An Extended View of the Bridge in Holden Beach Area

08 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / August Edition

Calendar of Events –

King Mackerel Tournament - CR

U.S. Open King Mackerel Fishing Tournament

September 29th thru October 1st


The U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament has taken place since 1979 and is held annually the first week in October. The U.S. Open is one of the largest king mackerel tournaments on the East Coast and part of the SKA (Southern Kingfish Association) Tournament Trail. The tournament now attracts almost 400 boats annually.
For more information » click here

Sunset at Sunset
October 1st
Sunset Beach

Held the first Saturday in October each year, Sunset at Sunset is the Town of Sunset Beach’s Community Block Party.  The 15th annual autumn event is scheduled to happen again this year, in front of Ingram Planetarium on Sunset Boulevard in Sunset Beach.
For more information » click here 


October 7th thru 9th 
Wilmington’s Riverfest is celebrated in October since 1979 and runs from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College over a half mile of free family entertainment.
For more information » click here

Oyster Festival Logo - CR


N.C. Oyster Festival
October 15th & 16th



The annual North Carolina Oyster Festival has taken place since 1978. Come celebrate everything Oyster with a variety of foods, crafts, contests, children’s activities, and musical performances at Mulberry Park in Shallotte. Signature Festival events include the Oyster Shucking Contest, Oyster Eating Contest, and Oyster Stew Cook-off.
For more information » click here

N.C. Festival by the Sea
October 29th & 30th
Holden Beach


Hosted by the Holden Beach Merchants Association this two day festival occurs on the last full weekend in October. This two day event is kicked off with a parade down the Holden Beach causeway. There is a fishing tournament, horseshoe tournament, and a sandcastle building contest. Vendors provide food, arts and crafts, amusement rides and other activities. There is live musical entertainment both days at the Holden Beach’s Pavilion.
For more information »  click here

TDA - logoDiscover 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

Turtle Talk
Two programs both are held every Wednesday during the summer at the Holden Beach Chapel. 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. 

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


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

 Brunswick County Landfill
172 Landfill Rd NE, Bolivia, NC 28422

Hours of operation are:
Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 pm.

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

Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule –
starting 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


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

Mosquito Control
Current EPA protocol is that spraying is complaint driven

The Town is unable to just spray as they had in the past
. 1)
Complaint based
. 2)
Citizen request
. 3)
Proactively monitor hot spots

They recommend that you get rid of any standing water on your property that you can
Urged everyone to call Town Hall if they have mosquito issues so that they can spray

Spraying is complaint based, so keep the calls coming!

Curbside Recycling
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.


(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).

Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.


(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.

BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, September 20th

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

Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to [email protected].

Elevator - CR

Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system.

Waupaca Elevator Recalls to Inspect Elevators Due to Injury Hazard

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

Consumer Contact:
Waupaca Elevator toll-free at 833-850-7981 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, e-mail at [email protected] or online at 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
    Key takeaways:
      • 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

Previously reported – July 2022
The NC Department of Transportation has informed the town that due to permitting issues raised during their review of the Ocean Boulevard Repaving/Bike Lane Project, construction will not begin in September as previously planned. Construction is now scheduled to start after the first of the year. The project will still have a completion date of Memorial Day.

Previously reported – June 2022
Execution of the agreement with DOT is required to construct the Ocean Boulevard Bike Lanes Project this fall in conjunction with the resurfacing of Ocean Boulevard. The project is estimated at $1,722,364 of which 42% or $723,393 is the Town’s share. The remaining 58% or $998,971 is funded by the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS). The Board authorized the execution of the Transportation Improvement Agreement with the Department of Transportation.

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.


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 – (64) as of 08/20/22
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

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 Beacon

Beach Strand –

‘Four deaths this year is so devastating’:
The cost of not having lifeguards on Oak Island

