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Pier at Kure Beach
Visit Kure Beach NC (http://www.visitkurebeachnc.com/)

Without the assurance of federal money, funding beach nourishment and shoreline stabilization is one of the most critical issues facing beach towns.  During the first CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, all Kure Beach Mayoral and Town Council candidates agreed on one thing: New Hanover County needs to contribute more toward beach nourishment. 

Mayor Dean Lambeth says that he doesn’t think federal funding for beach nourishment will disappear any time soon, but he does want the county to contribute more:

Seismic testing and the potential for offshore drilling has galvanized strong opposition in Kure Beach.  Earlier this year, Mayor Dean Lambeth ignited controversy after he sent a letter in support of seismic testing to the Federal agency overseeing offshore oil exploration.  Hundreds of opponents showed up to protest at the next Kure Beach Town meeting in January.  

Town of Kure Beach

In this first CoastLine Candidate Forum of 2015, we bring you the four candidates running for Kure Beach Mayor and Town Council.

In the Town of Kure Beach, two candidates are competing for the mayoral seat.  On the council side, two candidates are running unopposed for two open seats. 

Kure Beach Town Council Members serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor serves a two-year term.  Members are elected in a non-partisan election every two years.  

Candidates for mayor:  

http://www.nhcs.net/

New Hanover County Board of Education is setting to work on its next Strategic Plan.  A new vocational high school may be included in the proposal. 

The New Hanover County Board of Education is looking into building a vocational high school on the Cape Fear Community College campus.  Edward Higgins, member of the Board of Education, says they’re looking to the county and the state to provide funding for this project:

Changing the sales tax distribution formula has been on the General Assembly’s agenda since the start of this summer’s long session. As it winds to a close, where does this proposal stand? WHQR spoke with Representative Susi Hamilton, a Democrat from New Hanover County, about the history of sales tax distribution and its status in the North Carolina legislature.    

The Cross-City Trail in Wilmington is nearing completion with a ribbon-cutting scheduled for November.  The multi-use trail is intended to give cyclists and pedestrians access to important recreational and  cultural landmarks. 

City officials say they eventually see Wilmington-area green-ways as part of the East Coast Greenway – which is described as an urban Appalachian Trail.  In this case, the ECG would run from Maine to Florida.

Wake N Bake Donuts

When was the last time you visited a locally-owned restaurant that didn’t offer some regionally-sourced ingredient?  Some would say the farm-to-table phenomenon is a full-blown element of the North Carolina restaurant landscape – along with the explosion of craft beer, cocktails, and boutique donuts.  Wilmington boasts a foodie scene – in spite of serious challenges facing new restaurateurs. 

National Hurricane Center

The movement of Tropical Storm Erika northward has the southeastern United States on alert.  But whether Erika peters out over land or survives and re-groups, peak hurricane season is upon us. 

According to the National Hurricane Center, most tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin happen between mid-August and late October. 

And now residents in Brunswick County have a new emergency notification system available, launched over the summer, called CodeRED.   During sign-up, residents can choose whether to receive messages via phone call, text, or email. 

Frank Funk, Ph.D., passed away August 21st in Tucson, Arizona at age 92. Frank and his wife Ruth, who preceded him in death, were remarkable examples of people who achieved much in their professional careers and went on to become unparalleled examples of volunteer service after retiring to Wilmington.

University of North Carolina Wilmington

UPDATE: 8/26, 4:49 pm: an earlier version of this story contained the wrong audio for Segment 2, below.

It was last summer that the University of North Carolina at Wilmington said goodbye to Chancellor Gary Miller who left for the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay after three years at UNCW.  This summer, the Board of Trustees announced that Jose “Zito” Sartarelli would officially take the helm July 1st.

A bill to redistribute sales tax revenues recently took a blow in the North Carolina House of Representatives and now sits in a House-Senate conference committee.  WHQR spoke with some representatives of local rural counties to see what’s next for this proposal and how it would affect their constituents. 

As it stands now, 75 percent of sales tax goes to the county where goods are sold.  A quarter of the tax is distributed based on population.

Cape Fear Community College

Since the ouster of former president Ted Spring early this year, public interest in the financial workings of Cape Fear Community College has spiked.  At least one local news organization, WECT, has been doggedly pursuing the details of performers’ contracts signed with CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center – which kicks off its inaugural season this fall.  

The North Carolina State Auditor’s office recently released an investigative report examining Cape Fear Community College’s finances.  This came after months of media scrutiny and the sudden resignation of the College President during a January Board meeting. 

While the spending of government officials is still under a microscope, locally and nationally, investigations are also ramping up at the state level. 

