06 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / June Edition


Calendar of Events –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


Events
TDA - logo
Discover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here


Calendar of Events Island –

All programs are temporarily on hold


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here


Reminders –

Free Dump Week
Brunswick County property owners and residents may dispose of all materials, except for regular household trash and hazardous waste, at the Brunswick County Landfill free of charge June 22nd – 27th. Metal, tires, electronics, latex paint, and yard debris can be disposed of during free dump week, but they must be placed in their designated area. Business and commercial vehicles will be charged normal tipping fees. You must show proof of Brunswick County property ownership or residency.

Brunswick County Landfill
172 Landfill Rd NE, Bolivia, NC 28422
Hours of operation are:
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 pm.



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties

Waste Industries – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.10


Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every two bedrooms

§ 50.08 RENTAL HOMES.
(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).


Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule
Waste Industries change in service, trash pickup will be twice a week. Starting the Saturday before Memorial Day through the Saturday after Labor Day: Pick-up is every Tuesday and Saturday from May 23rd through September 5th

 

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house


Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 23rd twice a week

Recyclingstarting May 26th weekly pick-up


Waste Management Wants Consumers to Pay More as It Moves More Trash
Working from home, Americans produce more household waste, resulting in higher costs for trash haulers
Read more » click here


Vehicle Decals
The 2020 vehicle decals were distributed with the March water bills. Each bill included four (4) vehicle decals. It is important that you place your decals in your vehicle or in a safe place. A $10 fee will be assessed to anyone who needs to obtain either additional or replacement decals. Decals will not be issued in the 24-hour period before an anticipated order of evacuation.

The decals are your passes to get back onto the island to check your property in the event that an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the driver side lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle.

Property owners without a valid decal will not be allowed on the island during restricted access. No other method of identification is accepted in an emergency situation. Click here to visit the Town website to find out more information regarding decals and emergency situations.


Golf Carts
Golf carts are treated the same as other automotive vehicles.
Town ordinances state no parking anytime on OBW.
Therefore, golf carts are illegally parked when left by any beach access point.



Pets on the Beach Strand
Pets – Chapter 90 / Animals / 90.20
From May 20th through September 10th it is unlawful to have any pet on the beach strand during the hours of 9:00am through 5:00pm.

 


. .

A Second Helping
Program to collect food Saturday mornings (7:00am to 12:00pm) during the summer at the Beach Mart on the Causeway.

.


.
1) Sixteenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on June 6th and run through September 12th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

Hunger exists everywhere in this country; join them in the fight to help end hunger in Brunswick County. Cash donations are gratefully accepted. One hundred percent (100%) of these cash donations are used to buy more food. You can be assured that the money will be very well spent.

Mail Donations to:
A Second Helping % Douglas Cottrell
2939 Alan Trail
Supply, NC 28462

