08 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / August 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 –


Currently, North Carolina is severely undercounted in the 2020 Census. We are on track to lost $74 billion in federal funding over the next decade. These are our tax dollars, hard earned and rightfully ours, and this funding is critical. The only way to access that money is to be fully counted.

Here’s what it will affect:
– Roads and transportation
– Early education
– Senior services
– Veterans services
– Infrastructure that supports local businesses
– Rural development
– Emergency services
– Military resources
– Parks and recreation programs

If you have not yet responded to the 2020 Census, do so immediately. It takes less than 10 minutes. All information is confidential and specific information is unable to be accessed by law for 72 years. All that matters is that you are counted, since federal funds will be distributed by population.

Help keep our community strong.

You can respond immediately online or by phone:
Online: https://my2020census.gov/
Phone: ​844-330-2020​

The 2020 Census will now end on September 30th, one month before the previously announced deadline. We are running out of time to get all North Carolinians counted. As of July 31st, 41 percent of NC households have NOT completed the 2020 Census. That’s more than four million North Carolinians who have not completed the census.

Every response makes a difference.

A Census response brings $1,823 per person, per year in federal and state funds back to NC counties and towns.

That’s $18,230 over the decade.
For a family of five, that’s $91,150.
For a neighborhood of 150, that’s $2,734,000.
For a community of 1,200, that’s $21,876,000.

Every single response truly makes a difference.​​



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.


It is still early in the Atlantic hurricane season. Check to make sure your 2020 decals are affixed to your vehicle’s windshield. If you need additional decals, send a self-addressed stamped envelope, along with a check for the decals to Town Hall. Make sure you check for your decals now; they are not sold during an emergency situation.  


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, September 15th
.


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 –

Brunswick County COVID-19 Snapshot: as of August 10th

Key Points

    • As of Monday, Aug. 10, there are now 1,259 positive cases of COVID-19 among county residents (1,055 considered recovered, 172 isolating at 141 different homes, 11 hospitalized, 21 deaths)
    • Eight more deaths related to the virus have occurred in the past two weeks, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related fatalities to 21 residents and two non-residents
    • North Carolina’s Safer at Home Phase 2 continues to at least Friday, Sept. 11; continue to avoid social gatherings, stay home when possible and practice the three W’s (wear a face covering, wait six feet apart, wash hands often) to help us keep on track the next few weeks and over Labor Day Weekend

  • State of Emergency – Timeline

    08/05/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 155 which extends the state’s “Safer At Home” Phase 2 measures for five (5)  additional weeks until at least September 11, 2020. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

    07/28/20
    Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 153 which restricts late-night service of alcoholic beverages. The governor also said that bars will remain closed as North Carolina continues efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.  Click here
    to view the Executive Order details.

    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 –


    Previously reported – August 2019
    PAR Course / Fitness Trail
    Par Course is a fitness trail which consists of a course equipped with a series of stations distributed along the way where one is to stop and perform a specific exercise. The course is designed for exercising the human body to promote good health. March of 2011 the BOC’s approved a contract between the Town and Holden Beach Enterprises for the purchase of eighteen properties for $76,000 that had a tax assessment value of $1,976,020. The properties were zoned conservation and are located on the second row, between Greensboro and Scotch Bonnet.

    The Holden Beach course is located on that quarter mile stretch on the north side of OBW. The course consists of twenty (20) exercise stations with multiple stations clustered together. The plan was approved in August 2011 and installation of the equipment was completed in September of 2011. Par Course was supposed to include benches, water fountains and palm trees with project costs already in budget with the BPART account as the source of the funding. Original plans called for seventy (70) palm trees but in February of 2012 the Board waffled and decided to put installing any vegetation on hold. Programmed funds for palms were not executed per BOC’s   and were returned to fund balance. So currently there is no vegetation there. It sorely needs some landscaping to make it more visually appealing.

