Good Things Happening Down East

As we start a new year, there’s always hope for fresh starts and new beginnings. It’s rather like starting a new school year or a new semester - clean starts give us encouragement that our lives can and will be better! After the recovery from Hurricane Florence, this “2019 new beginning” is especially refreshing.

So, we’ve decided we need to share good news Down East! So here’s our new beginning as we spread some good news!!

Lookout Grocery reopened yesterday! For many folks Down East, this was great news to their ears!! This grocery store is owned by the Mark and Janet Eakes. Congratulations Lookout Grocery!


Budsin Electric Boats, located in Marshallberg, posted a pic of one of their boats now enjoying it’s new home in Amsterdam!! Tom Hesselink owns and operates Budsin Electric Boats. The canvas top was manufactured by Coastal Canvas of Straits, owned by Michael and Joyce Sasser.

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Down East Council December meeting

Down East Council will meet Tuesday night at the Davis Fire Department at 7:00 pm. All Down East residents are encouraged and invited to attend.

On the agenda:

Katherine Steele, principal of East Carteret High School, will present information about the Career Center they are hoping to develop. It will be beneficial for all of Down East.

Pruitt Health, located at Sea Level, will be relocating to a location in Beaufort. Dr. Besen, a clinical psychologist, will be attending to discuss ideas and possibilities for the Sea Level facility. The Council would like present our suggestions to the county commissioners.

Both topics are areas of interest for all residents.

Proposed Price Increase for Cape Lookout Cabins

Cape Lookout National Seashore will hold civic engagement through the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website ( to discuss possible fee increases in 2019. The park is proposing the removal of seasonal rental rates and moving to a flat rate (8.5% increase of the Spring/Fall rate) for each cabin.  These rates can be viewed on the park website at  The park has not raised the cabin fees since they began administering the camps in 2009.

 These funds have been used in the past for improvements to both camp bathhouses, adding outdoor showers, and installing handicap accessible ramps.  Additional revenue raised by a fee increase would help with upgrading the fueling stations, water and waste water systems. 

 Cape Lookout National Seashore is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area.  In 2017, more than 399,000 park visitors contributed $20.9 million to the local economy and supported 309 jobs related to tourism.

 Civic engagement will take place via the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website (  Visitors may then search by park or by the reference number 84742 and enter their comments.

 Following the public comment period, feedback will determine how, or if, a fee increase would be implemented.



Jeff West
Cape Lookout National Seashore
131 Charles Street
Harkers Island, NC 28531
(252) 838-8890 - Office

2018 Christmas Parade RESCHEDULED

The 2018 Christmas parade has been RESCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16 at 3:00 pm. The rescheduling of the parade is due to the predicted bad weather for this Sunday.

Please pass along the word about the parade being rescheduled!!

The community of Atlantic greatly appreciates your understanding and passing the info along to your friends and family.

The community of Atlantic will host the Down East Christmas Parade this year. The parade will be held on Sunday, December 9 and will begin at 3:00 pm

All communities, churches, organizations, clubs and individuals are welcome to participate. If you are interested in participating in the parade, please contact the Atlantic Civic & Beautification group at 252-656-4035.

Medicare Drug Plans Counseling Offer by Down East Library

Open enrollment for Medicare Drug Plans ends December 7th.

The Down East Library has arranged with Beth Simpson, Director of the Leon Mann Center to offer Medicare Drug Plan Counseling appointments at the Down East Public Library on two consecutive Mondays, November 19 and November 26 from 1:00 to 5:00 both days.

Please let your friends and neighbors know of this opportunity as they will otherwise need to go to the Leon Mann Center to get this assistance. It is critical for people to choose the correct plan. The Southern Maine Agency on Aging tracked the savings of the 5,000 people helped by volunteer counselors.  Every year people saved around $4,000 a year!)  

Please help spread the word. People must call the Library at 728-1333 to reserve a 30-minute appointment. They need to bring their Medicare card and either a list of their current prescription medicines with dosages and frequencies or a bag with their pill bottles.


Down East Council to Meet Tuesday, November 13

Down East Council will meet Tuesday, November 13, at the Davis Fire Department.
The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm

Residents of Down East are eligible to attend; we aspire to have two representatives from each community.

If you are interested in doing community work, this is a good option.

Vision Statement

To serve as a unified voice of our Down East communities by expressing our desires and needs for promoting and preserving livelihoods in a growing economy, celebrating and honoring our heritage while protecting our unique coastal environment.

