08 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / August Edition


Calendar of Events –


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U.S. Open
King Mackerel Fishing Tournament

September 30th – October 2nd
Southport, NC
For more information » click here

 



Riverfest

October 1st – 3rd
Wilmington, NC

For more information » click here


Sunset at Sunset
October 2nd
Sunset Beach, NC
For more information » click here

 


 


N.C. Oyster Festival

October 16t – 17th
Shallotte, NC
For more information » click here

 


N.C. Festival by the Sea
October 30th – 31st
Holden Beach, NC
For more information » click here


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


Concerts on the Coast Series
The Town’s summer concert series calendar has been released! Live performances featuring local musical groups are held at the pavilion on Sunday evenings from late May to early September. The concerts are free of charge.
For more information » click here


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


Reminders –


Free Dump Week
The Brunswick County Solid Waste Department hosts two free cleanup weeks a year, the week prior to the third Saturday in April and September. Brunswick County property owners and residents may dispose of all materials, except for regular household trash and hazardous waste, at the Brunswick County Landfill free of charge September 13th – 17th. Metal, tires, electronics, latex paint, and yard debris can be disposed of during free dump week, but they must be placed in their designated area. Business and commercial vehicles will be charged normal tipping fees. You must show proof of Brunswick County property ownership or residency.

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


Golf carts are treated the same as any other automotive vehicle.

In the State of North Carolina, if a golf cart is to be operated on the streets, highways, or public vehicular areas, it is considered a motor vehicle and subject to all laws, rules and regulations that govern motor vehicles.

In short, the golf cart must have all of the following:

      • The driver MUST have a current, valid Driver’s License
      • Child Restraint Laws must be followed
      • Headlights
      • Tail lights
      • Turn signals
      • Rear view mirrors
      • State Inspection Sticker
      • License Plate Issued by NCDMV
      • Liability Insurance

All of the streets in the Town (including the side streets) are considered streets or public vehicular areas according to the State Law. This means that to operate a golf cart anywhere on the island, you must meet the standards above.

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.

 


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

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1) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 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/


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 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.



Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
GFL Environmental – 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
GFL Environmental 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 29th through September 25th

Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting May 29th twice a week

Recyclingstarting May 25th weekly pick-up

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



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 21st
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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.


Curbside Recycling
GFL environmental 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. In December 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


COVID/State of Emergency – Timeline

08/06/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 225 which is extending certain health and human services provisions in previous Executive Orders and delegations of authority. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

07/29/21
The state is presently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 spread, principally among those who are unvaccinated. The state’s key COVID-19 metrics suggest some measures must remain active to address and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 224 which is an extension to the end of August of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

06/11/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 220 which is an extension to the end of July of COVID-19 measures to reflect the public health recommendations. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

05/14/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 215 which lifts COVID-19 restrictions to reflect new public health recommendations. The order ended gathering limits, social distancing requirements in all settings, and drops indoor mask requirements for most settings.
Returning the state to almost normal operations after 15 months marked by COVID-19 lockdowns and limits. Click here
to view the Executive Order details.

04/28/21
Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 209 which removes the outdoor face covering requirement, relaxes restrictions on gatherings and extends the capacity and social distancing measures of Executive Order 204. Click here to view the Executive Order details.

03/23/21
It’s been just over a year since North Carolina went into the Covid-19 shutdown, and subsequent restrictions from Gov. Roy Cooper have followed. Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 204 which will roll back some of them, a further easing of restrictions on maximum capacity limits for many businesses and entertainment venues. Click here to view the Executive Order details.


How to find out if you’re in a high transmissibility area
The CDC provides a COVID data tracker that includes a by-county view of transmissibility rates each week. You can enter your state, county or metro area to find out what the transmissibility is like where you live by going to this site.


Wind Energy Area Review –


How NC’s wind energy plans could be thwarted by Brunswick County
Brunswick County beach towns that thrive on tourism are banding together to oppose the installation of wind turbines off their shores. In the last few months Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Caswell Beach, and the Village of Bald Head Island have all passed resolutions taking issue with wind turbines that could be seen from their beaches, asking for them to be positioned at least 24 nautical miles away.
Oak Island Mayor Ken Thomas said the town will be working on a similar ordinance soon. “I’m not against wind energy, or solar or any other kind of energy, but it doesn’t need to be stuck in your face,” Thomas said. “You didn’t buy a vacation home at the beach to look at a wind turbine. They need to be off in the ocean where we don’t see them.” While each of the resolutions cited the effect the turbines would have on tourism and were not opposed to wind energy,  if the turbines are forced to be at least 24 nautical miles off the coast, it could effectively shut down the prospects for new offshore wind energy in North Carolina. Last month, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order aimed at accelerating wind energy production off the North Carolina coast before a federal moratorium prohibiting offshore leasing for energy production takes effect in July 2022. The order sets a goal for the state to develop 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy resources by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. In order for the state to get more offshore leases in place before the moratorium takes effect, a bi-partisan group of N.C. lawmakers wrote a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management urging the federal agency to “expeditiously” begin leasing existing wind energy areas. “We respectfully urge the BOEM to take swift action to hold lease sales for two of our existing WEAs – Wilmington East and Wilmington West – so that lease agreements can be executed in advance of the July 1 deadline,” the letter read. The Wilmington West wind energy area consists of about 51,595 acres starting around 11.5 nautical miles from shore, while the Wilmington East area starts 15.5 miles from shore and is about 133,590 acres. In order to get leases for wind energy production to take effect before the moratorium, the state would likely have to use the two designated wind energy area off the coast of Brunswick County, only a small sliver of which is outside of 24 nautical miles. Next week the Bureau of Energy Management will meet with stakeholders to discuss their approach for possible leasing in the area. The agency has granted other jurisdictions, like the state of Virginia, a 24 nautical mile buffer from the shore. “I think we need to go on record as having concerns,” Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said at their meeting passing the wind turbine resolution. “And we need to follow up and keep that pressure if it has any meaning whatsoever.”
Read more » click here

Offshore wind turbines: not in my backyard
Even as Gov. Roy Cooper sets ambitious goals for electricity production from green sources like wind energy, a growing contingent of coastal communities are pushing back with “not in my backyard” concerns. The complicated, long-running story of wind energy off the Carolinas goes back to 2014 when the federal government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) first laid it on the table. Now, the effort faces a July 2022 deadline before all offshore energy leases – including oil, natural gas and wind – will be banned in the Atlantic Ocean. BOEM has proposed two areas off Brunswick County for wind turbine leasing by private companies. The areas account for shipping, military interests, fishing, water depth, average wind speeds and proximity to the electric grid, among other factors. Areas off of Brunswick and Horry, South Carolina counties are called Wilmington West (52,000 acres) and Wilmington East (134,000 acres). BOEM has announced no specific timeline for offering leases for those areas. For administrative purposes, they are grouped with other areas off the South Carolina coast. The East area starts slightly more than 11 nautical miles offshore; the West area begins 15.5 nautical miles off the Brunswick coast. The concept of limiting proximity of turbines to the shore started with the 70-mile-long Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which borders a proposed offshore lease area called Kitty Hawk. Managers of the federal lands asked that wind turbines be at least 24 nautical miles offshore to preserve the viewshed of the first federally protected seashore in the United States. Development is not allowed in the seashore, except for established municipalities and historic sites, access areas and a few minimal facilities, such as restrooms and trash containers. Leaders of village council at Bald Head Island picked up on that number, and council passed a resolution requesting the same 24-mile buffer zone and Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach and Caswell Beach have passed similar resolutions. The Commonwealth of Virginia has made a parallel request.
Oak Island Mayor Ken Thomas said his town council will also soon be asked to consider the measure. “I am in favor of wind power,” Thomas said. “I just don’t want to see it or hear it from the beach. I don’t know what the right number is; I just don’t want to see or hear them.”
More wind power
Last month, Gov. Cooper issued an executive order calling for the state to invest more in wind energy and move away from fossil fuels for electricity. “Offshore wind power will help North Carolina create jobs and generate economic development while helping us transition to a clean energy economy,” Cooper said in a prepared statement. “North Carolina’s national leadership in clean energy and manufacturing plus our highly trained workforce create a strong business environment for offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing companies.” The order establishes offshore wind development goals of 2.8 gigawatts off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. Achieving these goals will power roughly 2.3 million homes by 2040. In addition to creating economic benefits across North Carolina, the development will help achieve the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan goal of a 70-percent reduction in power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, the governor stated. “This coordinated approach to developing our offshore wind supply chain will bring new jobs to North Carolina for generations to come,” state Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said in a prepared statement. “From building out the supply chain, to installing equipment, to operating the wind facilities, North Carolina’s manufacturers and workforce are well positioned to play an integral role in the entire East Coast market, not just for projects directly off the state’s coast.
Other players
A bipartisan group of North Carolina U.S. representatives endorsed federal efforts to develop offshore wind energy. Seven members of Congress – more than half the delegation – stated in April they wanted to act quickly and avoid a decade-long moratorium on new wind energy leases set to begin July 2022. Signers included U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, whose 7th District includes Brunswick and New Hanover counties. The letter from two Republicans and five Democrats acknowledges a recent study commissioned by the N.C. Department of Commerce that found tremendous potential for growth in offshore wind generation. The study stated, in part, that North Carolina could generate far more energy than the state is projected to use in 2035 and could capture future investments exceeding $100-billion in the wind energy business. The study, by industry consultants and N.C. State University, details how North Carolina’s existing ports and other infrastructure could support expansion of wind energy and provides a blueprint for long-term improvements. The letter from the Congress members asks BOEM to promptly and responsibly advance existing lease areas and identify new ones, if possible. “The way forward is, as Rep. Rouzer says, ‘All of the above’ with one caveat. Fossil fuels are a dead end and we need to leave that street as quickly as we can. Down the road the bridge is out,” said Pete Key, president of Brunswick Environmental Action Team. “I again applaud Governor Cooper’s bold leadership in protecting our planet,” said Randy Sturgill, field representative for Oceana, the largest ocean environmental group in the world. “This North Carolina executive order will help move forward the development of offshore wind in North Carolina. Offshore wind should be part of the climate solution and can be done in a responsible manner that ensures protections for critically endangered species like the North Atlantic right whale.”
Read more » click here 

Prospect of visible ocean wind farms unites Brunswick towns in opposition
The opposition movement began earlier this summer in Bald Head Island. The village council approved a resolution in May that makes it clear any efforts to place wind farms within the island’s viewshed — the territory of ocean in which the turbines could be seen from the beach, or the Old Baldy lighthouse — will be met with a fight. The campaign spread to neighboring coastal towns, with Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach passing similar resolutions in July. With the tourism economy in mind, beach-town politicians across Brunswick County feared if an offshore wind farm were visible from the shoreline, it would deter would-be beachgoers and corrupt views. As stated in the Bald Head resolution: “Such a change would represent for us the most destructive commitment of ocean resources that we have ever heard proposed in North Carolina — one that could irreversibly damage the natural environment and resources that we cherish and that drive our economy.” The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners added to the chorus Monday, approving a resolution that says allowing wind farms within 24 nautical miles of the coast would damage tourism and the county’s economy by “transforming open ocean views to views of massive industrial machinery.” Meanwhile, the federal government is ramping up plans for the renewable energy source in waters offshore of the east coast. Last week the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) began the process of kickstarting an environmental review for a “wind lease” in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Outer Banks. Wind developers pay the bureau for exclusive rights to huge chunks of ocean territory in cases like this where they’re looking to install offshore energy sources. North Carolina only has jurisdiction for 3 miles beyond the coastline. The Kitty Hawk wind farm will consist of up to 69 wind turbine generators if approved
; it’s part of the Biden administration’s effort to create 80,000 jobs through the development of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. BOEM also has its sights on two other portions of ocean domain in the vicinity of North Carolina — one called the “Wilmington East” wind energy area and the other called “Wilmington West.” The two zones identified by the federal government as suitable territories for offshore wind farms. Wilmington East (Blue) starts approximately 15 miles south of Bald Head Island. The rub for the coastal towns of Brunswick County is that Kitty Hawk’s wind farm was buffered at least 24 nautical miles out into the ocean at its closest point to shore. In most places, it is at a far greater distance, making it impossible for locals and Outer Banks tourists to see the turbines from the coast. The two wind energy areas offshore of Brunswick County, however, are a different scene. The Wilmington West area begins about 10 nautical miles from shore, and the Wilmington East area starts about 15 nautical miles south of Bald Head Island. “I think we need to go on record as having concerns,” Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said at a July board of commissioners meeting when the resolution was discussed. “And we need to follow up and keep that pressure.” BOEM is in the planning stages for potentially issuing new leases offshore of the Carolinas. In July the bureau hosted a task force meeting with intergovernmental stakeholders. The Wilmington East area, in particular, is being considered for a lease sale, and BOEM is also seeking comment on whether to consider Wilmington West for a lease sale. BOEM anticipates holding an auction for an offshore lease in the Carolina region next year, according to a bureau spokesperson. The push from BOEM to get new projects like Kitty Hawk off the ground dovetails with Gov. Roy Cooper’s intentions. He signed an executive order in June with the goal of making N.C. a state friendly to wind farm development. It targets development of 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy resources by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. “Offshore wind power will create jobs and help the state develop a clean energy economy,” a spokesperson for Cooper wrote in an email. “Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 218 sets a vision for offshore wind development to move the state to a clean energy future and increase supply chain and manufacturing opportunities.”
Read more » click here

County pushes back on offshore wind turbines
Brunswick County Commissioners want any offshore wind turbines built off of local beaches to be at least 24 nautical miles away, so they don’t impact tourism and the view of the coast. Commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution Monday in opposition to any wind energy leases within 24 nautical miles of North Carolina’s shoreline. They want the same protections the federal government’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has established for the State of Virginia and other areas of coastal North Carolina. BOEM established a 24 nautical mile no-leasing buffer for Virginia’s coast and the Kitty Hawk area in North Carolina, plus a 33.7 nautical mile buffer to protect the Bodie Island Lighthouse. “Wind turbines located within the viewshed of Brunswick County beaches would damage tourism and the economy of the county by transforming open ocean views to views of massive industrial machinery,” the resolution adopted Monday states. It adds, “Such a change would represent a destructive commitment of ocean resources that could irreversibly damage the natural environment and resources that drive our economy.” BOEM has proposed two areas off Brunswick County for wind turbine leasing by private companies. Areas off of Brunswick and Horry (South Carolina) counties are called Wilmington West (52,000 acres) and Wilmington East (134,000 acres). There is no timeline for offering leases for these areas. The East area starts slightly more than 11 nautical miles offshore; the West area begins 15.5 nautical miles off the Brunswick coast. Commissioners asked staff Monday to send the resolutions to Brunswick County municipalities. Towns that have adopted similar resolutions include Bald Head Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach and Caswell Beach. Oak Island is also expected to consider the matter at an upcoming meeting. Gov. Roy Cooper last month issued an executive order calling for the state to invest more in wind energy and move away from fossil fuels for electricity. Some members of Congress have also stated they want to act quickly and avoid a decade-long moratorium on new wind energy leases set to begin in July 2022. The county’s resolution states BOEM “has not analyzed the visual impacts of wind turbines on Brunswick County and will likely not do so until it is too late to reasonably do anything about wind turbine distance from shore.” It states the county is committed to challenge any BOEM issuance of wind energy leases within the visual impact area. It calls on Gov. Cooper, N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Elizabeth Biser, and the N.C. General Assembly to protect the state’s ocean viewshed from leases within 24 nautical miles off the shore.
Read more » click here

