11 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / November Edition

Calendar of 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 –

Turkey Trot
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, November 25th at 8 a.m. Registration is required by calling (910) 842-6488. Please bring a canned food item to donate to a local food bank.

Tree Lighting
The Town of Holden Beach will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 3, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Sandy Paws Dog Parade
Join us on Saturday, December 11th at 10:00 a.m. outside the Town Hall Public Assembly for our annual Sandy Paws Dog Parade. This will be a short walk to the Pavilion where you can have you dog’s picture taken with Santa. Registration is required by December 6th at 5:00 p.m.

The Chapel Choir’s Excellent Adventure
The Holden Beach Choir is preparing for its first Christmas concert with a live orchestra. On Sunday December 12th at 7:00 PM, the choir will present the musical, All Is Calm, All Is Bright accompanied by a Chamber Orchestra composed of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. It is going to be a beautiful evening of Christmas music you will not want to miss. Mark your calendars now for this very special Christmas concert. It will be the highlight of your holiday season.

Run Holden Beach
The eighth annual Run Holden Beach event is scheduled on Saturday, January 29th.

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

Reminders –

Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule

GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week. Trash collection goes back to Tuesdays only.


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

Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week

Yard debris is collected on the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Fridays during the months of October, November, and December. Yard debris needs to be secured in a biodegradable bag or bundled in a maximum length not to exceed five (5) feet and fifty (50) pounds in weight. Each residence is allowed a total of ten (10) items, which can include a combination of bundles of brush and limbs meeting the required length and weight and/ or biodegradable bags. No pick-ups will be made on vacant lots or construction sites.

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

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


(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).

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.


(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, December 21st

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

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

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.

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

Neighborhood Watch –

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

Upon Further Review –

National Flood Insurance Rates: the Tide Is Changing
Flood Insurance Presentation » click here

Corrections & Amplifications –

Abandoned trawlers removal underway in Holden Beach
Two abandoned commercial shrimping trawlers submerged in the Intracoastal Waterway in Holden Beach are in the process of being removed this week, an effort to clean up harmful marine debris. Brunswick County and North Carolina Coastal Federation, which publishes Coastal Review, teamed up to remove the two abandoned and derelict vessels, the 65-foot-long Miss Evans and the Capt. Jeff. Both trawlers are beyond repair or salvage. The owners have granted permission for the trawlers to be removed and properly disposed of. The federation is organizing the removal with contractor, Mainstream Commercial Divers with offices in Charleston, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Mainstream’s team will coordinate the environmental protection aspect of the removal through the use of debris and oil booms, removal of all hazardous materials from the vessels and onsite monitoring. A land-based crane will remove and dismantle the trawlers. The debris will be placed into dumpsters and taken to the landfill for disposal. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved a landfill fee waiver for the disposal of these two derelict vessels during their Nov. 15 regular meeting. The estimated landfill disposal fees of $8,000 to $10,000 can now be used to remove more vessels.
The site of the removal operations and waters surrounding the trawlers are closed to the public during the removal operations. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program Emergency Hurricane Funding supported the project through the federation. The removals currently underway close out a yearlong effort to remove abandoned and derelict vessels and large-scale hurricane marine debris from Brunswick County, the federation said. The state first granted Brunswick County the authority to address abandoned vessels in 2013. The county adopted an ordinance in 2017 to manage abandoned and derelict vessels. The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office marine patrol monitors boats that are discovered at anchor to avoid further abandonment.
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Sunken shrimp trawlers to be removed from ICW
Brunswick County and the North Carolina Coastal Federation (NCCF) are working together to remove two sunken commercial shrimping trawlers from the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in Holden Beach. According to a news release from the federation, the 65 long Miss Evans and Capt. Jeff are no longer in service and are beyond repair or salvage. The owners of the vessels have granted the county and the federation permission to remove the trawlers and dispose of them properly. “The two trawlers and their symbolism of coastal history and culture will be missed, and the generations of men and women who worked on them are saddened at the loss,” the federation stated in a news release. “However, the removal will reduce and clean up harmful debris in the surrounding waters and habitats, and it will aid the owners and their families.” The removal operations will be conducted by Mainstream Commercial Divers. “Mainstream’s team will coordinate the environmental protection aspect of the removal through the use of debris and oil booms; removal of all hazardous materials from the vessels; and on-site monitoring,” the news release states. “A land-based crane will remove and dismantle the trawlers. The debris will be placed into dumpsters and taken to the landfill for disposal.” During its meeting Monday, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved a landfill waiver for the disposal of the two vessels. The estimated landfill disposal fees of $8,000-$10,000 will be able to be utilized to remove additional vessels, officials say. “The site of the removal operations and waters surrounding the trawlers will be closed to entry to the public,” according to the news release. “The removal operations are funded through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/NOAA Marine Debris Program Emergency Hurricane Funding to the federation.”
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Odds & Ends –

