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Earlier this week, more than 30 people, including North Carolina NAACP President Reverend William Barber, were arrested at the State Capitol for demanding that the Republican-led legislature expand Medicaid. 

As lawmakers in Washington wrangle over exactly when and how to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something else, state-level officials are scrambling to anticipate the fallout. 

At the same time, auto insurers in the state are seeking a nearly 14% hike in rates from the North Carolina Rate Bureau which, if approved, would go into effect this fall.

Wilmington, for a few days, is the center of the Republican Party universe. On Friday more than 1,300 party members will roll into town for the state’s GOP Convention.  The party has brought in some big names to rally the troops.

Academy of American Poets

Barbara McKenzie says everyone has a magical NPR moment-when you hear something on NPR that just knocks you off your feet and makes a huge impact on your mind, your heart, even your life. That moment for Barbara came when she heard poet Samuel Menashe on NPR's Weekend Edition. He was being interviewed because he received the Poetry Foundation's Neglected Masters Award. This sent Barbara, a concert pianist, into the world of composing. She composed a song cycle to bring sound to 11 of Menashe's poems. She hadn't composed before-and she hasn't composed since. Hear a short interview with Barbara above and a longer one below, along with her compositions. 

Pixabay

A quick sweep of news headlines about guns in North Carolina shows stacks of stories about illegally-obtained weapons.  Two men made national news earlier this month by breaking into two gun shops in North Carolina and stealing more than 100 weapons.  They were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Every year, the Historic Wilmington Foundation releases a list of the region’s threatened historic sites. It’s their way of bringing attention to old homes and buildings that need protection to be saved and preserved.  “So the 2017 most threatened historic places for the Historic Wilmington Foundation is as follows ….” 

Daniella Urdinlaiz (www.lookcatalog.com)

In the past month, there have been six shootings in Wilmington – and one life lost to gun violence. But how do local and state authorities screen gun permit applicants? On this week's CoastLine, UNCW Psychology Professor Richard Ogle outlined the difficulties in identifying those who are more prone to violence. 

After mass shootings in the news, there’s often a call to address the mental health of the perpetrator. But Professor Ogle says simply flagging gun permit applicants with a history of mental illness isn’t the solution:

WHQR/gg

Continuing our poetry focus this week: we invited recent MFA in Creative Writing graduate Ashleigh Bryant Phillips in to talk about her work in poetry. Ashleigh grew up in rural Northampton County on the North Carolina/Virginia border; she is heavily influenced by her roots there-simultaneously heavy and ephemeral as that way of life fades away. Listen above to hear Ashleigh talk about the family ties and hear her read her poem, "Hard Biscuits." See three of Ashleigh's poems below.

Port City Music Festival

The first notes for the 9th Annual Port City Music Festival will ring out on Sunday, June 4, kicking off more than 7 performances over 8 days-over 30 pieces of music. Tickets are not needed for the performances-except Kenan Chapel at Landfall because of space-and all performances are free. The Kenan Chapel at Landfall tickets are available at the Northeast Library (they go fast). Here is the basic performance schedule; see the full schedule, including pieces and performers, here

Vince Winkel / WHQR

New Hanover County’s new fiscal year begins July 1. That means county commissioners will vote June 19 on the new proposed budget. That budget was supposed to be on the agenda at a June 5 public hearing, however the commissioners canceled that session. 

Melissa Block's visit to Wilmington, NC was met with great success. As special correspondent, Melissa Block produces richly reported profiles of figures at the forefront of thought and culture, as well as stories and series on the critical issues of our day. Her reporting spans both domestic and international news. In addition, she is a guest host on NPR news programs, and develops podcasts based on her reporting.

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Alan Ginsberg said that poetry is “the one place where people can speak their original human mind.” As a late spring indulgence, the next few Communique stories will listen to that original mind, hearing from poets (and a musician inspired by a poet). Our first guest is Anna Lena Phillips Bell; she just published her debut collection of poetry, Ornament, the recipient of the Vasser Miller prize in poetry.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The politics of budgeting for city and county government in the Cape Fear region may have some clashing priorities. 

Friends of Public Radio, Inc.'s Annual Meeting

The MC Erny Gallery

Thursday, June 22

6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Wilmington Art Association

Wilmington Art Association is sponsoring the Silver Arts Exhibit and competition again. Over 400 pieces of work are in the exhibit and most are for sale. The exhibit is only open for 3 days at The Art Works: Friday, May 26, 10:00am-9:00pm; Saturday, May 27, 10:00am-4:00pm; Sunday, May 28, Noon-4:00pm. Listen to Susan Buteau from the Wilmington Art Association talk about the exhibit above and see pictures below.

