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Author: tproctor

 NCDHHS Urges North Carolinians to “Fight the Bite” with Insect Repellant and Other Prevention Tools to Avoid Tick- and Mosquito-Borne Disease



RALEIGH — With warmer weather on the way, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services urges North Carolinians to “Fight the Bite” by taking measures to reduce their risk of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. In 2022, almost 700 cases of tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses were reported in the state.

As part of this April’s Tick and Mosquito Awareness Month, NCDHHS is announcing the return of the Fight the Bite campaign to increase awareness about the dangers of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases and to educate North Carolinians about measures they can take to protect themselves.

“Ticks and mosquitoes are everywhere in North Carolina and their bites can cause serious diseases,” said Alexis M. Barbarin, Ph.D., State Public Health Entomologist. “We encourage all North Carolinians to explore the outdoors but do so safely and take protective measures like using DEET or other EPA approved repellants.”

Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease and other tickborne diseases can cause fever, headache, rashes, flu-like illness and other symptoms that can be severe.  Alpha-gal syndrome and southern tick-associated rash illness, or STARI, have been seen in the state as well. Most diagnoses of tick-borne diseases are reported between June and September, and cases of Lyme disease accounted for more than half of tick-borne diseases reported last year.

Ticks live in wooded, grassy and brushy areas; frequenting these areas can put you in contact with ticks and increase the potential exposure to vector-borne diseases. To reduce exposure to ticks:

The mosquito-borne diseases most often acquired in North Carolina are West Nile virus (WNV), eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and La Crosse encephalitis (LAC). North Carolina reported the second-highest number of LAC cases in the United States between 2012 and 2021.

Most mosquito-borne diseases reported in the state are acquired while traveling outside the continental United States, including cases of malaria, dengue, chikungunya and Zika.

To reduce exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET (or equivalent) when outside. Use caution when applying to children.
  • Consider treating clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks and tents) with 0.5% permethrin.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors and use air conditioning if possible.
  • “Tip and Toss” — Reduce mosquito breeding by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires and birdbaths at least once a week.

Talk with your primary care provider or local health department if you plan to travel to an area where exotic mosquito-borne diseases occur.

​Always check your destination to identify appropriate prevention methods. Travel associated health risk information is available at

The Fight the Bite Campaign is a collaboration between the NCDHHS, local health departments and schools to promote a K-12 poster artwork contest that uses illustration to increase tick- and mosquito-borne disease awareness in North Carolina. Entries are due April 10, and information regarding contest submission and deadlines can be found here. Winners of this statewide awareness poster contest will be announced at the end of April.

​For more information on vector-borne diseases in North Carolina, please visit the NCDHHS Vector-Borne Diseases webpage here.

EPA announces proposal to regulate PFAS in drinking water

DEQ provides assistance to public water systems

RALEIGH– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known to occur in drinking water. Specifically, EPA is proposing an enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS, at 4 parts per trillion (ppt), a level that can be reliably measured by most labs. The proposed rule would also regulate GenX chemicals, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS through the use of a Hazard Index calculation to determine if the combined levels of these PFAS pose a potential risk to human health. Once the proposed EPA rule becomes final, public water systems will have three years to comply with the regulation. More information on the EPA announcement and how to provide public comment is available here.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has been working with public water systems to prepare for the proposed regulation and assess PFAS levels in drinking water systems across the state. Under the Action Strategy for PFAS, DEQ is taking a whole-of-department approach to protect communities by identifying, reducing, and remediating PFAS pollution. DEQ is also utilizing federal funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help address PFAS contamination, including funding designated specifically for small, rural, and underserved communities.

“North Carolina has been leading efforts to address forever chemicals in our drinking water and today’s EPA announcement provides additional federal support and a roadmap for the public water systems in our state,” said Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser. “Having clear direction on national drinking water standards supports DEQ’s work with public water systems to protect the people of North Carolina.”

In late 2022, DEQ performed three months of sampling at 50 municipal and county water systems (map) identified in the 2019 PFAST Network study with PFOA/PFOS detections above the minimum reporting level indicated by the 2022 EPA interim health advisories or GenX above 10 ppt. DEQ is actively working with the systems on next steps and providing technical assistance.

Some public water systems in North Carolina are currently monitoring for PFAS voluntarily.  DEQ is also implementing plans to sample hundreds of smaller water systems that may not have that capability to better assess the levels of PFAS on a statewide basis. DEQ recommends that public water systems share their PFAS results with customers.

