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Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

North Carolina’s House unanimously passed House Bill 189 late Wednesday.  The bill, titled “Short-Term Response to Emerging Contaminants”, would free up funds to support research and look for solutions to the GenX problem. It now goes to the Senate. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Wilmington International Airport has set another passenger record. Numbers just released show that more than 836,000 passengers flew in and out of ILM last year.  This year, the airport is set to grow in new ways.

A North Carolina state committee plans to address the growing threat of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear River through legislation on Wednesday.  The legislation does not include any additional funding, and that isn’t sitting well with the environmental community.

City of Wilmington

Thursday saw an encouraging degree of snow melt, as temperatures squeaked above freezing by a couple of degrees during the afternoon hours.  But officials say that doesn’t mean it’s safe to hit the roads on Friday.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office

The snow has stopped falling, and the Cape Fear region is waking up Thursday morning to a winter wonderland.  Government offices, schools, morning flights, and many businesses are shut down for the second day in row.  Despite some optimism late Wednesday, with some organizations planning to re-open at 10 AM, including New Hanover County Government offices and the Battleship, officials reconsidered Thursday morning and are staying closed.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency late Wednesday afternoon for all eastern and several central North Carolina counties.  A mix of freezing rain and sleet was already falling in the Cape Fear region, and the message from the Governor’s office as well as New Hanover County’s Director for Emergency Management, Steven Still, was the same. 

Stay off the roads.

RLH

The National Weather Service says the current arctic blast will bring two to four inches of snow to the region.  While the rare snowfall in southeastern North Carolina usually leaves a dusting of snow on rooftops and trees, meteorologists say the already-frozen ground and continuing arctic air will make roadways treacherous almost as soon as the precipitation begins.

Wikimedia Commons

     

December 21st marks the first official day of winter – and the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.  According to Rick Kline of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell University, solstices and equinoxes denote either the beginnings of the seasons or the center points of them.  Kline tells USA Today that Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays have arisen out of just these markings.

Pixabay.com

It’s a romp across the holiday table today – whether you’re one of those people who dreads the days-on-end slog in the kitchen as relatives eat you out of house and home or if you love the chance to throw dietary concerns aside and let your creativity fly, we’re going to have some ideas for you. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road has two fewer animals today. That’s because Ben and Booger, a couple of bears, are on their way to a new home in Colorado. The move was triggered by a lawsuit filed in August by two North Carolina residents.

David Woo / Flickr

North Carolina has a teacher shortage.  Enrollment in Schools of Education within the University of North Carolina system has dropped 30% since 2010.  And that, according to WRAL, is having a big impact on the number of teachers available to North Carolina schools.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

GenX is in the local drinking water supply – albeit at significantly lower levels than six months ago.  What kind of impact that has had or could have or will have on the people who drink the local water is still unclear. 

StarNews

North Carolina State officials have ordered Chemours to provide bottled water to more well owners near the company’s Fayetteville Works facility. The move comes after another round of testing shows higher levels of GenX in the wells. 

North Carolina Department of Transportation / Wikimedia Commons

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on December 8th.   The U.S. House of Representatives voted in November to reauthorize the NFIP until 2022.  Now, the Senate must decide whether and how to move forward with the program.  Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina’s seventh district, voted in support of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.  Fellow Republican Walter Jones, from the neighboring 3rd district, voted against it – along with a majority of Democrats.

In New Hanover County alone, which has an estimated population of about 220,000 people, more than 1100 kids are served by programs through the Brigade Boys and Girls Club. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Some revelations came out of yesterday’s meeting of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board held at UNCW.  One of them:  the reconsideration of the GenX 140 parts per trillion health goal set by the Department of Health and Human Services this summer. The other involved food.

Wikimedia Commons / Chiltepinster

Many of us are confronted each morning with our personalized news feed – whether the source is social media, a news app trained to select articles reflecting our preferences, or a TV channel.  Pundits have blamed those sources for the societal divides we’re seeing today.  Whether it shows up as a rejection of negotiation on Capitol Hill or the uncomfortable moment Uncle Steve criticizes the President while carving the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a well-documented fact that polarization is at an all-time high.    

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The North Carolina Science Advisory Board is holding meetings today at UNCW.  Members are discussing the Cape Fear River and emerging contaminants that are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. There’s also an interim report on GenX.

Journalists Matt Lauer.  Charlie Rose.  Mike Oreskes of NPR.  NBC’s Mark Halperin.  Chef John Besh.  Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Celebrity Photographer Terry Richardson.  Investment banker Gavin Baker.  David Corn of Mother Jones. 

Chemical Company Chemours in Fayetteville is now ordered by the Department of Environmental Quality to provide even more bottled water.  Test show a growing number of tainted wells near the company’s plant along the Cape Fear River. 

It was 1929 when Ella May Wiggins decided she would join the fight to unionize mill workers in North Carolina.  She also decided she would work to integrate the union -- despite the fact she was a mill worker herself who barely survived on her meager wages, despite the fact she was a woman with no formal education, no help from the father of her children, and not even enough food to fill her belly from day to day. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality today alerted county health and public water systems in the lower Cape Fear region to another spike in GenX concentrations in the river. 

Clyde Edgerton has written ten novels, three of which are now movies.  Of those produced, his favorite is Killer Diller.  In 2013, he wrote a book of advice, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers, and he’s also written a memoir:  Solo:  My Adventures In The Air.  His short stories and essays have turned up in New York Times Magazine, Best American Short Stories, Southern Review, Oxford American, Garden & Gun – among others.

Rountree Losee

On November 15, 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman began his “March to the Sea” from Atlanta to Savannah.  It was the beginning of a major blow to the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  While the 19th century sounds like ancient history to some of us, there exists a tangible division in this country which has this year, played out in an emotional debate over how to treat Confederate monuments and statues. 

The Puerto Rico Tip-Off is now underway …. in Myrtle Beach. The annual college basketball tournament was moved to South Carolina after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September. The games are being played at Coastal Carolina University.  Myrtle Beach has stepped up in other ways as well.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced today it has cited Chemours with violating the conditions of its wastewater discharge permit.  The move comes after the company failed to report an October 6 chemical spill at its Fayetteville Works facility on the Cape Fear River.  UPDATE: The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality began the process Nov. 16 of revoking the discharge permit for Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility. 

Fracaswell Hyman says he didn’t set out to be a writer.  Despite that, he spent years writing for Nickelodeon – on the shows Little Bill, Taina, Gullah Gullah Island.  We’ll hear about those years – but we’re also here today to talk about his first middle-grade novel, Mango Delight.  And we’ll find out what he thought he was setting out to do for a career and before he unwittingly fell into a life of writing – which he now characterizes as “writing for my life”. 

It’s the last election-related show we’ll have in 2017.  The day after a small percentage of eligible of voters went to the polls to choose leaders for the boards of towns and cities, we’re taking a look at what happened, what it could say about what’s on voters’ minds, and where we go from here. 

Also on this edition, we spend a great deal of time on why people didn't vote -- with lots of listeners chiming in via email and phone calls. 

Guests:

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The election brought some changes to the beach communities of New Hanover County. 

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