Pender County Planning Board meeting set for May 4 is canceled

BURGAW – The Pender County Planning Board meeting scheduled for May 4 has been canceled. The two agenda items scheduled for consideration at that meeting will be rescheduled to the June 7 meeting.

The June 7 meeting will take place in the Pender County Hampstead Annex Auditorium at 15060 US HWY 17 in Hampstead, beginning at 7 pm.

For more information, please call the Pender County Planning and Community Development Department at 910-259-1202.

In-person early voting starts April 28

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina’s 17-day, in-person early voting period begins Thursday, April 28, and ends at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 14.

The State Board of Elections offers the following 10 tips for early voters:

  1. Voters may cast a ballot at any early voting site in their county. For sites and hours in all 100 counties, use the One-Stop Early Voting Sites search tool at ncsbe.gov.
  2. Sample ballots for the primary election are available through the Voter Search tool. For more information on primary candidates for the N.C. Supreme Court and N.C. Court of Appeals, see the State Board’s Judicial Voter Guide: 2022 Primary Election. The State Board does not provide information about candidates for other contests, but some media outlets and advocacy groups do. Many candidates also have websites and social media accounts. Knowing your candidate choices in advance and being familiar with the ballot will help your voting experience go more quickly.
  3. Individuals who missed the regular voter registration deadline on April 22 may register and vote at the same time during the early voting period. Same-day registrants must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of where they live. For more information, visit Register in Person During Early Voting. This is the only option for individuals who missed the regular registration deadline to be able to register and vote in the primary.
  4. When you check in to vote at an early voting site, you may update your name or address within the same county, if necessary. You may not change your party affiliation at an early voting site during a primary election.
  5. Voters who receive an absentee ballot by mail may deliver their completed ballot to an election official at an early voting site in their county. Ballots will be kept securely and delivered to the county board of elections for processing. For more information on returning absentee-by-mail ballots, see Detailed Instructions to Vote By Mail.
  6. Voters who requested an absentee-by-mail ballot but have not yet returned it may choose instead to vote in person during the early voting period or on Election Day, May 17. Voters may discard the by-mail ballot and do not need to bring it to a voting site.
  7. Voters should keep in mind that the busiest early voting days are typically the first two and last two days – April 28–29 and May 13–14 this year.
  8. The State Board asks that all voters respect the rights of others to participate in the election. Intimidating any voter is a crime. Voters who feel harassed or intimidated should notify an election official immediately.
  9. Voters at one-stop early voting sites are entitled to the same assistance as voters at a voting place on Election Day. Curbside voting is available for eligible individuals at all early voting sites. For more information, visit Curbside Voting.
  10. North Carolina law prohibits photographing or videotaping voted ballots. Voters may use electronic devices in the voting booth to access a slate card or candidate information, provided they don’t use the devices to communicate with anyone or take photographs of their ballot.

For more information about early voting, please visit Vote Early in Person.

Pender County Utilities – Pender Commerce Park Water and Sewer Main Extension, Advertisement for Bids # 220425-225

Pender County Utilities – Pender Commerce Park Water & Sewer Main Extension

ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDS # 220425-225

 

PUBLIC BID OPENING

Sealed Bids for the construction of the Pender Commerce Park Water & Sewer Main Extension Project will be received, by Pender County at 605 E. Fremont Street, Burgaw, NC on June 1, 2022 until 10:00 a.m. local time, at which time the Bids received will be “publicly” opened and read aloud.

 

PRE-BID CONFERENCE

A virtual pre-bid conference will be held at 10:00 AM local time on May 17, 2022.  The pre-bid conference will be conducted via a web-based meeting utilizing Microsoft Teams.  Interested parties wishing to join the web-based pre-bid conference may do so by sending an email to the following email address no later than May 6, 2022 at 2:00 PM local time.  Note that a physical meeting will not be held for the pre-bid conference and only the web-based meeting will be available to interested parties.

jfitzsimmons@mckimcreed.com

A Microsoft Teams link will be sent to all parties who provide an email address for the pre-bid conference no later than 9:00 AM local time on May 16, 2022.  Parties will utilize this link to join the web-based Microsoft Teams meeting.  Interested parties are advised that only audio may be available due to limitations with Microsoft Teams video capability.  Consequently, the pre-bid conference will be conducted via audio and interested parties may only hear the pre-bid conference as video may not be available.  Attendance at the pre-bid conference is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged.