Independence Day celebrations on Oak Island were bittersweet last weekend, tainted with news that a beachgoer had drowned in the ocean Sunday. It is the fourth drowning death on the island this year, raising questions and concerns about what safety measures are in place and if they are enough. Sydney Napier, resident of the west end of the island, doesn’t think the city has taken ample precautions to prevent tragedies like this from recurring. Ultimately, Napier maintains there should be lifeguards on the beaches. “I honestly don’t believe everything that can be done is done,” Napier said. “The public, especially tourists that don’t know better, can’t possibly be held responsible for knowing the risk. Four deaths this year is so devastating.” According to the United States Lifesaving Association — and based on 10 years of reports from USLA-affiliated lifeguard agencies — the chance of someone drowning with a USLA lifeguard nearby is 1 in 18 million. While there are other important safety tactics in open water drowning prevention, trained lifeguards are the gold standard. It wasn’t always lifeguard-less along this area of the Brunswick County shoreline. Prior to merging with Yaupon Beach in 1999 to form Oak Island, a section of the island, then known as Long Beach, did have lifeguards. A land use plan update from 1988 showed that lifeguards had been funded on Long Beach out of the recreation budget since at least 1974. A classified ad for seasonal lifeguards appeared in The Brunswick Beacon in 1991, indicating the program was still operating at that time. Oak Island public information officer Michael Emory said comparing the former municipalities to modern day would be “somewhat skewed.” “The overall size and dynamics of population, beach length, as well as level of other required municipal services, are now completely different,” he said. US Census data for the area over the last decade reflected an increase of approximately 30% in residents, now topping out at almost 9,000. Emory said Oak Island beaches have anywhere between 20,000 to 30,000 daily visitors during peak summer months. Though Emory was unaware of any recent considerations by the town council to add lifeguards back to the budget, a 2020-2025 “Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan” from 2019 shows a recommendation to implement a flag warning system between the Oak Island Fishing Pier and the Ocean Crest Fishing Pier. It also suggested hiring 20 or 25 part-time seasonal lifeguard positions before the end of 2023. Emory said the town often reviews its policies and looks to see what other beaches with similar sized populations are doing. Nearby in New Hanover County — wherein all of its beaches are outfitted with lifeguards — Carolina Beach has 6,000 residents with an influx of 30,000 visitors daily during the summer. In its 2022-2023 budget, it will pay over $600,000 to lifeguard needs to cover around 3 miles of beach. “Currently, there would be steep, if not prohibitive challenges for staffing, equipping, and in some cases housing lifeguards to cover all 65 of our public beach accesses across the nearly 10 miles of public beach area,” Emory said of Oak Island. “In addition to recruiting employees, the support structure of vehicles, radios, towers, and other equipment must be factored in as well.” The financial cost of prevention and response is the recurring challenge when it comes to the discussion of water safety in the area. Oak Island isn’t alone; currently, none of the six beach towns in Brunswick County have lifeguards. For now, the town is focusing on education campaigns and ways to create increased public awareness. The newly launched “OKInformation” includes a text-messaging service that will alert mobile subscribers when surf conditions are “red flag” or high risk. Oak Island also installed new signage prior to the July 4th holiday weekend, warning visitors to refrain from blocking beach accesses; 22 of the 65 are designated for emergency use. One of the four deaths this year occurred at the beach access on Napier’s street. She said the path is so narrow even a golf cart can’t pass through on a busy day. Oak Island Water Rescue posted on its social media Memorial Day weekend that the W. 23rd Street beach access was full as they tried to respond to a call-in regard to a swimmer in distress. While no vehicles were illegally parked, larger trucks and SUVs extended into access points and prevented the fire department’s wide, paramedic-equipped engine from getting through. “Fortunately, we were able to use a different beach access, without a delay in response, to make our way into the beach. That beach access was almost blocked with parked vehicles as well,” OIWR noted in its post. The town is in the process of changing the layout of several parking lots in order to ensure there is room for rescue vehicles to pass. Town council will make a consideration at its Tuesday meeting to also install white signs with red letters at every access point forewarning against dangerous rip currents. According to the agenda packet, Mayor Pro Tempore Bach is bringing the matter to council due to “the recent tragic incidents,” referring to the four deaths already this season. The agenda also states the town should “redouble efforts to inform visitors of the inherent danger of ocean swimming.” While intended to protect beachgoers, these efforts are not adequate to residents like Napier, particularly since they rely on people noticing, reading, and following visual guides without a lifeguard enforcing them. Not to mention, the critical response time is incredibly brief when a person is at risk of drowning. Brunswick County resident Kelly Helbig knows this firsthand. She started the Jack Helbig Memorial Foundation (JHMF) after her son drowned in a lake in Brunswick County at only 4 years old. She has made it her mission ever since to educate the public on water safety and drowning prevention. “In the case of a drowning, every second counts; we don’t have minutes for Ocean Rescue or EMS to respond,” Helbig said. The JHMF — in collaboration with Southport Rotary and Oak Island Water Rescue — funded $1,800 in signs they installed at public beach accesses on Oak Island. Each displays a QR code leading to a virtual risk flag and a corresponding guide explaining what each flag color means: 

      • Purple means marine pests
      • Green means low risk with calm conditions
      • Yellow means medium risk with moderate surf
      • Red means high risk with strong currents
      • Two red flags indicate that the water is closed to the public

