12 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / December 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 –

Most events have either been postponed or cancelled


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


Reminders –


Speed Limit
Please take notice – Speed limit seasonal limitations, in accordance with Town Ordinances. Speed limit will change on OBW from 35mph to 45mph west of the general store. This change will take place on October 1st and be effective through March 31st.

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Golf carts are not allowed to be operated on streets with speed limits greater than 35 MPH.

 



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 once a week. This year September 26th will be the the last Saturday trash pick-up until June. Trash collection will go back to Tuesdays only.

 

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 October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week


Yard Waste Service – Yard debris pick-up is provided twice a month on the 2ndand 4th Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Additional dates will be announced for yard waste service in November and December. Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length of five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. A total of ten (10) items will be picked up by Waste Industries. Yard waste must be placed at the street for pick-up.

No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.


The fourth Friday in December is on Christmas Day

Yard debris will be collected on Saturday, December 26th


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, January 19th
.


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.


Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

Hazard:
The elevator cab can fall unexpectedly to the bottom of the elevator shaft and abruptly stop, posing an injury hazard to consumers in the elevator cab.

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at info@WaupacaElevator.com or online at www.WaupacaElevator.com and click on Recall Information for more information.

 Recall Details

Description:
This recall involves residential elevator models Custom Lift 450# and Custom Lift 500#, shipped and installed between 1979 and 2008. The recalled elevators are used in consumers’ homes.

Remedy:
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled elevators and contact Waupaca Elevator to schedule a free gearbox inspection and the installation of a free overspeed braking device. Waupaca Elevator also will provide the installation of a free gearbox if the gearbox inspection reveals that the gears in the gearbox have worn down.

For more information » click here

There is an issue with the gearboxes on select Waupaca Elevators that may cause the elevator to suddenly drop. This month on the island, despite having recommended gearbox inspection, the Waupaca elevator cab fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft causing serious injuries to my friends that were in the elevator cab. Affected elevators need to be checked and the installation of overspeed braking devices completed before being put back into service. Even then I still would be concerned, due to the severity of gear boxes failure the safety features are not responding as they should.  I’d strongly recommend that you immediately stop using these Waupaca elevators.


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 December 11th


Brunswick County enters into substantial tier level for COVID-19 spread
With just a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the first reported case of COVID-19, North Carolina is experiencing record highs in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. “We are experiencing a staggering increase in our pandemic trends and I am particularly worried about our hospital capacity,” said North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) Secretary Mandy Cohen in a press conference on Tuesday, Dec. 15. “Just one month ago we had 1,395 people in the hospital with COVID-19. Today we have 2,735 people in the hospital right now. That’s twice as many people hospitalized than we had on Nov. 15. One month ago, we had 350 people in the intensive care unit with COVID-19, today we have 643 people in the ICU.” Cohen said she is not worried about space capacity but is concerned about stretching the medical staff too thin. As of Tuesday, there are 3,711 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brunswick County. Of those cases, 2,820 are considered recovered, 808 are isolating, 16 are hospitalized and 67 have died. The contract tracing team has noticed exposures tend to be due to local family gatherings, out-of-state travel, workplace settings and religious or faith-based gatherings. In the past week, North Carolina’s case count broke single-day records on three separate days, including crossing more than 6,000 cases per day on two of those days. To put into perspective, just a month ago cases were under 3,000 a day. “Having more than 7,500 cases is staggering and alarming,” Cohen said. “We are now seeing the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings. Do not wait until it is you or your loved one sick or alone in the hospital or you are facing the loss of a loved one to wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands often. Act now. Please ask yourself what you can do to help slow the spread of this virus and save lives.” Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a modified stay-at-home order, Executive Order 181, requiring people to stay at home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Businesses such as restaurants and retail stores will be required to close at 10 p.m. and all on-site alcohol consumption sales must end by 9 p.m. Activities exempted from the order include travel for work, obtaining food or medical care or fuel or social services and taking care of a family member. This order is effective Dec. 11 through Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. unless otherwise modified or extended. “We already have strong safety protocols and capacity limitations in place — including a statewide mask requirement,” Cooper said. “With this additional action beginning Friday, we hope to get these numbers down. Our new modified Stay At Home order aims to limit gatherings and get people home where they are safer, especially during the holidays.” More than 80 percent of North Carolina’s 100 counties are now in the red or orange categories. NCDHHS said that to be assigned in the red or orange tier, a county must meet the threshold for case rate and the threshold for either percent positive or hospital impact. Brunswick County is in the orange tier, with positive tests close to 10 percent, much higher than Cohen’s recommendation of 5 percent. On Monday, Wake Forest Baptist, Atrium and Duke hospitals received vaccine shipments. The state expects to get shipments for eight hospitals on Tuesday and 42 on Thursday. “There’s real hope that we can stop those painful losses,” Cooper said during Tuesday’s briefing. “Vaccinations are under way in North Carolina. The first COVID-19 vaccine shipment arrived at 7:20 a.m. yesterday morning at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.” Vaccines will first be administered to health care workers and long-term care facility patients. Once more supply is available, shots will be given to adults at high risk for severe illness or high risk for exposure, followed by students and critical workers and eventually anyone remaining. Both doses for the vaccine must be from the same company, as each brand has varying time gaps between the first and second doses.  North Carolina still does not know how many supplies of vaccines they will get. Each Friday they will get information about the following week’s shipment, sent on Monday. Cohen shared that although the vaccines were developed quickly, they were built on years of scientific work in developing vaccines for similar viruses. Side effects reported include temporary reactions such as swelling and tiredness. “As a reminder, more than 40,000 people participated in Pfizer’s clinical trials,” Cohen said. “The data showed that the vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. And, remember, you can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our body thinks a germ like the virus is attacking. This creates the antibody defense we need to fight off COVID, if and when the real germ attacks.”

