Local

Samuel King, Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Active shooter situations are, by nature, unpredictable and evolve quickly. That’s the first observation officials with The Department of Homeland Security make before offering what tools and resources they have.  In many cases, DHS officials say, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims by an active shooter.

So much of Michelle Rhinesmith’s journey so far was not part of the official plan.  From capturing the attention and becoming the mentee of a well-respected NPR veteran to counseling people diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer to grappling with her own bouts – yes, that’s plural – bouts with cancer – to losing her mother in December, her beloved dog, Chloe on February 15th and her grandmother the very next day, the ride has been anything but predictable and smooth. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The Trump Administration has a continental shelf oil exploration plan that covers most of the coastal U.S. – including North Carolina.  Federal officials only held one informational meeting was held in the state, and that was in Raleigh on Monday. Hundreds of North Carolinians made the trip, and the North Carolina Coastal Federation rented buses for folks from the coast.  The buses from Wilmington were sold-out.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas is a real possibility off the North Carolina coast, and on Monday hundreds of residents went to Raleigh to learn more and let their feelings be known.  Many of them came from coastal communities.

Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)

Duke Energy operated the coal-powered Sutton Plant off U.S. 421 from 1954 until 2013. They then replaced it with a natural gas facility. But coal ash still has a place at the plant. It gets stored there. Now the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is looking into re-writing the rules for coal ash disposal.

The Carousel Center

North Carolina’s latest child health report card, just out this week, gives the state an ‘F’ in “Housing and Economic Security” due to the high percentage of children living in low-income homes and neighborhoods. Children from families that are not financially secure, according to NC Child, fare worse in almost every indicator of health, including birth outcomes, access to care, health-risk behaviors, and mortality.

John N. Smith Cemetery Restoration and Preservation, Inc.

Archaeologists have determined that 900 graves lie unmarked at the John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.  This African American Cemetery, located on Leonard Street in the heart of Southport, has stories both known and many that are yet to be uncovered.  The oldest headstone, with a date of death in 1874, belongs to John N. Smith himself.  

DEQ

Members of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality come to Wilmington Thursday evening for a public meeting about coal ash. The DEQ is drafting new rules to govern its recycling and disposal.

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.

Pixabay

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.

The Flu Vaccine: This Year's Strains & Effectiveness

Feb 15, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

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. 

Wikimedia Commons

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.

philipgerard.com

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. 

Villalobos, Horacio, Photographer / National Archives and Records Administration

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? 

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