News & Views / June Edition
Calendar of Events –
The patriotic spirit of America is alive and well in the City of Southport. For over 200 years this small maritime community has celebrated our nation’s independence in a big way. Incorporated as the N.C. 4th of July Festival in 1972 the festival committee strives to keep the focus of the festival on honoring our nation’s birthday with a little fun thrown in.
For more information » click here
Battleship Blast 4th of July Celebration
Annual 4th of July Celebration at Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington. Featured entertainment will perform from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, followed by fireworks at 9:05 PM launched from a barge in the Cape Fear River adjacent to the USS North Carolina Battleship. The only place you need to be this holiday is downtown Wilmington for the best view of fireworks.
For more information » click here
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 –
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
Tide Dyed Program
This event is located at the Holden Beach Pavilion. Tie dye your own shirts; the cost is just $7 per shirt. It takes place between 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. every Tuesday during the summer.
(June 14th through August 9th)
Summer Day Camp Program
The Town of Holden Beach will offer half day summer camps on the following dates for youth ages 6-12. Campers must register and pay prior to attendance at the Holden Beach Town Hall. Contact Christy or Emily at (910) 842-6488 for more information. Note: times vary based on activity.
July 14th: Summer Splash Bash
Meet us at the Magic Mountain Fun Park from 9:45-11:45 a.m. for 2 hours of sliding, splashing and fun. Everyone is sure to have a good time as Magic Mountain offers three different slides for those over 4ft tall as well as two smaller slides for those under 4ft tall. Bring your sunscreen and your beach towel and prepare to splash the day away! Cost is $20 for residents and $25 for non-residents. Must register by July 12th and space is limited!
July 28th: Minute to Win It and More
Join us at Town Hall from 9:00 a.m. to noon for Minute to Win It games including cup stacking, marshmallow towers, human ring toss, balloon volleyball and more. The fun doesn’t stop there, following our Minute to Win It competition, campers will have the opportunity to create their own mosaics out of local shells and decorate rocks. Cost is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Must register by July 26th and space is limited!
August 11th: Putt Putt Party
Campers are invited to meet us at Fantasy Isle from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. to enjoy their 18-hole mini golf course. After playing we’ll cool off with some of their delicious ice cream. Bring a water bottle and your sunscreen and prepare for a fun filled putt-putt party! Cost is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Must register by August 9th and space is limited!
Two programs both are held every Wednesday during the summer at Town Hall. Children’s Turtle Time is at 4:00 p.m. with crafts, stories and activities for children ages 3 – 6. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Turtle Talk is an educational program at 7:00 p.m. for everyone else. (Beginning June 29th)
Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here
Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert
Brunswick County has issued a Stage 1 Water Conservation Alert effective immediately. Under a Stage 1 Water Alert, water system customers are requested to make voluntary adjustments to their water usage habits to appreciably reduce peak demands. Irrigation demands represent the bulk of non-essential water use, so a primary way that customers can reduce water usage is to limit irrigation. A unified application of voluntary water reductions by all water system users in Brunswick County can help to avoid mandatory water restrictions.
Water conservation alerts affect all customers of public water systems in the county, including Holden Beach. Full details about this alert can be found on the county’s website at: brunswickcountync.gov/stage-1-water-conservation-alert-6-16-22.
The county will notify residents if any other conservation measures are needed and when conditions dictate that restrictions are no longer required.
Information and any updates can be found at brunswickcountync.gov/utilities.
A copy of the recommended irrigation schedule is below.
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.
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.
. • 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 Saturday before Memorial Day twice a week
after Memorial Day weekly pick-up
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) Eighteenth year of the program
. 2) Food collections have now exceeded 273,000 pounds
. 3) Collections will begin on May 28th and run through September 10th
. 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
Hurricane Vehicle Decals
Property owners will be provided with four (4) decals which will be included in their water bills. 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.
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 around 1307 OBW.
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
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!
GFL Environmental is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $86.37 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 50.08
Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.
* One extra trash can per every 2 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).
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.
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, July 19th
News from Town of Holden Beach –
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 –
- Bike Lane
Property owners along Ocean Boulevard were sent a CAMA notice from the DOT
- Add 7’ asphalt to the south side of existing pavement
- Add 3’ asphalt to the north side of existing pavement
- Recenter the travel lanes
- Create two (2) five (5) foot bike lanes on either side of the road
DOT informed us the cost of the has significantly increased by almost 30%
The good news is that our portion is only an additional $23,000 so far
Bike Lane Letters (04/21/22)
Town staff contacted the Department of Transportation after numerous homeowners reached out to us concerned that they had not received a letter with information on the upcoming bike lane/paving project. We were advised that only those property owners whose property is adjacent to the proposed bike lane construction where that construction intersects the Ocean Erodible Area of Environmental Concern (jurisdiction of NC Division of Coastal Management) have been sent the certified letter/attachments. This is only a small portion of the project area (approximately 150 properties) so don’t be concerned if you did not receive a letter. Those property owners that have received the certified letter/attachments can follow the instructions in the letter if they would like to contact someone about the project.
Previously reported – March 2021
David provided the Board with a memo summarizing the information that he gathered since the last meeting. That memo was not included in the agenda packet. He reviewed the process, timeline, and financing. DOT informed him that if we are interested that we need to stay engaged with them. The public has said that they are in favor of having bike lanes. The project is an improvement worth the expenditure especially if we can get help with the funding through grants. They decided to give the project a green light and have David work to keep moving the project forward.
Previously reported – February 2021
Engineer’s estimate for bike lanes are as follows:
Ocean Boulevard West / 5.00 miles / @$1,208,941
Ocean Boulevard East / 1.15 miles / @$403,972
NCDOT now has adequately funding so the resurfacing program for OBW which is scheduled for the spring of 2022. Bike lanes are being proposed on both sides of the road, which will add five feet on each side. This should be coordinated with resurfacing project that is tentatively scheduled already. Our cost would be $1,612,913 which hopefully at least a portion of would be offset by grants. DOT requested verbal feedback in the next 60 days, indicating whether we want to participate in adding bike lanes to the project.
Corrections & Amplifications –
Hurricane Vehicle Decals
Property owners will be provided with four (4) decals which will be included in their water bills. It is important that you place your decals on your vehicles immediately to avoid misplacing them. 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 an emergency would necessitate restricting access to the island. Decals must be displayed in the 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. Please note that re-entry will NOT be allowed if a current, intact decal is not affixed to the windshield as designated.
EVACUATION, CURFEW & DECALS
What is a State of Emergency?
A proclamation by the Town which enacts special ordinances and/or prohibitions during emergency situations to protect the public, public health and property. These prohibitions can include limitations on movement, curfews, directing of evacuations, controlling ingress and egress to the emergency area, alcoholic beverages, and more. State of Emergencies are issued in accordance with N.C.G.S. 166A-19.22.
What is a curfew?
A curfew is an order, typically during a State of Emergency, which requires all persons in the affected areas to remain on their own property. During a curfew, you are not free to move about public domain areas or on others’ property. Violations of a curfew could lead to arrest in certain situations.
What is a voluntary evacuation?
A voluntary evacuation creates a recommendation for all parties in the affected area to get their affairs in order hastily and evacuated.
What is a mandatory evacuation?
A mandatory evacuation means you must leave the area in which an order has been issued. With recent changes to the laws in North Carolina, you no longer have the option of staying in an area under an order of mandatory evacuation.
Why is the sewer system turned off during a storm/event?
Often the sewer system is turned off during storms which have the potential to create significant flooding on the island. The system is turned off to protect its integrity. If it were left on, it could pose a significant threat to the public health. When the system is manually shut down, it also greatly reduces the time needed to bring it back up after an event which equates to getting residents and guests back on the Island much faster.
Why is there a delay for decal holders to get back on the island once a storm ends?
