Speakers

Lower Cape Fear LifeCare


Jennifer Andrews, Community Liaison, for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare was our speaker on Tuesday, February 18. Jennifer noted that this is the 40th year for the non-profit previously known as Lower Cape Fear Hospice. The non-profit serves New Hanover, Pender and Onslow Counties.


Jennifer noted that ” You deserve the highest quality of life when living with a serious illness. We offer a spectrum of health services to meet your needs at any point in life, wherever you call home, and provide support for loved ones.”

Jennifer outlined the various programs that Lower Cape Fear LifeCare offers including the following

  • Hospice is not about the last months of life — it’s about living those months to the fullest.
  • Palliative Care can begin the moment you are diagnosed with a serious illness.  Those who receive palliative care in the early stages of their illness can live more and do more of the activities they love.
  • Dementia Care can equip and empower caregivers to navigate the challenges of dementia while providing wide-ranging care, resources and support for patients and their loved ones, throughout the disease’s full progression.
  • Grief Care – We provide families with extensive grief support as they work through life’s changes, free of charge to anyone in the community who has lost a loved one.
  • Veterans – We are proud to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a member of the We Honor Veterans program. This program is a collaborate effort of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Click here to learn more about the programs offered and volunteer opportunities

N. Topsail Beach Update


Joann McDermon, Mayor Pro Tem

Joann McDermon, Mayor Pro Tem, North Topsail Beach. (photo by Jeff Wenzel)

Joann McDermon, Mayor Pro Tem, of the Town of N. Topsail Beach presented an update on happenings in Town. She explained that the Board of Aldermen is in a holding state due to the challenge of Dan Tuman, mayor candidate who lost the election to her as write-in candidate on the November 5th ballot. Superior Court will rule on his challenge of her write-in campaign later this month. (photo by Jeff Wenzel)


Update Outline

  • Storm Repair.  Still recovering from Hurricane Florence
  • Town Hall.  Working with our engineer and insurance company to restore the building to pre-Florence condition.
  • Town Park.  Working with our engineer.  Having trouble with getting bids in the expected cost range. Will re-bid.
  • Dune Repair.  Hurricane Matthew dune repair is underway as a sand truck haul project for Phase 5 (south end of NTB). Hurricane Florence dune and beach repair is scheduled for 2020-2021 and will include sand for dunes in Phases 2-4.
  • Onslow County BeachAccess.  We are working with the county to understand the schedule to repair our large ‘Regional Beach’ access lots. 
  • South- End Fire Station. Structural damage to the fire station will require engineering work to fix damaged components in the building.
  • Surf City/ NTB Federal Project in the planning phases.  Aggressively targeting next year for the project. We thank the TISPC for their years-long effort to bring this important beach project to fruition.
  • COBRA legislationWe continue to work with TISPC.org and Audubon to get the legislative map amendments approved in Congress.
  • Upcoming events in 2020
    • Sledgehammer Half Marathon, 10 miler and 5K run to support the Semper Fi Fund of the USMC was held on Saturday, February 1st along the beach and streets of NTB.
    • Cycle NC, a week-long celebration for bicyclists that tours from the mountains to the coast will end at N. Topsail Beach in October.
    • Ocean City Jazz Festival is coming 4th of July weekend
      • We support this festival through financial contributions as well as provided public safety resources for the weekend event.
      • The festival organizers are looking for town-wide donations this year.
  • Earth and Surf Fest 5K will be held in July.
  • TISPC participation
  • We value our membership in the organization and all it does for Topsail Island.
    • By
      • Assisting with lobbyists and COBRA legislation for NTB
      • Assisting with the prioritization and planning for our island regarding beach related issues and projects

January 21, 2020

We had a potpourri of Kiwanis members give short testimonies about themselves


We learned from Joe Bell that he used to be bigger than he is now and played football.  Now he plays Pickleball and golf, but only when the weather is warm. A modest man, Joe failed to mention that he easily rides away from the Thursday morning Kiwanis bike riders whenever they start gabbing too much. As a newly-elected town commissioner he wants to apply our motto of improving the world “one community at a time” to Topsail Beach.


