GateHouse Media, the company that owns the New Bern Sun Journal, is closing the pressroom where the Sun Journal is printed and shifting printing to Fayetteville.
According to Mike McHugh, a Jacksonville Daily News reporter who resigned on Tuesday in protest of the cuts, closing the pressroom as well as a call center based in Jacksonville will cost 40 people their jobs.
There was no response to an email requesting more information and comment from Mike Distelhorst, the GateHouse regional publisher in charge of newspapers in Jacksonville, New Bern, Kinston, and Wilmington.
The newspaper industry has been struggling for years due to increased competition online for readers and advertisers, and decreasing demand for its paper products. Most recently, tariffs imposed on Canadian newsprint companies have cut deeply into newspaper profits. Newsprint typically is the second biggest cost for newspapers, second only to personnel.
McHugh, a 14-year employee of the Jacksonville Daily News who joined the newsroom as a reporter in 2017, had this to say about the cuts:
Say a prayer and think of area businesses who might need good, honest people to join their company. Because there’s a bunch who will be seeking jobs.
This week, more than 40 of my former, dear colleagues will be told by Gatehouse management that their jobs are being eliminated and their functions moved out of town. It surely isn’t their fault readership has fallen off a cliff with only 6,600 homes and businesses taking the paper each day. When I joined the paper in 2004, our daily circulation was 24,000, and more than 125 people worked under the same roof with me.
By my count, when the dust settles after this massive layoff, there will be only 26 or so full-time employees working out of the Bell Fork Road office.
The economic impact of 40 lost jobs equates annually to more than $1 million of lost spending in Onslow County. Its effects will be felt by retail stores, automotive centers and restaurants. The indirect hit, though difficult to measure, will be from less freight carriers driving into Jacksonville with its drivers spending money on fuel and food and overnight visitors occupying hotel rooms.
Step back and consider what’s happening to your community paper.
Folks, when they drive the last stake into your hometown paper, it will be gone and then who will cover high school sports, local government and area happenings? Bloggers???? Think again.
And let me leave you with fact. Despite the doom and gloom about struggling media companies and newsprint tariffs increasing the cost of production, the newspaper business is very lucrative to the vulture capitalist that call the shots. Just last Thursday, New Media Investment Group (ticker symbol NEWM) , the parent company of Gatehouse Media, the owners of The Daily News and another 145 or so daily papers, announced a 2nd quarter dividend of 37 cents per share on each share of their common stock. In SEC filings, the company reported more than 53 million outstanding shares making this recent dividend worth more than $19.6 million. New Media hasn’t failed to deliver a dividend to its shareholders since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2013. Dividends are disbursed every three months.
McHugh said 26 positions will be lost in the pressroom and production, plus 15 at a circulation call center. No newsroom positions will be affected by this change.
That’s one bullet the newsrooms have dodged, but just one. Newsrooms in New Bern, Jacksonville, and Kinston are one-third the size they were around 2008, when newspapers coast to coast started a free fall in circulation that has not abated.
Within the past weeks, the Free Press of Kinston lost one of its two reporters due to a resignation. It is unknown whether the position will ever again be filled. Kinston now has one reporter, one photographer, a clerk shared with another department, and one regional city editor based in the Kinston newsroom.
New Bern has three reporters, one photographer, a news clerk, one sports reporter, an executive editor who oversees Kinston and New Bern, and a managing editor who focuses on New Bern and Havelock.
Jacksonville has three reporters, two sports reporters (one with the title sports editor), a managing editor, and a city editor, according to its website.
Although no jobs have been affected at the New Bern Sun Journal, the impact of a consolidated printing plant in Fayetteville on the Sun Journal is two-fold:
The drive time from the printing press to the loading dock is going from 46 minutes to 2 hours, 11 minutes — in good weather. For those who continue to get a printed paper, either their papers will be frequently late due to road and weather conditions, or much earlier but with older news due to early deadlines.
The press in Fayetteville already prints several newspapers, including the StarNews of Wilmington and the Fayetteville Observer. Adding three more daily newspapers and four more weekly newspapers will mean early deadlines and news that is even more stale. Depending on where New Bern is located in the rotation, one paper with a missed deadline could snowball and affect timely printing of all the newspapers that follow it.
Still, relative to 40 lost jobs in Jacksonville, New Bern has gotten off easy. Whether that’s good enough for readers and advertisers in New Bern remains to be seen.
Note: Randy Foster, author of this article, was executive editor of the New Bern Sun Journal and Kinston Free Press until October 2017, when he resigned.
New Bern, the adopted hometown of famed romance author, Nicholas Sparks, was settled by a Swiss baron three centuries ago. The town is full of history throughout its walkable downtown full of tree-shaded homes, centuries-old churches, and historic cemeteries. Make time for a visit to Tryon Palace, a historic site surrounded by gardens, and embark on a cruise of the Neuse and Trent rivers. Don’t miss the most iconic book set in every state.
The New Bern Historical Society is pleased to offer a second presentation of Tales of Espionage in Civil War Craven County featuring historian and author Eddie Ellis, on Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center. Tickets are $10 and are available at 252-638-8558 or www.NewBernHistorical.com/tickets.