    So, let me get this straight –
    We paid an engineer and landscape architect
    We had Parks & Recreation Advisory Board recommend approval
    We had Town staff support plan
    Plan was approved by BOC’s in August of 2011
    Installation of equipment was completed in September of 2011
    Raging debate about vegetation was in February of 2012
    .         *
    Went from 70 palm trees to no vegetation
    Benches and water fountains were installed in January of 2013
    .         *
    We are still undecided about vegetation there

  • We still have not completely implemented plan
  • that was approved some nine (9) years ago.

    Previously reported – August 2019

  • Spray-painted message puzzles Holden Beach officials
    A disgruntled homeowner seems to be hoping a 10-feet-tall message spray-painted on the starboard side of his beach cottage will attract attention. It has. Traveling along Ocean Boulevard East in Holden Beach, it’s difficult not to notice the message, which reads “9 month No B-Permit Why??” The message also has Holden Beach town officials befuddled. The house, located at 180 Ocean Boulevard east of the bridge, appears to be vacant. The front door and windows are covered with plywood.

    According to Brunswick County tax records, the house belongs to Elisabeth Schaider. County records list her permanent address as 359 Timber Cove Drive, Whiteville. Planning and inspections director Evans said the homeowner has never applied for a permit. Evans says the property owner claims the house was damaged during Hurricane Florence.  The owner(s) have approached Evans on multiple occasions yet have never filed an application for a permit, he said. “I am as baffled as anyone,” Evans said, adding that the house is entirely gutted. With no way to provide power to the cottage, Evans is not able to issue a permit.
    Read more » click here

    Nothing has been done from one (1) year ago.


  • 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

  • Previously reported – July 2020
    BOC’s are cognizant that the residents want a dog park. The Board went with Option #2 – Request the Parks and Recreation Committee to include a new dog park in their upcoming Master Plan development efforts and recommend a possible site.


    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!

    Previously reported – July 2020
    Project is approximately 35% completed, railing is currently out of stock
    Should be installed sometime at the end of August or beginning of September

    Update –
    The contractor who is installing the rail on the HB Bridge intends to resume work on the project on August 16th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Work should be completed by August 20th. 


    Bridge
    In 1986 a new high-rise bridge replaced the turn-table bridge structure that was built in 1954.

    Of all the bridges to the Brunswick beaches the one to Holden Beach appears to be the highest and hooks far to the right as you get to the ocean side.

    Why is the bridge so high?
    N.C. Department of Transportation Division 3 Bridge Program Manager Amanda Glynn explained the vertical clearance over the Intracoastal Waterway channel is 65 feet from mean high water – the U.S. Coast Guard’s requirement for minimum vertical clearance – on all the Brunswick beach bridges.

    Why does it hook?
    To reach the required vertical clearance over the main channel at Holden Beach, the bridge had to turn to allow enough room to tie it to the elevation on the island.  “If the bridge had continued straight, it would have had a very steep slope so that it could intersect with Ocean Boulevard,” Glynn explained. 

    Why is the retaining wall so low?”
    The retaining wall is actually a barrier rail, constructed to meet the design standards in effect in 1985 when the bridge was built.


  • Turtle Watch Program

Turtle Watch Program – 2020
. 1) Current nest count – 63 as of 08/22/20
.
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

>

Only three of 45 unhatched sea turtle nests in Holden Beach survived Isaias
Holden Beach officials announced on Friday that nearly all of the unhatched sea turtle nests on the island were wiped out by Hurricane Isaias. Accordingto a Facebook post by the town, a total of 45 nests were identified along the Holden Beach shoreline prior to the storm’s arrival. After Isaias swept through Brunswick County earlier this week, only three of those nests managed to survive the storm’s wrath. “Turtle Patrol members will monitor these nests with the hope of seeing hatchlings later in the season. And, we will continue to look for signs of new turtle nests each morning,” the post stated. Sea turtle nesting season on North Carolina beaches typically runs from May to August.
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

 


  • .
    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.
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2019
Beach Ranger Program
Previously reported – 2009
Police took over Beach Patrol role previously handled by temporary seasonal employees

Previously reported – 2016
Commissioner Freer broached the issue of the public’s safety on the beach strand by taking the tack that he would like to see us supplement the Police force. Previously he pointed out that the current budget covers only eight (8) officers which are really not adequate to meet our needs during the 100 days of summer. The approach he suggested should be one of improving awareness as well as enforcement. His recommendation was as follows:

