Category: State news

March 31st, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Governor Roy Cooper today announced another step to help families by prohibiting utilities from disconnecting people who are unable to pay during this pandemic. Today’s Order applies to electric, gas, water and wastewater services for the next 60 days. 

The Order directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills and prohibits them from collecting fees, penalties or interest for late payment.

Telecommunication companies that provide phone, cable and internet services are strongly urged to follow these same rules. 

“This action is particularly important since tomorrow is the first of the month, and I know that’s a date many families fear when they can’t make ends meet,” said Governor Cooper. “These protections will help families stay in their homes and keep vital services like electricity, water, and communications going as we Stay at Home.”

Additionally, the Order encourages banks not to charge customers for overdraft fees, late fees and other penalties. Landlords are strongly encouraged in the Order to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Cheri Beasley’s Order and delay any evictions that are already entered in the court system. 

Governor Cooper was joined by Attorney General Josh Stein to announce the order and he thanked companies that have already voluntarily announced policies to prevent shutoffs, including Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, AT&T, and local electric co-ops, among many others. Today’s Order follows the Governor’s Stay At Home order, which is in effect until April 29.

The Council of State concurred with the Order today. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Executive Order No. 124 March 31, 2020

This Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) document provides guidance for the implementation of Executive Order No. 124 (“Order”).

In addition, check with your local government to determine whether additional restrictions exist in your area to limit the spread of COVID-19.

This information is subject to change in light of new CDC guidance and additional Executive Orders or local government declarations.

FAQs for Executive Order No. 124

When does this Order go into effect, and when does it expire?

This Executive Order is effective on March 31, 2020. It will remain in effect for sixty days or until adjusted by a superseding Executive Order. An Executive Order rescinding the State of Emergency in North Carolina will rescind this Executive Order.

Assisting NC Utility Customers

What protections does this EO provide to residential utility customers?

The Executive Order provides reasonable protections to residential utility customers in light of the COVID-19 emergency.

On Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper issued an Executive Order that assists North Carolinians by prohibiting utility shut-offs and late fees, urging utility reconnection; providing guidance on eviction restrictions; and urging financial institutions, including banks and mortgage lenders, to implement relief measures for individuals and businesses who are experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19. This provides relief to North Carolinians harmed financially by COVID-19 and helps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by preventing homelessness and ensuring that people have access to essential utilities. Below are frequently asked questions and their answers.

The Order addresses the following:

• Prohibits utilities from shutting off people’s electricity, natural gas, and water service for nonpayment.

• Prohibits utilities from billing or collecting any fees, penalties, or interest for late or untimely payment.

• Directs utilities to give residential customers at least six months to pay outstanding bills without owing interest fees.

• Reminds customers they are responsible for paying bills for utility services received.

• Requires utilities to inform residential customers of important provisions in the Executive Order.

Why are these utility-customer protections needed?

Because of the Stay at Home Order, many North Carolina residents are at home and need access to electricity, water, and natural gas service. These services will help ensure that residents will be able to wash hands regularly and follow other best practices for safety and hygiene. This Executive Order also will facilitate access to education, telemedicine, and teleworking, activities that benefit public health and a strong economy.

What utilities are covered by this Executive Order?

This Order covers utilities that provide electricity, natural gas, water, or wastewater services, as well as those that provide a combination of these services to residential customers.

So my utility service provider cannot shut off my electricity, natural gas, or water service?

Correct. Your utility cannot shut off your residential service while the Executive Order is effective. But you are still responsible for paying your bills.

Does this mean I don’t have to pay my electricity, natural gas, or water bills?

No. All customers are still responsible for paying their utility bills.

Can I have more time to pay off my bills?

Utilities will offer extended repayment plans that allow residential customers at least six months to pay unpaid bills without owing interest charges. This six-month period will apply to outstanding bill payments accumulated during the effective period of this Executive Order plus 120 days.

Can utility providers charge me late fees?

As of March 31, 2020, no utility may bill or collect any fee, charge, penalty, or interest for a late or otherwise untimely payment.

To which types of utility customers does the Executive Order apply?

This Executive Order applies to residential customers.

How does this Executive Order impact actions by the North Carolina Utilities Commission on utilities shutoffs?

If there are differences between the Governor’s Order and an order issued by the North Carolina Utilities Commission, you should follow this order. Provisions of any order by the Commission apply if they are consistent with the Governor’s Order.

How will the requirements on utilities be enforced?