After a storm, many things must occur before even limited access can be allowed. Some of those things include making sure the streets are passable; the sewer system must be restarted to comply with State laws; the utilities (water, sewer, electricity, propane supplies) must be checked to ensure no safety risk are present; and the post-storm damage assessment team needs to perform an initial assessment.
Where can I get up-to-date information during and after a storm or State of Emergency?
You can sign up for the Town email service by clicking here. The newsletter, along with the Town’s website will be the main sources of information during an emergency situation. Links to the Town’s official Facebook and Twitter pages can be found on the website. You can also download our app for Apple and Android phones by accessing the app store on your smart phone and searching Holden Beach.
Please refrain from calling Town Hall and Police Department phone lines with general information questions. These lines need to remain open for emergencies, storm management and post-storm mitigation. All updates concerning re-entry, general access, etc. may be found on the Town’s website and other media outlets.
Why do I see others moving about the island during a curfew?
If a curfew order is in place, you must stay on your own property. You may see many other vehicles moving about the Island. We often receive assistance from other local, state, federal and contract personnel during events. It is likely these are the personnel you are seeing, and they are involved in the mitigation process for the event. Please do not assume that a curfew order has been lifted and/or you are free to move about the island.
Can I check my friends’ property for them?
If a curfew order is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about the Island to check on others’ property is not allowed. is in place, you may ONLY travel to your personally owned property. Traveling about
Who can obtain decals?
Only property owners and businesses who service the island can obtain a decal.
How do I get decals for my vehicle…?
If I am an owner?
Decals will be mailed out in water bills to property owners before the season starts. Those owners who need additional decals can contact Town Hall. A fee may apply, please check the current fee schedule.
If I am a renter?
You must contact the owner of the property to obtain a decal.
If I am a business owner on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall to obtain a decal.
If I am a business owner off the Island that provides services on the Island?
You must contact Town Hall for eligibility and to obtain a decal.
When does my decal expire?
All decals expire on the last day of the calendar year as indicated on the decal.
Where do I put my decal on my car?
Decals must be displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the windshield, where they are not obstructed by any other items to include window tinting, other decals, etc. Officials must be able to clearly read the decal from outside the vehicle. Please note that re-entry will not be allowed if a current, intact decal is not affixed to the windshield as designated.
How do I replace a decal if I get a new vehicle?
If you trade a vehicle or otherwise need a replacement decal, you may obtain them from Town Hall during normal business hours. A fee may apply, check the current fee schedule.
Can I obtain a decal right before an emergency occurs?
While most of the storms we deal with are tropical in nature with some type of advanced warning, we do experience many other types of events that could create a State of Emergency without warning. All eligible parties should obtain decals as early as possible each year to avoid being denied access to the Island. Decals shall not be issued during the 24-hour period prior to an anticipated order of evacuation so staff can concentrate on properly preparing the Town for the storm/event.
Can I use a tax bill or another document for re-entry?
No. You MUST have a decal to re-enter the Island until it is open to the general public.
How does re-entry after a storm during a State of Emergency work?
The bridge is closed to all vehicle access, except for official vehicles. Once those with proper decals are allowed access, they must conform with the current rules in place by the specific State of Emergency Order. After all hazards have been rendered safe, the bridge will be opened to the general public. A curfew could remain in effect however, to ensure the safety and security of the Island and its residents and guests. Please understand this process typically takes days to evolve and could be significantly longer, depending on the amount of damage sustained. Please refrain from calling for times for re-entry, as those are often not set on schedule. Instead, stay tunes to local media outlets and official social media accounts for accurate updates.
How can I check on my property if access is limited to the Island?
Once it is safe, property owners with valid decals will be allowed back on the Island after a storm/event. At this point, you can travel to your property, in accordance with the rules of the specific State of Emergency Order currently in place.
If you live out of the area, please do not travel to the Island until you are certain you will be allowed access. Stay tuned to those media outlets and email services that are of official nature for this information. Also, be certain you have your current, valid decal properly affixed to your vehicle.
It is a good idea to be sure your contact information is current with the Town tax office as this is the location Town officials will use in the event you need to be contacted.
For more information » click here
NC General Statute 166A-19.22
Power of municipalities and counties to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.
Synopsis – The governing body may impose by declaration or enacted ordinance, prohibitions, and restrictions during a state of emergency. This includes the prohibition and restriction of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing or compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population, controlling ingress and egress of an emergency area, and providing for the closure of streets, roads, highways, bridges, public vehicular areas. All prohibitions and restrictions imposed by declaration or ordinance shall take effect immediately upon publication of the declaration unless the declaration sets a later time. The prohibitions and restrictions shall expire when they are terminated by the official or entity that imposed them, or when the state of emergency terminates.
Violation – Any person who violates any provisions of an ordinance or a declaration enacted or declared pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
Turtle Watch Program –
Turtle Watch Program – 2022
Current nest count – (31) as of 06/24/22
* Average annual number of nests is 39.5
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
Holden Beach Turtle Watch meeting launches season
Members of the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program (HBTWP) held their annual meeting recently at the Holden Beach Chapel. This meeting marked the official beginning of the turtle season for 2022. Members will begin patrolling Holden Beach early mornings in May in search of mother turtle crawls. Last year, the first mother visited Holden Beach on May 8. During the 2021 season, there were 68 turtle nests on Holden Beach with 8,191 known turtle eggs and 6,200 hatchlings went into the ocean. Special guest at this meeting was Jasmine Pier re from Fayetteville. She is this year’s recipient of The Judith C. Bryan, Holden Beach Turtle Watch Fellowship in Marine Biology. Pierre has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and oceanography and is currently working on a master’s degree at UNCW. Her master’s thesis topic is on diamondback terrapins. This $5,000 fellowship at UNCW was created by the Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program to honor Judith Bryan, the founder of the HBTWP and is intended to assist graduate students in marine biology. Bryan, currently an honorary member of the HBTWP, lives on Holden Beach. Seven new members were welcomed at this meeting. These members completed extensive training last summer with the Turtle Patrol. They are Sharon Binis, John Cain, Kim Crooks, Terre Huffstetler, Bonita McNeil, Sharon Price, and Barb Taylor. Nineteen new trainees will begin this summer. John Cifelli was reelected president of the board and Nikki Hutchison was re-elected secretary. Other board members include Lois Palermo, member-at-large; MaryK McGinley, treasurer; and Pat Cusack, project coordinator. The HBTWP or Turtle Patrol as it is usually referred to, was founded in 1989 to monitor and protect the sea turtle population on Holden Beach. This all volunteer, nonprofit conservation organization operates under the authority of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ES Permit 21ST11).
For more information on the HBTWP, go to http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/
Holden Beach Turtle Watch makes a splash with new shirts
The Holden Beach Turtle Watch Program, also known as the “Turtle Patrol,” has hatched and released its new 2022 shirts now available for sale. This year’s shirt celebrates first recorded Kemp’s Ridley nest on Holden Beach. This special nest was laid on May 8, 2021. Not only was this the first Kemp’s Ridley nest on Holden Beach, but it was also the first nest to be laid in North Carolina last season. Kemp’s Ridley is the smallest of the five kinds of sea turtles that lay nests in North Carolina. This species, which usually nests further north in the Outer Banks, is the most threatened species of sea turtles that nest in North Carolina. The nest hatched on July 14, 2021, with 87 hatchlings. The art on the shir t reproduces a photo taken by turtle patrol member Corki Jar vis as these Kemp’s Ridley hatchlings scampered into the ocean. The shirt is 90% cotton and 10% polyester and gray in color. The design is on the back and the HBTWP logo on the front. Shirts are currently available for sale at the Lighthouse Gift Shop on the causeway in Holden Beach. Shirts are also available to purchase by mail through the HBTWP website at http://www.hbturtlewatch.org/. The 2022 turtle season will begin on Holden Beach on May 1 when members will begin patrolling the island each morning looking for signs of a mother turtle. Turtle season runs through October. The HBTWP will be conducting educational programs starting June 29. Children’s Turtle Time will be at 4 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 3. This program is designed for children 3 to 6 years old. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Turtle Talk will also begin on June 29 at 7 p.m. and will take place each Wednesday through Aug. 17. Turtle Talk is appropriate for all ages. This program focuses on the life cycle of the sea turtle and how the HBTWP aides in the preservation of sea turtles. Several turtle artifacts will be on display for viewing and informational handouts will be available. Both programs are free of charge and will take place at Holden Beach Chapel. The 2002 HBTWP shirt will be on sale at both events. The annual shirt sale is the major fundraising activity for the turtle patrol. Each year, there is a different shirt.
