Wilmington, NC – Under the Heritage Tree Program, the Wilmington Tree Commission will have the power to confer landmark status on the city's historic and noteworthy trees. Nominated trees will have to meet criteria for size, age, rarity, or historic value.

The program requires property-owner consent and has no power to prevent the removal of designated trees. However, Wilmington Environmental Planner Philip Preet, an ex officio member of the Tree Commission, says he hopes the program someday takes on a more binding role.

Wilmington, NC – Congressman Mike McIntyre says while a lot more needs to be done on U.S., immigration policy he voted for a Mexican border fence to beef up border protection.

The House passed legislation Thursday that authorizes but does not fund 700 miles of fencing along the U-S Mexican border.

Nine other members of the North Carolina delegation joined McIntyre while three voted against the bill.

Wilmington, NC – Congressman Mike McIntyre will be making the rounds to some Wilmington elementary schools this week answering questions from school kids about what it's like to be in Congress.

While they're not the Washington Press Corps McIntyre says the school children have some pretty solid questions.

"The students are usually interested in the simple things like have you ever talked to the president, or when you make a law how do you see it's enforced and how does a bill become a law.

Wilmington, NC – The accident involving a Leland Fire Department fire engine and civilian vehicle resulted in no fatalities. That's the word from Leland Fire Chief John Grimes, who says one firefighter is expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday.

The Star-News reports that the firefighter driving the fire truck told police on the scene that his brakes gave out. But Chief Grimes says the truck was up to code.

Burgaw, NC – County Commissioners voted 3-to-2 to terminate John Bauer's position without cause at the end of their meeting Monday.

This was Bauer's second stint as Pender County's manager. Commissioner voted him into the position on a 3-to-2 vote in February of 2005.

Although his performance was not on the meeting's agenda, Bauer said he was unsurprised by Monday's decision.

Wilmington, NC – Dr. David Hill is a pediatrician who lives and writes in Wilmington.

Wilmington, NC – Nan Graham's book "In A Magnolia Minute" a collection of WHQR commentaries on life in the south is available at bookstores.

Wilmington, NC – BellSouth is asking the state Utilities Commission to deregulate its retail services.

The phone company says regulation is no longer necessary now that residents can choose from cell phone, internet and cable services.

The Public Utilities Commission says BellSouth is the largest phone service provider with 85% of the market. The Commission's executive Director for Public Staff, Robert Gruber, says a deregulated BellSouth can lower or raise rates at will.

Raleigh, NC – In a ceremony attended by Governor Mike Easley and the first lady, the museum Thursday unveiled plans for a low, steel-clad building to display the state's art collection. The new facility will be the centerpiece of a 127-acre landscaped park, including sculpture gardens, environmental projects, and hiking and biking trails.

Under the new plan, the museum's current building shifts to house temporary exhibits and administrative space.

Wilmington, NC – A series of meetings centered on payday lending services kicks off in Myrtle Beach Thursday night.

South Carolina lawmakers called for the town hall meetings as a way to inform the public about these high interest loans.

The South Carolina AARP's Patrick Cobb says he hopes feedback from these meetings will inform state legislation.

credit: NCDOJ

Wilmington, NC – Representatives from the North Carolina Attorney General's office will be in Wilmington today to talk with area seniors about how to detect scams.

The event will cover topics ranging from identity theft, mail and charity fraud, and investment scams.

North Carolina Attorney General Cooper says this will be an opportunity for seniors to gather a wealth of information for those looking to ward off scam artists.

Wilmington, NC – To commemorate those lost on 9/11 UNCW students held an all day public ceremony on campus on the five-year anniversary.

More than 3,000 American flags were placed on the campus commons lawn. Events organizers say early in the morning nearly 200 students and residents gathered to remember the victims of 9/11.

Ceremony organizer and student Brian Pate, says even a retired NYC fire fighter arrived with his family to remember the day's events.

Wilmington, NC – The new resolution creates a $500 annual fee for companies operating water taxis from docks along Water Street. Until now, the city had no formal licensing process for boat tours. Parks and Recreation director Gary Shell says he's had two recent inquiries from people interested in starting water taxi services.

Cape Fear Riverboats, which operates the Captain Moffitt and the Henrietta III, is the only company currently using Wilmington's floating docks.

credit: UNCW

Wilmington, NC – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington is expanding programs across the campus and welcoming a record number of students. All while trying to maintain an intimate feel and compete to hold on to faculty.

WHQR's Catherine Welch sat down with UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo to talk about the university's future.

credit: UNCW

Wilmington, NC – The University of North Carolina, Wilmington is expanding programs across the campus and welcoming a record number of students. All while trying to maintain an intimate feel and compete to hold on to faculty.

WHQR's Catherine Welch talked with UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo to talk about the university's future.

UNCW open its doors to a record number of students this fall, about 12,000 with a freshman class of under 2,000.

Wilmington, NC – The Pender County Office of Emergency Management is beefing up staff as it waits to see whether more rain will push the Northeast Cape Fear River even higher over its banks.

