07 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / July 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 –



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/



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


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, August 18th
.


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


Coronavirus –

NC ranks among the top 25 in the world for worst coronavirus outbreaks
According to a report, North Carolina is ranked among the top 25 in the entire world for the worst COVID-19 outbreaks. Right now, North Carolina is 25th in the world for worst coronavirus outbreaks. According to a chart by the New York Times showing the newest cases per million, the Tar Heel state comes in right below South Africa. North Carolina’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to go up on Friday with the state health department reporting an additional 12 patients. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,046 patients are in the hospital in relation to the virus. NCDHHS said 22 percent of the state’s ICU beds are available. The state has 871 ventilators in use and 2,502 available. The state’s total number of lab-confirmed cases topped 80,000 with NCDHHS reporting 81,331 on Friday. A total of 1,150,612 tests have been completed. The number of deaths attributed to the virus moved to 1,479 on Friday – up from 1,461 on Thursday. Fifty-nine percent of those deaths were people 75 or older. Some of the coronavirus measures in North Carolina have shown incremental improvement in the nearly two weeks since the state-mandated the use of masks for people in public, a CBS17.com data analysis found. The slight changes appear to fall in line with the results of a study published last month by healthaffairs.org that found drops in the daily growth rate of COVID-19. The average daily growth rate on Thursday was 2.2 percent, down slightly after it was at 2.4 percent on June 26 — the day Gov. Roy Cooper’s mask mandate took effect. It usually takes at least two weeks for the results from an event to show up in the data. “I think it is working,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said Thursday. “It doesn’t mean we’re stable yet, and we have more work to do.”
Read more » click here

North Carolina has ‘uncontrolled spread’ of COVID-19, data show. How bad is it?
The coronavirus is spreading “uncontrolled” in North Carolina, a report shows. A map created by public health and crisis experts uses COVID-19 data and White House    criteria to track each state’s progress in controlling the spread of the virus based on several measures. It then categorizes them into different levels of spread based on those trends. North Carolina is in the “bruised red” color, indicating “uncontrolled spread” — the highest level. The report tracks the spread of the virus using seven factors: the 14-day trend of positive cases, influenza-like illnesses, ICU bed capacity, hospital bed capacity, percent of the testing target reached, the percent of positive tests and new cases per million each day. The state’s “weakest measure” determines its category: bruised red, red for trending poorly, yellow for making progress or green for trending better. North Carolina’s 14-day trend of COVID-19 cases and its new cases per million per day pushed it into the “bruised red” category. The state has seen a 27% increase in reported coronavirus cases over the last 14 days, according to the data. It’s also seen 177 new cases per million per day, the data show. North Carolina fell into the “trending poorly” category for its positive-test rate, which the report says is at an average of 7.7% over the past seven days. That percentage, based on data from the COVID Tracking Project, varies from N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ data. Positive tests have fallen between 8% and 10% every day over the last few weeks — hitting 11% Monday, according to the state. In either case, the percentage is not where it should be. Health officials have said it should ideally be closer to 5% to be moving in the right direction. North Carolina fell into the green category in some measures, the report shows. It is meeting 152% of its testing goal and has seen minimal influenza-like illness levels. Its ICU capacity is also “normal” at 64%. However, state data on Tuesday showed about 78% of ICU beds in use. The data in the report comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and only includes a “subset” of facilities. Hospitalizations have been spiking in North Carolina, according to data from the health department. They hit a record Tuesday at 1,109. Tuesday marked the sixth consecutive day in which daily hospitalizations in North Carolina topped 1,000. Eighteen other states, including most of the Southeast, also fell into the bruised red category along with North Carolina, the data show. Only four states made it into the green category: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maine. Once hot spots for the coronavirus pandemic, many northeastern states are now seeing some of the lowest cases and infection rates in the country. In turn, southern states have seen their cases skyrocket and are emerging as new hot spots for the outbreak.
Read more » click here

‘No mask, no entry. Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right?’
We tried our best to be polite about it. I’d frame it to customers like they were doing us this big favor: “Would you please consider wearing a mask?” “May we offer you a free mask?” “We sure do appreciate your cooperation.”

I’ll never understand what’s so hard about putting on a mask for a few minutes. It’s common sense. It’s a requirement now in North Carolina. But this is a conservative place, and there are only 900 people in this town. We try hard to get along. We’re a small general store, and we didn’t want to end up in one of those viral videos with people spitting or screaming about their civil rights. We put a sign outside — an appeal to kindness. “If you wear a mask, it shows how much you care about us.”

We found out how much they cared. It became clear real quick.

