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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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced today it has cited Chemours with violating the conditions of its wastewater discharge permit.  The move comes after the company failed to report an October 6 chemical spill at its Fayetteville Works facility on the Cape Fear River.  UPDATE: The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality began the process Nov. 16 of revoking the discharge permit for Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility. 

The Town Council is Oak Island’s governing body consisting of 5 Council Members and the Mayor. This body sets Town policy, enacts ordinances and adopts the annual budget. There are seven people running for two open seats. Oak Island has a population estimated at 7,700 people. In the summer, including day-trippers, that number can hit 50,000. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. 

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are joining forces to consider legal action against those they consider to be responsible for the deadly opioid epidemic facing this region. The North Carolina Department of Health says that opioid deaths have increased 73 percent statewide and doubled in New Hanover County over the last decade. 

The Town of Oak Island, part of Brunswick County, is governed by a Council of five and a mayor. As of 2016, population estimates landed at about 7700 people. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. Two people are running for mayor in this year’s election. Kenny Rogers is challenging Mayor Cin Brochure as she seeks her second term. A big issue for Oak Island is erosion.

Debbie Aitken

Lawsuits against Chemours and parent company DuPont are starting to roll in. Leland resident Victoria Carey filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont and Chemours last week after discovering GenX in her water heater. Chemours is the maker of GenX, the contaminant found in the Cape Fear River, which provides the raw water the CFPUA and the Brunswick County Utilities Department uses for drinking water. 

The Leland Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. Arguably, the biggest challenge facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. 

Two people are hoping to be the next mayor of the City of Southport. In 2010, the City boasted a population of slightly more than 2,800. Today, the Census Bureau estimates that about 3,600 people call Southport home. In 2015, the last municipal election year in North Carolina, Jerry Dove ran against Joe Pat Hatem. Jerry Dove won the seat by 79 votes or a difference of about 7%.  This year it’s a rematch.

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial and has its opponents. Three of the candidates oppose the plant.

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial with opponents concerned the project is not necessary and would saddle consumers with higher utility rates. Three candidates are in support of the plant.

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Deb Hays is the current Chair of the City of Wilmington Planning Commission, James Ray is Associate Minister of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmington, and Perry Fisher ran his own restaurant, Front Street News, before moving to broadcast journalism. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Caylan McKay is an accountant, running for the first time. Philip White is a retail store manager, and Hollis Briggs Jr. ran in 2015 for city council but was not elected. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Earl Sheridan, who has served for three terms and is wrapping up his twelfth year, has chosen not to run again. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Charlie Rivenbark is completing his fourth term and Kevin O'Grady his second. Clifford Barnett, pastor of the Warner Temple AME Zion Church in Wilmington, is running for the first time.

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September. The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people. That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years. So the challenge facing the leaders of Leland is dealing with this rapid growth. The Mayor serves a two-year term, and there are two candidates hoping to be the next one – the incumbent, Brenda Bozeman, and a challenger, Lee Kent. 

City of Wilmington

There are two candidates for Mayor of Wilmington this election season. The Mayor presides over a nonpartisan council of five members and a Mayor Pro Tem. The two candidates in the race for mayor this year are incumbent Bill Saffo and challenger Todd Zola.

Vince Winkel

This week marks the 32nd Monday in a row that a small group of protestors took their message to a street corner in Wilmington. They object to the Trump administration’s decision to roll back an Obama-era health insurance mandate, which requires employers to provide birth control coverage to employees without co-payments.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

House Bill 56 is now law. That means UNCW and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority get $435,000 in state funding to address GenX contamination in the water. The bill got though after the North Carolina General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of the bill. But what about the $2.6 million the Governor had requested for two state agencies to work on the GenX issue? 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

North Carolina state officials are ordering Chemours in Fayetteville to provide bottled water to seven more well owners after tests results came back for GenX. Those results, show the chemical compound above the state health goal in residential drinking wells.

New Hanover County Commissioners are moving ahead with a public - private redevelopment of a county-owned block in downtown Wilmington.  Project Grace might also include moving the Cape Fear Museum downtown and building a new library. Tearing down the existing library is not such a popular idea.

The spraying has begun in New Hanover County, after it was discovered that testing of local mosquito pools confirmed a positive sample of West Nile Virus. Last night county trucks released pesticides across the Sunset Park neighborhood. The chemical has area beekeepers concerned.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality this week urged Chemours to stop discharging two additional chemical compounds into the Cape Fear River. EPA scientists told the state they have identified two compounds they are calling Nafion byproducts 1 and 2.

Vince Winkel

A crowd gathered on 3rd Street at City Hall in Wilmington Saturday morning, to rally against GenX in the water and against Chemours. It came the last day that environmental activist Erin Brockovich and her film crew were in town. Brockovich missed this last scheduled event, where she was to speak, however others spoke loud and clear about this water crisis.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is in town this week. She’s here to talk about GenX, and has brought a film crew of 15 with her to document her efforts. Last night, she spoke at UNCW’s Lumina Theater.  The forum was short on science, and long on cheerleading.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

There’s a new plan in the works for the land along Battleship Road, across the river from downtown Wilmington. It’s from the same developers who had pitched a plan to build fifteen large houses there. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Congressman David Rouzer met with New Hanover County and Wilmington city officials today, to discuss issues that impact the area and the country. At the top of the list for the Republican from North Carolina’s 7th District is opioid addiction. 

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