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GenX Public Forum Wednesday, June 28th at Kenan Auditorium

Join WHQR, Star News, and WWAY for a Public Forum on the GenX water crisis at Kenan Auditorium, Wednesday, June 28, 2017; 7 - 9 PM

After the StarNews broke the story of the chemical compound GenX showing up in the region's drinking water, new revelations about the scope and potential impacts appeared daily. 

Now, in partnership with the Star News and WWAY, we're giving members of the public a chance to ask their own questions of a panel of experts. 

You can participate in a number ways: 

  • Attend the forum in person on the UNCW Campus at Kenan Auditorium Wednesday night from 7-9 PM.  Doors open at 6 and admission is free.
  • Email your question to coastline@whqr.org. 
  • Post your question on the Facebook pages of WHQR, the Star News, or WWAY. 
  • Tweet using #genxilm.
  • Listen live on HQR News 91.3 FM from 7-9 PM Wednesday night.  You can also stream 91.3 FM at www.whqr.org. 

From StarNewsOnline.com

GenX, a chemical replacement for a key ingredient in Teflon linked to cancer and other ailments, has been found in the Cape Fear River and in the public water supply of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, which cannot filter it. The chemical is manufactured by Chemours at its Fayetteville Works.

The forum will be streamed live by WWAY News on its website and broadcast live on the radio by WHQR News 91.3 FM. Coverage will appear at StarNewsOnline.com and in the print edition of the StarNews.

Speakers will address several topics during the forum and panelists will answer questions submitted by the public.

“This is the most important work the StarNews is doing and will do for some time to come, and needs to be shouted from the rooftops,” Sander said. “Partnering with WWAY and WHQR ensures this gets to readers, watchers and listeners. We’re thankful they have joined us.”

Rachel Lewis Hilburn, news director at WHQR, said, “We’re eager to work with the StarNews on this critical public safety issue which impacts every member of our community.

“As a news organization dedicated to community engagement and civil discourse, WHQR shares the sentiments expressed recently by StarNews editors which might be summed up this way: We’re not ending our coverage until the public has all the answers it deserves.”
WWAY News Director Kevin Wuzzardo said, “When a story impacts so many people, you have to pull out all the stops to help inform them. This is the sort of thing that the partnership between WWAY and the StarNews is all about.

“The StarNews deserves all the credit for breaking this story, but it’s been amazing how our teams have worked together when we can to keep moving this story forward and keep getting answers. It’s not about getting the scoop. It’s about making sure the public gets the information it needs and, through our partnership and with WHQR joining us on this forum, we are able to leverage the power of TV, radio, print and Internet to serve the community like no one else can.”

Forum panelists

New Hanover County Commissioners’ Chairman Woody White will be the main speaker on the topic of what’s being done to address the issue of GenX in the water supply. CFPUA board Chairman Mike Brown and Executive Director Jim Flechtner also will speak on the topic.

Speaking about the human impacts of GenX will be Philip Tarte, New Hanover County health director; Larry Cahoon, a marine biologist at UNCW who specializes in aquatic ecology; and Stan Harts, director of Environmental Health and Safety at UNCW.

Sander and environmental lawyer Megan M. Hunter will speak about legal and moral issues related to GenX.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and Natalie English, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, will address the economic impact of the water crisis.

Officials with the N.C. departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services said the agencies were interested in attending the forum, but had not yet decided who would be there.

Representatives of Chemours were invited to participate in the forum, but had not committed to attend as of Thursday afternoon.

Moderators for the forum will be Si Cantwell, community editor for the StarNews; Amanda Fitzpatrick, evening anchor for WWAY; and Vince Winkel, reporter for WHQR.

Admission to the forum is free with tickets that will be distributed at the door. Doors will open at 6 p.m.