Hannah Breisinger

Reporter, WHQR News

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.

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A project city leaders once considered beyond reach is now inching closer to reality. On Tuesday Jan. 21, Wilmington City Council members approved $2.5 million in grants to fund the Rail Realignment initiative. The money, which comes from NCDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, marks a major milestone for project leaders and supporters.

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A new North Carolina law makes it a felony to sell opioids, cocaine and meth to someone who dies by ingesting them. It’s called Death by Distribution, and anyone indicted under the law could face charges equivalent to first-degree kidnapping, or in the case of repeat offenders, second-degree murder. It’s the latest approach communities in the state are taking to address the opioid crisis.

City of Wilmington


A rezoning request to add commercial development to a residential community generated controversy at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 Wilmington City Council meeting. The request was tabled, and was granted a 120-day extension. 

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Wilmington leaders want a 100% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. That’s the announcement Mayor Bill Saffo made at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 City Council meeting. Saffo proposes an Ad Hoc Committee to help achieve this goal. 

New Hanover County

New Hanover County kicked off its first Board of Commissioners meeting of the year on Monday, Jan. 6. The Board approved three separate rezoning requests unanimously. But one additional approved item received some pushback.

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Like many residents of New Hanover County, coyotes are relatively new to the Cape Fear region. They can pose a threat to sea turtle eggs and small house pets, but a study finds they rarely interact with people.

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Wilmington can be a dangerous place to ride a bike. According to data from 2000 through 2018, the city ranked third in the state for bike-related crashes -- topped only by Charlotte and Raleigh, two signifcantly larger cities. But making the streets safer for cyclists will take a coordinated effort. 

Hannah Breisinger


 Wilmington’s City Council has a new addition. Kevin Spears was sworn in December 3, 2019, alongside Neil Anderson, Mayor Bill Saffo, and Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Haynes. 

Nick Santillo


Wilmington is moving ahead on the North Waterfront Park project. That’s despite a multimillion dollar budget increase and fewer features than initially planned. City Council approved several measures related to the $30 million downtown riverfront development last night. 

Hannah Breisinger


At a roundtable discussion last Thursday, State Attorney General Josh Stein and local leaders discussed the opioid crisis and how our region is dealing with it. The event, hosted by Stein and WECT, featured different viewpoints on the epidemic. But many of these local perspectives echoed a larger, national conversation.


Incumbent Buddy Fowler has served on the Surf City Town Council since 2004, and has been in public service for most of his life. He’s running again, and he wants to continue to work on current council projects. 

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It’s been over 40 years since the U.S. banned lead-based paint for consumer-use. But the risk of lead poisoning isn’t some relic of the past. It's National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and certain groups of people are still highly vulnerable to lead’s harmful effects.


Rick Pukenas is running for another term on Southport Board of Alderman Ward 2. He owns a bed and breakfast, and a tour company. He wants a seat so he can continue working on current city projects -- and his focus isn’t just on the immediate future:


Lowe Davis is one of six candidates running for Southport Board of Alderman Ward 2. She has experience as a journalist, a business executive, and as an Episcopal priest -- but she never pictured herself becoming involved in politics. Now, she’s changed her mind. 


Dara Royal is one of six candidates on the ballot for Oak Island Town Council. Her family first bought property in the town in the late 1950s, when she was just two years old. And just as Oak Island isn’t new to her -- neither is a seat on council.


Niki Cutler is one of six candidates on the ballot for Oak Island Town Council. She’s a musician and piano teacher, and in 2014, established a town service to address the issue of overflowing trash carts. She’s running because she thinks the current council’s priorities are in the wrong place. 

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Threats of forest fires are on the rise. That’s due to a flash drought -- or a drought that strikes suddenly -- that’s sweeping across North Carolina and 13 other southern states. September’s record high temperatures and lack of rainfall are leading officials to implement fire bans in some areas of the South. But fires aren’t necessarily harmful for the southern forests. 


Kathleen Sumner is running for Surf City Town Council. Aside from a career in law, she’s a former surfer and lifeguard, and spends her free time scuba diving and cleaning up the beaches. This experience motivates her to not only make sure local beaches are safe for swimmers, but also safe from future storms.


Rick Paxton is a newcomer to the Leland Town Council race. He’s an adjunct professor at Campbell University, a U.S. military veteran, and teaches concealed carry classes. He wants to see Leland’s economic growth benefit its citizens, and not impact their wallets. 

Vince Winkel


The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality is investigating a non-PFAS spill that entered the Cape Fear River from Chemours Fayetteville Works yesterday. Local water utility officials say they’ve taken measures to ensure customers aren’t impacted.


Steve Shuttleworth is the only incumbent running for Carolina Beach Town Council. He’s a land developer and real estate broker, and has served on council since 2011. He wants to continue prioritizing business and tourism, as well as the interests of local residents.

Jay Healy is running for a seat on Carolina Beach Town Council. His biggest concern? Finding a qualified town manager. With such a large budget, he says hiring the right person will save the town a lot of money. His other main priority is saving the town’s character.

Jay Godwin

The world has lost Cokie Roberts. The NPR Founding Mother died September 17th of complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

Kimberly Spader is running for Wilmington City Council. She works as a licensed clinical social worker, and wants to use her listening skills to create open dialogue between city council and residents.


Wilmington City Council Candidate Mack Coyle is a newcomer to the race. Also new? His ideas. The small business owner installs mobile solar generators, and wants to convert all electricity in city buildings to solar and wind power, and all municipal vehicles to electric. But he has other priorities, too.

Brunswick County Sheriff's Office


Dorian has left the Cape Fear region, but its impact lingers. While counties spent nearly a week preparing for Thursday night’s wind and rainfall, the most significant damage may have happened hours before the storm actually hit: from tornadoes.

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If you are planning on leaving ahead of Dorian, today is the day to do it. Governor Roy Cooper is urging people to evacuate before the storm approaches the area tomorrow. For drivers who do need to be on the roads while or after the storm hits, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is stressing caution.

Hannah Breisinger

The civil rights movement may have peaked in the mid-20th century, but issues affecting black Americans persist. This past Wednesday, Wilmington community members gathered to address specific local concerns – such as education, health disparities, and economic empowerment. 

Annabelle Crowe

Wilmington’s history is rooted in racial tension. A local organization, Tru Colors, is trying to connect people across racial and economic divides through an unconventional event held at Ironclad Brewery last week.

Hannah Breisinger

 Correction: A mistake in this story states that the program was funded by the City of Wilmington. The city was awarded the money by the state, via an appropriation from the NC General Assembly.  It then co-tracked the work to Coastal Horizons.  

An innovative substance-recovery program in Wilmington, designed to tackle the national opioid epidemic, is seeing promising results. Just over a year into its pilot run, program leaders hope it will serve as a model across North Carolina. 

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