Tarheeltalker

Vespa crabo and friends

Those who know would call our title subject a hornet, which along with its associate the verspula germanica or wasp; is one of the little known objects of Hurricane Irene”s wrath. And even though I am one of those who had incurred their wrath at various times ( since I suffer from  a pronounced allergic reaction to their stings) I feel a duty to come to their defense.

We in North Carolina suffered significant damage from Irene although ours was not as widespread as that in some northeastern states. Hard to tell that to the residents of Hatteras though. One species that was significantly affected was those of the stinging variety. The combination of wind and water wreaked havoc on their nests and in the words of  the N C Division of Public Health may have caused them to be very aggressive as  a result. That’s a real no brainer, huh?

Come on, if your nest  was waterlogged and then blown several hundred  feet from its preferred location, you might be in a bad mood also. So, for a while give these guys  a wide berth and please, if at all possible, avoid using the Raid.

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September 4, 2011 Posted by | Weather | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The World’s Longest Bridge Project

I can remember crossing over the Herbert C Bonner bridge for the first time, sometime in the early 70’s. I was absolutely petrified. I had never crossed  a bridge that high and really wasn’t sure that I wanted to. After a number of crossings over the years, those feelings of terror gradually subsided. When I drove across last month on the way to Ocracoke, the crossing was rather routine. But the bridge itself, or its future, is anything but.

But we must needs go back a bit. The bridge was built way back in 1963 and named for  a long serving NC Congressman, Democrat Herbert Covington Bonner from Washington, NC who served 12 terms and actually died while still in office. His namesake  bridge then became  a memorial bridge.

The bridge as it stands is 2.5 miles long and allows vehicles to cross the  Oregon Inlet ( named for the first vessel to pass through it, the Oregon) and continue on to Hatteras Island. The bridge was designed to last 3o years and the plans to replace actually began in 1990, which as it turns out was not nearly soon enough. The talks and the environmental studies and environment impact statements have gone on and on and on.

The latest public hearings took place in Manteo last week and were something of a fine tuning. If all goes well and that is quite a large word in this case, construction  might just begin in 2 years and be completed by 2015. The cost is projected to be only $300 million and that statement I make in all sincerity. That is because this new 2.7 mile  bridge, landing a bit west of the current one was not everyone’s  #1 choice. A coalition of environmental agencies and groups favored a 17 mile long structure that would have cost a whopping $1.3 billion.  NC DOT spokesman Drew Joyner said it quite well when he sated that the state just could not afford it. That’;s a refreshing comment from  a government spokesman, is it not?

Granted there needed to be lots of studies and opportunity for comment, etc. After all, the bridge’s location is about the perfect storm for environmental issues. It’s near an ocean, a sound, a national refuge and a national park. And if things were not done just so, you can bet good money that a raft of  environmental lawyers would be lining up, briefcases in hand and palms outstretched.

Hear a few statements. NC DOT calls the bride “structurally deficient” but safe for travel. They are actually working hard right now at fixing weak spots. Kinda gives one just a small unsettled feeling though. And another from Beth Midgett who chairs the Citizens Action Committee to build Bonner Bridge. She says that public safety has to win out over bureaucracy at some point. It does, does it not? And finally, from Ken Sharp, Jr of Manteo who is “merely” a local citizen. Words of wisdom here. ” Just build me  a bridge, please.” Well said sir.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment