QA Mission supervisor on housing deals and homelessness

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first_img 0% Another is that under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), there is a very strong argument that if there are not mitigations to projects they [can] impact this historic resource which is the cultural district. It’s not a frivolous argument under CEQA. And that’s part of the issue.And then, I’ve come from a background of being in the community. So people know me and they know who I am and what I stand for and what I fight for so I think there is a higher level of trust that people know that I’m not trying to undermine the position of the Latino community and working class people in the Mission.Even so it’s not easy. I’ve struggled and Calle 24 struggled tremendously with these decisions.There’s no one format. I try to be a very fair broker. I think I have more trust in the community side than I do in the developer side because of who I am and my background and where I come from.But with developers I’ve just been very straightforward and fair and honest about what’s going on, and consistent. Once I commit to something with a developer I’m not going to go backward on that. And I’ve shown that. There’s been times during the negotiation where we settled on one aspect of the agreement and then new voices come in and want to change that, and I’ve been very clear – absolutely not.It’s been four months on the job and we’ve had five appeals in my district. There’s not been a single other district that had a single other appeal.  So it’s really been trial by fire.And I think we’ve gotten amazing settlements on both the Axis and the Lennar projects. But you know, it’s not easy. It’s a compromise for everyone. ML: Speaking of Axis (the development at 2675 Folsom St.)– you negotiated 27 percent of affordable housing, is that correct?Ronen: It is, depending on the method of calculation it’s anywhere from 25-27 percent. It’s about 20 percent on site and the rest off site. What I’ve been really appreciating in this process is the willingness to be really creative about how to find an agreement,especially with the Axis program – this idea of purchasing small sites and stabilizing working class folks in the Mission who are already in place and then transferring ownership to a nonprofit I think is a very good model that should be replicated.  ML: Do you see this as becoming the framework for future developments? Ronen: When I went into this and had interviews with Mission Local earlier I said I would love to settle on a framework so we wouldn’t have to have individual fight after individual fight. I’m becoming less and less optimistic about whether that’s possible. Watching and participating in what’s happening around inclusionary and Home SF it’s just…really challenging in the Mission. Every project is so different. The ability to play with the economics of a project and have it still pencil out with robust community benefits depends a lot on the neighborhood of the project, the size of the project. Unfortunately it’s not ideal for the developer who wants certainty around the project and it’s not ideal for the community, just the amount of capacity it takes to struggle around each of these projects. It would be nice to have these monolithic standards that are kept across the board but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.ML: Right now there is ongoing debate about how much developers can afford to provide in terms of inclusionary housing and other community benefits, and many argue that 25 percent affordability is too high. What’s your sense of what developers are able to provide after mediating these negotiations?Ronen: I think we proved with the Axis and Lennar projects that 25 percent is absolutely possible. Both of those projects are 100 percent union labor. They are not huge projects, they are midsize projects. I know other projects in the city where Supervisor Jane Kim for example has been able to get higher levels of affordability, those were massive projects. But with these mid-size projects, we’ve proven that 25 percent is possible with 100 percent union labor and other community benefits. The proof is in the pudding. ML: It’s early in your term, but how would you say you are doing on your pledge for getting 5,000 units of affordable housing built in D9 in the next 10 years?Ronen: I’m watching it very carefully. We have about – between what we have put new into the pipeline through the Axis and Lennar projects and through the small sites program – 114 units, which is a little behind of where I’d love to be if we are going to do this 500 units a year.I am going to continue with this goal – I need the ambitious goal to push me and keep going. But we had no idea of the conditions at the federal level. They are dire and they are impacting the ability to reach that goal. We imagined that goal under a Clinton administration. The reason under the Trump administration it’s gotten so difficult is not just the cuts they are making to HUD and all that. It’s that the tax reform proposal that they are proposing has dried up the low-income tax credit market. And so we have projects now in the pipeline like 1950 Mission St. that are being delayed because uncertainty about getting that federal subsidy.I am not revising my goal because I am working towards it and trying to get creative and I’m having tons of conversations with affordable housing developers to get even more creative about reaching that goal because I continue to believe that it’s what’s needed in the Mission in order to protect the diverse ethnic, racial and income level of the community but the difficulty level of it has gone through the roof. Having said that, we are pretty good – for four months into my administration and we are at 114 