Local

Vince Winkel

There is a new bill in the state senate from Republican Michael Lee of New Hanover County that requires anyone driving a car to use a hands-free device for cell calls. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents – and deaths – caused by distracted drivers. However some believe such a law may not be enough.

Vince Winkel

Some of the world’s best golfers will descend on Wilmington in just under three weeks for the Wells Fargo Golf Championship. The event at Eagle Point Golf Club is projected to drive millions of dollars into the local economy and millions of TV viewers for the tournament. It’s prompted a new marketing initiative for the Cape Fear Region, but its focus is not on tourism. It's economic development. 

Ocean Isle Beach in Brunswick County is the second North Carolina municipality to receive a permit for a terminal groin since a long-standing ban was lifted in 2011. 

Vince Winkel

Starting Monday night, traffic at the intersection of Carolina Beach Road, Front Street and South Third Street is going to change. That's because the Greenfield Lake culvert project is shifting into high gear.  

Vince Winkel

Property owners of 14 acres along Battleship Road would like to build up to 15 homes between that road and the Cape Fear River.  New Hanover County’s Planning Board has not yet voted on the request, although it had been on Thursday night's agenda.

Creative Commons

It was almost exactly two years ago that two North Carolina Representatives – both Democrats – filed a bill in the House that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state.

Vince Winkel

There are plans in the works for those woods you see across the river from downtown Wilmington, between the battleship and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Thursday night the New Hanover County Planning Board will hear a rezoning request for that area.

Vince Winkel

Officials from Wilmington and New Hanover County held a special joint meeting to discuss the Garner Report. The City Council and County Commissioners gathered Thursday afternoon to grade themselves on the progress made, since the 2014 Garner Report, called “Pathways to Prosperity”, was published.  Of the 21 recommendations on economic development, there is progress to report on several fronts. 

Vince Winkel

In the U.S. Senate, a bill was just passed that would let states block more than $200 million in funding from going to Planned Parenthood, or any organization that provides abortions. The bill has already passed the House and now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk.  Also last week, Planned Parenthood held their annual benefit in Wilmington. 

Wikimedia Commons

Warmer weather has moved into the southeast in fits and starts this year.  Reports of damaged crops in Georgia and both Carolinas came after multiple late-season frosts.  Whether those recent cold snaps will impact the price and availability of peaches, blueberries, and apples remains to be seen.    

But what does this mean for home gardeners who just hope to see their shrubs, trees, and perennials bloom?   And what might this mean for the showing of blooms during Azalea Festival?

Jon David and Ben David are brothers.  They also happen to be identical twins.  And they’re both district attorneys for adjacent jurisdictions in North Carolina. 

Planting Peace / MFI

The North Carolina law known as the “Bathroom Bill” has effectively been repealed by the passage of House Bill 142.  Democratic Representative Deb Butler from New Hanover County and Republican Representative Chris Millis of Pender County both voted against the compromise bill -- two legislators who are likely to find themselves on opposite sides of a contentious issue. 

Vince Winkel

On Monday, we reported on House Bill 324, which would create quick-response teams to deal with opiate overdoses in the region. Today we look at the STOP Act, which would attack the opioid epidemic using a different strategy.  

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Tuesday, March 28: Because of a re-wiring project now going on at WHQR, listeners may experience temporary interruptions to network functions such as web pages and audio streaming. We apologize for the interruptions, and thank you for your patience.

Wiki Commons / Paul Joseph

Craft Beer is booming in North Carolina – and specifically in the Cape Fear region to such a degree that an industry association has set up shop.  The Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance formed last year and has nearly 20 members.

Vince Winkel

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was in Wilmington Monday to discuss the opioid epidemic with the area’s state and local elected officials, law enforcement, and health care providers. There is a bipartisan effort in the works to bring a pilot project to Wilmington to treat opiate overdoses. House Bill 324 would create a quick-response team that would respond to overdoses with additional emergency support.

Vince Winkel

For the first time in nearly a decade, data from the National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. That’s a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014 – the most dramatic two-year escalation in 53 years.  Cell phone usage is the main cause. 

New Hanover County recently approved revisions to its special use permit.  Duke Energy is working to close its coal ash pits at the Sutton Steam Plant site and held a public meeting last week to update stakeholders on the progress.  Also last week, and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, and others held a public meeting in Navassa – about the testing and clean-up project on the former Kerr-McGee chemical site across the river in Brunswick County -- which is a Superfund site. 

Makaristos / Wikimedia Commons

The revised Presidential Executive Order banning travel from six mostly-Muslim countries, called a “watered-down version” of the first by President Donald Trump, is now blocked from going into effect by two federal judges -- in Hawaii and Maryland – as of Thursday morning.    

But in light of the movement to crack down on who is coming in to the country, we’re also seeing a crackdown on people who are already here who may not be here legally.  The efforts to find those people are called Targeted Enforcement Operations. 

Vince Winkel

The Cape Fear Economic Development Council is a Wilmington-based group that advocates for sustainable economic development.  At a recent meeting, they looked at whether state or local governments are best-suited to lead development efforts. 

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Our "Take a Day Off Drive ends today.

Thanks to your generosity, we hit the $140,000 goal of this campaign today. As promised, we will end the campaign one day earlier than ever before, and resume regular programming at 7 pm Tuesday night.

Public stations face an uncertain future if we lose funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. So it’s essential that support for WHQR reach unprecedented levels from our renewing and especially NEW members.

By Beatrice Murch from Buenos Aires, Argentina - Fireworks, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3393567

We're taking a day off!

The Spring 2017 "Take a Day Off" campaign reached its announced goal just before 1:00 pm on Tuesday March 21 -- with a day taken off! Our previous drives have run at least 7 days, but we wanted very much to shorten this drive, and thanks to you our listeners, we did.

Looking good for Day 5 of what we hope will be a 6-day drive. Thanks to all who have pledged!

We're giving away an Apple Windfall Wednesday night -- iPad Mini, Watch, Ear Pods and $100 in the iTunes store. You don't have to make a pledge to enter, and Sustainers are automatically in. 910-599-0398 or whqr.org.

The new WHQR App is ready for action!

The WHQR app for smartphones and tablets provides super-useful features like live streaming, local news stories, your favorite programs and on-demand content. The App is free and available to download for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android phones. Find it using the links at the bottom or by searching for “WHQR” in Apple’s App Store or Google Marketplace. Or, just click here. 

So this happened: I was interviewed by the BBC concerning the President's plan to eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and what the impact would be on local stations like WHQR. In this story, the segment I'm in runs from c. 16'51" to 20'00".

Here is a link to my recent Op-Ed on this topic, published by the Wilmington StarNews.

ncleg.net

Susi Hamilton held the House seat in North Carolina’s 18th District for three terms and was recently elected to a fourth.  She resigned near the end of January – after new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper tapped her to lead the state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. 

Vince Winkel

More than 400 business leaders packed Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station last night to hear from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.  The occasion:  the 150th anniversary of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.  

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Last month, Deb Butler was sworn in to the North Carolina House of Representatives to fill Susi Hamilton’s seat. As a Democratic newcomer to the General Assembly, Representative Butler has found one issue that drives lawmakers to reach across the aisle: the opioid epidemic.

Most of us know very little about the organisms in our own backyard, bedroom, roommate or even on our bodies. Rob Dunn, a Professor of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University, will try to change that – when he speaks tomorrow night at UNCW.  

Vince Winkel

There’s a move afoot in the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal a plastic bag ban along the Outer Banks. More than 125 municipalities in the U.S. have adopted bag bans, but several states are now reversing that trend. 

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