News

The final round of hurricane assistance checks for fishermen is on its way. A final group of 1176 checks totaling $450,000 was mailed Thursday (June 13) to eligible fishermen through the. In total $11.6 million was distributed to commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters adversely effected by Hurricane Florence.  The vast majority of that money was dispensed by May 20 but some funds were set aside to cover any late filers and those with questions about their harvests. In all, checks were written to fishermen in 39 counties.

International Association of Geophysical Contractors

The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management has objected to a proposal to conduct a seismic survey off the North Carolina coast, saying it is inconsistent with state's coastal management policies.

A press release from the Governor’s Office says the juvenile crime rate is at its lowest since the state started tracking juvenile crime. The Juvenile Justice Section recently released its 2018 Annual Report, which tracks juvenile crime trends dating back to 2010. It says the juvenile crime rate has fallen by 41% since 2010, from 27.55 complaints per every 1000 kids to 16.18 per 1000 last year.  The number of children admitted to juvenile detention centers fell 62% during the period.

Jared Brumbaugh

The Town of Maysville held a special session Thursday to discuss the high levels of PFAS that were found in the town’s well water and how they plan to address the problem. Recent test results showed PFAS and PFOA contamination above lifetime Health Advisory Levels established by the National Environmental Protection Agency. 

NC Aquariums

Delayed by Hurricane Florence, a habitat for a pair of flightless bald eagles opens next month at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pink Knoll Shores. The habitat was scheduled to open Memorial Day, but a delay in getting materials and labor in because of the hurricane slowed the process down. Aquarium curator Clint Taylor says the habitat was completed by Memorial Day but time was needed to acclimate the two bald eagles to their new home. The two birds are flightless.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state House is reconstituting an oversight committee that will keep monitoring challenges state government has had in distributing federal long-term housing grants to hurricane victims in eastern North Carolina.

House Speaker Tim Moore announced Tuesday that the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief has been authorized to meet again.

The panel met in 2018 and scrutinized why the state was slow giving out $237 million in federal community development grant funds received after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 for housing repairs.

N.C. Forest Service

The burn ban for Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington counties has been lifted.  Recent rainfall has improved conditions across the region and the threat of wildfires has been reduced.  According to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, wildland firefighters responded to more than 50 wildfires while the ban was in place.  Even though permits are available again, N.C.

ECU’s interim chancellor has weighed in on a fight between the state and Vidant Health over appointments to Vidant’s board. East Carolina University released a letter signed by interim chancellor Dan Gerlach and Brody School of Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Stacy about the controversy. The Pitt County Board of Commissioners in May approved action that would end the UNC system’s nine appointments to the 20 member Vidant Health Medical Board. The state reacted, with the UNC system filing a lawsuit and a proposed state budget that would lower Medicaid reimbursement rates to the hospital.

The largest Marine Corps air assault exercise on the East Coast in over a decade takes place Tuesday in Carteret and Onslow Counties. Residents near Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, and Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field Camp Davis should expect an increase in military presence during the training.

Creative Commons

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Some North Carolina farmers have voiced opposition to a proposed ban on smokable hemp, saying it would keep them from capitalizing on the fast-growing hemp industry.

The bill containing the ban passed the state Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday and seeks to expand the state's pilot hemp farming program.

The State Bureau of Investigation pushed for the proposed ban on smokable hemp in a committee hearing last week, saying that it's difficult for law enforcement to discern smokable hemp from marijuana.

CDC

UPDATED: The Centers for Disease Control reports 1,022 cases of measles in the U.S. this year, the greatest number of cases since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. No cases of measles have been identified in North Carolina, but are we prepared for an outbreak?

 

 


FDA Food Sampling Finds Contamination By 'Forever Chemicals'

Jun 3, 2019
Cliff Hollis - ECU News Services

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration's first broad testing of food for a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds found substantial levels in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to unreleased findings FDA researchers presented at a scientific conference in Europe.

NC Drought Management Advisory Council

Despite some showers and thunderstorms over the weekend, 10 counties in southeastern North Carolina counties are in moderate drought due to a lack of rain and hot temperatures. Thirty-one counties, mostly in the eastern part of the state, are abnormally dry.  That means drought conditions are possible if dry conditions persist. Klaus Albertin, Chairman of the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council said in a news release that streams, groundwater levels and inflows to reservoirs are affected by the unusually hot and dry conditions.

The Onslow Water and Sewer Authority is asking customers to conserve water where possible as dry conditions and abnormal heat reduce water stores. A press release from the Authority says every month this year has seen well below normal rainfall. That along with abnormally high usage has prompted their request for customers to watch their water usage. They note water demand on Memorial Day was 13.5 million gallons.