The JHMF also worked with Eagle Scout candidate Jackson Enis to install brightly colored rescue cans and life rings on Caswell, a 4-mile stretch at the eastern end of Oak Island. The cans are buoyant, torpedo-shaped rescue devices usually used by lifeguards. They aren’t a perfect solution, but they serve as an aid for bystanders who may act as first responders. “We don’t want to encourage bystanders to run into the water, but 25% of drowning victims were attempting to save someone else,” Helbig said. “If we can have a flotation device available there, then maybe they both have a chance to survive.” Emory said the city is open to rescue cans. “If they or any other private organization would like to enhance [current safety measures] with flotation devices, I’m sure that is something the Town Council would consider,” he said. It would come down to the logistics of purchasing, maintaining, and replacing them in the event of weather damage, theft, or vandalism. The JHMF placed 14 total rescue cans at Caswell Beach this spring. Each can cost $69 and is mounted on a stand displaying a risk flag color guide and virtual QR code. The stands cost about $150 each. So far, only one rescue aid has needed replacement this year, though Helbig estimates all aids will need replacement every two years. Equipping all public 65 accesses on Oak Island would be no small undertaking but one with major life-saving potential. This year all four swimmers that passed away on Oak Island were helped first by bystanders. An ER physician from Kentucky led resuscitation efforts after an off-duty law enforcement officer pulled 52-year-old drowning victim Kevin Whitley of Hickory, N.C., out of the water last Sunday. Oak Island Water Rescue (OIWR) training coordinator Carl Mauney said he has never responded to a drowning incident where no one attempted to swim out and help. A nonprofit and volunteer-based organization, OIWR has provided water rescue and education on the island for 25 years. Mauney has been the training coordinator for the last year. The organization operates on a $70,000-a-year budget, recently having received $21,500 from the town and $9,000 from the county. OIWR also relies on donations from the public to maintain its enterprise and fund capital expenses, such as replacing rescue vehicles and radios as needed. If OIWR arrives prior to EMS and fire crews during a rescue, they are technically in charge of the initial emergency responses, via incident command system protocols, Mauney said. To prepare for rescues, they regularly drill and work with the National Weather Service to corroborate readings on the area’s water conditions by providing daily surf reports. As part of its public information strategy, OIWR had approximately 2,000 magnets printed with QR codes, like those on the signs funded by JHMF. They lead to the virtual flag posted on OIWR’s website, based on a live surf report and weather models from the National Weather Service. “The goal was to put a QR code magnet on the refrigerator of every rental home,” Mauney said. But the reach has gone well beyond rentals. On July 5th, the police department announced its beach services unit began outfitting some of their patrol UTVs with physical warning flags indicating the rip current levels, complete with the magnetic QR codes. Mauney said the response to the QR code has been overwhelming. Restaurants and other businesses also have printed and displayed copies. Since May 30, the code has been scanned about 16,000 times. “Education is more important than ever before,” Mauney said. “Anytime you can prevent a 911 call, that’s better than responding to one.”
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Four drownings in three months:
Oak Island looks to educate, improve beach safety
Since the start of the peak beach season at Oak Island, four people have drowned in the island’s picturesque waters. Most recently, a 52-year-old man fell victim to a rip current at public beach access near the middle of the island on July 3. The tragedy cast a dark cloud over the July Fourth holiday and has inspired changes among the island’s first responders looking to educate citizens. From July 1 to July 9, some 80,000 cars crossed the Long Beach Road bridge into Oak Island, according to Oak Island Police Chief Charlie Morris. In a recent report to Oak Island Town Council, Morris said that amount of traffic was average for the island’s peak tourist season, but it was a busy week, nonetheless. During the holiday weekend, Oak Island police responded to 238 calls for service. Much of that traffic was heading to the beach. Brunswick County beaches do not have lifeguards, and instead rely on local first responders to provide rescue services.
Educating beachgoers
This year, the police department, the Oak Island Fire Department and Oak Island Water Rescue have ramped up their efforts to educate tourists and locals alike on one of the risks involved with swimming in the ocean: rip currents. According to the National Weather Service, rip currents are powerful surges of water that run perpendicular to the beach, pulling water from shore out into open water. If caught in one, it can be a difficult and taxing feat to swim back to shore. Using social media and other outreach, the departments are encouraging beach visitors to learn about the hazard conditions on the beach before heading into the water. Dotted along the island’s public beach access points are signs indicating which conditions are reflected in the color-coded flags: green, yellow and red for low, medium and high hazard, respectively. Each sign also contains a QR code that, when scanned, shows visitors a more in-depth look at the current hazard conditions online. At least half of the island’s 2022 drownings happened on “yellow flag” days, which indicate medium surf conditions. According to Oak Island Water Rescue, rip currents are present even on low-risk days — though they’re likely less frequent and weaker than higher-risk days. Morris said emergency responders are working to monitor ocean conditions and updating the flags to reflect current conditions, as risk could change through the day. On July 1, the town launched a new public notification system, “OKInformation.” The system allows the town to send out email and text notifications to those that enroll, informing them of beach conditions and other town news. Recent increases in island traffic and tourism have prompted some changes to its newly established Beach Services Unit, Morris said. The Beach Services Unit is a civilian-staffed branch of the Oak Island Police Department. The unit’s employees work to patrol the beach, enforce parking, and operate drones from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during the island’s peak beach season of May 13 to Sept. 5. Now, the beach service patrol utility terrain vehicles are equipped with first aid kits and fly warning flags indicating current weather conditions, and some staff will soon undergo CPR training. Ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, the town installed new signage to remind beachgoers to keep emergency access locations clear in case emergency response is needed. At the town council’s July 12 meeting, council member John Bach suggested the town consider adding warning signs at each public access, encouraging beachgoers to use caution and consider the current conditions before entering the water. “It’s not about aesthetics, it’s about saving lives,” Bach said. Bach said he thinks tourists would be more likely to take notice of a warning sign, rather than take the several steps to go online and check the current conditions or educate themselves on the meaning of the beach warning flags. “I’m telling you we need a sign, because parents and visitors are busy, they’re carrying things, they’re not paying attention,” Bach said. The council is set to continue discussing the addition of warning signs at its August meeting.
How can you spot a rip current, and what do you do if you’re in one?
According to the National Weather Service, there have been 171 rip current deaths in the Carolinas since 2000. Of the decedents, 80% resided in inland areas. On June 14, Morris said, officials responded to the beach and found a 67-year-old woman who had drowned. According to the National Weather Service, she had been caught in a rip current. She was from Knoxville, Tennessee. Despite life-saving measures, the woman died. “The primary reason visitors and vacationers are the ones drowning in rip currents is that they do not know what to do,” Oak Island Water Rescue said. “They aren’t aware of the danger and don’t understand rip currents. They can’t recognize them, and they don’t know the survival strategies of swimming sideways or floating to survive. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone vacationing at the beach to understand rip currents.” According to the National Weather Service, rip currents can be spotted by locating the areas between breaking waves where water is flowing toward the ocean, rather than toward the shoreline. If caught in a rip current, the easiest way to escape is to swim parallel to the shoreline. Oak Island Water Rescue suggests bringing a boogie board or U.S. Coast Guard-approved float cushion to the beach, as they could be helpful in the event a rescue is needed. Wearing a lifejacket can help an individual float if caught in a rip current, Oak Island Water Rescue said.
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Shark fishing tournament
reels in big concerns