In eastern North Carolina during the Civil War, Union occupiers existed alongside Southern civilians. Military leaders struggled to capture territory, railroads, waterways. One of the most sought-after commodities was information. Ellis explains, “The Burnside-created enclave of coastal forts strung from New Bern to Fort Macon was the focus of intense intelligence gathering and clandestine shenanigans from 1862 till the end of the struggle between North and South. Spies are, by their very nature, nameless. Fresh analysis of the war’s voluminous records, however, now allows us to name names. This program will reveal previously unknown tales of the dark network of Southern secret agents, both men and women, who operated here.”
While the Aug. 15 Lunch & Learn presentation on this exciting program sold out early, there are still tickets available for on Thursday, Aug. 16.
Edward Barnes Ellis, Jr. has worked as a journalist, a lobbyist and a laborer. A native of Craven County, Eddie is the descendant of a family that recorded the first land deed in North Carolina. Among his ancestors are settlers at Jamestown, Va., and veterans of the American Revolution and the War Between the States. He’s been hooked on history since elementary school.
For most of his career, he was engaged in the newspaper business as a reporter, photographer, columnist, editor and publisher. Eddie is the founder of the Havelock News and the former publisher of Cherry Point’s Windsock. He was chosen to be the official historian of the City of Havelock in 1984.
Eddie has written three histories based on his years of personal research. His 2005 book In This Small Place: Amazing Tales of the First 300 Years of Havelock and Craven County, North
Carolina, is the first volume of history ever written about the Havelock-Cherry Point area. His second book, New Bern History 101, a compelling portrait of the city of his birth, received the 2010 Book Award of the North Carolina Society of Historians. His third, a photo book entitled Historic Images of Havelock & Cherry Point, offers more than 170 rare images and detailed descriptions of the community collected over four decades.
This Historical Society presentation, in partnership with Tryon Palace, will be at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 16 at the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center. Tickets are $10 and are available by calling the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558 or can be ordered at www.NewBernHistorical.org/tickets.
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 Street in New Bern. For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety.
Editor: I read a letter regarding New Bern’s utility department (Sun-Journal, June 15) with keen interest.
The letter reminded me of those written by Billy Smith a few years ago. Smith, an avid preservationist and lover of New Bern, felt the city’s alder men and women’s ability to do anything right ranked below John Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs committee.
May I offer a response to the points raised in the recent letter.
The reward the city provides utility users who pay on time is negative — that is the shiny truck does NOT show up to shut off your meter — as it does for non-payment.
But the idea of a positive reward, as mentioned, intrigues me. More in a moment.
If bills are not paid utilities are still shut off. What was recently re-negotiated is the amount of deposit to have the power turned back on, how that deposit can be paid, and how long the city will hold that deposit before returning it.
(May I suggest that the city pay interest on these held deposits, which amount to an interest-free loan to the city.)
As the letter mentions, utility bills which remain unpaid and uncollectible are eventually written off. But I seen to remembers (then-) Mayor (Lee) Bettis saying at one time that these written-off accounts in any one year amounted to less than 1 percent of total utility revenues, hardly a heavy burden.
And city utility rates — the amount paid per kilowatt-hour — are higher than those paid by customers of Duke Energy. The city has long used utility revenues — in excess of costs — as a form of taxation to bolster general revenues.
Perhaps achieving parity with Duke Energy should be the next goal of utility reform. To achieve that goal I suggest the city develop its own field of solar panels, say in the unpopulated, sunny land between New Bern and Kinston.
In our modern world living without power, as suggested in the June 15 letter, is hardly an option. For those struggling financially from week to week, lower energy costs would be some small help.
And if that power came from renewables all the better; and all the more likely, if rates did drop, that bills would be paid.
The city inched forward in a process that could lead to an 80-unit apartment complex off Carolina Avenue that would house some Trent Court residents to enable the New Bern Housing Authority to begin razing and replacing buildings in Trent Court.
The Housing Authority has offered $200,000 for an 8-acre parcel off Carolina Avenue, which is off Trent Road.
The Carolina Avenue property sought for purchase by the New Bern Housing Authority is shown boxed in yellow. The Pembroke Community is above and to the right of the lake shown in this aerial view.
Aldermen voted 6-1 to have the parcel appraised, a non-committal way of keeping the concept alive without actually approving it. Baby steps … baby steps.
The motion was made by Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham and seconded by Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Aster. What’s interesting about that is its break from tradition. Often a motion is made by the alderman in whose ward a project is located.
Carolina Avenue is in Alderwoman Jameesha Harris’s Ward 2, but Harris has opposed the proposed property sale and building project, echoing strong opposition from residents of the nearby Pembroke neighborhood.
Pembroke residents have opposed the idea of Trent Court residents moving near their community, fearing that doing so would bring Trent Court problems to Pembroke.
The Carolina Avenue is near Pembroke, although there is no direct access between the two locations.
Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney, left, and Housing Authority Board Member Joseph Anderson speak to the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. Randy Foster/Post
Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney in a previous interview with the Post said there had been a lengthy search for a property suitable for a 80-unit apartment complex that would qualify for low income tax credits. The credits are awarded competitively, once a year. Higher scores go to projects that are close to shopping, far from microwave transmitters and railroad tracks, as well as several other factors.
The project must also fit the Housing Authority’s budget.
A search of the New Bern area turned up no suitable leads until it stumbled across the Carolina Avenue property, which is owned by the city. It scored highly on all the requirements, so Blaney approached the city to inquire about a sale.