Sound Rivers

Numerous dead or dying menhaden have been washing ashore with severe lesions near Havelock in the areas of Flanners Beach and Carolina Pines.  N.C. Division of Water Resources staff and other scientists are analyzing the menhaden to pinpoint the cause of the fish kill. Low dissolved oxygen does not appear to be a factor, according to a press release from the North Carolina Division of Environmental Quality.  Officials are warning people to avoid contact with the water near the fish kill. 

NCDOT Ferry Division

The new passenger-only ferry between Ocracoke and Hatteras is now accepting reservations. The Ocracoke Express service began Monday and has accommodated 1021 passengers in its first three days of operation. Currently the fare for a round-trip ticket is $2, with children 3 and under riding free. There is no additional charge for bicycles. The ferry service is now accepting reservations for travel through June 15. Reservations can be made at ncferry.org or by calling 800-BY-FERRY.

Wolf Haven International

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Illegal killings and longstanding political resistance have undercut the return of two species of endangered wolves to the wild, frustrating government efforts that already cost more than $80 million but have failed to meet recovery targets.

The number of red wolves roaming the forests of North Carolina has plunged to fewer than three dozen in recent years — the most precarious position of any U.S. wolf species.

Deb Shackleford

The Coastal Land Trust acquired 182 acres of natural area in Craven County to preserve habitat and wildlife. The tract of land was purchased using funds from a $7.3 million settlement between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Sierra Club over the environmental impacts of the Havelock U.S. 70 bypass project that goes through the Croatan National Forest.

Tim Pike, Jones County Emergency Management

When Hurricane Florence hit small, rural communities in Jones County, hundreds of families were displaced from their homes and dozens of businesses closed down. The storm caused an estimated $8 million in damages to personal property alone.  No one expected the catastrophic flooding that occurred, not even emergency responders who performed about 200 swift water rescues.  


With hurricane season underway June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says now is the time to purchase flood insurance. It takes 30 days from the day you purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program for the policy to take effect, so FEMA suggests thinking about your flood insurance purchase now. While FEMA home repair grants provide basic, emergency assistance, flood insurance covers much more.

Carteret Shore Protection Office

Beach nourishment at Indian Beach/Salter Path and at the east end of Emerald Isle wrapped up before the sea turtle nesting season began May 1st.  Now, a local contractor is planting 300,000 native grass plants to help stabilize the sand.

NCDOT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina will try leasing a boat to take passengers between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands because the ferry that was supposed to do the job has been delayed -- again.

Spokesman Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division tells The News & Observer of Raleigh that the most recent delay is because inspectors found the aluminum welds in the hull were substandard. Work was halted and then resumed in March.

The Kinston based nonprofit Greene Lamp was recently awarded a $1.7 million grant to help people directly affected by Hurricane Florence find work in Eastern North Carolina.   Funding from the Department of Labor will help individuals who lost a job or a business because of the storm.   Over 300 applications have been received so far for the Hurricane Florence Disaster Relief Employment Program, said Chantel Dunn, program specialist.

NC DIT Broadband Infrastructure Office

Nearly $10 million will go to improving broadband access in 19 North Carolina counties, most of which are in the eastern region.

Visitor spending in North Carolina set a new record last year. A press release from the Governor’s Office reports record visitor spending during 2018 of $25.3 billion. That’s a 5.6 percent increase from 2017’s total. Those visits generated about $3.9 billion in federal, state and local taxes, up 4.8 percent from the prior year. About $1.3 billion of that was state taxes. The state hosted over 51 million visitors last year. Tourism industry-supported employment also set a record last year, increasing 2.2 percent to 230,560 jobs.

Creative Commons

  MANTEO, N.C. (AP) — Mayors from along the North Carolina coast are discussing the costs of offshore oil drilling if something goes wrong.

About a dozen mayors from Duck to Topsail Beach are meeting Wednesday in Manteo to discuss their worries about offshore oil and gas exploration. Opponents say that one future oil spill could destroy the state's $4 billion fishing business and badly dent the state's $20 billion tourism industry.

North Carolina State University researchers are predicting a normal hurricane season this year, with 13 to 16 named storms in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.  Five to seven of those named storms are expected to become hurricanes, with the possibility of two to three storms becoming major hurricanes.  The National Hurricane Center has yet to release their 2019 hurricane predictions.   

Washington County Hospital

Washington County Hospital has reopened after closing suddenly and filing for bankruptcy nearly two and a half months ago.  Initially, the hospital will staff about 40 employees, which is fewer than when the hospital ceased operations on Feb. 14.  However, all of the hospital’s services will be available to patients, said Tom Waldrep, the Washington County Hospital bankruptcy trustee.

Duke Health

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