Category: New Bern

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven County Schools will provide two information sessions for parents and community stakeholders to provide details regarding the process and scope of work needed at facilities so students and staff are able to return to the safest environment possible.

Robert Herrick P.E. CIH, external industrial hygienist, will be on site to help answer questions about the procedures being completed at each school site as well as the desired outcomes.

The first session will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at p.m. The second session will be on Friday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m. Both sessions will be held at The Board of Education located at 3600 Trent Road, New Bern.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Hurricane, New Bern

October 5th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The original plan for Craven Thirty included a large, robust area for commercial and light industrial development.

Remember back in  2012, all the buzz about Craven Thirty? All that sweet, sweet new retail space, a multiplex theater, and new neighborhoods? You probably also remember how last year Craven Thirty morphed into West Craven, with less focus on business and more focus on residential.

Now, more than a year later, West Craven has emerged into the public eye again. Its developer, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, is asking for the city to enter into a development agreement. It is on the Board of Aldermen’s agenda for next Tuesday, when the board is expected to set a date for a public hearing.

And this latest version of West Craven looks a lot like the original Craven Thirty, but with even more commercial space.

Zoning codes are: C-3 commercial, R-6 residential, I-2 light industrial, A-5F agriculture district.

The city entered into a development agreement with Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company in September 2010 for what was to become Craven Thirty. The city annexed the 550-acres Craven Thirty property in December 2012.

A ribbon cutting was conducted by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, and construction was announced to begin in spring 2013. Some streets were put in, along with other infrastructure, but nothing else was built during he intervening six years. Blame the economy.

The revised and renamed project would include just under 250 acres for residential development, just under 250 acres of commercial development, just over 47 acres for light industrial, and just over 27 acres of agriculture forestry district with low-density residential uses.

The plan calls for a total of 1,500 residential units phased in over 15 years, 500,000 square feet of non-residential space, a 150-room hotel sometime during the first five years, and 10 acres for a private school, also during the first five years.

The agreement establishes the development phasing sequences for the project, establishes a Master Development Plan and development review process that can accommodate the timing, phasing and flexibility of the project, coordinates the construction and design of infrastructure that will serve the project and the community at large, confirms the dedication and/or provision of public amenities by the developer, and provides assurances to the developer that it may proceed with the project in accordance with the approved original zoning and the terms of this agreement without encountering future changes in ordinances, regulations, technical standards or policies that would affect its ability to develop the relevant parcels under the approved zoning and the terms hereof.

The project will include small neighborhoods, a walkable village area, and connections to open space that will “support and reinforce the City of New Bern as an attractive place to live, work and recreate.” The size and scale of the project requires a long-term commitment of both public and private resources and requires careful integration between the programming of public capital facilities, the phasing of development and the development review and approval process.

The West Craven site is well suited for access from all parts of New Bern, or it will be. It is located at the intersection of U.S. 70 and the N.C. 43 connector. There are plans to extend the N.C. 43 connector from where it now ends just west of U.S. 70, all the way through to U.S. 17.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Business, Community, Mayor, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Planning and Zoning

October 4th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

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

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

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

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

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

October 4th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

In an emergency called meeting of the Craven County Board of Education on Thursday, an appropriation of $3.5 million was approved for damage repairs, school climate stabilization, and restoration and remediation services for our schools.

Superintendent Meghan Doyle said that this expenditure will not cover the full damages of Hurricane Florence to Craven County Schools.

“We continue to make progress and are happy to say that we are beginning the transition back to school,” the district said in a news release.

Craven County Schools has completed the process of testing air quality samples at all 23 of its school sites by an external industrial hygienist. Based on the results, six school sites are cleared for students and staff to safely return to campus on Monday, Oct. 8. The schools are:

    Ben D. Quinn Elementary
    Bridgeton Elementary
    Grover C. Fields Middle
    New Bern High (except Vocational Area)
    Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary
    West Craven High

Based on the air quality reports, nine schools have been partially cleared and once these buildings are restored and cleaned thoroughly they will be re-tested again. They are:

  • AH Bangert Elementary
  • Brinson Memorial Elementary
  • Creekside Elementary
  • Havelock Middle (ECE Wing has been cleared)
  • HJ MacDonald Middle
  • JT Barber Elementary
  • Oaks Road Academy
  • Trent Park Elementary
  • W.J. Gurganus Elementary

Once the air quality samples are reviewed and safely cleared, these campuses will be released for school to start back. Crews will be working throughout the weekend to remediate the impacted areas be prepared for future announcements for these sites

Eight other school sites have not been cleared and will need remediation by external companies contracted to complete the work in an effective and efficient manner. Funds for this work will come from the Board of Education fund balance appropriation made at Thursday’s meeting. The schools requiring greater detail to be cleared to safely return back to school are:

  • Arthur W. Edwards Elementary
  • Graham A. Barden Elementary
  • Havelock Elementary
  • Havelock High
  • James W. Smith Elementary
  • Roger Bell New Tech Academy
  • Tucker Creek Middle
  • West Craven Middle

“We appreciate the patience and understanding our school families and the community as we anxiously work to get our facilities at a safe level for all to return,” the district said in the news release.

