The Governor’s Highway Safety Program reports 88.6 percent of state residents buckled up in their 2013 survey… up 1.1 percent from 2012. Counties with the highest seat belt usage were Caldwell and Catawba at 93.8 percent while Robeson County was the lowest at 82.2. The biggest one year improvement was in Columbus County, up to 90.7 percent usage from 77.9 in 2012. Women buckled up more than men by about 5 points while drivers ages 16-24 were least likely to use their seat belt.
House Bill 937 signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory in late July amended state firearm laws, including provisions for guns on campuses. The bill will allow persons with concealed carry handgun permits to bring guns on school campuses. That includes events on campus, such as concerts or football games. A press release from East Carolina University notes firearms on campus must be in a locked container attached to a vehicle. A gun in a glove box of a locked vehicle would be compliant, but a gun visible in a locked vehicle would not.
An analysis by Triple A Carolinas lists Pitt County as the most dangerous county in the state for vehicle collisions for the fifth year running. Last year Pitt County had 4633 traffic crashes which worked out to about 307 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled… a rate about 50% higher than the state average of just below 205. Pitt County also was listed 2nd only behind Graham County for the rate of injuries sustained in crashes. TripleA Carolinas president and CEO David E. Parsons said consistently high ranking should be a wake-up call for better traffic enforcement or road design.
The Nature Conservancy announced the acquisition of 459 acres in Pender County. Half of the purchase price will come from the U-S Navy as the protected area will help buffer Camp Lejeune firing ranges from development. The Conservancy plans to restore a long-leaf pine forest to the area in order to expand habitat for the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The land also has some historical significance.
Early development for a large-scale highway connector is making good progress, but is still years away from completion. Lee Jenkins has more.
The thirty-five million dollar 10th Street Connector Project is speeding through its acquisition phase. Development rights have been settled for two thirds of the 193 properties affected by the project, some of which are businesses and residences.
According to the Greenville Daily Reflector, workers have already begun demolishing vacant homes along Farmville Boulevard and other streets.
A recently passed senate bill threatens to undermine the ecological balance at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Lee Jenkins has more.
Senate Bill 486, sponsored by senators Hagan and Burr, eliminates the current safeguards put into place to protect wildlife and pedestrians alike from beach vehicles. While the exact goal of the bill is unknown, the promotion of tourism seems to be its focus. But would the bill actually promote tourism? Kristen Brengel, from National Parks Conservation Association, believes it might not.
North Carolina Waste disposal companies could have more room to build landfills in legislation that changes a 2007 law designed to discourage out-of-state trash from being shipped Down East. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The American Red Cross is facing a shortage of blood. Lee Jenkins has more.
In a situation similar to last year, the Red Cross is facing a 10 percent nationwide decrease in blood donation, leaving them 50,000 donation short of their projections. According to the Communications Director of Eastern North Carolina's Red Cross, Autum Mihm, summer vacations for students have contributed to the drop in donations.