Brunswick Co. sea turtle advocates calling for new light fixtures to prevent misorientation
It’s officially summer and that means sea turtle nesting season is in full swing. Advocates for the endangered species are calling on residents and builders to change up their choice of light fixtures to keep the turtles headed for the ocean. An updated ordinance passed on Tuesday in Holden Beach restricting homes from having certain lights casting direct light more than 15 feet from the footprint of the residence with the exception of light directed into a pool area. Among other things, it prevents homes from having any unnecessary oceanfront lighting during turtle nesting season. Pat Cusack is the Project Coordinator with Holden Beach Turtle Watch and the NC Wildlife permit holder for sea turtle protection in Holden Beach. He says the white lights misorient or disorient sea turtles and hatchlings, leading them away from the water. “The white lights are an attractor, even for the adult turtles. For hatchlings, it’s a death sentence, basically,” Cusack said. “They see the white light and they’re like a kid in the candy store, they run right in. They come away from the water up into the dunes, the crabs get them, foxes, any other critter than likes to eat little hatchlings.” Just last week, Cusack was on the beach with a nesting turtle late in the evening around 10 or 11 pm. He says when she had finished nesting, she headed straight toward a home with a spotlight along the beach strand. After redirecting her, Cusack says she still walked more than 170 yards down the beach because she was following the lights shining in Ocean Isle Beach. “We average about three nests per year, which is over 300 hatchlings that we’re losing due to the lights,’ Cusack said. Cusack says the amendment to the ordinance is certainly helpful, but he would really love to see oceanfront homeowners install amber-colored lights. He says the wavelength of the amber lights don’t have as much of an effect on the turtles. Just down the beach strand in Ocean Isle Beach, NC Wildlife permit holder for sea turtle protection Deb Allen agrees. “There is no harm by amber lights for humans and it’s actually better for all wildlife and humans to have amber lights rather than the bright white lights.” Allen says last year more than 800 hatchlings were misoriented, and 252 were classified as dead because of artificial lights. “The town was able to put in a lighting ordinance for new construction but that doesn’t apply to the electric companies,” Allen said. “The electric companies are the ones we need to get on board with making changes to light fixtures and the bulbs that they put up in new developments and I’d really like to see them change existing ones.” Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation says they try to find solutions to minimize environmental impact, like turning off street lights near nests and moving light poles away from the beach. Allen says these are great steps to take, but ultimately not enough to keep the endangered species safe. “Lights can be seen for a long way by sea turtles because they’re looking for the moon, the stars, or the effervescence of the breaking waves and it’s easy for them to mistake it, so turning off one street light is not going to fix the problem,” Allen said. Allen has been in conversation with BEMC and the developer of The Pointe OIB to potentially get amber-colored street lights installed in the new development. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has gotten involved in the conversation as well, sending a letter to the organization recommending the installation of the amber-colored lights for the safety of the turtles as well as humans. The letter cites studies from the American Medical Association that show blue-rich street lights can interrupt sleep patterns and even contribute to obesity. BEMC shared a statement that reads as follows: “BEMC has always – and will continue to – work with local community organizations, HOAs and property developers to implement lighting solutions that balance the environmental concerns of our members as well as specific safety or design regulations imposed by local or municipal statutes. In the past, BEMC has worked to find creative solutions to minimize any negative environmental impacts to nesting turtles – including turning off select street lights during turtles’ nesting season, installing dimmer or cut-off switches, moving the location of light poles (away from the beach) and/or reducing the height of light poles to reduce light pollution over dunes. BEMC regularly engages with members and the communities we serve on these types of issues to achieve the best results for all concerned parties. We are currently engaged in dialogue with Ocean Isle Beach and the developer of the Pointe OIB on some requests for non-standard lighting at that location and we are optimistic we can reach a solution that satisfies all parties.”
Odds & Ends –
Wildlife Commission asks beachgoers to be mindful of nesting birds
Waterbirds are nesting and brood-rearing now through Aug. 31
Before hitting the beach this summer, visitors should remember to “share the shore” with beach-nesting birds, giving them, their eggs and chicks a wide berth. Waterbird nesting is now under way along the coast, and biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission urge people to watch where they step on the beach because these birds are very sensitive to human disturbance. Eggs and chicks are well camouflaged and can be unintentionally stepped on and crushed by humans and pets. Getting too close to a nesting bird can cause it to fly off, leaving the eggs or chicks vulnerable to the elements or to predators. “Birds have their ways of letting you know when you’re too close,” said Carmen Johnson, the Wildlife Commission’s waterbird biologist. “They’ll call loudly and dive at you. Some species will pretend to have a broken wing to lure you or other perceived predators away from the nest and chicks.” Because beachgoers may not recognize bird-nesting habitats, the Wildlife Commission asks the public to observe the black-and-white signs posted by the agency and signs posted by agency partners around important beach-nesting areas and islands. The signs help people avoid nesting grounds from April 1 through Aug. 31, the sensitive nesting and brood-rearing season, and advise that entering an area can result in the loss of eggs or chicks. Wildlife Commission staff also remind boaters to be mindful of nesting birds on islands, particularly if they approach an island posted with the black-and-white signs. “You can help North Carolina’s waterbirds have a successful nesting season by observing them from outside the posted areas, and avoiding islands marked as bird-nesting areas, or unmarked islands where you see nesting birds,” Johnson said. “Some birds nest near the high tide line, and the likelihood of disturbing nests and stepping on flightless chicks is high.” Johnson added that it is especially important to adhere to the “no dogs” rule on the signs. Not only is it the law, but one dog can destroy an entire bird nesting colony in minutes. Some islands that serve as beach-nesting habitat are not marked with black-and-white signs, such as many of the state’s marsh islands in the sounds. Johnson recommends that people give these islands a buffer between their activities and any nesting birds. Likewise, not all nesting areas on the beach are posted, so coastal visitors and residents should be always aware of their surroundings. Beachgoers can help protect nesting shorebirds are by: Keeping dogs on a leash at all times. Dogs may chase and harass birds, as well as trample nests, killing chicks or crushing eggs. Following the beach driving regulations. If driving is permitted, only drive on the lower part of the beach and drive slowly enough to avoid running over chicks. Disposing of trash properly when leaving the beach, including bait and scraps from cleaned fish, which can attract predators such as gulls, raccoons, feral cats and foxes. Discarding fishing line and kite string in an appropriate receptacle. These materials can entangle and kill birds and other wildlife if left on the beach. Abstaining from feeding gulls. Gulls are a major predator of young chicks and eggs. Avoiding flying drones and kites near nesting colonies. They may be mistaken for a predator. Cooperating with these simple steps and observing the posted signs will protect valuable bird resources and preserve our amazing beaches and wild waterfronts. For more information about beach-nesting waterbirds and how to protect them, down-load the “North Carolina’s Beach-Nesting Birds” document or visit the Wildlife Commission’s conserving webpage https://www.ncwildlife.org/Conserving/Conserving-North-Carolinas-Wildlife-Resources. Beacon
A new kind of beach patrol: Oak Island’s new Beach Services Unit aids in public safety