Wilmington Boys Choir

The Wilmington Boys Choir is performing one more time before summer, on Saturday, June 3 at Winter Park Presbyterian Church at 7:00pm. The concert is free and followed by a reception. Listen to Director Ronnie Wise talk about how the Choir was reformed after a 15+ year hiatus and about the concert; read a transcript below. 

Friday Feedback for May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017

Scott Relan wrote on Tuesday: “I watch an awful lot of movies, coming from my previous career as well as occasional festival judge, but [The Sense of an Ending at Cinematique] really stuck with me. Kimberly and I both left Thalian [Monday] night with our jaws dropped. It was quite beautiful and sad. The audience was lighter than normal, and that is a disappointment as I think the regular Cinematique crowd won't know what they're missing. . . You all always pick the best movies for the Cinematique screenings. I try never to miss any.” Thanks, Scott.
I’m going to depart a bit from the usual content of Friday Feedback to step back for some context. . .

Good Shepherd

When New Hanover County Commissioners meet on June 19 to vote on a new county budget, they will be doing so without holding the customary public hearing two weeks in advance. The scheduled June 5 public hearing was cancelled. 

NPR

Our guest on this edition of CoastLine holds the title of Special Correspondent at NPR.  But if you’re an All Things Considered listener, you will probably recognize her voice as the one paired with Robert Siegel – for more than a decade -- from 2003 to 2015. 

David Gessner’s life is about the wild – and wildness.  You may know him first as a nature writer from the books All The Wild That Remains or My Green Manifesto or

NPR

NPR listeners know the name Melissa Block. She’s been with the network for 32 years. This week the public radio veteran visited WHQR.  Block’s current work on NPR is Our Land, a special series that looks to capture how people's identity is shaped by where they live.

asafeplacetogo.org


A Safe Place helps victims of sex trafficking by providing a safe house, counseling, and transition to an independent life. The group holds a yearly fundraiser, coming up on Friday, August 11 at 1:00 at Coastline Conference Center. Tickets go on sale June 1st; A Safe Place seeks sponsors for the event. Listen above to Board Member Sena Preziosi talk about the organization and read an extended transcript below. 

Humanity-Now.org

Four Wilmington women have joined forces (and funds) to help relieve the suffering of refugees stuck in limbo in Greece. These women travel to Greece every few months to spend money they collect on direct refugee relief. All administrative and travel expenses are paid by the women themselves. Their organization is called Humanity Now. Three of the women-Dana Sachs, Carol Atwood, and Jennifer Maraveyias-joined us in the studio; the fourth is Stephanie Meyers. 

Commentator Gwenyfar Rohler loves the classics, reading, and managing an independent bookstore in Downtown Wilmington. 

You can hear more from Gwenyfar and our other commentators at our website: WHQR DOT O-R-G. Just click on "Commentary."

WHQR Commentaries don't necessarily reflect the views of WHQR Radio, its editorial staff, or its members. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

There is a new 6,000 pound monument along the waterfront in Downtown Wilmington. It’s one that seafarers say has been a long time coming, dedicated to the Merchant Marines. The Monument had been discussed for years, but it took a retired local captain to make it happen.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Wednesday morning, the Wilmington Police Department announced another tool in the battle against the region’s opioid epidemic. It’s called LEAD, and it involves a variety of agencies.

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I figured it couldn't hurt to ask Pat Hairston, the Program Director for Canines for Service, about my Chihuahua, Bela. Could she do anything useful? It turns out a service dog needs to weigh at least 60 pounds and measure 23 inches at the shoulders to accomplish the 90 tasks a service dog is trained to do. So Bela is out. Luckily, Pat Hairston and Program Coordinator Colleen Vihlen find plenty of dogs to train. Because the demand for service animals is so high, what they really is more trainers. A Training Program (for humans) is coming up on July 10th; the application deadline to enroll is June 1. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

What do you get when you put six judges and seven entrepreneurs in a room together? A Small Business Administration pitch contest. It was all happening at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Front Street Blues host Lan Nichols will feature music from Fenton Robinson, Billy Flynn, Katie Webster, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Samantha Fish, Luther Allison, The Bridget Kelly Band, Bob Margolin, Mark Cook, and The Mannish Boys this Saturday, May 20 at 11:00 pm on WHQR 91.3fm in Wilmington NC. Listen from anywhere in the world by visiting www.whqr.org. Comments or requests to lnichols@whqr.org. Thank you!

WHQR

How did two humanitarians end up owning and managing a donut cafe? I wondered, so I invited the owners of Wilmington's The Donut Inn to the studio for a chat. Matt Anlyan and Allen Renquist had a lot to say about the kind of outreach a business like theirs can do; listen to an excerpt from Renquist above.

Pixabay

More than 90 percent of people think it is important to talk about end-of-life care.  Fewer than 30 percent actually do it.  That’s according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Massachusetts-based independent nonprofit.

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