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 In the News, April 3, 2017 

Swan Quarter dike gives coastal town peace of mind, proved worth during Hurricane Matthew. Pat Spencer’s store and garage sit in about the lowest spot of this coastal town. They've always attracted stormwater. That was especially true during Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Spencer recently placed his finger on a dot on a wall more than 5 feet off the floor marking the flood level of that storm. The receding water left mats of marsh grass, shrimp, speckled trout, fire ants and snakes found hiding in corners and on shelves for months afterward.

Council approves dune-repair contract. Oak Island Town Council approved a pair of contracts in a special session Monday evening that will allow engineering company Moffatt & Nichol and Wayne’s Backhoe to start work on a FEMA dune restoration project. Work on the project, which will replace dunes washed away by last fall’s Hurricane Matthew, is expected to start at 58th Street and go west in early April.

Blowing Rock makes USA Today “Best Southern Small Town” Finalist List: USA Today/10Best editors and a panel of local travelers selected 20 small towns with populations under 10,000, considering over 100 possibilities and narrowing it down to a collection of small towns representing each state in the region (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia). "These 20 small towns are each travel-worthy for their beauty, culture and shopping, dining, entertainment and lodging option," editors wrote.

Donation of Fire Engine to Department in Need: The Clayton Fire Department will receive a 2017 Pierce Pumper Tanker to replace a 1994 E-One Freightliner fire engine later this month. Fire Chief Lee Barbee requested the Town Council donate the old Freightliner engine to the Fairmont City Fire Department. Fairmont would use the engine to replace a 1990 F800 KME Ford fire truck.

Think small during NC Beer Month. There's no such thing as rush hour in Sylva. There are also no strangers in this mountain town of fewer than 3,000 people, said Sheryl Rudd, who owns Heinzelmännchen Brewery with her husband, German-born brewmaster Dieter Kuhn. "If we don't know the names of everyone in here, at least we know faces," she said.

A year for Parks. Swing a left off N.C. 61, and you will find boats hitched to the backs of trucks, Labradors romping on trails, and Pelican’s Point, a serene corner of Lake Mackintosh where the water stretches out to a line of trees and curls around a gazebo on a jut of grass. Whitsett’s Guilford-Mackintosh Park and Marina is one of the City of Burlington’s hidden gems — hidden, in part, because it isn’t in Burlington. The city partnered with Guilford County in the early 1990s to create a second Lake Mackintosh park after the success of the park on Huffman Mill Road.

City park to see improvements. Shelby’s recreational hub will soon pay tribute to veterans and provide entertainment for children with disabilities. For months, city leaders have looked at a way to improve City Park. Thanks to a state grant, those thoughts will become a reality. Shelby City Manager Rick Howell said the soon-to-come upgrades will enhance what is already a focal point of the city.