Novel coronavirus test reports in Brunswick County
Presumptive positive test results reported — 3,711
Number of recovered — 2,820
Number of isolations — 808
Number of hospitalizations — 16
Number of deaths related to coronavirus — 67

Brunswick age demographics
0-17 years old: 370
18-24 years old: 366
25-49 years old: 1,142
50-64 years old: 840
65+years old: 993

Novel coronavirus test reports in North Carolina
Presumptive positive test results reported — 446,601
Number of hospitalizations — 2,735
Number of deaths related to coronavirus — 5,881

Brunswick County/NC Public Health Contact Information

Brunswick County community assistance:
 
brunswickcountync.gov/emergency/covid-19-community-assistance/

Brunswick County business resources:
brunswickcountync.gov/coronavirus/businessresources/

NC Public Health call line (open 24/7):
866-462-3821

NC 211 program:
Dial 211 or 888-892-1162, or text COVIDNC to 898211 for updates

NC COVID-19 info:
https://www.nc.gov/covid19

Read more » click here


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

12/08/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 181 which is a modified stay-at-home order with a curfew that requires people to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

11/23/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 180 which expands current mask requirements, extending the rule to essentially any time an individual is outside of their home and in the presence of a non-household contact. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

11/10/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 176 which lowers the indoor gathering limit from 25 to 10 people. The state will remain paused in Phase 3 of its reopening plan. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

10/28/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 171 which assists all residential tenants in North Carolina who qualify for protection from eviction under the terms of the CDC Order. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

10/21/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 170 which is an extension of the Phase 3 order. We will remain paused for another three weeks in Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

09/30/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 169 which lifted certain restrictions and will allow additional openings and capacity for certain businesses. The state’s phased reopening process continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions and is moving from Phase 2.5 to Phase 3 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

09/04/20
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 163 which revised some prohibitions and restrictions to the state’s “Safer At Home” measures and will move into Phase 2.5 of the pandemic recovery. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

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 –


 

Murder Investigation

 

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Previously reported –
May 2019
Modern technology meets old school: How law enforcement investigated the suspected Holden Beach murderer
The tiny beach town of Holden was rocked when 71-year-old Judy Brock was murdered, allegedly by her husband. Find out how authorities made their case using data stored by cell phone and internet companies.

Modern communications technology paired with old-fashioned interview tactics are helping at least nine agencies build a strong case against Phillip Brock, a 71-year-old indicted last week for the first-degree murder of his wife. From the day Brock first reported his wife missing until the first week of April, 15 search warrants have been issued. Some search warrants are what one might expect in a murder investigation: a property search, DNA and cheek swab collection, or bank transaction tracking. But others, like those with a 48-hour return directive — effectively a legal rush-order — to out-of-state companies including Yahoo!, Google, and Verizon Wireless, show how law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of ubiquitous data collection practices that are more often used to sell targeted advertising. Traditional investigative techniques, like noticing inconsistencies in an interview, opened up suspicion against Phillip Brock. Brock called 911 to report his wife missing at 3:16 p.m. on March 15. Fine-tuned location data — sourced from a cell phone — could further reveal Brock’s precise movement that day — information that could remove any doubt about his involvement in Judy Brock’s murder. And communication records, which were examined alongside cellphone use, could help the prosecution clear up any suspicion about Rhen Wise, Brock’s alleged mistress, and the extent — if any — of her involvement in the murder; initial communication records show Wise continued to communicate with Brock after his wife’s murder for five days, until his arrest on March 20. Warrants cite the pervasive nature of cell phone use as part of their usefulness in tracking behavior. Cell phones “generally geographically mirror their user’s pattern of movement over time,” multiple warrants in the Brock case state.

Suspicion
The investigation began as a missing person case. After Brock reported his wife missing, officers conducted an initial search of his waterfront Holden Beach home. No signs of forced entry were present. Initial forensics conducted on Judy Brock’s cell phone — which was left at the residence — showed her husband texted her at 8:02 and 8:03 a.m., with no response. He told investigators he left home that morning at 5:45 a.m. and that his wife was still sleeping. Forensics conducted on Brock’s phone showed data before and during March 15 had been deleted. According to the search warrant to Google Inc., issued on March 18, deleting communication records to conceal them from law enforcement can show “consciousness of guilt,” information that can help prosecutors frame motive and intent to commit a crime. Information Google Inc. provides — which according to the warrant is likely to be stored both inside and outside the U.S. — “may tend to identify potential witnesses and/or suspects” in a “chronological and geographic context.” These initial forensics also showed Google searches from two weeks prior for escort services near South Carolina. This information served as probable cause to serve the first two search warrants on March 18: the first to Verizon Wireless and the second to Google Inc. At this point in the case, Judy Brock’s disappearance was being investigated as an “endangered missing person suspected by foul play.” Investigators believed Judy Brock could still be alive. After issuing the first search warrant to Verizon Wireless on the afternoon of March 18, Major Laurie Watson with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office re-faxed it twice the next morning, at 7:03 a.m. and at 8:51 a.m. with the urgent message: “I am requesting [range to tower records] as soon as possible in hopes of finding her alive.” According to the law firm Yavitch & Palmer, Verizon Wireless stores range-to-tower records, or RTT data. RTT data helps narrow down the distance from a device to a cell tower (or multiple cell towers) at the time of receiving or placing a call or text message. This type of data can track a device’s precise measurement to about one-tenth of a mile. But it’s only maintained by carriers for less than two weeks. Major Watson also requested the location of each of Verizon’s cell sites (equipment including antennas that transmit signals) and towers (the structures sites are attached to), including the horizontal beam widths and orientations of the cell sites.