units. In addition, we have $6 million for affordable housing that is specific to the Mission: that’s the $1 million from the Lennar Project and $5 million that I am about to introduce legislation on, accepting money from the NTC (Neighborhood Transit Center) that [former] Supervisor David Campos actually negotiated. That will be specifically for an affordable housing project in the Mission. And then the 120-bed Navigation Center which isn’t housing. Its temporary shelter. But it’s addressing our housing crisis in the Mission. I’m not counting those 120 beds towards the 5,000 goal (500 per year goal) but it is good news for the Mission. ML: What is the status of the 1950 Mission St. housing project and the temporary Navigation Center that is now there?Ronen:  Right now the plan is to start construction at the beginning of 2018. But it’s dependent on the tax credit market. We are hoping that Mission Housing is working as hard as they can. They anticipate that once they break ground it’s going to take 18 months to get from construction to move in. The Navigation Center will continue operating. Its [closure is] dependent on when the project breaks ground. ML: Regarding the new temporary Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness,  you responded to neighbors’ concerns about loitering outside of the center at 1950 Mission St. with the explanation that 16th Street is a different beast – that it is a transit hub surrounded by a number of SROs where tenants “don’t have space to hang out.”  Do you plan on looking into the loitering complaints there to verify that the safety issues in that area have not been exacerbated by the presence of the Navigation Center?Ronen: I really do not believe that Navigation Centers increase crime in neighborhoods. I think when you have homeless people that have a place where they are in constant contact with social workers and getting hooked up with public benefits and stabilized and transferred to a permanent path out of homelessness, that that’s going to cut down on crime. I think there is just so many factors in terms of that area specifically that contribute to – the conditions have been that way for decades. I don’t think that much has changed but I’m curious to look at data. We are about to engage in an experiment. In that area [1515 South Van Ness] there are not the conditions of a transit hub surrounded by SROs with no indoor/outdoor hangout space. All the type of conditions that create a very specific situation near 16h St. Bart station. We are about to have a Navigation Center that we are going to run very tightly, that we are going to have some new data about what these centers bring and how they transform, or not, neighborhoods. This one and the one in Dogpatch are really the first time that we are going to have another data set to look at.I believe that it’s going to improve conditions and I very much hope that after nine months that my belief will be proven. ML: Have you identified a permanent site for another Navigation Center in the Mission?Ronen: I haven’t. We are looking. It’s not easy to find these sites. There’s just not that much land/sites available period.ML: What’s the process?Ronen: To me what’s important is having enough outdoor space in addition to indoor space. People need a place to hangout. If they don’t have a place to hang out then there is going to be much more loitering and the conditions that are frowned upon in neighborhoods dealing with homelessness.You need a place that people would rather be, that’s safer and more comfortable for people than the streets. And that’s what you need to create. And if it’s going to be permanent, we need the neighbor’s buy in. I think for a temporary situation like 1515 South Van Ness Ave., where we are using it to deal with a current public health crisis and its very specific and very temporary and only for the encampments in the Mission – while I wanted neighborhood input we had to do it.  We have to deal with a dangerous situation currently, where as for a permanent situation you need a different type of robust community process where you are not only getting neighbor input to make sure the center is run better, but you need input about location.ML: What have you learned from the community meetings about 1515 South Van Ness Ave. moving forward?Ronen: I learned that you are never going to get 100 percent buy-in. What’s been really heartening about this process is that the overwhelming majority is in favor of this solution.I also learned that there is a lot of distrust about local government’s ability to address this crisis, which I completely understand. Things have only gotten worse, not better. And I agree that we are not doing a good enough job as a city dealing with this homeless crisis. Having said that, this is not just a crisis that is happening in San Francisco, it’s happening throughout the state and country. I’m not sure there is anybody doing a better job than San Francisco. This is one of the toughest problems that we have that is related to failed policy at the federal level around investment in housing in low-income communities and the shutdown of mental health services. These are major issues that when we try to fix them at the local level they are imperfect fixes. It’s complicated. I do believe we are trying hard and will continue to make progress. What I’m hoping to do with this Navigation Center is gain some trust back from the community about the city’s ability to run these centers well and prove that they improve neighborhoods and not harm them. And then hopefully if I can prove that that will help the effort of implementing Navigation Centers.This is a critical project. If we don’t prove that we can greatly improve conditions in the Mission by opening this Navigation Center then we have failed. And then I dont have