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A 2015 assessment of cities in North Carolina with a population of 10,000 or more ranked Wilmington second after Asheville for crashes.  For every one minute a freeway lane is blocked due to a crash incident, four minutes of travel time are added.  About 30% of all crashes are secondary crashes -- caused after the initial crash -- possibly due to a sudden stop, distracted driving, or rubber-necking.  Those statistics are courtesy of Jessi Leonard, Division Traffic Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. 

    

This week’s inspection of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge caused long delays and left many travelers wondering if more could be done. But the North Carolina Department of Transportation says some proposed solutions cause more problems than they fix. 

After Monday’s traffic congestion, some drivers requested onsite law enforcement officers to direct traffic. But NCDOT Division Engineer Karen Collette says that when that tactic has been employed in the past, it had adverse effects:

From the earliest days of European settlement, Wilmington and the Cape Fear region have been places of active military involvement. From the Revolution through the Civil War, from liberty ships in World War II to the relocation of the Battleship North Carolina, this area has seen its share and more of events that have shaped the military history of our country. In fact, there is a movement in progress to have Wilmington declared America’s first World War II city.

Claudia Durand

Bald Head Island sits on the East side of the Cape Fear River – at the confluence of the river and the Atlantic ocean.  It is one of the wealthier municipalities within Brunswick County.  Only accessible by ferry, Bald Head Island’s popular reputation is that of an island playground for the affluent.  Golf carts, bicycles, and feet are the primary means of on-island transportation.  And although it’s largely a place of second homes, with the human population peaking in the summer months, estimates of the number of year-round residents range from 160 to 220 people. 

Courtesy Martha Peterson

It was 1975 when Martha Peterson’s plane landed in Moscow and launched her assignment as an American case officer for the CIA inside Russia.  After training at CIA headquarters in Virginia, she would be one of the first women in U.S. history to embark on such a mission.  Less than two years after her arrival on a cold November day in Moscow, she would be ambushed at a drop site, arrested, and hauled in for questioning by KGB agents. 

By Miguel Discart from Bruxelles, Belgique (2014-04-07_20-23-08_NEX-6_DSC01281) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The conversation about masculine and feminine expectations and how we socialize children has been going on in academic circles for decades.  But it’s only recently that a mass shooting like the one in Orlando launches a different narrative.  Of course, the predictable yet important debate about gun policy is re-engergized.  But the emerging profile of the shooter at the Pulse nightclub who killed nearly 50 people has also generated a wider, public conversation about the effects of hypermasculinity on boys and young men. 

Wikimedia Commons

The Orlando shooting has reignited talk of gun control measures… Republican U.S. Senators are grappling with whether and how to get behind the presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.  And a three-judge panel is considering the legality of voting law changes in North Carolina… Could that case wind up in the Supreme Court? 

Language is widely considered to be as much a function of gender as any other gender expression – whether clothing, gender-normative interests such as interior decorating, or personality traits.  But is language so different between the sexes? 

www.refinery29.com

From vocal fry to uptalk, women’s voices have come under greater scrutiny in the media, with some calling these trends an epidemic.  But sociolinguists view these innovations much differently. 

You may have heard people complain about women’s use of uptalk—a rising intonation at the end of a phrase that sort of sounds like asking a question.  While some say uptalk has the effect of making women sound uncertain, Caroline Myrick, a sociolinguistics instructor at North Carolina State University, says all genders use it to indicate something else entirely:

Bonnie Monteleone

When you use a disposable diaper, some scientists would tell you the plastic in that diaper actually stays in the environment for hundreds of years.  The plastic bag you brought home from the grocery store?  Estimates vary, but some put the number of years it takes to decompose as high as one thousand.  Whether those numbers are accurate or more research needs to be done doesn’t change what we know about how plastics are showing up in oceans all over the world – and not only harming marine life – but becoming part of the human food chain. 

Wikimedia Commons

  North Carolina’s state legislature passed HB2 earlier this year, otherwise known as the “Bathroom Bill”, and unwittingly launched a broader, national conversation about how public policy impacts minorities – specifically people who are transgender.  Performers canceled concerts, companies shelved plans to move to or expand in North Carolina, and revenue from tourism dropped. 

Psychology Today - https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Abigail_Garner_MSW,LCSW-A_Wilmington_North+Carolina_272075

Earlier this month, President Obama ordered public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity.  A local therapist is advising schools in other ways they can accommodate transgender and gender nonconforming students.  

By Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres (Arbeitsbesuch Mazedonien) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Syria’s civil war erupted five years ago in the summer of 2011.  According to Al Jazeera, it is the deadliest conflict of the 21st century thus far.  To put that into perspective, the United Nations estimated the death toll to be a quarter of a million people as of last August.  But that’s a fraction of the people who have fled the violence in Syria.  The BBC puts the number of displaced people at 11 million.  And all sides in this conflict have engaged in war crimes -- torture, rape, kidnapping… Public amputations of fingers, hands, feet – and gruesome executions are commonplace. 