That’s where Harris entered the picture, along with residents of the Pembroke Community. Following several community meetings in Pembroke, representatives appeared before the Board of Aldermen during the early July meeting to oppose the Carolina Avenue project.
Harris has been outspoken about the proposal, previously calling it “gentrification. Although she opposed even an appraisal of the property, she was less vigorous in her opposition during Tuesday’s meeting.
But if anyone was waiting for her to make any motion that would move the process forward, they were in for a long wait. That’s when Odham stepped in, making the motion for the appraisal.
The plan to raze and replace Trent Court is part of a larger Greater Five Points Transformation Plan that was released in 2016. Recommendations in the plan have already been implemented in the Craven Terrace neighborhood, which is also a Housing Authority project.
Many of Trent Court’s pre- and post-World War II buildings are located in a Lawson Creek flood zone. No more money will be put into repairing the buildings the next time flooding occurs, thus the Housing Authority is under the gun to move forward with the plan.
The plan calls for replacing dilapidated buildings and replacing them with townhouse-style apartments catering to mixed income levels. Areas directly in the flood zone would be turned into parkland and open space.
A representative of the development company that won the contract to rebuild Trent Court listens to Tuesday’s discussion about Carolina Avenue. Randy Foster/Post
As school begins, school supply lists are made available to students and parents, but not all students are able to arrive the first day of school with the items required to put them on the road to success; some parents simply can’t afford to purchase the items needed.
To assist those students, Partners In Education (PIE), in partnership with Craven County Schools, will have bright yellow school buses and colorful totes set up in front of the three Walmart stores in Craven County on August 25, 2018, from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (New Bern – 3105 Dr. M.L. King, Jr., Blvd. and 2915 Neuse Blvd., and Havelock – 566 U.S. 70).Generous shoppers can donate school supplies for students who have been identified as in-need by their school counselors and principals.
Volunteers from the schools and our community will be on hand and honking the horn of the school bus each time a donation is made as a way of showing thanks.
A shopping list will be available the day of the event, is currently available on the PIE website at www.CravenPartners.com, and is listed on the individual schools’ websites.
For those who can’t make it to the event, many businesses have agreed to be drop-off locations, and will collect items until Tuesday, August 21.They are:
Havelock Chamber of Commerce at 201 Tourist Center Drive,
BB&T at 375 S. Front Street,
Century 21 Zaytoun-Raines at 312 S. Front St.,
Wells Fargo at 401 S. Front St.,
Sound Bank at 1801 S. Glenburnie Rd.,
Edward Jones Investments – Dan Roberts at 301 S. Front St.,
Toyota of New Bern at 5010 U.S. Hwy 70 East
Craven County Schools at 3600 Trent Rd.
Accidental Artist at 219-A Craven St.
Rankin & Fiume at 608 McCarthy Blvd.
Last year, through the generosity of our community, Partners In Education received $32,000 in donations and was able to assist students in all 25 schools. Based on this success, Partners In Education is recruiting the help of all our community partners so that we are able to reach even more students this year.
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.
The New Bern Historical Society is looking for a few good ghosts.
Whether you are a spirited novice or have lots of ghostly experience, the Historical Society wants you to portray the historic characters in this year’s Ghostwalk.
Ghostwalk brings to life noted personalities from New Bern’s past right in the very locations they may have been seen. There’s no need to worry though, all the apparitions in these stories are from the pages of history, not from science fiction. Each year a new and different batch of spirits appear. Auditions will be Thursday, Aug. 2, at 6:00 p.m. at the Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.
Mickey Miller, executive director, is looking for volunteers, both men and women, ages 18 and up to play the phantom roles. “We’d like folks who are interested in this fun and exciting event, and who can give the time for the event’s three days. No experience is necessary. No preparation is necessary. Some might say, no pulse is necessary.”
Participants will be asked to read from scripts. Those selected will perform at one of 13 ghost sites including Cedar Grove Cemetery. Ghostwalk will take place the evenings of Oct. 25-27.
If you are interested in participating in one of New Bern’s premier events as one of the ghostly specters from the past, call or email the New Bern Historical Society office at 252-638-8558, email@example.com.
Corner of Middle and South Front streets. Captain Ratty’s in 2017.
Audiences filled the auditorium quickly for Curator Jim Hodges’ “New Bern Then and Now” presentation, so much so that the New Bern Historical Society decided to do another encore.
Aug. 8 will bring another opportunity to see and hear this popular lecture filled with photos and images from New Bern’s history.
Hodges explains many of the “Used to Be’s” in New Bern. Captain Ratty’s used to be Duffy’s Drug Store, Morgan’s used to be True Tread Tires, First Citizens Bank sits where used to be the Hotel Queen Anne.
Corner of Middle and South Front streets. Central News in 1971.
This popular speaker will reveal the past and current status of more than 30 New Bern landmarks in an encore presentation on Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center at no charge. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Once again, early arrival is recommended!
Hodges has scoured the New Bern Historical Society collection to share with you these wonderful images from our past. In some cases, the buildings have been carefully renovated and saved in their original condition. In others they have been saved and re-purposed, while sometimes they are simply lost. In any case, you will be fascinated by these historic images.
Corner of Middle and South Front streets. Duffy’s Drug Store circa 1920.
