he News-Times presents its annual community progress report, “Outlook 2017” as two special sections in today’s edition.

Marking the 33rd year for “Outlook,” which has earned numerous press awards for our staff, the package represents a snapshot of Carteret County now and in the near future.

“Outlook 2017” is an effort by this newspaper’s editorial staff to encapsulate and analyze many major issues that include many of the governmental, economic, social and cultural components in play that influence decisions and opportunities of county leaders and the populace.

To present the breadth and depth of material, “Outlook 2017” is divided into two sections, Section C, focusing on industry and government, and Section D, focusing on health care, academics and entertainment.

Section C features glimpses of each of the county’s 11 municipalities and progress toward their stated goals. With the exception of Atlantic Beach and Cedar Point, municipal leaders, elected and employed, along with the tax rate, phone number and website are listed, with similar information for county leaders.

Listing infrastructure projects, Section C underscores the county’s economic engine and transportation improvements under way — bridges at Gallants Channel, Harkers Island and North River, along with other planned upgrades, dredging projects, a new county garage, an administrator for Cape Carteret, Allies for Cherry Point’s Tomorrow and advice from the National Weather Service for severe weather safety.

There are stories about Pine Knoll Shores, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Cedar Point, India Beach, Beaufort, Bogue, Peletier, a reprisal of county and municipal board meeting times and locations, a compilation of incumbent town leaders for this fall’s municipal elections, stories about the County Chamber of Commerce, Michael J. Smith Field and legislative redistricting. 

Morehead City’s decision on the former Charles S. Wallace school building and Katherine Davis Park is examined as is a new building at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort, along with rising strife over draft flood insurance rate maps and the future of the County Economic Development Council.

There is a story that federal budget cuts may eliminate Sea Grant funding and about pending master beach plan approval for beach nourishment.

There are stories about the Morehead City State Port, pending trawling regulations and the Tourism Development Authority.

The section also lists contact numbers for emergency personnel, county law enforcement and fire departments, along with stories about four ministries: The MirIAM, Loaves and Fishes, Hope Mission and Family Promise, and a list of community resources.

Underscoring county amenities, upcoming events and efforts to grow and nurture the economy and improve quality of life, Section D highlights the 50th anniversary of Carteret Health Care and the 25th anniversary of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island, plans for the N.C. Maritime Museum’s Harborside Park in Beaufort and improvements at Fort Macon State Park. 

Noting searches under way for a new president to replace retiring Carteret Community President Dr. Kerry Youngblood and retiring Carteret County School Superintendent Dr. Dan Novey and a county Human Services director, we learn Cape Lookout National Seashore will name a new park superintendent.

The coastal setting that draws tourists, retirees and second homeowners and often calls natives home is constantly under the microscope, whether as a site for various forms of development that may threaten it or as a unique laboratory for scientists. 

These aspects are examined in Section D with stories about school expansion in western Carteret County, educational opportunities, new facilities, programs and research at N.C. State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, new programs and projects at the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Sciences, research programs at Duke University Marine Lab, fresh programs at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, and plans by the N.C. Coastal Federation, the county based environmental organization, to pursue water quality aggressively.

There are stories about the County Health Department goals, archeological preservation of artifacts from the Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Carteret County History Museum.

For sheer entertainment, one will find a list of upcoming county events and fishing tournaments, events for the Beaufort Wine and Food Festival, Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, for the Beaufort Historical Association and events leading to this year’s Beaufort Pirate Invasion in August and the N.C. Seafood Festival in October.

As a package with 64 news stories, “Outlook 2017” is intended as a useful resource for new residents and those considering relocating here, as a guide for those looking to learn more about our community, a reference on current events for the news minded and a time capsule for future historical research.

We’re hopeful readers will find this of value.

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