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.”
Officials from the National Weather Service are surveying damage today in Beaufort and Hyde counties to determine the strength of yesterday’s tornado that severely damaged eight homes and hospitalized five people. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The hardest hit of yesterday’s storm, around the town of Belhaven on Beech Ridge Road. John Pack is Director of Beaufort County Emergency Services.
“we think there were the possibly of two tornadoes. One may have not touched the ground, the other one definitely did.”
UPDATE April 15 -- The state Department of Cultural Resources reports the CSS Neuse archeology dive is off indefinitely
UPDATE March 13 -- The Friday, March 14 search has been postponed because of high water conditions on the Neuse. There is no firm date for rescheduling other than the search should take place in the next 30 days.
INTRO – The State Underwater Archeology Team will be on the Neuse River in Kinston Monday searching for remnants of the CSS Neuse. George Olsen has more.
Greenville, Ayden and Winterville have partnered together to use new technology to assess their roads. They’ve contracted with Transmap to do an assessment of every street in the three cities. Transmap uses a specially outfitted van that uses LIDAR and photography to evaluate road conditions. It actually looks below the road surface without having to take a core sample, damaging the road. This will enable engineers to prioritize microsurfacing, resurfacing or complete rebuild projects.
The Governor’s Office announced that 3221 state employees will get an average 4.2 percent salary increase. Approximately $7.5 million was authorized by the General Assembly to compensate employees in high-demand professions such as medicine and information technology. About 1200 nurses and 600 law enforcement personnel will get raises up to 4 percent while the remaining can receive increases up to 10 percent.
The Public School Forum of North Carolina report says public school resources provided by the state’s ten highest wealth counties was over $59,000 more per classroom than the lowest spending counties. The study blamed a wide variation in property wealth across the state. It said the 25 wealthiest counties had nearly $1.5 million in real estate wealth available per child in the 2011-2012 school year compared to about $394,000 for the bottom 25 counties. The spending gap persists despite the poorest counties taxing at a rate about 43 cents higher than the wealthiest.