We learned from Larry Bartholomew that he was a grocer who used to work for Boyce Kay before branching out on his own and then later became a home builder.


We learned from Pat Brennan that he once contemplated entering the priesthood until he met his wife.  He likes to work “behind the scene”.  But as our 2019 Kiwanian of the Year the word is out!


Photos by Jeff Wenzel, Above Topsail

Cape Fear Council, BSA

Anthony Nigro, NECF District Executive of the Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts of America talked about scouting in the Northeast Cape Fear Council of the BSA and program changes the scouts have made to accommodate young families wanting scouting experiences for their sons and daughters. (photo by Jeff Wenzel, Above Topsail)


The mission of the Cape Fear Council, Boy Scouts of America is to foster the character development, citizenship training and physical fitness of young people, and in other ways to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values based on those found in the Scout Oath and Law. 


Anthony relayed some scouting facts

  • The Northeast Cape Fear District includes northern New Hanover County and Pender County.
  • The district has over 1,000 boys and girls across 36 units in the various scouting programs list above. This includes an explorer post at the Pender Memorial Hospital that give high school students opportunities to explore potential career paths.
  • Scouting membership in the District grew by 8% in 2019.
  • There were 28 Scouts in the NECF district who earned their Eagle Scout Award this past year providing more than 2,800 man-hours of community service with their projects.
  • More than 200 scouts attended week-long summer camps last year.
  • Youth Fun Day in September attracted 500 youth and 400 adults to participate in sports, fishing, Cub Scout Adventures and other activities during the day-long event.
  • More than 140 campers attended weekend events at the McNeill Cub Scout World.

Scouting Programs


Boy Scouts of America- a recognized organization for over 100 years

Anthony explained the scouts are not changing their name, they are the Boy Scouts of America. What is changing is the opportunity for girls to become members of Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

  • Cub Scouts now includes separate girls dens for girls ages 5-10.
  • Boy Scouts has become ‘Scouts BSA’ and includes separate girls troops for ages 11-17.
  • The other programs listed above will stay the same as they already include girls.

BSA Topsail Island Breakfast Fundraiser

Anthony also related the upcoming BSA Topsail Island Breakfast Fundraiser on Feb 28th at 6:30 AM at the Southern Roots Grille, in Holly Ridge. Speaker will be Four Star U.S. Army General Curtis (Mike) Scaparrotti (retired) who himself was a boy scout. Breakfast is free but seating is limited so please RSVP to Rick Stidley –rstidley@aol.com


To learn more about Scouts and the Cape Fear Council of BSA visit them on the web

Future of NHRMC

Lynn Gordon, Legal Officer, New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Lynn Gordon, NHRMC. photo by Jeff Wenzel

Lynn Gordon, Legal Counsel at NHRMC spoke to us on Tuesday, Jan 14th about a “Future Partnership Exploration” for the hospital.

As background, Lynn noted that NHRMC serves patients from New Hanover Co. and six surrounding counties.

NHRMC is unique in the country being one of three large independent non-for-profit hospitals. However, the costs associated with operating a major hospital center are staggering.

So the dilemma is how to adapt to the future of health care for a hospital like NHRMC. With no tax dollars from New Hanover Co. or any of the other six counties served, it is difficult to maintain current levels of service and plan for future needs in staff and infrastructure.

Moving from a ‘Fee-for-Service’ management style to a ‘Value-Based Payment’ style also will require ‘data mining’ of the local population to learn tendencies. This kind of information is the same that retailers rely on to ‘figure’ out what you would like to buy next. But for hospitals it is a whole new arena of operating. The idea here is to learn about health tendencies that of local population.

Changes that NHRMC is seeing in payer shifts. Less private payers and more governmental payers i.e. Medicaid and Medicare.

Volume demands (%) by medical unit at NHRMC are much higher than average for NC urban hospitals (67%)

Partnership Advisory Group is formed with distinguished members from across the community.

Planning for the next 5 years

The decision timeline

No decision has been reached yet! Contrary to what you may see as ‘negative advertisement’ on TV and the internet.

This web link takes you to the NHRMC next-steps list in which you will note that the NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group has not even held the public hearing yet. So they are a long way away from making Decision 2020 for NHRMG.