I’m 63. I’m a lifetime asthmatic. I’d watch customers pull into the parking lot without their faces covered, and my whole body would start to tense up. Our store is on the Intracoastal Waterway, and people from all over the world dock in the harbor and come in here for supplies. It’s a big petri dish. I put a shield up over my register, and a few hours into my shift it was covered with spittle. We’d have 20 or 30 people walk by the sign and come in without a mask. I’d try to get their attention and point to the sign. It was a lot of: “You’re infringing on my rights. This is a free country, and I’m here to shop, so who’s going to stop me?”

Then the local sheriff went on Facebook and said he wasn’t going to enforce the state requirement because he didn’t want to be the “mask police.” So now what? I have customers who are breaking the law and putting my life at risk, and what am I supposed to do? I’m a freaking retail clerk. I ring up beer and boat supplies for 10 bucks an hour. I don’t want to deal with this. If I didn’t need the money, I’d be home working in my garden or visiting my grandkids. I don’t come into the store every morning looking to make some big moral stand, but when I see something that’s wrong, I can’t let it slide. I cannot shut up. I get stuck on things. That’s my biggest downfall or my biggest asset. So, fine. I’ll be your mask police. What choice do I have? I talked to my co-worker, and we decided to hang another sign on the wall.

“Thanks for wearing a mask. It’s the most patriotic thing you can do.”

That didn’t stop them, so we kept adding more. “Please be kind to us.” “We’re here for you seven days a week, and we didn’t create this situation.” “Masks are required for anyone entering the store.”

Maybe some people took it as a challenge. I don’t know. But it kept on escalating. Most of our customers are supportive and respectful about it — maybe 90, 95 percent. But on weekends, we get dozens of people from Charlotte or Raleigh who come to visit their boats. Those places are virus hot spots, and they come here to have a good time and maybe they’re drinking. Some of them would see our signs, open the front door, and just yell: “F— masks. F— you.” Or they would walk in, refuse to wear a mask, and then dump their merchandise all over the counter. I had a guy come in with no mask and a pistol on his hip and stare me down. I had a guy who took his T-shirt off and put it over his mouth so I could see his whole stomach. “There. A mask. Are you happy?” I had a lady who tried to tape a pamphlet on the front window about the ADA mask exemption, which is a totally fake thing. It’s a conspiracy theory, but it’s become popular here. She kept saying we were discriminating against people with disabilities. What? Why? How? None of what they say sounds logical. I can’t make sense of half the names they call me. They say I’m uneducated — uh, that’s kind of ironic. They say I’m a sheep. I’ve been brainwashed. I’m pushing government propaganda. I’m suffocating them. I’m a part of the deep state. I’m an agent for the World Health Organization. “How do you like your muzzle?” “Is this going to become sharia law?” “Are you prepping us to wear burqas?” “What’s next? Mind control?”

The customer’s always right. We grit our teeth and try to accommodate the customer. We offer them free masks, even though they cost about a dollar. If the mask makes them uncomfortable for whatever reason, we say they can wait outside, and we will be happy to provide curbside service at no extra charge. If that somehow offends them, we apologize and suggest they shop somewhere else. Then it’s: “My rights, my rights. Why are you trampling on the Constitution?”

My fists are clenched all the time now. I’m always on edge. I wish this virus were glitter so we could actually see it, because in my mind, it’s everywhere. I wear gloves to touch the merchandise. I wipe down everything. I put a table in front of my register so nobody can come closer than six feet. I sanitize my hands so much they must be drunk. We had three new positive cases on the same day in this town, but people can’t be bothered to put a piece of cloth over their face. The sheriff’s department is closed to the public because it has a bunch of positive cases, but they still won’t enforce the mask law. One day I said to my co-worker, “I need to leave the store right now or I’m going to lose it. I’m going to explode.” I ended up taking 12 days off. I had a dream that I was going around the store and physically moving people six feet apart, scolding them for not wearing a mask. I came back to work and decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I handed out these laminated cards that say: “Mask Exemption Override – There is no ADA exemption for mask wearing.” If a person refuses to wear a mask, I’m like: “Okay. Goodbye. Have a nice life, and thoughts and prayers if you get covid.” They’re selfish. They’re lemmings. I don’t know if the virus will kill me or if it’s going to be my rage. Sometimes I want to cut America into different pieces, and all these anti-maskers can live together, and we’ll see how it works.