Website:
http://www.secondhelping.us/


A Second Helping gears up for 15th season in Holden Beach
A Second Helping volunteers are preparing for their 15th season of collecting donated items from departing vacationers as they wave goodbye to Holden Beach and begin their journey home. Orange cones and canopies will once again be visible in the Beach Mart parking lot as volunteers gather at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 6 to kick off the summer season. A Second Helping will collect items until noon every Saturday through Sept. 12, according to Doug Cottrell, operations manager. This past summer, A Second Helping collected 14,330 pounds of food, paper products, unused toiletries, garbage bags and other unused items from visitors to the beach. The volunteer organization also collected $2,165 in cash donations. The items are distributed throughout the county wherever they can be best used, including Loaves & Fishes food pantry at Brunswick Islands Baptist Church and One Can Ministries / Sharon United Methodist Church.  Non-food items, including paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, laundry supplies and linens are shared with Brunswick Christian Recovery Center in Ash. BCRC is a non-profit Christian rehabilitation center for those with addiction to drugs, both of the prescription and “street” variety, and alcohol. This men’s residential rehabilitation facility benefits from donated cleaning, kitchen, personal care, and other non-food donations. In August, BCRC will open a similar facility for women. The Rose House, at 545 Hickman Road NW, will provide care for up to 28 patients. BCRC plays a key role in returning shattered individuals to wholeness and health, according to Cottrell. Donations to these facilities allow the recovery centers to provide 16 weeks of free residential recovery for individuals seeking substance abuse assistance. The Second Helping volunteers, now totaling 35, will be watching news of the COVID-19 crisis as the summer progresses. “We are keeping alert for any increase in virus cases that might influence the beach access or short-term rentals,” said Cottrell. “We are taking this one day at a time.  If for any reason we get an uptick in COVID issues and rentals and/or beach access is impacted, we will pull back. I felt it would be better to be ready and react than not be ready and have things go well with local health statistics. That is what we want anyway right?” Bill Spier founded A Second Helping in 2005.
Since July 2005, the group has collected and redistributed 244,300 pounds of donated items, according to A Second Helping’s website.  “Our volunteers, community and those who benefit from these collections continue to be blessed by his vision and thank him for his years of faithful and tireless service,” Cottrell said in an earlier interview. “It is interesting how others support what we do. Lyn Holden gladly welcomed us to use the front of his parking lot when I approached him about how poorly located the (Holden Beach) Chapel parking lot was to get donors from both sides of the bridge plus the traffic safety issue.  Mitch Young of Island Time Rentals provides our pop-up canopy each week.  All of the on-beach realtors put our information in their info packets or do it digitally in the case of Hobbs Realty.  We get surplus food from Archibald’s Deli. Bible Baptist Church has connections for relief food, and we have been the recipients of over-stock of that.” A Second Helping also receives support from additional Holden Beach rental realtors, including Alan Holden Vacations, Coastal Vacation Resorts, Holden Beach Vacations and PROACTIVE Vacations, he added.  “We also thank all our Holden Beach merchants for allowing us to put posters in their establishments and their generous donation of $1,000. We are very grateful to our generous vacationers and residents. Last summer was another great year!​​ A Second Helping locations originally planned for Ocean Isle and Sunset beaches have suspended their collection plans due to COVID-19. Volunteers will also accept monetary donations to assist the three charities. Donations may be made at the causeway location or mailed to 2939 Alan Trail SW, Supply, NC 28462. “My greatest joy is the smiles on donors faces that they can help, and they don’t throw anything away after having a great week at our wonderful family-oriented beach.”
Read more » click here 



Bird Nesting Area

NC Wildlife Commission has posted signs that say –
Bird Nesting Area / Please don’t disturb
The signs are posted on the west end beach strand


People and dogs are supposed to stay out of the area from April through November

. 1) It’s a Plover nesting area
. 2) Allows migrating birds a place to land and rest without being disturbed


Coastal birds need social distancing during nesting season
According to the National Audubon Society, in 2015 there were 232 Least Tern nests and 175 Black Skimmer nests in North Carolina, with potential for a decrease in 2020 if beachgoers do not extend social distancing efforts. “This is an important time for beach-nesting birds as they begin laying eggs and raising chicks right on our shores,” said Ben Graham, spokesman for Audubon North Carolina. “As North Carolina slowly reopens, it’s critical for people to remember that these birds need social distancing too. Their survival depends on it.” Vulnerable birds like the Least Terns and Black Skimmers, which are listed as state species of concern, lay their eggs right on the beach, making them at risk for even the smallest disturbances from humans and their pets. “They scrape out a little bowl-shaped depression in the sand and lay two to four eggs,” coastal biologist Lindsay Addison said. “Because they need this habitat to raise their young and because people want to use the same habitat to recreate, the birds and people often end up trying to use the same resource. If people don’t give the birds their own space on the beach, the birds cannot be successful.” Least Terns are known for their hovering patterns, small size, and yellow bills. Least Terns are very territorial of their nests and will let out a call and even sometimes defecate on their invaders.
Read more » click here


Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven
The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!


Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.

§157.087 BUILDING NUMBERS.

(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.



BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, July 21st
.


News from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here


Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to heather@hbtownhall.com.


Recycling-Bin
Curbside Recycling

Waste Industries is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $93.29 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

 

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already


Elevator - CRElevators
Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.


Library
If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.



Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
• Submit completed Property Registration Form
• Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home


Upon Further Review – 


Dog Park
The dog park will remain closed for the foreseeable future. The Town needed to use the land at the dog park to place material from the canal dredging project as the dredge spoils area. It is unknown when it will be returned to a useable state as a dog park again. They are currently looking at other options for a dog park on the island.

Previously reported – January 2020
Dog park was utilized for canal dredging spoil site. We did some site ditching prior to Hurricane Dorian storm event to facilitate draining of the pond.

