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.

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New Hanover County Public Health has announced that several residents are being tested for COVID-19.  

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As coronavirus case numbers continue to climb in the United States, the elderly and the immunocompromised remain the most at-risk populations. And, with one of the country’s largest outbreaks tied to a nursing home in Washington state, some experts are concerned that assisted living facilities aren’t adequately prepared to protect their patients.

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates


Three Brunswick County Republican candidates will advance to the November elections. The 2020 primary victors include Pat Sykes for Commissioner in District 3, David Robinson for Board of Education in District 2, and Steven Barger for Board of Education in District 4. Those two latter races ended in upsets.

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Image Provided by Ward


Democrat Christopher Ward will challenge incumbent Republican David Rouzer for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District in November. Ward won the 3-way Democratic primary in the Tuesday, Mar. 3 election.

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates


Change is coming to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Republicans Woody White and Patricia Kusek are not seeking re-election -- but there are nine other Republican primary candidates on the ballot, vying for three open seats. WHQR spoke to two of them.

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates

Three Republicans are competing for one open spot in the Brunswick County District 4 Board of Education Primary. The candidates vary -- in their experience and their top priorities. But they all have two concerns in common: overcrowded schools and teacher pay.

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A nationwide movement has made its way to the Cape Fear region. This week, the topic of Second Amendment sanctuaries arose at both New Hanover and Brunswick County Board of Commissioner meetings. But the meetings varied, in tone and in outcome.

 

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Wave Transit and New Hanover County Schools were the main agenda items at the Monday, February 17 County Commissioners meeting. Commissioners voted to approve $358,000 towards school safety initiatives, in light of recent allegations of child sexual abuse by teachers. Board members also authorized the appointment of Woody White to the Wave Authority Board -- but that vote wasn’t unanimous.  

Graphic, Katelyn Freund; Images Provided by Candidates


With New Hanover County Schools embroiled in controversy, four Republicans are seeking seats on the county’s Board of Education. None are currently serving on the board. WHQR spoke with two of them about how they think they can move the school system in the right direction.

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Early voting for the 2020 Primary Elections in North Carolina begins Thursday, February 13. So what do voters need to know before heading to the polls?

Hannah Breisinger

The Best Friends Network -- a national animal welfare organization -- wants to make North Carolina a “no-kill” state by 2025. According to their data, NC ranks third in the country for euthanizing shelter pets. To achieve the goal of  “no-kill” status, every shelter in the state must reach a 90% live-release rate for all cats and dogs -- leaving a 10% margin for health and safety related euthanizations.

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The recycling industry is changing dramatically -- new types of materials are being produced and discarded, the international appetite for recycled materials is shrinking, and municipal recycling programs are evolving to deal with market fluctuations. New Hanover County is no exception. 

Nick Santillo


The state Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts passed a resolution earlier this month addressing concerns about GenX and PFAS chemicals. The resolution, brought by the New Hanover County Chapter of the organization, marks the first time the compounds have been formally addressed by Soil and Water Conservation at the state level.

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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. 

JeepersMedia


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. 

Angie Carl


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. 

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