the moral authority to say we need a permanent one. So in a way I could not be more engaged and invested in proving that this is a positive not a negative to neighborhood.ML: You have involved the local police with the promise of increased police units assigned to the temporary center. What is your expectation in terms of policing and police responding to the homeless crisis in your district?Ronen: I don’t think that tent encampments should be acceptable, especially in residential neighborhoods. But I can’t stomach moving encampments if we don’t have a place for people to go. Once there is space, people living in encampments need to utilize that space. There is a role for the police to play in helping us with that. However, it’s not a primary role, it’s a secondary role. The primary role is with the Homeless Outreach Team who are very skilled at this. I will be out there with the Homeless Outreach Team explaining to people that this is not safe and that we’ve created an alternative and we want them to utilize this alternative.The police are there as a back up but not as playing a primary role. The police don’t want to play a primary role, it’s not their job.  They know that the root cause of homeless is lack of housing, it’s not something they have control over. So working with Department on Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Public Health, social workers, these are the right agencies to be getting people off the streets and into services.This is a very unique setup that is specifically for the Mission.  But that’s not how the Navigation enter system works, it’s a citywide system. ML: How will you respond if the American Health Care Act is passed in the Senate?Ronen: We need a total redesign of our system and probably go back to look more like what Healthy San Francisco used to look like (prior to Affordable Health Care Act) when it was a much more robust system. If, hopefully not, this repeal happens at the senate and signed into law, which will be a disaster, we need to look at everything. The amount of money we will lose at the state level and the implications for the local level…we are going to have to look at a redesign not only our healthcare system but of all of our services.You don’t plan for that disaster unless it’s going to happen. It’s the funding issue that we will have to look at on a systemwide level and at the state level.ML: You recently held a hearing about fraudulent evictions and tenants testified about their experiences. Many tenant advocates want to know how criminal charges can be pursued against fraudulent landlords who harass and illegally evict their tenants. Anne Kihagi was recently fined several million dollars and in LA, was sentenced to brief jail time, but faces no criminal charges. What have you learned so far about what it takes to criminally charge abusive or fraudulent landlords?Ronen: There is legislation on the table for Owner Move-In evictions that Supervisor Peskin/Kim sponsored and I co-sponsored that would allow criminal charges if there is fraudulent owner move-ins, which we are worried is happening all over the city. That would provide very explicit authority to the District Attorney to bring those charges if there is fraudulent use of that law. ML: The Mission has some historically hard-to-staff schools, and San Francisco is experiencing a teacher shortage. Meanwhile educators are rallying for better pay, and for teacher housing that has been in planning stages for decades. What are some strategies you are working on to keep educators in Mission schools?Ronen: I am working hard on that. I don’t have the silver bullet yet. It’s a priority for my office. I was really excited that there is funding and site designed to starting the first brick and mortar  project – a site and $44 million identified to build some 140 units of teacher and educator housing. It’s a great first step, but teachers will not be able to move in for four years. We need an interim solution and be building at a different scale – 140 units is not solving this problem. In our school system we have over 5,000 employees. Even if you assume half of those have stable housing, rent controlled apartments or are owners, you have another part of the workforce that is insecurely housed. We also have record vacancies each year and we need to recruit more teachers into the city and into this professions and we need to think about the housing issues. It’s a major challenge and part of this overall problem we have around funding, affordable housing in the city for everyone – from formerly homeless to middle classes, to teachers nurses and firefighters. Tags: Board of Supervisors • City Hall • homeless • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Four months ago, Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen took office with the promise of tackling some of the district’s most pressing issues, including housing and homelessness. Ronen sat down with Mission Local for the first in a series of conversations to discuss strategies and evaluate the progress on some of her key goals.This interview has been edited and shortened for print.ML: You’ve now brokered your third compromise between anti-gentrification activists and developers of major projects in the neighborhood that have yielded pretty major concessions from the developers. What has that process been like for you as the mediator?Ronen: I think it’s a number of things. We have a great community and Calle 24 is very righteous in their demands that if you are going to develop within the Latino Cultural District, you have to bring unprecedented community benefits otherwise it will impact the future development of this district. That is one aspect of why we have been able to negotiate settlements with such strong benefits for the community.last_img read more

