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Author: tproctor

Pender County Emergency Management reminds residents it’s time to prepare, stay alert

PENDER COUNTY – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management urges residents to prepare for Hurricane Idalia, which is expected to impact the Gulf Coast of Florida and move up the East Coast. Meanwhile, off the East Coast is Hurricane Franklin, a Category 4 storm that is impacting the coast with dangerous rip currents.

“Pender County Emergency Management is closely monitoring Hurricane Idalia,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Management director. “This storm is expected to strengthen and will impact the coast of Carolina.”

According to the latest reports, Pender County will be impacted by heavy rainfall and tropical-force winds Wednesday through Thursday. This could result in fallen trees and downing of power lines. Some coastal flooding may occur, especially with the King Tide on Wednesday and Thursday.

The greatest danger is the spawning of tornadoes and waterspouts.

“This is the time to prepare,” said Batson. “Tropical storms and Category 1 hurricanes cause more deaths than even the most powerful of storms. It’s important to treat these storms with caution and preparation.”

If you don’t have a hurricane emergency kit, there is time to assemble a kit. Have batteries, plenty of drinking water, non-perishable foods, medications, cash, a full tank of fuel in your vehicles, and propane in stock. A complete checklist is available online at www.readync.org. The cell phone app is free to download.

Batson said the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff will continue to monitor the storm.

“When preparing, keep in mind the items you need to maintain the health and safety of your family and pets,” said Batson. “This is the time to secure lawn furniture and items that can be lifted away by strong winds.”

Free text, telephone, or email alerts are free by opting into the county’s Nixle emergency alerts system. Go to www.pendercountync.gov or www.nixle.com to sign up. To get information text your zip code to 888777 and get the Nixle Emergency Notifications on your smartphone.

Pender County Emergency Management will post updates on the Facebook page at facebook.com/penderem and on the website, www.pendercountync.gov. If you need assistance call the EM office at 910- 259-1210.

Sign up now to receive local emergency alerts

PENDER COUNTY –  With a probable tropical storm approaching this week, now is the perfect time to sign up for real-time public safety messages.

 

Pender County has contracted with Nixle to implement a Community Notification System to alert residents of localized emergencies and relevant community advisories. This will replace CodeRed which has been used by Pender County Emergency Management for several years.

 

“Our priority is the health and safety of our residents,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Emergency Management Director. “We urge all of residents, businesses, and visitors of Pender County to register for this free community alert system.”

 

There are three ways to register:

Go to www.pendercountync.gov and sign up via the Nixle Widget

Text your Zip Code to 888777 from your mobile phone

Download the Everbridge (Nixle Alert) App on your mobile phone.

 

Once registered, residents will receive a confirmation text on their mobile device. Residents may also customize their alert settings by going to www.nixle.com to create a User Profile.

 

Landline telephone numbers are automatically updated every month and will receive voice alerts, so no action is necessary if a resident only uses a landline.

 

“This service is secure, reliable, and easy to use,” said Batson. “The service will alert residents to weather conditions, wildfires, and more by geographic location.”

 

All Alerts will be targeted geographically, allowing residents to receive localized, relevant alerts from Pender County. Alerts can be sent via Text messaging, Email, Voice, Web, Social Media, and the Nixle Mobile App in an instant.

 

Nixle, founded in 2009, is known for its data security. The company serves more than 7,200 agencies within the United States for emergency alerts.

 

For questions or concerns call Pender County Emergency Management at 910-259-1210.

Pender County Tourism announces another record year in visitor economic impact

Pender County spending increases by 14.7 percent to $189.66 million

PENDER COUNTY – Domestic and international visitors to and within Pender County spent $189.66 million in 2022, an increase of 14.7 percent from 2021. The data comes from an annual study commissioned by Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

“The tourism industry in Pender County continues to grow and once again, visitor spending hit an all-time high in our county,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director. “Tourism is driven by natural resources and outdoor recreation, history, agriculture and aquaculture, and film. Pender County offers visitors all these attractions.”

The travel and tourism industry in Pender County directly employs more than 1,004. The total payroll generated by the tourism industry in Pender County was $39.6 million.

The state tax revenue generated in Pender County totaled $6.2 million through state sales and excise taxes, and taxes on personal and corporate income. About $8.9 million in local taxes were generated from sales and property tax revenue from travel-generated and travel-supported businesses. The taxes generated by visitors save each Pender County resident $231.98.