Beyond public water systems, DEQ has taken several actions to better identify PFAS sources and reduce emissions and discharges:

  • Requiring PFAS information from new facilities and industries and developing permit conditions as appropriate throughout the state;
  • Inventorying and prioritizing locations for additional assessment where these substances may have been manufactured, used, discharged or disposed;
  • Adding permit conditions as appropriate to address PFAS air emissions, waste generation, or wastewater discharges and require disclosure of data and additional monitoring;
  • Conducting groundwater testing and additional monitoring in areas with known or suspected PFAS contamination;
  • Requiring all solid waste sanitary landfills to include PFAS analyses of all regular groundwater, surface water and leachate samples;

DEQ continues to gather data to support setting regulatory standards and to provide technical assistance to facilities to reduce future PFAS pollution.

If you have public water, contact your water provider to find out whether they have sampled for PFAS and what steps they are taking to address PFAS.

If you are concerned about the level of PFAS in your drinking water, whether you are on a private well or public water system, you may consider adding filtration to reduce the amount of PFAS you consume. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has developed a list of filtration options, from whole house or under sink systems to pitcher of fridge filters with information on their effectiveness. NC DHHS Filtration Options and Sampling Factsheet

Additional information on PFAS is available on the DEQ website.

Pender County breaks ground on new water tower and well fields

Pictured left to right are Pender County Fire and EMS Director Everette Baysden, Pender County Utilities Director Kenny Keel, Pender County Commissioner Jerry Groves, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners Jackie Newton, Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority Chairman Norwood Blanchard, Pender County Commissioner Wendi Fletcher-Hardee, and Pender County Manager David Andrews at the groundbreaking of a water infrastructure project in Scotts Hill. 


BURGAW- Pender County officials broke ground at the construction site of a new elevated water tank and well fields today.

“This infrastructure project is important to Pender County,” said Jackie Newton, Chair of the Pender County Board of County Commissioners. “We’re increasing the water capacity in Hampstead and Scotts Hill by approximately 750,000 gallons per day and most importantly will improve fire flow in the Scotts Hill area.”

The Pender County Utilities projects includes construction of a new 500,000-gallon elevated water tank and three well facilities.

“The tank and one well will be located adjacent to Pender EMS & Fire Station 18 in Scotts Hill,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director.

The additional two wells will be constructed adjacent to South Topsail Elementary School on Hoover Road and the existing Hampstead elevated water tank on US17 near Topsail High School.

“We are appreciative of the collaboration with Pender Fire and EMS co-location of the tank and well in Scotts Hill,” said David Andrews, Pender County manager.

The total project cost is $13,187,000 and has a scheduled completion date of May 12, 2024.

DEQ to hold Community Meeting in Pender County on Private Well Sampling

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a community information meeting on Tuesday, February 28, at Heide Trask Senior High School Auditorium in Rocky Point.

DEQ will share updates on private well sampling underway for PFAS contamination in Columbus, New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties.  Staff will also answer questions from the public about the private well sampling and alternate water supplies.

When:        Tuesday, February 28 at 6 p.m.

Where:      Heide Trask Senior High School
14328 NC Hwy 210, Rocky Point, NC 28457

Speaker sign-up will be available upon arrival at the meeting.

At DEQ’s direction, Chemours is sampling for PFAS contamination in eligible private drinking water wells downstream of the Fayetteville Works Facility. Chemours is required to provide alternate water supplies to residents whose wells exceed specific action levels.

To have your well sampled, call Chemours at (910) 678-1100. Messages to the Chemours call-line are monitored during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.); Chemours should respond within 24-to-48 hours starting on the next business day. If you don’t currently qualify for well testing, you may qualify in the future. Chemours is required to keep your contact information and notify you if testing expands to your area.

Additional well sampling information for residents, including criteria for eligible wells and other resources, are available on the DEQ website.

Governor’s Volunteer Service Award Nominations Due Feb. 13

BURGAW- The deadline for nominations for the 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award is approaching quickly.

“The deadline is Feb. 13, so there is still a little time remaining to submit nominations for the 2023 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award,” said Tammy Proctor, the Pender County Coordinator for the 2023 Volunteer Service Awards.

The awards program, created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Through the years the award has been bestowed on thousands of North Carolinians who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in their local community.

“Each county selects up to 10 individuals, businesses, groups/teams, and one paid director of volunteers to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to our community,” said Proctor.

One of the nominees will be nominated for the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, awarded to approximately the top 20 volunteers. A local committee evaluates the nominations.