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will assist utilities with implementing the Executive Order and provide a weekly implementation report to the Governor. The Commission and the Attorney General are authorized to enforce the Executive Order through their existing legal authorities.

Guidance on Cable, Telecommunications, and Related Services

Does the Executive Order address providers of telephone, cellular, cable, and Internet service?

The Executive Order urges providers of telecommunications, mobile telecommunications, cable, Internet, and wireless Internet service to follow the guidelines described above for electricity, natural gas, and water utilities. In addition, telecommunications service providers are urged to lift data caps where they have not done so already.

Guidance on Eviction Proceedings

When does this Order go into effect, and when does it expire?

The guidance related to eviction proceedings should be considered effective immediately and should continue to be a consideration until April 17, or any later date that is subsequently ordered.

How does this impact the Chief Justice’s action on eviction?

The guidance in Governor Cooper’s Executive Order supports the Chief Justice’s action on eviction. Through this Order, the Governor encourages clerks of superior court and sheriffs to follow the spirit of Chief Justice Beasley’s order. The Governor, along with the Attorney General, encourages clerks of superior court to delay issuing any evictions, and encourages sheriffs to delay execution of eviction orders (“Writs of Possession of Real Property”) that have already been issued.

For additional information on Chief Justice Beasley’s action on eviction, visit https://www.nccourts.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-updates.

Does this mean the Sheriff can’t remove me from my home even if eviction orders have been issued?

Through this Executive Order, the Governor and Attorney General are encouraging sheriffs to delay executing eviction orders (“Writs of Possession of Real Property”). Sheriffs, however, still have the discretion not to follow this guidance and continue processing eviction orders that have already been issued.

How does this impact mortgage foreclosures?

Through the guidance in this Executive Order, the Governor and Attorney General encourage lenders to work with property owners to provide loan payment flexibility to avoid mortgage foreclosures.

Does this mean that tenants don’t have to pay rent?

The Governor’s Order neither relieves a tenant from the obligation to pay rent nor restrict the landlord’s ability to recover rent that is due, including any late fees or penalties.

I am a tenant and cannot pay my rent. What do I need to do?

We strongly encourage you to notify your landlord as soon as possible and discuss a plan for repayment. Renters may also call 2-1-1 to learn about potential rental assistance resources.

Will my bank still charge overdraft or other fees?

Financial institutions will still have discretion to apply fees. The Executive Order does, however, encourage financial institutions to assist customers who can demonstrate financial hardship caused by COVID-19.

Will I still have to make mortgage payments if I’m experiencing financial hardship caused by COVID-19?

This Order does not relieve customers from making any loan payments that are due. This Executive Order encourages financial institutions to consider financial hardship that customers may be experiencing due to COVID-19, but these institutions are not required to waive fees or make other accommodations.

Posted in Health, New Bern, State news

March 27th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

On Friday, March 27, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 121, ordering North Carolinians to remain in their homes except for performing essential work and essential activities such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety purposes.

This Stay at Home Order will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed by keeping individuals from being exposed to the virus and keeping those who have the virus from spreading it to others.

Below are frequently asked questions and answers. In addition, individuals should check with local governments to determine whether additional restrictions have been imposed in their local jurisdictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Please note that Executive Order 121 modifies some sections of previous Executive Orders, but sections not modified are still in effect.

This information is subject to change in light of new CDC guidance and additional Executive Orders or local government declarations.

FAQs for Stay at Home Order

This Order permits the following businesses to remain open:

  • Restaurants that provide take-out, drive-thru, or delivery
  • Grocery stores
  • ABC stores and beer and wine stores
  • Doctors and other healthcare providers
  • Pharmacies
  • Hardware stores
  • Post offices
  • Office supply stores
  • Gas stations and convenience stores
  • Veterinarians and pet supply stores
  • Hotels, airlines, buses, taxis, and rideshare services
  • Places of worship
  • Child care providers (that are following the required NCDHHS procedures)

What does “Stay at Home” mean?

It means people should stay at their residence and limit social interactions and travel for essential activities or essential business purposes.

When does the Order take effect?

The Order takes effect on Monday, March 30 at 5:00 PM.

When will this Order be lifted?

This Order is valid for 30 days through April 29, 2020 but can be revised or extended.

Is this Executive Order mandatory or is it just guidance?

This Order is mandatory. All persons and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Order.

How will this Executive Order be enforced?

