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:

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 www.ncdps.gov/florencestep. Eligible homeowners may also visit the application portal at www.ncstepflorence.com 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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District by district, storm debris is getting a clean sweep

PENDER COUNTY – All storm-related vegetative debris and construction debris pick-up by DRC, the county’s contractor, has resumed following the holidays.

“The deadline was Dec. 21 for all debris to be placed on the roadway,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager. “The debris is being picked up district by district. Now that we are through the holidays, DRC will have 18 trucks on the roads picking up storm-related vegetative debris and construction debris.”

“Hurricane Florence left behind a tremendous amount of debris,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “We are working hard to clean the county of storm debris.”

“We are aware of problem areas and illegal dumping,” said David Williams, Pender County Commissioner. “These sites will be cleaned, and illegal dumpers will be prosecuted.”

“Materials brought to the road right-of-way now will be considered illegal dumping,” said Collins. “Contractors dumping shingles, sheetrock, framing materials and repair debris will be fined.”

Private contractors are responsible for disposal of materials at proper landfills. Contractors and residents may also dispose of debris at the county’s convenience sites at Rocky Point, Burgaw, and Hampstead up to 200-lb. per load, per day. Debris weighing over 200-lbs are charged a weigh fee at the Hampstead Transfer Station. The Rocky Point Convenience Center 16232 NC Hwy 210, is open daily 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and closed Sundays and Wednesdays. The Burgaw Convenience Center, 3088 New Savannah Rd., is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. The Hampstead Convenience Center and Transfer Station, 250 Transfer Station Rd., is open Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sundays 1 – 7 p.m.

DRC, the county’s debris contractor, will not accept household trash, roofing materials, concrete or brick, or new construction waste.

DRC is covering the county’s five districts, starting with District 5, then District 4, District 3, District 2 and District 1. Residents uncertain of which district they reside should click on the county link: http://pendercountync.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=49a7e5ccd5834af1912665e99649c908

For questions about debris pick-up, contact DRC, toll free at 1-888-721-4372.

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Disaster Recovery Centers in Six Counties to Close Permanently, Help Remains Available

RALEIGH, N.C. – As the Dec. 13 deadline to register for assistance approaches, disaster recovery centers in six counties will close their doors soon. The centers are currently open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. All are closed Sunday.

The New Hanover County recovery center located at the Old Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Drive in Wilmington will remain open until further notice.

The following recovery centers will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12:

CARTERET COUNTY
Board of Elections
1702 Live Oak St.
Beaufort, NC 28516

CUMBERLAND COUNTY
Cumberland County Social Services Dept.
1225 Ramsey Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301

PENDER COUNTY
Pender County Agricultural Building Auditorium
801 S. Walker St.
Burgaw, NC 28425

The following recovery centers will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13:

CRAVEN COUNTY
Former Eckerd Drugstore
710 Degraffenreid Ave.
New Bern, NC 28560

ONSLOW COUNTY
Piney Green Shopping Center
175 Freedom Way, Suite 18A
Midway Park, NC 28544

ROBESON COUNTY
Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Soaring Eagle Community Building
442 Norment Road
Lumberton, NC 28360

Survivors may still register for assistance before the Dec. 13 deadline by:
• Calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
• Going online to DisasterAssistance.gov or DisasterAssistance.gov/es in Spanish.
• Downloading the FEMA mobile app or the FEMA mobile app in Spanish.
• Downloading the ReadyNC app.

You may also call the disaster assistance helpline to update your contact information, ask questions about a letter from FEMA, get information about FEMA home inspections, or learn how to appeal a FEMA decision.

If you have questions about a U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan, you may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955 or 800-877-8339 (TTY). You may also email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov or visit SBA’s website at sba.gov/disaster.

If you have unmet disaster-related needs, you may call the statewide referral service at 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 (TTY), or text Florence to 898211.

For more information on North Carolina’s recovery from Hurricane Florence, visit ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393. Follow us on Twitter:
@NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.

Distribution of hay and feed

The Eastern NC Equine Emergency Assist, 4101 Blue Clay Rd. in Castle Hayne, is distributing hay and feed for family pets and large animals on Saturday. This is the second Saturday they are distributing items to help families impacted by Hurricane Florence.

Our Animal Shelter Manager Jewell Horton will be on site.

DISCOLORATION OF PCU DRINKING WATER

Based on the laboratory analysis of water samples collected the week of September 26th, 2018, slightly elevated levels of iron and manganese have been detected in portions of the distribution system. This may lead to slight variations in color of slightly yellowish to slightly brown.

The water is still safe to drink and meets all drinking water standards.

What causes the release of iron and manganese in the water mains?