After intense pressure by leaders of four beach communities, organizers of a shore-based shark fishing tournament have agreed to shift the event from mid-summer to October, along with making other concessions for swimmer safety. The Southport-based Madkingz Tackle fishing store-sponsored event will now be the first week of October, instead of July 15-22 as previously announced, said owner Marty Wright. At first, the event was to include shore-based anglers who could fish anytime for sharks from the eastern tip of Oak Island (Caswell Beach) to Ocean Isle Beach. Participants would have been allowed to chum for sharks using kayaks up to a mile offshore. Chumming is a practice that usually involves putting blood, internal organs and fish parts in the water to attract sharks. It is prohibited on Oak Island Pier year-round. The plan churned a tempest of controversy and rebukes from leaders of Oak Island, Ocean Isle, Holden, and Caswell beaches, who said that intentionally attracting sharks to the shore during the height of the tourist season would be unwise. “It’s idiotic to put shark bait in with our swimmers at the busiest time of the year,” said Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden, who has worked as a commercial fisherman, charter boat captain, 100-ton certified ship captain and been an avid recreational angler for 70 years. His town was considering seeking a court injunction before tournament plans changed. Caswell Beach and at least two other towns sent letters of protest to the sponsor. “Given the fact that the intent of this activity is to bring predators closer to the shore, The Town of Caswell Beach cannot condone a tournament such as this because of the unnecessary increase in danger to swimmers,” town officials wrote in a July 8 letter. The town asked for the shark tournament to be cancelled and threatened legal action if that didn’t happen. “The right to harvest fish is a strong right and it’s well-protected,” said Oak Island Mayor Liz White. “We have no intent to infringe on people and we have a lot of people who fish here year-round.” White added, however, that she believed the type of tournament first suggested “puts public safety in jeopardy.” Ocean Isle Mayor Debbie Smith called the original event “not the thing to do in the surf in the middle of summer.” Tournament sponsor Wright said that after a respectful call from White, he agreed to modify the tournament. The new rules are that land-based shark anglers must fish only at night, during the first week of October. The tournament is catch-and-release only and no chumming is allowed, Wright said. Participants will take pictures of landed sharks with tape measures and use a digital security device to ensure the shots are during specified times. “It’s not going to make a difference, but it’s about perception,” stated Wright, who resides at Oak Island and said he’d been fishing in the Cape Fear region for at least a dozen years.
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New trial date scheduled for Town of Holden Beach and man who planned shore-based shark tournament
WWAY has learned more about the documents filed against the man who planned a shark fishing tournament earlier this month in Brunswick County. A temporary restraining order filed July 13th by the Town of Holden Beach against the owner of Madkingz Tackle Marty Wright who also sponsored the controversial shark fishing tournament, was extended until July 23. According to court documents, both parties agreed the land-based shark tournament would be canceled. Leaders from Oak Island, Ocean Isle, and Both Holden and Caswell Beaches were concerned the tournament would be bad for business and create an unneeded danger in the water. WWAY reached out to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and talked to their spokeswoman Patricia Smith who said these types of tournaments are allowed, but with rules. “We do not prohibit shark fishing from our state’s beaches, there is a state tournament license that exists but that’s only required if you’re going to sell your catch,” said Smith. Those who plan on making a profit can obtain a license through the Division of Marine Fisheries License Offices. “There are some tournaments that fish are brought in to sell to a dealer, obviously all the fishermen will need to have a Coastal Recreational fishing license,” she said. These regulations apply to those 16 years of age or older who need to keep in mind the size and possession limits on different species of sharks in North Carolina waters. “So, any fishermen planning on going shark fishing would need to come on to our website and download a copy of those regulations,” said Smith. Court documents show a new trial is scheduled for July 26, WWAY reached out to both Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden and Marty Wright, both  said they would not comment at this time. Wright planned another shore-based shark fishing tournament for the first week of October. The rules and regulations surrounding fishing tournaments can be found by clicking here. The regulations can be found on the Division of Marine Fisheries website Proclamation FF-41-2022, or anglers can download the Fish Rules App. These licenses are sold at Division of Marine Fisheries License Offices, online at, and at many outdoors and bait and tackle shops. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries does not prohibit chum fishing.
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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.