Governor Cooper is seeking voluntary cooperation from all state residents and businesses to ensure the health and safety of our communities. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the Order.

Various local counties and cities have issued their own shelter in place orders. How do the state and local orders correlate with one another?

People in North Carolina must abide by this statewide Order. To the extent that a local order contains more restrictive requirements, the more restrictive local Order must be followed.

Can I leave my home to visit friends or family members?

Individuals may leave their homes to care for a family member or friend, or to help their family member or friend get essential goods or receive necessary health care. Individuals should not visit with friends or family members if there is no urgent need.

What if I require medical attention?

Individuals may leave their homes to receive necessary medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow guidance (https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina/what-covid-19) provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. If you have mild symptoms, stay home and call your doctor. 3

Can I leave my home to exercise?

People are encouraged to maintain healthy lifestyles, including outdoor recreational activity, such as walking pets and jogging. While exercising, individuals should maintain social distancing and continue to take protective measures to maintain their personal health and wellbeing.

Does this Order prohibit outside group exercise?

As long as the group abides by the mass gatherings provision in the Order (no more than 10 people) and maintains adequate social distancing, this activity is not prohibited, but it is strongly discouraged.

What if my home is not a safe environment?

Individuals whose residences are unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternate location, which can include a hotel or shelter.

Can I take my kids to the park?

Unless your local jurisdiction has closed parks, people may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas while following social distancing and mass gathering guidelines. Public playgrounds and their equipment are closed for use statewide.

Are the entertainment, personal care, and grooming businesses that are closed under Executive Order 120 supposed to remain closed?

Businesses prohibited from operating under Executive Order 120 shall remain closed.

What businesses may remain open?

Essential businesses as defined in the Order may remain open. Other non-essential businesses must remain closed unless permitted by the Secretary of Revenue.

Establishments required to close under previous executive orders must remain closed.

Does my business need any documentation to continue operating?

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations that are deemed essential as defined by the Order do not need any documentation from the State to continue operations. Employees are not required to have specific documentation to report to work under this Order.

What if my business is not listed as essential and I cannot conduct business operations and maintain social distancing between employees?

If your business is not included in the list of Essential Businesses and Operations and you believe it is essential, you can submit an application to the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR). NCDOR will review applications to determine whether the business is necessary to properly respond to this COVID-19 pandemic. NCDOR will post on its website a point of contact and procedures for businesses seeking an essential designation. 4

What if my business does not fall within an exception and must close?

Businesses that are required to cease all activities are still allowed to continue Minimum Basic Operations. These operations include activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’s inventory; preserve the condition of the business’s physical plant and equipment; ensure security; process payroll and employee benefits, or related functions; and, activities to support employees who are working remotely. However, employees must comply with social distancing requirements, to the extent possible, while carrying out such operations.

If my business was previously required to close under an Executive Order or a local Stay at Home order, are there any circumstances under this Order that would allow me to re-open?

No.

Does this Order prohibit operations of child care centers and other child care providers?

No. Although child care providers are urged to remain open for first responders and essential employees, they are also open to the general public. All open child care providers must follow the NCDHHS emergency child care operations and financing guidance.

Are religious functions allowed?

Religious gatherings are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people. Participants should practice social distancing.

Are weddings allowed?

Weddings are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people. Participants should practice social distancing.

Are funerals allowed?

Funerals are time-sensitive events and may not have more than 50 people. Participants should practice social distancing.

Can I still attend religious services?

The Order allows individuals to attend their places of worship if they follow the mass gathering ban and do not have more than 10 people assembled. Social distancing should be practiced. Places of worship are encouraged to stream their services online to accommodate people complying with the Order.

Are car dealerships open during the emergency?

Car dealerships, and other places that sell automobiles, are essential businesses that may provide relief for those who have transportation issues during the emergency and are permitted to remain open.

Can I still mail items and get deliveries?

Yes. The postal service and private mail and delivery services are essential businesses and will remain open. 5

Can I still go to my substance abuse treatment groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) or other group counseling sessions?

Group counseling sessions are subject to the mass gathering ban and may not have more than 10 people. Participants attending in person should practice social distancing. Group counseling services are urged to conduct meetings remotely if they are equipped to do so. Groups should make accommodations for remote support to the maximum extent feasible.

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility only to obtain health care services and supplies. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, residential care facility or any other long term care facility unless it is an end-of-life visit.

