Rachel Lewis Hilburn

News Director, All Things Considered Host, CoastLine Host & Producer

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 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 co-produced Stories, Wine, and Cheese - a series of local, live storytelling events which aired on WHQR.  

Ways to Connect

Our focus today is first on Oak Island and then Kure Beach – two beach towns in southeastern North Carolina.  In the Brunswick County Town of Oak Island, six candidates are running for two open seats on council.  Kenny Rogers, whom we will meet today, is challenging Mayor Cin Brochure as she seeks her second term. 

In the two later segments, we’ll meet two people seeking a seat on the Town Council of Kure Beach, located in New Hanover County:  John Ellen and Jerry Dockery.

Segment 1:  Kenny Rogers -- Oak Island Town Council

Our focus here is again on Carolina Beach – the largest beach town in New Hanover County.  At an estimated population of about 6,000,  the town is more than double the size of the county's next largest, Wrightsville Beach.  Median household income is around $60,000 -- higher than nearby Wilmington. 

Two people seeking one of the two open seats on Carolina Beach Town Council are with us today:  Tammy Hanson and LeAnn Pierce.  We will meet them in segments 2 and 3.

The Leland Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. One of the biggest challenges facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. Bob Corriston is a current Leland Council member seeking his second term, while Joy Cranidiotis is running for the first time. 

The Leland Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. Arguably, the biggest challenge facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. 

Carolina Beach is the largest of the three beach towns in New Hanover County.  At an estimated population of about 6,000 – more than double the size of the next largest, Wrightsville Beach.  Median household income is around 60-thousand – higher than nearby Wilmington. 

The town is governed by a Council made up of four members and a mayor.   Here, we meet two of the five candidates seeking a Council seat in Carolina Beach.  We also meet the man challenging Mayor Dan Wilcox for his seat this year.

New Hanover County is made up of four municipalities:  the City of Wilmington, three beach towns, and some unincorporated areas.  Wrightsville Beach is one of those three beach towns – governed by a Mayor and Board of Aldermen.  The population, according to the U.S.

Two people are hoping to be the next mayor of the City of Southport. In 2010, the City boasted a population of slightly more than 2,800. Today, the Census Bureau estimates that about 3,600 people call Southport home. In 2015, the last municipal election year in North Carolina, Jerry Dove ran against Joe Pat Hatem. Jerry Dove won the seat by 79 votes or a difference of about 7%.  This year it’s a rematch.

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial and has its opponents. Three of the candidates oppose the plant.

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial with opponents concerned the project is not necessary and would saddle consumers with higher utility rates. Three candidates are in support of the plant.

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Deb Hays is the current Chair of the City of Wilmington Planning Commission, James Ray is Associate Minister of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmington, and Perry Fisher ran his own restaurant, Front Street News, before moving to broadcast journalism. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Caylan McKay is an accountant, running for the first time. Philip White is a retail store manager, and Hollis Briggs Jr. ran in 2015 for city council but was not elected. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Earl Sheridan, who has served for three terms and is wrapping up his twelfth year, has chosen not to run again. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Charlie Rivenbark is completing his fourth term and Kevin O'Grady his second. Clifford Barnett, pastor of the Warner Temple AME Zion Church in Wilmington, is running for the first time.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet the two people hoping to be the next mayor of the City of Southport.  We also meet one candidate running for Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 1; Karen Mosteller is also the only incumbent seeking re-election in that Ward.  The other person with an expiring term, Mary Ellen Poole, is not running again.

On this edition of CoastLine, we meet two of the five candidates seeking a seat on the Board of Aldermen in Wrightsville Beach.  We’ll also meet one person running for Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 2.

First, Southport: 

This 225-year-old city spanning less than four square miles near the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County was voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living in 2015.  Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 36-hundred people call Southport home. 

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September. The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people. That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years. So the challenge facing the leaders of Leland is dealing with this rapid growth. The Mayor serves a two-year term, and there are two candidates hoping to be the next one – the incumbent, Brenda Bozeman, and a challenger, Lee Kent. 

City of Wilmington

There are two candidates for Mayor of Wilmington this election season. The Mayor presides over a nonpartisan council of five members and a Mayor Pro Tem. The two candidates in the race for mayor this year are incumbent Bill Saffo and challenger Todd Zola.

On this edition of CoastLine, we meet two of three candidates seeking one of two open seats on Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 1.  This small seaside city in Brunswick County is divided into two wards – each represented by three people to make up a six-member board.  The Mayor of the City of Southport serves a two-year term.  Aldermen serve four-year terms which are staggered.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet one candidate for Leland’s Town Council and one for Board of Commissioners of Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO. 

But first, we take a closer look at municipal elections with a political scientist.   

Segment 1:  Aaron King, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old this month.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area – despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

In the nonpartisan race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms.  Two incumbents are hoping for reelection; they are with us today.  And one seat is wide open since Earl Sheridan decided not to run again. 

Despite the fact that presidential election years turn out the highest numbers of voters, municipal elections have the most direct impact on quality of life.  This fact is pretty widely accepted.  But even the most educated and engaged among us – most notably a political scientist at an esteemed local university – even they are unlikely to know the people who are running for Wilmington’s City Council.

City of Wilmington

Wilmington is home to more than 117-thousand people.   That’s growth of about 11,000 people since the last census in 2010.  73% of the population identifies as white, less than 20% is African-American, and 6% is Latino or Hispanic.

The City of Wilmington is home to more than 117-thousand people.   That’s growth of about 11,000 people since the last census in 2010.  73% of the population identifies as white, less than 20% is African-American, and 6% is Latino or Hispanic.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we spend the first segment with one candidate for the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen.  The remaining two segments feature candidates running for Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO – who have opposing views on whether to build a reverse osmosis plant. 

Segment 1:  Pat Prince for Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries.  H2GO serves over 10,000 water customers and nearly 6,000 sewer customers.

NASA / Flickr

As Hurricane Irma approaches, some events scheduled for next week may be affected. Here are the events we know of so far:

  • United Way of the Cape Fear Kickoff – scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th, CANCELLED.
  • Phoenix Hometown Hires' JobWeek - scheduled for Monday, September 11th - POSTPONED until Monday, September 18th.
  • The DREAMS Dinner that was scheduled for Monday evening (Sep. 11) at Osteria Cicchetti was rescheduled for a later date. Stay tuned for updates on the new date and time.

Judy Girard

This episode first aired on April 21, 2016. 

August 25, 2017 update:  Judy Girard serves as Vice Chair of the GLOW Academy School Board which is now open.

Judy Girard started her television career in the late 1960s and worked her way through the halls of NBC in New York – where she developed shows such as Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, and Jerry Springer.  Her decision to move the Phil Donahue show to New York helped solidify it as the pre-eminent talk show in the country. 

U.S. Department of Justice

This episode first aired on May 26, 2016.

August 25, 2017 update:  Lindsey Roberson now serves as a Trial Attorney in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Civil Rights Division, at the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Read the Transcript Here. Read the Emails Here.

Within the City of Wilmington, statues and street names honoring key members of the Confederacy pepper the landscape.  At the entrance to downtown Wilmington, on one corner stands a statue of George Davis, Confederate Attorney General.  At a nearby intersection, a monument honoring soldiers of the Confederacy stands. 

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