Intent is to reestablish pre-dredge capabilities which in order of priority are as follows:
. 1.
Permitted primary disaster debris management area
. 2.
Public Works lay down yard
. 3.
Dog Park

Must maintain compliance with environmental permit and monitoring
Safety is the priority for this site, at present it is not ready for use


Four people spoke during the Public Comments session at the January BOC’s meeting, all in favor of creating a new Dog Park area. The park was utilized by people daily. We no longer have anywhere on the island to walk a dog safely. The nearest dog park for off leash activity is in Shallotte. I think we should make every effort to provide an area for dogs on the island. My recommendation is to utilize existing town property. The Town actually owns quite a bit of property. For instance, we have two parcels between BAW and OBW, across from Marker Fifty-Five, that were platted as streets but never put in; between High Point Street and Neptune Drive. We had previously discussed the possibility of creating parking areas out of them, one of them could be made into a dog park. Parking should be on the BAW side of the park, so it doesn’t get taken over by guests going to the beach. The designated area would be an additional recreational opportunity as well as an option for having dogs off their leashes instead of in unauthorized areas like the beach strand. As for allocating funds the cost should be paid for by the canal POA’s. You ask: Why? In April of 2014 we established the Dog Park on Town owned property at Scotch Bonnet Drive, at a cost of $19,000 sourced from BPART account. The Canal Dredging Project was mostly paid for from the Water Resources Development Grant of $1,439,922 which we secured in December 2017. According to Town Manager Hewett, “the Canal Dredging Project is paying all costs for the reconstitution of the Scotch Bonnet site to include installation of dog park facilities at that location.” That’s all well and good but meanwhile we do not have a dog park. It is my humble opinion that the right thing to do is for them to pay to create a temporary replacement dog park too.

NRPA Park Pulse: Americans Agree Dog Parks Benefit Local Communities
Local parks and recreation agencies provide dog parks for the areas they serve
Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. With this month’s poll, we look at the possible benefits dog parks bring to their communities.

91% of Americans believe dog parks provide benefits to their communities

Availability of dog parks is especially popular among millennials (94 percent) and Gen Xers (92 percent) followed by baby boomers (89 percent) who agree dog parks provide benefits to communities.

Top 3 Community Dog Park Benefits:

      • 60% Gives dogs a safe space to exercise and roam around freely
      • 48% Allows dogs to socialize with other dogs
      • 36% Allows owners a chance to be physically active with their pet

For more information » click here


Corrections & Amplifications –


Holden Bridge Safety Railing Project

Previously reported – August 2018
Agenda Packet –
Safety Railing for the Holden Beach Bridge
It is the intent of the Department of Transportation to provide a bicycle/pedestrian railing atop the Town’s concrete bridge barrier, as an added safety improvement. They would like feedback from the Town on a preferred option for the safety rail. It seems as though they need an answer sooner than our normal meeting schedule allows.

I don’t think it is the manager’s call on this and feel the Board should review and make the recommendation. Please see the attached pictures and let me know if you have any questions.

Bridge Health Index
NCDOT is committed to measuring and improving its overall performance. One of the department’s goals is to make the state’s infrastructure last longer by setting a target for at least 70 percent of bridges rated to be in good condition or better. Good means that the bridge can safely carry the typical-sized commercial or passenger vehicles for that route. To achieve this goal, the department uses a data-driven strategy to improve the overall condition of all bridges in North Carolina by focusing taxpayer dollars where they’re needed most.

North Carolina Department of Transportation selected Holden Beach bridge as a High Value Bridge. They have allocated funding to make safety improvements and improve the expected life expectancy of the bridge. Work includes adding bicycle / pedestrian railing a safety improvement and also do basic repair to the substructure. NCDOT will pay the entire estimated $1.5 million to $2.0 million cost of the project. Work on the bridge is scheduled to begin in September. The estimated time frame to complete the work is the better part of eighteen months.

Chad Kimes Deputy Division Engineer informed the Board that NCDOT intends to install a bicycle / pedestrian railing on top of the concrete bridge barrier, which does not meet current safety standards, as a safety improvement. He asked the Board for feedback regarding what look did they want. The Board was given the opportunity to choose whether the rails would be vertical or horizontal and also select the color.

The Board chose to have three horizontal railings with an aluminum finish atop the concrete bridge barrier.

A decision was made – Approved (4-1)

Town Manager David Hewett said the bridge was never intended for bicycle and pedestrian traffic and putting up the railing up may give people the wrong impression. Commissioner Butler agreed with David and voted against the motion essentially saying we were creating an attractive nuisance. David asked whether the funds could be used to pave Ocean Boulevard West. Chad said the monies for resurfacing and for the bridge project are separate, so NO.