The Project consists of the construction of:

  • Approximately 900 linear feet of 12-inch diameter C900 DR-18 PVC Water Main Distribution Piping
  • Approximately 1,100 linear feet of 4-inch diameter C900 DR-18 PVC Force Main Piping

Bids will be received for a single prime Contract.  Bids shall be as indicated in the Bid Form.  Bidders are not required to be pre-qualified in order to submit a bid for the Pender Commerce Park Water & Sewer Main Extension Project.  Contractor is advised and shall meet the following project schedule for execution and completion of the project:

  • Pre-Bid Conference May 17, 2022 10:00 AM local time
  • Public Bid Opening June 1, 2022 10:00 AM local time
  • Notice of Award June 21, 2022
  • Notice to Proceed June 22, 2022

Prospective bidders may obtain copies of the Bidding Documents by contacting the Issuing Office for the Bidding Documents at: McKim & Creed, Inc., 243 North Front Street, Wilmington, NC  28401, Jamie Mabe Fitzsimmons, 910-343-1048, jfitzsimmons@mckimcreed.com. Physical copies of the Bidding Documents will not be available for review at the Issuing Office.

Bidding Documents may also be examined on the Pender County website at the following link. Physical copies of the Bidding Documents will not be available for review at the offices of Pender County:

http://www.pendercountync.gov/utl/

Bidding Documents will be provided no later than April 25, 2022, at Carolinas Plan Room, 2527 S. 17th Street, Wilmington, NC 28401; online at Carolinas AGC www.cagc.org; and online through the McGraw Hill Construction Plan Room (dodge.construction.com). Prospective Bidders should contact these entities to determine availability for obtaining or viewing the documents.  Bidding advertisement can also be found in Pender Post.

Bidding Documents are available on USB flash drive (as portable document format (PDF) files for a non-refundable charge of $100.00, including shipping via overnight express service.  Alternatively, printed Bidding Documents may be obtained from the Issuing Office via mail, upon Issuing Office’s receipt of payment for the Bidding Documents.  The non-refundable cost of printed Bidding Documents is $200.00 per set, payable to “McKim & Creed, Inc.”, plus a non-refundable shipping charge.  Upon Issuing Office’s receipt of payment, printed Bidding Documents will be sent via the prospective Bidder’s delivery method of choice; the shipping charge will depend on the shipping method chosen.  The date that the Bidding Documents are transmitted by the Issuing Office will be considered the prospective Bidder’s date of receipt of the Bidding Documents.

Partial sets of Bidding Documents will not be available from the Issuing Office.  Neither Owner nor Engineer will be responsible for full or partial sets of Bidding Documents, including Addenda if any, obtained from sources other than the Issuing Office.

Owner:                 Pender County Utilities

By:                          Kenny P. Keel, PE

Title:                      Director

Pender EMS & Fire, Inc. receives new ISO Rating after state inspection

BURGAW- Pender EMS & Fire Director Everett Baysden announced the agency and the six districts Pender EMS & Fire, Inc. cover received an ISO Rating of 3 following routine state evaluations.

“The North Carolina Response Rating System (NCRRS) grades departments on a scale of 1-10,” explained Baysden. “Ten is the worst rating in which a department is not recognized as a certified department, and the state rarely awards ISO Ratings of 1. An ISO rating of 3 for a rural department like ours is very good.”

Pender EMS and Fire had last earned an ISO Rating of 5.

The NCRRS inspection includes evaluation of proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities, and availability of a water source.

“I’d like to congratulate Chief Baysden for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members,” said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey. “The citizens of this district should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency.”

Baysden said the improved ISO Rating will help commercial properties in the department’s six districts with savings on insurance premiums. The new ISO Rating is effective May 1.

State law requires the state fire marshal officials to inspect departments serving districts of 100,000 people or less, which makes up all but 12 of the state’s fire districts.

DEQ accepting comments on Draft Permit for Project to Substantially Reduce PFAS Entering the Cape Fear River

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is currently accepting public comments on a draft discharge permit for a proposed groundwater treatment system at the Chemours facility that would substantially reduce PFAS entering the Cape Fear River via contaminated groundwater.