BOEM seeks comment on more NC, SC wind leasing options
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is considering a lease sale for the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area, or WEA, offshore of the North Carolina-South Carolina border. BOEM is preparing a supplemental environmental assessment to consider the additional wind leasing options for the area. The agency said Friday it will accept comment for the next 30 days ending at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 12. To comment and for a copy of the 2015 environmental assessment, visit https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/north-carolina-activities. “Environmental reviews are essential to a strong resource management program,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton in a statement. “At BOEM, scientific based decision-making remains a top priority and will inform the path forward offshore the Carolinas. We welcome and appreciate your input into this process.” The supplemental assessment is to consider new information relevant to environmental considerations that were not available when BOEM published the Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina – Revised Environmental Assessment in 2015. As part of this public process, BOEM said it is seeking input on additional information, issues and alternatives to be considered in the supplemental assessment. BOEM’s 2015 assessment considered the lease sale of the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area, as well as the Wilmington East and West WEAs. Officials said that BOEM found at the time that no reasonably foreseeable significant impacts were expected as a result of the proposed lease sales or any of the alternatives in the environmental assessment. BOEM held in 2017 an auction for the Kitty Hawk WEA and is now considering a lease sale for the Wilmington East WEA. The supplemental environmental review evaluates new circumstances and information relevant to reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts that would occur from site characterization activities such as shallow hazards, surveys of the lease area and potential cable routes as well as site assessment activities including installation and operation of meteorological buoys associated with issuing wind energy leases in the Wilmington East WEA. Some of the new information includes a recent marine cultural resources survey, changes in the status of some Endangered Species Act-listed species, the listing of new species, and the designation of critical habitat for the North Atlantic right whale.
Read more » click here

Offshore North Carolina Visualization Study

Background:
During BOEM’s North Carolina offshore wind planning process, the need for accurate representations of offshore wind turbines to help evaluate potential visual impacts became apparent.

In cooperation with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) contracted with Mangi Environmental Group and its subcontractors, T.J. Boyle Associates and LPES, Inc., to undertake a visualization study. This effort involved the creation and development of photo documentation, photomontages, and videos to provide an accurate representation of the appearance of offshore wind facilities from a variety of locations along the coast of North Carolina. 

In total, 234 offshore wind turbine simulations were created. Each simulation consists of an array configuration of 200 turbines and utilizes 1,000-meter turbine spacing.

The simulations included:

      • 18 different locations (from Corolla Lighthouse to Sunset Beach);
      • Four lighting conditions (morning, afternoon, starlit night, and misty nights);
      • Three distances (10, 15, and 20 nautical miles [nm] from shore); and
      • Two turbine models (Siemens 3.6 MW and Vestas 7 MW).

An overview location map of this information can be found here

This effort also included an analysis of the meteorological conditions along the coast of North Carolina.  This analysis was an integral part of the study. The report can be found here.

A presentation outlining the technical aspects of the study can be found here.

Photo and Video Simulations:
Below are two matrices with links to the photo simulations and the 30-second video simulations.  The matrices show each simulation’s viewing location, distance from the viewing location, the lighting condition, and the turbine type simulated.


Matrix of Photo Simulations Conducted In North Carolina
017 Holden Beach – Mockup photographs of wind farms at various distances
Read more » click here

Brunswick officials’ worries over offshore wind unresolved
Brunswick County beach towns are back to square one in a push to ensure potential offshore wind farms are out of the line of sight from shore. “Nothing has changed,” said Village of Bald Head Island Councilor Peter Quinn. “We’re still in the exact same situation. Nothing has been addressed.” The village council first adopted a resolution in 2015 urging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, to establish a buffer for offshore wind energy leases no closer than 24 nautical miles, or about 27 miles, off North Carolina’s southern coast. In May, councilors once again passed a similar resolution, a move that triggered other beach towns in the county, including Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Caswell Beach, most recently, Oak Island, and the county board of commissioners to follow suit. As opposition mounts along North Carolina’s southernmost coast to wind turbines within the viewshed, or line of sight from shore, the federal government is ramping up proposed plans for what could be the first wind energy farms off the state’s coast. BOEM earlier this month began hosting a series of virtual public meetings as part of the agency’s environmental review of the proposed project’s construction and operations plans. In all, three wind energy areas, or WEAs, spanning more than 307,000 acres have been identified off the state’s coast for potential commercial wind energy development. These areas include the Kitty Hawk WEA, Wilmington West WEA and Wilmington East WEA, the latter two of which are off Brunswick County’s ocean shoreline. BOEM has established a 24-nautical-mile no-leasing buffer for Virginia and the Kitty Hawk WEA. A 33.7 nautical mile no-leasing buffer has been established to protect the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Meanwhile, the proposed lease sites offshore of Brunswick County are considerably closer to the coast, raising concerns about how the potential for hundreds of wind turbines towering over the ocean and changing the view of the horizon from shore might impact, among other things, tourism. As it stands, the closest border of the Wilmington West WEA is 10 nautical miles from shore. The Wilmington East WEA would be as close as about 15 miles from Bald Head Island.
 John Filostrat, director of public affairs of BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico region, said in an email response to Coastal Review that BOEM is preparing a proposed sale notice that will identify potential lease areas in the Wilmington East area. A draft of the proposed sale was discussed in July at a meeting of the Regional Carolina Long Bay Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force. “BOEM anticipates holding an auction in the Carolina Long Bay region next year,” Filostrat said in the email. “Any potential lease sale would be informed by science and other information collected from the Carolina Long Bay Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, ocean users, and key stakeholders. He explained that BOEM’s environmental review process includes potential impacts of wind turbines within viewsheds. “Visual impacts are one of many resources that BOEM evaluates through its National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,” he said. “BOEM requires all offshore wind project proposals (as detailed in an offshore wind developer’s Construction and Operations Plan) to include viewshed mapping, photographic and video simulations, and field inventory techniques, as appropriate, so that BOEM can determine, with reasonable accuracy, the visibility of the proposed project from shore. Simulations should illustrate sensitive and scenic viewpoints.” Property owners and visitors to Block Island, a small island a little more than 10 miles south of mainland Rhode Island, have a front-row view of the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States. The 840-foot-tall turbines are little more than 3½ miles offshore. “We’re right at ground zero,” said Block Island property owner Rosemarie Ives. The 30-megawatt wind farm is operated by Orstead, a Denmark-based company. The wind farm’s five turbines became operational in December 2016. They generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes, according to Orstead. Block Island, once powered by five diesel generators, is now powered entirely by offshore wind, according to information provided on the company’s website. The island’s local government board, the New Shoreham Town Council, supported the project. The response among property owners – there are about 1,000 year-round residents on the island – and tourists have been a mixed bag. Ives and her husband were part of a handful of property owners, including a family on the mainland, thrust into the spotlight as they fought the project. Three months out of the year, they leave their home on the West Coast to vacation at the cottage, which sits atop the island’s bluffs, offering a panoramic view from south to east. During a recent telephone interview, Ives described the scene from the cottage, one that has been in her husband’s family since 1924. “We get to see all five of (the turbines) and they’re not moving one inch today because there’s absolutely no wind,” she said. “I remember the first time we came here in 1967 and I thought, oh my God, this is like nothing else. I think it was almost hypnotizing. It used to be quite majestic. It’s not the same.” Now, the dark sky that stretched over the ocean is peppered with blinking lights on the turbines. “You’re not having the experience of seeing the ocean rise above,” she said. “There’s something spiritual, magical about looking out and seeing the ocean and seeing the sky and now you’re seeing these turbines that are right there.” She describes the process for which the wind farm was approved “complex” and “convoluted,” one that she said inflates the project’s touted benefits. Ives is a former mayor of Redmond, Washington, for 16 years, to be exact. She chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors Sustainability Task Force, and was an initial signatory of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. She refers to her background with an emphasis that she’s not anti-renewable energy. “I was green way, way befre it was politically correct,” she said. There’s a seemingly similar sentiment among those in Brunswick County asking for the buffer. When the Holden Beach Property Owners Association adopted in 2018 a resolution asking BOEM for the buffer, its members were intent on making sure it was not worded in a way that could be construed as anti-renewable energy. “We debated all that and tweaked the wording to make sure we didn’t across as anti-wind,” said Tom Meyers, the association’s president. “We’ve been mostly focused on the view from the beach strand. It’s the lights as much as what we’ll see in the day. We’re all on the same page. When you go out to the ocean and you look out at the night you just want to see the sky. I really wish the town would pass a resolution and take a stand here. Once you’re changing the view from the beach you’re impacting a lot.”
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Upon Further Review –


Shrimp Boat
Originally reported – October 2011
Half-submerged and prominently visible from the Holden Beach Bridge the 62-foot commercial shrimp boat Southern Lady is sinking on the north side of the ICW across from the Chapel. It has been over five years now, still no progress has been made with removing the shrimp boat Southern Lady because no one has jurisdiction to remove the abandoned boat.  

There are navigational, environmental, and public safety hazards. It’s a regulatory no man’s land: No one wants to deal with these boats. The Army Corps of Engineers removes abandoned vessels that block federal navigation channels. The United States Coast Guard moves recreational boats that pose environmental risks. Compounding the problem are the layers of bureaucracy required to remove a boat, including the issuance of environmental permits and the legal filings needed to declare vessels abandoned property. Still, the contracting process does not resolve the thorny issue of what agency is responsible for removing the boats, in part, it seems, because no one wants to assume the cost.

Previously reported – March 2021
Crews to begin removing abandoned vessels along the coast
This month local crews will begin work on a new project to remove abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) along the North Carolina coastline, funded by a combination of state and federal sources. Aside from being unsightly, ADVs often contain pollution, including fuel and other hazardous materials that may remain on board that can leach into sensitive marine habitats. They can also pose a threat to safety, navigation, and public health. Often displaced by hurricanes, ADVs can litter local shorelines for years. Local and state governments have advanced policies in recent years to make removing the abandoned boats easier while still honoring the owners’ rights. Last year and in 2019, Governor Roy Cooper signed legislation that funded and permitted state partners to remove the vessels. The new laws allow the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to determine a vessel abandoned after an unsuccessful attempt to contact the last known owner and a posted notice on the vessel goes unanswered. After Division of Coastal Management and North Carolina Coastal Federation officials assessed, documented, and prioritized the vessels, NCWRC tagged them for removal. The nonprofit N.C. Coastal Federation is hiring crews to remove 80 vessels identified along the entire coastline. WRC has identified at least 20 along the tri-county southeastern coastline, according to its database
. The current project is being funded by a $1 million 2019 state appropriation, NOAA’s marine debris removal program, and USDA’s emergency watershed protection program. “For the first time ever, North Carolina is mounting a comprehensive effort to rid our coast of these broken-down boats that blight our coast. The federal, state, and local partners and multiple funders, along with support from the N.C. General Assembly, have come together to make this happen. We are enthusiastic about the removal of so many vessels posing environmental, health and economic risks to our coast,” Todd Miller, the federation’s executive director, said in a press release. Since Hurricane Florence, the Coastal Federation has overseen the removal of more than 910 tons of marine debris, funded by state and federal contracts.
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Abandoned vessel removal to begin in March
Once seaworthy vessels, now damaged or sunk along the coast, are slated for removal beginning in March. Working with state and local partners, the North Carolina Coastal Federation is ramping up efforts to tackle large-scale marine debris by focusing on the removal of unsightly vessels that were damaged and linger in the marshes and creeks following recent hurricanes Florence and Matthew. The federation is hiring contractors to remove over 80 abandoned and derelict recreational and commercial boats between Manteo and Sunset Beach. Removal will begin once the owner notification process is complete. Although pollution from most vessels was mitigated by the U.S. Coast Guard and its contractors soon after becoming displaced, residual polluting and hazardous materials may remain onboard. Removal of the vessels from the environment will reduce marine debris and reduce any remaining pollution impacts on important coastal habitats such as oyster reef, submerged aquatic vegetation and marshes. Some of these vessels also pose a threat to navigation safety and public health. “For the first time ever, North Carolina is mounting a comprehensive effort to rid our coast of these broken down boats that blight our coast, said Todd Miller, federation executive director. “The federal, state and local partners and multiple funders, along with support from the General Assembly, have come together to make this happen. We are enthusiastic about the removal of so many vessels posing environmental, health and economic risks to our coast.” There are 25 vessels slated for removal in Pamlico, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Pender, New Hanover, and Brunswick counties with funding from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program awarded to the N.C. Division of Coastal Management in partnership with the federation and N.C Wildlife Resource Commission. The federation will remove an additional 20 vessels in Currituck and Dare counties supported by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospherics’ Marine Debris Pro-gram in partnership with Dare County, the N.C Division of Coastal Management and the N.C. Wildlife Commission. “We are a proud participant in this removal effort,” mentioned Ben Solomon, environmental specialist of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It speaks directly to our agency’s mission to conserve North Carolina’s wildlife resources and their habitats, and to provide opportunities for wildlife-associated recreation. Clearing the boat debris is imperative to protecting North Carolina’s diverse aquatic and coastal species and maintaining a clean environment for out-door enthusiasts who recreate along our state’s coastline.” “The complexity of planning this large-scale effort required close coordination over a long period of time. And the result will quickly benefit our coastal resources and those who live, work, and play among them,” said Paula Gillikin with the N.C Department of Environmental Quality’s N.C. Division of Coastal Management. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospherics’ Marine Debris Program have also awarded the federation funding to remove an additional 35 vessels in Pamlico, Carteret, Craven, Onslow, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties. These grant projects are all part of a collaboration that was further enhanced with a 2019 N.C. General Assembly appropriation of $1 million to the Wildlife Commission for vessel removal. In July of last year, Gov. Cooper approved final legislation that updated authorizing language to allow the Wildlife Commission to remove these storm-related vessels littering the coast. The legislation helped speed up the removal of abandoned boats while also protecting boat owners private property rights. (North Carolina Session Laws 2020-74 and 2019-224).The N.C. Division of Coastal Management, the Wildlife Commission and the federation have assessed, documented, and prioritized the abandoned vessels for removal. The Wildlife Commission has tagged the vessels, the last step in clearing the way for removal to begin once contractors are secured. Once the removals are complete, broader interagency co-ordination among the Wildlife Commission, Department of Environmental Quality agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and others will continue to strengthen pre-storm planning and post-storm response to displaced vessels. Efforts build on large-scale marine debris removal led by the federation, which have resulted in the removal of over 910 tons of pressure treated wood, floats and other trash and debris from coastal waters since Hurricane Florence. To learn about the progress of this work and the federation’s efforts to create a coast that is free of marine debris, go to https://www.nccoast.org/protect-the-coast/marine-debris/.
Brunswick Beacon

The abandoned shrimp boat Southern Lady, one of the boats that prompted the ordinance, could cost up to $50,000 to remove.