Locking down location
It wasn’t until officers searched the Brocks’ Holden Beach property on Greensboro Street that they discovered data tying Phillip Brock to the crime. The property was searched on March 20, the warrant shows, which included a search of vehicles at the scene. Forensics from showed Brock’s 2018 Ford 150 revealed recent GPS locations in Sampson County — a location Brock told investigators he had not been to in months. The locations tied Brock to Wright Bridge Road – a 3.5-mile road that cuts around several acres of woods off U.S. 701 in Sampson County. Later that day, multiple law enforcement agencies found Judy Brock’s body in the same location, after discovering tire tracks and freshly disturbed ground off Wright Bridge Road. Phillip Brock was arrested at 5:30 p.m. following the discovery.

Ongoing investigation, expanded focus
New search warrants show the focus has expanded to Brock’s suspected mistress, who continued to communicate with him for at least five days after Judy Brock’s suspected time of death. Bank records revealed a financial relationship between Brock and Wise, in which Brock paid Wise’s phone bill, provided her with credit cards, and gave her funds and covered other expenses. The two also met in several hotels since 2018, according to an April 4 warrant for Wise’s Yahoo! records tied to her email account. Holden Beach Police Department, which still is handling the case according to a Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, did not respond to multiple inquiries. It’s not clear whether Wise is a suspect — as of April 29, Wise has not been arrested by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. It appears that, from an investigative side, the state has more than what it needs; after a review of Brock’s court file Wednesday, no new search warrants have been issued since April 4. On April 15, a grand jury returned a bill of indictment after hearing evidence presented by Watson and Detective John Duncan of the Holden Beach Police Department. Brock’s murder marks the first for the small beach town, home to less than 1,000 residents.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – May 2020
Holden Beach man accused of killing wife to stand trial Nov. 16
The husband of Judy Brown Brock, who was murdered more than a year ago, is set to go to trial on a first-degree murder charge Monday, Nov. 16. Phillip Harry Brock, 72, was charged with murder in March 2019 and has been incarcerated at the Brunswick County Detention Facility since his arrest. Brock was indicted on a first-degree murder charge April 15, 2019, said assistant district attorney Glenn Emery, the lead prosecutor on the case. If Phillip Brock is convicted of first-degree murder, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, Emery said. Brunswick County Detention Facility records show Phillip Brock was booked into the jail at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, 2019, on a first-degree murder charge on no bail. The Holden Beach Police Department was the arresting agency. According to a Holden Beach Police Department news release, law enforcement agencies found Judy Brown Brock’s body in a wooded area in Sampson County on March 20, 2019.A Silver Alert was issued for her the previous Saturday by the North Carolina Center for Missing Persons. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Ocean Isle Beach police, the North Carolina DMV License and Theft Bureau, Tri-Beach Volunteer Fire Department, Brunswick County Search and Rescue, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Garland Fire Department and District Attorney Jon David assisted in the investigation, which is ongoing. Brock made his first court appearance at the Brunswick County Courthouse the morning after his arrest. District Court Judge Scott Ussery assigned Brock attorney Teresa Gibson of Shallotte as Brock’s provisional lawyer and denied Brock bail at the request of Assistant District Attorney Glenn Emery. Oak Island-based lawyer Ed Geddings is now representing Phillip Brock on the first-degree murder charge. Emery told Ussery in court in March 2019 that it appears Brock put out the Silver Alert for his wife to cover up his tracks, and law enforcement learned she had no cognitive impairments. Emery said Brock then turned off the GPS in his phone and attempted to turn off the GPS in his 2018 Ford F-150 but was unsuccessful, leading law enforcement to track his vehicle to Sampson County where his wife’s body was discovered.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach man sentenced to 20-25 years for 2019 murder of wife
A Holden Beach man charged with killing his wife last year will serve the next two decades in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Phillip Brock, 73, was sentenced Wednesday in Brunswick County Superior Court for the March 15, 2019, murder of Judy Patricia Brock. Initially reported by her husband as a missing person, Judy Brock was found dead in a wooded area in Sampson County. During an investigation, Phillip Brock became a suspect after detectives found he had disabled the GPS system on his mobile phone and attempted unsuccessfully to disable the GPS device on his 2018 Ford F-150 truck. Detectives tied several pieces of evidence found at the Sampson County burial site to Phillip Brock’s home and truck. Brock, who has been incarcerated at the Brunswick County Detention Center following his arrest last year, will serve an active sentence of 240 to 300 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. The investigation was a collaborative effort of the Holden Beach Police Department, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation, and a number of other local law enforcement agencies, according to a press release issued Wednesday afternoon by District Attorney Jon David’s office.
Read more » click here

Holden Beach man pleads guilty to murdering his wife

Brunswick County man pleads guilty to murdering his wife

Holden Beach man sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering wife


  • 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 –


What’s your vision for our county?
Brunswick County launches new Blueprint Brunswick 2040 project to find out.

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County encourages residents to share their ideas online or at in-person and virtual meetings this fall as it develops new comprehensive plans

Brunswick County’s Planning and Parks and Recreation departments have teamed up for a 12-month initiative called Blueprint Brunswick 2040 to craft two new plans: a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Together, these two new plans will guide future growth, decisions and investments in infrastructure and serves withing the county.
For more information » click here

Take the Online Survey
The Blueprint Brunswick 2040 Public Input Survey is now online and open for submissions. The survey consists of 28 questions and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Access the survey at BlueprintBrunswick2040.com

Participants are asked to complete their online surveys no later than January 1st, 2021.