“Craven County has never experienced a storm of this magnitude and while the structural damage to our facilities does not appear to be great on the outside, the length of power outages at each site combined with moisture and humidity is a direct correlation to the air quality on the inside.”

The tentative goal date for all facilities to be operational is Monday, Oct. 15.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, Hurricane, New Bern

October 3rd, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The Center for Environmental Health, The NC Conservation Network, Cape Fear River Watch, Working Films, and a coalition of environmental groups throughout North Carolina are holding  a statewide screening tour  of The DevilWe Know . A screening in New Bern is at 6:30 p.m. today.

In this new documentary film by Stephanie Soechtig, citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical — now found in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans — into the local drinking water supply.

New Bern screening is at 6:30 p.m. today (Wednesday) at The Harrison Center, 311 Middle St. It is hosted by The Carolina Nature Coalition.

Brian Powell, communications director for the NC Conservation Network, outlined how the issues in the film are all too familiar for NC audiences: “The Devil We Know serves as a compelling and ominous prequel to the water contamination crisis impacting North Carolina as a result of widespread chemical dumping — particularly as it relates to GenX contamination of the Cape Fear River from the DuPont spin-off corporation Chemours.”

Emily Sutton, Haw Riverkeeper, and host of the Greensboro screenings said, “While The Devil We Know is about West Virginia, perfluorinated compounds are contaminating drinking water supplies throughout the state of NC as well. These are compounds that do not break down in traditional drinking water treatment. Many are known to be toxic to human health. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency have carelessly allowed industry to dump toxins into public water supplies for decades. It is time to take action to protect human health and the health of our waterways.” 

Each event will feature post-screening discussions led by local organizations that will show audiences how to stand against these toxic waste practices including demanding that PFAS chemicals get listed in the US database for toxic releases, the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) – ensuring that companies must disclose when they release these chemicals into the environment. 

Posted in Environment, New Bern, State news, State politics

October 2nd, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The Blades House, one of New Berns iconic historic homes, has been added to this years Ghostwalk lineup.

While Hurricane Florence has meant minor changes in the Ghostwalk line-up, the New Bern Historical Society is finding that when a ghost site has had to step out, others step in.  This includes the William B. Blades house on the corner of Johnson and Middle streets.

Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “What a generous offer from the owners of the Blades House. How wonderful it is that they want to help make Ghostwalk successful. This is yet another great example of New Bernians working together to make our town so successful.”

Ghostwalk is an annual event presented by the New Bern Historical Society, this year held Oct. 25-27. Each Ghostwalk brings a whole new batch of historical characters from New Bern’s colorful and varied past to tell you their stories. This year’s theme: Graves’ Anatomy, brings tales ofMedicine, Mystery and Mayhem. That would leave the ghostly field open to everyone from well-respected surgeons to snake oil salesmen.

The current line-up of Ghostwalk sites and an online map are available at www.GhostwalkNewBern.com.

Ghostwalk is a family-friendly event with entertaining stories from our history, tempting dinners available at historic churches, and this year something new.  At the historic Judge Gaston Law office, each Ghostwalk ticket-holder can have their picture taken at the professional Tap Snap photo booth.  They will go home with a free photo souvenir as well as a digital image, all as part of their Ghostwalk ticket.

Tickets are available at www.GhostwalkNewBern.com or by calling 252-638-8558, and at the following outlets: The New Bern Historical Society, Mitchell’s Hardware, Bank of the Arts, Harris Teeter on Glenburnie and in Carolina Colours, ITT Office aboard Cherry Point Marine Air Station, and ASAP Photo in Greenville.


The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore-Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety.

Posted in Entertainment, History, Hurricane, New Bern

October 2nd, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain invites families in New Bern and surrounding areas to a community dinner for those impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Provided in partnership with sponsors Toyota of New Bern and Taco Bell, guests are invited to take a break from recovery efforts to have dinner and fellowship and pick up much needed supplies for those who need them, with music provided by CapitalDJ.

  • WHAT: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain holding Community Dinner. Admission is free.
  • WHEN: Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 6:30pm until 8:30pm
  • WHERE: New Bern Farmer’s Market, 401 S. Front Street, New Bern

The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. There are 17 Clubs throughout Pitt, Beaufort, Lenoir, Martin, Greene, Carteret, and Craven Counties serving approximately 1,400 members daily and 3,600 yearly. For more information, visit the Clubs online at www.bgccp.com or call 252-355-2345.

Posted in Boys & Girls Club, Craven County, Farmers Market, Hurricane, New Bern

October 1st, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Though Florence has come and gone, people affected by the hurricane are still cleaning up and rebuilding. Those in affected areas with asthma and allergies must be extra careful during this time. There are many things to consider as they remove debris, clean up flood damage and make repairs.

Long after waters have receded, flood waters can leave behind chemicals, bacteria, viruses and mold. These can create long-term health issues if you have asthma and allergies.