Jellyfish Guide.



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

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

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

  • Relax. Rip currents don’t pull you under.
  • A rip current is a natural treadmill that travels an average speed of 1-2 feet per second but has been measured as fast as 8 feet per second — faster than an Olympic swimmer. Trying to swim against a rip current will only use up your energy; energy you need to survive and escape the rip current.
  • Do NOT try to swim directly into to shore. Swim along the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull. When free from the pull of the current, swim at an angle away from the current toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t reach shore, relax, face the shore, and call or wave for help. Remember: If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • If at all possible, only swim at beaches with lifeguards.
  • If you choose to swim on beaches without a lifeguard, never swim alone. Take a friend and have that person take a cell phone so he or she can call 911 for help.
    Sharks 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.
    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 –

Beachcombing Guide
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 –

Housing price hikes in some Wilmington-area towns are among the highest in NC In the past year housing prices have skyrocketed throughout most of North Carolina, but the Wilmington area is seeing the effects more than nearly anywhere else in the state. The three municipalities with the largest home price increases since last June are all in the Wilmington area, according to Zillow typical home data, including the top spot: Wrightsville Beach. Home prices in every Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender county town increased by at least 15% in the past year. In addition, the Wilmington area is home to almost one-quarter of North Carolina’s top 50 towns with the highest housing price increases.

Where are home prices rising most in Brunswick County?
As one of the state’s fastest growing areas, Brunswick County in particular has seen dramatic home price increases throughout many of its towns, leading to median home prices jumping by more than $97,000, or 32%, in the past year. In just the past six months the median home price across the county rose by nearly $50,000. Brunswick County is home to six of the top 50 towns with the largest price increases. Only Dare (10) and Wake (8) counties had more towns in the top 50. The Longwood area had the lowest price increase since last year, growing by $32,000 (23%) to $173,000. 