Down East and other parts in Carteret County are still recovering from Hurricane Florence with extensive needs still existing for so many of our residents. There are still ways to make a contribution to assist in the rebuilding of our communities. Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center has organized three ways to direct your monies:

Community Relief (this is money we are distributing through classroom teachers to families w/ school students including parents and grandparents)

NC Watermen (this is money being raised by chefs/restaurants/markets inland to help fishermen w/ repairs and relief caused by the storm)

Museum Recovery (to help sustain operations during the 6-months plus we will be out of the  building and cover building restoration not covered by insurance)

Donations can be made to Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harkers Island or mail your donation to 1785 Island Road, PO Box 556, Harkers Island, NC 28531

FEMA/SBA Extends Deadline to Apply for Assistance

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 - 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13, 2018 deadline.

SBA representatives at the Center can provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application.

The disaster declaration covers the North Carolina counties of Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson; for economic injury only in the contiguous North Carolina counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Dare, Davidson, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stanly, Stokes, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington; and the contiguous South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Lancaster and Marlboro.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019

FEMA/SBA Disaster Relief Center in Carteret County locations listed below:

Carteret County Board of Elections Office
1702 LIve Oak Street
Beaufort, NC
Opens at 9:00 a.m.

SBA Business Recovery Center
Sound Bank
5039 Executive Drive
Morehead City, NC
9:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Thursday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm Friday

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum is Asking For Volunteers!

The next chapter of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center's history is about to begin.

Come be a part of it!

On November 1, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center will open their Downtown Morehead Center location at 806 Arendell Street and begin welcoming guests to the museum's temporary office and visitors center "at the end of the road."

Both locations will be important parts of rebuilding our museum and keeping

Core Sound's work moving forward!

Would you be willing to help volunteer at either location? 

The museum will be hosting a "greeters meeting" at the Museum at 10:00 am Monday, October 29. They are already making plans for Waterfowl Weekend and there's much work to do and lots of folks to talk to. They will be open there as many days as they can cover with staff and volunteers! Folks are coming to visit and now they have lots of questions and we have work to do!

The museum needs all of their friends in town who can help with the new gift shop location to meet with them at 2:00 pm on Monday, October 29 to discuss how you help with all the exciting holiday events happening at 806 Arendell, starting November 1 with their annual 25% off CRABPOT TREE SALE.

There will be their Christmas Open House on November 17 - their Thanksgiving Weekend Sales -and all the events that Downtown MHC folks have asked them to be part of! They have lots of decorating to do, shirts to fold and merchandise to price -- and most importantly, wonderful people to talk to about all their plans for Waterfowl Weekend "at the end of the road" and the museum's progress toward reopening in the spring!

ALL OF YOU know how important volunteers have always been to their work and now that's even more true. They need your help, encouragement and support! 

Message Karen Amspacher, or give Deb a call (728-1500) and let them know you're coming! This is going to be the best Core Sound Christmas ever - no matter what!

Otway-Straits-Bettie Precinct Polling Place Moved for this Election

The polling place for the Otway-Straits-Bettie precinct has been moved to Woodville Baptist Church in Bettie for the November 6, 2018 election. The change was made due to damages to the Otway Fire Department.

Letters were mailed October 23 to registered voters in this precinct to inform them of this change.

It would be helpful if voters in this precinct help spread the word about this change so there will be less confusion on the day of the election.

All early voting sites will be open week days from 7am to 7pm. The LAST DAY is Saturday, November 3 from 8am to 1pm (ONLY WEEKEND DAY OPEN).

Sample ballots for all precincts can also be found on the Board of Elections website and can be downloaded here.

Schedule for One-Stop Voting (Early voting) can be found here.

Early Voting has Begun!

Early voting began Wednesday, October 17 and will continue through Saturday, November 3.

NOTICE THE EXTENDED HOURS FOR EARLY VOTING. Polls will be open at 7:00 am and will continue until 7:00 pm!!

Sample ballots can be found on the Carteret County Board of Elections website; or sample ballots can be found at this link: Sample Ballots

Voter Registration Application

Voter Registration Deadline: 
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2018 at 5pm

You can also register to vote if you go to One-Stop Voting (Early) where you can register to vote AND vote at the same time!