Previously reported – December 2018
Bridge Rehabilitation Project
As you may recall a couple of months ago, we presented two bridge railing options at your Commissioners meeting in reference to the Holden Beach bridge rehabilitation project, for your review and consideration. The Town chose the three horizontal rail design as shown in the attachment titled “Holden Rail Retrofit ­ Options 1 and 2.” Upon further consideration, we requested our design consultant provide a third railing option for the bridge rail retrofit, which I have attached, titled “Holden Rail Retrofit – Option 3.” The idea for this option came from the latest Surf City bridge design, which includes a smaller vertical “picket” than the option provided at the council meeting and may provide greater visibility. The support posts in this option are modified slightly as well.

The Town’s prior decision is still a perfectly valid option and it is not our intent to complicate matters with this proposal, we just wanted to extend this option to you, since it is also being extended to Ocean Isle Beach. We are currently under contract with Coastal Gunite Construction to perform the rehab work and will need to provide them with your choice of the 3 options. If you will please review the attachments and provide us with a response by Friday, December 14, 2018, if at all possible, it will be greatly appreciated and can help the project stay on schedule.

The contract has been awarded, NCDOT plan to spend 3.3 million dollars rehabilitating the bridge, part of the High Value Bridge Program, including adding safety railings which brings the wall from 27” to 48” to meet current safety criteria. The project is scheduled to start in January and is expected to take through October of 2019 to complete. The BOC’s selected the new third option which includes two horizontal aluminum bars with thin vertical pickets.

A decision was made – Approved unanimously

The Surf City railing shown below is what we are getting minus the top horizontal bar.

Previously reported – February 2019
Planning Director Tim Evans met with the NCDOT to get more information about the project and made the presentation tonight. Most of the Towns concerns about activities being compromised during bridge maintenance project were addressed.

Previously reported – October 2019
The work on the bridge will not be finished until at least March of 2020 due to the decorative guard rail we selected.
Contract was awarded October 29, 2018 with the completion date for the contract to be October 1, 2019

Previously reported – April 2020
Traffic Alert
The contractor for the Department of Transportation is scheduled, weather permitting, to remobilize on Monday, April 27th to begin the rail retrofit work on the Holden Beach Bridge. Work will be conducted 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mondays – Thursdays and 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Fridays. Drivers should expect delays due to lane closures during these times and should use caution in the work area.



Bridge Safety Railing Project
Work on the bridge safety railing has been delayed. COVID-19 restrictions have resulted in delayed fabrication and delivery of the rail. Work is scheduled to resume on June 15th.


I am shocked – shocked – that almost no work was done on the bridge safety railing project. Let me get this straight, they are going to do the project at the busiest time of the year on the island.

You can’t make this stuff up!


Update –
Work started a week before the date it was scheduled to resume. The existing concrete railing structure doesn’t meet the 48” minimum safety standard height requirement  guidelines for cycling and pedestrians. The existing railing is only 27″ high, the newly installed railing adds another  21” which gets us up to the 48” minimum safety standard height requirement.

Tah-Dah!


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program – 2020
. 1) Current nest count – 26 as of 06/20/20
.    
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 11th

Members of the patrol started riding the beach every morning on May 1 and will do so through October looking for signs of turtle nests.
For more information » click here

>
It’s Turtle Season on Holden Beach!
It’s official…. the turtle season has started!
Turtle Watch ATV riders are out looking for tracks of the mother turtle each morning.
Turtles usually start laying their eggs on our beach mid to late May.
The first turtle nest was laid on our beach this year on May 11th.
Last year the first nest was on May 9th which was the earliest date ever recorded.
It will take 55-60 days for these eggs to incubate.
They anticipate the first baby turtles on the beach in early July.

Wildlife Commission provides tips to help protect sea turtles during nesting season
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) reminded beachgoers Thursday what they can do to keep sea turtles and hatchlings safe during nesting season. Female sea turtles come ashore and lay their eggs on the beach along the North Carolina coastline from May to September. Artificial light can deter females from coming ashore to nest and can disorient sea turtle hatchlings trying to find their way back to the ocean. Disoriented hatchlings that wander inland often die of dehydration or predation. Residents or visitors to the beach can help by turning off outdoor lights and closing blinds or draperies after dark. People walking on the beach late at night should refrain from using flashlights or cellphones.