A few weeks back, we put an orange traffic cone on the sidewalk out front to draw people’s attention before they come into the store. We taped up another sign. “No mask, no entry.” Is that clear enough? That seems pretty clear, right? But this big, burly guy walked past the cone and past all the signs, and he pushed the door open. I said, “Sir, can I help you?” I pointed to the signs. I pointed to my mask. He was probably in his late 30s, and I’d never seen him before. He rolled his eyes and ignored me, so I knew where it was going. I came out from behind the register to try to block his path into the store. I said: “Do you have a mask you can put on?” He shook his head like he couldn’t be bothered, and he said he just wanted to buy a drink. I said, “Okay, that means I will get your drink while you wait outside, and I will bring it to the door.” But he’s still moving into the store, and I’m trying to stay in front of his path and keep him from going down the aisle. He said, “Come on, lady. I just want water. I have an ADA exemption.” I said: “I’m tired of this. Just leave the store now.”

He kept moving toward me, yelling, “ADA exemption, ADA exemption,” and now my body was starting to shake. It was fear and so much anger. Why is this my problem to deal with? This maskhole? This covidiot whose stupidity is putting me at risk? This isn’t what I signed up for. I’m trying to be the enforcer. I’m trying to corral this guy to the door, but he’s not backing down, and he’s getting more aggressive. He’s screaming about his rights. He’s yelling at me to call the police. We’re six inches apart. He yells out: “Social distancing! Move out of my way.” He’s screaming all kinds of profanity, and I’m screaming it back. My co-worker was yelling for him to get out, and another customer started yelling, and finally he stomped around for a while and then turned back outside.

We locked the front door and my co-worker, and I went back into the storage room. We sat there and sobbed.

The next morning, I went to the hardware store to buy supplies. I can’t handle the constant tension. It’s rinse and repeat with all these daily blowups, and I’m starting to get paranoid. We installed a doorbell so we can keep the front door locked even during business hours, and I’ve got pepper spray up at my register. This is my job now. At least I’ll be ready.
Read more » click here


  • State of Emergency – Timeline

    07/14/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 151 which extends the state’s Safer At Home Phase 2 measures for three additional weeks until at least August 7, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    06/26/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 147 which pauses the state’s Phase 2 economic reopening’s for three additional weeks went into effect at 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 26. The Governor announced that the new face covering requirement in public places statewide is to slow the spread of the virus during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    06/02/20
    With the exception of the playground and splash pad, Bridgeview Park is now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 10 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

    This amended declaration shall remain in force until rescinded or amended.

    05/29/20
    With the exception of Bridgeview Park (across from Town Hall), Town recreational areas are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 9 of the Town’s State of Emergency.

    05/22/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 141 which is a transition to Phase 2 of a three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 22. The Governor announced that they are lifting the Stay at Home order and shifting to a Safer at Home recommendation. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    05/18/20
    Public restroom facilities are now open. Click here to view Amendment No. 8.

    05/08/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 138 to modify North Carolina’s stay-at-home order and transition to Phase 1 of slowly easing certain COVID-19 restrictions. Phase 1of Governor Cooper’s three-part plan to reopen North Carolina amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, May 8. It’s the first step in the state’s gradual return to normalcy. Phase two is expected to begin two to three weeks after phase one, given that certain conditions are met. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    04/30/20
    Having consulted in an emergency meeting with the Board of Commissioners, the terms of the State of Emergency have been amended. Highlights include the following: rentals may resume as of May 8th; and public parking and public accesses are open immediately. All other restrictions remain in full force. Click here to view Amendment No.7.

    04/19/20
    Item #9 of the existing Town of Holden Beach State of Emergency, which was made effective on April 8, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., shall hereby be rescinded at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. This action will thus allow the beach strand to be open for the purpose of exercise and relaxation. No congregating shall be allowed. All other parts of the current declaration of emergency shall remain in effect. Click here to view Amendment No. 6.

    04/08/20
    Emergency Management Director, in consultation with the Commissioners, have decided to close the beach strand effective Wednesday, April 8 at 11:59pm. Today’s Amendment No. 5 is being added to the existing Declaration of the State of Emergency. Any person who violates any provision of this declaration or any provision of any Executive Order issued by the Governor shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine per offense.
    Click here to view Amendment No. 5.

    04/01/20
    Town of Holden Beach has declared a State of Emergency, Amendment No. 4 is an attempt to define the purpose of the original declaration more clearly (no new tenancy).
    Click here to view Amendment No. 4.

    03/31/20
    The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended to coincide with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Amendment No. 3.

    03/27/20
    Governor Cooper announces Executive Order No. 121, state-wide Stay at Home Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    03/27/20
    The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding short-term rentals. Click here to view the Amendment No. 2.

    03/23/20
    The State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach has been amended regarding prohibitions and restrictions to be implemented within the Town of Holden Beach.
    Click here to view the Amendment No. 1.

    03/23/20
    Mayor Holden, with the consensus of all five commissioners, has declared a State of Emergency for the Town of Holden Beach. Click here to view the Declaration.

