In the stunning backyard of Canyon Kitchen restaurant, I’m sipping a carrot-juice cocktail while enjoying views of Lonesome Valley’s granite cliffs. The sun is setting and the early September air is a crisp 65 degrees. Suddenly, a man comes out of the restaurant and announces, “There’s a bear in the parking lot!” Almost immediately, the high-end restaurant empties as diners rush to see the spectacle. Outside, a 400-pound native black bear is rambling around the restaurant’s apple orchard that lines the parking lot. Standing on her hind legs to reach for apples in the tree, the bear is unfazed by the large group of onlookers and passing cars. After taking a video, my fiancé clinks my glass with his and says, “It’s not every day you sip a cocktail while watching a bear.” But that’s just an average day in the Cashiers area of North Carolina, a refined mountain retreat just under five hours from Birmingham.Cashiers is in the … [Read more...] about Plan a fall escape to the mountains of North Carolina
North carolina state building code
John Bordsen Special to USA TODAY Published 7:58 AM EDT Oct 19, 2018 RALEIGH, N.C. – The warm voice answering your 800-VISITNC call will gladly mail you the 174-page Official 2018 Travel Guide, a North Carolina road map, or brochures about Civil War sites, AMTRAK connections or wineries. She can also field detailed questions about whitewater rafting, kayaking, ski slopes, fairs, cultural festivals or events in the state’s 100 counties. She has been trained to handle all variety of inquiries coming to the Visitor Call Center, and is not a fly-by-night phone jockey: She will be there for a while. The two crews who answer seven incoming lines – including “511” roadside emergency calls – are all inmates of the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women, the largest women’s penitentiary in the state. Some will be here for life. Proven track record The 30-acre prison on the southeast outskirts of Raleigh, near Interstate 40, looks like a scruffy, … [Read more...] about Official North Carolina travel advice comes from unique prison program
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael may have exposed a weak spot in Florida’s lauded statewide building code, among the strongest anywhere when it comes to windstorms: Across much of the Panhandle, the rules may not be tough enough.That’s because the code’s requirements for wind resistance vary widely by location. And while they’re most rigorous in famously hurricane-prone South Florida, they taper down the farther north you move along the peninsula. In most of the Panhandle, the code requirements are significantly less stringent.To illustrate the differences: Under the statewide code, most new structures in Miami-Dade County, including homes and office buildings, must be designed to withstand winds around 175 miles an hour, said John Pistorino, a veteran Miami structural engineer who helped write the building rules.TAMPA BAY TIMES COVERAGE: HURRICANE MICHAELDAY THREE: Thousands of people reported missing after Hurricane MichaelEND OF THE ROAD: Life on … [Read more...] about After Hurricane Michael, is it time to rewrite Florida’s building code?
Mark Berman, Antonia Noori Farzan, Eli Rosenberg and J. Freedom du Lac, The Washington Post Published 5:35 pm CDT, Thursday, October 11, 2018 In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida Panhandle to reach trapped people in Michael's wake Thursday as daylight yielded scenes of rows upon rows of houses smashed to pieces by the third-most powerful hurricane on record to hit the continental U.S. (SevereStudios.com via AP) less In this image made from video and provided by SevereStudios.com, damage from Hurricane Michael is seen in Mexico Beach, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Search-and-rescue teams fanned out across the Florida ... more Photo: AP Hector Benthall, right, gets a hug from his neighbor Keito Jordan after remnants of Hurricane Michael … [Read more...] about At least six killed by storm in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina
Five years ago, encouraged by homebuilders and an anti-regulatory zeal, lawmakers in North Carolina joined other states in weakening building code requirements. It’s a decision they may regret as Hurricane Florence takes aim at the Carolinas. The Legislature in 2013 increased the amount of time between updates to its building code from three years to six. That means that updates that set new standards for elevating the floors in flood-prone homes aren’t in effect, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes Inc., a nonprofit disaster safety organization. In 2015, state regulators also eliminated a requirement that storm shutters be permanently anchored. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety called out North Carolina for the changes in a report issued earlier this year, and lowered the state’s score in an assessment of building codes in hurricane-prone states. “This change means the state residential code will always be one or two cycles … [Read more...] about North Carolina weakened its building codes in 2013