Mold is one of the biggest concerns after a flood. Mold, a fungus, can grow in any damp environment. It is different from plants or animals in how it reproduces and grows. The “seeds,” called spores, travel through the air. Mold spores get into your nose and cause allergy symptoms. They also can reach your lungs and trigger asthma.

Here are some precautions to consider during the recovery process:

  • Mold grows quickly after flooding. As you remove flood damage, wear a mask with a particulate respirator. Look for NIOSH and N95 or P100 printed on the mask. It should have two straps and should cover your nose and chin.
  • Also wear a mask as you clean up debris. Many neighborhoods are still lined with debris from downed trees and damaged homes. These piles can harbor mold, pollen and toxic chemicals as you wait for your county or city to pick them up.
  • Don’t burn debris. Smoke and toxic materials can irritate your airways. If neighbors burn their debris, shield yourself from the smoke as much as possible.
  • Consider hiring a professional to do the cleanup.
  • Throw out furniture and other items that cannot be cleaned immediately.
  • If possible, find another place to stay until the mold has been cleaned up.

If your home has been flooded or has water damage, mold may start growing in places you don’t expect. It does not go away as the water dries. Mold may grow inside furniture or under carpet that got wet, making it hard to find. If not replaced, it can make you and your family very sick. Items that have gotten wet from a flood have to be thoroughly cleaned and dried or discarded. Many allergens and asthma triggers can stick around long after a hurricane has passed. Keep these tips in mind in the coming months as you rebuild. For more information, visit http://www.aafa.org/mold-allergy/.

Posted in Health, Hurricane, New Bern

September 29th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Rear Adm. Jay DeLoach presents at Historical Society Lunch & Learn

Admiral David Farragut, yes of the “Damn the Torpedoes” fame, is connected to Eastern North Carolina.

Rear Admiral Jay DeLoach will explain that, and more as he presents Admiral Farragut: the North Carolina and Spanish Connections at the New Bern Historical Society’s Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, October 10 at 11:30 at The Chelsea Restaurant.

Rear Admiral Jay DeLoach

DeLoach reveals, “David Glasglow Farragut was born 15 miles outside the frontier town of Knoxville, Tennessee. At the tender age of nine, he would join the Navy to start his 60-year career in this demanding sea service.  At the start of the Civil War, he remained loyal to the Union and would later become the US Navy’s first admiral after the capture of New Orleans in 1862. This presentation will not, however, explore Admiral Farragut’s spectacular Naval career but will dive into his family background with a mother with local eastern NC roots and a father who hailed from a foreign shore across the Atlantic Ocean and came to this country to fight the British during the Revolutionary War.”

Rear Admiral Jay DeLoach graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 and served on submarines as well as several assignments with Naval Intelligence, 7th Fleet, and Joint Staff.  He earned three Masters’ degrees, in Management, Nuclear Engineering, and National Security & Strategic Studies. He also served as an adjunct professor for the Naval War College and taught Joint Maritime Operations.  After retirement from the military, he became a member of the Senior Executive Service in the Department of the Navy and led the transformation of the Naval History & Heritage Command as its 12th Director from 2008-12.  He is currently the Vice President of the New Bern Chapter of the NC Sons of the American Revolution.  He is also an active participant on the Historian Committee and the Journal Committee for the New Bern Historical Society.

Historical Society Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “We are excited to have Jay present this fascinating story for us and expect that he’ll have quite a following.  We’re encouraging folks to get their reservations early!”

Lunch & Learn starts at 11:30 a.m. at The Chelsea Restaurant, 335 Middle Street, New Bern. The cost is $17 for Historical Society members and $22 for non-members; lunch is included. Advance reservations must be made by calling the New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558, or can be ordered at www.NewBernHistorical.org/tickets. Lunch choices are Brown Butter Barbeque Chicken or Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet Demi-Glace. both served with Potatoes Au Gratin and Mixed Vegetable Medley.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety.

Posted in History, New Bern

September 28th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College (Craven CC) will resume classes Monday, Oct. 1 on the New Bern and Havelock campuses. The college has been closed since Sept. 11 due to Hurricane Florence.

“We are a resilient community and there remains a great deal of work to do as we recover from the extraordinary impact of Hurricane Florence,” said Dr. Ray Staats, Craven CC president. “Our friends, families and neighbors have already done so much in the past two weeks and there is a long journey yet ahead. A piece of this work includes restarting and making available the education and training opportunities that are vital to our students’ future success.”

College faculty and staff are implementing plans to create new course schedules that will facilitate recovering from the extended closure. The college will continue to make program and course schedule adjustments to adapt to the evolving needs of students as they unfold in the coming weeks.

Initially, Oct. 16, Nov. 9 and Nov. 21 have been designated as “make-up days” for students, staff and faculty. Additional days, including those unique to particular programs and courses, may include Fridays and Saturdays during October through December, as well as during the week of December 17-21.

The Fall “A-Term” will resume Oct. 1 as scheduled with the term now ending on Oct. 15. Students enrolled in these classes should discuss individual needs and options with individual instructors.

Students who were planning to begin classes during the Fall “Late Start” will be moved to the Fall “B-Term,” which will begin Oct. 17. This adjustment will allow students to complete these planned courses on a regular schedule with no delays or make-up dates required.