    Coronavirus Information
    The Town Hall is currently open during normal business hours. All activities, with the exception of Board of Commissioners’ meetings, scheduled in the Town Hall Public Assembly and conference rooms and the Emergency Operations Center conference rooms are canceled until further notice. The Town encourages residents to follow social distancing protocols and to seek communication options like phone, email and other online resources to limit exposure to others.

    Brunswick County has developed a dedicated webpage for community assistance. Click here to view their website. Remember to seek the most verified information from sources likes the CDC, NC DHHS and the county regarding the coronavirus. You can contact the Brunswick County Public Health Call Line at (910) 253-2339 Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You can also email them at coronavirus@brunswickcountync.gov. The NC Public Health Call Line can be reached at 866-462-3821 (open 24/7).

    The situation is serious; take it seriously!

    You may not be interested in the coronavirus, but it is interested in you.


    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!


    Previously reported – June 2020
    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!

    Update –
    Project is approximately 35% completed, railing is currently out of stock
    Should be installed sometime at the end of August or beginning of September


  • Turtle Watch Program


    Turtle Watch Program – 2020
    . 1) Current nest count – 58 as of 07/25/20
    .    
    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 –


    Visitor Map
    Click here to view a printable version of the Town’s Visitor Map. Click here to check out the Google Map version.  The map features public accessways, parking, handicap parking, restrooms/port-a-johns, showers, handicap accesses and parks.



    Seasonal Police Officers

     


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    Previously reported – June 2020
    Commissioner Sullivan requested a committee investigate the feasibility of hiring seasonal part-time police officers for the next budget year. The motion tasked the committee with looking into this option. Both Pat and Mike volunteered to be on the committee.

    Editor’s note –
    The Town of Holden Beach has 575 permanent residents and this year we have budgeted for ten (10) full-time officers and zero (0) part-time officers. By contrast, The Town of Ocean Isle Beach has 554 permanent residents and
    employs thirteen (13) full-time officers and ten (10) part-time seasonal officers.

    Holden Beach ponders seasonal police help for 2021
    Holden Beach commissioners are looking into the possibility of hiring summer law enforcement officers for the 2021 season. At a meeting last Thursday, July 2, the board started evaluating and discussing what is needed for that to happen. At the last board meeting June 16, Town Manager David Hewett, Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon and commissioners Pat Kwiatkowski and Mike Sullivan were tasked with investigating part-time officer options. “When the commissioners did their objectives, one of the things around the police department was making sure we are addressing the sore spots that our residents raise all the time,” Kwiatkowski said. The three main “sore spots” Kwiatkowski wants part-time officers to address include dogs on the beach, accumulation of glass from alcoholic beverages in the sand and inappropriate vehicle actions including speeding, parking violations and misuse of golf carts. Sullivan said the overall goal in adding additional officers in summer months is to patrol the island better and take care of enforcement. While officers handle the law enforcement side of things, Kwiatkowski discussed the possibility of having rangers or others handle civil issues like parking tickets and dog warnings. Hewett posed the question, “Are we going to have a debate or discussion on whether or not it should be police officers? Can we have civilians cite civil citations? So, we’re open-minded toward the flavor of Kool-Aid here. It’s trying to ascertain what we might mix of the workforce.” To get a better idea of what works and what does not, the group decided to look into what other beach towns are doing. Kwiatkowski said that Ocean Isle Beach and Emerald Island use part-time officers and might be good to talk to town officials to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Similarly, Dixon said it may be good to consider what towns that do not use part-time police are doing, to see the flipside. Dixon volunteered to call up other police chiefs to see what their towns are doing to properly manage their beaches. During their next meeting, the group wanted to dig more into methods other towns use. Other considerations the group brought up included the scheduling and date range of officers. According to Hewett, typically, additional help is hired between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but he said he would look more into a possible range date. Dixon suggested keeping part-time help on reserve for when hurricane season arrives as well. The commissioners, Hewett and Dixon also weighed costs other than salary. Sullivan said they would have to purchase weapons and provide a mode of transportation, whether that be a Gator, car, golf cart or motor scooter. Kwiatkowski said before purchasing weapons, they would need to determine the purpose of the officer since the civil side of the job description did not require a gun. In the meantime, Dixon said he could look into the full cost for gear and figure out what transportation options are available or needed for a future officer. Both Dixon and Hewett agreed to work together to see how much enforcement they want for quality of life. The next meeting for seasonal officer discussion will be Aug. 6, with further brainstorming on “anything you can think of,” it was noted. The group plans to hold meetings regularly on the first Thursday of each month. Due to the town’s state of emergency restrictions, which shut down town hall, no in-person attendance was permitted. The meeting was livestreamed and can be viewed on the town’s Facebook page.
    Read more » click here