Can I carry out a court-ordered visit with my kids? Yes. To the extent possible, maintain social distancing with individuals other than your child and limit meetings to places and activities that are permitted under this Order, such as outdoor parks.

What if I still have to go to work?

Businesses have been encouraged to implement remote working policies for their employees. If you have been designated essential by your employer, you should continue to go to work and practice social distancing to the extent possible.

Where can I report a business that is operating in violation of the Order?

Governor Cooper is seeking voluntary cooperation from all state residents and businesses to ensure the health and safety of our communities. If voluntary cooperation is not achieved, state and local law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce the Order.

Are gun stores allowed to operate?

Gun stores implementing social distancing requirements for employees and customers as defined in the order may remain open.

Are golf courses allowed to stay open?

Golf courses implementing social distancing requirements for employees and customers as defined in the order may remain open.

What is the current number of people that can gather under the mass gathering requirements?

A mass gathering is defined as no more than ten (10) people.

What are social distancing requirements?

  • Maintaining at least a six foot distance from other individuals;
  • Washing hands using soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or the use of hand sanitizer;
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces;
  • Facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible.

Posted in Health, State news

March 23rd, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

This afternoon Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the closure of public school facilities as instructional settings for K-12 students will be extended through May 15.

While school buildings are closed for instruction, school employees will continue to expand efforts to ensure that vulnerable children and their families have access to nutritious food during this emergency. Additionally, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, many North Carolina public school buildings will serve as emergency child care sites to support those on the frontlines of COVID-19 responses, including health care workers and first responders.

In the wake of the Governor’s announcement, public schools in traditional districts and charter schools will, as possible, implement remote learning plans they have developed for students’ academic achievement as well as social and emotional well-being.

“Superintendents across this state are acutely aware of how important it will be to continue to provide child nutrition services over the extended closure,” said Patrick Miller, the 2019-20 State Superintendent of the Year. “In some districts, child care services may be provided for medical staff and other essential staff on the front lines, such as law enforcement. We will also work diligently to remain connected with our students during this time. Our teachers are prepared to implement remote learning plans; however, these will look different from district to district. One thing I can assure you is that our teachers will continue to work hard and we will all get better at this as we go.”

Mariah Morris, the 2019-20 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, agrees. “Teachers are the first-responders for our students,” she said. “We understand the importance of the teacher-student relationship during these uncertain times. Beyond academic learning, teachers are able to provide social and emotional support for our students across the state that is so desperately needed. We, teachers, are leaders on the ground-level, and our children are relying on us to pave the way during these unprecedented times with positivity, innovation, and grace.”

State leaders will be providing further direction and guidance to local school leaders about how to deliver remote instruction and support for students during these unprecedented times. State education leaders recognize that remote instruction will look different in communities across the state as school districts and charter schools refine and implement their plans. The Digital Teaching and Learning Division of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction have curated a wealth of remote learning resources and information on their website. Inequities in local resources and digital access further complicate matters. The State Board of Education, Superintendent, and Department of Public Instruction will take all possible steps to mitigate these inequities and help local schools implement best practices for remote learning. Previous guidance regarding personnel-related matters remains in effect.

Earlier today, the State Board of Education held an emergency meeting and unanimously agreed to approve the recommendation from Superintendent Johnson and the Department of Public Instruction to seek a waiver of federal testing requirements. This afternoon, the U.S. Department of Education notified DPI that the federal waiver was approved. With respect to state testing requirements, the State Board of Education and Superintendent Johnson are already in close contact with General Assembly members about the waivers necessary to address COVID-19 for this school year.

As we look ahead, we want to resume traditional in-school instruction this school year on May 18. We will reopen schools if our public health experts say that we can.

Parents and students know the value of direct instructional time and the value of face-to-face interactions between teachers and students. After the closure, we look forward to returning to our schools, finishing this school year, and preparing for the next school term.

“While educators and families are eager to return to school, we understand how important it is for us to follow the guidance of the Governor’s office and experts from the CDC and DHHS,” said Matt Bristow-Smith, 2019-20 NC Principal of the Year. “Educators are 100% committed to the safety, health, and well-being of our scholars. We will continue to implement remote learning plans to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally as we get through this together.”

We are particularly aware of how important a return to regular school will be for our seniors, the Class of 2020. We are in direct contact with our partners in higher education and understand our seniors have unique needs at this time in preparation for further education and the workforce. We will be providing additional guidance related to the specific issues related to our senior class.

