On Saturday February 9th, residents in the Cape Fear region can get help filing an appeal or reconsideration request with FEMA.  Hurricane Florence survivors have the right to appeal FEMA’s decision to deny them benefits or can request reconsideration from FEMA if they feel they are entitled to more benefits than they received. The right to appeal is up to 60 days after the date on the denial letter.

A clinic will be held on Saturday, February 9th, at Cape Fear Community College located at 411 North Front Street in Wilmington. Volunteers will be available to help families complete appeal requests. Morning hours for the clinic are 9:30 am to 12 pm. Afternoon hours are from 12:30 pm to 4 pm.

Public Information Meeting – Black River Watershed/Culvert Drainage Assessment

Cape Fear Resource, Conservation & Development (CFRC&D), in partnership with Moffatt & Nichol (M&N), Bladen and Pender Counties, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), will hold two public information meetings for interested citizens that reside within the Black River Watershed in Bladen and Pender Counties.

The meetings will be held Tuesday, February 12th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Bladen County and from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Pender County.

The Bladen County meeting will be held at the Rowan Fire Department (18933 NC Hwy 210 E, Ivanhoe, NC  28447). The Pender County meeting will be held at the Moores Creek Missionary Baptist Church (60 Minuteman Rd, Currie, NC 28435). The meetings will provide the opportunity for residents to view a brief presentation describing the project, view maps of the culvert locations, ask questions and provide comments.

The public may attend at any time during the meeting timeframe. Representatives from M&N, CFRC&D, Bladen and Pender Counties, and NCDOT will be available to answer questions and listen to comments regarding the drainage assessment project. The opportunity to submit written comments will also be provided at the meeting or via phone, email, or mail. Comments received will be taken into consideration as the project develops. Please click HERE to view the study area maps for Pender County.

Anyone desiring additional information regarding the project may contact Dawn York, Moffatt & Nichol Project Manager, by phone at 910-218-7087 or by email at or Rebeckah Hollowell, Moffatt & Nichol Assistant Project Manager, by phone at 984-239-2765 or by e-mail at

FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Deadline – January 31, 2019


The deadline for accepting applications for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to elevate or buyout flooded homes is Thursday January 31st.  The purpose of HMGP is to help communities implement hazard mitigation measures following a Presidentially declared disaster and enact efforts that reduce the risk of loss of life and property from future disasters. Applications can be turned into the Pender County Planning Department at 805 S. Walker Street, Burgaw.

More information is available at

Hurricane Florence Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

Buy-out workshop on Jan. 15

Pender County Planning and Community Development will host an Acquisition “Buy-out” Workshop for victims of Hurricane Florence. The meeting is set for Jan. 15, 6 – 8 p.m. in the Pender County Commissioner Chambers, 805 S. Walker St. in Burgaw.

Please see the recorded video below:

Pender County’s wastewater treatment plant receives state award

BURGAW –  The Pender County’s wastewater treatment facility in Pender Commerce Park was recognized for its engineering excellence by the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina.

“The Melinda K. Knoerzer Adaptive Ecosystem Reclamation Facility in Pender Commerce Park is an environmentally friendly and unique facility,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director. “We are very honored to accept this award with our construction project engineers, McKim & Creed.”

The adaptive ecosystem reclamation wastewater treatment facility is unique because of its 500,000 gallons per day hydroponic reactor design. The design includes a greenhouse enclosure which supports a diverse community of plants.  This “green” technology takes advantage of a natural process providing a cost effective and energy efficient treatment solution. It is currently the only adaptive ecosystem reclamation facility in the southeastern United States.

“This is a state-of-the-art facility serving our growing commercial base in Pender Commerce Park,” said Randell Woodruff, Pender County manager. “This is another example of Pender County’s future-thinking development.”

Each year the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina selects the top projects in the state to honor the year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments.

The Melinda K. Knoerzer Adaptive Ecosystem Reclamation Facility was presented the 2019 Grand Award at the annual Engineering Excellence Awards Dinner in Raleigh.