    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.
    Read more » click here


    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.
    Read more » click here


    Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


    Pender beaches welcome tourists after $5 billion lost due to COVID-19
    While there’s no way to recoup lost funds, Pender beaches are seeing an influx in vacationers
    There is virtually no way North Carolina as a whole can make up for the tourism dollars it has already lost thanks to COVID-19.
    About $5 billion has gone by the wayside, according to Wit Tuttell, who runs the Visit N.C. office within the state’s economic development division. Those dollars are gone for good, despite the number of bright spots he sees in the data that flows through his office. Short-term rentals of fewer than 90 days were lost by government proclamation at Pender County beaches through most of April and about half of May, with the governing bodies of both Surf City and Topsail Beach giving a united local voice to N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s wishes. Beach visits are only now getting back to normal, Tuttell said, though he does not gather information on a county level to buttress that observation. But the pent-up demand the spring beach exclusions fostered is keeping condos, beach homes and hotel rooms full now, he said, and surveys of vacationers that North Carolina and other states conduct weekly indicate the usual vacation time period at the shore – Memorial Day to Labor Day – will be extended, possibly considerably extended, into fall as vacationers postpone family travel due to COVID-19 fears. There’s that, and there is also considerable evidence that visitors are staying longer once they arrive, with long weekenders becoming week-long renters and usual week-long renters looking at even longer stays as working remotely gains a greater foothold in American business, Tuttell said. Folks are coming for a usual week of beach vacation, he noted, then staying on for another week that combines family fun with Wi-Fi work. Beach homes, cabins and condos, he said, appear to be doing somewhat better than hotels and motels. “I think that people feel that it is potentially safer that you are limiting your exposure to other people,” Tuttell said of the choices. Surveys indicate fewer people are traveling – about 30% of folks in the south who would normally travel for vacation are staying home this year, Tuttell said. “Those who are traveling don’t want to go to places that are real busy or crowded. They are looking for places that are a little less well known and less crowded. That makes Pender beaches perfect, and we are seeing a big desire for vacation rentals there.” Everyone has become aware of hygiene, Tuttell said, and AirB&B and the Vacation Rental Managers’ Association have cleaning standards “that they have been promoting to their partners,” Tuttell said. His office, too, has a program, Count on Me NC, which is a cleaning and disinfecting teaching tool. Tuttell’s observations are borne out by those closer to the action. Chris Rackley, president of Lewis Realty in Topsail Beach, said vacation rentals are strong. “We are selling out week after week,” he said. “Some years in the past, we haven’t been quite this busy in June, but after the quarantine, people are ready to get out, to have a little change of scenery, and what could be safer than renting a house and staying ‘home’ in a new location?” Rackley has seen the longer stays and the lengthening vacation season that Tuttell noted. “I agree with him on those,” he said. Just a simple indication of remote work allowing for longer vacation, he said, “is if we have internet signal problems at a house, they call us immediately, and we have to get a crew out there to get that back up and running.” In terms of summer extending into fall, Rackley said more people who had advance bookings choose another date rather than a refund when his company offered both when things began looking bleak back in March. Other beach businesses are enjoying the same bounce back now that they have reopened, even with restrictions. Ever since beach rentals were allowed again and visitors returned to the shore, “we have not looked back,” said Dina Lindemon, who, with her husband, owns Carolina Décor and More in Surf City. “When we got back to it, it has been insane. We have been nonstop.” The Lindemons applied for “essential” status early in the shutdown of businesses and were allowed to stay open while that application was processed, though it was eventually denied. But, she said, staying open was hardly worth the effort: With no beach rentals, there were no customers. Since the rental moratorium was lifted – and since the shop began hosting the Community and Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays – all that has changed dramatically, she said. But as with rentals, $5 billion gone is, well, $5 billion gone. In rough order of magnitude terms, that’s $50 million in lost revenue for each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. While it is virtually impossible to calculate how much Pender lost – certainly more than some other counties with fewer amenities – County Manager Chad McEwen has crafted a budget for 2020-21 that is relying on 15% fewer dollars — about $1.8 million — from sales taxes. That’s a number, he said, that could get worse should another shutdown become necessary. Things are slowly improving – in the economy, in our understanding of the disease, in our ability to treat and, ultimately prevent it. But it is unlikely we will forget about COVID-19 anytime soon.
    Read more » click here