Hodges was reared in New Bern, matriculated to UNC-Chapel Hill, earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a post graduate dental degree. After satisfying a military commitment and enjoying several years of international travel, Jim returned to New Bern and practiced dentistry until his retirement in 2012.
His current life chapter involves his passion for New Bern and its rich history as a member of the Historical Society and the Tryon Palace Foundation Board of Directors. As the volunteer Curator of the New Bern Historical Society he spends his days maintaining, conserving and finding ways to share the collection.
Board President Joe Hunt said, “Whether you are a New Bern native or a transplant from elsewhere, you will be fascinated by these images. We are grateful to our friends at Tryon Palace for facilitating this presentation at the Cullman.”
This program is sponsored by the New Bern Historical Society in partnership with Tryon Palace. The Historical Society’s mission 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.
The Lifetime Learning Center at Craven Community College (Craven CC) will host a performance by the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra (NCBO) on Friday, Aug. 3. The performance will be led by conductor Frances Blaker and take place at Orringer Auditorium, located on the New Bern campus.
NCBO will present a program called “Fiori del barocco: Flowers of the Baroque” as a finale to the ensemble’s second annual orchestral retreat. Composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco, Antonio Vivaldi and more will be featured in a concert of baroque gems played on period instruments.
Formed by sisters and musical collaborators Frances Blaker and Barbara Blaker Krumdieck, the NCBO fills a need within the southeastern musical community by providing musicians with opportunities to develop skills and gain experience in historically-informed baroque performance practice, while also bringing this rare genre to the listening public.
NCBO frequently performs larger works from the Baroque period with choirs throughout the southeast. Recent performances include the “Bach B Minor,” “Easter Oratorio,” “Christmas Oratorio” and numerous cantatas, Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus” and “Ode for St. Cecelia,” Buxtehude’s “Membra Jesu Nostri” and many other works from the Baroque period.
Conductor Frances Blaker is a world-renowned expert in Baroque performance practice and a virtuoso instrumentalist. Performers in the NCBO participate in sectional rehearsals led by experts in the stylistic details of the repertoire.
This informal summer concert is open to the community and admission is free. The suggested donation is $10 per person and all proceeds will go directly to the NCBO in support of the orchestra’s outreach programming.
NCDOT is advising motorists traveling on U.S. 17 in Jones County of a Road Closure/Detour beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday July 13, which is expected to last through 11 p.m. on July 15. This detour is part of the U.S. 17 Bypass project, and the impact on through traffic is expected to be high.
Motorists travelling North on U.S. 17 will be routed onto the detour in Maysville using White Oak River Road, to Pole Pocossin Road, to Lee’s Chapel Road, and back onto U.S. 17 in Pollocksville.
Motorists travelling South on U.S. 17, will be routed onto the detour at Lee’s Chapel Road in Pollocksville, to Pole Pocossin Road, to White Oak River Road, and back onto U.S. 17 in Maysville.
DOT reminds drivers to be safe, and use caution on these secondary roadways, as many motorists may not be familiar with this route, and its many contours.
The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, creator and host of the annual NCRLA Chef Showdown presented by Got to be NC Agriculture, announced the 21 chefs selected to compete in its third annual cooking competition.
Among those selected is Antonio Campolio of Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
The chefs and pastry chefs, all based in North Carolina, advance after cooking up the highest-rated dishes across three regional competitions. The main NCRLA Chef Showdown event takes place on Monday, Aug. 27, at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Uptown Charlotte, N.C.
Antonio Campolio, NCRLA Chef Showdown 2018 finalist. He is executive chef at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant in New Bern.
From the Persimmons website: At the age of 12, Chef Campolio began washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant. Beginning at age 18, Chef Campolio worked his way through the world famous Greenbrier Hotel’s Culinary Internship Program, learning valuable skills he still uses daily. After his time at the Greenbrier, Chef Campolio continued his career at 700 Drayton in Savannah, Ga. and later at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Co. Before coming to Persimmons, Chef Campolio was the Executive Chef at the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, Wa., where he lead the restaurant to numerous national accolades including Restaurant of the Year by the Washington Wine Commission. During his time in Washington, Chef Campolio was invited to cook a meal at the James Beard House (named for the legendary American chef) in New York City, one of the highest honors a chef can receive.
Recently becoming a father, Chef Campolio and his wife, Zeljana, were attracted to New Bern as a great place to raise their son. “We visited and fell in love with the town for our family. Then I went to Persimmons and saw an incredible opportunity to really focus on local, sustainable food year-round. It was a perfect fit.”
In his short time at Persimmons, Chef Campolio has already established relationships with local farmers, ranchers and breweries and says the restaurant will feature bi-seasonal menus to highlight the foods that are fresh and at their peak. He wants Persimmons to be a place for “locals and tourists alike — where they can count on fresh, delicious and local food, whether just getting a beer and appetizer or enjoying lunch or dinner.”
“This year’s slate of contenders includes some of the most innovative and talented chefs in our state. At the showdown, these chefs will use North Carolina ingredients to demonstrate their creativity and shine a light on our incredible hospitality industry. Attendees will get a taste of why North Carolina’s culinary scene is one of the best in the nation,” said NCRLA President and CEO Lynn Minges.
