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 times 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, 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.

You’ll usually see Vince on a grey motorcycle with WHQR decals, all over Wilmington.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The New Hanover County Commissioners are split along party lines over House Bill 56. And they’re going public with that split.  The bill contains $435,000 in extra funding for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and UNC Wilmington to study, clean up, and monitor the chemical GenX.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Hurricane Maria may be more than 100 miles from our coastline, but it’s still having an impact. The National Weather Service says that high surf, dangerous rip currents and hazardous boating conditions will be in the region through Wednesday.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The battle against opioid addiction in Wilmington and across the country is rising to a new level.  North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein came to the Port City to discuss the growing investigation into drug manufacturers. 

Vince Winkel

On Thursday North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 56. That’s the Republican-sponsored environmental bill that includes funding for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to research GenX.  The bill has more than GenX in its sights.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

An advocate for historic preservation in Wilmington is retiring.  George Edwards has been the executive director of Historic Wilmington Foundation for 13 years. He's announced he’ll leave by the end of the year.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Tuesday night the Wilmington City Council is expected to adopt the Cape Fear Regional Bicycle Plan. The new initiative is supported by a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.  The goal is to improve the region for all types of cyclists.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The New Hanover County Commissioners will soon vote on Project Grace, a redevelopment project in downtown Wilmington at the location of the New Hanover County Library and 2nd Street Parking Deck.  The parking deck would stay, but everything else could drastically change.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

A partial consent order. That’s what a Bladen County judge approved late Friday between Chemours and the state of North Carolina. The order comes after lawyers for the chemical company and the state spent most of the day behind closed doors. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Tropical Storm Irma may have changed course, but high winds are still blowing through the Cape Fear region. That’s causing flight and ferry cancellations through the evening. 

NWS

It now appears that Hurricane Irma will head north by northwest, and not hit the Cape Fear region. The latest track has the powerful storm moving west after a direct hit on Florida this weekend. 

North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality will suspend the wastewater discharge permit for Chemours… unless the company meets two clear deadlines in the coming weeks. All this, while the state prepares a legal case against the company. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality this week urged Chemours to stop discharging two additional chemical compounds into the Cape Fear River. EPA scientists told the state they have identified two compounds they are calling Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The Environmental Review Commission of the North Carolina General Assembly now has a decision to make. They met in Wilmington this week, to hammer out plans for the GenX river contamination and its related investigations. The 20-member commission spent almost five hours questioning local officials, and listening to public comment. 

Vince Winkel

A crowd gathered on 3rd Street at City Hall in Wilmington Saturday morning, to rally against GenX in the water and against Chemours. It came the last day that environmental activist Erin Brockovich and her film crew were in town. Brockovich missed this last scheduled event, where she was to speak, however others spoke loud and clear about this water crisis.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is in town this week. She’s here to talk about GenX, and has brought a film crew of 15 with her to document her efforts. Last night, she spoke at UNCW’s Lumina Theater.  The forum was short on science, and long on cheerleading.

Tonight, UNCW’s Lumina Theater will play host to a panel discussion on GenX and the other unregulated chemical compounds in the area water supply. Speakers include Erin Brockovich and her colleague Robert Bowcock. Other panelists who had been slated for the event decided in the last few days not to participate.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

140 parts per trillion. That’s the number used by North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, in regards to the health goal for GenX in the water supply. That goal represents the concentration of GenX at which no adverse non-cancer health effects would be anticipated. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

There’s a new plan in the works for the land along Battleship Road, across the river from downtown Wilmington. It’s from the same developers who had pitched a plan to build fifteen large houses there. 

Wikimedia Commons

A chemical replacement for a key ingredient in Teflon linked to cancer and a host of other ailments has been found in the drinking water system of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. 

Known commercially as GenX, the contaminating compound is made by the Chemours Co. at Fayetteville Works, an industrial site straddling the Cumberland-Bladen county line along the Cape Fear River, about 100 miles upstream from Wilmington.

The GenX compound is not regulated, in part because it’s so new.

“We don’t know enough now to regulate this appropriately.”

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Congressman David Rouzer met with New Hanover County and Wilmington city officials today, to discuss issues that impact the area and the country. At the top of the list for the Republican from North Carolina’s 7th District is opioid addiction. 

NCCF

The latest test results are in from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. On Wednesday the DEQ reported that concentrations of GenX in finished drinking water from the Cape Fear River continue to be below the state’s public health goal. 

GenX and the water has been burned into Wilmington’s consciousness for almost two months now. State and local agencies continue to test and analyze the region’s water supply. The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.–based non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on health and the environment, just released a drinking water database. It includes data from the Cape Fear region.

The state of North Carolina is now committing resources to support the Cape Fear Region in the challenge of GenX, and toxic discharges into the river. Governor Roy Cooper detailed that commitment during his Monday visit. He also mentioned a criminal investigation into Chemours, the company responsible for the chemicals in the water supply. However, it is not an investigation yet.

Brett Cottrell, New Hanover County

Governor Roy Cooper says Chemours will have to turn off the faucet. The DuPont spin-off will not get a permit to discharge GenX into the Cape Fear River. Cooper made that vow at a meeting yesterday in Wilmington with local and state officials.

Governor Roy Cooper says Chemours will not get a permit to discharge GenX into the Cape Fear River.  That promise came at a meeting this morning in Wilmington with local and state officials.  Leaders from the area have been pressing for state help since the Star News first reported on the compromised drinking water supply last month.

Governor Roy Cooper will be in Wilmington Monday, to discuss how the state can help with the GenX situation. It’s been almost seven weeks since the public first learned about the discharge of GenX and other chemical compounds by the Chemours company, in the Cape Fear River.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week Gov. Roy Cooper told the EPA to get to work. In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Gov. Cooper asks the EPA to move quickly to finalize its health assessment and set a limit for the unregulated chemical GenX. Meanwhile the EPA earmarked more than $3 million for the NC DEQ to enforce the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This all happened as county and city officials held a press conference on the topic of GenX.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

State officials are releasing the first results of water quality samples and an updated preliminary health assessment for concentrations of the unregulated compound GenX in finished, or treated, drinking water. Samples were analyzed at the U.S. EPA lab in Research Triangle Park, and at Test America, a lab in Colorado under contract to Chemours. The latest results mirror those from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, with levels in the 68 to 125 parts per trillion range. Is that cause for celebration? Not so fast.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

State officials late Friday released their first results of water quality samples and an updated preliminary health assessment for concentrations of the unregulated compound GenX in finished, or treated, drinking water.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week the GenX numbers began to filter in. Cape Fear River water test results from Brunswick County, and from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, show far lower concentrations of the chemical compound in both raw and treated water. The news is encouraging but many questions remain.

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