In Dolores Park its not hard to get a beer – or

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first_img 0% So far, they’d filmed about 10 people, Greg, one of the band members, explained to me, including, he said, some French tourists, another group who’d driven up from Southern California and a very shy dog who kept turning away from the camera. Right now, they were taking a lunch break, and lounged in the sun with some Bi-Rite sandwiches.“We’re about to go search the park and try to bribe some people,” Mike, another band member, said.A man—who was wearing a lei and sunglasses from the man selling tropical drinks—came up to them. “Hey, what are you guys doing?”The band explains their concept, and the guy nodded excitedly. “We’ll talk, we’ll talk,” he said, before heading down the hill. “Bring friends!” the band yelled after him. Tags: dolores park Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% But it wouldn’t be that outlandish, not in Dolores Park, where some regular vendors even have their own Yelp pages.  Andrew might have been the least elaborate seller in the park that afternoon. Another man, who declined to be interviewed, was selling bags of Starbucks coffee, arranged in a semi-circle on the ledge by the 20th street J-Church stop.And not too far away, on the hill overlooking the playground, another man had an elaborate set-up: he crouched in front of two coolers, which formed a sort of makeshift bar, as he mixed drinks with the rapidity of an expert. Beside him were five jugs of juice. He wore an apron and even had a laminated menu with at least 10 tropical-themed drinks on it, including a Caribbean rum punch and a Hawaiian rum punch. Prices ranged from $15 to the $32 “fishbowl.” (“You get a lot of drank!” the menu claimed.)When he finished mixing, he poured the drink into a hollowed-out pineapple, popped a couple of colorful bendy straws into it, and handed it to a patient customer, along with a plastic lei and a pair of sunglasses. The customer paid him via Venmo.The vendor, who declined to be named, comes to the park every weekend. “If it’s not raining,” he said.  He said he invented his drink recipes through a long process of trial and error.“People always say, ‘This is the first time I’ve seen you,’ and I’ve been coming since September, so they obviously don’t come as often as I do,” he said. When asked if he made a lot of money, he said, “Not much. Just enough to make ends meet to live in San Francisco.”Most of the vendors I spoke to were weary of revealing their identities or being photographed; without a license, they risk being fined.This happened once to a man who introduced himself as Chris when he was selling comic books in the park one day. Today, he patrolled the flat, northern part of the park, his hands full with canvasses. On weekends, and some sunny weekdays, he drives up from Half Moon Bay, where he lives, to sell his art. “On good weekends, I’ll make over $100 bucks,” he said.Sometimes, he said, he sets up shop by the playground and lets children make their own art. He makes money from tips the parents give him. On the canvasses were colorful cartoon characters. He’d also painted over a couple of records. He planned to sells these $40 dollars each. “Really, it should be $250 to $300,” he said.But Dolores park is a good spot, he said. Sometimes, he also sells whiskey. As he said this, a bottle of it fell out of the pocket of his hoodie.Meanwhile, others in the park hoped to use the case of beer they’d brought as a bartering tactic. The four members of the folk rock band We Arsons had set up shop on the hill facing Mission High School. A guitar rested in the sun, a drum kit—and a case of beer. They had a camera set up on a tripod. They were filming a music video, they explained, and had come to the park hoping to get shots of people dancing in exchange for beer. They’d even taped a sign to the light post: Andrew had been sitting beside his cooler on the Dolores Park bench for just a few minutes on Saturday when a man walking down the path approached him. The guy knew exactly what he was up to.“You sell some ice cold beer?” he asked.Andrew did, in fact. He, along with many other vendors, comes to the park for the crowds that form on busy weekends. The passerby bought a beer from him and asked Andrew, jokingly, if he accepted Bitcoin.“Not yet,” Andrew said.last_img read more

