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State
With big long sandbags, N.C. DOT again tries to defend Ocracoke’s highway from the ocean

OCRACOKE — As contractors rebuilt N.C. 12 after Hurricane Dorian last fall, they also restored the narrow ridge of sand that stands between the highway and the Atlantic Ocean.

But even before the road could reopen, another coastal storm washed away some of the dune. Now the N.C. Department of Transportation is rebuilding it — again.

Contractors will soon begin laying 2,500 sandbags along about three-quarters of a mile of N.C. 12 near the north end of the island. The bags are 5 feet wide, 2 feet tall and 15 feet long, each capable of holding 5 cubic yards of sand — or about half a dump truck’s worth.

The plan is to stack the bags three deep, then rebuild the dune on top of them, to a total height of 10 feet. The bags at the base of the dune are meant to prevent water from undermining the road and damaging the pavement, according to Tim Hass, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

“Although the entire system (dune and bags) are there to protect the road, the bags are the main line of defense,” Hass wrote in an email to The News & Observer. “It isn’t uncommon for the dune to wash away, as during Dorian, the November nor’easter, or pretty much any coastal storm with a Southeast wind.”

The new dune will replace one that was initially washed away by Dorian in September. The storm surge that flooded the island covered the road in several places and buckled about 1,000 feet of pavement.

Contractors rebuilt the dune and repaved the highway, which reopened Dec. 5, three months after the storm. The reopening had been delayed by the nor’easter in November, which breached the dunes again in several places, covering the pavement with sand and water.

Rebuilding N.C. 12 on Ocracoke cost the state about $1.8 million. The new sandbags and dune construction will cost another $1.6 million, Hass said.

There’s plenty of sand on hand to fill the bags and rebuild the dune. Contractors will pump a slurry of sand and water from the surf into the bags, which are just porous enough to let the water seep out, Hass said.

While the bags will be buried under the dune, the DOT insists that the fabric be sand-colored so they will blend in if and when they get uncovered by the next big storm.

The restoration work should take three months and won’t require closing the road. If bad weather causes delays and the work can’t be finished by mid-May, it will be suspended until after Labor Day so it doesn’t interfere with summer traffic, Hass said.

N.C. 12 extends about 12 miles from Ocracoke Village to the north end of the narrow barrier island, where residents and visitors catch ferries to and from Hatteras Island.


Z-no-digital
Local news in brief

BIG SWEEP:

Rockingham County cracks down on gambling parlors

wentworth — Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page and District Attorney Jason Ramey have issued an edict for local owners and operators of gambling parlors: Game over.

Hand-delivered letters were distributed by law enforcement agencies earlier this week to 30 gaming establishments suspected of operating illegal sweepstakes or casino-type gambling operations.

Page said that for many years, state agencies have been combating an unregulated industry that evolves to “skirt the law.”

INCENTIVE: Feds want charters to accept more low-income students raleigh — The lure of federal grant money is helping convince more of the North Carolina’s charter schools to increase their enrollment of low-income students.

The U.S. Education Department has already awarded $36 million to be split among some charter schools for their efforts. Now, other charter schools say they may apply for a share of the grant.

LUCKY: Burke County man collects his second big N.C. lottery prizemorganton — A Connelly Springs man who won a $200,000 lottery prize in June 2013 has done it again.

Donald Hildebran stopped at a convenience store in Morganton on Tuesday and bought two 20X The Cash scratch-off tickets, according to officials with the N.C. Education Lottery.

Hildebran decided he wanted more tickets, so he went back and bought two others — and won the $250,000 top prize.

“I thought I’d made my $5 back,” he said. “But when I scanned the ticket, it told me to go to lottery headquarters.”

After taxes, Hildebran took home $176,876, lottery officials said.

POLITICKING:

Charlotte visit part of Buttigieg’s increasing N.C. push

Charlotte Fresh off his second-place finish in New Hampshire, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is ramping up his North Carolina campaign ahead of the state’s March 3 primary — and planning a visit to Charlotte.

Buttigieg is scheduled to hold a Charlotte town hall meeting on Feb. 27.

It will be Buttigieg’s first appearance in the state’s largest city.


Life
This day in history

In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.In 1876, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. (The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.)

In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.

In 1913, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was born in Brazil, Ind.; college football coach Woody Hayes was born in Clifton, Ohio; sports broadcaster Mel Allen was born in Birmingham, Ala.

In 1929, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone’s gang were shot.

In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian forces reached the Rhine River in Germany.

In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.

In 1967, Aretha Franklin recorded her cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” at Atlantic Records in New York.

In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.

In 1984, 6-year-old Stormie Jones became the world’s first heart-liver transplant recipient when the surgery was performed at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (she lived until November, 1990).

In 1985, Cable News Network reporter Jeremy Levin, held hostage by extremists in Lebanon, escaped from his captors.

In 2010, the Americans broke through the Nordic combined barrier at Vancouver as Johnny Spillane won the silver, the first U.S. Olympic medal in the sport dominated since its inception by the Europeans (Jason Lamy Chappuis of France won the gold). Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500. The Eastern Conference edged the West 141-139 in the NBA All-Star game in Arlington, Texas. Larry Ellison’s space-age trimaran completed a two-race sweep in the 33rd America’s Cup. Death claimed best-selling British author Dick Francis at age 89 and Doug Fieger, leader of the power pop band The Knack, at age 57.

In 2013, double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa; he was later convicted of murder and is serving a 13-year prison term. American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.

In 2015, a Danish gunman attacked a free-speech seminar and a synagogue in Copenhagen, killing two people; the shooter was later slain by a special police team. Actor Louis Jourdan, 93, died in Beverly Hills, California. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Levine, 87, died in Fresno, California.

In 2018, a gunman identified as a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing 17 in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years earlier.


Getting It Right

Getting it right

The News & Record corrects errors in its news columns that come to its attention. It also publishes appropriate clarifications. Please call 336-373-7052 to report items that need correction.

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In a contest for a new winning wing flavor for East Coast Wings and Grill, a $250 Visa gift card goes to a winning employee and free wings for a year for a winning guest. The prizes were wrong in the Feb. 12 Short Orders.