NC Answers: Why is there no happy hour in North Carolina?
Happy hours did have a heyday in Tar Heel State. Just not anymore.

Question: Why can’t North Carolina restaurants host happy hours?

Short Answer: Concerns over drunk driving led North Carolina to ban limited drink specials in the 1980s, and the state is now one of only eight to prohibit happy hours. Though some would surely like to grab a discounted beer (or beers) at certain times of the day, representatives of the state’s food and beverage industry say getting back happy hour isn’t currently a top priority.

Longer Answer: Alcoholic drinks can’t be sold at free or reduced prices in North Carolina for limited hours. A bar can sell drinks at a discounted rate for an entire day, but not less. Businesses also can’t offer discounts for only certain customers (so no ladies’ nights, college nights, annoyed journalists’ nights, etc.). Happy hours did have a heyday in the Tar Heel State, albeit a brief one. The concept gained popularity in the late 1970s once North Carolina began allowing bars and restaurants to serve individual liquor drinks. Newspapers wrote about the new drink deal trend with quotes: “happy hours”. However in 1985, a year after the National Minimum Drinking Age Act raised the drinking age to 21, North Carolina legislators were vocally opposing the practice. “We’re glamorizing and promoting it as if it’s lemonade,” Rep. Coy Privette (R-Cabarrus) said at the time. Privette was a Baptist pastor, Christian activist and a teetotaler (he’d later be charged with multiple counts of aiding and abetting prostitution, but that’s another matter). He believed happy hours contributed to drunk driving, a worry shared by many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. “I think happy hours encourage consumption at the wrong times, when people are tired and are on their way home,” said Rep. Martin Lancaster, a Democrat who would later serve in Congress and the Clinton Administration. Lancaster introduced a bill to eliminate limited drink specials. But before the General Assembly could pass a bill, the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission beat them to it: putting a happy hour ban into effect in August 1985. The ABC Commission is a state agency that controls how all alcoholic beverages in North Carolina are made, transported and sold.  Today, North Carolina is one of eight states without happy hours. The others — Massachusetts, Indiana, Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Oklahoma — are geographically and politically diverse. As for whether happy hours will make a resurgence, the topic is down on the list of changes business owners have wanted to see, said Lynn Minges, president of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA) “There have been so many other more pressing issues that have demanded our attention and we’ve chosen to focus on those,” she said. A few years ago, the NCRLA successfully lobbied for a brunch bill that allowed alcohol to be sold on Sundays as early as 10 a.m. Alcohol sales had previously been prohibited before noon on Sundays. More recently, the association has pushed to create more social districts, extend alcohol service in outdoor dining settings, and allow restaurants to order liquor from ABC stores online. North Carolina is also currently facing a widespread liquor shortage, a problem that prompted the head of the ABC Commission to resign earlier this year. So, happy hours may not be top-of-mind at the moment. Some restaurant owners, Minges pointed out, may like not feeling the competitive pressures to offer limited drink specials. “Given the situation they’ve all struggled through during COVID, (happy hour) is probably not something that they are eager to do right now,” she said. Austin Jordan, general manager at the Jack of the Wood pub in Asheville, said the lack of happy hours hasn’t hampered sales. He offered afternoon specials when working at a bar in Virginia and noted these discounts did draw in the after-work crowd. But he said his current bar gets by just fine doing select drink specials — dollar off bourbons, $7 Moscow Mules — that (by law) run all day.
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This and That –