College advisors will have extended availability to provide individual assistance with registration and schedule changes. Additional resources, including academic and personal counseling that will assist students in their recovery efforts, will be announced and made available beginning early next week.

“Our students are facing unique and daunting challenges stemming from the hurricane’s devastation,” added Staats. “The college will be working with those students most impacted on an individual basis, to fully understand their needs and to create plans that will allow them to resume their progress towards completing their education goals.”

Craven Early College, Early College East and Career and College Promise (CCP) students will receive additional notifications regarding school schedules via Craven County Schools announcements. The college and school system are coordinating schedules for these students to minimize disruptions as the schools resume operating.

Additional updates will be reported through the college’s emergency notification system and social media as they are available. For updates on closures and schedule changes at Craven CC, visit https://cravencc.regroup.com/signup.

Posted in New Bern

September 28th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Due to the increased populations of mosquitoes caused by flooding from Hurricane Florence, Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday ordered $4 million to fund mosquito control efforts in counties currently under a major disaster declaration.

Those counties include: Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne, and Wilson.

“To help local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve directed state funds for mosquito control efforts to protect people who live in hard-hit areas.” Gov. Cooper said.

Funding will allow control efforts to begin as soon as Thursday. Each county’s allocation will be based upon their share of the total acreage requiring mosquito treatment in the 27 counties. None of the counties will be asked to share in the cost for these services up to their specific allocation amount. They will have the flexibility to determine the most appropriate means to provide this service.

“I’m grateful to Governor Cooper for taking this action to allow us to provide a critical public health service,” said Craven County Health Director Scott Harrelson. “This has been a serious issue for our county and many others impacted by Hurricane Florence.”

Increased mosquito populations often follow a hurricane or any weather event that results in large-scale flooding. While most mosquitoes that emerge after flooding do not transmit human disease, they still pose a public health problem by discouraging people from going outside and hindering recovery efforts.

Although rare, the most commonly reported mosquito-borne illnesses that can be acquired in North Carolina are LaCrosse encephalitis, West Nile virus and Eastern equine encephalitis. Nearly 70 percent of mosquito-borne infections reported in the state in 2017 were acquired during travel outside the continental U.S.

While outdoors, peoples should remember to:

    Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
    Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET or an equivalent when outside and use caution when applying to children.

More information on protective measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites is available online at ncdhhs.gov/hurricane-florence-mosquitoes.

Posted in Craven County, Hurricane, New Bern, State news

September 28th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Craven County Schools are tentatively planning to return students to school on Monday, Oct. 8. These dates are subject to change.

Information about athletics and support for students will be forthcoming in the next couple of days. Staff and students are not allowed in school buildings until they have been cleared.

Over 80 members of Craven Count Schools staff have been personally affected with losses of home and personal property.

Students throughout the county have been also severely impacted in multiple communities.

Initial damage assessments of Craven County Schools revealed roof damage to several schools resulting in leaks and breaches of water and water intrusion into several schools resulting in isolated flooding.

Also serious and challenging was the loss of power to schools across the district resulting in the lack of climate control and the addition of moisture to buildings.

After initial assessments, the scope of damage to Craven County Schools’ buildings is greater than was originally thought after Hurricane Florence.

Additional assessments of air quality are being conducted this evening, and through the weekend with results coming in the first of the week of Oct. 1.

Repairs that staff can complete have been addressed continuously over the last week. The most significant structural damages have been addressed. They are sanitizing and removing damaged materials and stabilizing HVAC systems. However, their first priority is to ensure that the buildings we will return staff and students to are safe.

“We are keenly aware that the days of closure are challenging and frustrating. And we want our students to return as soon as possible. We want nothing more than to bring our schools back to normalcy for our community and most importantly for our students and staff,” the school district announced.

“As a result, we are working to begin the transition back to school. It is important to note that our plan remains tentative and dependent upon our continued assessment of each building. We recognize, however, that our families need information as quickly as possible to make necessary arrangements.”

EARLY COLLEGE AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE CLASSES

For Early College students at Craven Early College and Early College EAST, students will attend any scheduled Craven Community College classes on Monday, Oct. 1. Students will return to high school classes on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Staff at Craven Early College and Early College EAST will return to work on Monday, Oct. 1. All dates are tentative and subject to change. For traditional high school students who are taking Career and College Promise (CCP) courses taught on the campus of Craven Community College, they should plan to attend. For Career and College Promise (CCP) courses taught on the campuses of traditional high schools, these sections will not resume until the High Schools open. If there is an issue with transportation for CCP classes please make contact with your school’s principal by calling the main number. Leave a message and someone will get back with you

TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS

For all non-early college schools: school nutrition staff, clerical staff, guidance staff, non-instructional support staff, and assistant principals should return to work on Monday, Oct. 1. Custodial, transportation some school nutrition staff should have already returned to work. These specific staff groups will be receiving separate information from their principal or division head about where to report on Monday later this weekend.