Selected chefs – sorted into two food categories, savory and sweet – are vying for the 2018 “NCRLA Chef of the Year” and “NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chefs will prepare and serve tasting-sized portions to event attendees. The dishes, judged by five culinary experts, receive scores on presentation, taste, and use of local ingredients from North Carolina.
NCRLA will crown a 2018 “NCRLA Mixologist of the Year,” as six North Carolina distilleries partner with hand-picked bartenders to craft cocktails for guests and judges to enjoy. Distillery and mixologist teams will be announced in the coming weeks.
For soldiers wounded in battle in the Civil War, the outcome was often grim. For soldiers wounded in World War II, the outcome was far different.
Renowned historian Ed Bearss was with the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion in the invasion of Guadalcanal and the Russell Islands, and the 1st Marine Division in New Britain. In 1944, Bearss was severely wounded by Japanese machine gun fire and spent 26 months recovering in various hospitals.
In his 12th annual visit to New Bern, Bearss will discuss medical conditions over the years and the possible outcome if he had suffered his extensive injuries during the Civil War. See him at Cullman Performance Hall at the North Carolina History Center at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22. This presentation was originally scheduled in January but was re-scheduled due to weather.
This is the 12th in a series of annual visits for Bearss, who was instrumental in the preservation of New Bern’s Civil War battlefield. One of the leading historians and experts on the Civil War, Bearss was recently presented a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Battlefield Trust and was also the first inductee into its Battlefield Preservation Hall of Fame.
Ed Bearss during his World War II service in the Marines.
Jim Lighthizer, President of the American Battlefield Trust, said, “From his dynamic and detail-rich tours to his recovery of the lost U.S.S. Cairo gunboat, Ed’s phenomenal memory and tenacious curiosity have made him a powerhouse of knowledge and discovery.”
Bearss served as Chief Historian of the National Park Service from 1981 to 1994 and is now Chief Historian Emeritus. A sought-after speaker and PBS commentator, he is also a prolific author known for his work on the American Civil War and World War II eras, and a popular tour guide of historic battlefields world-wide.
Considered “An American Treasure” by the Smithsonian Institution, his books are definitive works on the period.
There is no charge and reservations are not necessary for this presentation. Early arrival is recommended. There will be a recption in Mattocks Hall following the presentation.
This lecture is presented by the New Bern Civil War Round Table and the New Bern Historical Society in partnership with Tryon Palace. For more information, call the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558 or at newbernhistorical.org.
On Alderman Sabrina Bengel’s motion and Alderman Jameesha Harris’ second, the board voted 4-3 for the revised policy, which states:
Per fiscal year, deposits will not be assessed on the first payment arrangement. Payment arrangements may be billed as installments. No late penalties or fees will be assessed if the payment plan is adhered to as agreed upon.
Per fiscal year, deposits will not be assessed for the first check returned for insufficient funds.
New customers may pay deposits in installments with 50 percent due at the time service is established and the balance payable over four billing cycles. Payment arrangements are not permitted until the deposit is paid.
New residential deposits shall not exceed $500.
Bengel, Harris, and Alderman Barbara Best drafted the policy revisions and were expected to vote for it. The only question was whether there would be a forth vote necessary to pass it.
But Best had new concerns about deposit refunds. At present, security deposits are returned after 18 months of good payments. Even with the revised policy, one payment arrangement would restart the 18 month period before the deposit is refunded to the customer.
Best argued that one payment arrangement should not prevent a customer from receiving a refund after one 18-month period.
Harris went the entire opposite direction. She said by reducing the security deposit to $500, it puts the city at further financial risk. She argued that security deposits should be returned only when a customer leaves the city.
Alderman Bobby Aster, a potential swing vote, questioned whether that would be fair, saying the city would then be holding onto deposits for years or decades.
Harris made the initial motion, which did not get a second, mainly because of wording issues.
Bengel made a second motion that would have allowed customers to have their security deposit refunded after 18 months even if during that time they had made one payment arrangement, provided they completed the payment arrangement during that 18 months.
Harris said she would not support that motion, saying the city should not refund security deposits except when a customer leaves the city.
Perhaps seeing an opportunity to stall the revision of a policy that he implemented during his first term as mayor, Mayor Dana Outlaw declared the two motions dead for lack of being seconded.
He suggested that the board wait before changing the policy. The city has not fully rolled out its advanced utility metering system or a program that allows customers to prepay their bills, he said. The city also has a new utilities director who has not had a chance to weigh in on the issue.
Alderman Jeffrey Odham agreed, saying that changing the policy would be jumping the gun.
Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey, who at first said he liked the Bengel/Harris/Best plan, agreed with Outlaw and Odham.
Undeterred, with Best’s permission, Bengel made another motion, this one free of any mention of deposit refunds, guaranteeing at least the three votes from the committee that drafted the policy revisions. That motion passed, 4-1, with Astor casting the deciding vote.
The financial impact on the city is that it puts up to $72,000 at risk if customers default.
More than 700 educators, business leaders, and elected officials filled the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center on Tuesday afternoon for the sold-out Partners In Education Spring Luncheon.
The annual event helps raise money for Craven County schools through PIE grant programs.
The organization, Partners In Education is the local education foundation for Craven County Schools. PIE awarded more than $170,000 through a variety of grants and programs during the 2017-18 school year, PIE President Ervin Patrick said.
Dr. Cecil Staton, Chancellor of East Carolina University, served as keynote speaker.