‘A long-term dream:’ Ocean Isle Beach poised to begin construction on terminal groin after lobbying, lengthy legal battles
Leaders in Ocean Isle Beach have been working for years to preserve the coastline and stave of beach erosion at the end of the island. The journey appears to be coming to a close after nearly 20 years of legislative work and lawsuits. Crews will begin work on their terminal groin project as soon as the environmental window opens up November 16. The groin essentially traps the sand to better secure the beachfront. Some sand will still be able to wash around the groin, but the structure aims to be a long-term solution to the erosion that’s tormented the east end of the island for ages. Storms and the advancing shoreline have been taking back homes and roads and disrupting utility lines for some time now. Nothing remains of the home Mayor Debbie Smith built on Third Street back in the 1980′s. Feet away from what
s left of the road sits massive piles of sandbags. Third Street is now oceanfront, and First and Second Street are no more. When the house was first built, there were two to three rows of homes in front, until the ocean began to inundate the properties. Smith sold the home decades before a storm ultimately knocked it off the sandbags supporting the structure but kept watch as it was reduced to debris and cleared away piece by piece. “It’s pretty shocking. It’s actually kind of a tourist attraction. When I bring my family over, I show them. I’m worried it might affect my house someday,” said island resident Colin Blair. A remedy isn’t far away though — US Army Corps of Engineers beach renourishment and the terminal groin construction beginning in a matter of weeks. “The terminal groin the town is working on, it hopefully is a long-term solution. It will stabilize the end of the island and the sand we pump as part of this job will stay there longer,” said USACE Project engineer Brennan Dooley. “It’s a great partnership.” The entire product is expected to cost $11 million, which the town is paying for with accommodations tax money it has saved over the years. The mayor says they’ve been able to save the money slowly over the years because the process to bring the groin to fruition has taken so long. The town had to first change the law to allow the groin. After the new law passed, it secured the necessary permits from USACE, CAMA and wildlife, and then was hit by a lawsuit the week it planned to open construction bids. Ultimately, the town won the lawsuit that aimed to take the project permits, but the ruling was appealed twice and went to both the state and federal court. Mayor Debbie Smith, though says the town’s elected leaders never stopped pushing. “These property owners — this town — deserve to try and help themselves, to save infrastructure, to save our water lines, our sewer lines. We’ve moved two to three manholes after storms — that shouldn’t happen,” said Smith. “It’s the beginning of a long-term dream so I’m very optimistic that it’s going to make a positive impact on the last mile or better of Ocean Isle Beach.”
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Ocean Isle Beach terminal groin, sand projects set to begin
Two major beachfront projects to mitigate erosion and beef up the east end of Ocean Isle Beach’s shore are expected to be underway next month. Once the environmental window for dredging and beach nourishment activities opens Nov. 16, contractors are set to begin building a terminal groin, a wall-like structure built perpendicular to shore. At the same time, a joint federal project will kick off to beef up the east end of the town’s ocean shoreline. “We do hope to see activity on the beach the middle of November,” said Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith. Though the two projects were initiated separately, the timing is such that they will be done together. Ocean Isle Beach had the necessary federal and state permits by February 2017 to build a 1,050-foot terminal groin, 300 feet of which will be a sheet-pile, shore-anchorage section. In August that year, the National Audubon Society filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the project. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed last March a lower court’s decision that the Corps fairly considered the alternatives included in an environmental impact statement examining the project. About two months prior to that ruling, Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program. That approval included funding for a Coastal Storm Risk Management, or CSRM, project. Federal funds cover 65% of the project costs, with the town and state matching the remaining 35%.
According to information on the town’s website, Ocean Isle Beach submitted the 35% share of $3,045,000 to the Corps and requested the state reimburse half of that amount. Last month, the Corps awarded a $6,675,000 contract to Norfolk Dredging Co. to dredge from a borrow area within Shallotte Inlet and place the dredged material at the far-east end of the island. An estimated 700,000 cubic yards of sand is anticipated to be placed on about 1.5 miles of the easternmost beachfront, according to Dave Connolly, public affairs chief of the Corps’ Wilmington district. Ocean Isle’s ocean shoreline is about 5.5 miles long. “The work will be completed simultaneously, and it is likely the town’s contractor for the groin will start work on the groin and our contractor will start and pump sand behind the groin and fill out the template,” Connolly said in an email response to Coastal Review. “This portion of work behind the groin is a contract option fully funded by the town – we are doing this work for them through an Additional Work Memorandum of Agreement.” The cost to the town, per that agreement, is an estimated $2.45 million and does not include the cost of constructing the terminal groin, according to information provided on the town’s website. Of the two bids the town received in September to build the terminal groin, Coastal Design and Construction Inc. of Virginia submitted the lowest at about $11.4 million. Coastal Protection Engineering, the Wilmington firm the town hired to oversee the project, recommended Ocean Isle award the contract to the low bidder contingent upon the town receiving a North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, major permit modification. The state has granted the permit modification extending the deadline of the completion of the terminal groin from March 31 to April 30, 2022. Smith said the request for an extension was made in the event of possible weather-related or equipment-related issues that could push back work on the terminal groin. “Hopefully with everybody out there it will move quickly,” she said. A news release earlier this month from the Wilmington District described how, by the end of the project, “the east end of the island will look drastically different and provide added benefits toward recreation, erosion protection and a potential habitat for sea turtles and nesting birds.” Smith said that opting to have the Corps build up the beach behind the terminal groin cuts down on costs. “It will save the town money on the terminal groin project because it will save some on the mobilization cost of the dredge,” she said. Smith said she did not know the specific cost savings, adding, “It’s substantial money.” The terminal groin is designed to reduce the erosion that has for years eaten away at the east end of the island, where a wall of sandbags 15 feet tall and some 1,500 feet long barricades the ocean from private properties, roads and public utilities. “Our engineer and modeling reports do say that the terminal groin should extend the life of the (CSRM) project,” Smith said. “How many years we don’t know for sure.” Dredging for the Coastal Storm Risk Management project is expected to end March 31, 2022.
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –

