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Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

WAVE Transit, the Cape Fear region’s public transportation system, is looking toward growth – much like the region it serves.  But financing that growth is a steep road to climb.

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The prospect of drilling off the coast of North Carolina for oil and natural gas is a real one.  Last month, President Donald Trump proposed the opening of nearly all American waters to offshore drilling. This new five-year plan is scheduled to start in 2019.

So far North Carolina’s elected officials are split on whether to support drilling off the coast.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

Seventy-seven people killed their intimate partner in North Carolina last year.   62% of those people used a firearm.  That’s according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a  statewide nonprofit organization.

Tech. Sgt. Jarad A. Denton, 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs / US Air Force, Creative Commons

On Thursday’s CoastLine, what are the impacts of early childhood trauma and is there a way to heal from it?  We’ll explore that with the New Hanover County Executive Director of Smart Start and The Carousel Center’s Clinical Supervisor.

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Archaeologists recently discovered nearly 900 unmarked graves in an African American cemetery in Southport. On Wednesday’s CoastLine, we’ll hear the stories of those buried there and learn about efforts to preserve the historic cemetery.

The Flu Vaccine: This Year's Strains & Effectiveness

Feb 15, 2018
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This year’s flu season is the worst in a decade. North Carolina has seen 165 deaths since flu season began in October.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has slapped a Notice of Violation on Chemours in Fayetteville. The DEQ notice cites the company’s failure to follow through on directives issued two months ago, in and around the facility. 

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This year’s flu is the worst in nearly a decade.  So far this season, 63 elderly people have died in North Carolina alone from the flu.  25 people between the ages 50 to 64 have passed from the flu -- and four deaths fall into that low-risk category of people ages 25 to 49.  The total death toll in North Carolina from flu this season:  95.

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If you’ve listened to WHQR for any length of time, you probably know Philip Gerard as one of the regular commentators.  But those three-and-a-half minute pieces are comparable to an amuse-bouche.  The other courses Philip Gerard serves up include his work as a Professor of Creative Writing and Creative Non-Fiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in both the BFA and MFA programs. 

Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers. 

This week New Hanover County’s revamped process for funding non-profit agencies gets underway. The approach was approved by county commissioners last November, and aims to offer a more objective structure to funding such organizations.  

Development-driller-3 Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelly / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolinians have one shot to voice their opinions in person about offshore drilling at a single public hearing.  So far, February 26th in Raleigh is the only scheduled “open house”.  But Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is asking Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for a 60-day extension of the public comment period and three additional public hearings – all at the coast.  This comes after a weekend meeting that brought together coastal stakeholders, the Governor, and Secretary Zinke. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Residents who live near Chemours’ Bladen County plant are angry.  North Carolina state officials held their fourth community meeting last week at Bladen Community College in Dublin.  More than 150 people showed up.   

Robert Parr

NASA ranks 2017 as the second hottest year on record behind 2016. The National Climate Assessment, a report published by the federal government in November of last year, states unequivocally that humans are causing climate change and the time to act is now. While there are no policy recommendations in this federal report, many state and municipal governments are taking their own steps to curb the impacts of climate change.

Good Shepherd Center

A third of the population in New Hanover County pays more than they can afford for housing.  That’s true for both homeowners and renters, but in the rental market, it’s worse.  Nearly half -- about 46% of people who rent in New Hanover County pay more than a third of their income for housing.  Some community leaders call that a clear sign of a shortage of affordable housing. 

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is not happy with Chemours. Utility officials said this week they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site. That’s because they just learned regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion…  far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.  

Cape Fear Public Utility officials say they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site.  

In a statement issued early Wednesday evening, officials say North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality informed CFPUA that as late as December, regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion.  That’s far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.

Goodle Earth

The city of Wilmington and New Hanover County appear on track to purchase a section of what was once the Echo Farms Golf Club. Last week, county commissioners told staff to approach the developer of Echo Farms and negotiate a purchase that would give the county 18 acres of land. Now it’s up to Wilmington to agree to partner on the purchase and development.

1,4- Dioxane is in the Cape Fear River and in the drinking water supply. It’s also classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” by all routes of exposure. As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at 1,4-Dioxane in this edition of What’s in the Water? 

Gentrification is a loaded word.  It typically connotes a rise in property values in a traditionally low-income neigborhood.  Wealthier people move in.  Those who’ve lived there and are already struggling to pay bills from month to month can no longer afford to live there due to rising rents and property taxes. 

North Carolina General Assembly

The way judges wind up on the bench in North Carolina is changing this year.  For one thing, elections will be partisan thanks to the passage of House Bill 100 last March.  Governor Roy Cooper vetoed that bill, and the legislature easily overrode the veto the next day.  Supporters contend partisan races give voters more information; opponents say they further politicize the court.  

It’s well documented that there are a lot more questionable compounds in the Cape Fear River than GenX.  Two of those as-yet-unregulated compounds:  Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.  As part of our continuing coverage of local water contamination, WHQR takes a look at these byproducts in this edition of What’s in the Water?

University of North Carolina

Update:  On Thursday, January 18th, the Supreme Court granted a stay so that legislators do not have to meet the lower court's deadline.  The Court is considering two other gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin and Maryland and offered no reason for its ruling. 

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Men are taking on more responsibility in the household today than they did a generation ago.  But according to the Pew Research Center, women are still doing the majority of the domestic work.  That’s true across the spectrum – including couples in which both people work full-time outside the home.  So what does this mean for a career professional who is female? 

Thousands of people face deportation if the U.S. Congress does not approve funding to continue the DACA program.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, protects more than 700,000 people who came to the U.S. as children of undocumented immigrants.  They are also undocumented. Thousands of those people are in the Cape Fear Region.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Brunswick County commissioners Tuesday night reversed a vote they took in 2015 concerning offshore drilling and testing. The vote was three – to – two, with board chair Frank Williams casting the deciding vote.  A large crowd was on hand at the county complex in Bolivia to let their feelings be known.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Snow is in the forecast again for the Cape Fear Region. But it’s not expected to be a repeat of the winter blast we had two weeks ago.

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 New Hanover County, following the trend of many other states and municipalities, filed a lawsuit last month against opioid manufacturers and distributors.  In the suit, the county alleges not just negligence by these huge drug companies; the county accuses  them of unfair and deceptive trade practices, civil conspiracy, fraud and racketeering.  Also in December, Brunswick County Commissioners passed a resolution indicating they might file their own suit in which they would seek damages from these companies for the public costs of the opioid epidemic.

House Bill 189 made it through the House late Wednesday, freeing up funds focused on the GenX and emerging contaminants problem. It now goes to the Senate, where its future is not so bright.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The number of people who identify as Christian is declining  and a new category of ‘nones’, meaning “nothing in particular”, agnostic, and atheist, is growing.  That’s according to a study by the Pew Research Center from 2015 called the American Religious Landscape Study.   If the current trend stays the course, according to Pew, American society is likely to grow less religious even if today’s adults maintain their current level of commitment.

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