You can stay informed by signing up for email updates and find presentations at www.NHRMCfuture.org.

Thanks to Lynn Gordon and Carolyn Fisher for providing the PowerPoint presentation of Lynn’s talk.

Topsail Beach Update

Mayor Steve Smith, Town of Topsail Beach

Mayor Steve Smith, Town of Topsail Beach addresses Kiwanis. photo by Jeff Wenzel

Topsail Beach Community Report

Topsail Beach did have a good 2019:

Good Morning

  1. Let me start with a thank you to Howard Braxton and Linda Stipe for their years of service to our town. They were part of a Board that has worked as a team for the benefit of our “Mayberry by the Sea”.
  2. We continued to see recovery progress from Hurricane Florence. We have received FEMA funds for majority of Hurricane Florence and have submitted items for Hurricane Dorian. 
  3. Our town continues to have a strong financial position.
    • Tax collection is 99.4% collected or $1.9m net tax levy or a per hundred tax rate of 29 cents.
    • We have positive balances in all our funds:
      • Beach Inlet Sound Balance – $4.8m,
      • Water System Balance – $1.8m or 215% of Annual Expenditures,
      • General Fund Balance – $2.6m or 89% of Expenditures.
    • We exceed all state mandated reserve requirements for a coastal community.
  4. We have an outstanding staff

Our 2020 year will be productive & positive:

  1. We will start construction of our Storm Mitigation Project which is part of our 30 Year Beach Management Program in about 2 weeks.
    • This is a $24 million dollar project and we expect to put 2.2m cubic yards of sand on our beach.
    • Funding from FEMA & NC Shallow Draw Fund is expected to pay for the majority of this project. 
    • Weeks Marine expects project to take about 60 days to complete.
    • Weather issues are always a concern during this time of year; however, there are weather delays built into plan –  expect to complete our 7 miles of beach before April 30.
  2. Our BIS Committee has now started development of a Sound Side Flood Reduction Program. They are coordinating with N.C. Coastal Federation. We are very pleased with the status of our beach programs.
  3. We will finalize our long-term water & septic security program. We have no issues with water or septic —- however –  
    • With the growth we are seeing in the area (more water systems using the same aquifer we use – remember we are pulling from the side closest to saltwater) and more full time Topsail Beach residents – we need to ensure we have long-term safe water supply.
    • Septic system – again we have more full-time residents. This over the long term with climate change will have an impact on septic systems. The town feels it is important to have a long term plan we can work to ensure we can meet the needs our our community. Our position is to understand our options and have a plan that can be implemented in a manner that is proactive for our needs. It needs to be practical, safe and cost effective.
  4. We will begin the development of our bike/pedestrian plan. It would be nice to see a full island plan developed. We just have more groups and individuals that enjoy these types of activities.
  5. We will add to our administration staff to ensure we continue to meet our community needs – Asst. Town Clerk/Human Resources & Accounting Support. Our Building Inspection Department and Public Works Office will be relocating to the building just north of our police department. Our town staff is focused on meeting the daily needs of Topsail Beach and in our opinion are the best.
  6. 2021 Budget Process has started – I am sure we will have several good discussions on public safety issues and ensuring income sources. I do believe the board in 2020 will review our Hurricane Emergency Procedures, dog leash ordinance, driving on beach permit process, fire department personnel needs, total facility needs which includes an Emergency Operation Center. Board is Focused is on long term needs of Topsail Beach given the increased population of island and area.
  • We also want to thank all our property owners for their willingness to support our town programs through their feedback and service on various committees. We have strong citizen led BIS & Planning Committees.

We wish everyone, safe and a prosperous 2020.

Steve Smith, Mayor
Topsail Beach

Energy Bus Stops at Dixon High

Principal Steve Clarke, Dixon High

On Tuesday morning, December 17, 2019, Principal Steve Clarke at Dixon High School brought his Energy Bus program to Kiwanis.  It was a true learning experience for the audience as we heard an innovative program for high school education inside and outside the classroom. Principal Clarke said that “positive people + positive energy = positive results.” In math terms and this may need to be verified, Pp x Pe = Prx3 (Pr cubed). This is the Energy Bus.
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