Update –
Moran Environmental Recovery, Commercial Diving Division, removed the abandoned shrimp boat from the ICW near the boat ramp.
Yeah!


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 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 ten (10) years ago.


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.


  • Corrections & Amplifications –


Hurricane Vehicle Decals
The 2021 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.


Turtle Watch Program


Turtle Watch Program
. 1) Current nest count – 67 as of 08/20/21
.
Average annual number of nests is 39.5
. 2)
First nest of the season was on May 8th

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

.

North Carolina’s first turtle nest of 2021 season laid in Holden Beach
The sea turtle nesting season is underway in North Carolina. The first nest reported for the 2021 season was laid in Holden Beach over the weekend. The Holden Beach Turtle Patrol says the turtle that came ashore on Saturday was a very rare one — Kemp’s Ridley. It is one of the most endangered species of sea turtle so HBTP says they are going to do everything they can to make sure all hatchlings make it into the water. The incubation period is 50-60 days. Turtle experts say Kemp’s Ridley turtles weigh 50-80 pounds, and this one weighed about 60-65 pounds. The species typically nest just south of Texas in Mexico and there are usually only 3-4 nests in the United States per year.
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Sea turtle nest hatching on Holden Beach first in the state for season
For 17 nights, members of the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program (HBTWP) went to the beach waiting and watching a sea turtle nest. This team had adopted Nest No. 1. They went home Tuesday night, July 13, disappointed again because there was no sign that the nest was ready to hatch. Then the phone call came early Wednesday morning, July 14. The morning rider saw hatchlings coming out of the nest. The team quickly assembled on the beach in time to assist 87 newly hatched turtles into the ocean at sunrise. Nest No. 1 was already a record-breaking nest. On May 8, it was the first nest laid in North Carolina this season and the first Kemp’s Ridley turtle to nest on Holden Beach since the HBTWP has been keeping records. Now it was the first nest to hatch in the state. These dedicated Turtle Patrol members included Mary K McGinley (nest lead), Sally Norris, Corki and Steve Jarvis, Karen Keith, and Bonita McNeill. They were under the direction of Project Coordinator Pat Cusack and assistant coordinators Karen Rice, John Cifelli and Peter Palermo. The HBTWP works under a permit from the North Carolina Department of Wildlife Resources. The duties of a team that adopts a nest begins 50 days after the nesting mother lays the eggs. The team assembles a “collar” around the nest and digs a “trench” toward the shoreline. Both of these direct the hatchling turtles toward the ocean. The team then visits the nest each evening to observe signs of hatching and talk with beachgoers. Typically, nests hatch after 50 to 60 days of incubation, but early nests usually take longer due to colder sand temperatures. Nests usually hatch as the sand cools after sunset. A morning hatching is unique. The term “boil” is used to describe what happens when a nest hatches, as many turtles begin coming to the surface of the sand at the same time, resembling bubbling, boiling water. Most of the hatchlings leave the nest during this boil, but occasionally there are additional hatchlings over the next few days. The team will continue to visit the nest each evening. On the third day, the team will dig down and inventory the nest. During this process, they look for any hatchlings that may be trapped within the nest. They also count all of the eggshells and look for any unhatched eggs. On Saturday night, with a crowd of vacationers assisting Turtle Patrol members, Nest No. 1 was inventoried. The team found 90 hatched shells. This means that three hatchlings got out on their own, either before the team got there Wednesday morning or on one of the following evenings. They also found two unhatched eggs. After the inventory, the beach was returned to its natural state. Overall, it was a successful nest. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all the sea turtles that nest in North Carolina. They are also the smallest, weighing 70-100 pounds. Loggerhead turtles are the sea turtles that most frequently nest on Holden Beach. Holden Beach is a Sea Turtle Sanctuary and, every year, sea turtles are welcomed and protected on the beach. Founded in 1989, the HBTWP protects sea turtles through education, nest protection and sea turtle rescue. HBTWP conducts educational programs about sea turtles, remaining this season on Wednesdays, July 21, 28 and Aug. 4. Children’s Turtle Time is for 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds at 4 p.m. and Turtle Talk is at 7 p.m. for the entire family. Both events are at the Holden Beach Chapel at 107 Rothschild St. The program shares information about the Turtle Patrol, sea turtles and how vacationers and residents can help the turtles that nest on Holden Beach. The HPTP currently has 54 confirmed additional nests on the beach. Nesting mother turtles are expected for another month. In 2019, a record number of 105 nests were laid on Holden Beach. For a photo album of Nest No. 1 and more information about the Holden Beach Turtle Patrol, go to its website at http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/.
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Odds & Ends –


Staying safe at the beach: Rip currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other hazards

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

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

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

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

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

Jellyfish
Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
Read more » click here

Jellyfish Guide * Lou’s Views (lousviews.com)

Why are there no lifeguards in Brunswick County?
Brunswick County saw its first drowning death of the year last week. Allen Whitley, a father from Mount Gilead died saving his 11-year-old daughter and another child stuck in a rip current in Holden Beach. The tragic accident has renewed a call to add protections to area beaches. “There’s no lifeguards here, it’s just…. there’s no flags that warn you how rough the water is, there’s nothing. All you can do is call 911 and pray,” said mother Charity Dalton. Dalton’s son, Thomas, was one of the children Whitley rescued from the rip current last week. She was one of three adults that jumped in the water to save the children as the current pulled them further from the shore. None of the beach towns in Brunswick County have lifeguards. Horry County beaches have them to the south, and New Hanover County beaches have them to the north, but Brunswick County towns have decided to go in another direction with their beach safety programs. There have been talks of adding lifeguards to the strand in the past. The last big discussion happened in 2013 in the Brunswick Beach Consortium, a group made up of representatives from each town. The proposal came up after a spike in drownings. One person in favor of adding lifeguards was the mayor of Sunset Beach at the time, Rich Cerrato. Representatives from Wrightsville Beach came down to give a presentation about their lifeguard program, but at the end of the day, the idea never went anywhere. “I was hoping that it would foster further study to see whether lifeguards should be implemented in Sunset Beach and in Brunswick County, but it never caught on fire. It was apparently — it just evaporated, but the concern is still there,” said Cerrato. “I think they have a responsibility to study the issue. Just to study it and come up with the information so people can be informed.” No study or formal investigation into adding lifeguards was ever commissioned by the group. Cerrato believes a combination of price concerns and liability concerns had a lot to do with why no changes were ever made. Meeting minutes from 2013 reveal the discussion was tabled until they got more information from legislators about a bill that could have put a liability cap on municipalities. The Brunswick Beach Consortium split in 2015. If you ask each town, though, the exact obstacles to adding lifeguards vary.

Holden Beach
Beach Patrol: In the past, code enforcement has patrolled beaches
Water rescue: Town contracts with Tri- Beach Fire to provide water rescue services
Flag System: No
Signage: Yes
Flotation Devices: No

There’s no guarantee that having lifeguards would have saved the life of victims like Allen Whitley, but the people who were there that day can only hope for more protections in the future. “For the next family, it’s something they need,” added Dalton. At this time, none of the municipalities I spoke with for this story are aware of any discussions about adding lifeguards to the strand.
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Previously reported –
No lifeguards on duty in Brunswick
Beach towns say policy remains ‘Swim at your own risk’
North Carolina’s tourist season is off to a tragic start. So far, at least eight people have drowned along the state’s coast, which ties the number of surf zone drowning deaths reported statewide in 2018. According to the National Weather Service, at least six of the deaths this year were caused by rip currents, while another one was attributed to high surf. With the official start of summer still weeks away, many more visitors will make their way to the ocean in search of fun. But many aren’t aware of the danger and end up in distress. On Memorial Day weekend, lifeguards pulled 31 swimmers from rip currents along New Hanover County’s beaches. But what happens when there’s no lifeguard on duty? At Brunswick County’s beaches, that’s the case every day. None of the county’s six beach towns employ lifeguards. Pender County’s beaches also don’t have lifeguards, while all of New Hanover County’s beach towns employ them. According to Caswell Beach Town Administrator Chad Hicks, several of the Brunswick beach towns came together four years ago and considered employing lifeguards. He noted the move came at the urging of Rich Cerrato, who at the time served as Sunset Beach’s mayor. Hicks recalled that as the towns examined the figures, all deemed it would be too costly. “We’ve got such a tiny budget,” he said of Caswell Beach. “I don’t remember the exact figures, but it was more than we took in for accommodations tax.” One reason for the high cost is the amount of ground to cover. Brunswick County has more than 50 miles of coastline. While that land is divided between the six beach towns — Bald Head Island, Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach — some would be responsible for stationing lifeguards along 10 miles of beaches.

Some safety steps
Though they don’t have lifeguards, beach town officials say they do have some water safety programs in place. Sunset Beach Town Administrator Hiram Marziano said the town has a beach patrol offered through the fire department. “We do have a beach patrol that monitors safety, but they aren’t responsible for life safety,” Marziano said. “They help out if they can and if they are trained.” He said the town’s fire chief had recently developed a program to station life rings at all the town’s beach accesses. “That way, if someone’s in trouble, they can throw that out to assist them until help arrives,” Marziano said. In Caswell Beach, the police department patrols the beach several times throughout the day. Hicks said all police officers and some public works employees carry flotation boards that can be thrown to assist distressed swimmers. The town also posts rip current warnings on an electronic message board near the police station. “That sign has come in handy, and it has helped a lot,” Hicks said. In addition, Caswell Beach is served by the Southport Fire Department, which has a water rescue division. Hicks recalled that recently the department used its boat to assist kayakers trapped in the marsh.

‘Swim at your own risk’
Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach also have water rescue programs. In Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach, the programs are coordinated through the fire department, and in Oak Island it is a nonprofit, volunteer organization with about 20 members. According to Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett, the town doesn’t have a formal beach patrol or water rescue program, but it does post signs warning beachgoers about rip currents at the beach accesses. Aside from these efforts, officials at all beach towns say when it comes to safety, it’s the responsibility of the swimmer. “Our formal policy is swim at your risk,” Hewett said.
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Holden Beach lays down beach rules
As a reminder for locals and visitors, here are Holden Beach’s rules for being on the strand.

According to town rules, walking over the dunes is prohibited. Public walkways are marked with “CAMA” signs; others are private.

Emergency and official town staff vehicles are the only ones allowed on the beach.

There are no lifeguards when swimming, and the rules remind readers riptides can kill. Check with town hall at (910) 842-6488 to see if riptides are present. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until free of the current.

There is dangerous under-water debris at the east end of McCray Street; call town hall if dangerous debris is noticed.

Jet Skis cannot be operated outside of 500 feet from the shoreline and also cannot be ridden on the beach. They will be monitored.

Alcohol is not allowed on the beach or public areas.

Do not litter; trash cans are placed along the beach.

Pets are not allowed on the beach between May 20 and Sept. 10 except between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. and must be kept on a leash at all times.

Surfboards will not be carried, pushed, wheeled, ridden or otherwise on the beach or adjacent waters within 500 feet of any fi shing pear on town limits.

Do not dig in the beach deeper than 12 inches or leave it unattended. It will also have to be filled in prior to leaving.

The town has island-wide ordinances stating no parking on Ocean Boulevard to McCray Street except at the northern end of McCray. The largest parking lot, along with public restrooms, is under the bridge. An unloading and pedestrian drop-off area is near Capt. Pete’s Apartments. Parking is available along Brunswick Avenue. Do not block driveways or fire hydrants. Rollerblades, bicycles, and pedestrians need to share the sidewalk.

Rollerblades are not permitted on Ocean Boulevard.

Fireworks, except sparklers, are not allowed and will be confiscated by Holden Beach police.
Beacon



How to stay safe from shark attacks this summer
As you hit the beach this Fourth of July weekend, remember to be mindful of sharks. Just this week, shark attacks were reported in North Carolina, Southern California and Northern California. There were 33 unprovoked shark attacks on humans in the United States last year, including three which were fatal, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. The fatalities took place in California, Hawaii, and Maine. The majority of the unprovoked attacks — 16 — occurred in Florida. Here are some tips for how to stay safe, according to former Green Beret and survival expert Terry Schappert.

Stay calm
If you see a shark, don’t thrash or scream, Schappert told ABC News in 2015. Just turn around, get out of the water, and tell everyone else to get out, he said. Sharks pick up vibrations and smells, but they can’t see you most of the time, Schappert said. “The more you flail around … [the sharks] are very attracted to that,” he added.

Have a plan
Every beachgoer should have an evacuation plan, which includes knowing where the closest hospital is, Schappert said. “Just think in your head, what would happen … if someone you love just got bit? What now?” he said. “Don’t be paranoid but have a procedure. Think about how you’d get out of the water, then think about … the chain of what would happen next.” “Try not to freak out,” Schappert added. “But know it’s a possibility.”

Know first-aid
Most shark bites are on the limbs, according to Schappert, and when a shark’s mouth hits a swimmer’s arm or leg, “it’s bound to sever an artery.” “Shark bites are not smooth — they’re jagged — which makes the wound worse,” he said. And the more jagged the wound, the more it will bleed, so it’s important to know first-aid. “The best thing you can do for that person is to stop the bleeding,” Schappert said, which, if the victim is bit on a limb, means applying a tourniquet.

Schappert took ABC News’ chief national correspondent Matt Gutman swimming in waters teeming with sharks near the Bahamas in 2014. To properly learn how to fend off sharks, Gutman pulled on 15 pounds of chain mail armor, and then put clothes on top to simulate people finding themselves in such waters after a plane or a boat crash. Gutman and Schappert then did what experts say not to do: flapping around in waters where sharks were feeding. While they were in the water, Schappert’s advice to Gutman was to:

Slow down your movements
Fast movements give off the signal of prey, he said. Also conserving energy is key to survival in the above scenario.

Team up
If there are two people in the water, Schappert recommended treading water back-to-back to limit the spheres of control by half, to 180 degrees each.