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

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

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

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

Officials say the most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and midnight, accounting for about 45% of the overall total. With the end of daylight savings time at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, the time shift increases the chance of deer being by roadways when drivers are traveling in the dark, especially for their evening commute. If your vehicle does strike a deer, officials say do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can be dangerous or further injure itself. Get your vehicle off the road if possible and call 911.
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AAA: Oh deer! They’re on the move
Tips to avoid deer collisions and costly repairs
With deer mating season under way, AAA Carolinas is urging motorists to be cautious and extra vigilant on the roads to help avoid collisions, as October through December are considered to be the worst months of the year for vehicle collisions with animals. “This is the time of the year when deer are extremely active and the chances of  them darting into the roadway are much higher,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “We urge drivers to stay alert especially in animal-prone areas because a collision with a deer can be just as destructive as a collision with another vehicle.” According to the North Carolina Department of  Transportation, there was an increase of more than 2,300 animal-vehicle crashes in 2019, with the overall ­figure reaching 20,331 crashes, of which 90 percent are assumed to be deer. The months of October through December account for 51 percent of those crashes. In the most recent data provided by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, South Carolina reported 3,086 collisions with animals in 2019 (no pertinent stats for 2020 due to pandemic and less motorists on the roads). According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, from 2010 to 2019, almost 2,000 people were killed in animal-related crashes. Colliding with a deer is not only dangerous, it’s also increasingly expensive even in a minor crash,” Wright said. “New technology like cameras and windshield sensors drive up the cost of repairs, which makes it more imperative to double-check your insurance coverage.” The average claim for hitting a deer in the Carolinas is $4,300. To avoid out-of-pocket expense, AAA recommends purchasing an auto policy including comprehensive coverage, which covers collisions with deer or other animals.
Tips when on the road
AAA encourages motorists to keep these tips in mind when on the road:
Most deer are active between 5 and 8 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m., so pay extra attention during this time if  you’re out on the road. If you see a deer, slow down and watch out for other deer that may follow. While slowing down, honk your horn to scare the animal. Brake ­firmly and do not swerve.
In the event of a collision
If possible, immediately move the vehicle to a safe location, out of the roadway. Your safety and the safety of your passengers are most important. Once you are in a safe location and no longer driving, call the police. Turn the vehicle’s hazard lights on. Avoid making contact with the deer/animal. A frightened or wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself. Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your vehicle. Take photos of the damage if you can do so safely and without entering the roadway. To report an injured deer in North Carolina, call the state Wildlife Enforcement  Division at (800) 662-7137. To report an injured deer in South Carolina, call the SC Department of Natural Resources of­fice at (803) 734-3886 to locate a rehabilitator near you. When in North Carolina, deer-related crashes should be reported to NCDOT. When in South Carolina, deer-related crashes should be reported to the SC Department of Transportation.

