During the seventies and eighties, Felix Cooper served as New Hanover County’s finance manager and later, its county manager. Following those sixteen years of local service, a subsequent stint as city manager of Key West in Florida, and several years of retirement, the Democrat is throwing his hat in the ring again. This time, he’s vying for a seat on Wilmington’s City Council. And, Cooper is a major proponent of increased synergy between the city council and the county commission.
Skip Watkins says he’s dreamed of serving in public office his whole life. A father, financial advisor and longtime volunteer with the Cape Fear Festival and Expo and the Azalea Festival, Watkins cites frustration over Wilmington City Council’s recent efforts to acquire a minor-league baseball stadium as the catalyst that ultimately spurred him to run for a seat on the Council. If elected, Skip Watkins hopes to provide the City with a dose of what he describes as “fiscal guidance.”
On Thursday, Wilmington’s Freeman Elementary and Mosley Performance Learning Center were both locked from the outside for several hours following a shooting at the nearby Creekwood housing community. The next day, a gunfire incident behind the College Road K-Mart led to the brief lock-down of Isaac Bear Early College. A lock-down means access to and from the schools is restricted, and classrooms lock their doors, turn off the lights and shut the blinds. New Hanover County Schools go into this heightened security mode whenever police activity occurs in the vicinity of a school.
Duke Energy Progress will be closing its coal-fired power operation serving New Hanover County this December. Pollutants are slowly leaching from the coal-ash basins surrounding the Sutton plant toward groundwater wells that supply drinking water for the nearby Flemington community. However, decommissioning the plant’s ash basins will not guarantee safety for nearby groundwater supplies—not for a long time, that is.
Duke / Progress Energy and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority could vote as early as Wednesday morning on a deal that would install a water line for a largely low-income community on the outskirts of New Hanover County.
A verdict will soon be reached concerning the two bus routes that WAVE Transit has been threatening to ax ever since New Hanover County cut its funding in June. The Transit Authority, which is funded by the county and the city of Wilmington, met with both parties on Thursday to discuss the future of the routes in question—routes that serve northern New Hanover County and Pleasure Island.