For traditional schools and restart schools, 10-month instructional staff will return to school on Oct. 4 and 5. These dates are tentative and dependent upon assessments of each building.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Hurricane, New Bern

September 28th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

For residents who suffered losses during Hurricane Florence, Disaster Recovery Centers are now open in several locations around the state, with information and resources to assist in recovery.

These centers offer in-person support to both individuals and businesses. Specialists can discuss available recovery programs and provide guidance for filing applications for disaster assistance.

All centers are fully accessible to people with disabilities, and for those who need translation assistance.

Whether you are a homeowner, renter or a business owner, it is important to register for disaster assistance prior to visiting a recovery center by going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling FEMA at 800-621-FEMA.

If your home is insured, file your insurance claim before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Be sure to take photos to document your damage.

When you arrive at the recovery center, please bring the following information with you:

  • Address for home or business that was damaged
  • Current mailing address
  • Current telephone number.
  • Insurance information.
  • Total household annual income.
  • Routing and account number for checking or savings account to allow for direct transfer of funds into your bank account.
  • A description of disaster-caused damage and losses.
  • Centers are open in these locations:
  • Craven County

    Former Eckerd/Rite Aid Drugstore

    710 Degraffenreid Ave.

    New Bern

    Onslow County

    312 Western Blvd

    Jacksonville

    Pamlico County

    Grantsboro Town Hall

    10628 NC Highway 55 East

    Grantsboro

    Jones County

    County Civic Center

    794 Highway 58 South

    Trenton

    Beaufort County

    Bobby Andrews Center

    231 East Seventh Street

    Washington

    Additional Disaster Recovery Centers will be opening in the coming days and weeks.

    Posted in Craven County, FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern

    September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    Cleanup, rebuilding, and housing are now the city’s focus in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, officials said during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

    It was the first routine meeting of the board since before Hurricane Florence.

    Jordan Hughes, city engineer, was filling in for City Manager Mark Stephens during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

    Stephens and Alderman Jeffrey Odham were out of town on business, including a meeting with U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-Winterville.

    Alderman Johnnie Ray Kinsey was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

    Hughes described the city’s initial response to Hurricane Florence as outstanding.

    The city started preparing for a disaster such as Florence back in the spring, when it began contracting with different companies and agencies to provide the myriad services necessary in a disaster.

    Once Florence reached New Bern, it was essentially all hands on deck with city staff, Hughes said.

    “We found a lot of creative roles for people to fill way outside their normal duties,” he said.

    Firefighters responded to emergencies that included one full-on structure fire in Olde Towne, where a two-story house was destroyed due to a portable generator malfunction.

    During the storm, there were 800 swift water rescues, city officials reported.

    “Going through Irene in 2011 and getting through that with the city, … we’ve made monumental improvements in our emergency planning, how we bulk up our resources before the storm, everybody understanding what their role is during the storm, and you really can see that come together,” Hughes said. “I think we put it through a pretty good test over the last couple of weeks, and I’ll tell you it’s a darn good plan at this point.”

    Now the city’s full focus is on recovery and rebuilding of the community, he said.

    Every department and offices are fully open except those facilities temporarily closed.

    Closed facilities include Parks and Rec admin center, which was flooded and moved to, ironically, the Aquatics Center. West New Bern Recreation Center gym and game room being used as an evacuation shelter. City boat launches, Stanley White Rec Center, Union Point Park, Lawson Creek Park, Glenburnie Park, Dog Park and Bear Plaza are all closed.

    A few customers are still without power due to damage to specific services. They can call 252-636-4070 for help and information, Hughes said.

    Other items related to Hurricane Florence

    Storm debris

    Trash pickup resuming normal schedule. Debris collection is underway.

    The recycling plant in Jacksonville is out of power. Recycling service in New Bern is suspended as a result. The county’s Convenience Centers are open, for anyone who has recycling they need to dispose of. Absent that, anything that goes to the curb will be picked up, Matt Montanye, public works director, said.

    “We spent most of last week preparing the removal sites to receive debris,” he said. The city started removing debris on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, city workers had moved 126 loads, or 3,700 cubic yards, of vegetative debris, 101 tons of construction debris, and were working on fallen and falling trees.

    Removing construction debris will be the biggest problem, he said. Ten city trucks are picking up debris. Supplementing that  are truck crews from Wilson, Garner, Rocky Mount, and Greenville. They are all working on commercial debris, from Batts Hill to North Glenburnie Road.

    Meanwhile, 31 teams picking up vegetative debris spread throughout the city.

    “The city has 188 miles of streets. Please be patient. We will get to you,” he said.

    In all, close to 100 people are picking up debris.

    The city asks citizens to separate construction debris and furniture in one pile, and appliances and vegetative debris in their own separate piles.

    Citizens need to put their debris piles near the street, but not on the street.

    “If it is out there, we are going to pick it up,” he said.

    Curfew

    Curfew was working really well, said Mayor Dana Outlaw, who ordered the curfew. One evening while trying to make his way downtown on city business, he was denied entrance to the downtown area because of the curfew.

    Schools

    There have been no announcements regarding whether public schools will resume on Monday. Workers were moving evacuation centers from several elementary schools to other locations so that school can resume. School has been out since noon Tuesday, Sept. 11. Expect something to be announced on Friday about whether school will resume on Monday. Onslow County Schools will not be open next week.