SAINTS have named their 19man squad for Fridays

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first_imgSAINTS have named their 19-man squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League Round 23 clash with Hull KR.Atelea Vea returns after suffering a shoulder injury in the reverse fixture back in March.Lewis Charnock is also included as is Mark Flanagan who missed out on the original 19 last week.James Roby is rested whilst Matty Fleming, in last week’s squad, misses out as he is likely to play in the 19s.Saints’ 17 will come from:3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Mark Percival, 18. Luke Thompson, 19. Greg Richards, 21. Joe Greenwood, 22. Matty Dawson, 25. Andre Savelio, 26. Lewis Charnock, 37. Adam Quinlan.Chris Chester will choose his Hull KR side from:1. Kieran Dixon, 2. Ben Cockayne, 4. Josh Mantellato, 5. Ken Sio, 6. Maurice Blair, 8. Adam Walker, 12. Graeme Horne, 13. Tyrone McCarthy, 15. James Donaldson, 17. Greg Burke, 18. Liam Salter, 19. Kris Welham, 20. James Green, 21. Aaron Ollett, 24. John Boudebza, 31. Shaun Lunt, 32. Dane Tilse, 34. Tony Puletua, 35. Dane Chisholm.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee is Robert Hicks.Ticket details for the game can be found here.last_img read more

MEMBERSHIP renewals for the 2016 season are provin

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first_imgMEMBERSHIP renewals for the 2016 season are proving very popular with fans who will enjoy fantastic value next year.Adults can take advantage of the great rates but what if you’re a junior, young fan, come as a family or want to spread the cost?JuniorWe have a fantastic reputation for investing in our younger players and this extends to our junior fans. With renewals FROZEN in all stands Membership renewal starts from just £50. That’s as little as £3.33 per home game with a top four finish!That offers simply unbeatable value to gain access to all First Utility Super League regular home games, as well as up to 15 Saints away games.That’s up to 29 games in total for less than the cost of some computer games.Young AdultWe understand that the transition from junior pricing to adult is a steep step so to make this more affordable for a key age group within our fan base we offer Young Adults aged 16-21 Membership at the concession price, a tidy saving on the adult season Membership.FamilyWe know that supporting your Saints and attending our fixtures is not just based on pride and belonging to our great club, but also in it providing a family atmosphere to enjoy leisure time with our children, family and friends.We already have two dedicated Family Stands in the southwest and southeast corners of Langtree Park.We are proud as a sport and a club to offer a welcoming and unique family experience as well as providing parents with the assurance that they will be sat next to like-minded families in a safe and friendly environment.An 2xAdult and 2xJunior membership renewal in the Family Stand costs just over £31 per game with a top four finish – that’s comfortably less than a typical trip to the Cinema, a typical meal for four at a Food Outlet or a trip to a Theme Park!Direct Debit OptionsNot everyone can afford to pay up front for their Membership so why not spread the cost with a 10 month Direct Debit? Click here to discover your options.To find out more and to #beinthat number visit www.mysaintsmembership.com, call 01744 455 052 or pop into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park.For any email enquiries regarding Direct Debit schemes or to send in scanned copies of your completed form please email – ticketoffice@saintsrlfc.comlast_img read more