Since 2017, Chemours has been prohibited from discharging PFAS-contaminated wastewater from its plant operations into the Cape Fear River.  However, historic operations at the facility have caused significant groundwater contamination at the site.  Currently, this heavily contaminated groundwater flows untreated to the Cape Fear River.  This groundwater may contribute over 60% of the PFAS flowing from the facility to the river.  Without intervention, this untreated groundwater will continue to contaminate the river and downstream water supplies for years to come.

The Consent Order requires Chemours to address this contamination by installing an underground barrier wall that will run more than a mile alongside the Cape Fear River.  This wall will intercept contaminated groundwater from the facility before it reaches the river and a series of extraction wells will pump the captured groundwater to a treatment system.  The draft permit requires that the treatment system remove at least 99% of PFAS from the pumped groundwater before it enters the river.  Without this treatment system and accompanying discharge permit, this heavily contaminated groundwater would continue to flow to the river untreated.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has received a number of comments on the draft permit since it was released for comment.  Some comments and recent reports have mischaracterized the draft permit as authorizing an “increase” in the PFAS discharge to the river.  This is incorrect.  Treating the contaminated groundwater currently flowing untreated into the river will result in a significant reduction of PFAS contamination.  When operational in Spring of 2023, the barrier wall, extraction wells, and treatment system will intercept and substantially reduce the largest current source of PFAS from the facility impacting the Cape Fear River and downstream communities.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality welcomes comments on the draft NPDES permit.  All comments received by May 2, 2022, will be considered before final action on the draft permit.

Send email comments to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov with ‘CHEMOURS’ in the subject line.

Or by mail to Wastewater Permitting, Attn: Chemours Permit,

1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617.

Community feedback sought to identify Cape Fear and Albemarle regions’ community climate hazards

Regional Resilience Portfolio Program workshop will offer local support for growth and stability

RALEIGH, N.C. – Community members from the Cape Fear council of government regions (Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties) and the Albemarle council of government regions (Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties) are invited to attend an online public workshop to discuss and identify locations that are subject to damage or loss due to climate hazards. Workshop attendees will also be provided an opportunity to share personal experiences with disaster preparedness and recovery. An initiative of the Regional Resilience Portfolio Program, the workshop is an opportunity for residents to provide direct input on the development of a regional vulnerability assessment. The assessment will be released for public comment before it is finalized and used to create a portfolio of priority community resiliency projects.

The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program is a component of the larger Regions Innovating for Strong Economies & Environment (RISE) Program. RISE is a partnership between the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) and N.C. Rural Center, in collaboration with the N.C. Councils of Governments.

The Regional Resilience Portfolio Program serves the following council of governments regions: Kerr-Tar, Upper Coastal Plain, Albemarle, Mid-Carolina, Mid-East, Lumber River, Cape Fear, Eastern Carolina and Triangle J (except for Wake, Durham and Orange counties). A list of counties for each region can be found on the RISE website, along with a program kickoff announcement.

Members of the public who wish to attend the April virtual meetings should follow the steps below to register online for one of the workshops:

Cape Fear Council of Governments Region Public Workshops
April 7, 10 – 11 a.m. and 6 – 7 p.m.
Register at: https://form.jotform.com/220743857526159
Deadline: April 6

Albemarle Commission Region Public Workshops
April 7, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
April 8, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
April 9, 10 – 11 a.m.
Register at: https://form.jotform.com/220744585126154
Deadline: April 6

RISE is funded by a $1.1 million U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, with support from both NCORR and N.C. Rural Center. The Duke Energy Foundation has committed $600,000 to offer Accelerator Grants to the regions for priority projects identified as an outcome of the program. RISE is managed by NCORR, a division of the N.C. Department of Public Safety. To learn more about the program or what’s happening in each council of government region, visit the RISE website.

INVITATION TO BID – SCOTTS HILL ELEVATED TANK AND WELLS

Sealed Bids for construction of the Scotts Hill Elevated Tank and Wells including all related work as shown and specified in the contract documents will be received by Pender County at 605 East Fremont Street, Burgaw, NC until 10:00 a.m., (Local Time) on May 3, 2022 and then publicly opened and read aloud.  Click here to see the full Invitation to Bid.  