Other tips for beachgoers to help protect sea turtles and hatchlings during nesting season include: 

      • Remove all beach equipment when you leave
      • Fill in all holes in the sand at the end of the day 
      • Pick up all your trash when you leave
      • Properly dispose of any fishing line (fishing line can be deadly to turtles, birds and other marine animals) 
      • Do not build beach campfires during the nesting season (hatchlings have been known to crawl into the fire or ashes and die)
      • Use your natural vision and moonlight when walking the beach at night
      • Leave tracks left by sea turtles undisturbed

If you encounter a turtle on the beach at night, keep your distance and remain quiet and still. Resist the temptation to use flash photography. Sea turtle nests are usually clearly marked with red or yellow tape by volunteers. The top of the nest may be covered with fencing to help prevent predators. Six of the seven species of sea turtles found worldwide are threatened or endangered in the United Sates. All sea turtles in North Carolina are protected by both state and federal laws. Five sea turtle species reside in North Carolina waters; however, the most common species found along this coastline are the loggerhead and green sea turtle. If you find a dead or injured sea turtle on land or in the water, call the N.C. sea turtle hotline 1-(252) 241-7367.
Read more » click here


Odds & Ends –


Large great white sharks ‘converging’ off Carolinas. Is the weather a cause?
A sudden convergence of great white sharks is taking place off the Carolinas — from Cape Hatteras to Charleston — proving the apex predators are being mysteriously drawn to a tight strip off the coast. Satellite tags reveal seven great whites are within that area, with an eighth hovering at the South Carolina-Georgia border, near Hilton Head. Most (five) are sitting off Southport, near Wilmington.
Read more » click here

Tracking site » click here

Cluster of sharks in one spot off Carolinas coast grows more intense
The clustering of great white sharks off the Carolinas coast is growing more pronounced and mysterious, based on satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media. Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other along the border of North and South Carolina — and they represent the only sharks currently tracking along the East Coast, according to a map posted on Facebook by OCEARCH. Researchers began noticing a convergence of great white sharks off the Carolinas in late January, but the group was more spread out. Now the sharks are exhibiting a clear preference for the same spot off Southport, near Wilmington, the data shows. OCEARCH says the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, represent a tiny sampling of what is actually off the coast, meaning waters could be full of great
Read more » click here

Update –
There Are 15 Sharks Swarming The Outer Banks Of North Carolina Right Now
Read more » click here


Sharks of North Carolina
Read more » click here

Shark Attack
The chances of being attacked by a shark are exceedingly small compared to other animal attacks, natural disasters, and ocean-side dangers. Many more people drown in the ocean every year than are bitten by sharks. The few attacks that occur every year are an excellent indication that sharks do not feed on humans and that most attacks are simply due to mistaken identity.

Your chances of being attacked by a shark are just 1 in 11.5 million!

What Are the Odds? Long, Most Likely
Not everyone is at risk of a being bitten by a shark. 1 in 11.5 million is the rate of attacks in one year at 68 U.S. beaches and is based on attendance figures at the venues.
Read more » click here


This & That


Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards
A trip to the beach can turn deadly (or painful) due to natural hazards but being aware of risks and mitigating hazards is a good way to prevent problems.
Picture this: warm weather, blue skies, and your toes in the sand — it sounds like a perfect lazy summer day at the beach. Maybe you decide to cool down in the ocean and find yourself bobbing around when suddenly you realize you are a little too far out. As panic sinks in and you start to swim towards dry land you realize your efforts are in vain and your whole body is getting tired, all the while you are drifting further into the Atlantic — you have gotten stuck in a rip current. It’s not the only potential danger in the ocean, though. There are also sharks. And, of course, there are some things on shore that ruin your day at the beach, too, including stepping on jellyfish and, of course, good old-fashioned sunburn.

Rip currents
According to the U.S. Lifesaving Association (USLA), 80 percent of all ocean rescues are related to rip currents and annually more than 100 fatalities across the country are due to rip currents. While it is obvious that swimming at a beach with lifeguards is one of the safer options, there are plenty of area beaches that lack lifeguards or maybe ocean rescue season has not started just yet. So, what is the best course of action for surviving a rip current? According to the National Weather Service, there are several things swimmers should keep in mind when dealing with these often-unseen dangers.

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.Sharks
    Sharks are a fear on most every swimmer’s mind, regardless of the actual dangers posed by the large predatory fish. “NOAA states that while shark attacks are rare, they are most likely to occur near shore, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks can be trapped by low tide, and near steep drop-offs where sharks’ prey gather. While the risks are small, it’s important to be aware of how to avoid an attack,” according to previous reporting.