Luke Gale kicked a Golden Point drop goal to seal

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first_imgLuke Gale kicked a Golden Point drop goal to seal the Tigers progress to the Grand Final.“It was hard to take,” Justin said after the game, “I’m really disappointed we didn’t win. Obviously I am really proud of the boys; the way we kept on fighting was pleasing. We had to come back in the first half and we finished it well and then we finished the second half really well too. It is a cruel game at times and it cost us.“We got off to a slow start but worked hard throughout the whole game to try and win it, so it is really disappointing we didn’t.“To outscore a team like Cas five to three… they get the raps all year on their attack but on the back end of the year we weren’t too far behind them in the for and against stakes. We played plenty of good rugby ourselves tonight but it wasn’t to be.”He continued: “Since I came here I have loved every minute. I challenged the players when I arrived on if they wanted to make something of the season and the choices they had to make to do that.“They did it too, starting from Jon Wilkin as captain who led outstandingly. No one put a foot wrong. We fought to get into the four and then fought tonight.“I am very proud of the playing group and it was good to see the fans stick around after the game and make the journey over in the first place too. It was good for the players to see that as it has been a weird old season for them. We know we have to start better next year.“I’m shattered at the moment as I thought we had done enough. Even at the end; the short kick off is a lottery but we defend the set well then Benny Barba positions himself beautifully for the kick and then, well, it’s disappointing.“It will take a while to get over this one but I love the playing group and I am looking forward to a full season here next year.”last_img read more

International dance company leaps onto Wilmington stage

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first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new international dance company is making its mark in Wilmington, not just on the stage but in the whole community.“Without question this will bring the world to Wilmington,” Wilmington School of Ballet Executive Director Elizabeth Hester said.- Advertisement – Dancers from across the world and the country are changing the face of ballet in North Carolina and here in the Port City.“This means everything for the quality of dance in our community,” Hester said.International ballet stars, Walter Angelini and Ines Albertini will soon take the stage for their Wilmington debut, not just as dancers but as the founders of the US International Ballet Company.Related Article: “The Bachelor Live on Stage” coming to Wilmington“I think what we are doing together is very special. My wife Ines has a very special talent. She knows very well how to bring out the best from each individual dancer, so we don’t just choreograph dancers, we really work with their soul,” Angelini said.The couple is working with the Wilmington Ballet Company, who said they will do more than performances.“Lots of companies put on shows, we change communities,” Hester said.As the international company tours, their first stop is in Brunswick County. They hope to impact cities by sharing knowledge and their talents.“What we are doing here is something a little different. To work with each dancer and create something special here not only in Wilmington, but for all the dance community,” Angelini said.23 dancers have moved across the country and the world to join the US International Ballet Company, but the founders said they are hopeful it will continue to grow and put the Port City on the map for arts.The premier of their original ballet, Wizard of Oz is saturday at 2 and 6 p.m. at the Wilson Center in downtown Wilmington. Good Morning Carolina’s Jeff Rivenbark will be the master of ceremonies for both performances.last_img read more

Carolina Beach businesses ready for boardwalk summer attraction

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first_imgCAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Ferris wheels, candy apples and fun are in the air on Pleasure Island. The Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park is almost open and ready to go. The businesses on the boardwalk said this event really helps them out during the summer with sales and especially on Memorial Day Weekend.“We’re hoping to see big crowds, people to come down and be a part of the Carolina Beach activities,” carnival worker William Ryan said.- Advertisement – The Carolina Beach Boardwalk Amusement Park is a staple along the shore on Pleasure Island both for tourists and businesses.“It’s crazy around here. So many people come in and bombard the store at one time. Everyone’s buying t-shirts, souvenirs, you name it,” store manager at King’s Beachwear Neal Royal said.Royal is a no newcomer to working Memorial Day weekend. He said it can get pretty hectic, but in a good way.Related Article: Stocks rise along with optimism over US-China trade talks“It goes from our average sales on the weekend to like double sometimes triple, you know, so very minimum 50 percent more,” Royal said.Even though the holiday rakes in a lot of customers, so do the attractions from the carnival rides and fun.“It’s a big push for us. It’s a big push. The carnies are my favorites here, because they direct all the business to my store when people want something, looking for things that direct the business right here,” Royal said.One new boardwalk business hopes to that same level of success this summer.“We just hope to serve a ton of people. We’re ready. It’s been kind of cold winter and kind of slow and opening up in the winter time was rough, but I think that’s helped us get the staff ready,” Carolina Smokehouse owner Tammy Williams said.The business owners said they are ready to take on all the craziness and crowds this weekend will bring. The amusement park will be open all summer long until Labor Day.last_img read more

