Wilmington, NC – Police say they have no identifying information for the man whose body was recovered south of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Wednesday night.

The body is a black man, estimated between the ages of 30 and 50. The John Doe was found wearing khaki pants and black shoes. Officers say his only identifying mark is a US Marines tattoo on his left upper bicep.

An autopsy revealed the man drowned, with no sign of foul play. Officers say it will take a month to get results from toxicology tests.

Wilmington, NC – Wilmington City Council candidate J. C. Hearne says he thinks it's too early to tell if the proposed convention center design is on the right course.

Hearne made the remark last night at a WHQR, Star-News city council candidate debate with challenger Pat Delair.

Wilmington, NC – North Carolina Victim Assistance Network, know as NC VAN, held its training conference yesterday in Wilmington.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, District Attorney Ben David and other state law enforcement figures thanked service providers for their service and sharing strategies to best serve victims of serious crimes.

David says providing proper representation for victims is the goal of NC VAN.

Wilmington, NC – In South Carolina, officials in Horry County are itching to rid the area of an increase in mosquito hatchings.

Horry County spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says the county is working to close the mosquito season with another phase of aerial spraying.

The county pays for the aerial mosquito spraying and Bourcier says this is the fourth year it has done this.

Wilmington, NC – The Robeson County Humane Society is looking for homes for more than 50 cats that have been living with an elderly St. Paul's woman.

A code enforcement officer alerted the Humane Society earlier this month that Lessie Smith had been taking care of 60 cats.

Shelly Carey is Adoption Coordinator for the Robeson County Humane Society. She says the cats are well feed and in generally good condition because Smith bought food for them before feeding herself.

Wilmington, NC – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington says while black freshman enrollment has dropped from last year to this year, overall the campus is bringing in more people of color.

In this year's freshman class of 1,987, 105 of those students are African-American. That's eight less than in last year's freshman class.

Associate Provost Terry Curran says the university needs to work harder to reach out to the black community and high school counselors.

Wilmington, NC – Governor Mike Easley announced yesterday Pender County will get a nearly $300,000 development grant.

The money will go toward renovating and equipping a facility at Cape Fear Community College in Burgaw that teaches entrepreneurs commercial food preparation.

The facility will also help the develop product lines from produce grown in the area such as blueberries.

Pender is one of seven rural counties that received Community Development Block Grants.

(c) Richard Kornberg and Associates and William Ivey Long

Wilmington, NC – William Ivey Long has created costumes for movies, ballets, and more than fifty Broadway shows, including Guys and Dolls and Hairspray. He toured the Cameron's galleries last week to begin designing the exhibit. Having grown up in the Carolinas, Long says he's honored to be asked to display at the Cameron.

Wilmington, NC – Rabies test done on a hooded seal came back negative. The young, male seal bit an employee at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science center who was trying to help him.

A spokesperson for the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center says the employee has several stitches and is recovering, although upset about the seal's death.

Wilmington, NC – "Slide-Stock 2006 , a festival that showcases the art of the slide guitar now eight years running, will be making its Wilmington debut this weekend.

Wilmington blues man, Mojo Collins, along with others will showcase their talents during the two-day festival.

It's got a pretty thriving blues scene here and I think it will help it out a lot and will expose a lot of people to this particular art, it is kind of a lost art to be truthful with you.

Wilmington, NC – The Castle Hayne Steering Committee is holding a B-B-Q this weekend to give candidates a chance to tell voters where they stand on the issues.

Organizers say this will be a non-partisan event with an expected 25 candidates ranging from local seats to the U.S. Senate.

Event organizer, Tom Radewicz, says this is an opportune time to for voters to get some one-on-one time with the candidates.

Virginia Beach, VA – The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center put down the arctic ice seal to conduct a rabies test after the animal bit a staff member.

Stranding Response Program Coordinator Susan Barco described the bite as a public health issue.

Barco said staff briefly lost control of the seal while they were trying to move the animal, leading to the bite. And although she defended the Aquarium's current handing techniques, Barco said that the staff has little experience with ice seals.

Wilmington, NC – Researchers at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher say the young hooded seal found stranded on Wrightsville Beach last Friday is doing well.

