A new music park has broken ground in Kinston and will be the centerpiece for the eight county African American Music Trail. Construction has started at the site, which is located on the corner of South Queen and Springhill streets. When finished, the music park will feature a 12-foot high by 23-foot wide sculpture documenting famous local musicians such as Maceo and Melvin Parker. Executive Director of the Kinston Community Council for the Arts Sandy Landis says the park will also have a place where musicians can perform impromptu shows.
In early April, the Ferry Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation began installing new toll booths at three ferry terminals along the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. In preparation for new ferry tolls going into effect July 1st, the Ferry Division began installation on Monday along the Bayview-Aurora and Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach ferry routes. Steve Abbott, Communications Officer for the Ferry Division, says they lowered the cost of the installation by constructing the toll booths themselves.
Following a 6 month break in construction of the Buddy Phillips Bridge, the project is back on track.The 12 million dollar bridge replacement crosses the New River on US 17 business in downtown Jacksonville. The 800 foot, 4-lane bridge replacement was halted because the original contractors, Intercoastal Contracting of Castle Hayne, filed for bankruptcy. Smith-Rowe LLC is being subcontracted to finish the last leg of work. Project Manager for the Buddy Phillips bridge Thomas Barton says construction started last month.
Sequestration imposed a 5 percent budget cut on all National Park Service facilities. That has resulted in a reduction of $123,417 to Cape Lookout National Seashore’s budget of nearly two-and-a-half million dollars. Because of the cut visitors will see some changes in Seashore operations. The Harkers Island Visitor Center will close on weekends beginning this Sunday with all Ranger-led interpretive programs at Harkers Island and the Cape Lookout lighthouse discontinued.
One Source Communications says they’ll expand their operations in Greenville. One Source is a local telecommunications and software development company that currently employs about 90 people. The project is being awarded a $250,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center that will be used toward paying construction costs. Plans include doubling the size of One Source’s Arlington Boulevard corporate offices. The city of Greenville will match the grant at a rate of $250 per new job for a $12,500 total.
Fire managers with the U-S Forest Service were alerted to the fire around 9:30 Sunday night located near Highway 24 and Nine Mile Road. As of yesterday evening the 553-acre fire was 60 percent contained. About 20 firefighters with the U-S Forest Service, state Forest Service, volunteer fire departments and other agencies have been working on containing the blaze. No injuries or property damage has been reported. Roads in the forest are open. Fire managers are investigating the fire that they believe was started by humans. I’m George Olsen.
Crews are on site today repairing a water main that caused a 20 foot wide sinkhole in Havelock. Jared Brumbaugh reports.
The incident occurred when a connection between an old water line and a newer pipe gave way around 7 pm last night. The sudden release of water created a sinkhole 20 feet across and 15 feet deep near the bridge on Pineview Street and Joe’s Branch. Public Information Coordinator with the city of Havelock Diane Miller says crews were at the site today pumping water from the problem area to initiate the repair.
Recent media reports have indicated a lack of Highway Patrol in eastern North Carolina. Captain John Nyberg of Troop A says the shortage is real and they have sustained a minimum of troopers for years. Nyberg says Troop A currently employs 121 Highway Patrolmen, but the ideal number is 150.
"That number is one that's been around for quite a long time, and you don't have to look that far to see how much the population has increased over the years."
ECU introduced Jeff Compher as the university’s new athletics director. Compher has been athletic director at Northern Illinois University for the past five years. He has past ties to North Carolina having served as an assistant athletic director at N-C State from 1986 to 1992 and was athletic director at Western Carolina from 2000 to 2004. He succeeds Terry Holland who announced his retirement last December. Compher signed a 5-year contract and will start his job May 1.
A press release from the Department of Public Instruction says it received 70 applications by the March 1st deadline for proposed charter schools to open in August 2014. That is the largest number of applicants since the first charter school opened in 1997. The review process on those applications now begins. Any application that is not complete will not advance. The complete applications will go before the Public Charter School Advisory Council for review, a process that takes several months.
The proclamation signed by Gov. Pat McCrory advises North Carolinians to be on the lookout for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms as the spring season approaches. A tornado drill will take place this Wednesday at schools and government buildings so officials can rehearse emergency plans. Last year 60 tornado warnings were issued by the National Weather Service in North Carolina. Twenty-one tornadoes were recorded that injured 22 people and caused over $19 million in damages. There were over 1200 incidents of severe thunderstorms which killed six and injured 46 others.
Sen. Burr yesterday introduced a resolution to designate March 29th as Vietnam Veterans Day. California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer is co-sponsoring the legislation. It marks the third consecutive year that Sen. Burr has sought to get such a designation. He chose March 29th as it marks the anniversary of the day in 1973 that combat and combat support units withdrew completely from South Vietnam.
At some point before Friday at midnight, the President is expected to order across-the-board budget cuts to save $1.2 trillion dollars over the next ten years. Jared Brumbaugh spoke with Congressman G.K. Butterfield about how sequestration could impact eastern North Carolina.
“It appears it’s too late, that it’s definitely going to happen.”
If the sequestration goes forward, most of the effects could be felt in our area immediately. Butterfield says military readiness and middle class families would be hit the hardest.
5,000 gallons of wastewater has spilled into a creek in Jacksonville, following more than an inch and a half of rain on Tuesday. The City’s Maintenance and Utilities Superintendent Pete Deaver was at the site Thursday afternoon testing the water.
“There is nothing else we can do. The rain water helps it dilute the affluent that reaches the waters. We have made some repairs to the man hole where the overflow occurred.”