Fight back
If the sharks begin attacking, fight them off, Schappert said. He recommended striking the sharks using quick, downward punching motions. “All you can do is fight and let them know, ‘I am not going down easy,’” Schappert told Gutman.
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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 and That –


2020 Census:
Bucking national trends, Wilmington area records double-digit growth
In the past 10 years, New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties saw population growth in the double digits, according to new census data released Thursday. The area has also seen a growing population in coastal areas and a shrinking Black population. The U.S. Census Bureau released redistricting data from the 2020 Census on Thursday afternoon. The release of the data was delayed due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic. The data includes counts of population by race and ethnicity, voting age, housing status and more, down to the census block level. States will use this information to redraw or “redistrict” their legislative boundaries. The data shows that the United States population isn’t growing as quickly as it once was, according to Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau. Perry provided an overview of the data during a virtual press conference Thursday. “The slowdown in this population growth is evident,” he said. “In all three decades, the fastest growing states have tended to be in the south or west, with generally slower growth in the northeast or midwest.” Perry said the data shows that counties nationwide have seen populations drop in the last 10 years, especially counties with already low populations. However, the Wilmington area hasn’t followed that trend. New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties have all seen substantial population increases in the last decade, the new data shows.
Brunswick County
The
number of people living in Brunswick County grew by roughly 27%, increasing from 107,433 residents in 2010 to 136,693 in 2020. Brunswick County Commissioner Marty Cooke said he isn’t surprised by the growth reflected in the census results. But keeping up with and planning for future growth is something he said Brunswick County will need to prioritize. Creating the infrastructure needed to accommodate a growing population — like roads, water and sewer lines and funding law enforcement — will be critical. “You have to stay ahead of the curve as best you can,” Cooke said. “We have to ensure that we are proactive.” Leland saw one of the biggest jumps at nearly 70 percent: from 13,527 to 22,908. Brunswick County saw increases of all races measured by te census data except the Black population, which saw a 6.1% drop.

All the numbers: See more on Census figures for Brunswick County

Coastal areas of Brunswick County saw the highest levels of growth, while inland areas – like those bordering Columbus and Pender counties – saw the lowest growth levels.

More: How many people live in Brunswick County after the 2020 Census count?

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People are moving to NC from other states in droves.
Where are they coming from, and why?
When Cristina Ramos and her husband moved to North Carolina from Florida in 2018, they didn’t know they were part of a larger surge of Floridians moving to the Tar Heel State. But the reason they moved first to Asheville and then on to Bryson City, where they now live, is common to the more than 425,000 Floridians — the most from any state — who decided to put down roots in North Carolina between 2006 and 2019. “Miami is fast-paced, it’s a big city, which is great,” Cristina said. “But it wasn’t the quality of life we were looking for.” And now in Western North Carolina? “It’s so peaceful,” Cristina said. “The beautiful, peaceful nature that’s so accessible is something that we just couldn’t get in Florida.”
Southern love
That North Carolina is growing rapidly, adding nearly 900,000 new residents in the last decade, isn’t a surprise. And that roughly 70% of those new Tar Heel faces came from people moving here, rather than more babies being born in-state, probably isn’t a surprise to most folks either. But the next time you’re stuck in traffic, mumbling under your breath about where all these new drivers came from and why can’t they go back there, the usual suspects that get the hairy eyeball (namely states north of the Mason-Dixon Line) might not be the right culprits. Nearly 361,000 people moved to North Carolina in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Of those, 308,000 moved here from other states or U.S. territories. The top states sending people to North Carolina according to census estimates? Virginia, Florida, and South Carolina. All saw more than 26,000 people migrate to North Carolina. Another Southern state, Georgia, was No. 5, with New York — with 22,655 residents moving south — sandwiched between them at No. 4. Officials say it’s not unusual for neighboring states, due to proximity, shared family ties, and similar cultural and business climates, to be top sources of new residents. Florida, though, isn’t a neighboring state. So why are Floridians so smitten on North Carolina? Geography and climate, among other things, officials say. North Carolina is roughly halfway between Florida and New York, making the Tar Heel State an easy day trip to either of those populous states. That has led New Yorkers who moved to Florida before retreating up Interstate 95 to North Carolina to be dubbed “halfbacks” by many. Then there’s the Tar Heel State’s climate, where residents can experience temperature differentials throughout the year that aren’t as cold as the Northeast in winter or as persistently hot as in Florida during the summer. Affordability on everything from property to insurance, the state’s abundant natural resource and open spaces, a thriving economy and friendliness also resonate with many outsiders. That congeniality stood out to Cristina. “Everyone is so friendly and kind, and they go out for their way to talk to you,” she said. “In Miami, you are taught to be guarded and a bit quiet, so it took a little time for me to get used to it. But it’s so nice, so wonderful to experience.”
Moving in and out
Statistics showing people moving to North Carolina, however, don’t tell the state’s complete migration story, said Rebecca Tippett, director of Carolina Demography
at UNC-Chapel Hill. While Virginia and South Carolina sent lots of friendly faces to North Carolina between 2006 and 2019, 408,844 and 356,368 respectively, almost as many Tar Heel residents moved to those neighboring states. In fact, South Carolina saw more than 34,000 more North Carolinians flow into the Palmetto State than leave for its northern neighbor. That negative net-migration for North Carolina was the most among other states. While Florida sent the most residents to North Carolina, roughly 425,500, more than 337,000 locals packed their bags and moved to the Sunshine State between 2006 and 2019. The net result was a gain of 88,003 residents for North Carolina between the two states. It’s a similar, but more pronounced story with New York, according to the census bureau. While more than 367,000 New Yorkers moved to North Carolina in the 2006-19 window, only 149,500 went the other way. That’s a net-migration gain for North Carolina of 218,200 former New York residents. “It’s on these lists that places like New York begin to look more visible, because we receive many more in-migrants to North Carolina than North Carolinians moving to N.Y.,” Tippett wrote in an email. One of those recent Empire State transplants is Daniel Lodato, who moved with his partner from Manhattan to Wilmington in July 2020. While they had been considering leaving the city’s East Side before Covid-19 shut everything down, Lodato said the pandemic and the move to remote working convinced them to look beyond the greater New York City area for a new abode. While they miss the energy and pace of the city, Lodato, who grew up in Wilmington, said it’s been easy to embrace the slower, smaller lifestyle — even if the Carolina summer heat can be tough to bear at times. “The pace is the first thing you notice and appreciate,” he said. “It’s much slower, and there’s more space, more ways to stay healthy, such as with the wider sidewalks and open spaces.” And the difference in cost? “We doubled our space for half the price,” Lodato said. Overall, roughly 4.3 million people moved to North Carolina between 2006 and 2019, while 3.3 million left the state. While North Carolinians like moving to Hawaii, it seems residents of the Aloha State like moving here, too. According to the census, 28,109 residents moved to North Carolina from Hawaii between 2006 and 2019. But 28,292 N.C. residents made the 4,700-mile trip the other way, meaning the net loss for North Carolina was 183 residents. That was the smallest migration differential for any state. In total, there were 14 states that saw more North Carolinians move there than sent residents to the Tar Heel State. The list can generally be broken down into three groups: Western states with growing populations, like Colorado and Idaho; states with strong economies, particularly Texas and Washington; and states with large military footprints, including Oklahoma and Kentucky, that see personnel moving to and from the major military installations in Eastern North Carolina.

Other interesting tidbits from the census data:

      • Net migration between Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and the aforementioned Hawaii and North Carolina was under 1,000 people 2006-19.
      • According to the census’ American Community Survey estimates, no one moved to North Carolina from South Dakota or Wyoming in 2019. That’s probably not true. In reality, the number was probably so small it wasn’t registered by the survey’s small sample size.
      • According to Carolina Demography, many of the folks moving here are N.C.-born individuals moving back home. That equated to about 58,000 residents in 2019.

Opening a door
Having visited family in North Carolina, Cristina said it was natural for her and her husband, Jaime Greene, to consider relocating to the Tar Heel State when they decided to leave Miami. With jobs that provided the ability to work remotely before the pandemic made it mandatory for many, the couple who are in their early 30s also didn’t have the pressure of needing to balance career and quality-of-life needs in their new home. Cristina, who works in social media, has documented her new life in North Carolina on the couple’s YouTube Channel, the greene home. “Honestly, I say a bunch of great things,” she said. “It’s all been great.” Cristina said she still gets a couple of inquiries a week from folks wondering if North Carolina would be a great place for them. Questions range from what is there to do in Western North Carolina (anything and everything nature-related, Cristina says) to the cost of living. “In Miami, we were essentially house poor,” she said. “But here, it’s fair – although getting more expensive. “We can have breathing room.” And do the couple miss anything from Miami? Initially yes, Cristina admits, with the limited options for shopping and dining compared to the thriving South Florida metropolis. But not now. “We had to shift our minds, our lifestyles, and once we did that, it was all good,” Cristina said. “We wouldn’t change it, go back now.”
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Can NC afford to keep maintaining its beaches amid increasing climate change?
As the seas continue to rise, North Carolina’s beaches are expected to face more erosion challenges. But can the state afford to keep pumping sand onto them?
Last month, North Topsail Beach made a decision that could have major ramifications for the coastal community’s future. The Onslow County town decided to opt out of a proposed federal beach nourishment project planned with neighboring Surf City due to concerns it couldn’t afford its cost-share of the nearly $1 billion program over its 50-year lifespan. North Topsail Mayor Joan McDermon said the move wasn’t an easy one to make. But cost uncertainty surrounding the project, which was first proposed in 2010 but only received the federal green light in 2019, coupled with the town’s existing financial challenges paying for other beach stabilization work prompted the decision. Although North Topsail Beach is relatively unique due to much of its oceanfront classified as a Coastal Barrier Resource Act (CBRA) zone, which forbids the use of federal funds in those areas, the town isn’t alone among the state’s coastal communities in staring down a potential financial black hole as they work to balance fiscal health with the ability to protect residents and valuable property from the ocean’s relentless pressures. Environmentalists say that struggle will only increase as climate change brings stronger and more frequent storms to the coast – weather events whose impacts will only be amplified by sea level rise. This week the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which consists of 234 scientists from around the world, released its latest report on the globe’s warming climate. It was somber reading. In all scenarios, the scientists forecast that the world will cross the 1.5-degree-Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming mark in the 2030s when compared to average temperatures in pre-industrial times — earlier than previous reports had predicted. That is likely to mean worsening heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms in coming decades. The world is also “locked in” to 15 to 30 centimeters (6 to 12 inches) of sea level rise by mid-century, said report co-author Bob Kopp of Rutgers University, according to The Associated Press. Some dire predictions have the seas rising even faster later this century, possibly reaching several feet by 2100. That’s likely to increase pressure on coastal communities, especially for areas like North Topsail Beach and parts of the Outer Banks that are already struggling to protect oceanfront property and vital infrastructure from the encroaching sea. But are these efforts, which largely consist of beach nourishment projects that need to be repeated every few years to stay effective, financially viable over the long term?
Funding puzzle
For beach communities around the country, the gold standard for maintaining their beaches has long been to team up with the federal government to fund the lion’s share of a nourishment’s costs. Not only does that lift most of the financial burden off local communities, but it also pretty much guarantees a fresh injection of sand from the Army Corps of Engineers every few years. In North Carolina, New Hanover County’s three beach towns – Wrightsville, Carolina, and Kure beaches – and Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County are part of the federal beach nourishment program. The funding breakdown for the work is generally 65% federal and 35% local, with the state and local governments splitting the local share. In the short term, federal funding for these projects seems secure, said Robert Young, director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University. “There’s not a tremendous political will in Washington right now to turn off that funding spigot,” he said. “But there will come a point where we won’t be able to pay for it all. At some point, there’s going to be other priorities for that money.” With so much at stake economically, though, it might be more of a shifting of the economic burden from Washington to Raleigh and local taxpayers to pay for the beach-building work. That fiscal tipping point could come just as climate change increases pressure on beaches, fueling the frequency and scope of nourishment projects.
‘Why not beaches?’
The state’s barrier islands are dynamic environments designed to ebb and flow, acting as speed brakes to dissipate powerful storms before they hit the mainland. Before World War II, the homes built on these islands of sand were either simple structures or buildings that could be easily moved to higher ground. But as the country’s post-war boom gathered pace, the homes became bigger and more permanent. Development on the barrier island also became more dense, leaving little land to relocate threatened structures. Property values also soared as people became wealthier and captivated by the lure of living and vacationing at the ocean. According to the New Hanover County Tax Office, Wrightsville Beach consists of nearly $3.85 billion in assessed property value. Figure Eight Island, a private island just north of Wrightsville Beach, has an assessed value of roughly $1.53 billion. Along many areas of the North Carolina coast, the beach towns, and the visitors they draw are the economy and the tax base that fuels everything. Debbie Smith, the long-serving mayor of Ocean Isle Beach, said she sees beach nourishment and other beach stabilization projects as an extension of her town’s infrastructure since it helps protect people, property and vital town and civic assets from washing away. That had her hoping additional federal funds for coastal projects would be included in President Joe Biden’s massive trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that looks close to be being approved by Congress. “All other infrastructure is getting it,” Smith said. “Why not beaches?”
More freedom, but at a price
As it has become more challenging for towns to secure a federal project, some communities like Topsail Beach have decided they can’t afford to wait and have funded beach-building work out of their own pockets. Carteret County, home to 25-mile-long Emerald Isle, also has decided to forgo seeking a federal project and instead team up with the state to fund its upcoming island-wide nourishment project. North Carolina legislators have historically been strong supporters of the state’s beach nourishment projects, consistently joining with the federal and local governments to fund the “coastal storm damage mitigation projects” as beach nourishment work is officially known. A bill that would allocate $30 million to help fund coastal projects during the 2021-22 fiscal year is currently winding its way through the General Assembly. Designing and managing a project on their own also gives local communities more control and say over the work, said Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office. “When we looked at how funding for these corps’ projects was funded and sometimes the difficulties and uncertainties associated with it, we didn’t want to rely on that when we had our own plan in place,” he said, noting that Carteret uses proceeds from a countywide room tax to pay for its share of the project’s cost. Roughly 100 miles down the coast from Carteret County, New Hanover County is finding itself in that very situation. There, county and local officials are still waiting to hear if funding for the trio of nourishment projects in Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure beaches will be funded by the corps. Officials were shocked and dismayed to find out in January that funding for the county’s beach projects, which are on different nourishment cycles but aligned for the winter 2021-22 dredging window, hadn’t been included in the corps’ work plan even though the money had been approved by Congress. New Hanover officials said they still don’t know exactly why the projects, each of which is expected to cost from $8 million to $10 million, were omitted from the corps’ work schedule — although officials don’t think it’s an ominous sign of the federal government looking to exit the beach-building business. That’s left them scrambling to come up with alternative funding plans, although getting federal money reprogrammed from other sources instead of tapping more local dollars to cover the funding hole remains the favored option. “We remain hopeful that any day the funding for the projects will be secured so we can do the projects this fall,” said Tim Buckland, New Hanover County’s intergovernmental affairs manager.
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Brunswick County In The Know

Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties in the entire nation! Our county commissioners have offered to do an educational meet and greet. Brunswick Commissioners Frank Williams and Mike Forte have offered their time to address an audience on general (non-political) topics such as county organization and structure, what the commissioners do, and most importantly what activities are going on now to ensure Brunswick County is ready for the expansion and growth coming our way.