It’s a Saturday morning in mid-June, which means that Oak Island’s beach strand is crowded. The tide is rising, and the beach is narrow, particularly on the east end. Cynthia Grant, a member of Oak Island’s Beach Services Unit, weaves her utility vehicle through throngs of beachgoers, keeping her eye out for safety concerns and ordinance violations. Occasionally, she stops the vehicle. A few times, it’s to grab trash — soda cans and chip bags left by beachgoers the day before —and other times, she addresses town ordinance violations, usually someone encroaching on the dunes. Answering questions about beach equipment rentals, educating visitors about beach preservation, and checking on a man swimming far beyond the crowd round out her morning. Oak Island’s Beach Services Unit, a civilian-staffed branch of the Oak Island Police Department, was established in May. Currently, the unit’s 13 employees work shifts in three areas – beach patrol, parking enforcement, and drone operation – patrol the strand from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week during the peak season (May 13 through Sept. 5). The Beach Services Unit, or BSU, is much different than the beach patrol that the town had in years past. “This is kind of an evolution building upon what was originally referred to as the beach patrol,” said Michael Emory, communications manager for the town of Oak Island. “There’s a reason why we’ve rebranded it as the ‘Beach Services Unit’ because they’re incorporating so much more than patrolling the beach for a dune violation.” Emory added that the town’s decision to use civilians for these positions came down to a “cost-to-benefit ratio.” “The pay scale for sworn officers is a little bit different in North Carolina,” Emory said. He explained that sworn officers would be required to work a specific number of hours, which would make scheduling difficult. “By making it a civilian-staffed unit, we’re able to hire more quickly, and we’re able to staff that unit more quickly and more efficiently,” Emory said. While members of the town’s Beach Services Unit do issue citations for violating the city’s dune, parking, and beach ordinances, they are also focused on public safety and education. “In the future, there will be a safety component added with the fact that they will be running the surf condition and rip current flags, and there is some CPR training that’s coming,” Emory said. While the surf condition and rip current flags have been ordered, they have not yet arrived, but Emory hopes that they will arrive “sooner rather than later,” and CPR training is expected to occur within the next few weeks. In addition to enforcing beach-related ordinances, keeping emergency vehicle access points clear, and helping keep beachgoers safe, employees with the Beach Services unit also strive to educate people about beach preservation and rip currents. Grant, who also helps with parking enforcement, said that she always tries to educate people first. “Sometimes, they’re just visiting, and they may not be familiar with the ordinances,” she explained. She added that most of the time people are understanding and want to do the right thing. However, when people choose to ignore the rules, they must issue citations, and those can be costly. If a person has been warned that they are encroaching on the dunes and fails to heed the warning, the fine is $100. “It’s not fun to tell people to move their campsite, but it’s important,” Grant said. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t believe in it.” Grant said that most of the time, the people she deals with are friendly, and she has rarely had trouble. However, she knows that if any of the beach services employees encounter a challenging situation, the officers with the Oak Island Police Department are there to support them. In addition to employees who work beach patrol and parking enforcement, there are also two drone operators keeping an eye on the beach strand during the weekends. The drones are equipped with a speaker, which allows the operators to speak to beachgoers and swimmers and communicate with them. If the drone operator sees a situation that needs to be addressed, he calls for beach services, first responders, or water rescue. “That has just been magical,” Grant said. “It’s just mind-blowing technology.” While Oak Island’s Beach Services Unit has been in operation for just over a month, employees believe it has been a success, and Emory credits police chief Charlie Morris for rebranding and revamping the unit. Grant, who has been working with the town since 2018 and served in its former beach patrol, agreed. “The team they put together works well,” Grant said. “It’s not a bad job. You’re helping your town, you’re helping educate, and you’re protecting the beaches all on the same day. Doing something you love and a little cha-ching in the pocket – there’s never a bad day.” For more information on Oak Island’s new Beach Services Unit, visit http://www.oakislandnc.gov/beach.
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Jellyfish and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the 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 saltwater may be your best bet.
At the beach? Don’t pop the ‘balloons!’
We’ve definitely had some windy weather in the past few days. And on the coast, those winds bring with it an interesting sighting! The Cape Lookout National Seashore Park posted on Facebook about some very temptingly poppable-looking things that have been washing up on their beaches. These little “balloons” are gas-filled floats that keep the Man-o-War jellyfish afloat as they drift through the ocean. The winds can pick these floats up and they can wind up on the beach, but the folks at the park caution that no matter how tempting it is, you should not pop these things! “Give them a wide berth,” the Facebook post ways. These are carnivorous jellyfish and use their dangling tentacles to kill their prey. Even washed ashore, the tentacles still pack a punch, so don’t mess with the balloons! Stepping on it will hurt!
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Portuguese man o’ war
The man-of-War are not usually in the area unless pushed to the coast by wind and ocean currents. It is a purple-blue color and can be up to 10 inches long. The Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis), is not a jellyfish but related to the species and is highly venomous. It has numerous venomous microscopic nematocysts which deliver a painful sting powerful enough to kill fish. Stings can result in intense joint and muscle pain, headaches, shock, collapse, faintness, hysteria, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Severe stings can occur even when the animal is beached or dead. Although it superficially resembles a jellyfish, the Portuguese man o’ war is in fact a siphonophore. Like all siphonophores, it is a colonial organism, made up of many smaller units called zooids. All zooids in a colony are genetically identical, but fulfill specialized functions such as feeding and reproduction, and together allow the colony to operate as a single individual.
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.
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 and Portuguese Man of War have been spotted along the beaches of New Hanover County and surrounding area beaches already this season and the little floating creatures can pack a punch. Often times beachgoers will spot them washed up on shore and other times they can be spotted in the water, but it is best to avoid them when you can. “While all jellyfish sting, not all contain poison that hurts humans. Be careful of jellies that wash up on shore, as some can still sting if tentacles are wet. NOAA recommends that if you are stung by a jellyfish to first seek a lifeguard to give first aid. If no lifeguards are present, wash the wound with vinegar or rubbing alcohol,” NOAA suggests. And what about that … other method of treating stings? Turns out, it’s a myth. In fact, urine can actually aggravate the stinging cells of jellyfish, making things worse. These cells, which detach and stick into the skin of prey, can continue to inject venom. Urine, as well as fresh water, can cause an imbalance to the salt solution surrounding the stinging cells, causing them to continue to fire. According to Scientific American, if you don’t have vinegar or rubbing alcohol, rinsing with salt water may be your best bet.
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This and That –
How to Collect Seashells
“It helps to have a search image in your mind,” says José H. Leal, the science director and curator at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Florida. Research ahead of time what kind of mollusks you might encounter so that your eyes are primed to pick out specific shapes and colors. Leal has collected seashells since he was a boy in Rio de Janeiro. On his first trip to New York, in his 20s, he was so shell-focused that he dove to the sidewalk before realizing that what he thought were small, unusual clams were actually pistachio shells. “You get fixated,” he says. Consult a tide chart; go out within an hour of low tide when the beach is most exposed. Storms tend to wash more shells ashore in the winter months. In popular shelling destinations such as Sanibel Island, near where Leal lives, collectors often search at night to avoid competition. (If turtles are nesting in the area, avoid using flashlights, which disrupt brooding females and disorient their hatchlings.) If shells are abundant, pick a spot and settle in. Rather than hoard shells, take only the most beautiful specimens of each variety. Make sure the shell is uninhabited. With the spiral-shaped gastropods, you should be able to see the creature. “A shell is usually much heavier when there’s an animal inside,” Leal says. Know the relevant regulations; many places curtail or outright ban the collection of shells, and the United States has various import restrictions, including a prohibition on queen conch shells from the Caribbean. The urge to beachcomb is natural, however. Humans have been using mollusk exoskeletons as art, adornment, currency, and tools since before we were even human beings. (Scientists recently discovered distinct hash marks on a freshwater mussel shell they believe were engraved by our extinct ancestor Homo erectus.) Still, Leal is worried about the future of marine mollusks, given how vulnerable they are to pollution and ocean acidification. Maybe your urge to collect these unoccupied calcium-carbonate dwellings can serve as a sort of gateway drug. “Once you get a love for shells,” Leal says, “I hope you learn to care about the animals that make them.”