Inside the greenhouse


20 New Highway Projects For Division 3

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation today unveiled its draft 10-year transportation plan for 2020-2029 at the monthly Board of Transportation meeting in Raleigh. The plan, called the Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), includes 20 new highway projects in Division 3. The division covers Sampson, Duplin, Onslow, Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick.

The department’s 10-year plan is updated every two years. Projects scheduled in the first five years of the plan are considered committed and are not re-evaluated when a new plan is developed, but projects in the final five years of each 10-year plan are prioritized again for consideration in the next plan. The Board of Transportation is expected to consider final approval of the draft plan this summer.

The 20 new highway projects for Division 3 include:

  • Completion of connecting Interstate 40 and 95 by improving N.C. 24 to a four-lane divided highway in Cumberland, Sampson and Duplin Counties, construction starts in 2029;
  • Improvements to West Corbett Avenue between Belgrade-Swansboro Road and Front Street in Onslow County by converting it from a five-lane road into a superstreet; construction starts in 2029;
  • Widen N.C. 211 from two to four lanes in Brunswick County between Midway Road and Sunset Harbor Road, construction starts in 2029;
  • New Route for Cape Fear Crossing, between U.S. 17 in Brunswick County and N.C. 133, and a new bridge over the Cape Fear River, construction starts after 2029; and
  • Convert Gordon Road from a two to four-lane road between Market Street and I-40 in New Hanover County, construction starts in 2029

Projects with schedule adjustments include:

  • Improve Access management to Market Street from CSX Railroad to Cinema Drive; Jacksonville Street to north of College Road, to better coordinate with the Independence Extension Project, construction to start in 2025; and
  • Convert U.S. 17 to a superstreet between Washington Acres Road and Sloop Point Loop Road in Pender County, to provide traffic with an alternate route until Hampstead Bypass is open, project to still let Sept. 2019, but construction to start in 2023.

“These new projects will be a major benefit for locals, as well as those traveling throughout our state,” said Michael Alford, a member of the state Board of Transportation who represents the division. “These projects will improve congestion and promote economic development.”

The draft STIP includes projects across all transportation modes and in all 100 counties in the state. The list includes 1,266 highway projects, 86 aviation, 235 bicycle and pedestrian, six ferry, 23 public transit and 47 rail projects selected on statewide, regional and division levels. The projects were prioritized based on technical data as well as input from local officials and residents.

The draft plan includes about 500 changes in major highway projects from the current STIP. Half of the changes include new road projects. In addition, it includes about 200 projects where a schedule was changed for planning or budgeting needs, and 10 projects whose schedules were accelerated. Another 24 projects on the current STIP didn’t score high enough this time to remain in the new draft plan. A statewide list of these major highway changes can be found on the NCDOT STIP web page.

Projects that did not score high enough in the evaluation process to be funded at the statewide level rolled over to the regional level for consideration. Projects that were not funded at the regional level could still be considered at the division level. This cascading aspect of the process helps ensure that input from local officials and residents plays an important role in prioritizing projects for funding. More information about the STIP and how transportation projects are funded is available on the NCDOT website.

Division 3 will host an in-house week-long public comment opportunity in February or March during normal business hours. It will be a chance for interested residents to review maps and handouts about projects, ask questions of local staff, and submit comments. There will also be an opportunity for residents to submit comments online, with those details being announced later.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter.


State of Education and Economy event set for Jan. 31

BURGAW – Pender Education Partnership (PEP), a non-profit foundation designed to augment educational opportunities in Pender County’s public schools, will co-host with MojoTone the first Pender County State of Education and Economy on Jan. 31.

Dr. Steven Hill, superintendent of Pender County Schools, will highlight the current state of education and Randell Woodruff, Pender County manager, will spotlight economic development.

“The State of Education and Economy program will demonstrate that Pender County Schools is educating the workforce of tomorrow,” said Dave Stipe, PEP president. “We welcome our business owners and leadership to this first-time event.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. with beverages and hors d’oeuvres served, as well as tours of the MojoTone facility. The program speakers will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Attendees are urged to RSVP to 910-274-2100.