We’ve spent week after head-scratching week following outrageous developments – often in the form of Tweets -- from Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump.  We’ve witnessed the convention-shattering roller coaster of the Hillary Clinton / Bernie Sanders contest.  And, as North Carolinians, we’ve enjoyed the national spotlight for several months thanks to the recent passage of HB2…

Today, we’re getting professional help.  In the form of laughter. 

Guests:

Judicial Primary Election To Be Held This Tuesday

Jun 3, 2016
New Hanover County Board of Elections

North Carolina’s judicial primaries will be held on Tuesday, June 7th.  All of New Hanover County’s 43 polling places will be open to voters from 6:30AM to 7:30PM. 

Photo: Rachel Lewis Hilburn; gardenia: Jeff Hunter

If we had an in-studio camera on this episode, you would have seen two people wearing headphones, a series of microphone set-ups, and sitting on top of a small, round table covered with a layer of green felt, you would notice a mason jar filled with a cutting from a Gardenia bush.  If you looked more closely at the jar, you would have observed tiny insects covering the petals of the white Gardenia blossom.  On this edition of CoastLine, we find out from plant and garden expert Tom Ericson what these bugs are and what to do about them. 


U.S. Department of Justice

On this edition of CoastLine, we shine a light on a criminal enterprise that has overtaken illegal gun trafficking as the second-most prolific crime around the globe for making money.  Human trafficking, which can include sex trafficking, is on the rise around the world and here in southeastern North Carolina. 

www.farms.com

Broilers, fryers, roasters, turkey, chicken – and eggs – those are the products of the poultry industry in North Carolina.   The Poultry Federation claims that it contributes more than $34 billion to North Carolina’s economy.   Statistics from the North Carolina Poultry Jubilee are a bit more moderate:  they claim an economic impact to the state of $12.8 billion.  They don’t disagree so much, however, on the number of jobs this business creates:  between 109,000 and 110,000 people make their living bringing birds and eggs to the table.     

To fuel North Carolina’s pork industry, the state is host to more than 9 million pigs.  Turns out, that hog waste is a fuel of its own, and it’s becoming a bigger part of North Carolina’s energy portfolio.  Duke Energy announced its second swine waste-to-power project in North Carolina earlier today. 

Summer Saunders / Interfaith Refugee Ministry - Wilmington

Since October 2015, 71 people have arrived in Wilmington as refugees -- most of them from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Another 20% are from Colombia, and half a dozen have fled Burma.  Over the previous fiscal year (October - September), nearly 100 people resettled in the Wilmington area.  Most of that group came from Burma; about a quarter arrived from Colombia. 

Bob Nichols, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

North Carolina is host to more than 9 million hogs.  According to the North Carolina Pork Council, the industry generates about $11 billion a year and supports about 46,000 full-time jobs. 

Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons

One more high-profile performer has cancelled plans to appear in North Carolina due to the controversial new HB2 law – otherwise known as the “Bathroom Bill”.

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners

When the New Hanover County Commissioners gathered for a budget work session, differences in philosophy fueled some tense debate. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Larry Bonney thought he would launch his professional career as a school psychologist.  But life, as it often does, had other plans -- or more specifically, the Federal Bureau of Investigation – which was doing some heavy recruiting at the time. 

The Bureau hired Larry Bonney 46 years ago; now the decades spanning 1970 to 2000 hold stories of an airplane hijacking, the siege at Waco, Texas on the Branch Davidian compound, and a stint as a youth minister in California. 

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina is the second-largest pork producer in the United States.  The importance of the industry to the state’s economy – and by extension to the thousands of people whose livelihood it supports – is undeniable.  This is the third edition of CoastLine in our series on hog farming in the state.  In each episode, we’ve narrowed the focus to one aspect of hog production.  We’ve looked at the economics of it as well as questions around environmental justice.  We’ve explored why some scientists say Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – or CAFOs – negatively impact water qual

www.Sojo.net

The rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail is as divisive and vitriolic as ever.  In fact, several large Republican donors have said they’re reluctant to open their wallets until there’s a fundamental shift in the tone of the campaign and a focus on policy.  WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn spoke recently with New York Times Best-Selling Author, Theologian, and Sojourners President Jim Wallis about politics and the decision confronting Americans.

http://www.nhcgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/MAY-2-POWERPPOINT-Recommended-FY16-17_Final.pdf

New Hanover County is in the midst of budget negotiations.  Despite Cape Fear Community College’s rising operating costs, the recommended budget includes the same amount of money from the county as last year. 

Jim Wallis is a theologian and a prolific writer on issues of politics and morality.  He’s also the president of a social justice group called Sojourners in Washington, D.C.  He insists he’s not President Barack Obama’s spiritual advisor, but he does talk with Obama and other key Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill about moving away from partisan-based debates towards a dialogue grounded in morality. 

www.joegallison.com

If you were a fan of Days of Our Lives at any point from the 1970s to the early 1990s, you will remember Dr. Neil Curtis.  Joe Gallison was nominated for an Emmy Award for playing the compulsive gambler who left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.  While Dr. Curtis may be Gallison's highest-profile and longest-running role at 17 years, it’s hardly the extent of his body of work. 

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