    Programs are suspended

    Parks and Recreation Director Foster Hughes said there was 2-feet of water in Stanley White Recreation Center. The gymnasium floor is ruined, and it will take several months before the facility can be back in shape.

    Elsewhere, all city boat launches are destroyed.

    “It’s going to take some time for us to get those things together,” he said.

    Meanwhile, West New Bern Recreation Center is closed for recreation purposes. It is being used as a consolidated evacuation center, taking in evacuees who had been staying at Brinson Elementary School and Ben D. Quinn Elementary School.

    Paying for it all

    Getting reimbursed from the federal government can be a tedious, time-consuming process. Said Alderman Bobby Aster, the city has not finished with reimbursements from FEMA for Hurricanes Irene and Matthew.

    The city may hire a consultant to shepherd the city’s way through the complexities of reimbursement. The good news is, the consultant fees are reimbursable.

    Aster, who was New Bern’s fire chief before he retired, said damage from Hurricane Florence is quadruple that of Irene, which struck New Bern in August 2011.

    Alderman Sabrina Bengel pointed out that the reason the city maintains a healthy fund balance is for situations just like Hurricane Florence. The city may get reimbursed for most of its storm-related expenses, but meanwhile, it has to pay those costs up-front.

    The King’s English

    Alderman Bobby Aster, who has a great deal of experience dealing with disasters, is well-versed in FEMA jargon. During Tuesday’s meeting, he asked Jerry Haney, Area 3 division supervisor for FEMA Region 4, about numerous things using a variety of acronyms. “When will the PA on site, for the PA people,” Aster asked, for example.

    After a few more exchanges like that, Alderwoman Jameesha Harris asked if they could use more common terms.

    “You guys are like best friends having a conversation and we’re just sitting here …” she said.

    How long is this going to take?

    FEMA’s Jerry Haney said he hopes to be home by Thanksgiving.

    Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Craven County, Hurricane, Mayor, New Bern

    September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    Learn How to Build Gingerbread House Class Oct. 19

    Getting back to normal is the priority for New Bern following Hurricane Florence.  The New Bern Historical Society’s Gingerbread House Contest is moving forward with just that in mind. Florence means there will be some adjustments; it means plan B, which in this case means Bring People Downtown. The imaginative gingerbread creations drew many to downtown windows last year and the Society is hoping for even more this year as merchants work hard to re-open.

    Executive Director Mickey Miller said, “We invite everyone to enter the contest.  Your creative baking and building will produce the wonderful pieces that will draw folks to the contest downtown. If you are among those who were blessed with less damage, please consider using your kitchen for this project.”

    You may enter as individuals or teams in three categories:  Youth, Adult and Professional.  There will be prizes at each level and two additional prizes.  One is the People’s Choice, voted on by the public.  The other is the Nancy Chiles Heritage Award for the creation that best represents the theme “Historic New Bern Christmas.” This in memory of long-time Board member and avid Gingerbread supporter, Nancy Chiles.  The first 50 who enter will receive a hand-crafted pottery ornament made by the Potters of New Bern Art & Wellness Center.

    If you are interested in building a gingerbread house, but are unsure of your skills, you are in luck.  The Society will be presenting a “Building a Gingerbread House” class on Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. at Craven Community College.  It will leave you with all the skills and information you need to build your own creation.  Registration fee is $10 which will go to support the Gingerbread prizes.

    All the information and details for the class and the contest are available at www.NewBernHistorical.org/gingerbread or by calling 252-638-8558. The deadline to enter the contest is November 5.  Further information is available on Facebook in the Gingerbread New Bern group.

    The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety.

    Posted in Community, History, New Bern

    September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    FEMA has opened a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) at the old Eckerd/Rite Aid store located at 710 DeGraffenreid Ave. in New Bern. The DRC serves as a one-stop location for citizens affected by Hurricane Florence to apply for disaster assistance and other benefits available to them through support agencies. Valuable state, local and federal resources will be provided at the DRC which will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning Thursday, Sept. 27, until FEMA determines the community needs have been met.

    Steps available:

    1. Online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
    2. Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 1-800-621-3362. Persons who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 1-800-462-7585
    3. Download FEMA’s mobile app
    4. 4. Visit the Disaster Recovery Center

    Registering with FEMA is required for federal aid, even if you have registered with another disaster-relief organization such as the American Red Cross, or local community or church organization.

    For more information Craven County’s Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, visit the Craven County website at www.cravencountync.gov, on the Craven County Facebook page @cravencounty and the Craven County Emergency Management Twitter account @cravencountync. Visit the Craven County website to register to receive emergency notifications via text, email and phone calls through the CodeRed Emergency Notification System.

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

    September 27th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    Hurricane Florence ripped through portions of Eastern North Carolina, dumping historic rainfall on Craven County. Thousands of homes were flooded.

    As families rebuild, many will likely be unable to afford to replace school supplies lost due to the flooding.

