Rachel Lewis Hilburn

News Director, All Things Considered Host, CoastLine Host & Producer

Rachel Lewis Hilburn came to WHQR in the spring of 2011.  She was named News Director in July of 2012. 

She moved to Wilmington from Los Angeles, where she worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.  After joining the local ABC affiliate in Wilmington, she wrote and produced local TV newscasts, a 30-minute special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.   Before joining the staff, Rachel co-produced Stories, Wine, and Cheese - a series of local, live storytelling events which aired on WHQR.  

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St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

Seventy-seven people killed their intimate partner in North Carolina last year.   62% of those people used a firearm.  That’s according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a  statewide nonprofit organization.

Wikimedia Commons

This year’s flu is the worst in nearly a decade.  So far this season, 63 elderly people have died in North Carolina alone from the flu.  25 people between the ages 50 to 64 have passed from the flu -- and four deaths fall into that low-risk category of people ages 25 to 49.  The total death toll in North Carolina from flu this season:  95.

philipgerard.com

If you’ve listened to WHQR for any length of time, you probably know Philip Gerard as one of the regular commentators.  But those three-and-a-half minute pieces are comparable to an amuse-bouche.  The other courses Philip Gerard serves up include his work as a Professor of Creative Writing and Creative Non-Fiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in both the BFA and MFA programs. 

Development-driller-3 Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelly / Wikimedia Commons

North Carolinians have one shot to voice their opinions in person about offshore drilling at a single public hearing.  So far, February 26th in Raleigh is the only scheduled “open house”.  But Democratic Governor Roy Cooper is asking Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke for a 60-day extension of the public comment period and three additional public hearings – all at the coast.  This comes after a weekend meeting that brought together coastal stakeholders, the Governor, and Secretary Zinke. 

Robert Parr

NASA ranks 2017 as the second hottest year on record behind 2016. The National Climate Assessment, a report published by the federal government in November of last year, states unequivocally that humans are causing climate change and the time to act is now. While there are no policy recommendations in this federal report, many state and municipal governments are taking their own steps to curb the impacts of climate change.

Good Shepherd Center

A third of the population in New Hanover County pays more than they can afford for housing.  That’s true for both homeowners and renters, but in the rental market, it’s worse.  Nearly half -- about 46% of people who rent in New Hanover County pay more than a third of their income for housing.  Some community leaders call that a clear sign of a shortage of affordable housing. 

Cape Fear Public Utility officials say they can no longer trust Chemours to control discharges from its site.  

In a statement issued early Wednesday evening, officials say North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality informed CFPUA that as late as December, regulators measured levels of GenX in the Cape Fear River near the plant at 2,300 parts per trillion.  That’s far higher than the established human health goal of 140 parts per trillion.

Gentrification is a loaded word.  It typically connotes a rise in property values in a traditionally low-income neigborhood.  Wealthier people move in.  Those who’ve lived there and are already struggling to pay bills from month to month can no longer afford to live there due to rising rents and property taxes. 

North Carolina General Assembly

The way judges wind up on the bench in North Carolina is changing this year.  For one thing, elections will be partisan thanks to the passage of House Bill 100 last March.  Governor Roy Cooper vetoed that bill, and the legislature easily overrode the veto the next day.  Supporters contend partisan races give voters more information; opponents say they further politicize the court.  

University of North Carolina

Update:  On Thursday, January 18th, the Supreme Court granted a stay so that legislators do not have to meet the lower court's deadline.  The Court is considering two other gerrymandering cases in Wisconsin and Maryland and offered no reason for its ruling. 

Villalobos, Horacio, Photographer / National Archives and Records Administration

Men are taking on more responsibility in the household today than they did a generation ago.  But according to the Pew Research Center, women are still doing the majority of the domestic work.  That’s true across the spectrum – including couples in which both people work full-time outside the home.  So what does this mean for a career professional who is female? 

Wikimedia Commons

 New Hanover County, following the trend of many other states and municipalities, filed a lawsuit last month against opioid manufacturers and distributors.  In the suit, the county alleges not just negligence by these huge drug companies; the county accuses  them of unfair and deceptive trade practices, civil conspiracy, fraud and racketeering.  Also in December, Brunswick County Commissioners passed a resolution indicating they might file their own suit in which they would seek damages from these companies for the public costs of the opioid epidemic.

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The number of people who identify as Christian is declining  and a new category of ‘nones’, meaning “nothing in particular”, agnostic, and atheist, is growing.  That’s according to a study by the Pew Research Center from 2015 called the American Religious Landscape Study.   If the current trend stays the course, according to Pew, American society is likely to grow less religious even if today’s adults maintain their current level of commitment.