Emergency Management Director Eddie King says he's staffing the 911 Center and putting two water rescue vessels on stand by through Thursday. That's when the National Weather Service predicts the river will rise to more than 17 feet, more than 7 feet over the flood stage.

Burgaw, NC – The river crested near Burgaw at 16-1/2 feet, exceeding forecasters' predictions. The river isn't expected to recede below flood level until Saturday.

Overflow from the Northeast Cape Fear has closed a section of Highway 53 near I-40, flooding surrounding homes and driving out most residents. On duty at the edge of the water, North Carolina Wildlife Commission Sergeant David Jordan said his big concern on this holiday is recreational boaters.


Wilmington, NC – All eyes are on the Northeast Cape Fear River this morning in Pender County where the river is expected to surpass the flood stage by five feet.

The National Weather Service says the Northeast Cape Fear River around Burgaw is predicted to reach 15-and-a-half feet Monday, more than five feet above flood stage.

Mark Bacon is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.


"My plants, my beautiful plants from Wilmington. The one, see the spider plant? My neighbor had a beautiful one like that and she gave me one of the little pups, so that's longevity right there."

Wilmington, NC – The Port of New Orleans not only got hit with Hurricane Katrina, but the floods from broken levies that flooded out the homes of many port employees. By keeping in touch with its employees the port pulled in the staff and gathered some lessons learned for other port authorities.

Wilmington, NC – Tropical Storm Ernesto plowed through the area late last night flooding roads around the region.

Many of the roads in the northern part of New Hanover County were flooded as Ernesto dumped more than six inches of rain around the region.

In Wilmington, College Road between Oleander and Wrightsville Beach was under a foot of standing water by 11 o'clock last night.

A record-setting eight inches of rain fell in Wilmington last night.

Wilmington, NC – An unusually wet August in southeastern North Carolina means more of Ernesto's rain is swelling the region's rivers. Tributaries of the northeast Cape Fear are above their banks and the river is running several feet higher than normal.

Emergency services in Duplin county report evacuations in the town of Chinquapin. According to the Star News, there are swift water rescue teams evacuating low-lying residents in the Pender County town of Maple Hill.

Wilmington, NC – New Hanover County is recovering after Tropical Storm Ernesto dumped up a reported 14 inches of rain at Wrightsville Beach, and a record-setting eight inches in Wilmington.

New Hanover County Emergency Operations Center says 61 people stayed at the shelter in Wilmington, and as many a 1,800 Progress Energy customers lost power.

Dave Baker, director of Ocean Rescue for Wrightsville Beach, says Ernesto's nightly landfall kept away most onlookers.

Carolina Beach, NC – Surfers and locals pretty much had Pleasure Island to themselves Thursday as the region's beach towns waited for Ernesto's arrival. But for most of the day, the storm was a disappointment. By mid-afternoon, the beach was almost empty, a sight that surprised Carolina Beach resident Judy Burford, who was hoping to catch her first hurricane.

"I figured there'd be people out on the beach, watching the ocean like they always do, but there's nobody there."

Dauphin Island, AL – There are property lines on the sea floor off Alabama's Dauphin Island. You can tell from the headless pilings sticking up out of surf. Last season, they supported beach homes.

John Bullard used to stay in some of those lost properties. From the shade of his beach umbrella, Bullard points to the houses currently lining the water. A decade ago, he says, those were probably three rows back.

Wilmington, NC – The idea is this: instead of trying to attract skilled labor to New Orleans, the city is outsourcing some of the rebuilding.

For our poor, flooded and damaged city it's just fantastic to have all of these generous folks in Wilmington. And I get to go back to New Orleans and say there are a bunch of folks in North Carolina who care about us.

Wilmington, NC – Forecasters predict Ernesto could dump up to six inches of rain along the South Carolina, North Carolina border leaving officials in South Carolina preparing for the storm.

Ernesto is expected to make landfall late Thursday afternoon near the South Carolina, North Carolina border.

In South Carolina, the border county of Horry County, spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says emergency officials are also worried about severe flooding.

Wilmington, NC – The builder of the City View development planned for the west bank of the Cape Fear River was put on hold after making a special request Wednesday night that would have moved the project closer to becoming a reality.

Developer John Evans made a request of the Metropolitan Planning Organization to upgrade the status of USS North Carolina Road and Battleship Road from local road to connector road status so he could build the proposed condo-retail development.

Wilmington, NC – Brunswick County officials say the completed stretch I- 140 will cut evacuation time for some county residents.

Brunswick County officials say the I-140 Wilmington Bypass links an improved Carolina Beach Road to Interstate 40, giving county residents a faster evacuation route.

Brunswick County Emergency Management Director Randy Thompson says sending residents through New Hanover county will work because of new regional evacuation plans.

Wilmington, NC – As forecasters keep an eye on Tropical Storm Ernesto,Governor Mike Easley warns residents to prepare for the hurricane season.

Easley urged families to have a plan for evacuation and communication. As for the state's emergency communication system, called VIPER, a study this year by the First Response Coalition raised concerns about VIPER's effectiveness since many municipalities have opted out of it.

Governor Easley says program is expanding and will be effective this hurricane season.