Brunswick creates ‘Blueprint’ for expected massive growth
Brunswick officials and community members are working to map out the county’s future in a new long-term plan. The Blueprint Brunswick 2040 plan will prepare for the county’s population growth and will guide the development of the community in the future. Officials are currently collecting input from the community about what should be addressed in the blueprint. The blueprint looks to accommodate a growing community. Since 2000, the population of Brunswick County has increased by 94% from 73,717 in 2000 to 142,820. The county’s population is projected to increase another 44% over the next 20 years, according to data from the N.C. Office of State Budget and Management. The project is a partnership between the county’s planning and parks and recreation departments. The last master plans adopted by both departments were compiled more than a decade ago. So, it was time to outline a new long-range plan for the county’s planning, said Kirstie Dixon, the Brunswick County planning director. It made sense for the planning and parks and recreation departments to partner because often their work is intertwined, she said. This fall, county officials have hosted focus groups and community meetings to allow community members to provide feedback on what needs to be addressed in the county’s future. They also have also used a survey
 to collect feedback. The public comment period lasts until Jan.1. So far, a few broad themes have emerged. On the planning side, traffic and roads are a “hot topic,” Dixon said. Other areas of concern include the need for more affordable housing in the county, utilities like water and sewer and the encroachment of developments on the county’s natural resources. For parks and recreation planning, community members want to see more indoor recreation space, more walking and biking trails and added waterway access points for launching kayaks and canoes, said Aaron Perkins, the county’s parks, and recreation director. The planning process will allow officials to accommodate the community’s changing interests. For example, when the parks and recreation department adopted its last master plan in 2009, no one was talking about pickleball, Perkins said. Now, it’s everywhere. “Pickleball is a growing sport,” he said, “especially for our area since we’re a retirement county.” Those changing interests will be reflected in the blueprint, he added. It’s important to hear from a diverse group of Brunswick County residents because the impact blueprint will have a significant impact on communities in the county. “It will guide Brunswick County into the future,” Dixon said.
Read more » click here


Ocean Isle Beach’s terminal groin lawsuit will be heard by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals next month
It’s a lawsuit four years in the making, and one the Town of Ocean Isle Beach hopes is resolved soon so constriction of a terminal groin (a type of jetty) can move forward, conservationists hope that does not happen. The town hopes to protect its beaches and properties along the ocean while conservation groups have argued plans for a terminal groin would be detrimental to the environment and filed suit to stop the project. In August of 2017, the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the Audubon North Carolina bringing a halt to a proposed terminal groin project. Now, after being dismissed by a federal judge in September of 2019, the lawsuit is ready to be heard by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

So what exactly is a terminal groin, and what is the concern? In the most basic sense, a terminal groin is a type of rock wall built on the shoreline, extending into the water that are used to help grow beaches and slow erosion. “A groin is built perpendicular to the coast and works similar to the way a jetty works. But groins are usually smaller than jetties and built on straight stretches of beach, not near inlets or channels. They are often built in a series of parallel structures on one section of beach and can be made of wood, concrete, steel or stone. Terminal groins are relatively new concoctions. They are the name proponents have given to small jetties built at inlets — the terminus of islands,” according to the N.C. Coastal Federation.

Proponents of these projects say groins help stem erosion from the beaches and help project properties, however, there are environmental concerns when it comes to installing hard structures. “While they can protect roads, beach homes and other buildings threatened by erosion, hard structures usually cause increased erosion further down the beach. Both jetties and groins, for example, act like dams to physically stop the movement of sand. They work by preventing longshore drift from washing sediment down the coast. As a result, they cause a buildup of sand on the side protected by the structure — which is precisely what they’re intended to do,” according to the N.C. Coastal Federation.

However, the buildup of sand comes at a cost for other properties. “…Areas further “downstream” on the coast are cut off from natural longshore drift by these barrier-like structures. No longer replenished by the sand that usually feeds them, these areas experience worsened erosion,” according to the group.

North Carolina has a history of avoiding the problems brought to other communities through the use of hardened structures and a ban on them was in place for years, since 1985 — until it was repealed in 2011. Senate Bill 110 authorized the construction of terminal groins and repealed the efforts of conservationists.

When the Town of Ocean Isle Beach decided it wanted its own terminal groin in 2017, the lawsuit was filed. The conservationist group claimed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the town’s plan for a terminal groin would be detrimental to the environment. “We’re in court because the Corps failed to fairly consider alternatives that would cost Ocean Isle less, manage erosion, and protect the natural beach on the east end of the island when it approved this destructive project,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center at the time the lawsuit was filed. “Federal law requires the Corps to choose the least destructive alternative; with the terminal groin, it approved the most destructive.”

Even U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed that the project would be detrimental to the ecosystem. “A project of this nature will destroy the ecological functioning of this inlet and the surrounding areas. The science is unequivocal. I see no unique issues or areas of significant uncertainty in need of further evaluation. We oppose this project. There is nothing more to discuss,” Pete Benjamin, an employee of the federal agency wrote about the project in 2011, according to emails obtained by Coastal Review Online.