We know that public schools are the backbones of our communities. As we face new realities, we will all need to adjust. There will be hundreds of decisions to make as we redefine school this year and beyond. State leaders will continue to collaborate with our partners in the General Assembly and local leaders to address the policy and legal issues that will inevitably arise from this pandemic.

Despite the present uncertainties, our core principle of putting children and school communities first remains unwavering. It will guide us moving forward. The State Board of Education, Superintendent, and Department of Public Instruction thank Governor Cooper for his leadership in this challenging time. We extend gratitude to our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services for providing the best-available data to inform decision-making during this public health emergency. The decision to close school buildings as instructional settings through May 15 is the prudent one. We will continue to make decisions about school based on public health requirements. We also thank our health care workers who are vital to these efforts, as well as our first responders, who are doing so much to respond to this crisis.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, Health, New Bern, State news

March 23rd, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Below is the latest executive order information based on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s 1 p.m. Monday briefing.

  1. The prohibition of mass gatherings is now moved to be more than 50 persons.
  1. The following entertainment facilities are ordered to close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, though any retail or dining component may operate within that establishment solely for that purpose.
    1. Bingo Parlors
    2. Bowling Alleys
    3. Ice Skating Rinks
    4. Indoor Exercise Facilities (e.g. gyms, yoga studios, and martial arts facilities)
    5. Health Clubs
    6. Indoor Pools
    7. Live Performance Venues
    8. Movie Theaters
    9. Roller skating Rinks
    10. Spas
    11. Sweepstakes Lounges
    12. Video game arcades
  1. Personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to the following, are also ordered to close:
    1. Barber Shops
    2. Beauty Salons
    3. Hair Salons
    4. Manicure/Pedicure Providers
    5. Massage Parlors
    6. Nail Salons
    7. Tattoo Parlors
  1. Appropriate local governmental agencies are directed to continue to exercise their responsibilities, including but not limited to local county Department of Social Services (“DSS”) offices, Registers of Deeds, and other local government functions that are required to protect people.
  1. Long term care facilities shall restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations, for example, an end-of-life situation.  For purposes of this Executive Order only, long term care facilities include all of the following:
    1. Skilled nursing facilities;
    2. Adult care homes;
    3. Family care homes;
    4. Mental health group homes; and
    5. Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  1.    Public school closures are extended until at least May 15, 2020.
  1.    The order will be effective at 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Posted in Health, State news

March 14th, 2020 by newbernpostadmin

Following an emergency meeting of the State Board of Education today, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper announced that all public schools in North Carolina will be closed for two weeks due to the growing COVID-19 crisis.

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, Health, New Bern, State news

August 5th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Source: WalletHub

North Carolina ranks second to last for access to medical care, according to a study by WalletHub.

According to the CDC, 87.6 percent of the nation’s population has a regular place to go for medical care. But the cost and service quality of that care can vary widely from state to state. The overall health of the population, more advanced medical equipment and a general lack of awareness regarding the best types of treatment, for instance, can all affect costs. Today, the average American spends more than $10,000 per year on personal health care, according to the most recent estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s about 17.9 percent of the U.S. GDP.

But higher costs don’t necessarily translate to better results. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. lags behind several other wealthy nations on several measures, such as health coverage, life expectancy and disease burden, which measures longevity and quality of life. However, the U.S. has improved in giving more healthcare access for people in worse health, and healthcare cost growth has slowed somewhat.

Conditions aren’t uniform across the U.S., though. To determine where Americans receive the best and worst health care, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 43 measures of cost, accessibility and outcome. Read on for our findings, expert insight on the future of American health care and a full description of our methodology.

North Carolina? It ranked 50th, ahead of only Alaska.

Virginia, the highest-ranked Southern state, ranked 21st. South Carolina ranked 48th.

Here is the breakdown:

