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.

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.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Brunswick County has received the test results of the county’s raw and treated water from the Cape Fear River. It shows levels of GenX that are very different from those reported in a study from 2013 and 2014. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Four of the top 25 cities in the country for opioid abuse are in North Carolina. Wilmington is number one, according to a report from Castlight Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare information company. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The new organization Clean Cape Fear held its second “Water Wednesday” event Wednesday evening  at the Coastline Convention Center. They met to discuss communicating the news of GenX and other compounds in the water supply, to the poor and otherwise underserved people of the region. About 145 people were in attendance.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Chemours and GenX. A month ago, most people in the region probably had not heard either word. Since June 7, that’s changed. Water is being tested by the state, the EPA and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, as citizens are buying a lot more bottled water. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

One of the questions emerging from the GenX story we are covering relates to cancer rates in the region. GenX is the chemical compound first reported to be in the Cape Fear River and drinking water supply three weeks ago by the Star News. On Thursday we got an answer about cancer rates from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority began its own round of tests of water in the Cape Fear River. In light of what’s been happening with GenX, the utility authority is also working on improving its communication with the public. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Monday the Chemours Company confirmed in an email to WHQR News that they have begun the capture of the wastewater stream, and GenX, generated from production at their manufacturing facility in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, water testing of the Cape Fear River continues. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

More than 300 people turned out for a community forum on GenX and drinking water at the Coastline Convention Center on Wednesday. The meeting was organized by Cape Fear River Watch, and featured six panelists on the topic. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The Wilmington City Council approved the 2017-18 budget Tuesday. The $217 million fiscal year budget includes a small property tax decrease. Before tackling the budget, the council heard from several speakers on the topic of GenX, which is why close to 200 people crowded into council chambers. 

Vince Winkel

New Hanover County Commissioners adopted a resolution Monday calling on Chemours to stop production of GenX. Brunswick County Commissioners adopted a resolution the same day -- asking Chemours to stop the discharge of the GenX chemical into the Cape Fear River.  That’s largely because  there is still a lot about GenX that we don’t know. It’s all about chemistry. Which means for many of us, it can be somewhat difficult to grasp.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

New Hanover County Commissioners met Monday night to vote on the 2017 – 2018 county budget, which takes effect July 1. Not everyone in attendance was happy with the outcome.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Monday the state began taking water samples along the Cape Fear River, to determine the current levels of GenX in the water. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will sample water from 12 locations. A lab in Colorado will then do the analysis. Once those levels are determined, scientists hope to determine what, if any, health effects GenX has had or could have on the citizens here.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

New water collection and testing of the Cape Fear River will begin next week. That was one of the results of yesterday’s meeting between Chemours, the company that produces known toxin GenX, and city, county, and state officials. A state investigation by NC DEQ and NC DHHS is now underway as well. 

Vince Winkel

Officials from Chemours, the company that produces GenX, were in Wilmington Thursday for a 90-minute meeting with city, county and state officials. One thing that was exposed was that since 1980, Chemours had a vinyl ether process operating at its Fayetteville Works site up the Cape Fear River from Wilmington. It is a process that produces GenX as a byproduct. After the closed door meeting, local officials met with the media, but Chemours did not.  

Vince Winkel

On Thursday representatives from Wilmington, the counties of Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, and the state’s department of environmental quality and department of health and human services, will meet behind closed doors with the Chemours Company. That’s the company behind GenX, a chemical reported to be in the region’s water supply. 

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