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Thousands of people face deportation if the U.S. Congress does not approve funding to continue the DACA program.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, protects more than 700,000 people who came to the U.S. as children of undocumented immigrants.  They are also undocumented. Thousands of those people are in the Cape Fear Region.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Brunswick County commissioners Tuesday night reversed a vote they took in 2015 concerning offshore drilling and testing. The vote was three – to – two, with board chair Frank Williams casting the deciding vote.  A large crowd was on hand at the county complex in Bolivia to let their feelings be known.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Snow is in the forecast again for the Cape Fear Region. But it’s not expected to be a repeat of the winter blast we had two weeks ago.

Wikimedia Commons

 New Hanover County, following the trend of many other states and municipalities, filed a lawsuit last month against opioid manufacturers and distributors.  In the suit, the county alleges not just negligence by these huge drug companies; the county accuses  them of unfair and deceptive trade practices, civil conspiracy, fraud and racketeering.  Also in December, Brunswick County Commissioners passed a resolution indicating they might file their own suit in which they would seek damages from these companies for the public costs of the opioid epidemic.

House Bill 189 made it through the House late Wednesday, freeing up funds focused on the GenX and emerging contaminants problem. It now goes to the Senate, where its future is not so bright.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The number of people who identify as Christian is declining  and a new category of ‘nones’, meaning “nothing in particular”, agnostic, and atheist, is growing.  That’s according to a study by the Pew Research Center from 2015 called the American Religious Landscape Study.   If the current trend stays the course, according to Pew, American society is likely to grow less religious even if today’s adults maintain their current level of commitment.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

North Carolina’s House unanimously passed House Bill 189 late Wednesday.  The bill, titled “Short-Term Response to Emerging Contaminants”, would free up funds to support research and look for solutions to the GenX problem. It now goes to the Senate. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Wilmington International Airport has set another passenger record. Numbers just released show that more than 836,000 passengers flew in and out of ILM last year.  This year, the airport is set to grow in new ways.

A North Carolina state committee plans to address the growing threat of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear River through legislation on Wednesday.  The legislation does not include any additional funding, and that isn’t sitting well with the environmental community.

City of Wilmington

Thursday saw an encouraging degree of snow melt, as temperatures squeaked above freezing by a couple of degrees during the afternoon hours.  But officials say that doesn’t mean it’s safe to hit the roads on Friday.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office

The snow has stopped falling, and the Cape Fear region is waking up Thursday morning to a winter wonderland.  Government offices, schools, morning flights, and many businesses are shut down for the second day in row.  Despite some optimism late Wednesday, with some organizations planning to re-open at 10 AM, including New Hanover County Government offices and the Battleship, officials reconsidered Thursday morning and are staying closed.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency late Wednesday afternoon for all eastern and several central North Carolina counties.  A mix of freezing rain and sleet was already falling in the Cape Fear region, and the message from the Governor’s office as well as New Hanover County’s Director for Emergency Management, Steven Still, was the same. 

Stay off the roads.

RLH

The National Weather Service says the current arctic blast will bring two to four inches of snow to the region.  While the rare snowfall in southeastern North Carolina usually leaves a dusting of snow on rooftops and trees, meteorologists say the already-frozen ground and continuing arctic air will make roadways treacherous almost as soon as the precipitation begins.

Wikimedia Commons

     

December 21st marks the first official day of winter – and the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.  According to Rick Kline of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell University, solstices and equinoxes denote either the beginnings of the seasons or the center points of them.  Kline tells USA Today that Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays have arisen out of just these markings.

Pixabay.com

It’s a romp across the holiday table today – whether you’re one of those people who dreads the days-on-end slog in the kitchen as relatives eat you out of house and home or if you love the chance to throw dietary concerns aside and let your creativity fly, we’re going to have some ideas for you. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road has two fewer animals today. That’s because Ben and Booger, a couple of bears, are on their way to a new home in Colorado. The move was triggered by a lawsuit filed in August by two North Carolina residents.

David Woo / Flickr

North Carolina has a teacher shortage.  Enrollment in Schools of Education within the University of North Carolina system has dropped 30% since 2010.  And that, according to WRAL, is having a big impact on the number of teachers available to North Carolina schools.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

GenX is in the local drinking water supply – albeit at significantly lower levels than six months ago.  What kind of impact that has had or could have or will have on the people who drink the local water is still unclear. 

StarNews

North Carolina State officials have ordered Chemours to provide bottled water to more well owners near the company’s Fayetteville Works facility. The move comes after another round of testing shows higher levels of GenX in the wells. 

North Carolina Department of Transportation / Wikimedia Commons

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on December 8th.   The U.S. House of Representatives voted in November to reauthorize the NFIP until 2022.  Now, the Senate must decide whether and how to move forward with the program.  Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina’s seventh district, voted in support of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.  Fellow Republican Walter Jones, from the neighboring 3rd district, voted against it – along with a majority of Democrats.

In New Hanover County alone, which has an estimated population of about 220,000 people, more than 1100 kids are served by programs through the Brigade Boys and Girls Club. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Some revelations came out of yesterday’s meeting of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board held at UNCW.  One of them:  the reconsideration of the GenX 140 parts per trillion health goal set by the Department of Health and Human Services this summer. The other involved food.

Wikimedia Commons / Chiltepinster

Many of us are confronted each morning with our personalized news feed – whether the source is social media, a news app trained to select articles reflecting our preferences, or a TV channel.  Pundits have blamed those sources for the societal divides we’re seeing today.  Whether it shows up as a rejection of negotiation on Capitol Hill or the uncomfortable moment Uncle Steve criticizes the President while carving the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a well-documented fact that polarization is at an all-time high.    

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The North Carolina Science Advisory Board is holding meetings today at UNCW.  Members are discussing the Cape Fear River and emerging contaminants that are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. There’s also an interim report on GenX.

Journalists Matt Lauer.  Charlie Rose.  Mike Oreskes of NPR.  NBC’s Mark Halperin.  Chef John Besh.  Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Celebrity Photographer Terry Richardson.  Investment banker Gavin Baker.  David Corn of Mother Jones. 

Chemical Company Chemours in Fayetteville is now ordered by the Department of Environmental Quality to provide even more bottled water.  Test show a growing number of tainted wells near the company’s plant along the Cape Fear River. 

It was 1929 when Ella May Wiggins decided she would join the fight to unionize mill workers in North Carolina.  She also decided she would work to integrate the union -- despite the fact she was a mill worker herself who barely survived on her meager wages, despite the fact she was a woman with no formal education, no help from the father of her children, and not even enough food to fill her belly from day to day. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality today alerted county health and public water systems in the lower Cape Fear region to another spike in GenX concentrations in the river. 

Clyde Edgerton has written ten novels, three of which are now movies.  Of those produced, his favorite is Killer Diller.  In 2013, he wrote a book of advice, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers, and he’s also written a memoir:  Solo:  My Adventures In The Air.  His short stories and essays have turned up in New York Times Magazine, Best American Short Stories, Southern Review, Oxford American, Garden & Gun – among others.

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