Hot Button Issues

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

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


Flood Insurance Program
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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On September 30, 2021, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to December 3, 2021.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on December 3, 2021

FEMA seeks comment on National Flood Insurance Program
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are calling for feedback on the National Flood Insurance Program. The National Flood Insurance Program provides flood insurance to property owners, renters and businesses as well as works with communities required to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that help mitigate flooding effects, according to FEMA. FEMA is hosting two, 90-minute virtual meetings when the public can comment. The first meeting is 2:30-4 p.m. Thursday. Participants must register in advance on the webpage. The second meeting is from 3:30-5 p.m. Nov. 15. Register in advance online to attend or speak. The meetings will look at the program’s floodplain management standards for land management and use and an assess the program’s impact on threatened and endangered species and their habitats, FEMA officials said. Floodplain management is a community-based effort to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding. Published Oct. 12 in the Federal Register, the notice says FEMA officials want to hear from the public what updates are needed for the program’s minimum floodplain management standards to help communities become safer, stronger and more resilient, according to the agency. The agency also seeks input on minimum floodplain management standards to promote conservation of threatened and endangered species and their habitats, as consistent with the Endangered Species Act. In addition to providing verbal comments at the meetings, written comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal using Docket ID: FEMA-2021-2024. Click on the “Comment” button and complete the form. The comment period closes Dec. 13. 

FEMA officials said that the type of feedback that is most useful to the agency:

    • Identifies opportunities for the agency to improve the minimum floodplain management standards for land management and use.
    • Identifies specific program components that promote conservation of threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
    • Refers to specific barriers to community participation.
    • Aligns the program with the improved understanding of flood risk and flood risk reduction approaches.
    • Identifies better incentives for communities and policyholders, particularly for Endangered Species Act-listed species and critical habitats.
    • Offers actionable data.
    • Specifies viable alternatives to existing approaches that meet statutory obligations.

