Wilmington

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week Gov. Roy Cooper told the EPA to get to work. In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Gov. Cooper asks the EPA to move quickly to finalize its health assessment and set a limit for the unregulated chemical GenX. Meanwhile the EPA earmarked more than $3 million for the NC DEQ to enforce the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This all happened as county and city officials held a press conference on the topic of GenX.  

Vince Winkel / WHQR

State officials are releasing the first results of water quality samples and an updated preliminary health assessment for concentrations of the unregulated compound GenX in finished, or treated, drinking water. Samples were analyzed at the U.S. EPA lab in Research Triangle Park, and at Test America, a lab in Colorado under contract to Chemours. The latest results mirror those from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, with levels in the 68 to 125 parts per trillion range. Is that cause for celebration? Not so fast.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This week the GenX numbers began to filter in. Cape Fear River water test results from Brunswick County, and from the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, show far lower concentrations of the chemical compound in both raw and treated water. The news is encouraging but many questions remain.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

Four of the top 25 cities in the country for opioid abuse are in North Carolina. Wilmington is number one, according to a report from Castlight Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare information company. 

Vince Winkel

New Hanover County Commissioners adopted a resolution Monday calling on Chemours to stop production of GenX. Brunswick County Commissioners adopted a resolution the same day -- asking Chemours to stop the discharge of the GenX chemical into the Cape Fear River.  That’s largely because  there is still a lot about GenX that we don’t know. It’s all about chemistry. Which means for many of us, it can be somewhat difficult to grasp.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

On Monday the state began taking water samples along the Cape Fear River, to determine the current levels of GenX in the water. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will sample water from 12 locations. A lab in Colorado will then do the analysis. Once those levels are determined, scientists hope to determine what, if any, health effects GenX has had or could have on the citizens here.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

New water collection and testing of the Cape Fear River will begin next week. That was one of the results of yesterday’s meeting between Chemours, the company that produces known toxin GenX, and city, county, and state officials. A state investigation by NC DEQ and NC DHHS is now underway as well. 

Vince Winkel

On Thursday representatives from Wilmington, the counties of Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, and the state’s department of environmental quality and department of health and human services, will meet behind closed doors with the Chemours Company. That’s the company behind GenX, a chemical reported to be in the region’s water supply. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

This morning, New Hanover County released a statement from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, on the possible health effects related to GenX. It says that GenX levels detected in tests three years ago in the Cape Fear River, would be expected to pose a low risk to human health. It added that there are no U.S. regulatory guideline levels for GenX. Also on Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper addressed the issue.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

We continue our coverage on GenX, a chemical compound discovered in the region’s water supply. The story was first reported by the StarNews. Today we explore what state and federal agencies are doing about this potential health hazard.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

What do you get when you put six judges and seven entrepreneurs in a room together? A Small Business Administration pitch contest. It was all happening at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The groundbreaking has begun at the Water Street Parking Deck. On Monday a mini-excavator put on a show for city officials, as a symbolic kick-off to the demolition. The parking deck, built in 1966, is coming down to make room for the 13-story River Place project.

Courtesy of EWG

On Friday, Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed House Bill 467. That’s a bill we reported on last week, that would impact those who live near concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs. The bill would have created new restrictions for CAFO neighbors who file so-called nuisance lawsuits. 

A new poll from Elon University shows support for President Donald Trump among North Carolina voters has fallen since November, when he carried the state on his way to the White House. 

Vince Winkel

North Carolina is the third largest producer of pork in the country, and that means a lot of hog farms. Those hog farms have neighbors. Sometimes those neighbors file what are called nuisance suits. But under a bill in the legislature, there could be new restrictions attached to those lawsuits. Penalties against hog and chicken farms would be limited to lost rental or property value because of the nearby farm.  

Vince Winkel

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. This week’s request from PETA comes after the organization saw video footage of several animals apparently in distress. 

On Tuesday a Wilmington-based technology company will take the stage at the “End Violence Against Women  International" conference in Orlando. Ten8Tech will introduce Victim Link, a new product which makes reporting a sexual assault less unpleasant for victims.  

Vince Winkel

There is a new bill in the state senate from Republican Michael Lee of New Hanover County that requires anyone driving a car to use a hands-free device for cell calls. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents – and deaths – caused by distracted drivers. However some believe such a law may not be enough.

Vince Winkel

Some of the world’s best golfers will descend on Wilmington in just under three weeks for the Wells Fargo Golf Championship. The event at Eagle Point Golf Club is projected to drive millions of dollars into the local economy and millions of TV viewers for the tournament. It’s prompted a new marketing initiative for the Cape Fear Region, but its focus is not on tourism. It's economic development. 

Vince Winkel

Starting Monday night, traffic at the intersection of Carolina Beach Road, Front Street and South Third Street is going to change. That's because the Greenfield Lake culvert project is shifting into high gear.  

Vince Winkel

There are plans in the works for those woods you see across the river from downtown Wilmington, between the battleship and the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. Thursday night the New Hanover County Planning Board will hear a rezoning request for that area.

Vince Winkel

In the U.S. Senate, a bill was just passed that would let states block more than $200 million in funding from going to Planned Parenthood, or any organization that provides abortions. The bill has already passed the House and now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk.  Also last week, Planned Parenthood held their annual benefit in Wilmington. 

Vince Winkel

On Monday, we reported on House Bill 324, which would create quick-response teams to deal with opiate overdoses in the region. Today we look at the STOP Act, which would attack the opioid epidemic using a different strategy.  

Vince Winkel

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was in Wilmington Monday to discuss the opioid epidemic with the area’s state and local elected officials, law enforcement, and health care providers. There is a bipartisan effort in the works to bring a pilot project to Wilmington to treat opiate overdoses. House Bill 324 would create a quick-response team that would respond to overdoses with additional emergency support.

Vince Winkel

For the first time in nearly a decade, data from the National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year. That’s a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014 – the most dramatic two-year escalation in 53 years.  Cell phone usage is the main cause. 

Vince Winkel

The Cape Fear Economic Development Council is a Wilmington-based group that advocates for sustainable economic development.  At a recent meeting, they looked at whether state or local governments are best-suited to lead development efforts. 

Front Street Blues host Lan Nichols explores the newest release from one of North Carolina's most prolific blues artists of the new century, Randy McQuay. A three-time finalist of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, Randy brought the IBC solo championship trophy back to Wilmington in 2015, leaving no question about his hard work and love of the  blues.

A steady influence on the soul of Chicago blues for decades, Jon McDonald has walked a path that few musicians could ever hope to tread. His 13-year tenure as band leader for Magic Slim & The Teardrops is, by itself, epic. He's worked alongside Hubert Sumlin, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, and shared the stage with everyone from Taj Mahal and Paul Butterfield, to Rory Gallagher and Les Paul.

Alexa Doran

The 2014 Landfall and Art show is Thursday through Saturday at the Landfall Dye Clubhouse. It runs from 10 am to 7 pm each day, with a cash bar provided from 5-7 pm. One hundred artists will be showing their work. Admission is free and 30% of the sales go to the Landfall Foundation, which helps support local non-profits. Today's guests were Landfall Foundation President Bill Hamlet and artist Jenny McKinnon-Wright.  For more details visit LandfallFoundation.org

Joining us today was Tony Rivenbark, Executive Director of Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. Rivenbark has just published "Introducing Thalian Hall" as part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series. Something of a local celebrity, Rivenbark is known for his talent as an actor, director and raconteur and is the perfect person to write the captions for historical images of Thalian Hall.  Rivenbark will be hosting a book singing and chat in Thalian Hall's Ballroom at 3pm this Sunday.

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