Holden Beach

Holden Beach typical home prices rose just over $246,000 (42%) since last June to about $830,000, the seventh highest increase in the state. 

      • Typical home price: $829,737
      • 6-month change: $115,236 (16%)
      • 1-year change: $246,761 (42.3%)
      • 5-yr change: $384,228 (86.2%)

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Hot Button Issues

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

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

Flood Insurance Program

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National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On 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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Scientists find way to destroy PFAS chemicals
Some of the most stubborn manmade chemicals, which many health experts believe are harmful to humans, may have finally met their match, according to new research. WITN has been looking into the study that has found a way to destroy some categories of PFAS. Northwestern University researchers found out how to break the chemicals down with two relatively harmless chemicals. From drinking water to other common household items, PFAS chemicals—or forever chemicals, as they are infamously known, are found in a lot of places, and they tend to stay in the places they go. “They’re all manmade chemicals so these are not found naturally,” UNC Chapel Hill professor and chemist Frank Leibfarth said. “It’s a problem that will only get worse because they don’t degrade. They increase the risk of certain types of cancer.” That “forever” title, however, may have just met its match. A study published by researchers at Northwestern University has found a way to destroy these stubborn chemicals when it comes to GenX PFAS chemicals. Leibfarth says the research is a great advancement. “What this study did is said, ‘alright, we applied these conditions, and this is what we got out,’ but then they did the really hard work of understanding every step in that process,” Leibfarth said. Two harmless chemicals, sodium hydroxide, a chemical used to make soap, and dimethyl sulfoxide, a chemical approved as a medication, are the keys to the safe destruction of these PFAS. Exposing these particles to very high heat used to be the only operational way of destroying them in the past. The new method appears to be more energy efficient and safer. If Gen-X sounds familiar, it’s because you may remember the controversy surrounding the company Chemours and how it was accused of releasing the chemical into the Cape Fear River, a water source for hundreds of thousands in New Hanover County. “North Carolina, especially the Wilmington area, has really led a lot of national and international awareness of this issue,” Leibfarth said. The study found that the method was not effective on the PFOS, so research continues on how to best handle that classification of PFAS chemicals. There are many types of household water filters today that can help in blocking PFAS from making it into your cup.
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Homeowners Insurance