“We have a number of amazing volunteers in Pender County,” said Proctor. “We urge every organization, director, or business to nominate someone today.”

Printed nomination forms are available in Pender County at the Pender County Tourism office, 106 E. Wilmington St. in Burgaw.

Nomination forms are available online at

Nomination forms are also available via email by contacting

The deadline to submit Pender County nominations is Feb. 13, 2023.

Award recipients will be recognized during National Volunteer Week, April 16-23, 2023.

2023 Governor's Volunteer Service Award Nomination Form

NCDOT releases the State of Aviation report

Henderson Field contributes significantly to the local economy

PENDER COUNTY – The North Carolina Department of Transportation released its annual report, The State of Aviation, on Monday. The report highlights the contribution of airports across the state.

“The 2023 North Carolina State of Aviation Report highlights the positive impacts North Carolina’s airport system has on our economy,” said Gage King, Henderson Field Airport manager in Pender County. “With a total economic impact of more than $72 billion, it is clear that aviation and our airport system are a vital part of our state’s economy.”

King said Henderson Field Airport is continuing to positively impact Eastern North Carolina’s local economy by supporting 60 jobs and generating $13,350,000 in economic activity annually.

It is often viewed that General Aviation airports such as Henderson Field in northern Pender County are burdens on the taxpayers, but this report relays the exact opposite.

“It’s important to know that this report is generated from data collected in 2021 which was highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said King. “While many other industries and sectors struggled through the pandemic, it is clear that aviation was very resilient and played a major role in the economic recovery.”

King points out that one of the key reasons for aviation’s role in the economic recovery was that small airports, including Henderson Field Airport, allowed businesses and vacationers to travel more safely with less human interaction. Additionally, he cited that our region is experiencing strong residential and business growth that has ultimately contributed to growth in our economic impact by more than 150 percent compared to the last aviation report in 2019.

“This report reaffirms the viability of investments made at the airport from both the local and state level,” said King. “We expect nearly $30 million in projects and development at Henderson Field Airport over the next five years. These investments will allow us to facilitate larger aircraft from further away, ultimately expanding access to our community for tourism, business, and industry.

“It will be exciting to see our local communities grow in the coming years and see Henderson Field Airport grow as an economic engine for our economy,” added King.

To read the State of Aviation report visit

The Broadband Resources for Cooperative Extension: FCC Broadband Map Edition

Take Action by January 13, 2023: Check Your FCC Broadband Map Data

— Written By  (1 day ago)

en Español

North Carolina residents have a chance of a lifetime. Your action or inaction will impact generations after you. It is imperative that you check your data in the new Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Map by January 13, 2023.

Why It Matters!

Better data leads to better resource allocation! If you need high-speed broadband, the data needs to support your need. You can now check what the FCC data indicates about connectivity at your home, farm, or business and CHALLENGE the FCC data.

Two Types of Challenges:

  • Location Information for home or business
  • Availability from Internet Service Providers

Location Challenge:

The location challenge is simple and straightforward. You look at a map and see if your correct structure(s) are designated as serviceable locations. If something is wrong, you can submit a challenge on the map. For example, on the farm my parents live on in Union County, NC, their residential location, indicated by a green dot, appears in the footprint of the old chicken house on their property. So I submitted a Location Challenge to get this corrected. The challenge appears as a purple dot in the image below.

An overhead satellite map with a blue pin.An overhead map with a blue pin over a structure.An overhead map, without satellite imagery. A challenge is denoted in purple

Availability Challenge:

An Availability Challenge was also needed for my parent’s home. Many years ago, cable TV was installed on our road, but for some reason, they did not run the cable past our farm. It stopped just up the road. Now Charter Communications (Spectrum) claims our farm is covered by their internet coverage. My parents cannot get internet from Spectrum unless they pay to extend the line to the farm. Therefore, I submitted an Availability Challenge, challenging Charter Communications (Spectrum) claim of internet coverage for their home.

Why is this important? If my parent’s home is labeled as covered with high-speed internet, funding would not be available to extend coverage to their home. This FCC Broadband Map will have a great deal of sway in funding allocations. That is why everyone needs to take action to be sure their map data is correct on the FCC map.

Here is the link where you can check your data:  FCC Broadband Map.

Here is the link to some resources to help promote the importance of this opportunity.

Here are some links to some How To Videos explaining the steps.

Visit the Broadband Resources page for information and ways to take action on broadband issues.

Click here on Broadband News to see broadband information related to N.C. Cooperative Extension

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