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…”
After more than a decade of service in Craven County, the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Center, WildARC, is closing its doors. A dwindling staff and a mountainous workload have prompted WildARC’s founder and manager, Ellen Westermann, to close the facility. While WildARC remains open to treat and raise its remaining patients, it will no longer accept injured animals. Still, there are other clinics in the region, such as the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter in Newport, that will provide rehabilitation services for wounded or orphaned animals.
The Greenville Airport is nearing the completion of a new hangar designed primarily for private planes. In response to high demand for hangar space, the Greenville Airport has begun building a $400,000 hangar to house private planes. Airport Director Jerry Vickers says that demand came almost entirely from private owners, attributing the demand in part to a lack of facilities for private planes. Vickers also cited that the increased hangar capacity would lead to increased demand.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission has renewed a certificate to construct a 20,000-acre wind turbine farm in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported that the project remains on hold. The commission order Tuesday says the state requires the certificate be renewed within two years of the first time the project received approval. Pasquotank County Planning Director Shelley Cox say Atlantic Wind hasn't signed a contract with a power company to purchase electricity generated by the proposed 150 turbines.
Carteret County Animal Shelter has failed their state inspection and now they’re calling on volunteers to help make repairs. Rusted fencing, corroded kennel runs, and deteriorated floors are just a few of the problems the shelter must fix by June 30th to get their license reinstated. Shelter Lead Rachel Jackson hopes that the community will help make repairs during a volunteer effort on Saturday, May 18th.
The July 4 fireworks show at Camp Lejeune is the latest victim of the federal budget cuts. The Marine Corps said Tuesday that the fireworks celebration has been canceled because of the cuts known as sequestration. Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry said supporting the Marines, those who have been wounded and families are the top priorities. Gorry says canceling the event will allow the base to use resources for other financial challenges. Director of Public Affairs at Camp Lejeune Nat Fahy.
A vacant property in Greenville could become a new DNA processing facility. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The company wanting to purchase the facility has asked to remain anonymous. The 68-hundred square foot building is located near Vidant Medical Center. Existing Industries Coordinator with the Pitt County Development Commission Scott Poag says they’re seeking a $60,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center to facilitate renovations. He adds the grant amount is based upon how many jobs are created.
A 30 to 35 million dollar residential project is underway on Reade Circle in Greenville. The five story building will house up to five hundred people, and includes a parking deck, a pool, courtyards, and dining. Construction crews are demolishing buildings on the 10 to 11 thousand square feet of space being used for the project. Construction will begin by early Fall of this year. Investors, Tom Taft and Jim Ward, say construction is estimated for completion in the summer of 2015.
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.
The state Department of Transportation is starting a two-week project to rid North Carolina's roadsides of litter. Litter Sweep concludes April 27. Volunteers will be aided by DOT transportation crews, Adopt-A-Highway groups, N.C. Department of Public Safety inmate crews and community service workers.
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.