Hannah Breisinger

Reporter, All Things Considered Host

Hannah joined WHQR shortly after graduating Ithaca College, where she studied journalism and served as News Director at her college radio station, WICB. Along with her unconditional love for public radio and nonfiction storytelling, she loves being outside, belting ABBA at karaoke bars, and snuggling with her adorable terror of a cat.

Hannah Breisinger


This election season has been a bit chaotic — to say the least. From pandemic complications, inaccurate voting instructions from the White House, absentee ballot disarray — some voters are confused. And marginalized communities, especially, may feel left out of the loop. 

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At this week’s City Council meeting, Wilmington leaders approved allocating COVID-19 Relief Funds to Good Shepherd, as well as an agreement for the long-anticipated development at Castle Street. But it was proposed Riverwalk improvements and WAVE’s redevelopment that drew the most debate from council. 

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With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, food insecurity is skyrocketing. And local organizations in the Cape Fear region are bracing for the long haul. 

Vince Winkel


Wilmington’s Downtown Alive project has been extended through mid-October. That’s the initiative that opened downtown streets for expanded restaurant seating during the pandemic. City leaders approved the extension unanimously -- but reluctantly. 

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 As the 2020 presidential election looms, North Carolina has received a grade of “D” in women’s political participation.

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After missing a meeting due to the recent hurricane, Wilmington City Council was back in session Tuesday, Aug. 18 -- with CARES funding, WAVE Transit, and Downtown Alive on the agenda.

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North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions expired in late June. The federal moratorium ended a month later. As a result, housing advocates are bracing for a wave of evictions in the upcoming months -- and local governments and non-profits are stepping in to help.

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Impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias remain in the Cape Fear Region, including the City of Wilmington. Natosha Tew is Wilmington's Emergency Management Coordinator. She spoke with WHQR about storm recovery efforts in the city. 

Katelyn Freund / WHQR Public Media

Tropical Storm Isaias has left the Cape Fear Region -- but damage remains. At least two people were killed and several more are missing after one of numerous tornadoes spawned by Isaias flattened a mobile home park in Windsor.

Hannah Breisinger


As calls for racial justice continue, the removal of confederate symbols continues to be a hot topic in Wilmington. But street name changes, in particular, probably won’t be happening anytime soon.

Hannah Breisinger


It’s been 122 years since a mob of white supremacists took to the streets of Wilmington, burning down Black-owned businesses and murdering dozens of Black citizens. The aftermath of that event still lingers -- in city street names, in racist language uttered by police officers, in voter suppression and racial health disparities. Now, a new movement of racial justice is forcing city leaders and citizens to confront Wilmington’s past -- and visualize a more equitable future.

For ongoing reporting and coverage on COVID-19, as well as a case tracker, go here.

For an up-to-date list of resources available to our community during the coronavirus outbreak, go here

Gathered below are general updates on closures, openings, local, state and federal efforts and other developments in the coronavirus battle.   

Hannah Breisinger

Wilmington leaders have passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic-related grant. The funds -- nearly $235,000 -- would be used by the Wilmington Police Department to buy equipment: ultraviolet lights for sterilization, first aid kits, and eight drones.

Hannah Breisinger

Kevin Spears was born and raised in Wilmington and is on the ballot for Wilmington City Council. As a community activist, he works to combat youth gang violence. He's concerned about council’s priorities.

 

Kevin Spears says he’s been to a lot of city council meetings. Now he’s hoping to attend those meetings from the other side of the desk. He says Wilmington politicians favor the wealthy.

 

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As Covid-19 spreads, scientists and healthcare providers are worried about more than the physical health of Americans. Experts warn that people need to take care of themselves mentally, as well -- now more than ever. 

Social isolation, a troubled economy, and an uncertain future make for more than abandoned airports and empty grocery shelves. Fear, anxiety, stress, and loneliness are all side effects of the pandemic and the social distancing measures that come with it. 

 

City of Wilmington, NC

In October, Governor Roy Cooper released his Clean Energy Plan for North Carolina. The plan has two central pledges: a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 – and the state becoming carbon neutral by 2050. WHQR reports on what’s happening locally.

Blake Fleming, an organizer for environmental advocacy group the Sierra Club, tracks which counties and municipalities have passed resolutions aiming for a carbon-free future:

Hannah Breisinger

It was a tense City Council meeting in Wilmington this week, with Black Lives Matter protesters in attendance, demanding changes to police procedures and the city budget.

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Wilmington City Council has voted to adopt its 2020-2021 fiscal year budget. The $206 million financial plan does not include a tax increase. Other aspects of the budget stirred controversy at the council meeting.

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It’s been a tough year in the world of municipal finance -- with the pandemic making it difficult if not impossible to predict how the economic crisis will affect localities. Nonetheless, the Wilmington City Council will vote Tuesday, June 16 on whether or not to adopt its proposed 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.

Hannah Breisinger


Kevin Spears focused his campaign for city council on the priorities of Wilmington’s underserved citizens. Now, six months in office, he spoke with WHQR’s Hannah Breisinger about the biggest issues facing the city’s black community. 

 

Hannah Breisinger

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 marked nine days since the death of George Floyd -- an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every aspect of our lives -- and mental health is no exception. According to a national survey across ten states, therapists are reporting increases in a variety of mental health issues as the pandemic drags on.

Nick Santillo


Wilmington leaders have passed a resolution authorizing the City Manager to apply for a COVID-19 pandemic-related grant. The funds -- nearly $235,000 -- would be used by the Wilmington Police Department to buy equipment: ultraviolet lights for sterilization, first aid kits, and eight drones.

Hannah Breisinger


As North Carolina and local governments continue to ease COVID-19 shutdown restrictions, leaders and health experts stress that we’re not in the clear yet. And, with so much uncertainty ahead, the Red Cross says blood donations are still critical.

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 At its Tuesday, May 5 meeting, Wilmington’s City Council extended its state of emergency order until Friday, May 8 at 5 PM. At that time, Phase 1 of Governor Cooper’s reopening plan will take effect.

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While New Hanover County’s stay-at-home order expires Wednesday, Apr. 29, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo has signed his own five-day-long proclamation in its place. Many of the restrictions are the same -- but a few have been lifted within city limits. 

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Nearly 50,000 farms are spread across North Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Together, they bring in $76 billion annually. But many are struggling in the midst of an economic shutdown.

Vince Winkel


 Like states and cities nationwide, Wilmington is grappling with the decision to either reopen or continue a shutdown through May. City officials discussed the topic at the Tuesday, Apr. 20 City Council meeting -- and experts stressed the city needs to continue what it’s been doing.

Katelyn Freund

As businesses and organizations are shutting their doors in the wake of COVID-19, so are animal shelters. Last week, the New Hanover and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Offices announced adoptions have been suspended this month. But shelter animals are still finding foster homes -- through people who now have some extra time on their hands. 

Hannah Breisinger

Here you can find graphs and charts visualizing COVID-19 data in North Carolina. All data can be found at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service's website.

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