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RALEIGH – The Governor’s Office reports that the U-S Small Business Administration has granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for counties that suffered damage from Hurricane Dorian. The declaration will allow affected residents to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans. The Governor made the request after FEMA denied individual assistance for those affected by Dorian. The SBA request was described as the first step in in establishing a state relief program following FEMA’s denial.

On Friday, the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission Science Panel meets in New Bern to begin discussions on the 2020 Sea Level Rise Assessment.  The panel reviews scientific data and makes projections of how sea-level rise affects different locations along the North Carolina coast over a 30-year time frame. The 2020 report updates previous assessments from 2010 and 2015 said Tancred Miller, the Coastal and Ocean Policy Manager with the Division of Coastal Management.

A portion of Topsail Island listed for sale for nearly $8 million has limited development potential according to a local environmental group. A press release from the North Carolina Coastal Federation says their analysis of land use restrictions on the 110-acre parcel on the south end of Topsail Island shows very limited development potential.  Among limits to development is the town of Topsail Beach has zoned the parcel for conservation and local land use plans and ordinances prohibit almost all forms of development.

Connie Leinbach/Ocracoke Observer

In early September, Ocracoke Island was pummeled by category 1 Hurricane Dorian, displacing many of the long-time residents.  While recovery work started right after the storm, the cleanup and demolition of flooded homes continues to displace more people.  Additionally, some business owners are assessing their future on the 13-mile barrier island.  

ReBUILD NC

The state is seeking public input on how to spend $168 million dollars in communities affected by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Public meetings are being held this week in Eastern North Carolina to gather feedback on how to develop a state action plan with funds from the U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development’s Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation program. Federal guidelines require the funds to be used for community projects that strengthen local infrastructure and reduce future losses. 

North Carolina’s status as a purple state politically appears to remain true according to a new ECU poll. After three straight close presidential races in the state, a fourth appears to be in the offing according to the poll conducted by faculty members of ECU’s Center for Survey Research.  In hypothetical November match-ups with five Democrats, President Donald Trump holds leads over three… Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg… though his lead in each case is within the plus-or-minus three percent margin of error. His biggest lead is 2.6% over Pete Buttigieg.

Twelve candidates take the stage for October's Democratic primary debate, which begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. You can hear the debate on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across eastern North Carolina and in Greenville at 88.1 as well as here at publicradioeast.org on our News & Ideas webstream. Also, follow NPR reporters here as they post context and analysis in real time.

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A recently published map gives scientists a better understanding of the density of submerged seagrass habitats along North Carolina's coast as well as a baseline for measuring changes in the ecosystem. 

The UNC System, East Carolina University, Pitt County Government, and Vidant Health announced on Wednesday an agreement has been reached in a pending lawsuit.  

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor says the federal government has denied individual assistance for residents in four counties hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Gov. Roy Cooper had sought the federal help for households in Carteret, Dare, Hyde, and New Hanover counties. He said the assistance would have included funds for temporary housing, repairs and storm damage.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing low-interest loans of up to $2 million to private nonprofit organizations in Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, Tyrrell, and Washington counties. 

“Food kitchen, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges are the types of entities that can apply,” said Mark Ihenacho, lead public affairs specialist with the SBA. “The interest rate on the disaster loans is 2.75% with terms up to 30 years."

Over 1 million new voters could be casting ballots in North Carolina during the next Presidential election. A report from Carolina Demography says there have been 1.1 million voter registration forms filed since November 2016. That includes those turning 18 or gaining citizenship since 2016 and prior residents registering for the first time. And while 285,000 North Carolinians have left, 370,000 have moved in. The new voters are… officially, at least… largely non-partisan. Forty-three percent registered as unaffiliated voters, compared to 29% of prior registrants.

Coastal Land Trust

WILMINGTON – The Coastal Land Trust has announced the purchase of 247 acres of Jones County property. A press release from the land trust says their Island Creek purchase lies adjacent to a portion of the Croatan National Forest southwest of New Bern. It says flora found on the property includes many rare species as well as species typically only found in the state’s Piedmont and mountain regions.

City of Greenville

Greenville residents can enjoy a new city park for one day and one day only. A press release from the city of Greenville says the city will host a pop-up park Friday, October 4. Parking spaces at the Rose’s Parking lot at the corner of Evans and Fourth Streets will become an urban park, complete with performance stage, a pergola, benches, bistro tables, grass, trees and more. The pop-up park pops-up Friday at 11 and stays popped until 8:00 that night.  It’s a late recognition of PARK(ing) Day, typically the third Friday of September, which first popped-up in 2005.

REAL ID requirements go into effect in just under a year. A press release from the state Department of Transportation reports that Tuesday, October 1 marked the one-year milestone before the REAL ID Act will go into effect. On October 1st of 2020 a REAL ID, U-S passport or another form of federally-approved identification will be required to board commercial airlines and to enter federal buildings. REAL ID won’t be required in those instances but will make it easier. Other approved documentation can be used for flying or entering federal facilities.