The statistics come from the “Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties 2022.” The study was prepared for Visit North Carolina by Tourism Economics in collaboration with the US Travel Association.

Statewide, visitor spending in 2022 rose 15.2 percent to reach a record $33.3 billion. Urban areas, which experienced a decline during the pandemic have rebounded.

“North Carolina’s tourism industry draws its success from the authentic culture and experiences that flourish across a spectrum of settings,” said Wit Tuttell, Visit NC’s executive director. “The new report from Tourism Economics shows growth beyond our celebrated mountains and beaches to our urban centers and surrounding suburban and rural counties. Tourism’s strength across the state underscores the industry’s role as an anchor of economic development. The money visitors spend benefits everyone by sustaining jobs and reducing the tax burden for every resident.”

“The tourism industry is vital to the economic development of our county,” said Proctor. “For the last five years, Pender County has set new visitor spending records and increased the number of jobs. That’s excellent economic development.”

Pender County WIC receives the highest award of excellence

BURGAW – Pender County’s WIC department received the Premiere Award of Excellence from the US Department of Agriculture. The honor is called the WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence Program.

“This is the second time Pender County’s WIC agency has been honored,” said Carolyn Moser, Pender County Health and Human Services Director. “The recognition goes to agencies that have demonstrated model practices in Breastfeeding Peer Counseling as well as those who are at varying stages of implementing exemplary breastfeeding promotion and support practices.”

Only eight North Carolina local WIC agencies achieved the WIC Breastfeeding Award of Excellence. Six of those were Gold Award Winners. Pender County was one of only two agencies that was honored with the Premiere Award. The other county was Buncombe.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, this year North Carolina has the highest number of awardees in the southeast region, including the most Gold awardees and the only SERO State agency with Premiere awardees.

Pender and Buncombe counties have created an elite group, they are the only local WIC agencies in the southeast region to achieve the Premiere Award twice, according to the USDA.

“We are proud of our hardworking staff,” said Moser. “This is an important program that promotes good health for mother and child.”

To qualify for the Premiere Award, local WIC agencies must have a minimum of 15 percent of infants issued the fully breastfeeding food package in the previous year with improvement in the current year or a minimum of 25 percent of infants have been issued the fully breastfeeding food package in the current year.

WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children.

Multiple All-Way Stops coming to Pender County

Work scheduled to begin this week

MAPLE HILL – Multiple Pender County intersections are scheduled to become all-way stops over the next couple of weeks.

The intersections were selected for the new traffic pattern based on a safety review, traffic volumes, and crash patterns. On the following dates, these crossroads will become all-way stops:

  • Aug. 16: N.C. 53 at N.C. 50
  • Aug. 21: N.C. 210 at Malpass Corner Road/ Bell Williams Road
  • Aug. 23: Piney Woods Road at Horse Branch Road
  • Aug. 23: Penderlea Highway at Coras Grove Road

Drivers are urged to slow down while crews are working and be cautious of the new traffic pattern.

An all-way stop is an effective and cost-efficient way to improve the safety of an intersection and reduce the risk of serious crashes. To learn more about them, visit this NCDOT webpage.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

Are you a school? Business? Or Agency? Take the survey

The N.C. Office of Digital Equity and Literacy is collecting information about all organizations offering services that help people get online across the state. We want to learn about organizations, businesses, and programs that support internet affordability, access to computers and digital devices, digital skills and literacy, tech support, and free wifi. All resources shared through this survey will be published publicly and used to identify assets and gaps in the state’s comprehensive Digital Equity Plan.

If you are an organization, business, school, or agency that offers any of these services, we ask you to complete this survey. You will be able to download your response for your records once you have completed it. The survey should take anywhere between 10-30 minutes to complete, depending on the number of programs you are including.

You can take the survey using this link:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
https://ncsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6t08BwvYUuxnmui?Q_DL=aUu9KMVYAEcofRK_6t08BwvYUuxnmui_CGC_P3G0kxgt6fOdkxt&Q_CHL=email

If you would like to review the questions in advance, please see the attached PDF document. Note that you will not be asked to answer all of the questions in this document, only ones that related to the services offered by your organization. You can use the table of contents to go to the relevant sections for your programs.