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National Flood Insurance Rates: the Tide Is Changing
Flood Insurance Presentation
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EPA assessment: GenX more toxic than thought; health effects might include liver, immune system
The Environmental Protection Agency released an assessment Monday showing that GenX, a chemical made at a Bladen County plant, is more toxic than previously believed. The toxicity assessment for hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt, which the EPA calls GenX chemicals, determined a daily ingestion level at which a person is unlikely to face adverse health effects, according to the EPA website. During a similar review in 2018, agency officials set that chronic “reference dose” at a level more than 26 times this year’s assessment. The EPA’s review talked about possible health effects. “Animal studies following oral exposure have shown health effects including on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, development of offspring, and an association with cancer,” it said. “Based on available information across studies of different sexes, life stages, and durations of exposure, the liver appears to be particularly sensitive from oral exposure to GenX chemicals.” EPA officials say the assessment will help public health officials determine the risks associated with GenX. The Chemours company manufactures GenX at its plant in Bladen County. The chemical also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX belongs to a family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The compounds are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. The Chemours company manufactures GenX at its plant in Bladen County. The chemical also is a byproduct of other processes there. GenX belongs to a family of compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The compounds are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily. State officials have been investigating GenX since 2017, when the Wilmington Star-News reported that researchers had discovered the chemical and similar compounds in the Cape Fear River, downstream from the Chemours plant. The company agreed to a consent order that requires it to drastically reduce the amount of GenX it is emitting into the air.
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EPA releases final GenX human health toxicity assessment
The release Monday of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final human health toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals represents a key step in advancing the scientific understanding of these toxins and their effects on human health, officials said Monday. Across the country, including in southeastern North Carolina, GenX chemicals, part of the per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substance, or PFAS, group, have been found in surface water, groundwater, drinking water, rainwater, and the air. The final GenX chemicals toxicity assessment is a step closer to developing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals, which the agency committed to publishing in Spring 2022 as part of the PFAS Roadmap that EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan’s announced the PFAS Roadmap last week. The roadmap details the whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS. During his announcement Oct. 19 he said to expect the release of this final assessment. “Research establishes a foundation for informed decision making and it is one of the central strategies of EPA’s PFAS Roadmap,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox in a statement. “This science-based final assessment marks a critical step in the process of establishing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals and provides important information to our partners that can be used to protect communities where these chemicals are found.” The final assessment for GenX chemicals looks at the potential human health effects associated with oral exposure. The Southern Environmental Law Center represents Cape Fear River Watch in litigation to stop pollution into the Cape Fear River from the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility in North Carolina. News broke of the pollution in June 2017, while Regan was North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality’s secretary. The final human health toxicity assessment for GenX underscores the importance of regulating PFAS as a class of chemicals and the need to stop harmful pollution at its source under existing laws, according to the center. “Today’s toxicity assessment is further confirmation that the more we learn about these chemicals, the more we learn that they must be treated as a class; no community should have to suffer from harmful PFAS as we wait for research to confirm their toxicity,” said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the Clean Water Program at the Southern Environmental Law Center who led litigation against Chemours in North Carolina. “This more stringent GenX toxicity assessment is why it’s so vital to our families and communities that DEQ, and state agencies nationwide, must impose stringent limits on PFAS using existing authority when issuing water permits to polluters.”  The law center’s litigation led to a consent order among Cape Fear River Watch, the state and Chemours to stop at least 99% of PFAS pollution at its source that contaminated the Cape Fear River, according to the release.
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Chemours responsible for New Hanover contamination, NC DEQ says
State officials have determined Chemours is responsible for contaminating New Hanover County’s water supply. The company, which has a plant on the Cape Fear River, also is responsible for contaminating groundwater monitoring wells in New Hanover County and also might be responsible for contaminations in Pender, Columbus and Brunswick counties, according to a statement released Wednesday by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ is requiring Chemours to “assess the extent of contamination in downstream communities to include well sampling and provision of replacement drinking water supplies,” according to the statement. DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser said contamination from Chemours extends to multiple communities down the Cape Fear River. The company’s actions to address the communication must reach those communities, she said. “DEQ will continue to take the necessary steps to provide relief to affected North Carolinians as the science and regulations require,” she said.
