Local

Bill Rivenbark for Board of Education

  

North Carolina’s primary election takes place on May 8th – when voters decide on their November candidates for school boards, county commissions, sheriffs, congressional representatives, and the state legislature.  Bill Rivenbark, who currently works at a New Hanover County ABC store, is running for a seat on New Hanover County’s Board of Education. 

Courtesy of Wilmington Regional Film Commission

North Carolina and Wilmington’s film industry got some good news this week. The North Carolina Film and Entertainment Grants program has chosen to support productions in Wilmington and the High Point area.   

Vince Winkel

UPDATE: Since we first aired this story, TIMA Capital has pulled its permit application, which would have allowed the company to emit 90 tons of Methyl Bromide into the air each year.  Sunnyvale Drive in Wilmington, between River and Carolina Beach Roads, has become a sort of Ground Zero for air emissions. 

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has submitted its final report to the Environmental Review Commission, per the requirements of House Bill 56. That legislation appropriated funds to CFPUA and the University of North Carolina Wilmington to study which treatment techniques would remove GenX and other contaminants from the public water supply. 

U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Elliott Sprehe

The debate on firearms continues at the local, state, and national levels. As informed citizens, we look for debates based on logic and reason; but with more polarizing issues, it’s worth taking a look at the personal experiences that influence perceptions and resulting policy positions.   

NC Courts

Research shows that minority students are more likely to face disciplinary action in school than white students.  When students face more detentions, suspensions, and expulsions from school than their white counterparts, we also see more children of color in juvenile and criminal courts.  That phenomenon is often called the school-to-prison pipeline. 

WHQR Public Radio

March For Our Lives, an event to push for gun law reform, is Saturday in Wilmington. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of students are expected to march to demand that their lives and safety become a priority, and that there is an end to gun violence in the nation’s schools and communities. 

A letter full of racist invectives addressed to the Minister / Head Pastor arrived at Speaks Temple AME Zion Church late last month.  Postmarked February 14th from Charlotte, North Carolina, the same day as the Parkland, Florida school shooting and Valentine’s Day, no one seems to know who wrote the letter or why they sent it to a small church in Wilmington. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

A Royal Pest Solutions facility, that’s a fumigation plant near the Wilmington Port, is changing ownership. TIMA Capital is taking the location over, and wants a Title V Air Permit from the state’s Department of Air Quality. Such a permit would allow TIMA to release 90 tons of Methyl Bromide into the air.  Currently, the permit is for 9 tons per year.

CFCI

There are now 173 charter schools in North Carolina.  After the General Assembly lifted the cap of 100 in 2010, the number of public charter schools soared.  In the past four years, four new charter schools opened in Wilmington alone putting the total at six.  If approved, a seventh, the Wilmington School of the Arts, will open in the fall of 2019.

Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has added two more weeks for public feedback on coal ash disposal and recycling.  DEQ held a meeting on that topic in Wilmington last month. The agency decided to extend the comment period after citizens said they wanted more time to provide feedback on the rules.

Mitch Barrie from Reno, NV, USA / Wikimedia Commons

A 19-year-old gunman killed 17 people with an AR-15 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida about three weeks ago. 

Max Pixel

The kind of energy that human beings use to power their lives is shifting around the globe.  Renewable sources of energy are on the rise; the International Energy Agency expects renewable electricity generation to increase by more than a third over the next four years.  That’s according to CNBC. 

In the last 12 years, Charlotte-based Duke Energy has invested about six billion dollars in wind and solar energy, said company spokesman Randy Wheeless.  He identified North Carolina as second in the nation for solar energy. 

The Wilmington City Council is throwing its support behind Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s request to stop production at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant.  The resolution, directed to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, asks regulators to require the company to stop all operations that produce perfluorinated compounds like GenX.  The resolution is not binding, but does send a message.

Samuel King, Jr. / U.S. Air Force

Active shooter situations are, by nature, unpredictable and evolve quickly. That’s the first observation officials with The Department of Homeland Security make before offering what tools and resources they have.  In many cases, DHS officials say, there is no pattern or method to the selection of victims by an active shooter.

So much of Michelle Rhinesmith’s journey so far was not part of the official plan.  From capturing the attention and becoming the mentee of a well-respected NPR veteran to counseling people diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer to grappling with her own bouts – yes, that’s plural – bouts with cancer – to losing her mother in December, her beloved dog, Chloe on February 15th and her grandmother the very next day, the ride has been anything but predictable and smooth. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The Trump Administration has a continental shelf oil exploration plan that covers most of the coastal U.S. – including North Carolina.  Federal officials only held one informational meeting was held in the state, and that was in Raleigh on Monday. Hundreds of North Carolinians made the trip, and the North Carolina Coastal Federation rented buses for folks from the coast.  The buses from Wilmington were sold-out.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas is a real possibility off the North Carolina coast, and on Monday hundreds of residents went to Raleigh to learn more and let their feelings be known.  Many of them came from coastal communities.

Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)

Duke Energy operated the coal-powered Sutton Plant off U.S. 421 from 1954 until 2013. They then replaced it with a natural gas facility. But coal ash still has a place at the plant. It gets stored there. Now the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is looking into re-writing the rules for coal ash disposal.

The Carousel Center

North Carolina’s latest child health report card, just out this week, gives the state an ‘F’ in “Housing and Economic Security” due to the high percentage of children living in low-income homes and neighborhoods. Children from families that are not financially secure, according to NC Child, fare worse in almost every indicator of health, including birth outcomes, access to care, health-risk behaviors, and mortality.

John N. Smith Cemetery Restoration and Preservation, Inc.

Archaeologists have determined that 900 graves lie unmarked at the John N. Smith Cemetery in Southport.  This African American Cemetery, located on Leonard Street in the heart of Southport, has stories both known and many that are yet to be uncovered.  The oldest headstone, with a date of death in 1874, belongs to John N. Smith himself.  

DEQ

Members of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality come to Wilmington Thursday evening for a public meeting about coal ash. The DEQ is drafting new rules to govern its recycling and disposal.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

WAVE Transit, the Cape Fear region’s public transportation system, is looking toward growth – much like the region it serves.  But financing that growth is a steep road to climb.

Pixabay

The prospect of drilling off the coast of North Carolina for oil and natural gas is a real one.  Last month, President Donald Trump proposed the opening of nearly all American waters to offshore drilling. This new five-year plan is scheduled to start in 2019.

So far North Carolina’s elected officials are split on whether to support drilling off the coast.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

Seventy-seven people killed their intimate partner in North Carolina last year.   62% of those people used a firearm.  That’s according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a  statewide nonprofit organization.

The Flu Vaccine: This Year's Strains & Effectiveness

Feb 15, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

This year’s flu season is the worst in a decade. North Carolina has seen 165 deaths since flu season began in October.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has slapped a Notice of Violation on Chemours in Fayetteville. The DEQ notice cites the company’s failure to follow through on directives issued two months ago, in and around the facility. 

Wikimedia Commons

This year’s flu is the worst in nearly a decade.  So far this season, 63 elderly people have died in North Carolina alone from the flu.  25 people between the ages 50 to 64 have passed from the flu -- and four deaths fall into that low-risk category of people ages 25 to 49.  The total death toll in North Carolina from flu this season:  95.

philipgerard.com

If you’ve listened to WHQR for any length of time, you probably know Philip Gerard as one of the regular commentators.  But those three-and-a-half minute pieces are comparable to an amuse-bouche.  The other courses Philip Gerard serves up include his work as a Professor of Creative Writing and Creative Non-Fiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in both the BFA and MFA programs. 

Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers. 

Pages