.

Posted in Board of Aldermen, New Bern

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Here are some SBA numbers for the State and local area:

Statewide

• FEMA Referrals: 98,665

• Dollars Approved: $267,658,400

• Over 90 percent of approved loans were awarded to homeowners and renters

Carteret County

• FEMA Referrals: 7,809

• Dollars Approved: $29,090,400

Craven County

• FEMA Referrals : 8,543

• Dollars Approved: $46,745,800

Jones County

• FEMA Referrals: 1,361

• Dollars Approved: $11,476,300

Lenoir County

• FEMA Referrals: 982

• Dollars Approved: $1,732,100

Onslow County

• FEMA Referrals: 15,746

• Dollars Approved: $31,224,800

Pamlico County

• FEMA Referrals; 1,193

• Dollars Approved: $5,551,900

Here is the list of disaster recovery centers that are operating:

• Craven County

Old Rite-Aid Building

710 Degraffenreid Avenue

New Bern

Rue 21 Clothing Store

537 Hwy 70 West, Suite 103

Havelock

• Jones County

County Civic Center

794 Highway 58 South

Trenton

• Pamlico County

Grantsboro Town Hall

10628 NC Hwy 55E

Grantsboro

• The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest, long-term federal disaster loans for businesses of all sizes, non-profits, homeowners,  and renters. Those had property damage from Hurricane Florence and/or Michael should first register with FEMA. If referred to SBA by FEMA, it is important to complete a disaster loan application. Completing the disaster loan application is an important part of the disaster recovery process.

• Homeowners may apply for disaster loans up to $200,000 to repair damage to their primary residences. Homeowners and renters may apply for disaster loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace their personal belongings including the contents of their homes and cars. The interest rate for homeowners is as low as 2.0% with terms up to 30 years.

• Businesses may apply for disaster loans up to $2 million to repair or replace business assets such as buildings, inventory, and supplies. Businesses may also apply for working capital to help pay the bills they would have been able to pay if the hurricane had not happened.

• Do not wait on an insurance settlement before submitting a SBA loan application. Applicants can begin the recovery immediately with a low-interest SBA disaster loan. The loan balance will be reduced by your insurance settlement if you receive one. SBA loans may be available for disaster-related car repairs, clothing, household items and other expenses.

There are three ways to apply:

1 Online at disasterloan.sba.gov

2 In person at a disaster recovery center

3 By phone, 800-659-2955

Posted in Hurricane, New Bern, SBA

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is encouraging those affected by Hurricane Florence from Sept. 8 through Oct. 8, 2018 in North Carolina to submit their completed applications, even if they have not settled with their insurance company.

“Waiting to file an SBA application could cause unnecessary delays in receiving disaster assistance, and survivors may miss the application deadline. Returning the loan application is an essential part of the disaster recovery process,” said Kem Fleming, director of SBA Field Operations Center East.

If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan.

Physical disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged property, including contents and automobiles. Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes having difficulties meeting operating expenses because of the disaster.

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

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, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

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

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to a center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. For more information about SBA recovery assistance, visit www.sba.gov.

The SBA has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13, 2018 deadline.

Posted in FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13,

The disaster declaration covers the North Carolina counties of Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson; for economic injury only in the contiguous North Carolina counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Dare, Davidson, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stanly, Stokes, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington; and the contiguous South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Lancaster and Marlboro.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

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

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

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

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Survivors of Hurricane Florence who apply for disaster assistance from FEMA may be contacted by the U.S. Small Business Administration with information on how to apply for a disaster loan.

SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters. Next to insurance, SBA low-interest disaster loans are the primary source of funds for real estate property repairs and replacing contents destroyed during Hurricane Florence.

Homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 from SBA to repair or replace their primary residence. Homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Businesses may borrow up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury.

There’s no obligation to accept a disaster loan, but survivors may miss out on the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds if they don’t submit an application.

These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other resources. Survivors should not wait for an insurance settlement before submitting an SBA loan application. They may discover they were underinsured for the labor and materials required to repair or replace their home. An SBA low-interest disaster loan can cover the gap.

If survivors have not settled with their insurance agency, SBA can make them a loan for the full amount of their losses. They can then use their insurance proceeds to reduce or pay off the SBA loan.

By law, both FEMA and SBA cannot duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

If applicants don’t qualify for a loan, SBA will refer them back to FEMA and they could be considered for other FEMA grants under Other Needs Assistance.

Examples of Other Needs Assistance that do not depend on completing the SBA application include:

  • Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
  • Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
  • Increased cost of child-care expenses.
  • Miscellaneous items, such as smoke detectors and weather radios.
  • Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other sources.

Some types of ONA that do require an SBA loan application include:

  • Personal property replacement.
  • Moving and storage fees.
  • Financial help with disaster-caused vehicle repair or replacement expenses.

In planning their recovery, survivors should give themselves the widest possible set of options. Submitting the application makes it possible to be considered for additional grants, and if they qualify for a loan they will have that resource available if they choose to use it.

Information about low-interest SBA disaster loans, application forms, and where to get help with an application are available online at SBA.gov/disaster. Survivors may also call 800-659- 2955 or 800-877-8339 (TTY) or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov. Applicants may Apply Online for Disaster Loan Assistance, or at any disaster recovery center.

The centers serve as one-stop shops for survivors who need one-on-one help. Survivors can visit any center for assistance. To find center locations and current hours, download the FEMA mobile app in English, the FEMA mobile app in Spanish, the ReadyNC app, or visit FEMA.gov/DRC. SBA has staff at all centers to provide one-on-one assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.

You can watch an online video in American Sign Language that explains the Reasons to Apply for an SBA Loan.

For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393. Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

Posted in FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College (Craven CC) has been recognized as one of the best colleges offering online learning in North Carolina by the Community for Accredited Online Schools.

As a leading resource for campus and online learning, the site released its annual ranking for the 2018-19 school year, honoring Craven Community College for its excellence in online learning.

Craven CC was ranked No. 4 on the list 44 two-year colleges in North Carolina offering online programs.

“We wanted to highlight schools like Craven Community College who are providing exceptional online education experiences for their students,” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of the Community for Accredited Online Schools. “These schools continue to uphold rigorous accreditation standards and show an overall commitment to maximizing student success.”

To qualify, schools must be regionally or nationally accredited, hold a not-for-profit status in the United States and offer at least one online degree. Schools were then ranked based on their quality, affordability, flexibility and degrees granted to their students.

Go here For more information on Craven CC’s online learning ranking and further details on the methodology used to rank each school.

Founded in 1965, Craven Community College is part of the North Carolina Community College System. With campuses in New Bern and Havelock-Cherry Point, Craven CC serves about 3,200 curriculum students and more than 10,000 continuing education students each year. The college offers a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, as well as college transfer courses, career and occupational offerings, partnerships with four-year universities, specialized workforce training options, developmental studies and basic skills classes. The Lifetime Learning Center and Adult Enrichment Program offer lifelong learning opportunities. Craven Early College High School programs are available on both campuses. Craven CC is also home to Public Radio East, one of the few community colleges nationally with this distinction. For more information about the college, visit www.cravencc.

The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org) was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Its community resource materials and tools have been featured by over 1,000 schools and universities and span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, and online learning resources. Its annual school rankings feature higher education institutions that offer excellence in online learning programs.

Posted in Craven Community College, Education, New Bern

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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