NEWSLETTER # 121       JANUARY, 2007           PO BOX 155, BEAUFORT, NC 28516                252-729-2521
Crossroads 27th Annual Meeting
Common Ground, Common Water, Common Goals
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Joslyn Hall, Carteret Community College
Socializing and Silent Auction at 6:30 pm
Meeting at 7:00pm
Crossroads is joining with local organizations to
celebrate the natural beauty of our county and
discuss ways to preserve and enhance our environment.
Come and meet others concerned with the culture,
recreational opportunities and water-based
economy of coastal Carolina.
A message from our President
            Following is a statement by the new President of Crossroads, Mark Hooper, on Crossroads’ mission for the coming year.   
            In preparation for the 27th Annual Meeting of Carteret County Crossroads, a list of priorities has been developed.  In the coming year we pledge to become more informed about these issues, educate our members and citizens of the county on these issues, and participate in the governance processes in the county when these issues are addressed.
1.  Water access:  The natural beauty of this county is one of its greatest attributes.  It should be a basic right of Carteret County residents and visitors to have access to beaches and the water for boating and swimming.  Any growth in population or number of residences should be matched by a growth in water access points and parking.  All forms of boating, including canoeing, kayaking, pleasure boating and commercial fishing should be addressed. Crossroads supports state and local efforts to improve water access issues in the county.   
2.  Water quality:  While this county is known as the Crystal Coast because of the superb water quality on our beaches and in the sounds, water quality over time has declined.  The measure of this is the increasing amount of Shellfish Approved (SA) waters closed to shellfishing.  Increased stormwater runoff is the principal cause of water quality decline and current regulations and policies have failed to maintain water quality in the estuarine system of Carteret County.   The state of North Carolina is working toward new rules and regulations that would reverse recent water quality decline trends.  The public trust waters within the boundaries of Carteret County belong to the citizens of the state of North Carolina.   Private land-based activity must not be allowed to degrade the quality of the waters that belong to everyone.  Our tourism, recreational boating and fishing, and commercial fishing industries are dependent upon clean water and a healthy estuarine ecosystem.  Crossroads supports statewide efforts to develop policies that will decrease the impact of stormwater runoff and improve water quality.   We support local initiatives such as the development of an Atlantic Beach Sewer system and stormwater management efforts in Emerald Isle
3.  Planning for the Future:    Over the years there have been many committees and task forces convened to chart the future course of Carteret County. Most have been completed and then ignored. The county is in the process of finishing an update of the local CAMA Land Use plan.  Crossroads has urged the county to include policies and regulations that would exceed minimum state standards.  We urge the county to be creative in their approach to preservation of local unique areas such as the Down East area of the county.   
4.  Building a Broader Base to Strengthen Our Collective Voice:  Carteret County is blessed with natural beauty and an abundance of natural resources.  These factors, long appreciated by natives of the county, have attracted many new citizens in recent years.  This increase in population along with the associated development has affected the very reason that the people were attracted to the county.  There are numerous groups that meet on a regular basis to find ways to preserve the natural and historical heritage of this area.    There are groups that meet to share the experience of being outdoors and boating, fishing, or hunting in this area.  In Carteret County important issues tend to become polarized, seen as simply black and white, and it becomes difficult to find a common middle ground.           
The theme of Crossroads 27th Annual Meeting will be:  Common Ground, Common Water, Common Goals.  This will be a gathering of local environmental groups and natural resource user groups that will come together and present opportunities to be involved in the enjoyment and preservation of the natural environment of Carteret County.   Representatives of Crossroads, County Tree Awareness Group, NC Coastal Federation, Izaak Walton League, NC Shellfish Gardeners, Down East Tomorrow, The Wildlife Club, Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve, and others to be announced will set up informational tables and present an overview of their local activities.  We invite everyone to attend and celebrate the unique natural beauty of Carteret County.  The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 22, 2007, in Joslyn Hall on the campus of Carteret Community College.  There will be a silent auction of arts and crafts beginning at 6:30 and the meeting will begin at 7 PM.  Come early and socialize with light refreshments.   
Public Water Access.
            Jess Hawkins of the Crossroads Board is a member of the committee established by the County Commissioners to look into local water access availability. His summary of the committee action follows:
            The responsibility of the Committee is to make recommendations to the board regarding issues concerning public water access including: 1) making recommendations  on potential sites for public water access; 2) making recommendations on potential grants to acquire land or develop facilities for public access; and 3) assessing existing water access points in Carteret County. Other voting members of the committee are: Connie Asero, John Wooten, Henry Hammond, James Amspacher, Dan Reitz, Gary Shruggs and Tom Steepy. Tom Steepy is Chairman and Jess Hawkins is vice-chair. Several non-voting members represent state or local government bodies
            In meetings to date, the committee has discussed: the County Public Access Plan prepared by the Parks and Recreation Dept.; County access projects involving the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC); a potential boat ramp at the Emerald Isle Bridge; updates of the work of a state committee on water access; and working waterfronts. The committee recommended to the Board that they submit a joint grant with the WRC to the Division of Coastal Management to renovate the west Beaufort boat ramp near Town Creek.
            Meetings of the committee are open to the public and are announced by the County through notices in the media and on the county website. They usually meet once a month in Morehead City or Beaufort.
Crossroads News.
            Again, we ask you to please look at your mailing label. If your dues are not current, we urge you to rejoin. Remember, our only source of income is dues and donations from our members. We will gladly take dues at the Annual Meeting.
            From time to time, we send free newsletters to those who may be interested in supporting Crossroads. If your label says “Free Newsletter” please consider supporting our efforts to make our area even better.
We welcome a new Board member, Nancy Veitch, who has been active in the Tree Awareness Group, which is now part of Crossroads. Nancy has been in business as Nancy’s Nannies, Inc. for 16 years. She has a degree in Travel and Tourism from the Univ. of Mass., worked in the travel industry and taught at Parks College in St. Louis. Among her varied interests is a serious concern for our environment, which led her to a leadership role with the Tree Awareness Group and now to the Crossroads Board.