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Hurricane Season

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Weather Permitting: Hurricane season has been quiet so far in 2022.
Will it stay that way?
About a month ago, it seemed the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season was off and running. From the Carolinas to Central America, tropical storms were slogging ashore, with a seemingly endless freight train of low-pressure systems chugging across the Atlantic. Fast-forward to early August. No hurricanes, no storms. Not even a promising swirl for Hurricane Hunters to check out over the past month. It’s like someone pulled the tropical plug. For only the fourth time in the past 30 years, the stretch from July 4 to Aug. 4 has passed without any named storm activity. The tropics, it seems, are drier than the Baptist state convention. Were all the dire predictions of another hyperactive hurricane season just a lot of hot air? Or have weather enthusiasts just been spoiled by the nonstop tropical spin-ups we’ve seen over the past couple of years? The answer is probably a little bit of both. This 2022 season is the first in the past five years that got to August without at least one hurricane forming. And in the last 30 years, only four seasons have been storm-free from July 4 through Aug. 4: 1993, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Remember this week two years ago? The Cape Fear region was bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Isaias — the ninth named storm of the season. Another storm, Hanna, had already become the first hurricane of the season, and by the end of the year, the National Hurricane Center was deep into the Greek alphabet of storm names. Last year saw another batch of storms — but oddly there was a four-week breather during July into August as well. That rest was rudely ended when a trio of named storms — Fred, Gracie and Henri — all dropped off the African coast within a few days of each other. The 2021 season went on to feature 21 named storms. So, we’ve been conditioned over the last couple of years to expect a parade of storms, especially with conditions that are conducive to development. A continuing La Nina, with above-average sea temperatures, would bode well for storm formation. And, as the hurricane season shifts from “homegrown” systems to the long-tracking Cape Verde storms, all eyes turn to the west coast of Africa. What we’ve seen for the last couple of weeks has been surprising. An extreme layer of bone-dry, dusty Sahara Desert air has cloaked the eastern Atlantic, choking potential storms as they wade off the coast. This dust cloud is a common summer feature, but it has been particularly potent during July. In addition, strong low-level winds have helped rip potential systems apart, and sinking air west of Africa prevents the towering storm clouds we associate with tropical systems. It doesn’t matter how warm the water is if the storms can’t use it. And right now, conditions in the central Atlantic are downright hostile.
What’s next
Will things stay that way? Not likely. Already there are indications that the Sahara Dust Layer is beginning to ease. As sea temperatures continue to creep up, sinking air should become less of an issue. And the wave train off Africa shows no sign of stopping. A few past “slow start” seasons may offer a hint for this year: The 2019 season saw an equally quiet start, with the Atlantic producing only a “C” storm (Chantal) by mid-August. A week later, the gates opened, and 2019 ended up with 18 named storms. In 2010, Tropical Storm Colin didn’t arrive until the first week of August, another slow start to the season. However, by the end of the month, two Category 4 storms formed (Danielle and Earl) and the season ended up with 19 named systems. Finally, the “slow start” season of 1999 made its mark on North Carolina. By early August, only one named storm had formed. By the end of the season, five Category 4 storms had formed, and two (Dennis and Floyd) teamed up that September to produce devastating floods in eastern North Carolina. And, for those keeping track, 1999 was another La Nina year. So, while things may seem quiet in the Atlantic, we’re actually not that far off the 30-year average for hurricanes. August is the traditional first month for hurricanes to form, with early September the peak of the season. Keep an eye on conditions in the Central Atlantic starting in mid-August. I think we’ve got a long way to go. Stay tuned!
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NOAA still expects above-normal Atlantic hurricane season
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather experts still expect the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season to have above-normal activity. NOAA released Thursday its annual mid-season update to the 2022 outlook issued in May by the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Since the May report, which covers the six-month hurricane season that began June 1 and ends Nov. 30, forecasters have slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season from 65% to a 60% chance. Meanwhile, the likelihood of near-normal activity has risen to 30% and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season. NOAA’s update to the 2022 outlook calls for 14-20 named storms, which have winds of 39 mph or greater. Six to 10 of those named storms could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or greater. Of those, three to five could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or greater. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. “We’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, in a statement. Erik Heden, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service forecast office for Morehead City, told Coastal Review Monday that the peak of hurricane season is not until around Sept. 10. “Typically, the season really doesn’t get going until later in August through October. It’s too early to let our guard down, we aren’t even close to the typical peak yet,” he said. “Lastly, it only takes one storm to make a difference in your lives. Take this quiet time in the season to finish your hurricane kit and plan.” He recommended visiting for help with a hurricane kit and plan. Heden said his office is offering more hurricane talks ahead, including one at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Emerald Isle board meeting room, 7500 Emerald Drive, and 6 p.m. Aug. 16 in North Topsail Beach Town Hall, 2008 Loggerhead Court. Sign up to virtually attend the North Topsail Beach talk. Two talks are planned for later this month on the Outer Banks, as well. “Communities and families should prepare now for the remainder of what is still expected to be an active hurricane season,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service. “Ensure that you are ready to take action if a hurricane threatens your area by developing an evacuation plan and gathering hurricane supplies now, before a storm is bearing down on your community.”So far, the season has seen three named storms and no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. The outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Landfalls are largely governed by short-term weather patterns that are currently only predictable within about one week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline, according to NOAA. “I urge everyone to remain vigilant as we enter the peak months of hurricane season,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “The experts at NOAA will continue to provide the science, data and services needed to help communities become hurricane resilient and climate-ready for the remainder of hurricane season and beyond.” There are several atmospheric and oceanic conditions that still favor an active hurricane season. This includes La Niña conditions, which are favored to remain in place for the rest of 2022 and could allow the ongoing high-activity era conditions to dominate, or slightly enhance hurricane activity. In addition to a continued La Niña, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, an active west African Monsoon and likely above-normal Atlantic sea-surface temperatures set the stage for an active hurricane season and are reflective of the ongoing high-activity era for Atlantic hurricanes. NOAA’s hurricane science and forecasting information is available at Hurricane Season Media Resource Guide and the National Hurricane Center provides the latest on tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic. “Although it has been a relatively slow start to hurricane season, with no major storms developing in the Atlantic, this is not unusual  and we therefore cannot afford to let our guard down,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. She recommends being proactive by downloading the FEMA app and visiting or for preparedness tips. “And most importantly, make sure you understand your local risk and follow directions from your state and local officials.”
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Inlet Hazard Areas

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Lockwood Folly Inlet

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Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling

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Offshore Wind Farms

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Things I Think I Think –

Dining #2Eating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// July 2022
Name:            Roko
Cuisine:         Italian
Location:      6801 Parker Farm Drive, Wilmington NC
Contact:        910.679.4783 /
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:          Three Stars
Roko, established in 2012, is a very good local  family run Italian bistro featuring classic Italian dishes infused with fresh locally sourced ingredients. Located in Mayfaire Town Center, it offers a nice mix of casual and upscale dining with a broad-based menu that offers something for everyone. It’s a small busy place, with seating for only sixty-eight (68) people, that is filled to capacity nearly every evening. If you want to eat there you probably should call ahead for reservations. All in all, we had a nice meal there, but it really wasn’t anything special.