    Myrtle Beach reopened to survive the summer.
    Now, it’s a coronavirus ‘petri dish.’
    The shores of South Carolina have become a concerning coronavirus hot spot — and a startling example of the difficult, and perhaps deadly, calculation that some cities and states face about reopening.
    Cara Ellen Modisett fields the usual battery of questions every time she visits the doctor: Is she feeling well? Did she travel abroad? Has she been in contact with someone known to have the coronavirus? Then, last week, Modisett’s physicians in Roanoke, Va. added an unexpected query to their list. “They asked whether I had been to Myrtle Beach,” the 47-year-old said. With summer in full swing — and the Fourth of July holiday around the corner — scores of Americans have booked hotels, hit the boardwalk, and camped out along the popular South Carolina coast. The unexpected rush of vacationers has helped rejuvenate a local economy left in tatters this spring when the pandemic closed shops and halted travel nationwide. But it has also turned the Myrtle Beach region into a coronavirus hot spot — and a startling example of the difficult, and perhaps deadly, calculation some cities and states face about when to reopen. Dozens of locals, visitors and business owners describe a beach that has been packed at times over the past few weeks, with few people wearing masks and maintaining safe distances from one another. The city did not even require facial coverings when businesses reopened in May, although city council members are expected to vote on a mandate as soon as Thursday. The safety lapses have resulted in a surge of infections in Horry County, where Myrtle Beach is located, which had registered more than 3,300 confirmed coronavirus cases by Tuesday, according to public health officials. The figure does not include countless tourists who unknowingly contracted the virus while visiting and unwittingly have taken it back home to multiple states including Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia, where Gov. Jim Justice (R) recently warned people to “think twice” before traveling to Myrtle Beach. Some residents and travelers alike are now wondering whether Myrtle Beach reopened too quickly, forgoing critical safety precautions in an attempt to salvage much-needed tourism revenue. But government officials and business leaders have stressed that a prolonged closure would have resulted in irreparable harm to workers and their families, underscoring the complexity that many localities face in a pandemic that at times has pitted economic recovery against public health. “For Myrtle Beach, it was a survival decision,” said Brenda Bethune, the city’s mayor. “We all expected once we opened up, and people started coming from other areas, that we would see those [case] increases and we certainly have,” she said. “On the other hand, how do you keep things closed, and keep people out of work, when families have to pay their bills?” The challenge facing Myrtle Beach is shared by major tourist destinations nationwide: The very characteristics that make their cities and states so attractive to vacationers also represent some of the greatest risks for spreading the coronavirus.
    Read more » click here


    Hot Button Issues
    Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions


    ..
    Climate
    For more information » click here

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

    Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage
    Climate change is starting to transform the classic home loan, a fixture of the American experience and financial system that dates back generations.
    Up and down the coastline, rising seas and climate change are transforming a fixture of American homeownership that dates back generations: the classic 30-year mortgage. Home buyers are increasingly using mortgages that make it easier for them to stop making their monthly payments and walk away from the loan if the home floods or becomes unsellable or unlivable. More banks are getting buyers in coastal areas to make bigger down payments — often as much as 40 percent of the purchase price, up from the traditional 20 percent — a sign that lenders have awakened to climate dangers and want to put less of their own money at risk. And in one of the clearest signs that banks are worried about global warming, they are increasingly getting these mortgages off their own books by selling them to government-backed buyers like Fannie Mae, where taxpayers would be on the hook financially if any of the loans fail. “Conventional mortgages have survived many financial crises, but they may not survive the climate crisis,” said Jesse Keenan, an associate professor at Tulane University. “This trend also reflects a systematic financial risk for banks and the U.S. taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill.” The trends foreshadow a broader reckoning. The question that matters, according to researchers, isn’t whether the effects of climate change will start to ripple through the housing market. Rather, it’s how fast those effects will occur and what they will look like.
    Read more » click here

    Scientists Predict Scorching Temperatures to Last Through Summer
    Hotter than normal temperatures are expected across almost all of the United States into September, government researchers said.
    Following a May that tied for the hottest on record, the United States is heading into a potentially blistering summer, with hotter than normal temperatures expected across almost the entire country into September, government researchers said on Thursday.
    Read more » click here
     


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    Development Fees
    For more information » click here

  • ..