John Bircher, attorney with White & Allen, and a 1988 graduate of West Craven High School, served as the emcee of the event. Bircher said of Dr. Staton that he was pleased to welcome Dr. Staton to Craven County. Bircher explained, “East Carolina University has a world class College of Education, and we are proud that Dr. Ervin Patrick, PIE president, recently received his doctorate from ECU College of Education.”
Bircher said Dr. Staton comes to ECU from the University System of Georgia where he served as Vice Chancellor for Extended Education and as interim President of Valdosta State University. Previously, he served as associate provost, assistant professor, and university publisher at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and on the faculty of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia.
He also served for 10 years as a Georgia state senator representing the state’s 18th District, and chaired the appropriations sub-committee responsible for the state’s $2 billion annual investment in public higher education.
Dr. Staton is a native of Greenville, South Carolina. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Furman University, a Master of Divinity with Languages and Master of Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, and the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England.
After Dr. Staton spoke, it was announced that PIE would offer a one-time grant of $3,000 to Craven County public school principals for the 2018-19 school year in Dr. Staton’s honor for speaking. The focus of the grant will be STEM, at Dr. Staton’s request.
Several awards were given during the luncheon:
The Cheryl Marteney Memorial Volunteer Leadership Award serves to honor a volunteer who has made significant contributions through volunteer work with Craven County Partners In Education. This was awarded to Barbara Dotter, PIE volunteer.
The PIE Outstanding Leadership Award honors outstanding leadership and significant contributions to education by school administrators. This award went to Deborah Langhans, Chief Academic Officer of Craven County Schools and Dr. Ervin Patrick, PIE president and Director of Human Resource Services.
There were three PIE Excellence Awards. The award honors an individual or company for demonstrating a commitment to working with PIE to promote student achievement and educational excellence. This award went to Jason Jones, County Commissioner; B/S/H/ Home Appliances; and Wells Fargo.
The Distinguished Alumni Award honors Craven County Schools graduates for their contributions to the community, their profession, and PIE. This award went to Patricia Rammacher and Michael Raines, Century 21 Zaytoun-Raines.
Entertainment for the event was provided by Havelock High Jazz Band and West Craven Middle School #BucketRage.
CITY OF NEW BERN
BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
JUNE 12, 2018 – 6:00 P.M.
CITY HALL COURTROOM
300 POLLOCK STREET
1. Meeting opened by Mayor Dana E. Outlaw. Prayer Coordinated by Alderman Odham. Pledge of Allegiance.
2. Roll Call.
3. 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.
4. Approve Minutes. Minutes from the May 14, 2018 budget work session and May 22, 2018 regular meeting are provided for review and approval.
5. Recognition of Graduates of Police Academy. Graduates of the recent Citizens Police Academy will be in attendance to give an overview of their experience. The latest academy marked the 22nd session that has been held. (See Backup)
6. Discussion of Utility Deposits. At its May 8, 2018 meeting, the Governing Board established a working group consisting of Aldermen Bengel, Harris and Best to meet with the Director of Finance to discuss the utility deposit. As a result of the group’s discussions, the following changes are recommended for residential customers effective July 1st:
• Per fiscal year, deposits will not be assessed on the first payment arrangement. Payment arrangements may be billed as installments. No late penalties or fees will be assessed if the payment plan is adhered to as agreed upon.
• Per fiscal year, deposits will not be assessed for the first check returned for insufficient funds.
• New customers may pay deposits in installments with 50% due at the time service is established and the balance payable over four billing cycles. Payment arrangements are not permitted until the deposit is paid.
• New residential deposits shall not exceed $500.
• These changes are not retroactive.A memo from J.R. Sabatelli, Director of Finance is attached and provides additional, pertinent information. (See Backup)
7. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving Financing Terms for the Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) Project. The Board established the ERP Project Fund on November 21, 2017 and adopted a Declaration of Official Intent to Reimburse at that time. Requests for financing proposals were issued, and the Director of Finance recommends First Citizens Bank be utilized. While their interest rate of 3.22% is slightly higher than that offered by SunTrust (3.17%), First Citizens allows the loan to be prepaid with no penalty or other fees. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)
8. Consider Adopting a Resolution in Support of the Highway 43 Connector Project. (Ward 6) At the May 22, 2018 Board meeting, Alderman Odham reported on a recent meeting held by the NC Department of Transportation with respect to plans for the Highway 43 Connector. The proposed resolution relays the City’s support of the DOT plan identified as Alternate #2. It also requests DOT give consideration to the sound impact on the existing residential neighborhoods of Trent Creek, Arcadia Village and Craeberne Forest. (See Backup)
9. Consider Adopting a Resolution in Support of Changing the Alfred Cunningham Memorial Bridge Schedule. (Ward 1) Citizens and merchants have expressed concerns about the Alfred Cunningham drawbridge schedule. The current schedule allows the bridge to open at will or on demand two to three times per hour. This not only creates traffic congestion, but it is also an inconvenience to motorists, local residents and businesses in and around downtown. The resolution proposes the schedule be altered to open only on the half hour of every hour. (See Backup)
