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.
The Governor’s Office announced that Pactiv LLC would expand manufacturing facilities in Lenoir and Iredell Counties. A press release said the expansions would add 77 new jobs and result in an investment of over $9 million at the plants in Kinston and Mooresville though there was no indication of the breakdown of jobs and investment at each facility. The press release did not state an average salary for the new positions, saying salaries would vary, and that the average annual payroll for the new positions would be over $2.5 million.
The ironclad CSS Neuse laid under the waters of the Neuse River in Kinston for around 100 years before it was raised in the 1960s. It most recently had been housed in an outdoor shelter at the Governor Caswell Memorial Site before being very slowly moved a year ago June to its first climate-controlled indoor facility. This Thursday the remains of the ironclad will receive its first visitors since that move. Prior to the opening a highway marker will be unveiled at 130 S. Queen Street at 10:30 am followed by the first interpretive tours of the ship at the CSS Neuse Museum at 100 N.
Over the next month interviewers will call hundreds of coastal residents asking them about their past actions and future plans when evacuation orders are issued. The state did a similar study in 2003. But with the state’s population expanding more than 15 percent since that time… and many of those new residents having not experienced a hurricane… the state wants to get new information. Public Safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan says knowing how residents receive evacuation information… and then what they do with it… will help the department better coordinate and allocate resources.
The moves are in response to a $37 billion dollar cut in the Department of Defense budget for this fiscal year as a result of federal sequestration. A press release from the base says civilian employees… with a few exceptions… will have to take one day of unpaid leave each week between next Monday and September 21. First responders such as police and fire personnel are exempt from the furloughs. The reduction in personnel will prompt changes in operations, including closing the commissary and the pharmacy at the exchange on Mondays.
AAA Carolinas expects about a 2% decline in travel for the July 4th holiday. They’re estimating 988,500 state residents traveling during the five-day holiday period. Most of the decline is attributed to the shorter holiday period… last year the 4th fell on a Wednesday, this year on a Thursday. Some of the blame is also attributed to gas prices which, while mostly flat for the past two months, are 8% higher than a year ago.
Two of the turtles were rescued off Cape Lookout back in April suffering from symptoms of cold-stunning that occurs when turtles get suddenly caught in waters where the temperature drops suddenly, leaving them lethargic and unable to feed or swim. The other came to the Aquarium as a hatchling in August 2011, unable to get out of a nest on Bogue Banks on his own. All are green sea turtles. Rescued turtles are released as soon as they’ve recovered.
The 2013 Kids Count Data Book ranks North Carolina 35th in the nation in overall child well-being. The survey looks at four categories… economic well-being, family and community, education and health. North Carolina’s highest ranking was in education where it placed 27th though the report noted the percentage of students graduating high school on time had declined 18 percent in a five-year period. The report noted gains in fourth grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiency. The state’s lowest ranking was in economic well-being with 26% of children living in poverty in 2011.
With the economy improving and lower gas prices, the Crystal Coast should have a strong summer season. Tourism at the beach has been on the upswing for a while, despite the recession, a trend indicated by a 12% increase over last year in advanced reservations for cottages and condos.
The NAACP’s Forward Together Movement made a stop in eastern North Carolina on June 4th. Jared Brumbaugh was there and says nearly 150 people attended the informational forum at the Jasper P Haynes Omega Center in New Bern to hear about current legislation in the General Assembly. North Carolina NAACP President William J. Barber was the guest speaker at the event. “I know y’all are church folks so don’t cuss yet. But this stuff will make you cuss…”