    H2GO increases sewer, system development fees after Realtor, business advocate lobbying Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO passed multiple rate increases during a four-hour meeting Tuesday, including a $3,400 combined bump in system development fees and a 10% base sewer rate increase. With the possibility of system development fees swelling 124% to $11,200 ($4,700 for water and $6,500 for sewer), the utility’s SDF analysis attracted the attention of northern Brunswick County Realtors and developers. In general, increases in development fees tend to have the effect of slowing development, and realtors and developers often pay close attention to potential fee hikes. After sharing an initial fee hike included in its SDF analysis, H2GO received technical notes and feedback from Business Alliance for a Sound Economy (BASE) — a non-profit advocacy group for business and industry in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Onslow counties — and Cape Fear REALTORS® (CFR). In response, H2GO adjusted its analysis and lowered the overall increase by $2,800 to a combined water ($3,200) and sewer ($5,200) fee of $8,400. The new look at the utility’s system development fees (SDFs) comes as it prepares to finance a $42 million reverse osmosis water treatment plant and bear 47% of the cost of expanding the county’s Northeast Wastewater Treatment Plant, a $52 million project that’s already underway. Base sewer rates for all residential customers will increase 10%, from $12 to $15, effective Jan. 1, 2021. H2GO previously attempted to negotiate a lower overall cost in expanding the NEWWTP, but Brunswick County informed the utility the cost couldn’t be further reduced. Bids for the project came in at $12.8 million over initial estimates.

    System development fees (SDFs) are a recently approved fee utilities can charge new developments to cover the cost of improvements or expansions necessary to serve the new projects. Residential customers will likely never see an SDF on any bill; the cost is folded into the final lot or home price. SDFs are different from “tap fees,” which cover the actual cost of physically connecting to the system. Developers are keenly aware of SDFs, one of the largest costs that has to be tackled before a new project is complete. Before SDFs, government utilities illegally charged developers “impact fees,” as outlined in the 2016 N.C. Supreme Court case Quality Built Homes vs. Town of Carthage. In that case, the town was charging builders impact fees to cover the cost of expanding its utility system, even though plans to expand it weren’t in place. The lawsuit triggered House Bill 436 the following year, which essentially legalized and created SDFs under specific and reined in purposes. It meant SDFs couldn’t be charged arbitrarily and required a professional analysis to determine the cost billed to developers.
    Read more » click here


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    Flood Insurance Program
    For more information » click here
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    Millions of American Homes at Greater Flood Risk Than Government Estimates, New Study Says
    Nearly six million properties across the U.S. have a substantial risk of flooding that isn’t disclosed by federal flood maps, according to a nonprofit research firm
    Nearly six million properties across the U.S. have a substantial risk of flooding that isn’t disclosed by federal flood maps, according to a nonprofit research firm that released its own U.S. flood maps Monday. The maps from nonprofit First Street Foundation highlight the widespread nature of flood risk. Flooding caused about $17 billion in property damage a year from 2010 to 2018, according to the Association of State Floodplain Managers. Homeowners, developers and city planners have long used the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood maps, which outline flood zones. FEMA’s maps label which properties have at least a 1% annual risk of flooding, also called a 100-year flood zone. The First Street analysis suggests that millions of American homeowners could be more vulnerable to flooding than they realize, and many may lack the resources to rebuild their homes in the event of severe flood damage. Mortgage lenders typically require buyers of homes in a 100-year flood zone to purchase flood insurance.
    Read more » click here

    New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America
    Nearly twice as many properties may be susceptible to flood damage than previously thought, according to a new effort to map the danger.
    Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat — and one that will only grow as climate change worsens. That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million properties shown on federal government flood maps. A 100-year flood is one with a 1 percent chance of striking in any given year. The federal government’s flood maps guide where and how to build, whether homeowners should buy flood insurance, and how much risk mortgage lenders take on. If the new estimates are broadly accurate, it would mean that homeowners, builders, banks, insurers, and government officials nationwide have been making decisions with information that understates their true physical and financial risks.
    Read more » click here

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Tuesday that the U.S. has seen a major increase in high-tide flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, damaging homes, inundating roads and imperiling the safety of drinking water. The trend is likely to accelerate. By 2030, the agency projected, the frequency of high-tide flooding could double or triple, and by 2050 that number could be five to 15 times as great.