Informational “Meet and Greets” will be offered on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 6:00 pm until 7:30 pm at the Lockwood Folly Country Club, River room on the second floor.

Topics including but not limited to:
. * Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Response
. * Board of Education and Charter School issues
. * Election Integrity
. * Economic Development – Brunswick Vision 2040

Mark your calendar for 3rd Thursday’s!
Be informed!
Get answers to frequently asked questions!
Make your concerns heard!
They are our elected officials…they work for US!

For more information e-mail: info@BrunscoInTheKnow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/brunscointheknow/permalink/143030657846824/


Factoid That May Interest Only Me –


Brunswick County beaches have no lifeguards. Is technology the answer?
Sylvia Blough never thought she’d be so happy to have a surveillance drone overhead. “At first I thought ‘what is the world coming to?'” Blough said. “But then I thought, well, this is a great way to know you’re being protected.” Blough, a Charlotte resident, said she was vacationing in Oak Island last month when she received an email from her rental company informing her that she could be contacted via drone if she’s trouncing through the dunes. “I think it makes people feel safer,” she said. “Like there are people looking out for us while we’re here.” Dune protection is just one use for Oak Island’s new Unmanned Aerial Systems Services division, which employs a drone for an expanding list of duties, including infrastructure inspections, creating marketing materials, and even monitoring beach safety. “We’ve got nine miles of beach and that’s almost impossible to control any other way,” Oak Island Mayor Ken Thomas said of the program. “It would take such a large police force without it.” Thomas now encourages other beach towns to make use of drones to make up for the lack of lifeguards along Brunswick County’s 50 miles of coastline.
How it works
The drone can cover an area that would typically require at least three other officers, Thomas said, helping them to free up their resources and direct them where needed. The program took off just two months ago and has already been a success in surveying the beach and keeping people off the recently re-nourished sand dunes. If beachgoers are seen on the dunes, the drone can ask them to leave via a loudspeaker or take their picture and notify the police if necessary. “If we have a problem at the beach, they can direct the resources to where they ask,” Thomas said. “I look to all the beach towns to (use drones), once they see how it works that’ll be the thing everywhere.” Brunswick County beach towns as of now practice a swim at your own risk policy highlighted recently by examples of fatal drownings and shark attacks. While towns typically operate a mixture of volunteer beach patrols, water rescue units and fire department resources to keep beach-goers safe, there are no lifeguards on duty in the county. Most Brunswick County towns simply can’t afford to have paid lifeguards on duty, leaving the task instead to volunteers and retired police officers.
Funding concerns
Sunset Beach has a beach patrol team equipped with utility task vehicles, many of whom are emergency medical technicians. According to Sunset Beach Fire Chief Paul Hasenmeier, while the patrol team is capable of handling emergencies, they could still benefit from adding drones to their arsenal. “We talked about getting a drone with not only camera capabilities but that would also be able to carry a life jacket or a bottle of water,” Hasenmeier said. “It hasn’t been included in our budgeting – maybe next year – but it’s something we’re looking at.” Funding was also a concern in Caswell Beach, where one person patrols the beach depending on the crowd and season. “A drone would not be a possibility for us,” Mayor Deb Ahlers said. “It’s not something that we have in our budget.”  According to Ahlers, it wouldn’t be economically viable to use a drone to survey the roughly three miles of Caswell Beach coastline. “Being very small, it’s just something that a smaller town wouldn’t be able to take advantage of,” Ahlers said. “We are limited to how many officers we have on at a time, and I would assume that if you have somebody who is operating it, they’re not doing their police work. And then you got to get somebody down on the beach to take care of whatever is going on.” Even some larger coastline towns, like Ocean Isle Beach, are still skeptical. The town has two retired officers patrolling its more than six miles of beaches in the summer and says that’s enough. “It’s not something we’ve considered dedicating to ocean patrol now because we got a lot of people and everybody knows call 911 and they’re dispatched pretty quickly,” Mayor Debbie Smith said. Smith said the town keeps a boat and water rescue equipment on the island so it’s easily accessible and patrols are at the base of the beach strands, making rescues easy to launch. The fire department also has a drone specifically for search and rescue operations, but with no plans for proactive use. “We do get several water rescues every month and thank goodness it’s usually something minor,” Smith said. “Let’s hope that continues.”
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. .

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) Seventeenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3)
Collections will begin on May 29th and run through September 18th
. 4) Food is distributed to the needy in Brunswick County
For more information » click here

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

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

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

A Second Helping collects leftover items from vacationers leaving Brunswick County beaches
Have you ever reached the end of your vacation and realized that you have a lot of extra food or non-food items like soaps, paper plates, or paper towels? Several beaches in Brunswick County have volunteer organizations called A Second Helping that collects those items and donates them back to the community. “We’ve got all these tourists that come in town — why not leave your food with us on your way back home,” said Rebecca Powell, co-founder of A Second Helping OIB. “It’s a way to pay it forward in the community.” A Second Helping in Ocean Isle Beach has grown from a very small group of people to now around 50 volunteers and three different drop stations. Doug Cottrell, who organizes A Second Helping in Holden Beach, said they have also seen growth since it was founded by Bill Spier back in 2005. “It’s grown from an idea to an average of a thousand, 12-hundred pounds each Saturday morning,” he said. “The idea that Mr. Spier had in the beginning was that people would leave when the houses turn on Saturdays and didn’t have anything to do with their leftovers.” He says about two-thirds of what they collect is food. “We get tremendous amount of condiments, hot dogs, hamburgers, lots of wonderful produce—it’s amazing how much products we get,” Cottrell said. “It’s a little bit of everything that you’d buy to have in your refrigerator when you’re on vacation.” The other third are items like soaps, Ziplock bags, or aluminum foil. The volunteer organization at Holden Beach has a close relationship with the rental companies in the area. One house in particular has been known for its donations after visitors spend a long week at the beach. “We have a house that’s 15 bedrooms and sometimes they’ll show up here with an SUV and truck full of stuff and then have to go home and pack up to leave and we’ll get over 100 pounds out of one house of people on vacation,” Cottrell said. A Second Helping in Holden Beach donates its food items to Loaves and Fishes pantry of Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. It’s non-food items go to the Brunswick Christian Recovery Center. A Second Helping OIB donates what it collects to Brunswick Family Assistance. “We are very blessed to live on an island but at the same time there’s other parts of this pocket of the county that are not so fortunate, and we need to remember them,” Powell said. “I don’t think anyone should go to bed hungry at night.” “Not too far off the beach there’s a considerable amount of poverty and people in need and a pantry to support that,” Cottrell said. “What we gather we take to the pantry and then they have a two-day a week open facility for people to go in a receive what we donate.” There is A Second Helping organization in Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beaches. Saturday kicked off the season for each location, and they will collect goods every Saturday morning through Labor Day weekend. Click here for more information on drop-off sites for each location.
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Hot Button Issues

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


..
Climate
For more information » click here

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


The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a new report, and the message is clear: Deadly and irreversible effects of climate change are already here. Unlike previous assessments, the report also concludes it is “unequivocal” that humans have caused the climate crisis. It states the world has rapidly warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels and is now careening toward 1.5 degrees — a critical threshold that world leaders have agreed should represent the upper limit of global warming. Scientists say the only way to keep from reaching this point of no return and to prevent even more catastrophic damage is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero. 


United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has just proclaimed “a code red for humanity.” The unequivocal consensus of the world’s top climate scientists—unveiled in a landmark report Monday—is that not only are humans responsible for the catastrophes befalling the atmosphere, the oceans, the ice packs and the forests, but that without drastic moves by the planet’s leaders to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution, things are going to get a lot worse, and quite soon. The assessment from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the crucial warming threshold of 2°C will be “exceeded during the 21st century” makes the Paris climate accord, its warnings and goals seem like sunny optimism by comparison. Other findings? The past decade was most likely hotter than any period in the last 125,000 years (when sea levels were up to 10 meters higher) and combustion and deforestation have raised CO2 in the atmosphere higher than it’s been in two million years. “This report,” Guterres warned the world, “must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet.” 


IPCC report key points

      • Global surface temperature was 1.09C higher in the decade between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.
      • The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850
      • The recent rate of sea level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971
      • Human influence is “very likely” (90%) the main driver of the global retreat of glaciers since the 1990s and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice
      • It is “virtually certain” that hot extremes including heatwaves have become more frequent and more intense since the 1950s, while cold events have become less frequent and less severe

Humans have pushed the climate into ‘unprecedented’ territory, landmark U.N. report finds
U.N. chief calls findings ‘a code red for humanity’ with worse climate impacts to come unless greenhouse gas pollution falls dramatically
More than three decades ago, a collection of scientists sanctioned by the United Nations first warned that humans were fueling a dangerous greenhouse effect and that if the world didn’t act collectively and deliberately to slow Earth’s warming, there could be “profound consequences” for people and nature alike. The scientists were right. On Monday, that same body — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — issued its latest and most dire assessment about the state of the planet, detailing how humans have altered the environment at an “unprecedented” pace and cautioning that the world risks increasingly catastrophic impacts in the absence of rapid greenhouse gas reductions. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called the findings “a code red for humanity” and said societies must find ways to embrace the transformational changes necessary to limit warming as much as possible. “We owe this to the entire human family,” he said in a statement. “There is no time for delay and no room for excuses.” But so far, the collective effort to slow climate change has proved gravely insufficient. Instead of the sort of emission cuts that scientists say must happen, global greenhouse gas pollution is still growing. Countries have failed to meet the targets they set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, and even the bolder pledges
some nations recently have embraced still leave the world on a perilous path. “What the world requires now is real action,” John F. Kerry, the Biden administration’s special envoy for climate, said in a statement about Monday’s findings. “We can get to the low carbon economy we urgently need, but time is not on our side.” It certainly is not, according to Monday’s report.
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Climate outlook grim but NC is inching toward resilience
The news on the climate front keeps getting worse. Regarding the report released Monday by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, the headlines paint a dire picture: “Code Red for humanity,” was CNN’s banner for its coverage, quoting UN Secretary-General António Guterres; “Humans have pushed the climate into ‘unprecedented’ territory,” was how The Washington Post topped its story; “A Hotter Future Is Certain, Climate Panel Warns. But How Hot Is Up to Us,” warned The New York Times’ analysis. All noted that even if nations of the world acted immediately to curb greenhouse gas emissions, enough damage is already done to guarantee a 1.5-degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures, or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit hotter. The consequences of not rapidly and permanently cutting emissions, as The Post reported, are “increasingly catastrophic impacts.” As we reported last year, North Carolina’s Climate Science Advisory Council’s 2020 assessment predicted warmer and wetter conditions with more flooding statewide and with coastal areas as risk from rising seas and increasingly frequent heavy downpours. At the time, our Kirk Ross interviewed State Climatologist Katie Dello about the report. She made it clear then that change was already happening. “We’re feeling climate change now, so we don’t get to the luxury of talking about this as a future problem anymore,” she said. “It’s here in North Carolina. It’s here in our backyard and we’re seeing it through the sea level rise and extreme downpours.” The IPCC’s summary of its findings for policymakers bears that out: “Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years.” Some of the changes already happening, including sea level rise, are irreversible. In 2019, atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, according to the summary, and concentrations of other greenhouse gases were higher than at any time in at least 800,000 years. Global mean sea level has risen faster since 1900 than during any century in at least the last 3,000 years. Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850. It is likely that human behavior contributed to changing rainfall patterns since the mid-20th century, and mid-latitude storm tracks have shifted toward the poles in both hemispheres since the 1980s. The scientists say it is virtually certain that oceans have warmed just since the 1970s and it is extremely likely that human influence is the main driver. It is also virtually certain that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main driver of ocean acidification. Coastal cities, towns, and villages “are particularly affected” by climatic factors that have already changed and will continue to change, whatever happens with regard to emissions. That means increases in extreme heat, flooding rainstorms, coastal erosion, and coastal flooding. Increasing relative sea levels are compounding the flood problems associated with storm surge and intense rainfall. There’s still much we can do to limit the damage. As the Times phrased it, “humanity can still prevent the planet from getting even hotter.” Doing so will require what the IPCC report describes as “strong and sustained reductions” in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. And even then, it could take two to three decades before global temperatures stabilize. But we will have at least taken steps to lessen the damage that would otherwise only be worse for our children and grandchildren. And while there’s no silver lining, North Carolina, which still has a reputation for climate change denialism, has begun slowly moving in the right direction. As Coastal Review has reported in detail, debate here has shifted over the past decade from whether to do something to what should be done. Officials released in 2020 the North Carolina Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan as a comprehensive guide for addressing the risks of climate change to the state’s infrastructure and economy. The plan was hailed for addressing both the causes and effects and providing planning tools for local governments. Also, the legislature has in recent sessions advanced bills that reflect a more comprehensive approach to flooding and stormwater management. The House’s proposed budget for the next two years would boost funding for the state’s Land and Water Fund and other conservation programs with nearly $2 billion for flood prevention, resiliency and stormwater and wastewater infrastructure. Meanwhile, new federal infrastructure and climate initiatives promise an even larger flow of funds if the state has programs in place to take advantage of it. While these efforts offer numerous reasons for optimism, as the IPCC report states, the time to act on resiliency and the kind of carbon reductions that will truly make an impact for the next generation is now. As we look ahead to the prospects outlined in the report and the state’s risk assessment, we know that what we do in the immediate future will have an impact on what the next generations face. At Coastal Review, our role is not just to report on the impacts of the climate crisis, but to critically examine the plans, the science, and proposed solutions in detail and to take a clear-eyed approach to the decisions at the state, federal and local levels that will affect our region and, ultimately, our planet.
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Development Fees
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Draft System Development Fees Report
Calculation of Water and Sewer System Development Fees for FY2022
Prepared by Raftelis in accordance with HB 436.


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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 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.


Coastal Connection: Risk Rating 2.0 will change the entire flood industry
When FEMA announced the transformation of the National Flood Insurance Program with updated and modernized rating dubbed Risk Rating 2.0, questions and concerns were raised from various industries such as insurance agents and real estate professionals. As FEMA begins to release details around Risk Rating 2.0, it’s clear that the National Flood Insurance Program transformation will not just impact insurance rating, it will impact the entire flood industry. From private flood insurance companies to floodplain managers, each stakeholder will be influenced by Risk Rating 2.0’s implementation. FEMA has branded Risk Rating 2.0 as Equity in Action since the coming changes will make the National Flood Insurance Program rates more fair and easier to understand. Equity in Action replaces the current binary “in versus out” of a high-risk flood zone pricing methodology. Rather, it uses “graduated” rating, which is a pricing methodology based on factors such as distance to water, types of flood exposure, and other advanced elements. Equity in Action will also bring more equity to National Flood Insurance Program policyholders by basing rates off of the building’s replacement cost. The higher the building’s replacement cost, the more expensive the premium, and vice versa. In April, FEMA issued a press release on Equity in Action and state fact sheets showing projected rate changes:

    • 11% of NFIP policyholders will see a premium increase of over $120 per year.
    • 63% of policyholders will see premium increases of $0 to $100 a year.
    • 23% of NFIP policyholders will see a premium decrease.