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State to force Chemours to test downstream wells for PFAS
The state is requiring Chemours to take more action to address GenX and PFAS contamination into the Cape Fear River from the Fayetteville Works facility, especially that affecting private well owners. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, which includes GenX, are widely used, man-made toxins often called “forever chemicals” that break down very slowly over time and build up in humans, animals and the environment, according to the EPA. Studies show that exposure to some of these chemicals may be linked to harmful health effects. First, Chemours must assess the extent of contamination in communities downstream, to include well sampling and provision of replacement drinking water supplies, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality officials said Wednesday. Second, Chemours is required to review existing well sampling in communities surrounding the Fayetteville Works facility to determine additional eligibility for whole-house filtration and public water, in light of the revised Toxicity Assessment for GenX from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “The contamination from Chemours extends down the Cape Fear River into multiple communities and Chemours’ actions to address that contamination must reach those communities as well,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser in a statement. “DEQ will continue to take the necessary steps to provide relief to affected North Carolinians as the science and regulations require.” Copies of the notifications to Chemours are online. DEQ officials said the department has determined that Chemours is responsible for contamination of groundwater monitoring wells and water supply wells in New Hanover County and possibly Pender, Columbus, and Brunswick counties. “Chemours is required to expand the off-site assessment required under the 2019 Consent Order to determine the extent of the contamination. Chemours must also conduct sampling of private drinking water wells to identify residents who may be eligible for replacement drinking water supplies. Chemours must submit plans to DEQ for approval,” officials said. Regarding the second action, officials said Chemours had been advised that the EPA will be releasing a federal drinking water health advisory level for GenX in the coming months. The 2019 Consent Order requires Chemours to provide replacement permanent drinking water to private wells with “detections of GenX compounds in exceedance of 140 ng/L (nanogram per liter), or any applicable health advisory, whichever is lower.” In advance of a likely EPA health advisory level below 140 nanogram per liter, DEQ is requiring Chemours to review existing well sampling data to identify residents who would be entitled to public water or whole house filtration under a revised health advisory level.  Chemours must revise the assessment of public water feasibility for all affected residents under a lower health advisory level. DEQ is also requiring Chemours to create a plan to transition residents who have previously received reverse osmosis systems based on GenX results to either public water or whole-house filtrations systems as appropriate under a lower GenX health advisory level. “I want to thank DEQ and Secretary Biser for taking these steps to require action from Chemours, so they take responsibility for the PFAS contamination they have caused in our community,” said New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman in a statement.
“It is important for our residents to be provided with the same protections as those who are close to the Chemours plant, and that means testing and monitoring the groundwater wells in our county and providing bottled water and then a permanent filtration or connection to a public water supply if elevated PFAS are detected,” she said. “New Hanover County has advocated to be included in the Consent Order, and today’s actions are a positive step towards that. We will continue to do all we can to support DEQ’s efforts and ensure our residents have access to safe drinking water.” Lisa Randall, regional communications lead for Chemours, provided the following statement on behalf of the company: “Chemours is a part of the solution to addressing PFAS contamination in North Carolina, and we will continue working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), as we have been for several years, to move forward with efforts to address PFAS found in the environment related to our Fayetteville Works manufacturing site. We have worked closely with NCDEQ on implementation of on-site and off-site programs, including a private well sampling program, as part of the consent order agreement between Chemours, Cape Fear River Watch and the state of North Carolina. “We are continuing to review the NCDEQ correspondence we just received and will follow-up with the agency for further clarification of their correspondence.”
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    Homeowners Insurance
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NC DOI Again Postpones Hearing on 25% Homeowners Rate Hike
A hearing set for today on a proposed 24.5% average increase in homeowners’ insurance rates has been postponed until Jan. 3, the North Carolina Department of Insurance announced. The rate increase was recommended by the North Carolina Rate Bureau one year ago and has met with stiff opposition from realtors and homeowner groups since then. The Rate Bureau is not part of the insurance department but represents insurers in the state. Insurers have said that increased wind and hail losses from storms are the main drivers behind the requested increase. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said in a news release that the January hearing will proceed if the department and the rate bureau cannot negotiate a settlement for a lower rate increase. This is the second time the hearing has been postponed. A Sept. 20 meeting was rescheduled for today, Nov. 1. The recommended increase follows one in 2018, in which the bureau asked for a statewide average hike of 17.4%, but later settled for a 4% increase. In April of this year, the bureau had proposed an 18.7% average increase in dwelling insurance, for rental and investment properties, but settled for a 7.6% rise after negotiating with the department. If the two sides do not reach a compromise, the hearing on the latest proposed increase will be Jan. 3 at 10 a.m. in the Albemarle Building, 325 N. Salisbury St., in Raleigh.
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    Hurricane Season