    • Under the Police Department umbrella consider a part-time seasonal staff for the beach strand
    • Under the umbrella of Parks & Recreation Board entertain establishing a Beach Ambassador Program

Previously reported – 2017
Target Ordinances –

      • Fill holes
      • Remove gear
      • Stay off dunes
      • No glass
      • Control pets – leash / waste

Purpose –
Put a friendly face out there to interact with guests
Educate guests about targeted ordinances to get compliance
Explain the purpose of the ordinance and consequences for non-compliance

Goals – keep beach protected, clean and safe

Beach strand ordinance compliance is a real quality-of-life issue. The flashing educational signs on the Causeway have significantly improved beach strand ordinance compliance. Still feel strongly that the Town should adjust staffing to respond to the seasonal increase in work load. Delighted that the Board finally decided to address this issue. I have made my position abundantly clear regarding having a seasonal code-enforcement team / beach patrol on the beach strand. They need to be on the beach strand to enforce ordinances and to ensure the public safety. Regardless of who or how many patrols the beach strand we need high visibility for them to be effective.

Update –
Currently there are three (3) Beach Rangers out there from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It was expanded to include a second shift extending the hours that they are on the beach strand, also added a second gator. Rangers are on the beach strand during the busiest time frame from roughly 8:30am till 7:30pm. They are out there to educate, provide information and assist folks. Program appears to be working well. I for one would like to see them  expand the program by having it cover shoulder season too.


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.
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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
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Update –
There Are 15 Sharks Swarming The Outer Banks Of North Carolina Right Now
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Sharks of North Carolina
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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.
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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 –


COVID crashed North Carolina’s tourism sector, but vacation rentals are up
With spending down nearly 60% since March 1, the industry is trying to bring back its customers
While most people might still have the itch to get away this summer, the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated restrictions — not to mention health and safety concerns — have put the brakes on many travel plans. But there’s one sector of North Carolina’s battered tourism industry that is racing back — vacation rentals. Still, the state’s tourism sector has severely declined since the COVID-19 pandemic sent the national and state economies into a tailspin, according to a presentation made this week to the North Carolina Travel & Tourism Board. Surveys have been conducted to measure consumer sentiment and other efforts are underway to try to bring back the customers, presenters told the board. “It is estimated that North Carolina has suffered a loss of about $6.8 billion in travel spending from the beginning of the pandemic,” said Marlise Taylor, the director of tourism research for Visit North Carolina. Visit NC is part of the public-private Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, an economic development organization. The Travel & Tourism Board advises state policy makers on the industry’s matters. The $6.8 billion loss is a 57.9% decline in travel spending between March 1 and Aug. 1 of 2020 compared to March 1 and Aug. 1 of 2019, Taylor’s report states. The math works out to $11.74 billion in 2019 and $4.94 billion in sales this year. Local, state, and federal tax collections from travel spending are down $871 million, Taylor said. Weekly travel spending has rebounded some during the summer, but as of Aug. 1 was still 42% below last year’s numbers. The loss of local revenue prompted one North Carolina beach town to increase its parking rates mid-pandemic by up to 66% — raising the ire of many visitors. With rentals and hotel room stays all but suspended for several weeks at the start of the pandemic and many businesses forced to close or scale back their operations, Wrightsville Beach officials said they had little choice but to look to boost parking revenue to make up for the estimated 17% downturn in room-occupancy and sales tax proceeds.

