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Archive for July, 2009

Area’s anti-gang initiative gets nearly $300,000

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

By David ReynoldsDave.Reynolds@StarNewsOnline.com

Wilmington | Some gang members in Wilmington and New Hanover County may soon be getting a phone call from police.The calls would be part of a new anti-gang initiative, which this week received almost $300,000 of state funding, officials said.

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MyReporter.com wins national media award

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

By Shannan BowenShannan.Bowen@StarNewsOnline.com

The Institute for Interactive Journalism awarded MyReporter this week with the Citizen Media Award in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

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Fight continues against beach erosion, coastal towns hope for terminal groins

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

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A terminal groin is prohibited in the state of North Carolina. So why are town leaders in Holden Beach and other coastal towns fighting for one? They say it is a solution to erosion.

“Suffering damages during hurricanes, property owners are subject to monetary losses whenever their properties are damaged,” said Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett.

So what is a terminal groin anyway?

It is a structure, sometimes built with rocks, which extends out from the coastline. It’s purpose is to control erosion and stabilize shifting inlets.

Every year, beach towns like Holden Beach spend millions on beach renourishment projects. Many say it has been a costly band-aid trying to stop Mother Nature.

“We would not have to continually nourish the beach once we had a terminal groin in place.”

If passed, Senate Bill 832 would help. The bill is bogged down in a committee, with no future in sight. It would not legalize building a groin, it would only give towns the ability to research it’s benefits.

“We just want the ability to study, analyze, and see if we can prove that it is the right thing to do. We would like to have the opportunity to do it,” Mayor Alan Holden said.

Until the ban on a terminal groin is lifted, town leaders say the east end of Holden Beach will continue to wash away.

Senators Julia Boseman and R.C. Soles support Bill 832.

It has not yet been scheduled for a vote.

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videoIt is illegal to build in the state of North Carolina, but some coastal leaders say it may be the one thing that could slow down beach erosion. Holden Beach leaders say they need to build a terminal groin, and it is up to the state legislature to make that happen.

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Associated poll

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CFCC Marine Technology program’s status

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

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During a recent offshore training voyage, we got the chance to talk to just about everyone on board. Each interview carried a common theme.

“With the number of days we spend out at sea, the hands-on experience is something that’s irreplaceable,” mentioned marine tech student John Klingler.

Marissa Salvitti said, “You really can’t learn how to deploy a net, you can’t learn how to operate safely underneath loaded cable wire on a research vessel out in the middle of the ocean until you actually do it.”

This experience at sea cannot be mimicked in a classroom, or even on the river. Jason Rogers, CFCC Department Chair said, “You could tow a side scan sonar in the river, but there’s just not a lot of things in the river to look at. Here we tow the side scan and we can actually see wrecks, debris, artificial reefs that have been put out there, so you can actually process the images a little better. These nets are much more representative of what a national marine fishery service or the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Service would use, and we don’t necessarily use those on the river, we want to use them further offshore.”

The Dan Moore has been Cape Fear’s loyal training vessel for the past 26 years, but she is well beyond her life expectancy. She is pushing 50 years old in a salt water environment, compromising certainty for safe sea voyages.

“We can get a new boat to replace the Dan Moore that would have much more capabilities. It would be an even better asset to the research community in the southeast United States, particularly, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, both up in Beauford in Morehead City, and UNCW in Wilmington,” Rogers said.

The folks in Raleigh agree. Five years ago, they gave Cape Fear $500,000 to design a new 117-foot training vessel. The school needs millions more to cut the steel and start building.

Getting the funding is proving to be a challenge. In January, CFCC learned not only are they not getting the funding for a new boat, but funding to keep up the Dan Moore would be cut as well. The longer it takes to secure the money, the more expensive a new boat will be.

“Money for a new ship, although it’s $9 or 10 million, pales in comparison to what colleges spend across this state on new buildings. We’ll spend $30 million on a new building at the drop of a hat. This is our building, and we need $9 or 10 million to get a new academic building,” said Rogers. “If you look at all the buildings on campus, this is the oldest academic building on campus, and we take it 80 miles offshore.”

In March, the state legislature built their hopes back up. State Representative Carolyn Justice sent a letter to the captain, saying the funding would not be cut. But budget shortfalls, jeopardizes the program once again. “You pull the funding for the ship; you’re actually pulling funding for the entire program, because we’re not going to teach it the way we have in the past,” added Rogers.

As the Dan Moore pulled back into the Port City, after the week-long voyage, students’ held their breath, concerned this would be their last chance to train at sea – leaving their training unfulfilled, and their beloved program, on dry land.

Representative Carolyn Justice said she is still fighting to keep the funding in the budget. She said it would be a waste to spend the money to design the boat, and not build it.

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All this week, we’ve been exploring the Marine Technology program at Cape Fear Community College. State budget cuts could sink their unique offshore training program. Thursday, Hailey Winslow wraps up our series with the program’s current status, and what’s at stake.

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Associated poll

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Columbus County woman inspires next generation

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

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Aunt Sarah, as she’s known by friends, family and campers, is a local institution beloved by many. If you can’t find her sitting in her favorite spot underneath the giant canopy of a live oak tree, you most likely will find Aunt Sarah giving her daily mission sermon to campers at Ambassador Camp, a week-long Bible study program she started in 1957.

“The Lord laid it on my heart to bring a small group of kids to Lake Waccamaw for a week to have a revival for them,” says Sarah, “We didn’t know it would be a camp.”

Ambassador Camp has been a favorite retreat for generations, each summer for decades.

Kids from all over the country return to this camp year after year. Aunt Sarah is one of the main reasons. Joseph Ketusczak has been to the camp four times.

“Aunt Sarah is a very loveable woman,” he said. “She loves everybody. She doesn’t care if you’re white or black or whatever, she just loves everybody.”

“She teaches us that you can pretty much do anything you want if you put your mind to it,” said five-time camper Kinsey Jones.

John Mower remembers when he first became a Pastor, in the summer of 1978.

“I say when I get old I want to be like Aunt Sarah because she continues to grow, she teaches us for sure”

Aunt Sarah is a quiet and well loved constant in Lake Waccamaw. And she’s not quite sure how she feels about all this attention.

“Well thankful, but I hope it doesn’t make me feel proud, because I didn’t do it, the Lord did it.”

And that humility may just be the key to her longevity.

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videoAt age 93, Sarah Sledge will tell you she doesn’t have a secret to longevity. But it’s clear that the children who attend her Columbus County camp keep her young.

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Associated poll

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