During the seventies and eighties, Felix Cooper served as New Hanover County’s finance manager and later, its county manager. Following those sixteen years of local service, a subsequent stint as city manager of Key West in Florida, and several years of retirement, the Democrat is throwing his hat in the ring again. This time, he’s vying for a seat on Wilmington’s City Council. And, Cooper is a major proponent of increased synergy between the city council and the county commission.
On Thursday, Wilmington’s Freeman Elementary and Mosley Performance Learning Center were both locked from the outside for several hours following a shooting at the nearby Creekwood housing community. The next day, a gunfire incident behind the College Road K-Mart led to the brief lock-down of Isaac Bear Early College. A lock-down means access to and from the schools is restricted, and classrooms lock their doors, turn off the lights and shut the blinds. New Hanover County Schools go into this heightened security mode whenever police activity occurs in the vicinity of a school.
Duke Energy Progress will be closing its coal-fired power operation serving New Hanover County this December. Pollutants are slowly leaching from the coal-ash basins surrounding the Sutton plant toward groundwater wells that supply drinking water for the nearby Flemington community. However, decommissioning the plant’s ash basins will not guarantee safety for nearby groundwater supplies—not for a long time, that is.
With the school year well underway, parents of New Hanover County School students may be relieved to know that after-school care is back. At Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, members unanimously approved a motion to renew the Community Development Institute’s Head Start Contract, meaning about a thousand kids throughout the district can receive free supervision, snacks and help with homework after school. The services kick off this week.
Four years ago, Kevin O’Grady, a retired lawyer and then president of Residents of Old Wilmington, decided to bring some of his neighborhood association’s priorities into the limelight by running for City Council. Since then, the incumbent Democrat says he’s accomplished what he set out to do—enhance public safety, historic preservation, and forestation initiatives throughout downtown Wilmington. But O’Grady, who’s up for reelection, has a host of related civic projects he hopes to see through during a second term.
The local hardware store can be a real ally in the fight to curb underage drinking. Which is why the Cape Fear Coalition for a Drug Free Tomorrow is presenting a free workshop this Saturday on how to install locks on home liquor cabinets. The Coalition is partnering with the Wilmington Police Department to provide the community with safety tips and information about the legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors.
Citizens who rely on WAVE transit to reach the beach communities, as well as northern New Hanover County destinations such as Cape Fear Community College, Laney High School and the VA facility, will soon know for sure whether they need to make new travel plans. On October third, WAVE’s board of directors will meet with the county commissioners to decide the fate of the two bus routes that stand to be closed as a result of WAVE receiving less county funding this year. In addition, the county may also strip WAVE of its powers to implement new routes moving forward.
Over the summer, New Hanover County cut WAVE Transit’s funding significantly from the previous year, resulting in the likely closures of routes serving northern New Hanover County and Pleasure Island. However, WAVE was granted slightly more state funding this year for its Rural Operating Assistance Program. But since WAVE won’t be able to use that money to help salvage the routes in question, it will likely extend their current closure date—September thirtieth—until after WAVE’s board meets with the New Hanover County Commission to make final decisions in October.
A new school year typically heralds change and with that, plenty to discuss. Which is why last week, Dr. Tim Markley, New Hanover County School District’s superintendent, made appearances at Ashley, Gregory and Laney Schools to host Q&A sessions with parents. Markley also addressed the implications of state cuts to public education head on. The superintendent is urging educators and parents to start viewing public education like a competitive business.
As of this morning, the Wilmington Housing Authority is in new hands. Following CEO Michael Krause’s arrest Sunday for driving with a blood alcohol level measuring more than four times the legal limit, the Authority’s board of commissioners has terminated him. The charge marked Krause’s second DWI since taking the position in 2008. Vernice Hamilton, the Authority’s director of human resources, will step up as interim CEO.