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Wilmington, NC – The North Carolina Beach Inlet and Waterway Association says while public access to beaches is improving, access to coastal waters is becoming a serious issue.

In its first report card for the North Carolina coast, the association handed out a D grade for public access to coastal waters.

Harry Simmons is the group's executive director and mayor of the southeastern coastal town of Caswell Beach.

Wilmington, NC – The deadline has passed to apply for the New Hanover County Planning Director's job. Former director, Dexter Hayes, retired at the beginning of this month.

As the search committee sorts through the applications there are other vacancies in the area of planning that the county will have to fill as well. WHQR's Catherine Welch reports.

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Snipes Elementary School, Wilmington, NC – The tone was civil, but views were sharply divided at last night's school board forum. The meeting at Snipes Elementary was the first of three chances for the public to speak on the redistricting proposals for New Hanover County elementary schools.

Wilmington, NC – City Council member Bill Saffo is the new mayor of Wilmington. Without the presence of council member Laura Padgett, the city council tapped Saffo. It was a special meeting in council chambers that literally took minutes.

Less than ten minutes after calling the special meeting to order the City Council selected Bill Saffo to serve as the next mayor.

Raleigh, NC – A slate of bills greeted members of the House back to Raleigh as the short session kicked off at around noon. And on this first day many lawmakers from the region focused on the word short in this session's moniker.

After a ceremony by the North Carolina Highway Patrol honor guard, members of the House got down to business introducing more than a dozen new bills, including ones to cut the gas tax, raise the state minimum wage and eliminate the new requirement of mandatory eye exams for kindergartners.

Wilmington, NC –

18th House District Race

In the democratic primary races for the state House seat in the 18th District, incumbent Thomas Wright beat challenger Laura Padgett.

Unofficial results for New Hanover County show Wright coming in with 69% of the votes to Padgett's 31%. In Pender County, Wright won 63% to Padgett's 37% of the vote.

Wilmington, NC – While residents in some parts of Wilmington remain concerned about the impact Autumn Hall will have on traffic, Wilmington city planners say it's a good example of actually reducing congestion on major roads. And they point to a more established Wilmington neighborhood's road system as an example of what failing to plan for traffic can look like. WHQR's Catherine Welch explains.

Wilmington, NC – Martin Herring and incumbent Russell Tucker are the democratic candidates looking to challenge republican candidate Richard Kaiser.

When asked about the dwindling federal dollars for inlet dredging and whether the state should take over funding for dredging Herring says the like the new state Lottery, lawmakers should find a creative solution to drum up money for dredging.

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