Surge in demand’
But there is a bright spot, Taylor said: vacation rentals are running ahead of last year’s sales. Vacation rentals are short-term rentals of places like homes or cabins, and by far summer is their peak season from the mountains to the sea. Sales, measured as “guest nights,” dropped sharply March to April, but then spiked steeply, the data shows. They peaked in July at nearly 307,000 guest nights. This compares to the annual peak in July 2019 of almost 279,000, and of almost 281,000 in July 2018. Vacation rental bookings going forward remain strong into the fall, Taylor’s statistics show, and are running higher for August and September than they did in 2019 and 2018. Caleb Hofheins, marketing operations director for Greybeard Realty and Rentals in Asheville, said Taylor’s data matches the strong demand he has seen for the 220 vacation properties his company manages. “I think just the appeal of private accommodations has kind of spiked due to the pandemic and everything going on,” he said. A home or cabin provides a place with amenities (like a hot tub, kitchen and pleasant outdoor views and outdoor space) and isolation from other people, Hofheins said. At the same time, his guests who want to get out are close to the attractions in the Asheville area. Some of Hofheins’ guests this year originally planned to take other vacations, such as trips overseas, he said, or they are taking trips that were postponed from the spring when the shutdown started.
“It is obvious that some of the people that are booking with us aren’t used to vacation rentals, because they’ll, they’ll just mention like — have questions about — hotel type amenities that are different with vacation rentals, and stuff,” Hofheins said. Some people are taking the chance to escape a step further, especially with interest rates still hovering near historic lows. Vacasa, the country’s largest full-service vacation rental management company, said sales of vacation properties are booming. “We’ve seen a surge in demand for vacation homes across our portfolio, and real estate transactions are up as much as 35% in some of our vacation rental markets across the country when compared to July 2019,” said Shaun Greer, Vacasa’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a release this week accompanying the latest version of the company’s report noting the best places to buy a vacation home. “Many buyers believe we will be impacted by COVID-19 for the next 12 to 18 months, and are seeking a place close to home where they can get away with their families, work remotely if needed, and generate income when the home is not in use.” That trend can be seen in Southeastern North Carolina, which includes major second-home markets in the beach towns of New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties. Home sales in July were up 34% over July 2019′s number, according to the Cape Fear Realtors, with pending sales last month up an eye-watering 54%.

Price doesn’t matter
Vacation rentals make up only about 3.5% of all commercial lodging room nights, Taylor said. She and others in the meeting outlined programs and research findings for the rest of the industry as it tries to find ways to boost sales under pandemic conditions:

A survey of 1,201 people conducted Aug. 7 – 9 found 46.5% have no plans for leisure travel the rest of the year. This was down from more than 50% saying that the prior week.

Among people have decided not to travel because of the coronavirus, 70.5% said discounts and price cuts wont change their minds.

A program called Count On Me NC provides training and certification that businesses have trained their employees how to conduct operations with the coronavirus threat. Customers can look up these businesses at CountOnMeNC.org, and the program is being promoted in advertisements.
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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


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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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Deal reached for Chemours to stop remaining GenX chemical pollution of Cape Fear River
While the parties praise the proposed lawsuit settlement, the water utility in Wilmington says it and its customers were left out of the negotiations.
North Carolina regulators and an environmental group reached a tentative agreement in their lawsuit with the Chemours Co. on how Chemours will curb its remaining PFAS and GenX “forever chemicals” contamination of the Cape Fear River, the parties announced Thursday afternoon. The main supplier of drinking water in the Wilmington area, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, said late Thursday it was not included in the negotiations, and it is unhappy that it knew nothing of the proposed deal until it was contacted by the state earlier in the day. The utility gets its water from the river. The parties are the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, the Cape Fear River Watch environmental organization and Chemours. The proposed deal would be an amendment to the terms of a previous lawsuit settlement regarding Chemours’ long discharge of PFAS chemicals into the river and the air from its plant on the Cape Fear River south of Fayetteville. “Today’s actions lay out exactly how Chemours will clean up the residual contamination they’ve caused that continues to impact communities along the Cape Fear River,” DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan said in a news release. The amendment would address pollution getting into the Cape Fear River from contaminated groundwater on Chemours’ property, from contaminated surface waters there and from rainwater that picks up PFAS chemicals when it lands on the site. The DEQ said it will take public comment on the settlement’s proposed addendum for 30 days and consider those comments before submitting it to a judge in Bladen County Superior Court. Under the original agreement, Chemours stopped the intentional discharge of the PFAS pollutants into the water and spent $100 million to build a system to remove PFAS from the air emissions at its Fayetteville Works plant. These remedies did not address the groundwater and surface waters. The settlement amendment announced Thursday spells out goals and deadlines for Chemours to install additional equipment and infrastructure to filter and treat the groundwater and surface waters. The company is to remove 99% of the PFAS contamination.
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DEQ, Chemours reach agreement to further reduce PFAS pollution
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and Chemours have reached another agreement that will reduce PFAS pollution from entering the Cape Fear River through groundwater. Since 2017, DEQ actions and the Consent Order have stopped the process wastewater discharge from the facility and drastically reduced air emissions of PFAS by 99.9%. The additional actions presented Thursday in the Addendum to the Consent Order will further reduce the PFAS contamination to the Cape Fear River and improve water quality for downstream communities. These additional actions address more than 90% of the PFAS entering the Cape Fear River through groundwater from the residual contamination on the site. “We have already issued significant penalties and ordered Chemours to stop actively polluting. Today’s actions lay out exactly how Chemours will clean up the residual contamination they’ve caused that continues to impact communities along the Cape Fear River,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “This level of action is unprecedented and continues to build a foundation for the Attorney General’s broader investigation of PFAS in North Carolina. As a state, we will not wait for action from the federal government to provide relief for our communities and protect our natural resources.”