The Contract Documents may be examined at the following locations starting March 28, 2022:

  • Associated General Contractors office – Raleigh and Wilmington, NC
  • McGraw-Hill Construction/Dodge office – Wilmington, NC
  • PENDER COUNTY UTILITIES, 605 East Fremont Street, Burgaw, NC 28425
  • CDM Smith, 5400 Glenwood , Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27612

Contract Documents are available for examination online at http://dodgeprojects.construction.com/

Copies of the Contract Documents may be obtained at the Issuing Office, attn Joanne Bunch, CDM Smith, 5400 Glenwood Ave., Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27612 (919-325-3500) upon payment of $200 for each set non-refundable of the Contract Documents.

A virtual pre-bid conference will be held at 10 am on April 12, 2022. The Engineer will make contact with all parties recorded as having received the Contract Documents and provide invitations to the virtual meeting. Attending this pre-bid conference is strongly encouraged.

Each Bid must be made on the blank forms provided in the bound copies of the CONTRACT DOCUMENTS and must be enclosed in a sealed envelope and addressed to the Public Utilities Director of Pender County. The name and address and the NC Contractor’s License Number of the Bidder must be plainly written on the outside of the envelope, and the envelope marked “Bid for the Pender County Elevated Tank and Wells”. Further requirements for bidding are noted in the unabbreviated Notice to Bid provided in the Contract Documents.

All Contractors are notified that North Carolina Statutory provisions as to licensing of Contractors will be observed in receiving, reading and awarding the Contracts. The License Classification shall be Unlimited.

The Owner reserves the right to reject any Proposal for failure to comply with any requirements of the unabbreviated Notice or of any of the Contract Documents; however, it may waive any minor defects or informalities at its discretion. The Owner further reserves the right to reject any and all Proposals or to Award the contract, which in its judgment is in the best interest of the Owner.

Pender County reserves the right to reject any/all bids.

Blueberry update: Surviving the freeze

By Mark Seitz
Pender County Extension Director
Field Crops / Commercial Horticulture Agent

As the NC Blueberry Festival looks to return in 2022 Mother Nature deprived area blueberry (and strawberry) growers of sleep over night. This is the second major cold front this month with one coming earlier in the month. Both events required farmers to stay up all night, or sleep in their trucks, to monitor the irrigations systems used to protect the blossoms.

While blueberry farmers use irrigation, most strawberry farmers use row covers to protect their plants. However, like people strong winds and cold air bring wind chill and any blooms that were touching the covers froze or the covers did not trap heat from the soils as well as they would in calm conditions. Freeze damage from the early March storm in both strawberries and blueberries is estimated at 5 to 10 percent where blooms were present. Thankfully, blossoms in many of the blueberry varieties had not yet opened at so it is assumed that the freeze damage was limited to early blooming varieties.

Today’s weather dropped temperatures in the region into the mid to upper 20’s. Thankfully the wind died down early Sunday evening, leading to calm, cold field conditions, which created almost ideal conditions for successful freeze protection. As the winds die off, the temperatures drop but those conditions give the overhead irrigation systems the ability to uniformly cover the bushes in a more uniform manner.

But doesn’t ice make things cold? Yes. Intuitively we think of ice making things cold. But when it comes to protecting blueberry blossoms, ice is good. The system is based on the science of thermodynamics. As the warm (45°F-50°F) water cools it forms ice. But before it does, there is an exchange of heat at the surface of the blossom as the water cools down to 32°F. That thermodynamic heat transfer keeps the surface of the blooms from freezing as long as the water continues to flow. If it stops, all the benefit of the cooling water goes away and the blooms freeze. So, farmers stay up all night to make sure their sprinklers do not freeze and pipes do not burst.

Similar impacts affected area wheat fields but we cannot frost protect wheat. In the early March freeze, a lot of the wheat seed heads had not emerged from the whorl (stem) of the plant. That gave them a measure of protection, thereby liming the frost/freeze damage. However, warm weather in the following two weeks has pushed the growth of much of the wheat forward so today’s (3/28) freeze could result in significant freeze injury. That damage typically does not appear for five to seven days after the injury so it is too early to predict what impact this freeze will have on wheat farms. Those assessments will be done later this week.

 

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