States with Best Health Care Systems

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)
State Total Score ‘Cost’ Rank ‘Access’ Rank ‘Outcomes’ Rank
1 Minnesota 63.79 2 4 9
2 Massachusetts 62.33 35 2 1
3 Rhode Island 62.12 11 5 6
4 District of Columbia 61.38 1 3 26
5 Vermont 60.13 5 34 4
6 New Hampshire 59.80 40 8 2
7 Hawaii 59.64 8 36 5
8 Maine 58.44 38 1 13
9 North Dakota 58.21 3 9 22
10 Iowa 57.27 15 17 14
11 Colorado 56.77 47 12 3
12 Maryland 56.71 4 21 23
13 Connecticut 56.44 44 11 7
14 Kansas 56.05 7 16 27
15 Pennsylvania 55.70 13 13 25
16 Wisconsin 55.46 45 6 10
17 Montana 55.44 21 19 18
18 South Dakota 55.15 17 15 24
19 Utah 55.12 32 41 8
20 Michigan 55.09 6 18 30
21 Virginia 54.63 25 35 12
22 Nebraska 53.64 43 10 17
23 New Jersey 53.39 14 30 28
24 New York 52.26 29 24 29
25 Ohio 52.22 10 22 37
26 Illinois 52.20 24 23 32
27 Wyoming 52.14 36 37 16
28 Idaho 52.02 30 43 19
29 Delaware 51.79 42 27 21
30 California 51.19 39 42 20
31 New Mexico 50.95 19 31 36
32 Washington 49.85 48 44 11
33 Oregon 49.43 49 29 15
34 Indiana 49.29 9 38 40
35 Kentucky 49.11 16 14 47
36 Tennessee 48.05 18 32 42
37 Missouri 47.50 31 25 41
38 Nevada 47.37 22 47 39
39 Florida 47.37 34 46 35
40 West Virginia 47.35 41 7 45
41 Arizona 46.74 37 48 34
42 Alabama 46.59 12 45 46
43 Texas 45.94 28 51 38
44 Louisiana 44.50 33 20 49
45 Oklahoma 44.47 26 39 48
46 Georgia 44.45 23 49 44
47 Arkansas 43.48 20 33 50
48 South Carolina 42.96 46 40 43
49 Mississippi 42.76 27 28 51
50 North Carolina 42.63 50 50 33
51 Alaska 42.21 51 26 31

Posted in Health, State news

June 20th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern received a mediocre score for family friendliness in North Carolina from WalletHub, a website that produces data-driven articles ranking various subjects in various categories.

In ranking North Carolina cities for “2019’s Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina,” New Bern ranked 56th out of 87 cities. The top-ranked city was Cary, while coming in at 87th was Laurinburg.

In Eastern North Carolina, Havelock — you read that right — was the highest rated city in the survey, coming in at 35th. Other Eastern NC cities were Wilmington (44th), Greenville (53rd), Jacksonville (59th), Wilson (70th), Elizabeth City (75th), Tarboro (77th), Goldsboro (81st), and Kinston (84th).

Taking just Eastern North Carolina cities into account, then, New Bern ranked fourth, just behind Greenville and ahead of Jacksonville.

The rankings took into consideration 10 metrics, of which New Bern did better than average in just three: violent-crime rate per capita, unemployment rate, and playgrounds per capita.

New Bern ranked low in several categories, including percentage of families with children under age 17, median family income, and high school graduation rate. It rated near the bottom — 72nd — in housing affordability.

New Bern appears at the top of many lists, from Top Charming Small Towns to Top Small Retirement Towns, but these are typically niche categories. Raising a family is about as fundamental to a city’s purpose as you can get, and New Bern’s ranking, indeed rankings of all Eastern North Carolina cities, should raise some red flags and help policymakers in making decisions.

The data used in these rankings is entirely publicly available, and is the same information that companies look at when determining expansion and relocations.

True, New Bern is constantly looking for ways to up its game. But take one example, the planned Martin-Marietta Park. New Bern already ranks high for playgrounds per capita (24th in the state). Martin-Marietta Park won’t move the bar one iota in rankings such as these, even if it’s a park that is physically larger than most of Craven County’s smaller cities.

The focus should be where New Bern and Craven County are average or weak — median family income, quality of school system, high school graduation rate, poverty rate, and perhaps foremost, housing affordability.

Here are specific rankings for New Bern:

Raising a Family in New Bern (1=Best; 43=Avg.; 87=Worst)

  • 64th – % of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17
  • 57th – Median Family Income (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 49th – Quality of School System
  • 52nd – High School Graduation Rate
  • 34th – Violent-Crime Rate per Capita
  • 72nd – Housing Affordability
  • 48th – % of Families Living in Poverty
  • 31st – Unemployment Rate
  • 45th – Divorce Rate
  • 24th – Playgrounds per Capita

Full report here:

Source: WalletHub

 

Posted in Achievements, Commentary, Community, Community issues, Craven County, Craven County Schools, Crime, Economy, Economy and Employment, Education, Infrastructure, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Opinion, Politics, Public safety, Retirement, State news, State politics

October 22nd, 2018 by newbernpostadmin
Flooding on Sept .18, 2018, in Carbonton

The impact of the 2018 tropical systems in North Carolina wasn’t confined to coastal areas. Near the state’s geographical center, the route of N.C. 42 through Carbonton runs under floodwaters from the Deep River on Sept. 18, in eastern Chatham County, near Lee and Moore counties. Courtesy of the N.C. Department of Transportation.

CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS | Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused school districts in their paths to miss several days of school. The state is helping districts avoid official penalties, but educators across the state are divided about the long-term wisdom of losing so many days of instruction.

As school districts recovered from Florence, Gov. Roy Cooper signed legislation Oct. 3 to grant calendar flexibility to schools in districts with federal disaster declarations. This allows the districts to waive up to 20 days of absences if they choose to. That choice isn’t necessarily automatic.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Safety, 30 counties have been federally declared for both individual assistance and public assistance, and 11 counties have been declared for public assistance only. School districts located in counties with either of these types of declarations can take advantage of the waiver policy. Although the legislation originally applied to those affected by Florence, it also covers districts with declarations due to Michael.

Valita Quattlebaum, chief communications officer for New Hanover County Schools, said her district will be using this waiver in addition to creating a new calendar to recoup days. Hurricane Florence heavily affected the coastal district’s schools and means of transportation, she said.

“We were out 17 days,” Quattlebaum said. “We had to get our buildings cleaned up, we had to clear up debris and make our campus safe enough for students to go into. We had repairs to do, get rid of damaged furniture, things that had gotten wet.”

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Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, Hurricane, State news, State politics

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Gov. Roy Cooper directed $25 million from the North Carolina Education Lottery Fund on Tuesday to speed repairs to K-12 public schools damaged by Hurricane Florence.

“Students need to get back to learning and educators need to get back to teaching, but many school districts can’t afford the repairs schools need,” Cooper said. “The lives of thousands of students, teachers and families are on hold and they need our help to recover.”

While many schools have reopened since Hurricane Florence struck last month, seven North Carolina school systems remain closed, keeping more than 130 schools out of operation and nearly 90,000 students out of class.

Just four of Craven County’s 23 public schools were open for class on Monday. Three schools in Jones County will have to be entirely rebuilt.

Several affected school districts have depleted most of their contingency funds and need immediate financial assistance to repair roofs, flooring and electrical wiring, eradicate mold and mildew and replace furniture to get schools reopened.

The emergency funds will be administered by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Priority will be given to district and charter schools in Brunswick, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties that have immediate repair needs and are not currently in operation.

Some of the repairs should be reimbursable by federal disaster recovery funds. Transferring the money now gives schools quicker help and allows them to retain contractors to speed repairs.

Posted in Craven County Schools, Education, FEMA, Hurricane, New Bern, Politics, State news, State politics

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

George Alsberg, age 103, of Wilmington, was one of the oldest voluntary evacuees of Hurricane Florence. Photo credit: Taylor Knopf

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS | 

That’s the takeaway from a state-compiled list of the adults who died as a result of the catastrophic storm. It shows that two out of three North Carolinians who died during or as a result of Florence were 60 or older, and nearly half were 70 or older. The median age of adults who died during or as a result of the storm was 67, while the statewide median age is 38.3.

“Vulnerable adults are more likely to be impacted because of their social isolation, or not having the supports they needed in areas like transportation,” said Heather Burkhardt, program coordinator at Resources for Seniors in Raleigh.

The list of deaths tied to the catastrophic September storm grew to 39 on Oct. 1, when Gov. Roy Cooper announced two deaths, one of a Pender County man, 69, who fell off a roof Sept. 22 while repairing storm damage. A list supplied by the Department of Public Safety showed that people older than 65 represented:

  • Six of 11 people who drowned in motor vehicle accidents,
  • Five of six people who died of medical causes such as cardiopulmonary distress or COPD
  • Three of five who died doing cleanup and
  • A couple, 86, who died in a fire caused by the use of candles while power was out.

Three of the victims were infants and two others did not have listed ages. Of the 34 adult deaths with ages attached, 21 were older than 65.

Perhaps the most poignant death was that of a man, 82, who committed suicide in Carteret County after Florence devastated his home. “Shot self when house condemned,” read the terse DPS account of the death.

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Posted in Community issues, Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, FEMA, Health, Hurricane, State news, State politics

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