A press release from the Department of Public Instruction says the rate of students graduating in four years or less is now 83.8 percent … up from 82.5 percent in 2013 and from 68.3 percent when the state first started reporting the four-year cohort graduation rate in 2006. The percentage of students graduating in five-years or less is 84.9. DPI notes the graduation rate has risen despite students needing at least 22 credits to graduate compared to needing 20 in 2009. DPI also reported that all subgroups of students had higher graduation rates in 2014 from the prior year.
North Carolina wants the public’s help in dealing with a growing problem – buzzards at boat ramps across the state.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission says the Buzzards, also known as vultures, are federally protected birds of prey. Geoff Cantrell of the Commission’s Public Affairs says the birds have damaged vehicles and trailers.
“They are leaving scratches and torn places on vehicles and boat trailers, they are pulling at the molding around windshields, pulling at the wiper blades, they are pulling at antennas – that sort of thing.”
Severe weather on Monday spawned reports of hail damage in Eastern North Carolina. Lee Jenkins reports.
Craven and Pamlico County were pelted with hail caused by Monday afternoon’s severe thunderstorms. The National Weather Service says the City of Havelock took the brunt of it. Minnesott Beach, Charles Street, and the Cherry Point marine base had reports of golf ball sized hail, two inches in diameter. Gumbranch Park in Havelock had hail the size of baseballs, and sixty-five mile-per-hour wind gusts were recorded near Cherry Point.
North Carolina’s Mining and Energy Commission will accept public comments on its proposed oil and gas development regulations. Lee Jenkins reports.
The regulations were drafted in response to the Energy Modernization Act, which legalized fracking. The Commission is currently allowing citizens to offer suggestions and feedback to the proposed rules via written and oral comments. While the commission will examine all comments, it will more heavily consider suggestions with a strong factual basis. Commissioner Jim Womack:
The City of Washington will soon resurvey its Historic District using grant money from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund. The grant amounts to 11,000 dollars, and the District is one of the largest of its kind in the state. According to Washington’s Community Development Planner Jennifer Brenan, the survey may take up to a year to complete.
The Coastal Plain Baseball League is holding its All-Star game tonight, and Governor Pat McCrory plans to attend. Lee Jenkins Reports.
The game starts at seven in Big Rock Stadium. The top players from all of the league’s teams will be participating. Morehead City city manager David Whitlow states that, while he’s unsure as to why Governor McCrory’s attending, he’s certainly glad to have him at the game.
Hyde County experienced minor flooding, storm surge, and widespread property debris on the north end of Ocracoke Island. The high winds knocked down 30 power poles on Ocracoke. Electricity was restored around 10 pm Saturday. Emergency Services Director Justin Gibbs says the major impact came from wind damage. “they’re working on obtaining some additional resources to assist with debris cleanup. I think they’re looking at getting an additional chipper and an additional dump truck to go over to Ocracoke to try to expedite the process.” Gibbs says it will be at least another wee
After six months of searching, Pitt County has appointed a new Director of Social Services. Lee Jenkins reports.
As of Monday, Jan Elliot has replaced Interim Director Earl Marett as head of the Department. Elliot’s first goal as Director is to acquaint herself with the workings and workers of Pitt County’s DSS and to continue to tweak and fine tune some of the projects started by her predecessors.
“There were some issues with the computer system that the state had, with making sure that applications and reviews were done timely, the NC Fast system.”
Grants are being awarded to two businesses in the East to help spur economic growth and help the environment. Before June 30th, the Recycling Business Assistance Center will award $800,000 in matching grants to 32 companies throughout the state. According to a press release from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the grants will help generate more than 80 jobs and $1.6 million dollars in new business investments. Companies that receive grant money must match at least 50 percent of their award. New East Recycling and Container Service in
Public input is being sought as the National Park Service develops guidelines for off road vehicle use at Cape Lookout. The off road vehicle management plan seeks to evaluate whether or not to allow off road vehicles. Three statewide public meetings have already taken place and the comment period for the draft Off Road Vehicle Plan remains open through Monday, July 21st. Cape Lookout National Seashore Park Superintendent Pat Kenney says off road vehicle use must be regulated to minimize impact to coastal wildlife and habitat, and visitors to the park.
The Institute of Marine Scientists released a handful recuperated sea turtles this/yesterday morning.
A team of coastal scientists carried seven sea turtles out to the Gulf Stream, about fifteen miles offshore. Marine Biologist Matthew Godfrey says the Pine Knoll shores Aquarium will be monitoring some of the turtles for the next few months.
Proposed Senate legislation may require Duke Energy to excavate and reseal all of its coal ash basins in the state. In the wake of a breach that contaminated a 70-mile stretch of the Dan River, a handful of key legislators have drafted a bill that would mandate the closing of more than one-hundred ash dumps. About a dozen of the sites lie near power plants in Goldsboro and Wilmington. Currently, the bill also requires the toxic ash be re-buried in sealed landfills within the next fifteen years.
Unemployment rates across virtually all of North Carolina have decreased. In Eastern North Carolina, Carteret County experienced one of the sharpest declines, dropping from 6.6% to 5.6%. According to Division of Commerce public information manager Larry Parker, seasonal employment cycles are partially responsible for the decline in the East.
“Hiring is starting to happen for certainly the coastal counties, and it’s that time of the year where students leave school and start looking for that summer work.”