However, proponents of the groin want to move forward. After the decision was entered by the federal judge to dismiss the case, the National Audubon Society filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the town, they are scheduled to have their arguments heard next month. “The Town has been informed by our attorney that the oral argument before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has been scheduled for December 8, 2020. We are hopeful that a final decision on this matter will be rendered by the judge shortly after the oral argument is completed. We will post additional updates as they are made available to the Town,” according to a Facebook Post from the town.
Read more » click here


Odds & Ends –


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Christmas Lights
Public Works have put up snow flake decorations on the boulevard light poles

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Christmas Trees Recycling
Christmas trees can be recycled to help build sand dunes on the beach. It is a way to build more protection on the shore by using them as a natural and biodegradable sand fencing. The trees are positioned facing downward at a 45-degree angle. Once the trees are laid down, they are left completely exposed except for the tips, which are covered in sand. The needles of the branches catch the sand, and it starts to accumulate until gradually the sand will bury the tree and build up the dunes around them. As the tree biodegrades, it provides nutrients to the other plants and organisms around it.



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.

Previously reported – July 2020
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.
Read more » click here

Previously reported – September 2020
Holden Beach officials contemplate efforts to extend police force on island
The Town of Holden Beach held a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 3, to continue discussion on the feasibility of hiring seasonal law enforcement officers for the 2021 season. Following their last meeting on July 2, Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon contacted other police chiefs in similarly situated municipalities to discuss their handlings of the beach strand. Dixon reported diverse policing across the towns but found a common problem is retention. In the future he wanted to hold a conference call with Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Ken Bellamy because their town is similar.
The group decided to hold one more meeting before contacting Bellamy so they could clarify the roles of the part-time officer and ask more specific questions. Kwiatkowski said for the next meeting they needed to be clear about what is getting investigated for the blended program of the land and seaside. She also requested Dixon look into the frequency of parking and speeding violations. The next meeting is on Oct. 1.
Read more » click here

Previously reported October 2020
Holden Beach chief opts for hiring clerk over more police officers
“That is going to help serve this community 10 times better than trying to figure out how to hire four, six part-time officers,” Dixon said during a town seasonal law enforcement officers committee meeting Oct. 1. Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon believes hiring a new office clerk would be more beneficial for his department rather than hiring seasonal officers. Though the meeting was set to discuss hiring seasonal law enforcement, Dixon felt an office clerk would be more helpful for the department in addressing the high volume of phone calls and better serving the community.
Read more » click here

Update –
Holden Beach committee talks with Ocean Isle Beach Chief
The town of Holden Beach Seasonal Law Enforcement Committee held a meeting om Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Ken Bellamy. “After our discussion at the last meeting, we were hoping to be able to discuss how Ocean Isle Beach utilizes their seasonal police officers and to have the chief of police present here to discuss the issues he found in utilizing seasonal police officers,” commissioner Mike Sullivan said. During the gathering Sullivan asked Bellamy how many seasonal police officers Ocean Isle Beach currently has. “At Ocean Isle we actually have two classifications of folks that work what we call beach patrol and beach patrol consists of officers or personnel on an ATV on the beach strand,” Bellamy said. “The two classifications as far as beach control, we have non-sworn and we have sworn.” Non-sworn officers tend to be retired police officers. Their main task is to look for ordinance violations on the beach strand and inform the public what the ordinances are, but when it comes to enforcement actions, they notify a sworn officer or call a uniformed officer off the road. Typically, Ocean Isle Beach hires ten (10) non-sworn officers and eight (8) sworn officers for the summer season, Bellamy reported. He said training can be between eight to 12 hours for non-sworn officers, showing the lay of the land and covering administrative issues. Sworn officers go through a training program, depending on their experience level and training can be completed 24 hours. In an average week, Bellamy said Ocean Isle Beach part-time officers work a total of 120 hours a week all together. They try to use two officers at a minimum, with each working an eight-hour shift. On holidays and weekends, they have more officers working. When asked about the retention rate, Bellamy said it is pretty good. Since the non-sworn side is mostly retired folks, they tend to stick around but sworn officers can be a little harder to keep around if they find a full-time position elsewhere. Bellamy said the seasonal officers are only used for the beach strand and not as supplement patrol. Ocean Isle’s beach patrol program has been in existence since the early 1990s. Contrary to Ocean Isle’s operations, Holden Beach Police Chief Jeremy Dixon expressed interest in using the seasonal officers for patrol use, rather than limiting them to the beach strand. “As far as how we would utilize them, if we had seasonal officers, they would be to assist call volume and to assist with parking and other traffic issues,” Dixon said. Dixon said he felt it would be difficult to have the part-time officers play double duty working on law enforcement and beach patrol. Despite needing a little extra help, Dixon was happy with the department. “We’re very fortunate here,” Dixon said. “Our officers do an excellent job at preventing crime, and the fact that we don’t have a lot of reports and a lot of crime to me speaks volumes about the job that they do preventively.” Due to the town of Holden Beach’s State of Emergency restrictions, in-person public attendance was prohibited at the meeting. The meeting was livestreamed on the town’s Facebook page. The next seasonal law enforcement officers committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Read more » click here


This and That –


North Carolina/South Carolina (NC/SC) Adult Baseball is open for registration for the 2021 season. The NC/SC Adult baseball league was formed in 2012. It is an all wood bat league with 3 age divisions for the upcoming 2021 calendar year. The age divisions are 35+, 45+, and 55+. The league is affiliated with the Roy Hobbs Baseball Organization which provides both liability and medical insurance to our players. Teams are generally from the Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach, SC areas. However, players come from both states and several beaches, including Holden Beach. The league accepts individual players, groups of players, or entire teams.

