Local

University of North Carolina Wilmington

UPDATE: 8/26, 4:49 pm: an earlier version of this story contained the wrong audio for Segment 2, below.

It was last summer that the University of North Carolina at Wilmington said goodbye to Chancellor Gary Miller who left for the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay after three years at UNCW.  This summer, the Board of Trustees announced that Jose “Zito” Sartarelli would officially take the helm July 1st.

A bill to redistribute sales tax revenues recently took a blow in the North Carolina House of Representatives and now sits in a House-Senate conference committee.  WHQR spoke with some representatives of local rural counties to see what’s next for this proposal and how it would affect their constituents. 

As it stands now, 75 percent of sales tax goes to the county where goods are sold.  A quarter of the tax is distributed based on population.

Cape Fear Community College

Since the ouster of former president Ted Spring early this year, public interest in the financial workings of Cape Fear Community College has spiked.  At least one local news organization, WECT, has been doggedly pursuing the details of performers’ contracts signed with CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center – which kicks off its inaugural season this fall.  

The North Carolina State Auditor’s office recently released an investigative report examining Cape Fear Community College’s finances.  This came after months of media scrutiny and the sudden resignation of the College President during a January Board meeting. 

While the spending of government officials is still under a microscope, locally and nationally, investigations are also ramping up at the state level. 

In the above audio file, clips from the following candidate forums are included to illustrate the range of races -- and not the scope of candidates' answers to questions.

http://whqr.org/post/coastline-nc-house-district-20-candidate-forum

http://whqr.org/post/coastline-new-hanover-county-board-education-candidate-forum

City of Wilmington

Laura Padgett is poised to leave behind more than 20 years of public service.  She was first elected to Council in 1993. After five terms, she has decided against seeking a sixth and will step down at the end of the year.

While the North Carolina General Assembly tries to hammer out a budget in Raleigh, counties around the state are scrambling to consider what a sales tax redistribution could mean for their own bottom lines.  Members of New Hanover County’s Executive Staff are bracing for what could be a significant blow.

For most residents in the Cape Fear region, a daily bus ride is not a typical part of the day.  There are significantly more people who drive their own vehicles than those who opt for public transportation.  There are some choice riders, but most of the people who use WAVE Transit on a regular basis use it because they need it.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

As the North Carolina legislature tries to wrap up its summer session, subsidies for renewable energy are on the chopping block. The state’s hog farming industry could be affected if the subsidies are removed.  

Right now, North Carolina state law says utilities have to produce at least 6% of their energy from renewable sources.  The law also requires that percentage to climb to a peak of 12.5% by 2021.  In order to meet these standards, the state subsidizes the effort. 

Bluedisk / English Wikipedia

Counties across North Carolina could soon be required to cover the entire cost of recycling electronics.  It's just one provision in the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 that could create an unplanned hole in the budget for New Hanover County’s Department of Environmental Management.

How often have you wondered whether to toss a soda bottle into the recycling bin with or without the cap?  Do you rinse out food containers before you recycle them?  And what do you do with all those plastic grocery bags?

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

In a unanimous decision, the Wilmington City Council passed a resolution opposing oil drilling off the North Carolina coast. Advocates on both sides focused on the economic pros and cons of drilling’s precursor seismic testing. 

 

Before making their decision, City Council heard arguments from both sides of the offshore drilling debate. Lindsey Deignan of the SurfRider Foundation spoke against seismic testing and offshore drilling. Deignan says the entire coastal economy is at stake: 

Wood pellets.  They’re a simple idea, but their potential implications are far more complicated and controversial. 

Wood Pellet Industry Fueled By Temporary EU Subsidies

Jul 21, 2015

Enviva, a large wood pellet supplier and manufacturer, has expanded their operations to southeastern North Carolina. The industry is fueled by renewable energy subsidies from the European Union. 