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Factoid That May Interest Only Me –
Despite some slowdown, Brunswick real estate is ‘hotter’ than ever
The Brunswick County real estate market is hotter than ever. While it’s a boon for realtors and developers, Brunswick County residents like Janet Keyes looking to buy a home say they’re hoping for a slowdown. “I thought maybe we could wait it out and prices wouldn’t be so crazy,” said Keyes, who was searching for a home before the pandemic. “But it’s been two years now, I’m not sure what else I can do.” Despite some signs of hope in the past few months, as sales volumes and units sold decreased year-over-year, the Brunswick County housing market remains poised to continue breaking records.
The ‘hotness’ index
According to market hotness data compiled by Realtor.com, Brunswick County is quickly moving up the ranks as one of the nation’s hottest housing markets. Areas are scored based on listings and median days on the market and ranked across the country. In April, Brunswick County’s hotness score was 53 out of 100, making it the 670th hottest in the entire country. That’s a jump from being the 733rd hottest just last month. A year ago, in April 2021, the county didn’t crack the top 1,000. In the tri-county region, New Hanover is the hottest market, with a score of 69, making it the 322nd hottest in the nation. Pender is close behind with a score of 65, good for the 392nd hottest in the country. According to data from the Brunswick County Association of Realtors, more than half the homes sold in April were on the market for five days or less before selling, with an average of just 25 days. Compare that to April last year, when the average home spent 50 days on the market, which was then an all-time low. The insatiable demand is continuing to raise home prices, which on average rose 22% compared to April 2021 to more than $440,000. More $1 million-and-over homes are being sold than ever as well, with 73 luxury homes sold through April compared to 44 over the same period last year. The rising housing costs are more than making up for the fewer available listings, with the county set to break total sales records by the end of the year, if the trend continues. Nationwide, the most recent Realtor.com data suggests inventory increases could start to slow demand, as for the first time since the summer of 2019 there was a year-over-year active inventory increase. In Brunswick County, active listings increased almost 7% from in April, though it wasn’t enough to slow price increases, with listings still down 38% year-over-year.
Behind the heat
While the index has shown a sharp growth in recent years, the rise in residents has been steady much longer. For more than two decades, Brunswick County’s population has been among the fastest growing in the state, benefiting from development in nearby Wilmington and North Myrtle Beach. In the last decade, Brunswick County has grown by nearly 40%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That growth — fueled largely by out-of-state residents nearing retirement age looking for a second home or to move to a familiar vacation destination — has accelerated since the pandemic turned relatively inexpensive and rural regions like Brunswick into prime real estate.
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State Wildlife Resources Commission: Expect coyote sightings
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says people should expect coyote sightings the rest of the spring. The NCWRC says coyotes are common throughout the state, even in cities and suburbs, but frequently are not seen because they are adept at avoiding people. The commission says coyotes prefer to raise their young in secluded areas, but the animals must scout for food all over to feed their pups. Thus, people may find coyotes roaming around their neighborhoods looking for food. The NCWRC gave tips to people on how to keep themselves and their families and pets safe in the coming months:
- Keep small pets indoors or supervise them outdoors, and remove dishes and spilled food outside
- Have dog-proof fencing, which is at least six feet tall and prevents digging underneath, to keep coyotes out
- Remove any food sources that could attract coyotes (keep fruit and birdseed off the ground)
- Find ways to actively make the area uncomfortable for coyotes
- Deter coyotes away from homes and businesses by waving your arms and shouting forcefully
Expect Coyote sightings as pupping season peaks
Coyotes will roam a wide area searching for food, sometimes crossing through neighborhoods and densely populated areas looking for an easy meal.
Coyotes are common throughout North Carolina, even in cities and suburbs, but often go unnoticed because they are very good at avoiding people. However, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission say that coyote sightings spike in the spring, so it’s imperative to know what attracts them, and what to do if you see one. Coyotes prefer to raise their young in secluded areas but keeping a litter of pups well-fed and healthy means scouting for food at all hours and covering a large territory. Coyotes will roam a wide area searching for food, sometimes crossing through neighborhoods and densely populated areas looking for an easy meal. Coyotes mostly eat rabbits, small rodents, insects, fruits and dead animals, but will also dine on outdoor pet food and food scraps left near homes. Smaller pets, such as cats and small-breed dogs, should always be closely supervised when outdoors, as they can easily be mistaken for a coyote’s natural prey. Dog-proof fencing, which is at least 6 feet tall and prevents digging underneath, is the only guarantee of a no-coyote zone, but there are other ways to keep coyotes from hanging around. “Try to remove any food sources that could attract coyotes and find ways to actively make the area uncomfortable for them,” says Falyn Owens, extension biologist for the Wildlife Commission.
Owens offers these tips to deter coyotes:
- Feed pets inside and keep food waste in secure containers. If you feed pets outside, set specific feeding times and remove the dishes and spilled food afterward.
- Keep fruit and bird seed off the ground. They can attract coyotes and their rodent prey.
- Keep cats and small dogs on a leash or harness whenever they are outside.
- Haze coyotes away from homes and businesses. Examples include waving your arms and shouting forcefully until a coyote leaves, spraying them with a water hose or throwing small rocks in their direction.
Pup season brings an added factor to interacting with coyotes. “Coyotes typically avoid confrontations with people, but they are diligent parents. A coyote that has young pups nearby is more likely to stand its ground rather than run away. If you are passing through a brushy or wooded area and notice a coyote watching you or following you at a distance, there could be a den nearby,” said Owens. “Calmly leave and notify others to avoid the area if you are near a public trail. Coyotes will move on once their pups are old enough to survive outside of the den.” Coyotes rarely attack people, but sometimes take an interest in our pets. Keep cats indoors, and if you are walking a small dog and notice a coyote watching or following you, pick up the dog and haze the coyote until it leaves. Teaching a coyote to have a healthy fear of people is a great way to discourage unwanted behavior and foster coexistence. If you have questions about interactions with coyotes, you can click here to be directed to the N.C Wildlife Commission’s website.
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How to co-exist with coyotes
Coyotes are common throughout North Carolina, even in cities and suburbs, but often go unnoticed because they are very good at avoiding people. However, biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission say that coyote sightings spike in the spring, so it’s imperative to know what attracts them, and what to do if you see one. Coyotes prefer to raise their young in secluded areas but keeping a litter of pups well-fed and healthy means scouting for food at all hours and covering a large territory. Coyotes will roam a wide area searching for food, sometimes crossing through neighborhoods and densely populated areas looking for an easy meal. Coyotes mostly eat rabbits, small rodents, insects, fruits and dead animals, but will also dine on outdoor pet food and food
scraps left near homes. Smaller pets, such as cats and small-breed dogs, should always be closely supervised when outdoors, as they can easily be mistaken for a coyote’s natural prey. Dog-proof fencing, which is at least 6 feet tall and prevents digging underneath, is the only guarantee of a no-coyote zone, but there are other ways to keep coyotes from hanging around. “Try to remove any food sources that could attract coyotes and find ways to actively make the area uncomfortable for them,” says Falyn Owens, extension biologist for the Wildlife Commission. Owens offers these tips to deter coyotes: Feed pets inside and keep food waste in secure containers. If you feed pets outside, set specific feeding times and remove the dishes and spilled food afterward. Keep fruit and bird seed off the ground. They can attract coyotes and their rodent prey. Keep cats and small dogs on a leash or harness whenever they are outside. Haze coyotes away from homes and businesses. Examples include waving your arms and shouting forcefully until a coyote leaves, spraying them with a water hose or throwing small rocks in
their direction. Pup season brings an added factor to interacting with coyotes. “Coyotes typically avoid confrontations with people, but they are diligent parents. A coyote that has young pups nearby is more likely to stand its ground rather than run away. If you are passing through a brushy or wooded area and notice a coyote watching you or following you at a distance, there could be a den nearby,” said Owens. “Calmly leave and notify others to avoid the area if you are near a public trail. Coyotes will move on once their pups are old enough to survive outside of the den.” Coyotes rarely attack people, but sometimes take an interest in our pets. Keep cats indoors, and if you are walking a small dog and notice a coyote watching or following you, pick up the dog and haze the coyote until it leaves. Teaching a coyote to have a healthy fear of people is a great way to discourage unwanted behavior and foster coexistence. If you have questions about interactions with coyotes, visit https://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/Species/Mammals/Coyote2 or contact the NC Wildlife Helpline, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. — 5 p.m., at 866-318-2401 or email HWI@ncwildlife.org.