Absentee Request Form

Absentee by Mail Request Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 5pm 


One-Stop (Early Voting) Information below

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A Community Conversation About Coastal Change

Join the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center community as we discuss our relationship with place, the role of change in our lives and how it impacts our region and our future. Bound by our saltwater connections, we’ll join our neighbors from Ocracoke, Hatteras, and the Chesapeake Bay in conversation about our day-to-day observations of change and how we might prepare for a more resilient tomorrow.

The event will be held at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center on Tuesday, August 14 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.  A light lunch will be served.

This conversation is in conjunction with Rising: Perspectives of Coastal Change, a multimedia exhibition currently on view at the Museum. Rising is made possible by The Community Collaborative Research Grant, a program of North Carolina Sea Grant in partnership with the William R. Kenan Jr. Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science.

Additional support has been provided by Southern Cultures, The Center for the Study of the American South, Food for All, the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, the UNC Department of American Studies and the Core Sound Museum

What We Do Down East - We Help Neighbors!

The link below is provided by WCTI12

If you can donate to the GoFundMe page, it will be greatly appreciated!  

You can click here to visit a GoFundMe page for the two shrimpers.

In addition, a fundraiser will be held July 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum for Rustick and Grant. Shrimp plates will be sold for $10. For more information on this event, you can call Aundrea O'Neal at (252) 503-8302.

Down East Counil Guest Speaker Jeff West, CALO Superintendent to Speak

 Down East Council will hold their monthly meeting Tuesday, July 10 at the Williston United Methodist Church.  The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm

The council will host Jeff West, Superintendent of Cape Lookout National Seashore.  He will discuss the park and the many opportunities available to visit and explore.

Down East Council meets monthly and represents all thirteen Down East communities.  Any resident of Down East is invited to attend and participate.  

For further information, please contact the chairperson, Lillie Chadwick Miller, vice-chair Tom Hesselink, Secretary Art Noyes, or Treasurer, Barbara Blake.

Duke University and NOAA Scientists Partner to Study Seagrass Communities Along the Straits

If you have traveled through Straits toward Harkers Island, you have probably noticed the strange collection of sticks and net along the shore!   After contacting Dr. James Morris of NOAA, he put us in contact with a student working with NOAA and Duke that provided us with a full description of the project, which is explained below.

In the coastal waters of North Carolina, seagrass communities are an essential habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish, crab, and shrimp species and contribute millions to the state economy annually.   The seagrass communities around the Straits are no exception and are well known to support a variety of fish and shellfish that are important to recreational and commercial fisheries.


This summer Dr. Brian Silliman (Duke University Marine Lab) and Dr. Kenneth Riley (NOAA Beaufort Lab) have enlisted the help of a bright summer intern, Anjali Boyd, to study the seagrass communities along the Straits. The study site was selected because it is in an area that will be directly impacted by construction and replacement of the Harkers Island Bridge. 

 Ms. Boyd, an undergraduate marine science student from Eckerd College in Florida, was recently awarded a NOAA Hollings Scholarship. The distinguished award allows her to spend a summer at the NOAA Beaufort Lab and conduct marine science research that is supervised by Dr. Silliman and Dr. Riley. Ms. Boyd’s research focuses on examining a food-web based approach to seagrass conservation, through the inclusion and exclusion of juvenile pinfish in seagrass beds. For her field experiments, Boyd has set up cages, using bamboo poles and plastic netting, off the Harkers Island Bridge in the Straits. The aim of her project is to better understand how juvenile pinfish affect seagrass health. Currently, little is known about the effect of pinfish on seagrasses. Boyd has two hypothesis, (1) pinfish could directly affect seagrasses by consuming them or (2) pinfish could indirectly affect seagrasses through their consumption of mesograzers, small invertebrates that live on blades of seagrass. Mesograzers are responsible for eating algae that grows on seagrass and threatens their growth. Since pinfish are one of the most abundant fish species in coastal habitats and a common prey for many commercially and recreationally important fish species, it is important to better understand their role in theses coastal environments. Boyd is monitoring her experiments daily through July to better understand the effects pinfish can have on seagrass health and productivity.

Chief Ira Lewis Day - 100 Years of Service

Harkers Island's much-loved and appreciated Ira Lewis will turn 100 on August 2, 2018. To celebrate him and his commitment to our community and our country, we are celebrating his birthday with a gathering of all those who have served in the US Coast Guard and their families.

Carteret County is an official "USCG Community" and especially Down East. A day long event will include parade at 11:00, lunch and a tribute to Ira and the USCG community at 2:00 pm.

If you would like help plan/carry-out this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, please email the