NCDOT

The N.C. Department of Transportation has a new tool for eliminating an invasive marsh grass near the Bodie Island Lighthouse. The NCDOT Division of Aviation and the Environmental Analysis Unit used drones to spray herbicide on an area overrun with Phragmites, an aggressive wetland grass that displaces other native plant and animal species.

Croatan National Forest

Forest Service officials are proposing to standardize the hours of operation at several recreation sites in the Croatan National Forest.  Under the proposal, several day use areas and entrance roads would be open to the public from sunrise to sunset.  The affected sites include Black Swamp OHV area, Cedar Point recreation area and Tideland Trail, Fisher’s Landing, Flanner’s Beach recreation area, Pine Cliff equestrian trails parking lot and recreation area, and Siddie Fields. 

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Major renovations are coming to the police and fire department in Williamston.  The Martin County town of 5,500 residents was recently approved for a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan aimed at helping rural communities.  

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

  CEDAR ISLAND, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina wild horse manager says more than half of one herd is thought to be dead after Hurricane Dorian storm surge slammed their island home.

Manager Woody Hancock told McClatchy news that 28 of the 49 horses on Cedar Island, between the Outer Banks and the mainland, are suspected dead. He says the herd is lesser-known than the Corolla heard on the northernmost parts of the Outer Banks. That herd didn't suffer any losses.

Wikipedia

After Hurricane Dorian dumped several inches of rain across eastern North Carolina, some communities have had noticed an increase in mosquito populations.

 

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Duke Health

A Duke Health study indicates a potential carcinogen is present in high levels in some e-cigarette and smokeless tobacco products. The study indicates that pulegone is contained in menthol and mint flavored e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. Pulegone was banned last year by the U-S Food and Drug Administration as a food additive because of its carcinogenic properties. The agency, however, does not regulate the chemical’s presence in e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

A statewide apprenticeship program is growing. A press release from the state Community College system says the number of people in the state’s apprenticeship program increased nearly one-third during fiscal year 2019. ApprenticeshipNC, which registers apprentices and pre-apprentices, had 11,399 people in the program during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The prior fiscal year saw 8679 people in the program, which was transferred to the community college system two years ago. Apprenticeship is an employer-driven training model that combines work with related classroom instruction.

September's Democratic presidential debate has been narrowed to one night only, as more candidates have called it quits altogether.

Ten candidates are on stage for three-hour event hosted by ABC News and Univision, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. It's the third debate of the campaign and the first time that former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are all together.

Who will be the main target, what does it mean and what do the candidates stand for? Follow NPR Politics reporters here for live analysis and fact checks.

The public will have the opportunity to see demonstrations of newly certified voting systems this month. A press release from the state Board of Elections says the demonstrations will take place at five locations across the state, beginning Thursday in Haywood County. Demonstrations later this month include next Tuesday in Leland in Brunswick County and then Wednesday the 18th at the Pitt County Agricultural Center in Greenville. There will also be demonstrations in Guilford and Mecklenburg Counties.

Murphy Wins Third Congressional District

Sep 11, 2019
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N.C. Department of Agriculture - Facebook

Eastern North Carolina farmers may be eligible to receive part of a $3 billion disaster relief package from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers can apply for assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus beginning Wednesday. According to a news release from the USDA, the disaster relief package, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in June, helps farmers offset losses from natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including Hurricane Dorian.

NWS Newport

Meteorologists say an EF-2 tornado touched down in Emerald Isle during Hurricane Dorian last Thursday, damaging numerous homes and businesses.   Assessment teams determined the tornado had maximum winds of 115 mph and caused significant damage to an RV park in Emerald Isle, according to Erik Heden, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C.

"A lot of those RVs were completely destroyed, some were rolled many feet.  The next neighborhood over had some metal roofing that was peeled away, but the most concise, severe damage was to the RV park."

NCDOT

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) — Ferry access to hurricane-ravaged Ocracoke Island on the North Carolina Outer Banks was limited to authorities and supply crews Sunday, as residents there continued work on what's expected to be a lengthy recovery effort.

Damage surveys and work to clean up the mess left behind by Hurricane Dorian were underway, said Hyde County spokesman Donnie Shumate. There was still no power or any sense of when it might be restored, he said.

Randall Etheridge

East Carolina University researchers received a $300,000 grant to study sea level rise and its effect on communities.  The two-year grant from the National Science Foundation will allow scientists to explore and design possible solutions to flooding in areas surrounding Lake Mattamuskeet and develop a process to help small coastal communities adjust to sea level rise.  As conditions change along the coast, it becomes harder for water that collects in Lake Mattamuskeet to drain through canals out to the Pamlico Sound.  As a result, major rain events cause flooding in low elevation areas of H

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