The changes in the new National Flood Insurance Program rating methodology will have impacts throughout the entire insurance industry. For example, once Equity in Action takes effect, private flood insurers may find expanded or changed opportunities to sell policies that will close the insurance gap. Overall, what FEMA will accomplish in the transformation is making the National Flood Insurance Program part of a rapidly evolving and competitive flood insurance environment where insureds ask to see a quote from multiple carriers, one of them being the National Flood Insurance Program. Changes under Equity in Action are not limited to the world of insurance. The impacts and benefits of mitigation options, such as the elevation of a home, have been difficult to clearly communicate, and are not always viable. The coming changes to the National Flood Insurance Program bring better solutions and easier communication for mitigation options. Under Equity in Action, premium credits will now be given for the elevation of mechanical equipment, currently not a creditable mitigation activity under the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP is changing how home elevation premium reductions are calculated. Currently, premium discounts max out when a building is elevated 4 feet above the base flood elevation. But with Equity in Action, the higher you go, the less the premium will be. Importantly, mitigation credits will apply everywhere, not just for those properties in the high-risk flood zone. These changes will also enhance the flood resilience of our communities. As the financial benefit of mitigation grows, so will the elevation and mitigation of buildings. Essentially, the mitigation elements of Equity in Action will have a trickledown effect that benefits many other stakeholders. In April of this year, House Financial Services introduced a discussion draft of a National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization and reform bill. The bill, among its other elements, proposes to lower the annual increase cap on National Flood Insurance Program premiums from 18% to 9%. Since FEMA notes that policy premiums will increase up to the maximum statutory cap under Equity in Action, this was a clear reaction from Congress. While there are still legislative issues and priorities to tackle, Equity in Action will address long standing programmatic issues that Congress may no longer need to address in forthcoming flood reform such as using replacement cost when determining rates. In early 2021, a media storm followed the release of information about potential impacts of Risk Rating 2.0. For the first time, those who never heard of or cared about flood risk began to talk about the topic and Equity in Action will make flood risk easier to communicate. Equally important is to understand that the change that FEMA is planning will impact far more stakeholders than just those that interact with National Flood Insurance Program insurance. Equity in Action modernizes the National Flood Insurance Program in a way that has not been seen in the 53-year history of the program. Whether stakeholders involved appreciate the changes or not, Risk Rating 2.0 will change the landscape of insuring against and communicating flood risk.
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FEMA overhauls the National Flood Insurance Program for climate change

    • Under the new model, FEMA will factor in the impacts and risks of climate change.
    • “No question that this is the most substantive change to the program going back to 1968,” said FEMA’s David Maurstad.

Climate change and it’s devastating impact are accelerating faster than ever, according to a new report  from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Hurricanes are becoming stronger, rainfall heavier and flood risk higher. Yet, America’s National Flood Insurance Program hasn’t changed at all since its inception. But it is about to. Under the current program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides $1.3 trillion in coverage for more than 5 million policy holders in 23,500 communities nationwide. Homeowners in FEMA-designated flood zones are required to purchase flood insurance, but others do so voluntarily. Nearly one-third of NFIP policyholders are not mandated to carry it. Starting on Oct. 1, the program will undergo a complete overhaul to make insurance pricing more accurately reflect each property’s unique flood risk. Finally, climate change will be factored in. “No question that this is the most substantive change to the program going back to 1968,” said David Maurstad, deputy associate administrator for federal insurance and mitigation and senior executive of the flood insurance program. “What we found out was that many folks with lower-value homes were paying more than they should, and those that had higher-value homes were paying less than they should. And we have a responsibility to make sure that we have actuarily sound, fair, and equitable rates. And so that’s what’s driving the change.” Today, federal flood insurance is based on the property’s elevation and whether it has a 1% annual chance of flooding. Under the new model, FEMA will also look at the home’s replacement cost; whether the risk is rainfall, river, or coastal flooding; and how close the property is to the source of the potential flooding. Most important, FEMA will now factor in future catastrophic modeling from climate change, including sea level rise, drought, and wildfires. Right now, the owner of a $1 million Florida home and the owner of a $200,000 Montana home are paying the same rates for insurance, even though their risk levels are decidedly different. Under the new model, the Florida owner would almost certainly pay more. Maurstad says rates will go up for some and down for others. The majority of homeowners, however, will see rates go up about 10%, which is the normal annual increase. “It’s just important that we address that inequity that the lower-value homes shouldn’t be subsidizing the higher-value homes going forward,” he said. This shift will inevitably change the value of some homes. The costs incurred by any home are factored into its value, whether those costs are insurance, taxes, maintenance on an older home, or the home’s location. “You can think of it as revenue coming in and expenses going out,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of First Street Foundation, which calculates flood risk scores for every home in America. Those scores are currently posted on some of the nation’s largest home listing sites, including Realtor.com and Redfin. “Depending on how much that insurance goes up is going to correlate perfectly to the value of that home for any new homebuyer who comes in and says, ‘This home looks great, but now I have to pay $6,000, $10,000,’ whatever it might be, a year in flood insurance, which is just going to take away from the value of the actual asset itself,” he said.
Covering rising costs
The change in the NFIP calculation is not just to bring better equality to the program but also to help sustain it. As storm damage increases, FEMA is increasingly paying billions of dollars out to homeowners who are uninsured.
Hurricane Harvey in Houston was a stark example. More than 200,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and three-quarters of them had no flood insurance, as many were outside FEMA flood zones. Flood zones are updated only every five years, by congressional mandate. During its reauthorization process this fall, FEMA will also put forward more proposals to make the program more fiscally stable. “No question we need to close the insurance gap. Not enough people in the high-risk area have the coverage they need to be able to be on the path to recovery after a flood event,” Maurstad said. “There’s just too much disaster, suffering, going on that we can minimize if we are able to have more people have the coverage they need.” He said FEMA has proposed a means-tested affordability program that will help low-to-moderate- income individuals pay for the flood insurance that they need. “There’s no question with climate change and the changing conditions that if we do nothing, the program is not going to be sustainable.”
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GenX
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GenX and your health:
What we know 4 years after the toxin was found in Wilmington’s drinking water
Scientists have established that people in the Cape Fear region have extremely high amounts of PFAS in their blood, but little is known about these compounds
For decades, thousands of North Carolinians drank contaminated water from the Cape Fear River. The pollution has been brought under control, but in the aftermath, fear over what the toxins have done to people’s bodies has arisen. Unknown to most until 2017, Chemours and before them DuPont, two chemical manufacturers, polluted the Cape Fear River with harmful chemicals for more than 30 years. Since the 1980s, dangerously high levels of PFAS, including one called GenX, leaked uncontrollably into the river, which serves as the drinking water source to more than 300,000 people. In 2017, a StarNews investigation identified the Fayetteville Works plant outside Fayetteville as the primary source, but Kemp Burdette, the Cape Fear River riverkeeper, said there are many more PFAS polluters out there. All this pollution has a human cost. For decades, Burdette, his family and hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians drank the water from their facets, unaware of the risk. Now many are left wondering what will happen to them. “You talk to people in Wilmington and everybody knows somebody that has died of kidney cancer, liver cancer, has thyroid issues or any number of things that are very definitely linked to PFAS,” Burdette said. Scientists are trying to provide answers, but various challenges are creating roadblocks. Scientists in North Carolina have established that the populations in the Cape Fear region have extremely high amounts of PFAS in their blood, but little is known about these compounds and researching them is complex and takes time. Jane Hoppin and her colleagues at the GenX Exposure Study have been studying PFAS in North Carolina since the crisis began four years ago. The group has taken blood samples from affected residents and is now embarking on a larger five-year study to examine the long-term health effects of exposure to PFAS, which is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. In Wilmington, researchers estimate residents ingested approximately 700 parts per trillion of PFAS every day for more than 30 years, said Hoppin, who’s the principal investigator of the project. That exposure is five times the exposure goal set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “We still don’t know whether there’s a unique fingerprint to health risks for people who live in Wilmington (and Fayetteville),” said Hoppin, a professor at North Carolina State University. “We may never know because the kinds of things that PFAS are most strongly related to in animal studies aren’t super unique.” Animal testing done on PFAS in general reveals the chemicals can cause liver damage that could lead to cancer or tumors, according to Jamie DeWitt, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine. PFAS exposure can also lead to kidney, testicular and other cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute, however it’s unknown if the types of PFAS North Carolinians were exposed to cause the same illnesses. “There’s several reasons toxicologists like me are concerned about PFAS,” DeWitt said. “One of the main reasons is that they’re persistent. They last for an indefinite period of time in the environment, which means that living organisms are going to be continually exposed for generations.”
What more do we know?
Since 2017, the GenX Exposure Study has collected blood samples from more than 300 people in the Cape Fear region to measure how much of the chemicals have been absorbed into people’s bodies. The results took researchers by surprise, Hoppin said. The team found numerous types of PFAS in participants’ blood, including legacy PFAS at levels above the 95th percentile compared to the U.S. population. Studying PFAS is a challenge, partly because there’s no “charismatic tragic illness” felt by the masses to inspire action, Hoppin said. Also, many of the potential health outcomes, such as cancer, can be caused by a multitude of factors, complicating the job of trying to identify how the toxin affects people. Researchers are making some progress, but traditionally scientists study one compound individually, which can be very time and labor intensive, said Carrie McDonough, an assistant professor and environmental chemist at Stony Brook University. “You can imagine when we have thousands of these compounds, we have new ones all the time that are getting discovered. It’s really hard to keep up with these kinds of toxicological studies,” McDonough said. Scientists have few human population studies to judge the effects of PFAS, according to Alan Ducatman, professor emeritus at West Virginia University. The few population studies out there also might not be relevant to North Carolina because compounds are distinct, meaning outcomes could be different. Ducatman served as principal investigator for the C8 Health Project, a population study convened after DuPont released a PFAS called C8, the precursor to GenX, into the mid-Ohio Valley contaminating the drinking water of more than 80,000 people. After decades of polluting the valley, DuPont paid out hundreds of millions to affected residents and later decided to replace C8 with a new substance called GenX. That new compound was supposed to be safer and would be manufactured by a spinoff business named Chemours outside Fayetteville.
In your blood
While the bloodwork done by the GenX Exposure Study found new PFAS in North Carolinians’ blood, it’s not getting a complete picture about how many manmade chemicals are in a person’s body, DeWitt said. Researchers only measured the blood, which excludes any buildup in a person’s organs where there could be more. The chemicals measured in participants’ blood four years ago are likely still there, DeWitt said. Depending on the half-life of the specific compound, it could take years or even a lifetime for the chemical to breakdown and exit the body, and that’s if new exposure ends. Measurable amounts of GenX, PFOA and PFOS, all PFAS compounds, continue to be found in the Cape Fear River both leaving the Fayetteville Works Plant and entering the drinking water source of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, according to water sampling done by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. While the amounts are below state recommended health levels, North Carolinians continue to be exposed to the PFAS chemicals. “You never are really going to fully get rid of what you have in your body because you have continuous exposure,” DeWitt said. “What little bit gets left behind gets added to by the new amounts that you take into your body.” It’s likely nearly everyone who drank the contaminated water in the Cape Fear region will have detectable levels of PFAS in their bodies, DeWitt said. Detectable levels don’t mean a person will develop cancer or another disease linked to PFAS, it just means that they are at an increased risk. Scientists still have a lot to learn about how PFAS interact in the bloodstream, but from what they know now, it’s clear the chemicals behave differently than other toxins, McDonough said. Because the chemicals behave differently and are novel substances there’s a steep learning curve for researchers, McDonough said, but from what scientists already understand the news doesn’t seem encouraging.
What happens from here?
From what Ducatman observed in West Virginia with C8, it didn’t take long for signs of exposure to start showing up in the community. Scientists could quickly see some of the effects in children. By adolescence, scientists could measure a noticeable difference in lipids between children exposed to high levels of C8 and those who weren’t, Ducatman said. Researchers also found children who were exposed to C8 had vaccine uptake issues, meaning their bodies didn’t fully absorb immunizations as well as those who weren’t affected by the manmade compounds. Much of the research on the populations affected by the C8 contamination, including the C8 Science Panel, were carried out as part of the legal settlement between DuPont and the victims of the exposure. Scientists, as part of the C8 Science Panel, would go on to establish probable links between C8 and kidney and testicular cancer, pregnancy induced hypertension, ulcerative colitis and thyroid disease. No such agreement exists in North Carolina, and thus Hoppin’s team is being supported by grant funding, making it harder to gather as much data as what was achieved in West Virginia. Nonetheless, the five-year study being conducted by Hoppin and others will build off what was learned in West Virginia, Hoppin said. The study is currently recruiting participants in the Fayetteville area, but will start looking for Wilmington residents this fall, Hoppin said. Hoppin hopes to have between 1,200-1,400 participants. Because taxpayers are paying for the study, the examination will focus on health outcomes that will impact people over the course of their lifetimes, Hoppin said. Hoppin added it’s hard for researchers to examine cancer in relation to PFAS in North Carolina because Wilmington’s population has grown so quickly, and the disease generally has a 20-year latency period, meaning it can take up to 20 years for cancer to form as a result of PFAS exposure. “There are a million questions out there that people want to know the answers to, and I think that as researchers we need to focus on the ones that we are skilled to answer,” Hoppin said.

