Thanks to a grant secured by UNCW’s Office of Cultural Arts, DC Virgo Middle School has become a hotbed of original poetry. Throughout this week, the sixth- and seventh-graders are work-shopping personal poems under the guidance of a teaching artist from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that New Hanover County Schools are one of only two districts in the state to enjoy such opportunities through the Kennedy Center.
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.
For the first time ever, the Wilmington Housing Authority is applying for a competitive, thirty-million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD—and they want to make it a community affair. Today the Housing Authority gathered city and county leaders at the Hillcrest development to strategize on winning a Choice Neighborhood Grant. It’s part of an effort, as WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports, to transform housing projects into areas indistinguishable from the surrounding city.
The controversy surrounding the ongoing impact of coal ash pollution from Wilmington’s Sutton Energy Plant is intensifying. A biologist commissioned by the Southern Environmental Law Center released a report today claiming that coal ash waste is elevating levels of selenium pollution in Sutton Lake. Environmental advocates say this is killing and deforming thousands of fish, and thus threatening local fishing and tourism industries. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports.
Myrtle Grove Christian School’s recent move to exclude the gay community is fetching statewide attention. Last night, members of the Raleigh-based gay rights group Equality NC gathered local educators, clergy and public figures together in Wilmington to speak out against the school’s new biblical morality policy, which prohibits students from families that support or participate in a gay lifestyle. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports.
Because Wilmington’s recent spate of gun violence has residents from every walk of life concerned, City Councilman and UNCW political science professor Earl Sheridan corralled some university colleagues for a community panel event. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that Wednesday night’s discussion often landed on another local hot button: public education.
The Sierra Club hosted about 50 locals to a boat tour up the Cape Fear River this past Saturday. The destination was Duke's Sutton Plant, and the group brought on board speakers who touched on river ecology and current water quality issues.
This December, Duke Energy Progress will retire the coal units at Wilmington’s Sutton Plant, and switch to more energy-efficient natural gas operations. But while those coal units are being decommissioned, Duke will keep their ash basins operational for what they say is a short time. However, local environmental advocates are pushing to excavate the ash immediately, as they say its chemical components could pose public health threats. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that the Sierra Club and Cape Fear River Watch have teamed up to launch a petition demanding a timetable from Duke.
This weekend, Ogden Park will become a bastion of music, food and dance celebrating the traditions of Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela and many more Latino countries. Festival Latino has been a November tradition in Wilmington for fifteen years, ever since one day when a few Latino families gathered in the park for a picnic. The event has since evolved into a two-day festival that’s projected to draw 20,000 visitors. This growth parallels the expansion of the organization behind the festival, Amigos Internacional.
Local educators are increasingly finding fault with new laws affecting public education. They say the state’s pay-for-performance compensation system will hinder collaborative learning environments, and that phased-out teacher tenure just strips teachers of their right to due process. Meanwhile, some legislators say the laws are meant to incentivize teachers and weed out the bad ones. In an effort to exempt their school from these measures, all of Murray Middle School’s teachers and support staff recently presented a signed petition to State Representative Ted Davis.
For several weeks, Facebook has been buzzing with speculation of a North Carolina public educator walkout to take place next Monday. Teachers and education activists are hoping to shine attention on recent legislative measures including what they say is decreased spending per pupil, a new pay-for-performance system, increased standardized testing and insufficient educator compensation. However, locally, the demonstration will likely take the form of a teacher “walk in,” during which teachers will all wear red and walk into school together.