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Wilmington, NC – The new resolution creates a $500 annual fee for companies operating water taxis from docks along Water Street. Until now, the city had no formal licensing process for boat tours. Parks and Recreation director Gary Shell says he's had two recent inquiries from people interested in starting water taxi services.

Cape Fear Riverboats, which operates the Captain Moffitt and the Henrietta III, is the only company currently using Wilmington's floating docks.

credit: UNCW

Wilmington, NC – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington is expanding programs across the campus and welcoming a record number of students. All while trying to maintain an intimate feel and compete to hold on to faculty.

WHQR's Catherine Welch sat down with UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo to talk about the university's future.

credit: UNCW

Wilmington, NC – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington is expanding programs across the campus and welcoming a record number of students. All while trying to maintain an intimate feel and compete to hold on to faculty.

WHQR's Catherine Welch talked with UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo to talk about the university's future.

UNCW open its doors to a record number of students this fall, about 12,000 with a freshman class of under 2,000.

Wilmington, NC – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management is beefing up staff as it waits to see whether more rain will push the Northeast Cape Fear River even higher over its banks.

Emergency Management Director Eddie King says he's staffing the 911 Center and putting two water rescue vessels on stand by through Thursday. That's when the National Weather Service predicts the river will rise to more than 17 feet, more than 7 feet over the flood stage.

Burgaw, NC – The river crested near Burgaw at 16-1/2 feet, exceeding forecasters' predictions. The river isn't expected to recede below flood level until Saturday.

Overflow from the Northeast Cape Fear has closed a section of Highway 53 near I-40, flooding surrounding homes and driving out most residents. On duty at the edge of the water, North Carolina Wildlife Commission Sergeant David Jordan said his big concern on this holiday is recreational boaters.

NWS

Wilmington, NC – All eyes are on the Northeast Cape Fear River this morning in Pender County where the river is expected to surpass the flood stage by five feet.

The National Weather Service says the Northeast Cape Fear River around Burgaw is predicted to reach 15-and-a-half feet Monday, more than five feet above flood stage.

Mark Bacon is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

New Orleans, LA – WHEN JUNE WISCHLER RETURNED TO NEW ORLEANS THIS SPRING A LITTLE BIT OF WILMINGTON CAME WITH HER.

"My plants, my beautiful plants from Wilmington. The one, see the spider plant? My neighbor had a beautiful one like that and she gave me one of the little pups, so that's longevity right there."

Wilmington, NC – The Port of New Orleans not only got hit with Hurricane Katrina, but the floods from broken levies that flooded out the homes of many port employees. By keeping in touch with its employees the port pulled in the staff and gathered some lessons learned for other port authorities.

Wilmington, NC – Tropical Storm Ernesto plowed through the area late last night flooding roads around the region.

Many of the roads in the northern part of New Hanover County were flooded as Ernesto dumped more than six inches of rain around the region.

In Wilmington, College Road between Oleander and Wrightsville Beach was under a foot of standing water by 11 o'clock last night.

A record-setting eight inches of rain fell in Wilmington last night.

Wilmington, NC – An unusually wet August in southeastern North Carolina means more of Ernesto's rain is swelling the region's rivers. Tributaries of the northeast Cape Fear are above their banks and the river is running several feet higher than normal.

Emergency services in Duplin county report evacuations in the town of Chinquapin. According to the Star News, there are swift water rescue teams evacuating low-lying residents in the Pender County town of Maple Hill.

Wilmington, NC – New Hanover County is recovering after Tropical Storm Ernesto dumped up a reported 14 inches of rain at Wrightsville Beach, and a record-setting eight inches in Wilmington.

New Hanover County Emergency Operations Center says 61 people stayed at the shelter in Wilmington, and as many a 1,800 Progress Energy customers lost power.

Dave Baker, director of Ocean Rescue for Wrightsville Beach, says Ernesto's nightly landfall kept away most onlookers.

Carolina Beach, NC – Surfers and locals pretty much had Pleasure Island to themselves Thursday as the region's beach towns waited for Ernesto's arrival. But for most of the day, the storm was a disappointment. By mid-afternoon, the beach was almost empty, a sight that surprised Carolina Beach resident Judy Burford, who was hoping to catch her first hurricane.

"I figured there'd be people out on the beach, watching the ocean like they always do, but there's nobody there."

Dauphin Island, AL – There are property lines on the sea floor off Alabama's Dauphin Island. You can tell from the headless pilings sticking up out of surf. Last season, they supported beach homes.

John Bullard used to stay in some of those lost properties. From the shade of his beach umbrella, Bullard points to the houses currently lining the water. A decade ago, he says, those were probably three rows back.

Wilmington, NC – The idea is this: instead of trying to attract skilled labor to New Orleans, the city is outsourcing some of the rebuilding.

For our poor, flooded and damaged city it's just fantastic to have all of these generous folks in Wilmington. And I get to go back to New Orleans and say there are a bunch of folks in North Carolina who care about us.

Wilmington, NC – Forecasters predict Ernesto could dump up to six inches of rain along the South Carolina, North Carolina border leaving officials in South Carolina preparing for the storm.

Ernesto is expected to make landfall late Thursday afternoon near the South Carolina, North Carolina border.

In South Carolina, the border county of Horry County, spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says emergency officials are also worried about severe flooding.