In the above audio file, clips from the following candidate forums are included to illustrate the range of races -- and not the scope of candidates' answers to questions.

http://whqr.org/post/coastline-nc-house-district-20-candidate-forum

http://whqr.org/post/coastline-new-hanover-county-board-education-candidate-forum

City of Wilmington

Laura Padgett is poised to leave behind more than 20 years of public service.  She was first elected to Council in 1993. After five terms, she has decided against seeking a sixth and will step down at the end of the year.

While the North Carolina General Assembly tries to hammer out a budget in Raleigh, counties around the state are scrambling to consider what a sales tax redistribution could mean for their own bottom lines.  Members of New Hanover County’s Executive Staff are bracing for what could be a significant blow.

For most residents in the Cape Fear region, a daily bus ride is not a typical part of the day.  There are significantly more people who drive their own vehicles than those who opt for public transportation.  There are some choice riders, but most of the people who use WAVE Transit on a regular basis use it because they need it.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

As the North Carolina legislature tries to wrap up its summer session, subsidies for renewable energy are on the chopping block. The state’s hog farming industry could be affected if the subsidies are removed.  

Right now, North Carolina state law says utilities have to produce at least 6% of their energy from renewable sources.  The law also requires that percentage to climb to a peak of 12.5% by 2021.  In order to meet these standards, the state subsidizes the effort. 

Bluedisk / English Wikipedia

Counties across North Carolina could soon be required to cover the entire cost of recycling electronics.  It's just one provision in the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 that could create an unplanned hole in the budget for New Hanover County’s Department of Environmental Management.

How often have you wondered whether to toss a soda bottle into the recycling bin with or without the cap?  Do you rinse out food containers before you recycle them?  And what do you do with all those plastic grocery bags?

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

In a unanimous decision, the Wilmington City Council passed a resolution opposing oil drilling off the North Carolina coast. Advocates on both sides focused on the economic pros and cons of drilling’s precursor seismic testing. 

 

Before making their decision, City Council heard arguments from both sides of the offshore drilling debate. Lindsey Deignan of the SurfRider Foundation spoke against seismic testing and offshore drilling. Deignan says the entire coastal economy is at stake: 

Wood pellets.  They’re a simple idea, but their potential implications are far more complicated and controversial. 

Wood Pellet Industry Fueled By Temporary EU Subsidies

Jul 21, 2015

Enviva, a large wood pellet supplier and manufacturer, has expanded their operations to southeastern North Carolina. The industry is fueled by renewable energy subsidies from the European Union. 

Baby Boomers are once again leading a new trend: retiree entrepreneurship. Instead of giving up work at 60, they’re starting new careers based on their expertise and hobbies. This activity is especially evident in areas like the Cape Fear region, where many retired entrepreneurs have joined others in making a new lifestyle. We explore post-retirement work, especially starting new businesses, on today’s CoastLine.

Guests:

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)

As the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes this week, one budget item remains on the chopping block: high school driver’s education. The Senate’s current budget proposal would eliminate driver’s education classes as a learner’s permit requirement. 

The Annual Meeting of Friends of Public Radio will be held this Thursday, July 16th, at 6pm in the WHQR studios, 254 North Front Street Suite 300 in Wilmington.

The formal business of the meeting will be to elect a new Board member for a term ending in 2018. We'll also hear reports from the Board and station management on the past year's events (hint: it was a very good year) and plans for the future. As always, there will be time for public comment.

Isabelle Shepherd, WHQR

The General Assembly approved a temporary budget at the end of June before taking a week-long recess. The delay prompted a local protest from teachers, teaching assistants, and parents. 

North Carolina’s delayed budget leaves many school systems in limbo as they plan for the upcoming year. The House’s proposed budget maintains current funding levels for teaching assistants, but, according to News & Observer, the Senate’s plan could eliminate over eight thousand teaching assistant jobs.

By Brian Gratwicke, via Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina coast has seen eight shark attacks so far this season.  Summer is not half over.  It’s a record-setting number.  And a chilling one for most people. 

Pterantula / Wikimedia Commons

Eight shark attacks off the North Carolina coast this season have prompted Governor Pat McCrory to ask the Department of Public Safety to look for patterns.

Wikimedia Commons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rip_current

Shark bites have been dominating the headlines in coastal North Carolina for weeks. But sharks aren’t the most dangerous risk swimmers face in the ocean.  

So far this summer, North Carolina has experienced a record-breaking number of shark attacks: 8, to be precise – with the most recent bite occurring over the holiday weekend. But Scott Baker, a fisheries specialist with the North Carolina Sea Grant Extension program, says that these shark bites are overshadowing the ocean’s real danger:

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