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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling
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Offshore Wind Farms
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Duke to study offshore wind energy’s effects on marine life
The United States Department of Energy has awarded Duke University a $7.5 million grant to research the impact that offshore wind development can have on wildlife and marine life. The grant announced Oct. 13 is part of a larger sustainable energy development award package of $13.5 million by the Energy Department. The department distributed the funds among four different projects, all focused on wildlife and offshore wind. Earlier this year, the Biden administration announced a goal of creating tens of thousands of jobs while deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by the year 2030. Meeting this goal can put the U.S. on a path to achieve 110 gigawatts by 2050. The ultimate intention is to create jobs while also creating opportunities for renewable energy, without endangering ecosystems as they currently exist. To put these plans in motion, more offshore wind construction off the Atlantic coast will be beginning in the next several years. But there is uncertainty as to how offshore wind may affect fish, whales, birds, and other marine life. Duke University’s project, Wildlife and Offshore Wind, or WOW, aims to answer some of these questions. “There’s a fair few number of moving parts, and we’re going to try to figure out how to get those moving parts to move in harmony,” said Dr. Douglas Nowacek, a Repass-Rodgers University Distinguished Professor of Conservation Technology at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort. Nowacek will be leading WOW along with other researchers at Duke University. However, the consortium of researchers involved in the project will span 15 different institutions. One of the first steps, said Nowacek, is to aggregate all the data that already exists in one place. This data comes from academic researchers, government agencies, as well as some of Europe’s experience with offshore wind. They also have letters of commitment from several wind energy developers, stating that they will share wildlife data with WOW. “The next step then is going to be to create some tools, some models, (and) some frameworks to utilize those data,” Nowacek said. The first year of this project will be focused on data aggregation, as well as creating frameworks, synthesis tools and data standards. After assessing what’s already out there, the team can identify gaps in knowledge and potential lines of inquiry. The following years will be spent deploying research efforts to address the questions identified in the first year. Nowacek said that even though coordination across so many contributors is difficult, the collective expertise across institutions is likely the reason that they were selected for the grant in the first place. Formally, WOW has been in the works since January, when Nowacek and others started compiling their grant proposal. However, Nowacek said that the relationship building that goes into an expansive project like this has been in the works for years. Dr. Patrick Halpin, director of Duke’s Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, will take the lead on the data synthesis component of the project. Halpin said the timing of the grant is especially important. As offshore wind is in the early stages of development in the region, beginning WOW work now means that they can do critical initial assessments before construction of turbines begins. This will be key later on, in that the researchers will have pre-construction data to refer to. Having pre- and post-construction data will make it easier to evaluate how offshore wind interacts with marine wildlife. This project could set the stage for long-term, conscientious management of sustainable energy with regard to marine species. “A big portion of this project is really to come up with a common framework for assessment, which will allow us to help develop monitoring protocols (and) help us be able to look at the interactions for many different taxa,” Halpin said, referring to biological groupings of species. “And then doing that at a regional scale so that the lessons learned can be applied across this rapidly developing field right now.” Different wildlife may be affected at different stages of the process, said Halpin. Marine mammals, like the endangered North Atlantic right whale, may be most impacted during the noisy construction stage. Whereas avian interactions or displacement could occur after the turbines are built. “I think people think about it as interactions are going to be one thing — a monolithic kind of issue,” Halpin said. “But really, interactions for different species are going to be very, very different in space and time.” In addition to Duke University, the other partners on WOW include the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Rutgers University, the University of St. Andrews, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Syracuse University, the Pacific Northwest National Lab, TetraTech, Scientific Innovations, the New England Aquarium, Florida State University, the Biodiversity Research Institute, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Southall Environmental Associates, and Cornell University.
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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.
Dinner Club outings have been on hold since March 2020

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South

Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
A shrewd political/legal thriller set within the halls of the U.S. Supreme Court. The novel begins when a Supreme Court Justice falls into a coma, his brilliant law clerk is shocked to discover that her boss has made her his legal guardian and granted her power of attorney.
The young law clerk finds herself embroiled in a shocking conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington. The setup is like a complicated in-progress game of chess. She realizes this complex puzzle will lead her directly into harm’s way in order to find the truth.

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    Lou’s Views . HBPOIN

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