    “You feel kind of helpless. Because you think about your students, who are your family, and you’re like ‘What can I do to help?’” said Craven County Schools Teacher of the Year, Katy Chadwick.

    Chadwick was born and raised in Craven County. She attended UNC Wilmington and began her teaching career in Craven County. She said, “People like Antoinette Boskey, an active community member, have been reaching out to me about how they can help, so Darlene Brown, executive director of PIE, and I put our heads together and said we need to do this for our students.”

    Brown said, “We just held our Stuff the Bus event, so I guess we are re-stuffing our buses. So many of our students are homeless, and the best thing we can do for them is to get them back into a routine of attending school with the supplies they will need. PIE is pleased to support our teachers and our students.”

    School supplies can be dropped off between 9 a.m.– 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the ABC Central Office, 3493 Martin Drive, New Bern, NC (loading dock available) or at Craven County Sheriff’s Office, 1100 Clarks Road, New Bern (contact Investigative Sgt. Mike Sawyer, msawyer@cravencountync.gov or 252-636-6643 for drop off information).

    You can also donate money on line at www.CravenPartners.com. If you would like your supplies to be dedicated to a certain school, please indicate that in the comments section when you donate online. A school supply list can be found on the PIE website. Some suggested items are:

    • Backpacks
    • Earbuds or headphones
    • 4GB (or larger) flash drives
    • Pocket folders with brads (any color)
    • Composition notebooks
    • Blank copier paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
    • Graph paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
    • Notebook paper (8.5 inches by 11 inches)
    • No. 2 pencils
    • Pencil sharpeners
    • Erasers
    • Pencil bags
    • Blue, black, and red ink pens
    • Glue sticks
    • Glue bottles
    • Highlighters (any color)
    • Colored pencils (12-pack)
    • Colored markers (not permanent)
    • Rulers (30cm, wooden)
    • Index cards (3 inches by 5 inches, 100 count, lined)
    • Three-ring binders
    • Post-it notes
    • Pkgs. of dividers
    • Scotch tape
    • Colored construction paper
    • Clorox or Lysol wipes
    • Tissues
    • Hand sanitizer

    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.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/167751544105280/?ti=icl

    Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, Hurricane, New Bern

    September 26th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    A house in the Woodrow neighborhood of New Bern collapsed upon itself during Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post

    With an estimated 7,000 houses damaged or destroyed in Craven County by Hurricane Florence, attention has shifted from surviving the hurricane’s wind, rain, and flooding, to housing people displaced by the catastrophic storm.

    Jerry Haney, Area 3 division supervisor for FEMA Region 4, which includes Craven County, said housing is the biggest issue FEMA is focusing on right now.

    “There is just not rental inventory here for the number of houses that were lost,” Haney told the New Bern Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.

    Haney said Gov. Roy Cooper was being briefed on the situation on Wednesday, and FEMA officials toured the hurricane-ravaged portions of New Bern on Tuesday.

    More information should be coming out soon on what steps county, state and federal agencies will take to address the housing situation.

    However, Haney said it is critical that people affected by Hurricane Florence apply for FEMA assistance. That process can be done online, however, FEMA opened a Disaster Recovery Center in New Bern this week.

    Anyone who lives in Craven County can apply for the assistance, Haney said. A-n-y-o-n-e. He urged, begged, pleaded for people to apply.

    “Registration numbers are kind of low right now. We think they should be higher,” he said.

    Alderman Barbara Best pointed out the grave situation that many people face.

    A Google map shows the Woodrow neighborhood off of Oaks Road in New Bern.

    “Over in the Woodrow area, the homes are no longer there. … Will FEMA help those families rebuild?”

    “This gets to the important part of registration,” Haney said. “People must register. … If you don’t register, we have zero chance of being able to tell you yes.”

    And what if you are denied?

    “You can appeal,” he said. Many times requests are denied because there is a problem with the application that can be easily addressed.

    Also available is assistance from the Small Business Administration, or SBA.

    “The majority of disaster assistance during federally declared disaster goes to homeowners and renters,” an SBA official told the Board of Aldermen.

    SBA offers low interest loans (2 percent for individuals, 2.5 percent for non-profits, 3.6 percent for businesses).

    Renters and property owners can get up to $40,000 for personal property loss, and homeowners can get $200,000 for real estate damage.

    Between FEMA, SBA and insurance, “the three of us together, that seems to be able to bring most folks back to where they need to be,” the official said.

    SBA has set up a field office at Centenary United Methodist Church at Middle and New streets in New Bern.

    This house in the Woodrow neighborhood was knocked off its foundation during Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post

    A house in the Woodrow neighborhood is a twisted wreck following Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post

    Residents of the Woodrow neighborhood reach out for help via this hand-painted sign following the destructive effects of Hurricane Florence. Randy Foster / New Bern Post

    Posted in Craven County, Hurricane, New Bern

    September 26th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    A Disaster Food and Nutrition Services (DFNS) benefits program will be offered by Craven County Department of Social Services.

    The services will be offered at 2818 Neuse Blvd. in New Bern beginning Friday, Sept. 28, 2018 through Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, then resuming on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 through Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, for those who suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.

    The hours of operation each day will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    What Are Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits?