10. Consider Adopting a Budget Ordinance Amendment for the FY2017-18 Grants Fund. The Fire Department has received a $2,000 grant from Petco Foundation for the care of the department’s arson dog. The budget amendment acknowledges receipt of the grant funds, which requires no match. A brief memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)
11. Consider Adopting an Ordinance Amendment to the 2017 Roadway Improvements Project Fund. The 2017 Roadway Improvements Project Fund was established on July 11, 2017. On March 13, 2018, the Board approved an agreement with NCDOT to accept ownership and maintenance of sections of Old Airport Road between Taberna Circle and County Line Road. This budget ordinance will appropriate $1,700,000 for the Old Airport Road project and $800,000 for resurfacing Oaks Road. Funds for the Old Airport Road project will derive of $687,000 from DOT and $1,013,000 from borrowing proceeds. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)
12. Consider Adopting an Amendment to the Declaration of Intent to Reimburse the 2017 Roadway Improvements Project Fund. The Board adopted resolutions and Declarations of Intent to Reimburse for the 2017 Roadway Improvements Project Fund on July 11, 2017 in the amount of $250,000 and on September 26, 2017 in the amount of $1,050,000. Since that time, the Board has further increased the project by an additional $1,813,000. The total of the project is $2,863,000, and the Declaration of Intent needs to be updated to reflect this amount. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)
13. Consider Adopting an Ordinance to Amend Article III. City Water and Sewerage Systems of Chapter 74 “Utilities”. House Bill 436 was passed by the NC General Assembly in July 2017 to amend Chapter 162A of the General Statutes to add Article 8, System Development Fees. This amendment provides for uniform authority to implement system development fees for public water and sewer systems in the State. The City’s Code of Ordinances needs to be amended to establish the water and sewer system development fees and provide the City authority to charge such fees. A memo from Jordan Hughes, City Engineer, is attached. (See Backup)
14. Consider Adopting an Ordinance to Establish the Schedule of System Development Fees and Connection Fees for Water and Sewer Customers. This relates to the previous item. Upon its adoption, the proposed ordinance will establish the Schedule of System Development Fees and Connection Fees for water and sewer. A memo from Jordan Hughes, City Engineer, is attached. (See Backup)
15. Consider Adopting a Resolution Approving the Classification Pay Plan for Fiscal Year 2018-19. Annually, the Board adopts a Classification Pay Plan. In the past, the pay plan was adopted as part of the annual budget ordinance. After conferring with Attorney Davis, it has been determined the pay plan should be adopted in the format of a resolution and separate from the budget ordinance. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup)
16. Consider Adopting an Ordinance Amending the Schedule of Fees and Charges. As part of the budget process, the Board annually adopts an Amended Schedule of Fees and Charges to, in part, identify in one place all of the fees charged by the City. The fees identified in the schedule are included in the revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2018-19 and will be effective July 1, 2018.Please note two schedules are presented for consideration. One schedule does not reference the utility deposit cap of $500 identified during the discussion on the utility deposit. The other scheduled does include the deposit cap. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli is attached. (See Backup 1)(See Backup 2)(See Backup 3)
17. Consider Adopting the Budget Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2018-19. After extensive review of the Manager’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19, several budget workshops, and an extended public hearing, the changes expressed by the Board have been incorporated into the final budget ordinance for Fiscal Year 2018-19. A memo from Mr. Sabatelli outlines the changes made to the recommended budget. (See Backup)
18. Appointment(s). (a) On May 22, 2018, Alderman Kinsey appointed John Leys to fill the seat previously held by Nancy Gray on the Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Leys is unable to accept the appointment, and Alderman Kinsey is asked to make a new appointment. The appointee will serve a three-year term. (See Backup)
(b) The first tenure of the Community Development Advisory Committee (“CDAC”) is coming to an end, and the members’ terms will expire on June 30, 2018. Some have expressed a desire to be reappointed, while others have not. Appointments or reappointments have been made for Wards 1, 2 and 6. The following appointments are still needed, and the list provided simply reflects the current appointees:
Ward 3: Marshall Williams
Ward 4: Vernon Guion (interested in reappointment)
(c) Charles Bauschard, Director of Public Utilities, began work on May 29, 2018. The previous director was appointed as the City’s Commissioner on the NC Eastern Municipal Power Agency. The Board is asked to consider appointing Mr. Bauschard to fill this vacancy. Of note, the City Manager serves as the first alternate commissioner, and Alderwoman Harris serves as the second alternate commissioner. (See Backup)
19. Attorney’s Report.
20. City Manager’s Report.
21. New Business.
22. Closed Session.
Today during a special announcement at New Bern High School, Steve Tapley was named the new head football coach.
Prior to his arrival at New Bern, Tapley coached the offensive line for four years while serving as the Run Game Coordinator, Offensive Coordinator, and Assistant Head Coach under Ron Turner at Wilkes Central High School in Wilkesboro, N.C.
During those years several Eagles posted record numbers. In each season an Eagle rusher gained more than 1,000 yards, with three players gaining more than 2,000 yards rushing.
In their most productive season, the Eagles gained over 3,000 yards on the ground while giving up only 6 sacks in 189 passing attempts. Wilkes Central laid claim to back-to-back outright conference titles in 2016 and 2017. The Eagles earned a spot in the NCHSAA playoffs each of his four years on staff.
“Coach Tapley is an extremely knowledgeable football coach with experience on both sides of the ball”, Turner said. “He cares about his players’ growth as young men as well as football players. He has been a big part of our success at Wilkes Central and will be missed.”