Moving forward, Chemours is required to treat four identified ‘seeps’ which account for more than half of the contaminated groundwater reaching the river in two phases.

  • The interim measures to filter PFAS at an efficiency of at least 80% from the first of the four seeps will go into effect starting by Mid-November – with all four completed by April 2021.
  • The permanent measure is the construction of a subsurface barrier wall approximately 1.5 miles long and groundwater extraction system that will remove at least 99% of PFAS to be completed by March 2023.

Chemours is also required to treat on-site stormwater that is adding residual pollution to the river with a capture and treatment system that must remove at least 99% of PFAS.

  • Failure to meet the schedules or achieve the removal goals will result in financial penalties, including:
  • Failure to meet the construction schedule for the interim measures will result in fines of $5,000 per day for the first 14 days and $10,000/day until construction is complete.
  • Failure to meet the barrier wall installation schedule results in a $150,000 fine followed by $20,000 per week until installation is complete.
  • Failure to meet the barrier wall’s 95% mass loading goal in the initial demonstration results in a $500,000 fine, with a $100,000 fine for failure to meet any of the four subsequent demonstrations.

“We believe this commitment is significant and meaningful; it aligns to our Chemours Corporate Responsibility Commitments to reduce the emissions of PFAS by at least 99% at all Chemours manufacturing sites worldwide,” Chemours said in a news release. “These actions are in addition to the successful installation of over $100 million in emissions control technology, including a state-of-the art thermal oxidizer, that are controlling over 99% of all PFAS emissions from our manufacturing processes, a treatment system for the historic discharge channel at the site that is under construction and scheduled to be commissioned in late September pending NC DEQs issuance of a permit, and the extensive actions to provide a permanent drinking water source for private well owners whose wells tested above PFAS levels as provided in the Consent Order Agreement.” However, CFPUA was surprised by the Chemours Consent Order addendum. CFPUA said it was not provided with an advanced copy of the addendum.

“It is disappointing that we and our customers have once again been excluded by the State from these discussions about a subject that is of vital interest to our community,” said CFPUA Executive Director Jim Flechtner. “We have seen no evidence this or any of the steps proposed so far by Chemours will sufficiently improve water quality to the same level that the State has set as the standard for private well owners around Chemours’ site,” Flechtner said. “We continue to be frustrated that our customers continue to be treated differently than people near the plant.” The Addendum to the Consent Order with the additional requirements and penalties will be provided for public comment for 30 days. The comment period will be announced next week. DEQ will consider the public comments before the Addendum is presented for entry by the Bladen County Superior Court. The Addendum is available here.
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    Homeowners Insurance
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    Hurricane Season