Chemours’ proximity to Cape Fear, Wilmington
Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant is located along the Cape Fear River approximately 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville and roughly 100 miles upstream from Wilmington.
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GenX water crisis: Could we face another toxic water disaster? Experts say danger is still there
Some positive steps have been taken in the past four years since the GenX crisis began, but experts say residents remain at risk of another disaster happening
In 2017, more than 300,000 people found out they had been drinking toxic water for decades, all stemming from a chemical manufacturing plant almost 100 miles up the Cape Fear River. Positive steps have been taken in the aftermath, and yet nothing stops the same disaster from happening again tomorrow. In critical areas, such as regulations governing chemical dumping and enforcement of those rules, experts say nothing has changed, meaning residents in Wilmington, Fayetteville and beyond face a very real chance of enduring the same disaster all over again. In the four years since the crisis began, PFAS levels in the drinking water around the Wilmington area and in Brunswick and Pender counties have come down dramatically, more than 99%, according to Detlef Knappe, a professor focused on drinking water quality and treatment at North Carolina State University.  The crisis in North Carolina has brought a lot of attention to the larger issue of PFAS, though no amount of progress can make up for the 30-plus years of pollution and exposure thousands had to experience, Knappe added.  “The concern I have is really there’s nothing in our regulatory system now to prevent something similar with a pollutant that we don’t yet know about,” Knappe said. “In my view, we need to really rethink the way we regulate industries and especially industries that produce high volumes of chemicals.” For more than 30 years, PFAS, including GenX, leaked into the Cape Fear River from a chemical plant owned by DuPont until 2015, when it was taken over by Chemours. The Cape Fear River is the main drinking water source to more than 300,000 people in southeastern North Carolina. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of thousands of chemical compounds that are largely toxic to humans. Chemours has made a “sizable investment” at its Fayetteville Works plant since 2017 to eliminate 97% of its PFAS and GenX emissions, according to a statement from the company. Chemours has installed GAC (granular activated carbon) filters, an emissions control facility, water treatment center and is planning to build an underground barrier wall around its property to contain the remaining 3% of PFAS emissions. “Chemours has made significant investments in emissions control technology and remediation activity at its Fayetteville Works site,” according to the statement. “The company has taken numerous actions over the past four years that have dramatically decreased emissions of PFAS and loading to the Cape Fear River.” While quite a lot of progress has been made, scientists are also finding that the disaster is larger than previously thought, said Dana Sargent, executive director of Cape Fear River Watch, who along with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, is supervising Chemours’ cleanup activities.  As part of a court order reached in 2019, Chemours funded water sampling tests around the region, Sargent said. Those tests found that there were an additional 257 types of PFAS leaking from Chemours’ facility into the Cape Fear River that weren’t previously known about. “Chemours and its predecessor had more than 40 years to show honorable commitment to the community and the environment,” Sargent said. “They chose profit instead. Their so-called ‘commitment’ to reducing PFAS in the environment began in 2019 – by court order.” The consent order was an excellent step forward to preventing the disaster from getting worse, but it took several years to negotiate, said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. The SELC represented Cape Fear River Watch during negotiations with the state and Chemours. Beyond the consent order, little else in terms of regulations has changed since the crisis began, Gisler said.  More frustrating than that, Gisler said, is that the regulatory tools that could’ve prevented the contamination in the first place have existed for 50 years. The state and federal government just aren’t using them, he said. “This situation was not a failure of the law,” Gisler said. “The way the law is written is good enough to prevent this. It’s a failure of the agencies that we trust to enforce the law.
What progress has been made?
In Wilmington, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, the primary water provider in the area, immediately instituted interim solutions to filter out the PFAS while it constructs a $46 million filtration system at its Sweeney Water Treatment Plant, said Carel Vandermeyden, CFPUA’s deputy executive director. CFPUA is using its 14 existing filters at Sweeney to filter out PFAS, Vandermeyden said. The solution isn’t meant to work long-term, but on average it removes 30% to 40% of the toxic chemicals.  The public utility’s testing capabilities for PFAS have come a long way since 2017, Vandermeyden said. Four years ago, the utility tested for approximately 20 compounds, but now it looks for more than 50. At least half of the PFAS chemicals CFPUA looks for today, it didn’t know about in 2017, Vandermeyden said. The utility continues to add more compounds to its list as testing methods are created for the massive class of chemicals. Statewide, the North Carolina legislature formed the North Carolina PFAS Testing Network, a consortium of researchers, in 2018 as a result of the ongoing contamination, according to Lee Ferguson, a professor at Duke University and co-chair of the Network’s executive advisory committee. The program and state have become a national leader in terms of monitoring programs related to PFAS, Ferguson said. Few other states have programs made up of academic researchers using cutting-edge technology to find PFAS compounds in drinking water. Ferguson and Knappe are part of a team within the PFAS Testing Network that’s assessing every municipal drinking water source in North Carolina for PFAS contamination. The researchers were surprised by just how much PFAS there is in the water across North Carolina and the various sources it comes from, Ferguson said. In Southeastern North Carolina, the primary source is Chemours, but in the central part of the state the team found high concentrations of legacy PFAS. The issue will continue to jeopardize people’s safety because “we live in a universe of chemistry,” Ferguson said. With tens of thousands of different chemical compounds, and more being created every year, no monitoring network can possibly keep up.  “We’re left with these problems of unregulated and unmonitored emerging contaminants, which come to our attention only when a researcher either thinks to look for them, or the problem becomes so acute downstream that people have health impacts,” Ferguson said.
Being proactive, not reactive to PFAS 

Right now, the United States takes a reactive approach to PFAS chemicals rather than a proactive one, Sargent said. Manufacturers create the substances, discharge it into the environment and if people start to get sick then maybe the government will monitor it and possibly regulate it years after it became a problem. “I have a brother who is a Chicago firefighter and a U.S. Marine. He was diagnosed with Glioblastoma in the winter of 2017 just a few months after we found out about our contamination here,” Sargent said. “He died in the winter of 2019 at 47 years old. We don’t know if his exposure to PFAS, which was excessive because of his career, was what caused his death. That’s completely unacceptable.” The government should do more to protect Americans and stop these industries and companies such as Chemours or DuPont from creating toxic messes that can cause serious health issues, Sargent said. If a chemical isn’t regulated in the U.S., like most PFAS, there’s very little any entity can do to stop industries or companies from discharging it into the environment, Knappe said.  The U.S. needs a new framework on how it regulates chemicals, Knappe said. There are thousands of PFAS compounds, new ones being invented all the time and there’s no realistic way for any regulatory agency to keep up. The weak links in this situation, according to Knappe, are the policy and enforcement. It’s one thing to create a standard to limit a chemical, but it’s a totally different thing to put that regulation into practice. Every few years the EPA surveys drinking water across the country for 30 unregulated contaminants, Knappe said. It’s a “very, very small drop in the bucket” compared to the number of chemicals on the market, Knappe admitted. The science surrounding PFAS has “progressed rapidly” in the past few years and the EPA is using that new understanding to create new actions, according to an emailed statement from an EPA spokesperson. “Under the Biden-Harris administration, EPA has made addressing PFAS a top priority and is working together with communities across the country to effectively address these dangerous chemicals and protect public health,” according to the statement. EPA is in the midst of developing a multi-year strategy to create more public health protections around PFAS, according to the statement. The spokesperson added, “Our goal is to move as expeditiously as possible, while grounding all of our decisions in the law and a strong scientific foundation.”
A failure of government, not regulations 
Regulatory change could be on the horizon after the U.S. House of  Representatives passed the PFAS Action Act on July 21. The legislation would address PFAS on several levels by introducing new regulations and safeguards. The bill would require the EPA to designate PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, which is a federal law that governs how the EPA responds to environmental contaminations. The act would also propose national drinking water standards for PFAS, create clearer penalties for violations, create grant programs to help communities affected by PFAS contamination, designate PFAS as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act and numerous other actions. Despite the bill’s new protections against PFAS, six out of 13 members of North Carolina’s delegation to the House voted against the legislation, including six of the state’s eight Republican representatives. Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC07) and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC08), who represent the areas affected, voted in favor of the bill in addition to their Democratic colleagues.  The baseline rule in the Clean Water Act is unless a group gets permission to dump substances into waterways, it’s illegal, Gisler said. Yet companies get around this rule bcause states and the EPA don’t enforce it.  Companies come up with a new chemical, don’t tell anyone about it and simply start dumping it into waterways, Gisler said. If regulatory agencies don’t enforce the rules, then it doesn’t matter what regulations are passed. “If there were no police, then what would stop bank robbers? Nothing,” Gisler said. “Here we have laws, and we have the system. What we don’t have are agencies that are willing to enforce it.” The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has taken “proactive steps” to address the impacts of PFAS contamination across the state, according to a statement from the agency in response to Gisler and others’ comments.
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The GenX water crisis began 4 years ago.
Here’s a recap of the key moments so far
For more than 30 years, an untold amount of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals entered the Cape Fear River and private residents’ drinking wells from a chemical manufacturing plant outside Fayetteville, North Carolina.  The chemicals that leaked from the plant are known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, and their manufacturers have allegedly known for decades that they are dangerous to humans.  Yet Chemours and DuPont, the two manufacturers who owned the Fayetteville Works plant, contaminated the drinking water for more than 300,000 North Carolinians since as early as 1980. It wasn’t until 2017 when the StarNews broke the story, that the public became aware they were consuming toxic chemicals in dangerously high amounts.  In the four years since the crisis began, Chemours has had to pay a $12 million fine to the state of North Carolina, and is now required by legal agreement to clean up its manufacturing facility and help some of the thousands of affected residents.  But a vast majority of the 300,000 people affected by the GenX water crisis have yet to receive any assistance from Chemours or DuPont, and major questions remain over how many will ever get any help, what the chemicals will do to people long term and what stops the same crisis from happening again.
4 years later; Chemours, DuPont face 1,000+ lawsuits for part in GenX water crisis
In the four years since the GenX water crisis began, a vast majority of those affected haven’t gotten any assistance from Chemours or DuPont. Many have decided to sue as a result.  Chemours and DuPont face more than 1,000 lawsuits for their part in the GenX water crisis, but North Carolina is just the tip of the iceberg for the two chemical makers when it comes to water contamination lawsuits.
4 years later; what stops the GenX crisis from happening again? Nothing, experts say
The field of chemistry, especially for commercial purposes, is a quickly expanding area, and there’s no realistic way for scientists or regulators to keep track of all the compounds companies come up with.  While some progress has been made in terms of monitoring, environmentalists and experts say little has changed in terms of regulations that could prevent a similar crisis from happening.
4 years later; health impacts of GenX crisis remain a mystery 

In the four years since the GenX crisis began in the Cape Fear region, scientists have established that North Carolinians who drank the water from the Cape Fear River had higher amounts of PFAS in their bodies compared to the average American.  Yet little is known about what high amounts of PFAS exposure will do to people. Scientists have established some compounds such as PFOA, also known as C8, are possible human carcinogens, but other chemicals leaked into the river by Chemours aren’t as well understood by scientists. Scientists, including many in North Carolina, are making progress in determining the health impacts of PFAS on humans, but they say progress is slow and ultimately understanding the true effects of the crisis might never be possible.
Chemours, North Carolina and Cape Fear River Watch enter into consent order
In February 2019, Chemours, the state of North Carolina and Cape Fear River Watch entered into a consent order requiring the chemical manufacturer to reduce its chemical emissions and clean up its manufacturing facility outside Fayetteville.  As part of the agreement, Chemours agreed to pay a $12 million fine to the state and make a $100 million investment in its operation to reduce PFAS emissions. The consent order also mandated Chemours help those around the Fayetteville Works site by installing filters in their homes if their drinking water wells were contaminated.
Chemours admits to polluting Cape Fear River since 1980s
In a public meeting with local and state officials, Chemours said it had been dumping unregulated chemicals into the Cape Fear River since as early as 1980. Despite the admission, Chemours didn’t commit to ceasing its chemical discharges into the public waterway. Chemours officials believed GenX ended up in the Cape Fear River as a result of a vinyl ether process that takes place on the massive industrial site.
StarNews breaks story on PFAS contamination
In June 2017, a StarNews investigation revealed that a chemical known commercially as GenX had been identified in the drinking water system of Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, which provides drinking water to approximately 200,000 people.  The discovery of the PFAS compound, which at the time CFPUA couldn’t filter out, came after years of researchers finding the toxins in the Cape Fear River flowing down from the Fayetteville Works plant approximately 100 miles upstream from Wilmington.  At the time, scientists had only tested CFPUA for the compound, but expected the contamination zone to spread as more areas were tested.
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    Homeowners Insurance
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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.
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  • To see a table of proposed homeowners’ rate increases go to: click here
  • Territory 120 / Beach areas in Brunswick County / NCRB proposed increase 25%

Commissioner Causey postpones homeowners’ insurance rate hearing
The hearing scheduled for the insurance industry’s proposed statewide average 24.5% homeowners’ insurance rate increase has been extended six weeks from Sept. 20 to Nov.1. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says he needs the additional time to review the documents filed by the North Carolina Rate Bureau. “There is a pervasive lack of documentation, explanation and justification of both the data used, as well as the procedures and methodologies used in the filing,” Commissioner Causey said. “The proposed rates appear to be excessive and unfairly discriminatory, and I want more time to study the data to ensure our consumers are treated fairly. ”The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the Second Floor Hearing Room in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. The hearing will be held unless the N.C. Department of Insurance and the N.C. Rate Bureau are able to negotiate a settlement before that date. The Department of Insurance and the NCRB can settle the proposed rate increase at any time during litigation. The NCRB, which is not a part of the N.C. Department of Insurance, represents insurers that write the state’s homeowners policies. The NCRB also represents automobile and workers’ compensation insurance companies. The NCRB filed the average 24.5% homeowners increase Nov. 9, 2020. The filing covers insurance for residential property, tenants, and condominiums at varying rates around the state. The last NCRB home-owners rate filing was in 2018 that resulted in a settlement of 4%, which took effect May 1, 2020.
Beacon



