Vince Winkel

REPORTER, WHQR NEWS

Vince Winkel joined the WHQR news team in March, 2017. He had previously been covering business and economics for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

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Vince began his career in public broadcasting with Monitor Radio in 1985, during which time his work received reporting awards from the Overseas Press Club of America, International Radio Festival of New York (Gold Medal), Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi, Gabriel Award: Best Feature-National Release, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, Colorado Press Association, Associated Press Television Association of California and others.

During his previous time in public radio he also was a contributor to Living on Earth, SoundPrint, Only a Game, NPR, Southern California Public Radio, Marketplace and the BBC.

Vince also helped launch Public Interactive, working with PBS and NPR stations across the country in developing content and publishing tools for station websites.

During an eight year break from radio, Vince was media director for BMW Motorcycles, managing their publications and digital media.

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Next Wednesday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing in Wilmington. It’s to share the final plans to clean up a hazardous waste site along Sunnyvale Drive, between Carolina Beach and River Roads. The clean-up should keep toxic chemicals out of the groundwater in the area.

Vince Winkel

On Wednesday the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s public comment period on a proposed court order against Chemours will end. That order would require the company to implement measures to eliminate or reduce air emissions and water impacts caused by GenX and related compounds from their Fayetteville facility. 

This week in North and South Carolina, Medicare recipients began receiving their replacement cards. According to the Better Business Bureau of Coastal Carolina, with those cards have come scam phone calls. 

Vince Winkel

The images of children being separated from their parents at the U.S. – Mexico border have been all over the media in recent weeks. As a result, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 20 to stop the separations. There is a debate over immigration policy in this country.  That policy hits close to home.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Summer means more mosquitos in the Cape Fear region. Especially when it rains. The water creates ideal breeding conditions.  New Hanover County’s Mosquito Control Department is keeping busy.

There is more news to report on the GenX front. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has released a draft study on the class of chemicals called PFOA and PFAS. It says the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended levels for these compounds in the water is too high. 

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More legal support for the state’s poor. That was a point made by North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin in Wilmington on Friday. He was addressing the North Carolina Bar Association’s annual meeting. 

Vince Winkel

The City of Wilmington now has a short-term rental policy. After batting last night over specific conditions, the council passed the ordinance 4-2 with Councilman Kevin O’Grady walking out before the vote. 

Vince Winkel

It’s been a hot few days. Heat indices in the Cape Fear Region have been over a hundred degrees most of the week.  Summer doesn't officially begin until Thursday.  People still tend to underestimate the effects heat can have on a person.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Tuesday night the Wilmington City Council will hold a public hearing on short-term rental regulations. For more than two years, city staff and stakeholders have debated and studied the issue.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

This week the North Carolina Economic Development Association held its annual conference in Wrightsville Beach. It brought those in the state and international economic development community together for a series of workshops. Here in the Cape Fear region, economic development is a high priority -- especially with the 421 Corridor now ripe for new development. The various groups involved here are not always on the same page.

Vince Winkel

Chemours, the company responsible for the unregulated, possibly dangerous, chemical compounds in this region’s water supply, held a town hall meeting for the first time.  Tuesday night in St. Pauls, near the company’s Fayetteville facility, concerned citizens gathered to hear about plans for how the chemical giant plans to clean up its operation.  

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

New Hanover County has a new budget ready for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. In a surprise vote Monday, county commissioners unanimously approved the budget which includes a property tax decrease and increased funding for education.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

We are now officially in the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It started June 1st. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts that a near-average season is likely, with 14 named storms, of which six could become hurricanes. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches 74 mph. Even if a hurricane season is predicted to be mild, local officials here always prepare for the worst. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Chemours, the company that had been discharging GenX and other compounds into the Cape Fear River, is starting to speak. This week, WHQR’s Vince Winkel visited the Chemours facility and sat down with the Fayetteville Works Site plant manager – where he learned about Chemours’ new plan to open up to the community. 

Chemours

On Tuesday, Chemours announced that carbon adsorption bed technology has been installed at two locations on its Fayetteville Works plant on the Cape Fear River. This is supposed to reduce the emissions of GenX into the air immediately.

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

More than 350 people packed a school auditorium this week in Columbus County, to learn more about a permit application. Malec Brothers Transport wants to use methyl bromide to treat logs to kill pests before those logs are shipped to China. As they did just last week, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality hosted a public hearing. Just like last week, the public spoke loudly.

The Southern Environmental Law Center – or SELC -- says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality should shut down Chemours, and they should do it now. On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the SELC recently told DEQ they have the power and legal authority to take that step. 

Three Democrats battled in the 20th North Carolina House District, for the right to challenge incumbent state Representative Holly Grange, a Republican. It was a close race. 

In the primary for New Hanover County Commissioner, three Democrats ran for two spots in November’s general election: newcomer James Middleton, political veteran Julia Olson-Boseman, and current commissioner Rob Zapple.  

Kure Beach physician Kyle Horton and Goldsboro businessman Grayson Parker squared off Tuesday, to be the Democratic nominee to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Representative David Rouzer, of the 7th Congressional District. 

Vince Winkel

A logging operation in Wilmington pulled their permit request for using methyl bromide as a fumigant in late March. Now a transportation company in Delco, Columbus County, is asking for a Title Five permit to emit up to 140 tons of methyl bromide. A public hearing last week in Delco allowed residents to express their views to North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality.

In Brunswick County, three Republicans are facing off against each other for a seat on the Board of Education in District 5: Gerald Benton, Robert Cruse, and incumbent John Thompson. Today we take a  look at Cruse and Thompson.

Two Democrats are in the primary race for Pender County’s Board of Education District 4. Reginald Moore and June Robbins are looking to win a spot in November’s general election, to face Republican Ken Smith. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

This week New Hanover County staff and planners met to discuss the new unified development ordinance, or UDO. It’s a guideline for how land is to be used and developed in the county.  It will be months before the new ordinance is finalized.

Gary Shipman is one of three Democrats hoping to square off in November with North Carolina Representative Holly Grange, a Republican from New Hanover County.  The former Chairman of the New Hanover County Democratic Party says Raleigh needs a new voice.

Three Democrats are on the primary ballot for the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Rob Zapple, James Middleton and Julia Olson-Boseman. Two of those three will move on to the general election.  James Middleton is the political newcomer of the group.

To encourage the proper disposal of unwanted medications, New Hanover Regional Medical Center is partnering with regional healthcare, law enforcement, education and safety organizations to hold a medication disposal event in six counties on Saturday, April 28.

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