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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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    HURRICANE ISAIAS: Did North Carolina underestimate the storm?
    Isaias, which strengthened to a hurricane just before making landfall late Monday, hit Brunswick County on a full moon at high tide
    Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden knew his evacuation order was not going to be popular. Like many North Carolina beach towns, summer renters are the lifeblood of the local economy. But as Tropical Storm — later Hurricane — Isaias spun off the Florida coast with a potential path that could bring it close to Southeastern North Carolina, Holden ordered all visitors out of his Brunswick County beach town by 7 p.m. Saturday. Holden Beach was one of only a few communities along the coast — one of the others being the neighboring town of Ocean Isle Beach — to order a mandatory evacuation of non-residents as Isaias approached the Tar Heel State. “Yep, a lot of heat,” the mayor, chuckling, said Wednesday morning about his order. “A lot of heat.” But no one is second guessing Holden’s decision now after Hurricane Isaias slammed into the Brunswick County coast on a full moon at near high tide, pummeling beaches and low-lying areas with powerful wind gusts and 5-foot storm surge that sent sand washing into streets and tossed boats around like rag dolls. Holden Beach didn’t escape unscathed, Holden said, with broken docks and rising waters in its canal systems. But it could have been potentially a lot worse if his island was full of vacationers who don’t know what to do in a hurricane situation. “Blame it on a lifetime of experience and a whole lot of luck,” said the mayor, whose family founded Holden Beach. “We lived real good this time, thank the Lord, but do feel for our neighbors in Ocean Isle Beach and Oak Island.”
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     2020 Hurricane Season Off to a Record Fast Start
    Weather experts predict that the year could have as many as 25 named tropical storms and hurricanes
    With a record fast start to the Atlantic hurricane season, federal forecasters are now predicting that 2020 could have as many as 25 named tropical storms and hurricanes—a number that would put it just shy of the 28 named storms seen during the historically high 2005 season. There have already been a record nine named storms this season. In an average year,  there might be two named storms by early August, with the ninth not forming until sometime in early October. “This season could be one of the more active in the historical record,” said Gerry Bell, lead hurricane season forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which put out an updated outlook Thursday. The agency is now predicting as many as 25 named storms—the most it has ever forecast for a hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Forecasters predicted a maximum of 21 hurricanes in 2005. Since 2010, the number of named storms and hurricanes in a season has fallen within NOAA’s forecasted range six times. Forecasters initially predicted as many as 19 storms this season but revised that outlook upward amid atmospheric conditions that forecasters say have become even more favorable to storm formation and intensification. Those conditions include warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker Atlantic trade winds, and wind patterns off Africa that more easily spin off storms. “These conditions are all typical evidence of an above normal and extremely active season,” Dr. Bell said.