Wilmington, NC – The builder of the City View development planned for the west bank of the Cape Fear River was put on hold after making a special request Wednesday night that would have moved the project closer to becoming a reality.

Developer John Evans made a request of the Metropolitan Planning Organization to upgrade the status of USS North Carolina Road and Battleship Road from local road to connector road status so he could build the proposed condo-retail development.

Wilmington, NC – Brunswick County officials say the completed stretch I- 140 will cut evacuation time for some county residents.

Brunswick County officials say the I-140 Wilmington Bypass links an improved Carolina Beach Road to Interstate 40, giving county residents a faster evacuation route.

Brunswick County Emergency Management Director Randy Thompson says sending residents through New Hanover county will work because of new regional evacuation plans.

Wilmington, NC – As forecasters keep an eye on Tropical Storm Ernesto,Governor Mike Easley warns residents to prepare for the hurricane season.

Easley urged families to have a plan for evacuation and communication. As for the state's emergency communication system, called VIPER, a study this year by the First Response Coalition raised concerns about VIPER's effectiveness since many municipalities have opted out of it.

Governor Easley says program is expanding and will be effective this hurricane season.

Biloxi, MS – Behind the wheel of his SUV, Bill Raymond navigates through what's left of Biloxi's historic district, describing entire neighborhoods of old homes that have been reduced to fields of weeds under the city's remaining live oaks. Raymond is the city's Historical Administrator. Not an easy job in a town where he estimates 75% of the land-marked buildings are damaged or gone.

Wilmington, NC – The university will use the money to address domestic violence against students, creating a model program other schools may someday adopt.

Rebecca Caldwell, the university's director of substance abuse and violence prevention, describes domestic violence on campus as a sleeping tiger,' saying that when she looked for a recommended university program on which to base UNCW's she couldn't find any.

Wilmington, NC – Two block from the Gulf of Mexico, dozens of volunteers pile into First United Methodist Church. Wilmington resident Murrie Lee is one of the volunteers, he's on his 6th mission trip to Biloxi.

Like most people, Lee watched Hurricane Katrina devastate the region on his TV set, and sitting in a quiet corner of the church sanctuary, he tells of how he felt an immediate need to be useful.

Wilmington, NC – The study found nearly 7,000 feet of sewer line that need to be replaced or repaired in the next five years. The assessment also stressed the need to replace air valves, improve two pumping stations on the line, and modify the corrosion control system.

J. Chris Ford, an engineer who presented study results to the City council, says the types of problems facing the northeast interceptor are not uncommon in other systems of its size.

Wilmington, NC – Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was one of the most haunted cities in the country. Shawna Keeney checks in with some regular ghost chasers who are monitoring the haunted Big Easy.

Shawna Kenney is a freelance writer and producer who is currently a graduate student in UNCW's Creative Writing program.

Wilmington, NC – The Wilmington Fire Department has the equipment and manpower, but lacks training and support staff. That's the finding of an outside assessment commissioned by the city.

Recommendations include boosting the number of training captains from one to four or five, and hiring an I-T person. It also recommends fixing safety issues at some of the older firehouses.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says city staff will comb through the 207-page report and prioritize recommendation.

Wilmington, NC – Thursday was the official grand opening of Wilmington's first off-leash dog park.

A private citizen group teamed up with the city to make the two acre stretch of fenced in park a reality at Empie Park. Small dogs and big dogs each have their own areas to run free, and there are water facilities and seating.

The city says Empie Park's new off-leash dog park, and Kure Beach, are now the only two places in the immediate area where dogs can romp free from their masters.

Wilmington, NC – Neighborhood complaints tipped off police to keep an eye on a Castle Street clothing store called "X-Slave Fashions."

Police say that after witnessing what they thought was a drug deal in front of the store, officers arrested the owner and three others.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous credits old-fashioned, boots-on-the-street policing for the bust.

"It's like the door-to-door salesmen. If you keep banging on doors, you're going to make a sale. Well, it's the same thing out there. You've just got to keep hammering away at it."

Wilmington, NC – Robeson County is gearing up to launch the first 211 information number east of I-95.

Robeson County commissioners signed off on the phone line this week. The number will deliver information on such topics as where to get flu shots, severe weather and social services.

United Way of Robeson County Director Sandra Oliver says there is a strong need for the 211 line.

Wilmington, NC – Wal-Mart says a stoplight put the breaks on a proposed store for Market Street in Ogden.

The 200,000 square foot store was planned for a stretch of Market Street near Dunbar Road in Ogden.

Wal-Mart spokesperson Tara Stewart tells WHQR that a stoplight couldn't be secured for the area, that along with issues surrounding Wilmington's moratorium on sewer hookups forced the company to abandon the project.

Wilmington, NC – The National Weather Service estimates four to five inches of rain fell on parts New Hanover county Tuesday, flooding intersections and shorting out traffic lights.

A blocked storm drain closed the 3rd Street on-ramp to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge for several hours, backing up traffic down 3rd Street and forcing drivers like Larry Dew of Harvest Table Ministries into stop-and-go traffic.

Wilmington, NC – Tuesday's heavy rains washed out the Beach Blast and Beach Sweep planned for UNCW students.

The university says weather reports of afternoon storms were convincing enough to cancel the event, which was planned for Wrightsville Beach near Ocean Pier.

Instead, students were treated to a showing of the cult classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off at UNCW's new movie theater.

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