City of Wilmington

Thursday saw an encouraging degree of snow melt, as temperatures squeaked above freezing by a couple of degrees during the afternoon hours.  But officials say that doesn’t mean it’s safe to hit the roads on Friday.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office

The snow has stopped falling, and the Cape Fear region is waking up Thursday morning to a winter wonderland.  Government offices, schools, morning flights, and many businesses are shut down for the second day in row.  Despite some optimism late Wednesday, with some organizations planning to re-open at 10 AM, including New Hanover County Government offices and the Battleship, officials reconsidered Thursday morning and are staying closed.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency late Wednesday afternoon for all eastern and several central North Carolina counties.  A mix of freezing rain and sleet was already falling in the Cape Fear region, and the message from the Governor’s office as well as New Hanover County’s Director for Emergency Management, Steven Still, was the same. 

Stay off the roads.

RLH

The National Weather Service says the current arctic blast will bring two to four inches of snow to the region.  While the rare snowfall in southeastern North Carolina usually leaves a dusting of snow on rooftops and trees, meteorologists say the already-frozen ground and continuing arctic air will make roadways treacherous almost as soon as the precipitation begins.

Wikimedia Commons

     

December 21st marks the first official day of winter – and the winter solstice – the longest night of the year.  According to Rick Kline of the Spacecraft Planetary Imaging Facility at Cornell University, solstices and equinoxes denote either the beginnings of the seasons or the center points of them.  Kline tells USA Today that Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holidays have arisen out of just these markings.

Pixabay.com

It’s a romp across the holiday table today – whether you’re one of those people who dreads the days-on-end slog in the kitchen as relatives eat you out of house and home or if you love the chance to throw dietary concerns aside and let your creativity fly, we’re going to have some ideas for you. 

David Woo / Flickr

North Carolina has a teacher shortage.  Enrollment in Schools of Education within the University of North Carolina system has dropped 30% since 2010.  And that, according to WRAL, is having a big impact on the number of teachers available to North Carolina schools.

GenX is in the local drinking water supply – albeit at significantly lower levels than six months ago.  What kind of impact that has had or could have or will have on the people who drink the local water is still unclear. 

North Carolina Department of Transportation / Wikimedia Commons

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on December 8th.   The U.S. House of Representatives voted in November to reauthorize the NFIP until 2022.  Now, the Senate must decide whether and how to move forward with the program.  Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina’s seventh district, voted in support of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.  Fellow Republican Walter Jones, from the neighboring 3rd district, voted against it – along with a majority of Democrats.

In New Hanover County alone, which has an estimated population of about 220,000 people, more than 1100 kids are served by programs through the Brigade Boys and Girls Club. 

Wikimedia Commons / Chiltepinster

Many of us are confronted each morning with our personalized news feed – whether the source is social media, a news app trained to select articles reflecting our preferences, or a TV channel.  Pundits have blamed those sources for the societal divides we’re seeing today.  Whether it shows up as a rejection of negotiation on Capitol Hill or the uncomfortable moment Uncle Steve criticizes the President while carving the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a well-documented fact that polarization is at an all-time high.    

Journalists Matt Lauer.  Charlie Rose.  Mike Oreskes of NPR.  NBC’s Mark Halperin.  Chef John Besh.  Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.  Celebrity Photographer Terry Richardson.  Investment banker Gavin Baker.  David Corn of Mother Jones. 

It was 1929 when Ella May Wiggins decided she would join the fight to unionize mill workers in North Carolina.  She also decided she would work to integrate the union -- despite the fact she was a mill worker herself who barely survived on her meager wages, despite the fact she was a woman with no formal education, no help from the father of her children, and not even enough food to fill her belly from day to day. 

Clyde Edgerton has written ten novels, three of which are now movies.  Of those produced, his favorite is Killer Diller.  In 2013, he wrote a book of advice, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers, and he’s also written a memoir:  Solo:  My Adventures In The Air.  His short stories and essays have turned up in New York Times Magazine, Best American Short Stories, Southern Review, Oxford American, Garden & Gun – among others.

Rountree Losee

On November 15, 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman began his “March to the Sea” from Atlanta to Savannah.  It was the beginning of a major blow to the Confederacy during the American Civil War.  While the 19th century sounds like ancient history to some of us, there exists a tangible division in this country which has this year, played out in an emotional debate over how to treat Confederate monuments and statues. 

Fracaswell Hyman says he didn’t set out to be a writer.  Despite that, he spent years writing for Nickelodeon – on the shows Little Bill, Taina, Gullah Gullah Island.  We’ll hear about those years – but we’re also here today to talk about his first middle-grade novel, Mango Delight.  And we’ll find out what he thought he was setting out to do for a career and before he unwittingly fell into a life of writing – which he now characterizes as “writing for my life”. 

It’s the last election-related show we’ll have in 2017.  The day after a small percentage of eligible of voters went to the polls to choose leaders for the boards of towns and cities, we’re taking a look at what happened, what it could say about what’s on voters’ minds, and where we go from here. 

Also on this edition, we spend a great deal of time on why people didn't vote -- with lots of listeners chiming in via email and phone calls. 

Guests:

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