In conversation with NC DEQ officials and other public water supplies that use the Cape Fear River as the raw water source to their Water Treatment Plants, they have seen this type of release after previous flooding events.

It can be attributable to increased iron and manganese in the source of raw water (Cape Fear River) associated with Hurricane Florence, elevated river water temperatures and increased water demands in the distribution system.

It is advisable to not wash white linens if you have discolored water at your tap.

The water color is expected to return to normal within the next few weeks.

Hazard Mitigation Activities

PENDER COUNTY, NC – Following a federally declared disaster such as Hurricane Florence, local governments are eligible to apply for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds (HMGP) that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters. Projects must provide a long-term solution to a problem, for example, elevation of a home to reduce the risk of flood damage as opposed to buying sandbags and pumps to fight the flood. In addition, a project’s potential savings must be more than the cost of implementing the project. These activities may include elevating structures in the regulatory floodplain, acquiring property to prevent future losses, or retrofitting structures to minimize future damages.

“It’s important to understand that these activities have not been activated by FEMA or the State of North Carolina and therefore, Pender County is unaware of any potential funding amounts or timing of this potential future grant application” said Kyle Breuer, Planning and Community Development Director. “Projects such as this have taken years to receive funding and are not designed to provide immediate relief from the devastating effects of natural disasters our area is known to see. There’s an expectation that this option is available now, which it is not.”

Staff from the Planning and Community Development department as well as Emergency Management will be available next week, Tuesday, October 16th from 4 – 6 p.m. at 805 S. Walker Street, Burgaw, NC to review potential HMGP opportunities with residents as well as to review requirements for potential eligibility.

The County has created a website to host additional information for residents to review and can be found at: https://www.pendercountync.gov/pcd/planning-community-development/flood/

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Pender County is under a State of Emergency

PENDER COUNTY – Due to the potential impacts of Hurricane Michael, a State of Emergency has been issued for Pender County.

Pender County Chairman George Brown on behalf of the board of county commissioners issued the declaration effective noon, Oct. 9.

“Pender County has been severely impacted by Hurricane Florence,” said Brown. “Additional rainfall, high winds, and storm surge from Hurricane Michael will impact already saturated areas of the county.”

“We urge our residents to secure tarps on their rooftops,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager. “Secure lawn furniture and items that could become flying debris.”

Collins warned residents whose homes were damaged in Hurricane Florence to be mindful of weakened structures.

“When the ground is this saturated, trees fall. Power lines are taken down,” he said. “If you are sheltering in place, prepare for periods of being without power. Stock up on fresh water and refresh your emergency kits.”

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

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FEMA establishes Disaster Recovery Centers in Pender County

PENDER COUNTY – Immediately following Hurricane Florence, Pender County Emergency Management and the Pender County Commissioners requested FEMA Disaster Relief Centers (DRCs) to assist our residents with assistance.

Today FEMA announced 8a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (MDRC) is available for individuals who need closer access or who have lost Internet capabilities. The MDRC is located at 801 S. Walker St., in Burgaw, TODAY at 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be there through Sat., Oct. 6.

FEMA established a DRC at Caswell Presbyterian Church in Atkinson. The DRC will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A longer-term Disaster Recovery Center site for the county will open soon. However, Pender County continues their request for a Mobile Disaster Center for the Hampstead, Scotts Hill, Surf City and Topsail Beach area.

According to FEMA, in the three weeks since the federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Florence, Pender County residents have received more than $20 million in state and federal funds and more than $9.2 million in state and federal grants to nearly 1,900 homeowners and renters.

More than $2.8 million in claims paid to more than 1,000 National Flood Insurance Program policyholders, according to FEMA. More than $8.2 million in U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest disaster loans approved for 142 homeowners and renters and five businesses in Pender County.

Regarding individual assistance, 5,631 home inspections were issued with approximately 90 percent of home inspections completed.

An estimated 490 inspections have an “Inaccessible” status. This is the number of applicants who had an initial meeting with an inspector who determined that the dwelling is inaccessible. These applicants need to contact FEMA to reschedule an inspection when their homes are accessible.

In regard to Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA), 942 interactions with survivors by FEMA have been conducted. As of Oct. 4, there are two DSA crews working in Pender County, including a Mobile Registration Intake Center which opened when more than 4,000 residents applied for food stamp assistance at the county agricultural building with our department of social services. The FEMA intake center is tentatively slated to close Oct. 6.

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

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Curfew lifted in Pender County

PENDER COUNTY – The curfew for the Black River and Northeast Cape Fear River, tributaries, creeks and stream areas, has been lifted.

“The curfew was in place for the safety of residents and property,” stated Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith. “We urge our residents to use caution due to the storm damage to the shoulders and to our roadways.”

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

-END-

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