This is an age-specific league. There are players at a variety of skills and experience levels. Most players had some high school experience and maybe college. This league may not be for you if you have never played at a competitive level. But many players have not played in 10, 20 or 30 years. After a few practice sessions and a few games most, players find the game comes back to them and they can compete at their age level. It’s a great opportunity to get regular exercise and make new friends in the area.

To register go to:
Either
https://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/?u=NCSC&s=baseball
Or
https://www.hometeamsonline.com/teams/default.asp?u=NCSC&s=baseball&p=registration&formID=187172

For more information »
Contact Walt Kozak: waltkozak@gmail.com

NC/SC Adult Baseball website:  www.ncscbaseball.com


The best fall we’ve ever had’: Coastal vacation rentals in high demand
This year has been a rollercoaster for many of those who manage rental properties in the beach towns that dot the coastline of Southeastern North Carolina. COVID-19 hit the United States in mid-March, just when rental properties tend to see an uptick in spring break bookings. Instead, many saw cancellation after cancellation. Temporary state and local bans on short-term rentals appeared to doom the rental season before it began. But when bans lifted, people rushed to reserve vacation rentals. Reservations have remained steady for local rental companies throughout the summer and into the fall.

Watching the vacation rental season ‘fall apart’
For Ian Kraus, a property and reservations manager at Intracoastal Vacation Rentals in Wrightsville Beach, the cancellations began streaming in mid-March. Kraus estimates he handled 450 cancellations this spring. That’s unheard of. “I’ve never been anywhere close to that,” Kraus said. The initial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic led to the flood of cancellations that seemed to threaten the rental season. “People were cancelling, not coming, trying to reschedule,” said Jessica Elliott, the marketing director at Sea Scape Properties in Wrightsville Beach. “This whole time, we’re just seeing our whole season fall apart.” Early in the pandemic, short-term rentals were banned by state and local restrictions. For more than a month, vacationers could not rent apartments or houses in several coastal towns near Wilmington. But when those restrictions lifted in mid-May on Topsail Island, bookings flooded in, said Chris Rackley, the president and broker-in-charge at Lewis Realty Associates. “We ran around 100% occupied from late May on into mid-September,” Rackley said. In a typical year, rentals run 100% occupied during peak summer months. This is the first time that the company has been 100% occupied that far into the fall, Rackley said.

‘We’re working at home anyway, why not come to the beach?’
The demand for rental properties was not unique to Topsail Island. In coastal towns throughout Southeastern North Carolina, short-term rentals have been booming this year despite the pandemic. Demand, which typically begins to fall off when school begins in mid-August or early September, has continued through October at some rental agencies. Why? Some property managers believe the shift to working from home and virtual learning have something to do with it. Kraus said visitors are looking to rent larger spaces, which means they might be vacationing with their families. “The two and three bedrooms are always going to be a lock-in. That’s the perfect size for a smaller group,” he said. “But this year we’re getting a lot more looking for three, four, five bedrooms.” Many renters have told the property managers that at-home work and school played a role in their decision to come to the coast. An internet connection has also become increasingly important for this year’s renters. “If the Internet went out in the home, it was a dire emergency,” Rackley said. “That kind of tells the story.” The first question prospective clients often ask Kraus when calling to book a rental is how fast the internet is. “I would say close to half of our off-season rentals this time around are just like: we’re working at home anyway, why not come to the beach?” he said.

The ‘best’ rental season ever
This might be the best fall rental season Alan Holden has ever seen. Holden, a veteran of the real estate and vacation rental industry, owns Alan Holden Vacations and is the Mayor of Holden Beach. “This is probably going to be the best fall we’ve ever had, and I’ve been doing this for 40-some years,” he said. Holden credits virtual work and schooling along with this fall’s warm and mild weather for drawing visitors. When Bethany Guthrie, the owner of TI Rentals in Surf City, compares this year with 2019, she has seen a 35% increase in rentals between June 1 and Oct. 31. Rental agencies have received a mix of bookings from both North Carolinians and those coming from outside of the state. This summer when COVID-19 restrictions shut down some cities and suburban areas in the Northeast, some families booked a vacation rental and drove down to coastal North Carolina. “This summer there was an eagerness … to get out of the city and get here to the coast,” said Chris Spellman, the broker-in-charge and property manager at Sea Scape Properties. Rental properties allow families to social distance and keep to themselves, making them ideal places for families to stay during the pandemic, said Rackley. “They stay within their own family environment in a vacation rental,” he said.

Rentals fuel the occupancy tax
For many coastal towns in Southeastern North Carolina, tourism drives the economy. Beachgoers buy souvenirs at local shops, eat in local restaurants, and stay in local hotels and rental properties. “In a coastal town, this is an extremely important industry,” Spellman said. When visitors book a rental or hotel, they pay into the town’s occupancy taxes. These taxes are reinvested into the community in ways that aim to attract tourists, like nourishing area beaches. Because tourism is a significant economic driver in beach towns, Spellman said local government leaders should give property and hotel managers a seat at the table when it comes to economic discussions. The occupancy tax has rebounded this year in Wrightsville Beach, said the town’s mayor, Darryl Mills. “The occupancy tax was way down for several months but it is coming back,” he said.

Mills said that rental property and hotel managers in the area have told him that demand from visitors is steady. He said that coastal towns in the Wilmington area will continue to draw in tourists as long as rentals, hotels and other businesses can remain open. “If we can stay open and the weather holds, we’ll survive,” he said.