Hot Button Issues –
Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions
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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 March 11, 2022, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to March 15, 2022.
Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2022
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More toxic than previously thought: EPA slashes PFAS exposure limits based on new information
Years of animal and human testing reveal four PFAS chemicals are far more toxic than originally thought. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced four new national health advisories, cutting lifetime exposure limits to a fraction of what was previously thought to be safe. EPA issued new health advisories for GenX and PFBS, and interim health advisories for PFOA and PFOS on Wednesday at the National PFAS Conference, currently being held in Wilmington. EPA’s actions come five years after GenX and other PFAS chemicals were discovered in the Cape Fear River, having been put there by chemical makers DuPont and Chemours. For more than 30 years, the two companies released hundreds of PFAS compounds, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, into the river, air and groundwater, contaminating the drinking water source of more than 300,000 people. State officials began investigating GenX and other PFAS chemicals in 2017, after a StarNews investigation revealed Chemours and DuPont’s actions. Chemours said it’s evaluating its next steps, which could include legal action against EPA’s “scientifically unsound action,” according to a statement from the company following the federal agency’s announcement. “At Chemours, we support government regulation based on the best available science. While EPA claims it followed the best available science in its nationwide health advisory for (GenX), that is not the case,” according to Chemours’ statement.
What are the new levels?
Radhika Fox, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, announced the agency’s new health advisories at the National PFAS Conference. Fox explained the new health advisories were a result of years of research. “The updated advisory levels are based on new science including more than 400 recent studies, which indicate some negative health effects may occur at extremely low levels, much lower than previously understood for both PFOA and PFOS,” Fox said. Human studies found associations between PFOA and PFOS exposures and effects on the immune system, cardiovascular system, developmental issues with infants and cancer, according to EPA. Animal testing revealed links between GenX and effects on the liver, kidney, immune system, developmental effects and cancer. EPA’s new health advisory sets a lifetime exposure limit of 10 parts per trillion for GenX. EPA’s new GenX exposure limit will replace the 140 part per trillion drinking water health goal set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in 2018, according to a press release from the agency. EPA’s previous drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS limited exposure to less than 70 parts per trillion. Based on new toxicity testing, EPA curtailed exposure limits to 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS. For context, not a single surface water test for GenX, PFOA and PFOS at Chemours’ Outfall 002 site tested below EPA’s new health advisories, according to DEQ testing data from 2018-2021. The median concentration of GenX in tested water was 125.5 parts per trillion, more than 12 times EPA’s new level, according to DEQ data. The median concentration of PFOA was 10.55 parts per trillion, and 14.2 parts per trillion for PFOS. EPA also announced a final health advisory for PFBS, a fourth PFAS compound, of 2,000 parts per trillion, according to EPA’s press release.
What this means for the public
Following EPA’s announcement, DEQ announced it and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was “moving quickly to evaluate the state’s drinking water supplies based on these health advisories and determine appropriate next steps to assess and reduce exposure risks,” according to DEQ’s press release. DEQ estimates more than 1,700 additional private well owners affected by Chemours’ contamination will now be eligible for whole-home filtration systems or connection to public water systems, according to DEQ’s press release. DEQ has directed Chemours to begin installing these new systems as soon as possible. Data on PFOA and PFOS levels in North Carolina’s private drinking water wells and public water systems are limited, according to DEQ’s press release. However, available data indicates the presence of one or both compounds in “multiple” public water systems across the state. “DEQ and DHHS are evaluating the available data in light of these new health advisories to identify potentially affected communities and take action to address impacts to North Carolina residents,” according to the press release.
New advisories receive mixed reaction
EPA’s announcement was met with mixed reactions. A room of environmentalists, scientists and more applauded EPA’s new PFAS health advisories. However, EPA’s announcement was met by criticism and condemnation from the chemical industry. In a statement, the American Chemistry Council, which represents numerous chemical companies, said it supports creating water standards for PFAS based on the best available science. The ACC echoed Chemours’ accusation that EPA didn’t use the best available science to establish its new PFAS health advisories. “Today’s announcement of revised lifetime health advisories for PFOA and PFOS and new advisories for PFBS and the GenX chemicals reflects a failure of the agency to follow its accepted practice for ensuring the scientific integrity of its process.” Environmental groups, however, celebrated EPA’s new advisories. The Southern Environmental Law Center applauded EPA’s new health advisories, said Geoff Gisler, senior attorney and leader of the SELC’s Clean Water Program. SELC encouraged state environmental agencies and EPA to use existing law to reduce PFAS emissions farther. “EPA’s stringent new health values for several toxic ‘forever chemicals’ will save lives and ensure a healthier environment for all of us,” said Brian Buzby, executive director of the NC Conservation Network.
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- Hurricane Season
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NOAA predicts above-normal 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
Ongoing La Niña, above-average Atlantic temperatures set the stage for busy season ahead
Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, are predicting above-average hurricane activity this year — which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season. NOAA’s outlook for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30, predicts a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season and a 10% chance of a below-normal season. For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence.
“Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “Throughout the hurricane season, NOAA experts will work around-the-clock to provide early and accurate forecasts and warnings that communities in the path of storms can depend on to stay informed.” The increased activity anticipated this hurricane season is attributed to several climate factors, including the ongoing La Niña that is likely to persist throughout the hurricane season, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds and an enhanced west African monsoon. An enhanced west African monsoon supports stronger African Easterly Waves, which seed many of the strongest and longest lived hurricanes during most seasons. The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists. “As we reflect on another potentially busy hurricane season, past storms — such as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New York metro area ten years ago — remind us that the impact of one storm can be felt for years,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Since Sandy, NOAA’s forecasting accuracy has continued to improve, allowing us to better predict the impacts of major hurricanes to lives and livelihoods.”
Additionally, NOAA has enhanced the following products and services this hurricane season:
- To improve the understanding and prediction of how hurricanes intensify, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab and Pacific Marine Environmental Lab will operate five Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles during the peak of the 2022 hurricane season and coordinate for the first time with uncrewed ocean gliders, small aircraft drone systems, and NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft to measure the ocean, atmosphere and areas where they meet.
- The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast Modeling System and Hurricanes in a Multi-scale Ocean-coupled Non-hydrostatic model, which have shown significant skill improvements in terms of storm track and intensity forecasts, have been successfully transitioned to the newest version of the Weather and Climate Operational Supercomputing System, allowing for uninterrupted operational forecasts.
- The Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO) has been experimentally extended from three to five days of lead time, giving more notice of rainfall-related flash flooding risks from tropical storms and hurricanes. The ERO forecasts and maps the probability of intense rainfall that could lead to flash flooding within 25 miles of a given point.
- In June, NOAA will enhance an experimental graphic that depicts the Peak Storm Surge Forecast when storm surge watches or warnings are in effect. Upgrades include an updated disclaimer and color coding that illustrates the peak storm surge inundation forecast at the coast. This tool is currently only available in the Atlantic basin.
“Hurricane Ida spanned nine states, demonstrating that anyone can be in the direct path of a hurricane and in danger from the remnants of a storm system,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “It’s important for everyone to understand their risk and take proactive steps to get ready now by visiting Ready.gov and Listo.gov for preparedness tips, and by downloading the FEMA App to make sure you are receiving emergency alerts in real-time.” NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. In addition to the Atlantic seasonal outlook, NOAA has also issued seasonal hurricane outlooks for the eastern Pacific and central Pacific hurricane basins. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update the 2022 Atlantic seasonal outlook in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.