Tapley spent the 2013 season at his Alma-Mater, Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kansas), serving as the Co-Offensive Coordinator, Special Teams Coordinator, and Receivers coach for his former coach, Manny Matsakis. Both the Special Teams and the Triple-Shoot Offense posted impressive numbers during his stay. The 2013 Swede Punt Return unit averaged an impressive 15.9 yards per return, ranking them #3 nationwide. The offense rushed for nearly 2000 yards and had an average of 13.6 yards per completion.
In 2012, Tapley coached offensive line and linebackers at Kestrel Heights School in Durham, N.C. His input helped to modernize the offense and special teams units, while securing college scholarships for two players from a program in only its second year of varsity competition.
Before moving to Durham, Tapley served as the Defensive Coordinator at Topeka West High School in 2011 where he also served as the school’s Head Wrestling Coach. Under his leadership the Chargers qualified three wrestlers to the KSHSAA 5A State Tournament.
Tapley began his collegiate coaching career at Bethany College (KS) in 2004 as the team’s Linebacker Coach and Recruiting Coordinator. The Swede defense ranked in the top 5 nationally in passing yards allowed during the 2004 season. In 2005 he coached the Offensive Line.
His coaching career began at Royal Valley High School in Hoyt, Kansas as the Offensive and Defensive Line Coach under Tom Barta in 2001. In 2003 the Panthers secured a berth in the KSHSAA 3A State Playoffs.
A native of Holton, Kansas, Tapley was a three-sport letterman and chosen as the most outstanding male athlete of his class. He received all-league recognition as an offensive lineman his senior season. Tapley played collegiately at Emporia State University as a linebacker and deep-snapper. Tapley earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Bethany College in 2006. He has two children, Seth and Spencer.
Beginning July 1, Tryon Palace will be closed to the public on Mondays. This closure will affect all Tryon Palace properties, including the Governor’s Palace and grounds, historic buildings, gardens, and the North Carolina History Center.
The Tryon Palace Commission determined that the weekly closure was necessary to ensure that Tryon Palace can continue to offer visitors a top-quality visitation experience, unencumbered by the normal maintenance required to preserve the buildings and grounds. Currently, the Palace is open seven days a week, leaving little staff time dedicated to landscape and building upkeep, which cannot happen in conjunction with tours and visitation.
With Mondays being the day of the week with the lowest average visitation and ticket sales, the decision to close has the additional benefit of saving funds that will be reallocated to ensure that the buildings, grounds, and collections are well maintained and displayed. These efforts will help Tryon Palace maintain its American Alliance of Museums accreditation, which certifies that the museum meets or exceeds the highest professional standards.
The Monday closures will begin July 2 and will remain in place for a one-year trial period. Future closure decisions will be determined by the Tryon Palace Commission at that time.
The City of New Bern announced the hiring of Charles Bauschard as its new Director of Public Utilities.
His first day with the City of New Bern was May 29. His annual salary is $125,000.
Bauschard comes from Coldwater, Michigan, where he was employed with the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities as Director of Technical Services and Electric Operations since November 2003. In this position, he managed the electric distribution, service, generation, telecom and engineering departments.
The City reviewed numerous resumes and assessed several qualified candidates for the position. Bauschard stood out with his leadership and engineering skills, capital improvement and rate planning experience, and his development and oversight of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
He begins his new position as the City of New Bern continues implementation of AMI, which will ultimately provide two-way communication between a customer’s meter and the utility provider. AMI will allow the City to serve its customers more efficiently by providing them with real-time information on energy consumption and cost. It will save the City time and resources involved in utility maintenance, meter reading, and outage reporting. New Bern’s AMI implementation began in 2013 and should be complete by the end of this year.
Bauschard will oversee a utilities department that supplies electric to more than 21,400 residential and commercial customers and water to more than 35,000 customers in the areas of New Bern, Trent Woods, and Highway 70 East towards Havelock. “We’re excited to welcome Mr. Baushcard to New Bern and to have him join our team,” said Mark Stephens, City Manager. “He will be an asset to the city as New Bern continues to grow as a travel, professional, and relocation destination.”
Bauschard graduated from Gannon University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain announced a partnership with the Chad Sittig Agency as a beneficiary of “Quotes for a Cause,” their Community Outreach Program.
“Quotes for a Cause” is an initiative developed by Chad Sittig that provides an opportunity to support local non-profit organizations. Simply call or stop by his office for a quote and, in return, the agency will make a donation to one of the two organizations highlighted this quarter. No purchase necessary.
Sittig says, “We are so excited about the ‘Quotes for a Cause’ program that the agency started earlier this year. Our team wanted to establish a unique way for the Chad Sittig Agency to be able to help promote and give back to nonprofits in the community. This program allows us to spotlight a few organizations each quarter and raise funds to assist them. We look forward to watching this program continue to grow. “
The proceeds from this program will go directly to Craven County Clubs, including New Bern and Havelock Units.
Chad Sittig Agency is a State Farm Insurance branch located in New Bern, North Carolina. Insurance options include auto, home, business, property, life and health. Chad Sittig Agency opened in 2008 with a commitment to the community.
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 annually. Club programs focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and citizenship with an over-arching goal of building strong children and communities. For more information, visit the Clubs online at www.bgccp.com or call 252-355-2345.