Suggestions from NOAA for reducing the risk of a shark attack include:

  • Don’t swim too far from shore.
  • Stay in groups – sharks are more likely to attack a solitary individual.
  • Avoid being in the water during darkness or twilight when sharks are most active.
  • Don’t go in the water if bleeding from a wound – sharks have a very acute sense of smell.
  • Leave the shiny jewelry at home – the reflected light resembles fish scales.
  • Avoid brightly-colored swimwear – sharks see contrast particularly well.Sunburns
    Most everyone has experienced a sunburn at one point in their life and while not often thought as a major concern for many, overexposure to UV light can cause serious long-term problems including skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using at least S.P.F. 15 sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Wearing a hat, long sleeves, and other protective clothing is also recommended to keep skin protected.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
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Portuguese Man o’ Wars wash ashore Eastern NC beaches
While finding washed up jellyfish are a pretty common part of visiting the beach, sightings of Portuguese Man o’ Wars, a creature known for its painful sting, are being reported at beaches up and down the coast. Whether they’re alive in the water or washed up in the sand, they can sting you. If you’re stung, you’ll need to get medical attention. Experts warn not to apply vinegar, vodka, or urine to the sting, and to gently remove the tentacles with a credit card. The sting is described as incredibly painful, but it’s not a life-threatening injury. Rob Condon has a PHD in marine science has studied drivers of jellyfish populations for the past 20 years and says the recent weather systems are what brought them to our local beaches. The creatures drift around in the ocean and if they get caught in a current or a breeze, they get blown ashore. Jellyfish of all kinds are important to the environment and serve as a food source for large fish and sea turtles. Condon says jellyfish populations rise and fall over a 20-year period and right now, we’re in a rising phase.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Resort Towns Ask: Will There Be Summer?
With Memorial Day weekend approaching, areas that rely on tourists say not reopening would be devastating economically but fear the consequences of opening too soon.

In summer resort towns across the United States, livelihoods for the year are built in the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is during those 15 weeks that tourists from around the country and the world arrive to bask on the beach and gather for festivals and weddings. And it is during those three months that tour operators, hoteliers, innkeepers, restaurant employees and others earn the bulk of their income.
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Hot Button Issues
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


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Climate
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There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

Climate Change Is Making Hurricanes Stronger, Researchers Find
An analysis of satellite imagery from the past four decades suggests that global warming has increased the chances of storms reaching Category 3 or higher.
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The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change, study shows
Researchers find, for the first time, a statistically significant global trend, especially in the Atlantic
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Development Fees
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Flood Insurance Program
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 20, 2019.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2020.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. Should the NFIP’s authorization lapse, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance.

The level of damage from recent catastrophic storms makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP.

Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for homeowners, renters, business, and communities to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.
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GenX
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EPA failed to monitor GenX chemical for eight years
In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement to allow DuPont to manufacture its GenX chemical at its plant in Bladen County near Fayetteville as long as it captured and destroyed or recycled 99% of the GenX the plant would otherwise emit into the air and water. But from 2009 to the end of June 2017, the EPA made no inspections to make sure the plant, now operated by Chemours Co., was in compliance with the agreement, says a report issued Thursday by the EPA’s Office of Inspector General. Until June 2017, the EPA relied on information provided to it by Chemours to verify that the plant was in compliance with the agreement, the report says. The first inspections were done after the StarNews of Wilmington reported there was GenX in drinking water supplies of communities along the Cape Fear River downstream of the factory.
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Homeowners Insurance
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Hurricane Season

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Busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020
Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely
An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.
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2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Fast Facts
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The areas covered include the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

The National Weather Service defines a hurricane as a “tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher.”

Hurricanes are rated according to intensity of sustained winds on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The 1-5 scale estimates potential property damage.

A Category 3 or higher is considered a major hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center advises preparedness:

    • A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.
    • A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.

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How cities along the US coast are preparing for a hurricane season like no other
When disaster strikes, state emergency officials prepare for the worst-case scenarios. But most plans don’t include a hurricane season coinciding with a ravaging pandemic that drains resources and shows no signs of slowing down.