The event will take place at MojoTone, 137 Worth Beverage Dr. in Burgaw. MojoTone, the maker of American crafted amps, bridges, pickups, speakers, and guitar and bass parts, provides equipment for internationally known recording artists.

Pender Education Partnership, established in 2015, awards student scholarships and mini-grants to educators. Following Hurricane Florence, PEP spearheaded project HOPE, Help Our Pender Educators who were impacted by the storm.



Boil Water Advisory – January 9, 2019

PENDER COUNTY – Water service is restored along 117 in Rocky Point. However, customers whose water service was turned off are under a boil water advisory.

“Once we had the water completely off, approximately a dozen customers were without water,” said Kenny Keel, Pender County Utilities director. “We should be able to lift the advisory on those customers in approximately 24 hours.”

A section of 12” pipe was split by an adjacent pine tree that encroached on the pipe over nearly 20 years of its growth.

The water service disruption began around 5:30 a.m. PCU was first made aware by calls from customers in the area with low water pressure. The break was near 4555 US 117 on a 12” main. The break was located and crews have worked today to restore service.

Sign up for STEP Program by Jan. 17, Gov. Cooper Urges Hurricane Florence Survivors

Program Makes Partial Repairs to Damaged Houses so Survivors Can Return Home Sooner

RALEIGH: North Carolinians who are eligible for a special program to provide rapid repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Florence have until January 17, 2019 to sign up and should not delay, Governor Roy Cooper urged today. The Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program provides temporary, partial repairs at no cost to homeowners so Hurricane Florence survivors can return to and remain in their homes while longer-term repairs continue.

“People pushed out of their homes by Hurricane Florence long to return home, and for eligible homeowners the STEP program can help them get home sooner,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Returning home puts families back in their own communities and closer to work and school as they put their lives back together after this devastating storm.”

The STEP program is designed to provide repairs to homes that received approximately $17,000 of damage or less in Hurricane Florence. The program is available in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties.

A total of 15,784 North Carolina storm survivors have been contacted by telephone, text message and postcard to encourage them to apply to participate in the STEP program. Eligible homeowners were selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on data gathered from survivors who registered with FEMA.

To participate in the STEP program, eligible homeowners must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form by January 17, 2019.

Once a homeowner completes the form, an inspector will visit the home to assess the damage. For homes confirmed eligible for STEP, the inspector will develop a repair plan. Depending on the level of damage, the repairs will be made by either a volunteer disaster relief group (NC Baptists on Mission or United Methodist Committee on Relief) or a professional contractor managed by the state.

So far, volunteer groups have completed STEP repair work on 20 homes with work in progress on another 31 homes. Work is set to begin soon on hundreds more homes whose owners have already signed up for the program.

The STEP program provides rapid, partial repairs to homes to make them livable and allows survivors to leave temporary housing and return home. The STEP program does not return a home to its pre-storm condition, but it does make it possible for families to return home while long-term repairs take place.

Among the kinds of repairs made through the STEP program:

  • Exterior repairs include secure and watertight doors, windows and roof, and safe entrances.
  • The home’s electrical and plumbing systems will be made safe and operational.
  • Interior repairs include a functional kitchen – including a base cabinet under the sink, a surface to prepare food,, basic refrigeration and cooking surfaces, a working sink – and a functional, private bathroom.

More information about the STEP program is available at Eligible homeowners may also visit the application portal at or call (833) 257-1100 Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

“We want to make sure that every homeowner who may qualify for this repair program has the opportunity to do so, but time is running out to sign up,” Gov. Cooper said. “If you’ve been notified that the STEP program may be a good fit to help your family recover from Hurricane Florence, I urge you to apply now.”

The cost of the STEP program is being shared by the State of North Carolina and FEMA. There is no cost to homeowners to participate in the voluntary STEP program.

For survivors who choose to participate in the STEP program, completion of STEP repairs will end their eligibility for a FEMA travel trailer or mobile home and for Transitional Sheltering Assistance to stay in a hotel.


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