Hidden gem: After years of working for others, chef opens his own Brunswick County restaurant
Brad Ball has spent a lot of time in kitchens. Even before he became a chef, his family had a pizza place in Greensboro. He worked in a few spots there and eventually met his wife, Sara, before moving on to cities like Cincinnati and Charleston. When the couple moved to Southeastern North Carolina, Ball worked with James Doss at Wilmington’s Rx Restaurant and Bar and Rhonda Uhlman, who now owns the StreatSide food stand in Southport. More recently, Ball has worked for local clubs and spent several years as the executive chef of the Bald Head Island Club.  So, yes, he’s worked in a lot of kitchens. It’s just that until now, they haven’t been in his own restaurant. “It’s been a dream of his, having his own place,” said Sara Ball. The couple opened The Sea Biscuit Café in May at 3370 Stone Chimney Road in the Supply/Varnamtown/Holden Beach area of Brunswick County. So far, there have been some ups and downs, Ball said. But he has a suitably eclectic menu offering breakfast and lunch in an unassuming former diner. Breakfast is now a place with a farm-to-table approach to the classics, with local eggs (from just up the street), Guilford County grits and hand-pattied sausage. At lunch, you can order chicken pot pie or a fried bologna sandwich, as well as watermelon sashimi or a black bean burger enhanced with nuts and kale and served on a gluten free bun. Every morning, Ball goes to the docks in Varnamtown to get some fresh seafood for the shrimp and grits and the fish tacos, served Al Pastor style. “It started as an old-school diner, but has evolved into this,” he said. “People are already saying that it’s kind of a hidden gem,” Sara Ball said. But, in a way, they could just now start to experiment with the possibilities and freedom of having their own place. For example, they started a ghost kitchen just a few weeks ago. “I really like the idea of ghost kitchens,” Brad Ball said. “I like that it’s a concept that lives only on Facebook. It’s a way to explore a few different ideas.” When Sea Biscuit closes, locals can still order take-out and delivery from Pepe’s Pizza many nights of the week. “It’s hand-tossed, and a cross between New York and California style,” he said. The Meat Man and the Primo Supremo are favorites, but the Back Cheddar Burger pizza uses his house-made ground beef blend. In addition to having more chef-y freedom, there are a few other reasons the Balls decided to open this business – to give locals more options and to have more time as a family.  They say they’ve spent many evenings driving around looking for a good place to eat, only to have to go all the way to Wilmington. As Brunswick’s population booms, more people are looking for different options, they said. “This area has a lot of room for growth,” Sara Ball said.  “So many restaurants have opened up in Oak Island and Southport, we thought this would be a good place for us.” Brad Ball said he also appreciates being able to spend more time with his two children. “Before when I would leave for work, they’d be asleep and I’d get back and they’d be asleep,” he said. Now, even when they’re working, the kids can spend more time at the restaurant, Sara Ball said. She’s worked as a school counselor and has also been a stay-at-home mom. Now, she’s managing the restaurant while her husband focuses on the back of the house. She’s the one talking to customers and trying to learn just what it is they are hungry for. “It’s nice,” Brad Ball said. “We don’t have to have any corporate meetings.” “Well, we do have them,” she said. “We just have them while we’re sitting on the couch.” She said that her husband’s skill, and the details he puts into his work, makes it special. It’s the vinegar powder he adds to the fish-and-chips batter to give it that tangy bite and in the fresh fruit he uses for the daily cobbler. They are happy trying to offer something for everyone. “We are locals,” he said. “We want to be here for other locals. We want to be here for the ladies golfing group, and the VFW guys. We want to be here for the teenagers who don’t want to put away their phones.” They hope to add evening hours this fall,  but don’t expect them to give up on the ghost kitchen concept. Pepe’s Pizza has been popular, and Brad Ball is already also thinking about a concept serving international street food.
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Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South

Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter

A tale of two models, decades apart, whose lives are changed at the Frick mansion. The dual timelines seamlessly connect  their lives within the New York’s Frick museum. Loosely based on the real-life artists’ model Davis layers a fictional story over the scaffolding of historical facts, she smoothly combines fact with fiction.


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