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    Hurricane Season

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NOAA updates its hurricane season outlook
The tropical Atlantic has been quiet for the past few weeks, but don’t expect that to last, according to forecasters. NOAA issued a mid-season update for the Atlantic on Wednesday and said forecasters are still expecting another above-average season when it comes to the number of named storms. The updated outlook suggests there could be 15-21 named storms, seven to 10 hurricane and three to five major hurricanes, which are Category 3 or stronger storms. That’s a slight uptick from its May outlook, which had 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes. An average season, according to NOAA, has 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. According to NOAA there is a 65 percent chance of an above-average season, a 25 percent chance for an average season and a 10 percent chance of a below-average season. So far this season there have been five named storms. One of those, Elsa, briefly became a Category 1 hurricane. Elsa also made history as the earliest fifth named storm on record. Three of the five storms (Claudette, Danny, and Elsa) made landfall in the U.S. One of the reasons forecasters think it will be another busy year is the possible return of La Nina in the fall. La Nina typically translates into above-average activity in the Atlantic. NOAA issued a La Nina watch last month and said there is a greater than 50 percent chance it will materialize later this fall. Other indicators of what could be a busy season are warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic (though not as warm as during last year’s record-breaking season), reduced wind shear (which can tear storms apart) and a more active monsoon season in west Africa, which can send more disturbances spinning into the eastern Atlantic that can eventually intensify into tropical storms. The hurricne forecast shows how busy forecasters think the season can be, but what it can’t do is predict if or where storms will make landfall. “The seasonal outlook from NOAA is not a landfall forecast as landfalls are typically only predictable within about a week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline,” NOAA said. Forecasters continued to warn those along the coast that it only takes one storm to make it a devastating season for them and to make sure they have all their preparations in place. The Atlantic is showing indications things could get busier soon. The National Hurricane Center on Wednesday was tracking three tropical waves, two of which have low chances of becoming tropical depressions. None of those systems is an immediate threat to the U.S. The Atlantic hurricane season runs until Nov. 30.
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Atlantic hurricane season is about to ramp up dramatically, as NOAA boosts forecast
The Atlantic has been quiet lately. That’s about to change. NOAA is calling for 15 to 21 named storms this season.
After a record start to Atlantic hurricane season in May and June, tropical storminess shut down in mid-July. But signs point to a dramatic ramp-up in activity in the next two weeks, with a number of named storms likely to develop in August and an increasing potential for U.S. impacts. Already, meteorologists are monitoring three tropical waves over the Atlantic that are exhibiting some low-end potential for development. But they may just mark the start of what looks to be a jam-packed peak season ahead. On Wednesday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their latest hurricane outlook calling for even greater odds of an above-average season, which runs through November. That would make 2021 the sixth consecutive year to feature above-average tropical storm activity. “NOAA’s updated outlook … indicates an above average season is likely,” said Matthew Rosencrans, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a news conference Wednesday. “The number of named storms is likely to be 15 to 21, [which includes] seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes.” That’s an increase from its May prediction for 13 to 20 named storms and six to 10 hurricanes; its forecast for the number of major hurricanes was unchanged. In recent weeks, the Atlantic has been virtually silent, without any named systems present anywhere in the ocean basin since the dissipation of Elsa on July 9. Elsa brought heavy rain and tornadoes to parts of the East Coast. “Given an increase in predicted number of named storms and hurricanes, there is now a 65 percent chance of an above-average season … and only a 10 percent chance of a below-average season,” Rosencrans said. Driving the predictions are a number of factors that take into consideration large-scale features of both the atmosphere and ocean. In the short term, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring three disturbances that it says has low chances, 30 percent or less, to develop. The three systems point to the awakening of the Atlantic’s MDR, or Main Development Region. This imaginary box stretches through roughly the eastern two-thirds of the tropical North Atlantic several degrees north of the equator and encompasses the more classic formation locations for tropical systems that compose the bulk of long-track, long-lived Atlantic hurricanes. At present, hurricanes are hard to come by because of widespread sinking air over the Atlantic. That has suppressed upward motion and inhibited updrafts, preventing the type of clustered thunderstorm activity that occasionally self-aggregates into a fledgling storm. Moreover, intrusions of the SAL, or Saharan Air Layer, draped a layer of hot, dry air over much of the eastern Atlantic, capping the vertical development of thunderstorms in the MDR. That all looks to change in the coming weeks thanks to the combined effects of several large-scale overturning circulations that will bring lift, or foster rising air, over the Atlantic. The Madden-Julian Oscillation, or MJO, can be envisioned as a large wave that sweeps around the global tropics every 30 to 60 days. Air rises on the leading edge of the waves, which is characterized by a packet of unsettled weather and widespread thunderstorm activity, while sinking air on the back side marks the “suppressed phase” of the wave. Similar, albeit smaller, features known as “convectively coupled Kelvin waves” will periodically overlap with the MJO to bring occasional enhancements or temporary lulls in the season. It’s ordinarily possible to predict these sub seasonal upticks about a month in advance before a swarm of storms brew. All indications are that beginning around Aug. 10 to 14, the Atlantic will awaken. Later in the month, the tropics could become quite busy as rising motion really takes hold of the Atlantic Basin. It’s a time of year when hurricane activity generally ramps up anyway, so there’s every reason to believe that the latter two weeks of August and the start of September will be busy. Moreover, the Atlantic has warmed significantly in the past couple of weeks. Previously, waters off the Gulf of Mexico coastline were running about a degree or two below average. Now the entire gulf is a degree or two above average. That bolsters the odds of tropical cyclones, which feed off warm water, rapidly intensifying assuming they enter the gulf. Ocean waters over the open Atlantic have also experienced a warming trend across the tropical belt, save for immediately surrounding the Cabo Verde islands. Rosencrans did note that sea surface temperatures, while anomalously warm, are not as hot as in 2020, meaning the season, though anticipated to be active, is not expected to rival the hyperactivity of 2020. In addition, some semblance of a La Niña pattern — the opposite of the more well-known El Niño — could begin to develop as we head deeper into the autumn. That would mean cooler waters over the east equatorial Pacific, fostering sinking there. That would trigger an opposite reaction over the Atlantic, reinforcing rising motion and, in turn, favoring hurricanes. (That can also sometimes weaken high altitude winds over the Atlantic, making it easier for storms to form.) If La Niña does develop, it could extend the end of hurricane season later, potentially keeping activity going into November. Upper-level steering currents could be more supportive of hurricanes affecting the East Coast this year, too, thanks to a swath of blocking high pressure that may become established over the Canadian Maritimes later in August and into September. It’s important to remember that, even though forecasts like this are generally reliable across the entire Atlantic, hurricane season’s impacts are manifest on an individual storm level. In other words, it only takes one storm. Hurricane Andrew formed in 1992, and put an end to what, until that point, had been a cakewalk of an early season. The Category 5 storm leveled entire communities in south Florida. Preparing ahead of time, rather than scrambling when a storm develops and warnings are issued, is the best way to make sure you’re ready for whatever this hurricane season holds.
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Lockwood Folly Inlet
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Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
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Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches danger point
Brunswick County, Oak Island and Holden Beach have made significant financial commitments in their draft 2022 budgets for maintenance dredging of the badly shoaled Lockwood Folly Inlet. The hope is that other regulatory agencies will solve the immediate issue and regularly schedule the work to avoid potentially hazardous situations like the one on the water today. “We’re in an emergency” said Cane Faircloth, president of the Lockwood Folly Association. Faircloth, a charter captain, said he could not safely transit the inlet in his boat that draws three feet of water. Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an “urgent bulletin” to mariners, warning the inlet was as shallow as two feet at mean low tide. The Coast Guard also removed remaining navigational buoys, stating that they no longer offered realistic assistance to boaters. Brennan Dooley of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Brunswick Shoreline Protection group last Wednesday that the situation “does not look very good,” with the throat of the inlet badly shoaled, according to a survey last week. “It’s a tough situation as you all know,” he said. “We don’t have a definitive plan yet.” The use of a hopper dredge in 2019 opened the channel and added sand to Oak Island’s west beach. Hopper dredges have claws that reach downward to scoop the sand. They cannot operate in extremely shallow waters, even if a dredge is available. The Corps relies on the Merritt, a sidecast dredge that works more like a lawn mower, pulling sand through a pipe and blasting the sand/water mix to the side. This clears the channel but does not move sediments out of the dynamic inlet system that can quickly shoal. Faircloth said his fear was that if shoaling continued unabated, the Corps may not be able to employ the sidecast dredge Merritt to clear even a marginal channel. Commercial anglers, crabbers, shrimp boats, charter fishermen and recreational boaters all depend on the Lockwood Folly inlet for ready access to the ocean and Long Bay. Dooley said it would be at least 30 days before he expected the Merritt to be here. Members of the group, an intergovernmental ad hoc committee, asked the Corps for an estimate on the costs for annual dredging, which can happen once or twice a year, depending on conditions, budgets and the availability of dredges. Dooley said it would be 2022 before any hopper dredge would be available for Lockwood Folly, which spans the gap between Holden Beach and Oak Island. Dooley said the next available sand from Lockwood Folly, including an inlet widening project, would go to Holden Beach. Masons Creek, Brown Inlet and Snows Cut will also see dredging. The state’s Shallow Draft Inlet Fund picks up most of the costs. Brunswick County will pay half of the “local share.” Oak Island and Holden Beach will split the remaining 25-percent each of the local match, according to Meagan Kaescak, county spokeswoman. Holden Beach has committed $383,000; Brunswick County will contribute $200,000 and Oak Island’s share is $100,000. If the three local government units agree to their draft budgets, “the county will take the lead … in the funding process,” Kaescak stated.
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‘People are going to die’: Lockwood Folly Inlet dangerously shallow
As summer approaches, the Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ latest survey of the inlet reveals the inlet is severely shoaled, meaning it’s very shallow. According to a bulletin from the Coast Guard, the waters are less than two feet deep at low tide. Lockwood Inlet Association President Captain Cane Faircloth says the inlet is in peril and if something is not done soon visitors who use the inlet may be in danger as well. “People are going to be in the inlet in rougher conditions in their boats who are not from the area, not familiar with this area, and they’re going to get in trouble,” Faircloth said. “Boats are going to capsize, and people are going to die.” The captain draws an analogy to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to explain the inlet’s condition. “You can imagine if you tried to go across the bridge and there was half a lane and some cars were just falling off into the water,” Faircloth said. “That’s where we’re at with this infrastructure right now.” It’s not just an environmental concern, but public safety and economic one. Faircloth says not only are boaters at risk of grounding, but people getting caught in rip currents at Oak Island and Holden Beach who depend on water rescue teams who use the inlet and not lifeguards to keep swimmers safe, fishermen, and more all depend on the inlet. “In Tubbs Inlet, the oysters and the clams are starting to die because the inlet does not flow well. It’s really clogged up and lost probably forever,” Faircloth said. “We do not want to see Lockwood go the same route. If we let that inlet close up, the Lockwood Folly River is not going to flow correctly, and all the oysters, clams, and fish are going to start dying.” So what is the solution? Faircloth says the inlet needs another dredging project immediately. Ideally with a hopper dredge vessel. The last time a hopper was used, Faircloth says the channel lasted a year. Although, the only hopper available has prior commitments right now. The Corps of Engineers is working to complete a new survey of the inlet before beginning a new dredge project using the Merritt, a side caster dredge vessel. “It does an okay job, but ideally the hopper dredge is the one that can go in there really remove the sand and create a good long-lasting channel,” Faircloth said. The USACE survey could be completed as early as Thursday. If USACE does not need additional funds from Brunswick County to begin a new project, a spokesman says they will be able to start very soon. If they do need more funding, it could be weeks before they are able to start. Meagan Kascsak, a spokeswoman for Brunswick County, shared the following statement concerning funding for the project. “Brunswick County’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2022 contains another appropriation to the Shoreline Reserve of $200,000, which is the same amount the County appropriated to the reserve the past few years. The reserve has a positive balance at this time and will have enough funds available to support the County’s portion (50% of local match) of an annual project with USACE for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Navigation Channel. It is our understanding that the Towns of Oak Island and Holden Beach also plan to recommend their respective portions (25% each of local match) of such a project for FY22. If all three budget plans are approved as recommended, the County will take the lead with USACE and the NCDEQ Division of Water Resources in the funding process.”
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Follow up: Lockwood Folly Inlet still dangerously shallow
Lockwood Folly Inlet is reaching the danger zone with alarmingly shallow waters. The depth is still decreasing, and the danger is increasing. According to Oak Island Water Rescue a boat capsized in the inlet last weekend. No injuries were reported. Oak Island Water Rescue is advising boaters against using the inlet; especially during low tide. Some areas of the inlet are only two feet deep.

It’s gut wrenching,’
Lockwood Folly Inlet reaches critical level as dredging project sees delays
Lockwood Folly Inlet has a history of filling up with sand and creating a dangerous situation for people on the water, but leaders say they’ve never seen it this bad before. The inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach has already seen one boat flip this week. While no one was hurt in the crash, Captain Cane Faircloth, the president of the Lockwood Inlet Association, says it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. “It’s gut wrenching to watch people come in and out of it, especially when there’s a swell to watch boats get hung up, you’re just waiting for that moment for the next one to capsize,” said Faircloth. The $600,000 project is already paid for by the Shallow Draft Inlet Fund, the town of Holden Beach, the town of Oak Island, and Brunswick County. The issue is the US Army Corps of Engineers says it’s going to be July before they can get a dredge out there. During the pandemic, dredging ceased, and crews haven’t been able to keep up with the workload since then, explained Faircloth. ”We were hoping there would be a cycle in March, and from March, it got pushed to April. And from April, got pushed to May. In May, we were told in 30 days the dredge should be here,” explained Faircloth. “We’re failing as a state to protect the tourism and the tourists that come to the beach and protecting their lives by giving water rescue a chance to save them.” The inlet is just 1-2 feet deep at low tide, a level so dangerous the Coast Guard removed its navigation buoys and deemed the inlet unsafe. Oak Island Water Rescue Chief Tony Young says they know people are still using the inlet and he’s concerned about safely accessing the area to save someone in trouble. “We would hate to have someone be hurt and waiting for us to get to them and we can’t get there because there’s no safe way for us to approach them,” said Tony Young. “Somebody goes through there at a high speed, and there’s only a foot and a half of water and the motor hits the bottom, that stops the boat. It can go aground or strand them on the sandbar and turn sideways into the waves, and then they roll over — and now there’s a potential for people under a boat or separate from the boat in the breakers. There’s all kinds of bad things that happen in that situation — none of it’s good for the boaters or for the rescuers.” It’s an area that’s historically troublesome, but experts say they’ve never seen it this bad, and they’re pleading with leaders to keep Lockwood Folly Inlet at the top of the priority list to avoid a tragedy. Faircloth is asking people to write to congressional leaders to bring more attention to the issue. ”We’re at the point that we’re going to start losing lives. Is it gonna take a family of six dying out there this weekend to maybe get them to pay attention? Let’s save a life, let’s do what’s right,” added Faircloth. Both organizations and the Coast Guard are warning people to avoid the inlet until the work is complete.
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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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Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South


Seafood Barn in Holden Beach closes after more than forty (40) years in business. The restaurant will not reopen for the 2021 season, as the owners prepare for retirement. When the unmistakable barn on Holden Beach road opens for the 2021 season, it’ll have a new name and new management.

Dining Guide – Local
Old places, New faces
Name: Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen
Location: 3219 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
The Seafood Barn has permanently closed. Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen is a family-style southern food and southern hospitality restaurant that recently opened at this location.

Look for Southern hospitality, family-style food, at new BC restaurant
The newly opened Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen at 3219 Holden Beach Road S.W. in Holden Beach wanted to offer the beach community a different kind of restaurant experience. “There are lots of good seafood places,” said manager Jamie Gunsallus. “But not many where you can get great Southern food, and Southern hospitality.” Diners have the choice of getting that hospitality, and food, family style. A highlight of the menu is an option to get a full chicken dinner for a group. It includes a choice of a large serving platter of Ethel’s Classic Fried Chicken, Macie’s Spicy Fried Chicken or Pa’s Herb Roasted Chicken, accompanied by 20-ounce servings of sides – you choose four of the eight on the menu. “And if you want a second helping, you just let us know,” she said. The meal also includes fresh biscuits made in house, and a scoop of ice cream for the kids at the table.
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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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SERPENTINE
by Jonathan Kellerman
This is the thirty-sixth entry in the mystery series featuring Alex Delaware. The basics at the core of  each Delaware novel is the relationship between LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware a forensic and child psychologist.

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Milo doesn’t call Alex in for input unless cases are different, but this case warrants an immediate call. The duo is asked to solve a thirty-six-year-old cold case. The case is a likely loser: No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. As the investigation unfolds and numerous related murders crop up, this case quickly becomes a lot more complex and dangerous to all those involved.


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