CoastLine

Lower Cape Fear Historical Society

The City of Wilmington saw a rash of urban fires in the 19th century – making the surviving buildings that much more precious.  Urban renewal in the mid-20th century had a similar effect on some of Wilmington’s historic legacy, but heritage tourism is booming.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act will be 20 years old this AugustAs we learned last week, that policy came to be after extended and heated debate from stakeholders on all sides of the issue.  Most of those involved at the time describe it as better than nothing – but most definitely a compromise.

Stilfehler / Wikimedia Commons

Many of us have heard that playing Mozart for a baby in utero can help with brain development.  We’ve heard that plants do better when classical music is played vs. hard rock. 

It’s the time of year when municipalities and counties are putting the finishing touches on their budgets for the next fiscal year. 

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Earlier this week, more than 30 people, including North Carolina NAACP President Reverend William Barber, were arrested at the State Capitol for demanding that the Republican-led legislature expand Medicaid. 

As lawmakers in Washington wrangle over exactly when and how to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something else, state-level officials are scrambling to anticipate the fallout. 

At the same time, auto insurers in the state are seeking a nearly 14% hike in rates from the North Carolina Rate Bureau which, if approved, would go into effect this fall.

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A quick sweep of news headlines about guns in North Carolina shows stacks of stories about illegally-obtained weapons.  Two men made national news earlier this month by breaking into two gun shops in North Carolina and stealing more than 100 weapons.  They were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

NPR

Our guest on this edition of CoastLine holds the title of Special Correspondent at NPR.  But if you’re an All Things Considered listener, you will probably recognize her voice as the one paired with Robert Siegel – for more than a decade -- from 2003 to 2015. 

David Gessner’s life is about the wild – and wildness.  You may know him first as a nature writer from the books All The Wild That Remains or My Green Manifesto or

Pixabay

More than 90 percent of people think it is important to talk about end-of-life care.  Fewer than 30 percent actually do it.  That’s according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Massachusetts-based independent nonprofit.

HAMZA BUTT on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141735806@N08/34367774536/

The business of publishing news is radically changing.  That’s present-tense.  We all know the old hometown local paper has undergone what could fairly be called profound transformation – but it’s still going on and what the Executive Editor of the StarNews in Wilmington calls “a period of disruption” continues. 

May 11 and 14, 2017: This one is our Road Trip! show. In this hour, we’ll talk about some favorite as well as lesser-known places to see in the Carolinas, either South or North.

Our guests are Michael Graff, editor of Charlotte Magazine, and Philip Gerard of UNCW, author of Down the Wild Cape Fear.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Reform Act will be 20 years old this August.  It was the result of heated debate from stakeholders on all sides of the issue – and while most describe it as a compromise bill, signed by Governor Jim Hunt in 1997, most also say it was better than nothing.  There is new legislation coming through the pipeline in Raleigh that could fundamentally change the way fisheries are regulated, and that has reignited a decades-old battle – that reaches beyond th

Mahalie Stackpole / Wikimedia Commons

Across the United States, fewer girls aged 15 to 19 are are having babies.  That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control.  A report published last year shows that in 2015, teen pregnancies hit a historic low for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women ages 15 – 19 years old.  In New Hanover County, the teen pregnancy rate is slightly lower than the national number:  just over twenty 15-19-year-old girls out of a thousand gave birth in 2015.    In Pender County, the rate is slightly above the national rate at more than 25 per 1,000 girls. 

New Hanover County Health Department

People in New Hanover County are getting fatter.  And this is not a body image problem; it’s an issue that’s leading to chronic disease and early death.  60% of New Hanover County residents are either overweight or obese.  That’s according to a New Hanover County health report published last year that uses only self-reported data. When the data is broken down according to race – a sad but predictable picture emerges:  58% of white people fall into the overweight / obese category.  But people of color in New Hanover County report much high

Red Beard Farms

A study recently published in the first issue of the scientific journal, The Lancet Planetary Health, concludes that large and small farms will be needed to meet the global demand for food, which is estimated to require a 70 percent boost in production by the 2050s.

You might have seen Jason Frye’s byline on restaurant reviews published in the Wilmington StarNews.  You may have used some of his recommendations from a Moon travel guide pointing the way to old-timey Appalachian music near Asheville, family-friendly beaches at the coast, where to fish in the Smoky Mountains or how to find fresh North Carolina oysters.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An American Rivers Report recently identified the Cape Fear and Neuse Rivers as in the top ten Most Endangered in the United States.  A 2016 study of the presence of hexavalent chromium in drinking water by the Environmental Working Group found levels higher than it considers safe in the tap water of more than 200 million Americans.  This is the same toxin that first landed on the national radar in the early 1990s when Erin Brockovich

Julie Kozlow didn’t set out to be the first woman anything.  She has known for years about a penchant for the spiritual world, and that understanding crystallized during a deeply personal experience that we’ll hear about later. 

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. 

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. 

ncleg.net

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

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When is the last time you picked up a book? I mean a real, honest to goodness book with a spine and a cover and maybe a few dog-eared pages inside. If it’s been too long, today’s CoastLine is for you. We’re going to go back to the days before smart phones and tablets, and talk about humankind’s greatest invention after fire and country ham, books.

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:

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.

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