Brunswick County

Rachel Lewis Hilburn

Treacherous roadways are proving to be the serious hazards that officials predicted. 

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For the first time, all Brunswick County elementary students can enjoy a free, daily breakfast at school. Last semester, kids qualified for either free, reduced or paid meals, depending on their families’ economic situations. Thanks to some state and federal reimbursement, as well as a unanimous School Board decision, the most important meal of the day is now an equal-opportunity affair. While few students took advantage of breakfast when school resumed last Thursday, WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that the school district expects participation to take off this week.

Health insurance can be tricky to navigate, what with the difficulty many experience enrolling in care, and North Carolina’s decision not to expand Medicaid in 2014.  And that’s why the Southeast Area Health Education Center, or SEAHEC, and the New Hanover County Health Department are holding free information sessions on the Affordable Care Act—also known as “Obamacare.” WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that until the March 31 deadline to enroll passes, these educators will be hosting these sessions around the region.

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Brunswick County is rolling out the welcome mat for two new manufacturing outfits this fall. Not only is Lee Controls, a metal manufacturer, moving from New Jersey into a 20,000-square-foot facility in Southport, but RTM Light USA, a surfboard manufacturing operation, will be setting up in a space within Brunswick Community College. This translates to roughly 70 new jobs.

Bellyglad

Since Governor McCrory signed the Voter ID Bill into law on Monday, three civil rights groups have filed lawsuits. They challenge new requirements for state-issued IDs, elimination of same-day registration--and an early voting period that will be shortened by seven days. Critics of the bill say the latter in particular will cut off voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians—particularly minorities. About 64 percent of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County citizens voted early in the 2012 election.

The group’s name is FOCUS.  It may be short and easy-to-remember, but it encompasses a huge mission for the future of the Cape Fear Region. 

North Carolina House bill 438 opened a new door for county commissioners. It gives them more control over public health and social services departments. Brunswick County’s already switched over. New Hanover and Pender counties are now considering adopting the legislation.

Local county boards of health cover a lot of territory beyond funding birth control and offering flu shots.

Tourism in North Carolina is up all over the state – to the tune of 18-billion dollars in spending last year. 

The good news:  it’s rare.  The bad news:  there’s no vaccine, no cure, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis can be fatal.  People catch it from mosquitoes – and with the recent rains, mosquitoes are plentiful.  WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that authorities in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties are urging residents to take simple steps to protect themselves. 

Mosquitoes pass encephalitis to humans – usually after biting an infected wild bird – which make great hosts for the disease. 

While obesity rates are not increasing nationwide, they’re not decreasing either.  The picture is even bleaker on the local level.

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