Police found the juvenile male seal by the Oceanic Pier early Friday morning. Bob Schoelkopf is founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in New Jersey.

He says normally two to three hooded seal strandings are recorded a year, but this year is already up to eight or nine. He says this could be due to an unusually large adult population.

Wilmington, NC – Under the Heritage Tree Program, the Wilmington Tree Commission will have the power to confer landmark status on the city's historic and noteworthy trees. Nominated trees will have to meet criteria for size, age, rarity, or historic value.

The program requires property-owner consent and has no power to prevent the removal of designated trees. However, Wilmington Environmental Planner Philip Preet, an ex officio member of the Tree Commission, says he hopes the program someday takes on a more binding role.

Wilmington, NC – Congressman Mike McIntyre says while a lot more needs to be done on U.S., immigration policy he voted for a Mexican border fence to beef up border protection.

The House passed legislation Thursday that authorizes but does not fund 700 miles of fencing along the U-S Mexican border.

Nine other members of the North Carolina delegation joined McIntyre while three voted against the bill.

Wilmington, NC – Congressman Mike McIntyre will be making the rounds to some Wilmington elementary schools this week answering questions from school kids about what it's like to be in Congress.

While they're not the Washington Press Corps McIntyre says the school children have some pretty solid questions.

"The students are usually interested in the simple things like have you ever talked to the president, or when you make a law how do you see it's enforced and how does a bill become a law.

Wilmington, NC – The accident involving a Leland Fire Department fire engine and civilian vehicle resulted in no fatalities. That's the word from Leland Fire Chief John Grimes, who says one firefighter is expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday.

The Star-News reports that the firefighter driving the fire truck told police on the scene that his brakes gave out. But Chief Grimes says the truck was up to code.

Burgaw, NC – County Commissioners voted 3-to-2 to terminate John Bauer's position without cause at the end of their meeting Monday.

This was Bauer's second stint as Pender County's manager. Commissioner voted him into the position on a 3-to-2 vote in February of 2005.

Although his performance was not on the meeting's agenda, Bauer said he was unsurprised by Monday's decision.

Wilmington, NC – Dr. David Hill is a pediatrician who lives and writes in Wilmington.

Wilmington, NC – Nan Graham's book "In A Magnolia Minute" a collection of WHQR commentaries on life in the south is available at bookstores.

Wilmington, NC – BellSouth is asking the state Utilities Commission to deregulate its retail services.

The phone company says regulation is no longer necessary now that residents can choose from cell phone, internet and cable services.

The Public Utilities Commission says BellSouth is the largest phone service provider with 85% of the market. The Commission's executive Director for Public Staff, Robert Gruber, says a deregulated BellSouth can lower or raise rates at will.

Raleigh, NC – In a ceremony attended by Governor Mike Easley and the first lady, the museum Thursday unveiled plans for a low, steel-clad building to display the state's art collection. The new facility will be the centerpiece of a 127-acre landscaped park, including sculpture gardens, environmental projects, and hiking and biking trails.

Under the new plan, the museum's current building shifts to house temporary exhibits and administrative space.

Wilmington, NC – A series of meetings centered on payday lending services kicks off in Myrtle Beach Thursday night.

South Carolina lawmakers called for the town hall meetings as a way to inform the public about these high interest loans.

The South Carolina AARP's Patrick Cobb says he hopes feedback from these meetings will inform state legislation.

credit: NCDOJ

Wilmington, NC – Representatives from the North Carolina Attorney General's office will be in Wilmington today to talk with area seniors about how to detect scams.

The event will cover topics ranging from identity theft, mail and charity fraud, and investment scams.

North Carolina Attorney General Cooper says this will be an opportunity for seniors to gather a wealth of information for those looking to ward off scam artists.

Wilmington, NC – To commemorate those lost on 9/11 UNCW students held an all day public ceremony on campus on the five-year anniversary.

More than 3,000 American flags were placed on the campus commons lawn. Events organizers say early in the morning nearly 200 students and residents gathered to remember the victims of 9/11.

Ceremony organizer and student Brian Pate, says even a retired NYC fire fighter arrived with his family to remember the day's events.

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.