Baby Boomers are once again leading a new trend: retiree entrepreneurship. Instead of giving up work at 60, they’re starting new careers based on their expertise and hobbies. This activity is especially evident in areas like the Cape Fear region, where many retired entrepreneurs have joined others in making a new lifestyle. We explore post-retirement work, especially starting new businesses, on today’s CoastLine.

Guests:

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)

As the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes this week, one budget item remains on the chopping block: high school driver’s education. The Senate’s current budget proposal would eliminate driver’s education classes as a learner’s permit requirement. 

The Annual Meeting of Friends of Public Radio will be held this Thursday, July 16th, at 6pm in the WHQR studios, 254 North Front Street Suite 300 in Wilmington.

The formal business of the meeting will be to elect a new Board member for a term ending in 2018. We'll also hear reports from the Board and station management on the past year's events (hint: it was a very good year) and plans for the future. As always, there will be time for public comment.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

The General Assembly approved a temporary budget at the end of June before taking a week-long recess. The delay prompted a local protest from teachers, teaching assistants, and parents. 

North Carolina’s delayed budget leaves many school systems in limbo as they plan for the upcoming year. The House’s proposed budget maintains current funding levels for teaching assistants, but, according to News & Observer, the Senate’s plan could eliminate over eight thousand teaching assistant jobs.

By Brian Gratwicke, via Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina coast has seen eight shark attacks so far this season.  Summer is not half over.  It’s a record-setting number.  And a chilling one for most people. 

Pterantula / Wikimedia Commons

Eight shark attacks off the North Carolina coast this season have prompted Governor Pat McCrory to ask the Department of Public Safety to look for patterns.

Wikimedia Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_current

Shark bites have been dominating the headlines in coastal North Carolina for weeks. But sharks aren’t the most dangerous risk swimmers face in the ocean.  

So far this summer, North Carolina has experienced a record-breaking number of shark attacks: 8, to be precise – with the most recent bite occurring over the holiday weekend. But Scott Baker, a fisheries specialist with the North Carolina Sea Grant Extension program, says that these shark bites are overshadowing the ocean’s real danger:

Wikimedia Commons

A man is in the hospital after yet another shark attack off the North Carolina coast just after noon on Wednesday.  The victim sustained multiple injuries.

Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that the great jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway has played Wilmington? 

agelessfoundationinc.org

The Williston Alumni Association is celebrating the Wilmington school’s 100th anniversary. 

NPR

When a shark (or sharks) seriously injures two young swimmers near a local beach, a new company announces plans to provide a significant spike in jobs, or a community group demands the Confederate flag be banned in the county, it’s local reporters that bring you those stories. 

In this edition of CoastLine, we talk with two key players on the local news scene. 

carolinarivers.com

Anthropologist Monroe Fisher's African trail was called one of the "world’s best hikes" by the National Geographic. His new project, Carolina Rivers, has begun documenting 32 rivers of North and South Carolina. He was our our guest on CoastLine on June 17th, 2015.

photographer: Billy Hathorn

New Hanover County residents will see a two-cent property tax increase in the next fiscal year. 

Audubon North Carolina

Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers, Least Terns, Willets, and Common Terns.  They’re all shore birds.  They’re all listed as species of special concern in North Carolina.  And they’re all nesting in colonies at the tip of Wrightsville Beach. 

City of Wilmington

A North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the City of Wilmington on the embattled Convention Center Hotel.  

Renowned Anthropologist Sets Out to Explore Carolina Rivers

Jun 16, 2015
Julian Monroe Fisher (www.carolinarivers.com)

Anthropologist Julian Monroe Fisher has explored all of Africa, but now he’s turning his attention to his own backyard. The Wilmingtonian will spend the next two years traversing 32 Carolina rivers. 

Julian Monroe Fisher has spent the last fifteen years doing anthropological research in Africa. But when he was home in North Carolina, he kept passing over rivers and wondering where they came from and where they’re going. That curiosity led him to design his most recent project, Carolina Rivers Education and Preservation through Exploration:

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