As hurricane season officially starts Monday, Florida and other states along the Atlantic coast are faced with the daunting reality and are rewriting nearly every aspect of their storm preparedness. With predictions of a busy hurricane season, officials are changing their pleas from remain indoors to combat coronavirus — to leave home and go to shelters when asked to evacuate. “The biggest challenge that we’re facing is that when the evacuation order comes, that the people won’t leave,” said Frank Rollason, director of Emergency Management at Miami-Dade County. “That they’ll think they’re better off taking their chances at home than they are in groups of people who may be Covid positive. If they are ordered to evacuate, they are safer in an evacuation center than in their home in an evacuation zone. “

Evacuations will be more complicated
By all indications, it’ll be a busy hurricane season. Two tropical storms — Arthur and Bertha — have already checked in this month even before the season officially started. Under normal circumstances, the decision to evacuate as a storm looms is hard enough. Emergency officials have to weigh the risks of letting people stay home versus urging hordes of them to get on the road to head to a shelter. This year, officials are aware coronavirus is a major concern, and have added more shelters, extra space, and other measures to reassure evacuees. “Those going to shelters will get their temperatures taken and will have to answer questions on whether they’ve had contact with anyone who has coronavirus or whether they’ve had symptoms,” Rollason said. At shelters, officials will ensure people are spread out. Some will be housed in complexes such as schools or hotels with low occupancy. The county has made arrangements with schools to have classes deep-cleaned and furniture removed to provide more room, he said. “Families that have been exposed to Covid-19 will be separated from others and put in a classroom as a unit,” Rollason said.

Hundreds of hotels will house evacuees
The state has also signed up 200 hotels to give counties options for vulnerable people such as seniors, those who have underlying conditions or people who may have coronavirus, said Jared Moskowitz, the Florida director of Emergency Management. “I need people to have the confidence that in the event they live in an evacuation zone and they’re under mandatory evacuation. And there’s a threat of a hurricane … they have the confidence to leave and get out of harm’s way. We can mitigate the effects of Covid-19. We cannot mitigate the effects of a hurricane,” he said. For those who will shelter in places other than hotels, cots will be spaced farther apart, and hand sanitizing stations placed throughout. Meals will be taken to families instead of self-service, and there will be screenings twice a day for symptoms, said Trevor Riggen, senior vice president for disaster cycle services at the American Red Cross.

Florida ordered nursing homes and assisted living facilities to install generators after a dozen people died when Hurricane Irma knocked out power at a nursing home in 2017. Nursing homes in areas at risk of flooding will work with the state to move residents to facilities out of the storm’s path, where social distancing will also be considered, officials said.

Getting supplies is also a concern
Coronavirus has sapped resources, leaving small towns fighting with bigger cities for coveted personal protective equipment. The items are not just for hospitals but also for volunteers. “Are they going to show up if there isn’t enough PPE for everybody? We can’t really depend on folks to bring their own,” said Colin Wellenkamp, the executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. Personal protective equipment is also crucial to ensure that the virus does not spread in areas already at-risk during hurricane season. In Florida, the Emergency Management director said they created a special stockpile for hurricane season by buying up PPE and putting it in reserve in a warehouse. The goal is to make sure there are 10 million masks on hand during hurricane season, Moskowitz said. Federal officials have urged people to make their own preparations as well. Those who will evacuate should carry items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials and face coverings. “Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency says. “Have enough food, water, and other supplies for every member of your family to last at least 72 hours. Consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors and prescription medications.”

