Throughout recent legal battles concerning New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger’s fitness for public office, mental health has been a central topic. At a news conference last week, Commission Chairman Woody White said the commission had heard nothing from Berger regarding whether he needed or had received mental health counseling. White cited Berger’s incoherent emails, conspiracy fixations and erratic behavior as grave concerns that responsible leaders could not ignore.
Those hoping to volunteer with New Hanover County public schools may soon be required to get a background check—at his or her own expense. On Tuesday, the Board of Education approved two new changes to its volunteer policy.
Wednesday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, the famous civil rights rally where Martin Luther King Jr. called for an end to racism in the United States. The North Carolina NAACP is commemorating this watershed event through rallies held Wednesday evening in thirteen locations across the state—including outside Wilmington’s Thalian Hall.
The Wilmington Housing Authority is cracking down on crime in public housing communities. At Monday's monthly board meeting, a UNCW graduate student is presenting a study on criminal activity in affordable housing. And the Authority is proposing sweeping policy changes in an effort to get public housing residents and their visitors off the streets late at night.
Editor's Note: This article was corrected to reflect the Supreme Court's action regarding the Voting Rights Act.
The newly passed Voter ID Bill stands to change the nature of Election Days across the state. Strict voter ID requirements, prohibition of provisional ballots, the elimination of same-day registration and a shortened early voting period mean North Carolinians will have to be more vigilant about the rules to cast their ballots. And that's not necessarily all--we could see changes at the local level, too.
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.
Wilmington and its nearby beach communities are enjoying record visitor spending. New Hanover County saw an eight percent increase in tourism dollars last year -- the second-biggest statewide gain after Currituck County. The Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau credits this hike to increased in-state visitors.
Carteret County’s public officials may be even more opposed to designating their beaches as critical habitat for endangered loggerhead turtles than Cape Fear-area leaders. Thursday night’s Morehead City public hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule drew more than 100 citizens—compared to around 30 who attended Tuesday’s hearing in Charleston, and Wilmington’s 80 on Wednesday. Fish and Wildlife will now draft another version of the rule.