Pender County tax officials updating records

BURGAW – Pender County Tax Administrator Melissa Radke announced Pender County officials and representatives from Vincent Valuations, a contractor hired by Pender County, are updating property tax records with visits to various homes within the county.

“Our staff and our contractors have proper identification when approaching a property,” said Radke. “Lanyards are worn, and our representatives will knock on the door in hopes of speaking with homeowners before taking exterior photographs and measurements.”

Pender County representatives will visit properties over the next six weeks to complete these field visits.

“The properties we are measuring and photographing are properties that have requested permits over the last three years,” explained Radke.

Radke stressed that Pender County tax department representatives do not ask to enter a structure or take photographs of the interior of a home.

“We are working to ensure that property records are up to date and accurate by visiting these properties and taking exterior measurements and photographs,” said Radke. “If any resident has concerns or questions, please call the tax assessor’s office at 910-259-1221.”

Pender County receives funds for water projects

BURGAW – As Pender County continues to grow, Pender County Utilities continues to expand its infrastructure.

“We seek funding opportunities from state and federal agencies,” said Pender County Manager David Andrews. “Over the last three years, Pender County Utilities has secured more than $73.75 million in funding from the North Carolina Division of Water Infrastructure (NCDWI).”

According to Pender County Utilities, the breakdown of funding includes:

  • $20 million was secured on August 3, 2020, of which $5 million is “principal forgiveness”, via a grant. An Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (ASADRA) funding was secured at 0.18% interest for a 20-year term.
  • $3.75 million, was secured on March 1, 2021, from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) with a 0.18% interest for a 20-year term; and
  • $25 million, was secured on March 23, of this year, at a 0.10% interest for a 20-year term from DWSRF.

“On July 18, we were notified the county will receive another $25 million with a low-interest rate for a 20-year term,” said Andrews.

According to Pender County Utilities Director Kenny Keel, the $73.75 million in awards is solely for the Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Treatment Plant project.

“This funding and RO plant project are essential for Pender County to meet our future water usage needs,” said Keel. “Our long-term water supply planning will ensure our customers receive the best quality water and have the capacity for the growth of the region.”

“We are addressing the supply and pressure concerns,” said Keel. “It’s our mission to provide safe, clean, and reliable drinking water to Pender County.”

“Meeting the needs of our growing community is a priority for Pender County,” added Andrews. “This is why we are committing more than $80 million to the Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant in addition to several additional utility projects.”

Currently, Pender County Utilities is working on several capital improvement projects, including the Scotts Hill Elevated Tank and Wells for $13.3 million; water and sewer extensions at Pender Commerce Park for $385,600; a connection with Cape Fear Public Utilities Authority at US 421 for $670,000; and a sewer pump station force main and water main at US 421 for $11.2 million.

 

Proposed New Library in Hampstead: Pender County Library Invites Public Input on Location

HAMPSTEAD – Pender County is contemplating the construction of a new, larger library in Hampstead and seeks public feedback on the location. This would replace the existing Pender County Library Hampstead Branch. The new facility will replace the current Hampstead Branch, with two potential sites under consideration, both on Highway 17.

The first option is to renovate and expand the existing Hampstead Branch on Library Drive (across the street from Taco Bell and Wendy’s), while the second proposes constructing an entirely new library next to the Pender County Government Annex in Hampstead (across the street from Bojangles).

No matter which option is chosen, the size of the new, larger library would be the same at either location. Additionally, the associated project costs are expected to be roughly equal. This is because if the county renovates and expands the existing Library Drive site, the county will need to purchase additional surrounding property. On the other hand, if the new library is built at the Annex site, the county could offset costs by selling the existing Library Drive property.

To gather public opinion, a survey is available both in paper form at the Hampstead Branch Library (75 Library Drive) and the Main Library in Burgaw (103 S. Cowan Street) and online at penderpubliclibrary.org. The survey will be open from July 20 to August 20.

In addition, there will be two public information sessions at the Hampstead Branch Library on Tuesday, August 8 at 6 pm and on Saturday, August 19 at 10:30 am. These sessions will provide attendees the opportunity to ask questions and to learn additional details about the two locations under consideration.

For more information, please contact Allen Phillips-Bell at 910-259-0306 or abell@pendercountync.gov.

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