Rachel Lewis Hilburn

News Director, Host of CoastLine

Rachel Lewis Hilburn came to WHQR in the spring of 2011.  After serving as back-up host for Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Classical Music for a year, she was named News Director in July of 2012. 

She moved to Wilmington in 2003 from Los Angeles, where she worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.  After joining the local ABC affiliate in Wilmington, she wrote and produced local TV newscasts, a 30-minute special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.   Before joining the staff, Rachel partnered with New York co-producer Linda Bianchi and produced Stories, Wine, and Cheese - a series of local, live storytelling events which aired on WHQR.  

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In Brunswick County, the Town of Oak Island will see some new faces on Council.  The Brunswick County beach town has a new mayor – and two new council members. 

Cin Brochure, the current Director of Tourism for the City of Southport, will serve as the new Mayor of Oak Island.  Three-term mayor Betty Wallace decided not to seek another term.   

The Town of Leland saw a major upset on Election Day.  One polarizing issue --  how to plan for the Town’s future water supply – could have been a factor. 

Mayor Brenda Bozeman handily kept her seat winning 81% of the vote to challenger Glenn Thearling’s 19%.

Rachel Lewis Hilburn

A steady rain fell throughout the day in Brunswick County as a thin but constant stream of voters trickled through Belville Elementary School  -- picking leaders for Belville, Leland, and the Board of the local water authority, H2GO. 

Turnout is famously low when it’s only a municipal race on the ballot.  The Leland and Belville voters who braved the weather today generally didn’t have a lot to say about why they came out – but what they did say was pointed: 

Here’s Leland resident Bonnie Laserna:

Polls are open on Election Day from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM.  Because it’s an odd year and only municipal races are on the ballot, elections officials expect turnout to be lower than in years that include state and federal elections. 

Early voter turnout for this year’s municipal elections in New Hanover County lands at about 1.6% of eligible voters.  That may sound miniscule, but New Hanover County Elections Director Derek Bowens says it’s right on target -- compared with numbers from 2013.  That year, about 1,000 people or 1.1% of eligible voters cast their ballots early. 

Leland residents get their water through H2GO, an independent governmental entity separate from Brunswick County’s Public Utility – which sells water to H2GO.  And now H2GO is deciding whether to build its own reverse osmosis plant. 

While water authority officials study the question, a citizen-led group, Stop H2GO, has sprung up in opposition to that project -- creating a StopH2GO website and putting forth two candidates for H2GO's Board of Commissioners.  

Isabelle Shepherd / Rachel Lewis Hilburn

The Town of Leland is governed by a Council consisting of a Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and three other Council members.  Elections are held every two years.  The Mayor serves a two-year term; Council members serve staggered four-year terms. 

The two candidates for Mayor of Leland in alphabetical order: 

Isabelle Shepherd

Two candidates are running for the Mayoral seat in the Town of Carolina Beach.  On Wednesday, October 21st, WHQR broadcast a live candidate forum with both men. 

The Town of Carolina Beach is governed by a Council consisting of a Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and three other Council members.  Elections are held every two years.  The Mayor serves a two-year term; Council members serve staggered four-year terms. 

The two candidates, in alphabetical order:

The CoastLine Candidate Forum featuring Carolina Beach Town Council aired live on Wednesday, October 14th from 12-2 PM.  We allotted two hours because it's a sizable race – seven candidates competing for two open seats – and we wanted to cover a comprehensive range of issues. 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs building in Wilmington – hailed as a boon for local veterans who don’t have to drive to Fayetteville for health care – has been bogged down by concerns over drinking water contamination for months.   In response to those concerns, New Hanover County and the Board of Health  delivered on Monday what officials are calling a "protocol" to building owner Summit Smith Healthcare, who leases the facility to the Federal Government. 

This CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, featuring candidates for the Wilmington City Council, aired live from WHQR's MC Erny Gallery on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.  This is a sizable race – eight people are competing for three open seats – so we allotted two hours in order to cover a comprehensive range of issues.