    New Data Shows an ‘Extraordinary’ Rise in U.S. Coastal Flooding
    Rising seas are bringing water into communities at record rates, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.
    Parts of the United States saw record levels of high-tide flooding last year as rising seas brought water further into coastal homes and infrastructure, government scientists reported Tuesday. The increase in high-tide flooding along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts since 2000 has been “extraordinary,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported, with the frequency of flooding in some cities growing fivefold during that time. That shift is damaging homes, imperiling the safety of drinking water, inundating roads, and otherwise hurting coastal communities, the agency said. “Conditions are changing, and not just in a few locations,” Nicole LeBoeuf, acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which compiled the report, said during a call with reporters. “Damaging floods that decades ago happened only during a storm now happen more regularly, even without severe weather.” NOAA defines high-tide flooding, also called sunny-day or nuisance flooding, as water rising more than half a meter, or about 20 inches, above the normal daily high-tide mark. The frequency of that flooding has increased because of rising sea levels, which were roughly 13 inches higher nationally last year than in 1920, the agency reported. The number of days with high-tide flooding set or tied records in 19 places around the country last year, including Corpus Christi, Texas, which recorded 18 days of flooding; Galveston, Texas (18 days); Annapolis, Md. (18 days); and Charleston, S.C. (13 days). The place with the greatest number of recorded flood days was Eagle Point, Texas, in Galveston Bay; it reported high-tide flooding on 64 days, or almost one day out of five. Those numbers represent huge jumps in a short period of time. In 2000, Corpus Christi had just three days of tidal flooding; Charleston had just two. The report notes that Charleston recorded just 13 days of high-tide flooding in the more than 50 years that measurements were first kept — the same number that occurred last year alone. That trend is likely to accelerate, the agency said. By 2030, NOAA projected, the frequency of high-tide flooding could double or triple. By 2050, it said, that number could be five to 15 times as great, with the typical coastal community flooding between 25 and 75 days a year. “You see where this is going,” Ms. LeBoeuf said. “We all need to pay attention.” The new data comes as the Trump administration continues to play down the threat of global warming, which is the driving factor behind sea-level rise. President Trump is pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accord, and his officials have cited the coronavirus pandemic in efforts to weaken crucial environmental provisions

  • In a separate report Tuesday, a government watchdog found that his administration was understating the cost of climate change in its regulations. NOAA, like other government scientific agencies, has been subject to political pressure. The White House pushed the agency to rebuke weather forecasters who contradicted Mr. Trump’s inaccurate claim last year that Hurricane Dorian would strike Alabama, the agency’s inspector general reported last week. Still, the agency has mostly been allowed to continue gathering and releasing data showing the effects of climate change. Tuesday’s report opened with what amounted to a warning: “Sea level rise flooding of U.S. coastlines is happening now, and it is becoming more frequent each year.” Yet the report was silent on the cause of rising seas, containing no mention of climate change or global warming. “Climate change and carbon emissions are a factor at play when we look at how tides are rising,” Ms. LeBoeuf acknowledged in the call with reporters, adding the paper had not been reviewed or edited by political officials. But she emphasized that the report, strictly speaking, was limited to data collected from the tide gauges. The question of what is causing seas to rise is, she said, “a little different.”
    Read more » click here


    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.
    Read more » click here


     

    GenX
    For more information » click here
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NCDEQ Public Participation Forum on PFAS Contamination at the Chemours Facility on the Cape Fear River
The public will have a chance at 6:00 p.m. August 4 to hear how the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) is working to prevent and remediate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, contamination at the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility.

 NCDEQ and the state Department of Health and Human Services’ staff will review updates on actions pertaining to the February 2019 Consent Order, drinking water well sampling results, the Community Involvement Plan and updates from Waste Management, Air Quality and Water Resources divisions.

The public is invited to participate by phone or online during the web conference. Call 1-415-655-0003, access code: 161 074 7124 or through WebEx. Event password is GenX804.

Those interested in commenting or asking questions during the meeting will need to preregister by completing the online form, https://bit.ly/32HIRmE, by email to comments.chemours@ncdenr.gov with your name and “Aug. 4 public information meeting” in the subject line or by leaving a voicemail with your name and phone number at 919-707-8233.

Following the presentations by state representatives, community members who preregistered will have an opportunity to ask questions. The public can also ask questions through a chat feature in the web conferencing software.

This is an important topic for our residents to keep informed on. Brunswick County is in the process of upgrading its water treatment system to ensure the wholesale provision of safe potable water to the Town of Holden Beach. This is very important to the Town not only from the obvious public health perspective, but also as potentially impacting the as yet to be determined water rate agreement between the Town and county which will have to be determined very soon as our existing 40-year wholesale water contract expires in the very near future.


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    Homeowners Insurance
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    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here

     

    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.”
    Read more » click here


     

    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.
    ///// March 2020
    Name:            Luigi’s Trattoria
    Cuisine:
            Italian
    Location:      503 61st Avenue North, Myrtle Beach SC
    Contact:        843.497.7080 / https://www.luigismyrtlebeach.com

    Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
    Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
    Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
    Cost:               Inexpensive <=$18 / Moderate <=$24 / Expensive <=$30 / Exorbitant <=$40
    Rating:           Three Stars
    Luigi’s is a great local classic family run Italian restaurant. Serving traditional Italian cuisine with a broad-based menu that offers something for everyone. Established in 2006, they have stood the test of time. Currently they are ranked #5 out of @699 restaurants that are in Myrtle Beach. They are located just off the beaten path, being far enough from Kings Highway to allow for a quiet meal on their in season outdoor patio dining. The food is wonderful, the portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. An exceptional value, what’s not to like? Amore al primo assaggio!


    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
    /////


    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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