Wilmington Ports Authority officials are working to boost storage capacity for niche products such as local produce, pork and wood pellets. Yesterday, Governor McCrory toured the port and announced he’ll work to make it competitive with neighboring port cities Savannah, Charleston and Norfolk. McCrory also announced plans to improve education.
Tomorrow and Saturday, New Hanover County citizens can head to Wilmington’s Independence Mall to pick up seedlings to plant for spring. The event, TreeFest, began as a 1997 initiative to help reforest the area following Hurricanes Bertha and Fran. Today, it serves to help build upon the county’s leafy green canopy, and promote local biodiversity.
Southport’s annual two-day celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. can be credited to founder Walter Welsh. An Episcopal reverend and civil rights activist, Welsh in 1978 became the only white member of the Southport NAACP chapter, and launched a series of interracial study circles. Welsh died in 2006, but Southport’s MLK Celebration Committee carries his legacy forth via the Walter Welsh Award. Yesterday, that torch was passed to Southport’s Musette Steck.
The New Hanover County planning department has a month to revise the most recent draft of the special use permit--or SUP--which is what new industrial companies need to operate. Last week’s presentation of the SUP to the planning board sparked controversy among local environmental advocates, pro-business groups and members of the public--many of whom claimed they didn’t have adequate time to consider the new draft.
Monday marks the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. And the city of Southport will be commemorating the same way it has for more than twenty years—with a two-day festival that aims to inspire community involvement. This year the MLK Committee will also be celebrating the success its other initiative, Project Do Something. A joint effort with Brunswick County Schools, it serves to encourage students to perform acts of kindness and justice year-round—in tribute to Dr. King.
The 2014 state legislative elections could be the last in which voters don’t have to comply with the Voter Information Verification Act of 2013—also known as VIVA. This controversial law, which requires ballot-casting North Carolinians to present photo ID, goes into effect just in time for the federal elections of 2016, and could render 200,000 citizens ineligible to vote. In order to identify at-risk voters in New Hanover County, the Board of Elections will be screening for IDs throughout this year.
The City of Wilmington is working with the police to tackle one ongoing problem: speeding in residential areas. City officials are launching a pilot program, based on data they’ve been gathering using hidden radar devices that track vehicular speed within select neighborhoods. WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that by the end of this month, the city plans to mail these residents details on speeding patterns along their own streets.
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.
Wilmington may be among the first communities nationwide to pioneer a health care program integrating primary and behavioral care. New Hanover Regional Medical Center is working with Wilmington’s Coastal Horizons Center to develop a plan to divert those patients suffering mental health crises from the hospital ER to the nonprofit treatment center. Among other benefits, WHQR’s Katie O’Reilly reports that this partnership could cut down on overcrowded emergency room traffic.