Shortage of volunteers expected this year 
The Red Cross will provide a bulk of help at shelters, officials say. More than 90% of the Red Cross’ workforce is volunteer, and the organization has been conducting weekly surveys to gauge their willingness, Riggen said last month. The availability and safety of volunteers is especially a concern in small towns and cities that dot the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. For example, Clarksville, Missouri, one of those vulnerable cities on the Mississippi River, has around 500 residents. And one of its main streets is just feet from the river. With a permanent flood barrier out of financial reach, Clarksville officials work with FEMA, state, and local officials along with volunteers from all over the country to defend against floods by building an eight-foot rock wall topped with sand bags. But this year, it’s facing a volunteer shortage due to coronavirus. And even if they had enough, building a wall while keeping people six feet apart to avoid the spread of coronavirus is not realistic. With a shortage of volunteers, local officials should explore other options beyond bringing people in from the outside to provide relief, said Craig Fugate, a former FEMA director who oversaw the response to large disasters like Superstorm Sandy. With mass job losses because of the coronavirus, officials should look into paying residents in affected areas to help with the response, he said. “Moving a lot of volunteers may not be a smart idea, so I think communities need to look to their current furloughed employees as their emergency workforce,” Fugate said. “There’s a whole lot of people that just lost their jobs, and you can put them to work.”
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Hurricane season crashes into a pandemic
How will North Carolina fare if a hurricane and COVID-19 are raging at the same time?
Most coastal North Carolina residents are hurricane veterans, experts even, taught by that best of teachers — experience. But when it comes to dealing with a hurricane in the midst of a pandemic, we’re all rookies — even those leading the response. That is weighing heavy on the minds of emergency-response officials as a hurricane season like no other begins Monday, June 1, and runs to Nov. 30. (There already have been two named storms in the Atlantic, but meteorologists say that is not unusual and doesn’t in itself portend a busy season — although that’s what was forecast earlier this year.) In past hurricanes, vital relief has come from state and federal agencies and organizations — both private and public. Many of those groups remain overwhelmed with the COVD-19 response — both financially and operationally. Perhaps the biggest concern is how to provide evacuation shelters with social-distancing requirements in place. Of course, if a hurricane were to hit late in the season, those restrictions may already have been lifted. But with the coronavirus on its own unpredictable track and an early season storm possible, a double dose of emergencies can’t be ruled out. And as coastal residents think about tasks like boarding up windows or securing boats, those living inland know that they are not immune from tropical weather — storms such as Floyd (1999), Matthew (2016) and Florence (2018) all produced devastating and deadly flooding far from the coast. Meanwhile, the entire nation’s emergency-response system remains under the strain of dealing with a pandemic. Mike Sprayberry, N.C.’s director of emergency management, told The Atlantic that he hadn’t had a day off in nearly 40 days — and that was a week ago. If a coastal area were to be hit by a major hurricane, people and organizations from other states may not have the ability to help as they have in the past. There’s also concerns for after a storm, when large groups of volunteers have gathered in the past to help with recovery and long lines can form at sites distributing food and water. And what about groceries? Stores have beefed up staffing levels to deal with the unique demands of the pandemic, but the problem has more often been a lack of certain essential items. Can the already-often-bare toilet tissue, paper towel, disinfectant and meat aisles handle a hurricane? Then there’s another piece to the unpleasant possibility of a major hurricane strike. Although the financial toll from COVID-19 on local governments and agencies is still playing out, there’s no question that anticipated tax revenues are going to take a hit. Governments are not anticipating any outside funding to make up for lost revenues and emergency funding after hurricanes can come long after the storm is over. (New Hanover Schools, which had many facilities with structural damage and mold, recently received $3 million from the Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to reimburse repair costs). After a hurricane, school systems and other government entities often have expensive repairs and other tasks — such as debris removal — that can’t wait on FEMA and other relief sources. They are often paid for out of fund balances — essentially their savings. So, the impact that COVID-19 revenue losses has on budgets could play a role in any hurricane response. Many places in North Carolina haven’t recovered from Hurricane Matthew, much less Florence. The idea of a Florence-type storm while COVID-19 is still raging is almost unimaginable. “That’s our nightmare scenario,” said Bill Saffo, mayor of Wilmington, which suffered massive damage from Florence and more than 1,000 people in emergency shelters. “We’ve been thinking about it from the time this all started,” Saffo said in April as the virus was gathering steam in North Carolina. “It would be the perfect storm for all of us.”
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Inlet Hazard Areas
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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Solid Waste Program

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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// January 2020
Name:             Rivertown Bistro
Cuisine:          Seafood
Location:       1111 3rd Avenue, Conway SC
Contact:         843.248.3733 /
https://www.rivertownbistro.com
Food:               Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:          Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:     Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:                Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating:           Four Stars
Located in the Historic District of downtown Conway, South Carolina, Rivertown Bistro offers unmatched atmosphere and unequaled culinary fusions. The food is outstanding, a tremendous value with prices being very moderate for the quality of the food served. It is one of the few area restaurants that offer creativity, quality, and atmosphere comparable to fine dining restaurants in major metropolitan areas. This is far above most of the other restaurant offerings in Myrtle Beach. It’s too bad that it’s over an hour away but definitely worth the trip. If you are going to try one new restaurant this should be the one you should go to. It’s the cat’s meow!


NC restaurants opened their doors again
Restaurants, which previously had only been allowed to offer takeout, can now open their dining rooms at 50% capacity, as long as social distancing and other guidelines are followed. Tables must be spaced out six feet apart, and shared spaces and surfaces must be cleaned constantly.


Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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THE OTHER MRS. by Mary Kubica
A Chicago family moves to an island in  Maine when the husband inherits an old house from his sister. What was supposed to be a fresh start for the doctor and her family becomes a living nightmare. It is a convoluted psychological thriller, narrated by a trio of seemingly disparate female voices in interspersing chapters. Netflix will turn the book into a feature film with Kubica producing.

 


.That’s it for this newsletter

See you next month


Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

.          • Gather and disseminate information
.          • Identify the issues and determine how they affect you

.          • Act as a watchdog
.          • Grass roots monthly newsletter since 2008

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