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NOAA forecasts seventh straight busy Atlantic hurricane season
The agency predicted 14 to 21 named storms, 6 to 10 hurricanes and 3 to 6 major hurricanes
The siege of active Atlantic hurricane seasons will continue for yet another year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Tuesday. In its annual seasonal outlook, the agency forecast the seventh straight above-normal Atlantic season, with 14 to 21 named storms — compared with 14 in an average year — and three to six major hurricanes, rated Category 3 or higher. Major hurricanes are of particular concern, as they tend to rapidly intensify, or increase by 35 mph or more in wind strength in 24 hours — leaving coastal residents with little time to prepare. These major storms are responsible for the overwhelming majority of damage because of wind and ocean surge, the rise of water above normally dry land at the coast. Scientists have observed an increase in rapidly intensifying hurricanes over the past few decades, linked to warming ocean waters from human-caused climate change. NOAA’s outlook for another busy season follows a devastating period of heightened storm activity in the Atlantic. The 2021 season produced 21 named storms, the third-most on record, exhausting all of the names of the National Hurricane Center’s conventional naming list. In 2020, a record 30 named storms formed. The two seasons combined produced the most landfalling storms on record in the United States. The United States saw more Category 4 and 5 hurricane landfalls from 2017 to 2021 than from 1963 to 2016. Every year since 2016 has generated above-average activity in the Atlantic, with five Category 5 storms roaming the basin over that period. A seemingly relentless parade of major hurricanes — including Harvey, Irma, Michael, Laura, Zeta and Ida — lashed the beleaguered Gulf Coast during the six-year window. The effects of Hurricane Ida last year were so severe — from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast — that the World Meteorological Organization retired Ida from the rotating list of hurricane names. The storm caused 96 deaths as it tracked from Louisiana to Connecticut and was blamed for $75 billion in damage, the fifth-costliest hurricane on record in the United States. Ida, which caused catastrophic flooding in the Northeast — including New York City — demonstrated how tropical systems can inundate communities hundreds of miles from where they first come ashore. Inland flooding has become the leading cause of fatalities from tropical weather systems in recent years. Scientists have also found human-caused climate change is intensifying heavy rainfall in these tropical systems. NOAA released its outlook at a news conference in New York, commemorating 10 years since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the region in 2012. Sandy, blamed for $80 billion in damage, is listed as the fourth-costliest tropical system on record. Sandy was transitioning from a hurricane to a “post-tropical cyclone” when it slammed the Northeast with a massive storm surge, torrential rain and huge swath of damaging winds. “As we saw from Sandy, it doesn’t even have to be a hurricane to cause such devastation to communities,” said Christina Farrell, New York City emergency management first deputy commissioner.
NOAA’s forecast and a trend toward better accuracy
Hurricane outlooks made in the spring have shown considerable improvement over the past decade after not exhibiting much accuracy from the 1980s through about 2013, according to researchers at Colorado State University. Here are the numbers from NOAA’s outlook:
- 14 to 21 named storms, compared with an annual average of 14.4.
- Six to 10 hurricanes, compared with an annual average of 7.2.
- Three to six major hurricanes, compared with an annual average of 3.2.
NOAA’s outlook stated there is a 65 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and a 10 percent chance that it will be below normal. NOAA’s outlook echoes those made by several research institutions and private companies. Colorado State University, for example, is predicting 19 named storms, with a 71 percent likelihood that the United States will be hit by a major hurricane. Similarly, AccuWeather, the private forecast company based in State College, Pa., is calling for 16 to 20 named storms.
While seasonal hurricane forecasts have improved, predictions of storms once they form have made even greater strides. The National Hurricane Center’s track forecasts have steadily improved, and its average storm intensity forecast error is now 40 percent less than it was in 2000. Rick Spinrad, NOAA’s administrator, anticipates additional gains. “NOAA will triple operational supercomputing capacity this summer,” Spinrad said at Tuesday’s news conference. “This upgrade will allow for higher-resolution earth models that can handle larger ensembles of models with more numerous calculations, more advanced physical considerations and more advanced ability to assimilate the data collected out in the storm.” To improve its predictions, NOAA is also operating five Saildrones — uncrewed vehicles on the ocean’s surface — to probe conditions; extending forecasts for extreme rainfall potential three to five days into the future; and introducing a product to pinpoint where the peak surge will occur when a storm is approaching the coast.
Signs of a busy season
Many indicators point toward the high probability of a busy season. The position of several key atmospheric features are noteworthy, and the ocean appears primed to support significant storms.
Among the elements being monitored are:
Sea surface temperatures. Hurricanes thrive when water temperatures reach the lower to mid-80s. Hurricanes are heat engines, extracting thermal energy from “oceanic heat content.” A greater, deeper reservoir of exceptionally mild ocean water translates to more fuel to generate or sustain a hurricane.
- Water temperatures throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic are running 1 to 3 degrees above average. The unusually warm water boosts the “potential intensity,” or maximum theoretical strength, a hurricane can achieve.
The loop current. Some researchers say unusually high temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico loop current are an ominous sign for the season ahead. The loop current is a warm-core eddy that meanders north of the Florida Straits and Yucatán Peninsula. The current could give storms an extra boost if they cross over it — but it’s one piece in a much larger atmospheric puzzle.
La Niña. La Niña is a dropping of sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific. It sets in motion a chain-reaction process that favors increased Atlantic hurricane activity. Specifically, it cools the air over that relative temperature minimum in the eastern Pacific, spurring sinking motion there. That makes it easier for air over the Atlantic to rise and feed big storms.
Wind shear. Wind shear is a change of wind speed or direction with height. Too much shear can disrupt a fledgling storm’s circulation and tear it apart before it has the opportunity to organize. Shear can also spell the demise of a strong hurricane.
- During La Niña summers, there’s typically a reduction in wind shear over the tropical Atlantic. That will make it easier for hurricanes to form and remain stronger for longer.
NOAA’s outlook also pointed to “an enhanced African monsoon,” which supports more disturbances from Africa entering Atlantic waters, where they can develop into storms.
Hurricane seasons officially begins June 1
The first storm of 2022, once it’s named, will be called Alex. Should all 21 names on the National Hurricane Center’s list be used, forecasters will turn to a supplemental list set of names. The supplemental list was developed after the record-setting 30 storms in 2020 that led forecasters to use Greek letters after 21 storms had earned names. In recent years, an uptick in early-season storminess has been noted. NOAA has considered moving the “official” start of Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 to May 15, reflecting observed trends in a warming world. That would also match the May 15 start date of hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific. Irrespective of how many storms form, every year forecasters stress that it takes only one storm to have a memorable and potentially devastating impact on a community. In early May, the Hurricane Center led a public awareness campaign to urge preparedness for the upcoming season. “Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane-resilient and climate-ready,” said Gina Raimondo, secretary of the Commerce Department, which oversees NOAA.