    Forecasters are now expecting as many as 11 named storms to become hurricanes this season, and three to six to become major hurricanes rated Category 3 or higher. An average hurricane season typically has about a dozen named storms, roughly half of which become hurricanes. Three typically have winds strong enough to be rated a major hurricane.
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    Storm Isaias’s Most Damaging Winds Were on Its Right
    Tropical storm left millions without power; its asymmetrical wind field helps explain why
    When Isaias swept up the East Coast last week, it was far from the worst storm to batter the U.S. in recent years. But after making landfall in North Carolina, the tempest moved inland and darted up the Eastern Seaboard, allowing its most damaging winds to bash cities and towns lying between the hurricane’s eye and the country’s edge. “The majority of the wind field was to the right of the storm center,” said Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “While this is typical to some degree, the asymmetry was very pronounced in Isaias.” After landfall, the storm—whose name is pronounced ees-sah-EE-ahs—slowed from a Category 1 hurricane to a tropical storm with sustained winds ranging in speed from 39 miles an hour to 73 mph. But as the storm’s rotational winds slowed, its forward momentum increased, elevating its total wind speed. “When it was coming toward Florida, it was moving 8 miles per hour,” said Joel Cline, tropical program coordinator at the National Weather Service. “In North Carolina, it was moving 22 miles per hour.” On average, a hurricane’s forward speed is around 15 mph to 20 mph. But by the time Isaias was in the vicinity of New York City, he said, it was pushing forward at 40 mph. “Toward the end of their lives, they tend to speed up,” Mr. McNoldy said. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates hurricanes on a scale of 1 to 5 based on sustained wind speed, a Category 1 storm, like Isaias, ranges from 74 mph to 95 mph. Category 2 ranges from 96 mph to 110 mph; Category 3 from 111 mph to 129 mph; Category 4 from 130 mph to 156 mph; and Category 5 from 157 mph on up. Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, was a Category 5 storm. As a rule of thumb, a hurricane’s expected damage rises by a factor of four for every category increase, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But a storm’s rotational speed is compounded by its forward momentum. In the Northern Hemisphere, where hurricanes spin counterclockwise, the strongest winds occur to the right of the eye, based on the direction the storm is moving. That’s because on the right, the rotational winds spin in the direction the storm is traveling, and pick up speed from that force. On the left, the rotational winds push in the opposite direction, causing a loss of speed. “If a storm is moving northwards at 10 miles per hour, and the wind’s rotational speed is 90 miles per hour, then to the east, the wind speed will be 100 miles per hour, and to the west, it will be 80 miles per hour,” said Steve Ackerman, director of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. In Isaias’s case, when the National Hurricane Center recorded 70 mph winds in Maryland at 11 a.m. on Aug. 4, those were the storm’s fastest sustained winds at that point in time—but not everyone felt the same thrust. “People to the left of the track would not have experienced those winds,” Mr. McNoldy said. Storm surges also are worse on the right side of a hurricane and might be amplified by a full moon’s tidal effect. Isaias made landfall under a full moon, and about 50 miles away, Wilmington, N.C., experienced the highest storm surges it has ever recorded, with water levels reaching 4.19 feet over normal high tide, breaking the record set during Hurricane Florence in 2018. Overall, an estimated 3.6 million customers lost power during the storm, and for Consolidated Edison Inc., the utility that serves New York City, it was the largest number of outages since Hurricane Sandy—by then a superstorm—brutalized the Northeast in 2012. “We’re trying to get people to make less of the hurricane category,” Mr. Cline said, “and actually see more of what the potential impacts are.” As the storm watchers say, there’s more to the story than the category.
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  • 3 North Carolina counties lead U.S. in hurricane impacts since 2010
    Brunswick, Hyde and Dare counties each had 10 hurricane-based FEMA emergency declarations between 2010 and 2019
    A new report quantifies what many North Carolina residents already know: They have faced a lot of hurricanes over the past decade — reinforced most recently by last week’s Hurricane Isaias. The report is by the ValuePenguin financial advice website. It states that from 2010 through 2019, Brunswick County on the southern North Carolina coast and Dare and Hyde counties along the state’s northeast coast each had 10 hurricane-based Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emergencies. Those three counties tied for first place nationally.
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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.
    ///// September 2019
    Name:            Brasserie du Soleil / Urban Food Group
    Cuisine:         French
    Location:      1908 Eastwood Road, Wilmington NC
    Contact:        910.256.2226 /
    www.brasseriedusoleil.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
    Brasserie du Soleil is one of six restaurants in the Urban Food Group. This one is primarily a French bistro, an informal café. They seem to have an extremely popular build your own salad option, on the Lunch menu only, that was voted Best Salads, in the Best of Wilmington done by Encore Magazine. Outside seating is a good choice, not as noisy and it’s a beautiful setting. Overall, it was a very pleasant dining experience.

    3 Wilmington restaurants sold to Raleigh-based group
    Three prominent Wilmington restaurants have been sold to a Raleigh-based restaurant group. Urban Food Group (UFG), owned by Kevin and Stacey Jennings, purchased Brasserie du Soleil, Osteria Cicchetti, and Boca Bay, as the company marks its first expansion into the Port City. Ash Aziz, the former owner of the trio of restaurants and head of Circa Restaurant Group, will retain ownership of his other Wilmington-based eateries: Pizzeria Il Forno, Circa 1922, Junction 421, and a new concept planned for River Place in downtown.
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    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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    DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano
    Edward is twelve (12) years old and the sole survivor of a plane crash in which he lost his immediate family. In alternating chapters, we examine Edward’s story as he struggles to find a way to cope with everyday life and what happens on the flight.

     


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