Wilmington

Vince Winkel

Two bills aimed at GenX and emerging contaminants passed their first readings in Raleigh today.  Democrats and Republicans from the Cape Fear region sponsored two different versions – both filed last Thursday. 

The Southern Environmental Law Center – or SELC -- says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality should shut down Chemours, and they should do it now. On behalf of Cape Fear River Watch, the SELC recently told DEQ they have the power and legal authority to take that step. 

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.   

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. 

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.

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.

CFPUA

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is not happy with Chemours. Utility officials said this week they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site. That’s because they just learned regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion…  far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.  

Thousands of people face deportation if the U.S. Congress does not approve funding to continue the DACA program.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, protects more than 700,000 people who came to the U.S. as children of undocumented immigrants.  They are also undocumented. Thousands of those people are in the Cape Fear Region.

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.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

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 City of Wilmington will see Mayor Bill Saffo embark on his sixth term. He defeated challenger Todd Zola with about 85 percent of the vote.

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.

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. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Dallas, Texas is about to get a lot closer to Wilmington. American Airlines just announced they will be operating non-stop flights between Dallas and Wilmington International Airport beginning in December. However the new flights are not permanent.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Tuesday night the Wilmington City Council is expected to adopt the Cape Fear Regional Bicycle Plan. The new initiative is supported by a grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.  The goal is to improve the region for all types of cyclists.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The New Hanover County Commissioners will soon vote on Project Grace, a redevelopment project in downtown Wilmington at the location of the New Hanover County Library and 2nd Street Parking Deck.  The parking deck would stay, but everything else could drastically change.

NWS

It now appears that Hurricane Irma will head north by northwest, and not hit the Cape Fear region. The latest track has the powerful storm moving west after a direct hit on Florida this weekend. 

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.

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