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2022 Atlantic hurricane season to be above average: NOAA
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins next week, is predicted to have above-average activity, with a likely range of 14 to 21 named storms. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Rick Spinrad announced the initial outlook Tuesday during a news conference at New York City Emergency Management Department in Brooklyn, New York. Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, made the prediction for the season, June 1 to Nov. 30. Spinrad said the 2022 prediction will make the seventh consecutive year of an above-normal season. “Specifically, there’s a 65% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, a 10% chance of below-normal season.” Averages for the Atlantic hurricane season are 14 named storms and seven hurricanes. Of those, the average for major hurricanes at a Category 3, 4 or 5, is three. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center uses 1991 to 2020 as the 30-year period of record to determine averages. For the range of storms expected, Spinrad explained that forecasters call for a 70% probability of 14 to 21 named storms, with top winds of at least 39 miles per hour. Of these, six to 10 will become hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 miles per hour, and of those, three to six major hurricanes will be categories 3, 4 or 5 with top winds of at least 111 miles per hour. NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. The Climate Prediction Center will give an update in early August before peak season, officials said. NOAA officials attribute the increase in activity to many factors, such as the ongoing La Niña. La Niña is the cool phase of the Niño-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, cycle. ENSO is a three-phase recurring climate pattern that has a strong influence on weather across the United States. The other two phases are neutral and El Niño, the warm phase that suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic. La Niña enhances it. Other factors officials point to are warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon, which supports stronger African Easterly Waves that seed many of the strongest and longest-lived hurricanes during most seasons. “The way in which climate change impacts the strength and frequency of tropical cyclones is a continuous area of study for NOAA scientists,” according to NOAA. Rick Luettich, director of the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences based in Morehead City and a coastal physical oceanographer, told Coastal Review Tuesday that he thinks this forecast by NOAA is not a surprise at all. “And I think we have to expect that it’s likely to hold true.” While the range of 14 to 21 storms is broad, Luettich thinks there will be at least the 14 storms “and whether or not we stop at 21 remains to be seen. But it looks like we’ll get through most of the alphabet again this year.” He noted that NOAA’s predictions are not substantially different from those announced a few months ago by Colorado State University researchers, who predicted 19 named storms this year. Of those, nine are predicted to become hurricanes with four to reach major hurricane strength at sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or greater. North Carolina State University researchers also predicted in April a similar amount of 17 to 21 named storms for this year. Luettich explained that the main thing that keeps storms, which pull heat from the ocean, from fully forming is wind shear, or the variation in wind from the surface up into the atmosphere. “If there’s a strong difference between the winds high aloft and the winds closer to the surface then that difference tends to stretch and pull and tear apart the storms,” he said. If the wind shear is weak then there’s not much to keep the storm from forming. “Wind shear tends to be much stronger in years when we have an El Niño,” Luettich said, but this year looks to be a moderate La Niña new year. The ENSO cycle most directly impacts whether or not there are a large number of storms, small number or somewhere in between. “The combination of a warm ocean and limited or little wind shear drives the large numbers of storms in the predictions.” The La Niña/El Niño cycle is what allows storms to get fully going and manifest or is what tears them apart. “And from year to year, it changes,” he added. He did point out that being in the third consecutive year of a La Niña cycle is unusual. Between plenty of energy in the ocean and weak wind shear, this is likely to be another year of substantial and strong storms. As the storm predictions relate to climate change, “if you look at the long-term temperature records you can see in both the atmosphere and the ocean there is a steady increase in the Earth’s temperature,” he said. Climate change is causing energy in the ocean to increase and more precipitation, leading to storms traveling slower and allowing more time for rainfall in an area. However, it’s a little less clear how the ENSO cycle is affected by climate change. “There are suggestions that in a warming climate the La Niñas and El Niños may be stronger when they occur, but I’m not aware that there’s a really good consensus or understanding of whether they’re likely to be more frequent,” he said, adding it’s just not clear how climate change will affect the ENSO cycle.
On the North Carolina coast
Erik Heden, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in the Newport/Morehead City area, explained in an interview Tuesday that his office doesn’t focus on NOAA’s initial outlook during any given year because “it doesn’t tell us whether or not our area will be impacted by storms. We try to shift the focus toward preparation each and every year since we live in an area that is vulnerable.” He urges residents and visitors that if there is a hurricane forecast that impacts their area, don’t focus on the category of the storm. “The category is only related to wind speed. It says nothing about how much rain will fall, how long the storm will remain over us, how large the storm is,” he said. “Remember Hurricane Florence was ‘only’ a category 1 storm when it made landfall. Cyclones have multiple threats that include storm surge, flooding, rip currents, tornadoes and wind.” Heden urges residents and visitors to follow official resources such as the weather office for your area or the National Hurricane Center. If your area is forecast to be near, not just in, the forecast cone, or cone of uncertainty, you should be preparing for the storm. “The forecast cone only shows the most likely path for just the center of the storm. A storm is not a dot on the map and impacts occur well away from the center,” he said. For example, the center of Florence in 2018 hit near Wilmington, “but we all saw major impacts from the storm.” Heden explained that preparation has three steps. The first is to determine your risk, based on where you live, from all five tropical cyclone threats: storm surge, flooding, rip currents, winds and tornadoes. Second, have a hurricane plan and determine where you will evacuate if necessary. Don’t forget your pets. Third, make a hurricane kit. The kit should contain enough food, water and medicine to last at least three days, but ideally up to a week. If cost is a concern, spread it out and buy a few items each shopping trip. Heden said his office is hosting a series of community forums on hurricanes, the first of which will be held 5-8 p.m. June 14 at Holly Ridge Community Center, 404 Sound Road, Holly Ridge. The next forum will be held 10 a.m. to noon June 21 in Pine Knoll Shores town hall. Two will be offered in late July on the Outer Banks. Locations will be announced.
State urges residents prepare now
Keith Acree, communications officer with North Carolina Emergency Management, told Coastal Review on Tuesday that the state and local governments make sure they are prepared for each hurricane season. “North Carolina Emergency Management recently hosted the statewide hurricane exercise, where the State Emergency Response Team and its federal, state, local government and private-sector partners practiced response coordination and communications,” he said. “Helicopter, boat and land search and rescue teams recently held large scale exercises at the coast and in the mountains, in advance of hurricane season.” Acree said residents of North Carolina’s coastal counties should learn if they’re in a predetermined evacuation zone by visiting KnowYourZone.nc.gov. “Remember your zone and listen for it when evacuations are ordered.” He said residents should prepare by having an emergency kit with basic supplies included and have a plan to stay with family or friends, or at a hotel if you need to evacuate. “A public shelter should be your last resort, not a primary evacuation option. Offer your home to family or friends as a safe place if they need to evacuate, and you don’t,” he said. Acree also recommends having multiple ways to receive weather alerts, watches and warnings. Install a weather alert app on your cell phone or get NOAA Weather Alert Radio for your home. Lastly, remember that hurricanes and tropical storms can affect the entire state. Residents in Haywood and surrounding counties in Western North Carolina are still recovering from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred, a Gulf Coast storm that moved across the state’s mountains last year, causing catastrophic floods along the Pigeon River killing six people, he explained. “It only takes one storm that strikes your community to make a really bad hurricane season for you,” Acree said. “Now is the time for North Carolinians to prepare for hurricane season.”
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Things I Think I Think –
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.
///// May 2022
Name: Rivertown Bistro
Location: 1111 3rd Avenue, Conway SC
Contact: 843.248.3733 / https://www.rivertownbistro.com
Food: Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service: Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience: Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost: Inexpensive <=17 / Moderate <=22 / Expensive <=27 / Exorbitant <=40
Rating: Four Stars
Located in the Historic District of downtown Conway, South Carolina, Rivertown Bistro offers unmatched atmosphere and unequaled culinary fusions. The food is outstanding, a tremendous value with prices being very moderate for the quality of the food served. It is one of the few area restaurants that offer creativity, quality, and atmosphere comparable to fine dining restaurants in major metropolitan areas. This is far above most of the other restaurant offerings in Myrtle Beach. It’s too bad that it’s over an hour away but definitely worth the trip. If you are going to try one new restaurant this should be the one you should go to. It’s the cat’s meow!
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
ONE STEP TOO FAR by Lisa Gardner
This is the second entry featuring missing person cold case investigator Frankie Elkin. Frankie a middle-aged white woman, recovering alcoholic, who keeps up the job she has crafted for herself, finding people after everyone else has given up. This time she works herself into the five-year anniversary search party for a young man who has gone missing and was never seen again in a national forest during a bachelor party camping trip. She soon realizes that it’s not a simple case, a missing person isn’t all that’s wrong here.
.That’s it for this newsletter
See you next month
Lou’s Views . HBPOIN
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