    Disaster FNS Benefits are being provided to residents of Craven County who suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 due to Hurricane Florence. Not everyone will be eligible for these benefits, as certain eligibility criteria must be met. A person must have been living in the disaster area at the time of the disaster. You can only apply for benefits for those individuals who lived with you before Hurricane Florence occurred. If you are unable to apply in person, you may designate (with a signed statement from you) someone to represent you. Please be sure to include the individuals name as it is listed on their form of identification in your written statement if they are going to be your authorized representative. Individuals who are currently receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or more commonly referred to as Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) are NOT eligible to receive benefits nor be included on any DFNS application.

    How Do I Apply?

    You must file an application for benefits at a local department of Social Services that has been approved for a DFNS program. Your application information must be truthful. A Craven County Department of Social Services worker will interview you and go over your application with you. If you do not understand a question, ask the worker to explain it during the interview. Report all income accurately. Every household that receives disaster FNS benefits is subject to a federal and/or State review or audit.

    Because long lines and wait times are possible, individuals are encouraged to bring medications and other necessary items. Due to limited space, individuals are encouraged to limit the number of people accompanying them and to consider arranging child care if possible. Residents should come prepared for inclement weather while waiting outdoors as limited outdoor shelter is available for those waiting in line.

    No food vendors will be allowed in the parking lots at application locations. In addition, no donations will be accepted or distributed at application locations.

    What Verifications Will I Need to Complete My Application?

    • Identification: Photo ID and other forms that are not limited to Social Security card, mail, or collateral statement. Identity of the head of household or authorized representative must be verified in order for an application to be made.

    How Will We Determine Your Eligibility?

    Your total income received (or expected to be received) between Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 6, 2018 plus available resources, minus a deduction for disaster-related expenses and shelter expenses, shall not exceed federal income limits. Individuals must have lived in the disaster area for the counties operating a DFNS program at the time of the disaster; must plan on purchasing food during the disaster period, and suffered food losses, damage or destruction of the household’s home or self-employment, lost income, or will incur a disaster related expense which will not be reimbursed during the period of Sept. 7, 2018 through Oct. 8, 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.

    How and When Do I Get My Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits?

    All Disaster FNS Benefits are placed on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. You will receive an EBT card from the worker if you are eligible, after you complete your application. If you need assistance with using your EBT card, you may contact the NC EBT Call Center at 888-622-7328.

    What Can I Use the Food and Nutrition Services Benefits For?

    You may use your EBT card at any store that accepts FNS EBT cards. Only food, seeds, or plants for a garden to grow food may be purchased with the EBT card. You may also purchase infant formula, ice, and drinking water. Prepared hot foods may be bought in stores that accept EBT cards until Oct. 31, 2018. Items that cannot be purchased include but are not limited to paper items, soap, vitamins, diapers, medicine, pet foods, tobacco, or alcoholic beverages with your benefits.

    Penalties

    • DO NOT give false information or hide information to get or to continue to get Food and Nutrition Services.
    • DO NOT give or sell your benefits or authorization documents to anyone not authorized to use them.
    • DO NOT alter any document to get Food and Nutrition Services you are not entitled to.
    • DO NOT use Food and Nutrition Services to buy unauthorized items such as alcohol or tobacco.
    • DO NOT use another household’s Food and Nutrition Services or authorization document for your household.
    • If you intentionally break any of the rules above you may not be able to get any more Food and Nutrition Services permanently, and may be fined up to $250,000 and/or jailed up to 20 years.
    • It is illegal to receive Disaster FNS Benefits twice for the same disaster. People who get benefits they are not entitled to will be required to repay them. All state and county social services employees who receive Disaster FNS Benefits will be audited at a later time.

    Hearings

    Any household denied Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Benefits is entitled to request a fair hearing at the Craven County Department of Social Services.

    Ongoing Food and Nutrition Services Benefits

    The application you make as part of this program is for Disaster Food and Nutrition Service Benefits only. If you want to apply for the regular FNS Program to receive ongoing benefits, if you are eligible, you must apply separately.

    For questions or more information on the Disaster Food and Nutrition Services Program call the Craven County Department of Social Services at 252-636-4900.

    Posted in Craven County, Health, Hurricane, New Bern

    September 26th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

    The New Bern Farmer’s Market re-opens Saturday, Sept. 29, at 8 a.m. thanks in part to the “wonderful Band of Brothers from the 113th Field Artillery of the North Carolina National Guard,” the group said in a news release.

    For the near term, The Farmer’s Market will be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    The Market has been power washed and sanitized, debris has been removed, and up to 70 vendors are ready to meet your needs with local produce, baked goods and hand-crafted items.

    Celebrating the re-opening, the 22-person “Craven Ukes” will be entertaining shoppers with many of the old time sing-along favorites.

    “Downtown New Bern has made tremendous strides in returning to normalcy,” Farmer’s Market announced. “Restaurants and shop doors are open.  Support the Heart of New Bern by coming Downtown to shop, to browse and to dine. The Merchants, Restauranteurs and Shoppers need each other.”

    Posted in Farmers Market, Hurricane, New Bern

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