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

Brunswick County and Wilmington Business Development now have a formal agreement outlining opportunities for cooperation on the economic development front.  The board of directors of The Southeastern Partnership, another regional economic development entity that is, like WBD, a public-private partnership, has approved requests by three counties to become part of their organization’s geography and marketing.   Craven, Lenoir, and Moore Counties.  The brings the number to 18 of counties marketed by the Southeastern Partnership – which is based in Elizabethtown.  That’s in Bladen County. 

Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County is the second North Carolina municipality to receive a permit for a terminal groin since a long-standing ban was lifted in 2011. 

Creative Commons

It was almost exactly two years ago that two North Carolina Representatives – both Democrats – filed a bill in the House that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state.

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Warmer weather has moved into the southeast in fits and starts this year.  Reports of damaged crops in Georgia and both Carolinas came after multiple late-season frosts.  Whether those recent cold snaps will impact the price and availability of peaches, blueberries, and apples remains to be seen.    

But what does this mean for home gardeners who just hope to see their shrubs, trees, and perennials bloom?   And what might this mean for the showing of blooms during Azalea Festival?

Jon David and Ben David are brothers.  They also happen to be identical twins.  And they’re both district attorneys for adjacent jurisdictions in North Carolina. 

Planting Peace / MFI

The North Carolina law known as the “Bathroom Bill” has effectively been repealed by the passage of House Bill 142.  Democratic Representative Deb Butler from New Hanover County and Republican Representative Chris Millis of Pender County both voted against the compromise bill -- two legislators who are likely to find themselves on opposite sides of a contentious issue. 

Wiki Commons / Paul Joseph

Craft Beer is booming in North Carolina – and specifically in the Cape Fear region to such a degree that an industry association has set up shop.  The Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance formed last year and has nearly 20 members.

New Hanover County recently approved revisions to its special use permit.  Duke Energy is working to close its coal ash pits at the Sutton Steam Plant site and held a public meeting last week to update stakeholders on the progress.  Also last week, and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, and others held a public meeting in Navassa – about the testing and clean-up project on the former Kerr-McGee chemical site across the river in Brunswick County -- which is a Superfund site. 

Makaristos / Wikimedia Commons

The revised Presidential Executive Order banning travel from six mostly-Muslim countries, called a “watered-down version” of the first by President Donald Trump, is now blocked from going into effect by two federal judges -- in Hawaii and Maryland – as of Thursday morning.    

But in light of the movement to crack down on who is coming in to the country, we’re also seeing a crackdown on people who are already here who may not be here legally.  The efforts to find those people are called Targeted Enforcement Operations. 

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Susi Hamilton held the House seat in North Carolina’s 18th District for three terms and was recently elected to a fourth.  She resigned near the end of January – after new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper tapped her to lead the state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office

One community in Virginia is looking closely at its animal ordinances.  A Wicomico County council member observes that the governing body did a good job of putting ordinances in place to protect people from dangerous dogs several years ago, but they hadn’t done much to protect dogs from people who are irresponsible or cruel.  That’s according to the Delmarva Review.  So the county is reconvening a Dog Review Committee – this time -- to look at regulations through t

Thursday morning, North Carolina state legislators, including Representative Ted Davis, Junior (R-New Hanover County) and Senator Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick County), held a press conference to announce the introduction of the STOP Act.  It’s legislation intended to address the opioid epidemic in North Carolina by "ensuring smarter prescribing and dispensing of highly-addictive prescription drugs", according to bill sponsors.  The bill would also provide funding for treatment and recovery. 

Alliance for Cape Fear Trees

 

How important are trees to a city’s landscape?  When you see the glorious oak trees in Carolina Heights in Wilmington, do you wonder how long it took them to grow?  Do you worry about the safety of those old trees and heavy limbs falling on roadways?  Do you think tree preservation gets in the way of development and economic growth in what is an urban area? 

As Wilmington enjoys a development boom – with hundreds of new apartment units, single-family homes, and commercial properties going up – what’s happening to the area’s trees? 

Some local activists in Wilmington and Southport are working to help municipalities do more to protect trees by advocating for rules that are clearer, more consistent, and more enforceable. 

City officials admit that Wilmington’s current development ordinance is a bit long in the tooth -- last updated in the 1980s.   And there is work underway to bring it up-to-date. 

On this edition of CoastLine, we learn about the particular challenges builders and developers face when building within city limits.  We also hear from advocates who are focused on the urgency of protecting trees in Wilmington and Southport. 

Guests: 

Bill Jayne served on the Wilmington Tree Commission, a twelve-member body, nine of them appointed by members of City Council, for six years.  He chaired the commission for two.  He is now a member of a relatively new local nonprofit Alliance for Cape Fear Trees.

Scott Len chairs the Southport Forestry Committee and is a member of the North Carolina Urban Forest Council.

Brian Chambers, Associate Planner, City of Wilmington

Cameron Moore, Executive Officer, Wilmington Cape Fear Home Builders Association

Resources: 

Wilmington Tree Commission:

President Trump will address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Tuesday evening, February 28, at the Capitol, around 9:00 PM Eastern Time.

Harry Taylor Photography / N.C. Arts Council

The Red Barn Theater on Third Street in downtown Wilmington, launched by Linda Lavin and Steve Bakunas, is now on the market.  It’s widely expected to cease operation as a theater.  Thalian Association, the theater company that has rented the space for the last several years, is moving out in a matter of months.