The longest week Carolinas worn out by Florence

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first_img Florence is blamed for at least 37 deaths, including those of two women who drowned when a sheriff’s van taking them to a mental health facility was swept off a road.“I’m just ready for this to be over, to be honest,” said Evan Jones, a college student who evacuated from Wilmington and doesn’t know when he will get back. “I’m trying to get it all out of my head.”With the remnants of Florence finally out to sea and skies bright over rivers still swelling with muddy water, President Donald Trump visited the disaster zone, riding through soggy neighborhoods and helping pass out warm meals at a church.Related Article: Hurricane recovery round table gives residents access to more help post-Florence“America grieves with you and our hearts break for you. God bless you,” Trump said during a briefing in Havelock, North Carolina.There wasn’t any presidential fanfare 120 miles (190 kilometers) away in Fayetteville. There, Roberta and Joseph Keithley had been sleeping on cots set up in a school classroom since Friday. They still didn’t know if their home was ruined.“It’s getting a little frustrating, but you have to deal with it and roll with the punches,” said Roberta Keithley, 73. “It’s just another hurdle to get over in life.”To the south, daybreak brought a return of floodwaters to Nichols, South Carolina, which also was inundated by Hurricane Matthew two years ago. The flooding from Florence had subsided, only to get worse again.Mayor Lawson Battle said that as far as he knew, everyone in the town of about 360 people evacuated as the water first started to invade town Monday. But Battle just couldn’t think about that anymore.“I’m focusing on this disaster at hand,” he said. “I don’t have time to think. I’m just so tired.”Ferry service for the public has resumed for several coastal routes in North Carolina. Meanwhile, a section of Interstate 95 was closed anew because bridges crossing the Great Pee Dee River flooded, said officials in South Carolina.Access improved at least temporarily to Wilmington, a North Carolina port city of 120,000 that has been isolated for days by high water. But the state said in a Tweet late Wednesday: “No safe, stable and reliable route currently exists for the public to get to and from Wilmington.”Officials said they didn’t know when evacuees would be able to return home to the city, where officials are distributing food and water, and it may be next week before conditions improve drastically since the Cape Fear River isn’t expected to crest at the city until Monday or Tuesday.“Understand: There is a lot of water inland, and it is continuing to make its way downstream,” county manager Chris Coudreit said.Nearly 3 feet (0.9 meters) of rain fell in places, and dozens of cities had more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain. Roads remained dangerous, and some were still being closed as swollen rivers emptied toward the ocean.North Carolina officials said 7,800 people remained in shelters, down from about 10,000 on Monday, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s plea to stay put.In Lumberton, where the Lumber River still covered parts of town, water was deep enough that vehicles passing by on streets sent wakes into partially submerged homes, businesses and a church.Some of those who left shelters may have been headed toward the coast on U.S. 421, where a long line of cars, utility crews and trucks loaded with generators sat in a jam.About 110,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity in North Carolina, about 20 percent in the county where Wilmington is located. There, about 25,000 remain in the dark.The deaths, which have occurred in three states, include those of two women who were being taken to a mental health facility when the van they were riding in was engulfed by floodwaters from the Little Pee Dee River in South Carolina, authorities said.Horry County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Brooke Holden said two deputies in the van tried to get the victims out but couldn’t. Rescue teams plucked the deputies from the top of the vehicle. They were placed on leave pending an investigation.Sheriff Phillip Thompson said he does not believe the women were in restraints like those sometimes used on psychiatric patients.It wasn’t clear why the women were being moved in the aftermath of a killer hurricane, and Justin Bamberg, a lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law officers, said he was perplexed by the decision.“If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?” said Bamberg, a state lawmaker.At least 24 of Florence’s victims died in vehicles, and most were in accidents linked to flooding.North Carolina’s farmers, meanwhile, are beginning to count up their losses.The Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina estimated up to 125 million pounds (57 million kilograms) of tobacco leaf could be damaged by flooding, winds and power outages, an amount that could translate to as much as $350 million in lost farm revenue.Association CEO Graham Boyd said about 40 percent of the crop was still in the field when the storm hit. North Carolina is the nation’s top producer of tobacco.The flooding has killed an estimated 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs, authorities said. Farmers are also concerned about cotton, sweet potatoes, peanuts and corn, but swamped roads and fields have made it difficult to assess the damage.The risk of environmental damage from Florence mounted, too, as human and animal waste was washed into the floodwaters.More than 5 million gallons (18 million liters) of partially treated sewage spilled into the Cape Fear River after power went out at a treatment plant, officials said, and the earthen dam at a pond holding hog waste was breached, spilling its contents. WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence is still wearing out the Carolinas, where residents have endured an agonizing week of violent winds, torrential rain, widespread flooding, power outages and death.Frustration and sheer exhaustion are building as thousands of people wait to go home seven days after the storm began battering the coast. Roads to Wilmington, which has been cut off sporadically by Florence, are opening and closing as floodwater rushes to the coast.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Increase in respiratory emergencies at NHRMC