Will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the vacation rental season?
The success of vacation rentals this summer and fall has left property managers wondering what next season will look like. Will things be back to normal by next summer? Elliott said she believes changes caused by COVID-19 might have a lasting impact on vacationers and rental companies alike. “I honestly think that it’s going to change the way our rental season runs,” she said. As more companies adapt to working from home, people may have more freedom in deciding where they work from, she said. A shift in demand could affect rental prices. Traditionally, the summer months are peak rental season. Demand for vacation rentals and the rates for renting them are highest during this time. Higher demand in the fall could mean a rate increase, said Spellman. “Any time we’re looking at pricing, we’re looking at supply and demand,” he said. Having the option of virtual work or school could give families the flexibility they need take a vacation later into the fall than they could in a more traditional work environment. “I’m interested to see what happens as we move into winter and next season,” she said. Regardless of the changes ahead, this summer and fall has turned out much better than many property managers expected. “We figured that this summer was not going to be that great,” Rackley said. “But it turned out to be a tremendously successful year.”
Read more » click here


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Watch out for deer
NCDOT warns motorists
across North Carolina to stay alert for deer now that fall has arrived. Every year during late autumn, auto and body shops across the region brace for a bumper crop of business, comprised of an influx of cars with damage from collisions with deer. Beginning in October, roads across the state become hazardous as North Carolina’s deer population fans out, lurking on highway shoulders in search of food and potential mates. It’s the deadliest time of the year for deer, which also pose a particular danger to motorists. Nearly half of vehicle accidents involving white-tail deer occur from October to December. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are crepuscular mammals, meaning they’re most active at dawn and dusk – which, following the onset of daylight savings time, places them near roads and byways precisely when large numbers of residents are commuting to and from work.

Report: Animal-related crashes on the rise in North Carolina
The frequency of animal-vehicle crashes has increased considerably from the year before, according to a report. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) said there was a total of 20,331 animal-involved crashes in 2019, an increase of more than 2,300 from 2018. Officials said deer account for about 90% of all animal-related crashes. The increase in incidents could be attributed to growth in the state, with more drivers on the road and more development. State officials warn that North Carolina is entering the three worst months of the year for animal-related crashes, with October, November, and December accounting for half of the annual total over the past three years. The NCDOT Transportation Mobility and Safety Division study shows animal-related crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800 others, and caused nearly $156.9 million in property damage over those three years. For the 17th year in a row, Wake County leads the rest of the state for animal collisions with 1,023 in 2019. The NCDOT says far western counties have the lowest numbers because they have the fewest drivers and roads. Graham County recorded just five animal collisions and has the bottom spot for the fifth year in a row.

NCDOT has some helpful tips for motorists in regard to deer-vehicle crashes:

  • Although it does not decrease the risk of being in a crash, wearing a seat belt gives you a better chance of avoiding or minimizing injuries if you hit a deer or other animal.
  • Always maintain a safe amount of distance between your vehicle and others, especially at night. If the vehicle ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
  • Slowdown in areas posted with deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
  • Most deer-vehicle crashes occur where deer are more likely to travel, near bridges or overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches. Be vigilant when passing through potentially risky landscapes.
  • Drive with high beams on when possible and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
  • Deer often travel in groups, so if you see one deer near a road, be alert that others may be around.
  • If you see deer near a road, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast.
  • Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the risk of it flipping over, veering into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road and causing a more serious crash.

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
Read more » click here

NCDOT: Vehicle-animal crashes on the rise statewide, Brunswick in top 10
Animal-vehicle collisions have increased across North Carolina, according to a new report released by the N.C. Department of Transportation Monday. Brunswick County is ranked sixth out of the state’s 100 counties for animal-vehicle collisions between 2017 and 2019. These types of collisions have increased in the county by 27% since 2012, with 480 crashes last year, according to the report.

Animal collisions are up statewide due to increased development, which pushes animals out of their habitats, according to NCDOT. Deer make up the majority (90%) of animal-vehicle collisions. Statewide, these crashes have killed five people, injured more than 2,800, and caused more than $156 million in property damage between 2017 and 2019. Collisions are known to increase during the last three months of the year, according to NCDOT, because crashes in this timeframe tend to make up half the annual total. Pender County ranks 16th with 331 animal crashes last year, and New Hanover County ranks 69th with 85 crashes on the state’s list. The state’s westernmost counties tend to have the least amount of animal crashes due to sparser populations and roads. Almost a majority of crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight. The end of Daylight Savings on Nov. 1 increases the chance of deer being hit on the roadways as more drivers travel in the dark, according to NCDOT.

Below are tips NCDOT provided drivers to protect themselves from animal collisions:

  • Wear a seatbelt
  • Keep a safe distance between vehicles
  • Drive slow in areas with posted deer crossing signs and in heavily wooded areas near dusk and night.
  • Be mindful while driving near areas where deer are more likely to travel, including near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches.
  • When possible, drive with high beams on and look out for eyes reflected in the headlights
  • Look out for other deer when one is spotted; deer often travel in groups
  • Blow the horn with a long blast if you spot a deer near the road.
  • Do not swerve your vehicle to avoid colliding with a deer.
  • If you do strike a deer with your vehicle, try to get your vehicle off the road, call 911, and don’t touch the animal. Injured or wounded deer can further injure itself or others.
    Read more » click here

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


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Climate
For more information » click here

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


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Development Fees
For more information » click here
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Flood Insurance Program
For more information » click here
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On October 1, 2020, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2021.