Another small Wilmington venue, the Brown Coat Theater and Pub, closed its doors in October. 

And City Stage, an iconic venue in the Masonic building on Front Street in downtown Wilmington, also recently shuttered.

Have you seen headlines in your Facebook feed or at the bottom of an article that reads, “Hillary Clinton meets Osama Bin Laden” – with a picture of the two shaking hands?  Or “President Obama’s daughter, Malia, is pregnant”?  Or “The process to impeach Donald Trump has begun”?  Just to be clear, all of those stories are false.  Hillary Clinton’s picture was photoshopped; Malia’s teen pregnancy and Donald Trump’s impeachment are both patently false.  It’s fake news. 

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New Jersey recently passed one of the nation’s most comprehensive laws to combat the growing opioid and heroin crisis.  Tennessee is battling its own opioid epidemic as is Nebraska, Virginia, Connecticut, Washington State, New York, Wisconsin, Montana – the list goes on.  And as we’ve reported on this program before – Wilmington, North Carolina and the larger Cape Fear region is near the top of a national list for its abuse of opioids and heroin. 

President Donald Trump declared at a recent National Prayer Breakfast that he would totally destroy the Johnson Amendment in order to allow representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution.  Until that declaration, Americans might not have thought much about the Johnson Amendment and what it means.  On this edition of CoastLine, we explore the potential implications with two local clergy members. 

But before we meet our guests, a quick explanation:

photo - left: Trikosko, Marion S., photo - right: Fibonacci Blue / Wikimedia Commons

It’s almost impossible to turn on the TV or radio, read the paper, or look at your news feed on your smart phone and not see a story about the recent Executive Order on Immigration. 

Signed by President Donald Trump last month, it temporarily halts the admittance of refugees into the U.S. and prevents immigrants from seven predominantly-Muslim countries from coming to the U.S.  However, enforcement of the Order is on hold. 

https://www.cisbrunswick.org/
Communities In Schools, Brunswick County

In the Brunswick County School System, there are 19 schools.  Two academic years ago, in 2014-15, 158 kids dropped out of school.  The following year, 21 fewer kids – 137 -- dropped out.  That lowers the dropout rate less than a half a percentage point, but on a practical level, it means there are twenty-one more students that have a shot at getting their high school diploma. 

By Psychonaught (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wilmington, North Carolina is at the top of an unfortunate list.  One study published last year, based on analysis of numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, shows more than 11.5% of the population abuses opioids.  Opioid abusers tend to live in the rural south – according to the Castlight report

Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington is frequently held up as one of the highly-regarded programs there.  Life and Marine Sciences were identified by a New Hanover County economic development analysis two and a half years ago as one of the existing strengths for the Cape Fear region and one that should be exploited.

UNCW

As North Carolina legislators begin a new long session in Raleigh, both political parties have pointed to education as an area needing attention.  The first day of the session, Republican lawmakers filed a bill in the House to address class sizes.  That’s because last year, a newly-passed law reduced maximum class size – but came with no additional state funding.  That left some school systems looking down the barrel of cutting in other areas – such as arts and physical education.  That will be addressed this session.  And Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has listed education – particularly

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When you think of an accessible space, you might picture a ramp to the side door of a building, big metal grab bars next to a toilet, or a button with a wheelchair insignia that automatically opens doors.  But a concept called Universal Design is gaining traction.

Google Earth

Every successful municipality will inevitably grapple with the push-pull of growth versus green space –  how to grow a tax base without over-developing a city.  Echo Farms, a development within the City of Wilmington, is at the center of this battle in the Cape Fear region. 

Encore

The man we meet on this edition of CoastLine is a bona fide Air Pirate -- convicted in absentia by the Nigerian government just after the civil war.  He was the first broadcast engineer on staff at WHQR.  He’s written a book of fiction called The Ship’s Cat.  And he acted in the notoriously – um – horrific film Death Bed:  The Bed that Eats.  He also helped to design the bed that eats. 

Guest:

From Cheese on Bread

Jeremy Vest has interviewed Karl Rove, Ben Affleck, John Stamos, and Al Franken – among others -- for an MTV show called How's Your News?.   He has been coached by Geraldo Rivera.  And he’s appeared as the lead character in a Western called Bulletproof Jackson – which became the subject of a separate documentary – Becoming Bulletproof.  That documentary was written about by the New York Times and distributed by Morgan Spurlock Productions. 

North Carolina ranks 9th in the nation for most racial progress:  that’s according to a new analysis published by WalletHub, a personal finance website that frequently publishes analyses based on demographic statistics.

University of South Carolina Press, 2016


UNCW Associate Professor Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock examines emodiment questions and stigma surrounding disabilities.
Marion Post Wolcott / Library of Congress

When you think about disability and how you define it, what comes to mind?  A child who doesn’t learn through conventional methods?  An older person who struggles to get groceries from the car to the front door?  Do you imagine a person in a wheelchair? 

One disability researcher says our binary view of ability or lack of it is misguided; ability spans a spectrum from Olympic-level athleticism to death – and we’re all somewhere on that spectrum.  On this edition of CoastLine, we explore how we look at disability and what impact those views have on all of us. 

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