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first_imgNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As the Cape Fear continues to recover from Hurricane Florence, many damaged homes are fighting mold. If you have mold, act quickly. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause and exposure to it can cause serious health problems.New Hanover Regional Medical Center Respiratory Specialist Tony Bollharst says there have been many people visiting the emergency room with respiratory related issues with some requiring hospitalization.- Advertisement – Bollharst says mold can trigger asthma attacks, cause allergy flare ups and worsen COPD.“If you are unable to dry out your home and equipment within a 24 hour period then you can pretty much assume that you have mold,” said Bollharst. “A lot of patients that we have come in the emergency department were unable to go anywhere and so they just stayed in the home and then got a reaction from breathing in the mold spores. ”The best actions to take to stop mold growth is to prevent condensation in your home by reducing the humidity, increasing ventilation with fans or windows and increasing the air temperature.Related Article: Community sews more than 400 surgical caps for childrenLeland resident Larry Dennis is not taking any chances. He’s stripping his man cave, after Jackeys Creek filled his backyard.“I have really bad mold damage from the humidity and that’s why we are in the process now of just taking all the walls out,” said Dennis.Anyone exposed to mold spores can have a reaction which may feel very similar to a spring-like allergy.“The symptoms are about the same,” said Bollharst. “You are going to have the nasal congestion or sinus drainage… sneezing, wheezing..”Dead mold spores can still cause allergic reactions so it must also be removed.Between Sept. 12 and Oct. 7, there were 42 emergency visits related to exposure to environmental hazards including mold.last_img read more

Plan laid out to get New Hanover Co tourism back on track

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first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Getting Wilmington’s tourism industry back on track after Hurricane Florence may sound like a challenge, but New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority has a plan.A presentation was held at the Wilmington Convention Center Wednesday morning.- Advertisement – Tourism Development Authority President Kim Hufham says part of the game plan includes promoting positive stories of recovery letting the community know that Wilmington and area beaches are ready to welcome visitors and asking national media to return and show how conditions have improved.“We’re hoping the week of October 29 we’ll actually start with out paid media campaign in the markets that we have identified that we want to be in,” Hufham said. “And with that we’ll be rolling out our new creative, which is, the theme is ‘Come Back’, that we are open and we not only want you to come back as a visitor, but also that our area has come back from the storm.”Hufham says the hope is to get back on track by spring 2019.last_img read more