Rachel Keith

News Graduate Fellow

Rachel is a second-year graduate student enrolled in University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Master of Public Administration program. She attended N.C. State University both as a graduate and undergraduate student, earning a Master's of Education and two Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French Language and Literature. She enjoys being with her husband and their three-year-old twins and surfs in her free time.

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The voter registration deadline for 28 counties in North Carolina is now extended because of impacts from Hurricane Florence.  New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, and Onslow Counties, as well as 24 other affected areas, now have until 5 PM October 15th to register.  The deadline had been Friday, October 12th. 

New Hanover County’s Board of Education has four open seats this year.  Eight people, four Democrats and four Republicans, are competing for those seats – which carry four-year terms.

Katelyn Freund

North Carolina Senate District 8 covers 100% of Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender Counties.  Also included in Senate District 8 is a tiny part – 2.6% -- of New Hanover County. 

Amy K. Nelson / http://shaunassael.com/bio

Sonny Liston, heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1960s,  died near the beginning of 1971.  The reason listed on the death certificate:  natural causes.  But nearly 50 years later, the question of whether he was murdered is an open one for some.  It’s a question Shaun Assael set out to answer with his book, The Murder of Sonny Liston:   Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights. 

Edward Hawfield

Edward Hardin joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 1917 when he was 24 years old.  Despite getting expelled from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for fraternity pranks that involved laxative-laced hot dogs and cows inside buildings, the native Wilmingtonian earned his undergraduate degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and a graduate degree in Pharmacy by 1914.  Both before and after World War I, Edward worked as a pharmacist at his family’s business, Hardin Pharmacy.

Ron Cogswell / Creative Commons

The news of a well-organized band of protestors pulling down Silent Sam last week has launched another round of emotional debate over the handling of Confederate monuments.  University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt says the eyes of the nation are upon her institution, and that she and her Board of Trustees are now charged with finding a lawful, lasting way to protect the monument by November 15th. 

Flickr.com, Mark Moz

Horror stories abound of homeowners’ associations nitpicking over paint colors, dinging people for landscaping choices they never submitted for approval – even fining property owners to the point of bankruptcy.

http://laurenzcollins.com/about/

Lauren Collins has investigated the precise number of roses that go into a bottle of Chanel No. 5.  More recently, she covered the gender pay discrepancy scandal that has rocked the BBC and spurred new questions around salary secrecy and reporting requirements in the UK, Iceland, and other parts of the world. 

It’s not news that the Cape Fear region suffers from some of the highest numbers per capita of people addicted to heroin and opioids.  In response to what’s now commonly “the opioid crisis”, law enforcement strategies have changed, with officers carrying the anti-overdose drug Naloxone and authorities looking to put more offenders into treatment instead of jail. 

NCGA

There are 18 states in the U.S. that the League of Women Voters calls Gerrymandering Trifecta states.  That means state legislators draw their own district maps, they draw Congressional maps, and there is no citizen mechanism to change the process.  Of those 18 states, 11 are in the South.  One of them is North Carolina.

Bob Nichols / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

North Carolina agriculture is facing a host of challenges. The Trump Administration has levied tariffs against many countries, more notably China, Mexico, the European Union, and Canada. 

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

The stories of Wilmington -- from mythical tales surrounding Jacob’s Run, that underground passageway in  Wilmington, to the legend of the woman buried sitting in a barrel of booze to the heroism of Abraham Galloway -- which are fact and which are fiction? 

Vince Winkel

Rhiannon Giddens is a singer and songwriter.  She plays the banjo and the fiddle.  She’s a storyteller, activist, and musical historian.  She’s also a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops -- inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2016. 

Sonoco Recycling

China’s ban on 24 types of trash imports is changing the recycling business and waste management in the United States.  The new policy on what China will accept limits the type of plastic and unsorted paper recycling collectors are taking, while a new threshold for acceptable contamination sits at 0.5%.  

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

Joe Breault, Mayor Pro Tem of the Town of Belville, is moving to Florida a little more than halfway through his second term as Commissioner. 

A gunman shot and killed five newsroom employees June 28th at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.  That tragedy, at a local, community paper which has been in business for nearly 300 years – yes, that’s older than the United States – has rattled newsrooms around the country. 

Ken Blevins / Star News

If you have lived in the Cape Fear region for any length of time, you might recognize the name Harvard Jennings.   From 1989 until 2010, he hosted and produced a weekday radio talk show that tackled local, national and international issues. 

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura L. Valentine

The City of Wilmington reported overall historic crime lows last year.  Crimes in Wilmington’s Central Business District, which used to have, according to Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous, a pretty bad reputation, have dropped since 2002 by about 75%.

uncwstorytelling.org

People who have disabilities, particularly physical ones, face what some social justice activists call “ableism”.  Disability Research Scholar Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock defines the term as “a cultural discourse that stigmatizes and marginalizes bodies deemed not normal through medical diagnosis”. 

Wikimedia Commons

When #METOO went viral last October, no one could have predicted how many women and men would add their voices to what has become the name of a movement. 

By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By the year 2100, sea levels could rise three to six feet.  That’s according to a study published in the scientific journal Nature just this month.  One of the major contributors:  ice melting in Antarctica.

Tumisu / Pixabay

Blockchain. It’s the platform that Bitcoin runs on. So what’s the basic premise? It’s a decentralized ledger system that keeps track of data points or “blocks” in real time.  Advocates for the emerging platform say it allows for personal transactional control over information shared on the blockchain.

More than half of all waste that heads to the landfill in New Hanover County is food waste or some other compostable material.  Local environmental management officials estimate the real number is between 65 and 70%. 

RedforEdNC

Teachers held walkouts this year in at least six states:  West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina. The reason often cited in news headlines is salary.  But take a deeper dive, and you hear concerns about pension funds, funding for K-12 curriculum, and intangibles – like the lack of respect for the profession.

Billy Hathorn

 

Words On Bathroom Walls is, so far this fiscal year, the only film to take advantage of North Carolina industry incentives.  Five Home Depot commercials also claimed some state grant money over the last fiscal year.  While there are efforts underway in Raleigh to sweeten the pot and lure made-for-TV movies and smaller film projects, the industry in Wilmington is not even a shadow of its former self. 

NOAA (Storm image), NASA (Land image) - NOAA CLASS (class.ncdc.noaa.gov), EOSDIS Worldview

2018 is likely to see normal to slightly above-normal storm Atlantic hurricane activity.  That's according to the newly-released forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   The breakdown looks like this:  10-16 named storms; 5-9 may become hurricanes.  Of those, one to four could become major hurricanes. 

Creative Commons

Access to mental health resources is one of six major unmet needs in the Cape Fear region.  That’s according to New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s 2016 Community Needs Assessment Survey, which examines New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties.  Suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in southeastern North Carolina – despite the fact that it’s not in the top 10 statewide.

copied courtesy Keith Acree, NC Department of Corrections. State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

Inmates killed five North Carolina prison workers in 2017.  Four worked as correctional officers; one as a maintenance mechanic.  Violent assaults on officers have increased significantly from previous years, according to the Associated Press. 

http://www.Pexels.com / Wikimedia Commons

It was 2013 that Dr. William Johnstone came to work as a Professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It didn’t take long for him to see the devastating consequences from the opioid epidemic firsthand – although back then, the community was not yet talking about it. 

One hospital administrator tells WHQR the numbers of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome went from about 35 in 2010 to between 120 to 140 by 2016.  Officials expect those numbers to continue rising.

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