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Vince Winkel

Chemours, the company responsible for the unregulated, possibly dangerous, chemical compounds in this region’s water supply, held a town hall meeting for the first time.  Tuesday night in St. Pauls, near the company’s Fayetteville facility, concerned citizens gathered to hear about plans for how the chemical giant plans to clean up its operation.  

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Vince Winkel

New Jersey decided late last year on a regulatory first:  to establish stringent standards for two types of perfluorochemicals in their environment.  According to a November press release, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection is the first to set maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluorononanoic acid, or PFNA.  GenX is one of more than a dozen similar compounds found in the Cape Fear River, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of southeastern North Carolina residents. 

Should teachers carry weapons onto school grounds?  That’s a question one recent North Carolina poll attempted to answer.  And a bill that would allow teachers to have firearms in the classroom is now in the Rules Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly.   Republican Representative Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County filed the School Self-Defense Act last month. 

RedforEdNC

Teachers held walkouts this year in at least six states:  West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina. The reason often cited in news headlines is salary.  But take a deeper dive, and you hear concerns about pension funds, funding for K-12 curriculum, and intangibles – like the lack of respect for the profession.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

New Hanover County has a new budget ready for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. In a surprise vote Monday, county commissioners unanimously approved the budget which includes a property tax decrease and increased funding for education.  

picserver.org

Quit cold turkey – that’s the theory behind some drug rehabilitation programs, but this can be problematic.

Trillium Health Resources is collaborating with The Healing Place on New Hanover County’s first long-term substance abuse facility. According to Trillium, the plan “does incorporate non-medical detoxification as part of their long-term treatment.”

By Frank Schulenburg [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Coyotes, raccoons, and foxes are synurbizing.  That’s what researchers call the animals’ adaptive behavior when their natural habitat shrinks due to urban development.  A recent study out of Penn State shows white-tailed deer fawns have better chances of survival in mixed-cover areas -- a combination of agricultural or landscaped areas and forests versus forests.  In forests alone, the average survival to six months of age was about 41 percent. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

We are now officially in the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It started June 1st. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts that a near-average season is likely, with 14 named storms, of which six could become hurricanes. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches 74 mph. Even if a hurricane season is predicted to be mild, local officials here always prepare for the worst. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Chemours, the company that had been discharging GenX and other compounds into the Cape Fear River, is starting to speak. This week, WHQR’s Vince Winkel visited the Chemours facility and sat down with the Fayetteville Works Site plant manager – where he learned about Chemours’ new plan to open up to the community. 

Billy Hathorn

 

Words On Bathroom Walls is, so far this fiscal year, the only film to take advantage of North Carolina industry incentives.  Five Home Depot commercials also claimed some state grant money over the last fiscal year.  While there are efforts underway in Raleigh to sweeten the pot and lure made-for-TV movies and smaller film projects, the industry in Wilmington is not even a shadow of its former self. 

Chemours

On Tuesday, Chemours announced that carbon adsorption bed technology has been installed at two locations on its Fayetteville Works plant on the Cape Fear River. This is supposed to reduce the emissions of GenX into the air immediately.

NOAA (Storm image), NASA (Land image) - NOAA CLASS (class.ncdc.noaa.gov), EOSDIS Worldview

2018 is likely to see normal to slightly above-normal storm Atlantic hurricane activity.  That's according to the newly-released forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   The breakdown looks like this:  10-16 named storms; 5-9 may become hurricanes.  Of those, one to four could become major hurricanes. 

NPR

Joshua Johnson is the Host of 1A, the successor to the long-running and hugely popular Diane Rehm show.  Before his move to the nation’s capitol, he lived in San Francisco, where he served as KQED’s morning newscaster. 

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Modern dance and Memorial Day remembrances might not sound like natural bedfellows.  But this year, Paul Taylor Dance Company is working to raise the profile of Folded Flag Foundation, a nonprofit that helps military families grappling with loss.  

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

Creative Commons

Access to mental health resources is one of six major unmet needs in the Cape Fear region.  That’s according to New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s 2016 Community Needs Assessment Survey, which examines New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties.  Suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in southeastern North Carolina – despite the fact that it’s not in the top 10 statewide.

copied courtesy Keith Acree, NC Department of Corrections. State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

Inmates killed five North Carolina prison workers in 2017.  Four worked as correctional officers; one as a maintenance mechanic.  Violent assaults on officers have increased significantly from previous years, according to the Associated Press. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

More than 350 people packed a school auditorium this week in Columbus County, to learn more about a permit application. Malec Brothers Transport wants to use methyl bromide to treat logs to kill pests before those logs are shipped to China. As they did just last week, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality hosted a public hearing. Just like last week, the public spoke loudly.

The Changing Face of the Opioid Crisis

May 15, 2018
Pexels.com

The Cape Fear Region has seen an increase in opioid use disorder, otherwise known as OUD. New Hanover County has plans to open a long-term treatment facility – for men.

People suffering from opioid use disorder contribute to jail overflows. That’s why New Hanover County Commissioners committed to funding a Trillium Health Resources facility in 2016

The Southern Environmental Law Center – or SELC -- says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality should shut down Chemours, and they should do it now. On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the SELC recently told DEQ they have the power and legal authority to take that step. 

alancutlerforsheriff.com

The May 2018 primary is now over, and the candidates who made it through this elimination round now head to the ballot for the November general election.

Three Democrats battled in the 20th North Carolina House District, for the right to challenge incumbent state Representative Holly Grange, a Republican. It was a close race. 

ncleg.net

Frank Iler has served four terms as the North Carolina Representative for District 17.  Now this Brunswick County Republican heads into a general election for the fifth time.

In the primary for New Hanover County Commissioner, three Democrats ran for two spots in November’s general election: newcomer James Middleton, political veteran Julia Olson-Boseman, and current commissioner Rob Zapple.  

ncleg.net

North Carolina Representative Ted Davis, Jr. served on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners before his appointment to the state House in 2012.  Despite a primary challenge from newcomer Hunter Ford, this New Hanover County Republican now goes on to battle a Democrat and a Libertarian in November.

Kure Beach physician Kyle Horton and Goldsboro businessman Grayson Parker squared off Tuesday, to be the Democratic nominee to challenge incumbent Republican U.S. Representative David Rouzer, of the 7th Congressional District. 

New Hanover County’s Board of Education has four Republican incumbents seeking new terms; three of them have served for more than two decades.   Three Republican challengers brought the primary candidate total to seven.

ncleg.net

North Carolina Senator Bill Rabon, a Republican from Brunswick County who represents District 8, now has two November opponents.  Democrat David Sink and Libertarian Anthony Mascolo will challenge the four-term Senator. 

Mascolo beat his Libertarian challenger, Randy Crow, by 15 votes.  That might sound like a small margin, but it equates to sixteen-and-a-half percentage points.

For more perspective, 53 people voted for Mascolo.  38 voted for Crow. 

Brunswick County’s Board of Commissioners featured two candidates on the ballot for one seat – but earlier this year, challenger Tom Adams announced he would not pursue a campaign.  Election to the county board, he said, would put him in conflict with his position as Chairman of the Board of the North Carolina State Ports Authority.  Incumbent Randy Thompson will keep his seat since he faces no Democratic opponent in November.

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