 

GenX
For more information » click here
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    Homeowners Insurance
    For more information » click here
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    Insurance companies request rate increase for homeowners
    The North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) has requested a 24.5 percent statewide average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates to take effect August 2021, according to a news release issued Nov. 10 by state insurance commissioner Mike Causey. The NCRB is not part of the N.C. Department of Insurance but represents companies that write insurance policies in the state. The department can either agree with the rates as filed or negotiate a settlement with the NCRB on a lower rate. If a settlement cannot be reached within 50 days, Causey will call for a hearing. Two years ago, in December 2018, the NCRB requested a statewide average increase of 17.4 percent. Causey negotiated a rate 13.4 percentage points lower and settled with a statewide aver-age rate increase of 4 percent. One of the drivers behind this requested increase is that North Carolina has experienced increased wind and hail losses stemming from damaging storms. A public comment period is required by law to give the public time to address the NCRB’s proposed rate increase.
    For more information » click here

  • To see a table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases go to: click here
  • Territory 120 / Beach areas in Brunswick County / NCRB proposed increase 25%


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    Hurricane Season

    For more information » click here

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  • A hurricane season for the record books
    Starting with the first storm, which struck two weeks before the official start of the Atlantic season on June 1, this year has now seen 30 named storms — 13 of them hurricanes — breaking a record set in 2005, when 28 storms grew strong enough to be named. This is only the second time — after 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast — that meteorologists have exhausted the list of storm names in alphabetical order and moved on to the 24-letter Greek alphabet.


This relentless Atlantic hurricane season has put nearly every mile of coastline from Texas to Maine on alert
People along nearly every mile of coastline from Texas to Maine have been put on alert this Atlantic hurricane season, as 12 of 29 storms made landfall in the United States in this record-setting year.
Read more » click here


Hurricane season ends after record 30 named storms, 12 U.S. landfalls
Over six long months, 30 named storms – from Arthur to Iota – spun around somewhere in the Atlantic, with the 2020 hurricane season breaking records left and right. That all ends Monday. Officially, anyway. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season – which ran from June 1 to Nov. 30 – produced 30 named storms, 12 of which made landfall in the United States, shattering the record of nine, set over a century ago. This year was also the fifth year in a row with above-normal activity, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While the official end of the hurricane season is Monday, storms have been known to crop up all the way into December. Meteorologists are monitoring an area of disturbed weather several hundred miles southeast of Bermuda for possible development. If the disturbance becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Kappa.


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Lockwood Folly Inlet
For more information » click here
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Removal of Lockwood Folly Inlet markers raises concerns
Advocates for the boating community and Lockwood Folly Inlet in Brunswick County hope they won’t see a repeat of the tragedy that struck at Carolina Beach Inlet on November 7. What they would like to see is the navigational buoys put back. Put simply, the U.S. Coast Guard’s new policy is to remove aids to navigation that are significantly off-site in shallow-draft inlets. The rationale is that buoys, or “cans,” as most boaters call them, should not be in place if they are not accurately depicting the channel. Giving boaters a false sense of security, Coast Guard officials have said, may be worse than having no cans at all. The Coast Guard removed Carolina Beach Inlet’s cans after giving notice in early October. On November 7, four men in a fishing boat attempted to turn around in the inlet and capsized. One of the men, from Garner, drown. No one directly linked the incident to the buoys, but it was a point of concern at the Brunswick Shoreline Protection’s regular November 18 meeting. The question was why aids to navigation, including cans, could not be left in place when a dredging project was scheduled. Layton Bedsole, shoreline manager for New Hanover County, said the Carolina Beach Inlet dredging project was finished on November 12 and the cans were back in place. The issue applies to Lockwood Folly Inlet, where the Coast Guard has removed cans, although a maintenance dredging project is set for December. “Pulling the cans is not the answer,” said Ryan Williams of the Lockwood Folly Association, a coalition of boaters. He said that having some guides for boaters, especially those unfamiliar with the area, was better than nothing. Steve Stone, assistant Brunswick County manager, said officials responded to the concerns of the Coast Guard but did not persuade them to leave the cans in place at Lockwood Folly Inlet. The latest survey shows serious shoaling at the entrance. Stone said the Coast Guard wanted a plan to keep the inlet open: he responded that there is a plan, and that county and local governments have utilized the state’s Shallow Draft Inlet fund to maintain the inlet for years. The issue was the availability of dredges and a commitment by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who set the schedule, he explained. Stone said the county could not commit to funding the project annually without a specific number, but it had regularly participated in the ongoing project along with Oak Island and Holden Beach. Dredging in the Lockwood Folly Inlet is expected in December.
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USACE plan is in place for the LWF inlet maintenance project. Five events per year, at a cost of  approximately one million dollars just for side-caster dredger. Funding commitments are not in place yet, THB cost share would be roughly $60,000. That’s as close as we have been to having an annual maintenance program for the inlet.

The Merritt is scheduled to begin dredging December 27th for twenty-one days, USACE has funding in place

USACE Merritt
The Merritt is a side-cast dredge that has two drag arms on each side of the vessel that operators lower into the water. The dredge removes sediment from the bottom and pumps it through a discharge pipe outside of the channel and into the direction of the current. It can dredge to a depth of up to 20 feet. The Merritt is especially suited for maintenance of shallow, un-stabilized inlets where larger hopper dredges cannot operate due to strong currents and ocean environment.


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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.
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    Book Review:
    Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
    Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
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THE DARKEST EVENING
by Ann Cleeves
This is the ninth entry in the Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope novel series. A murder investigation in the north of England with an extensive list of suspects and motives that are hidden in plain sight. It’s a whodunnit where the reader has all of the clues necessary to solve the mystery. Skillful misdirection masks the killer’s identity which will keep you guessing until the end.
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  • .That’s it for this newsletter

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