Rachel Lewis Hilburn

CoastLine Host, Senior Producer

Rachel Lewis Hilburn moved to Wilmington from Los Angeles, where she worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.  After joining the local ABC-TV affiliate in Wilmington, she wrote and produced local TV newscasts, a 30-minute special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.   Not long before joining the WHQR staff, Rachel co-produced Stories, Wine, and Cheese - a series of local, live storytelling events which aired on WHQR.  

Ways to Connect

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a statewide Executive Order.   It requires all North Carolinians to stay at home except for absolute necessities. 


Coronavirus Edition #2.  So much has changed in a week.  Many more people are working from home – or not working at all.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has lowered the threshold for mass gatherings from 100 to 50.  He’s ordered more business closures – gyms, movie theaters, salons.  He’s extended public school closures to May 15th. 


As North Carolina sees the number of positive COVID-19 tests rise – now over 600 cases covering more than half of the state – officials continue to emphasize social distancing.  

Rachel Keith

The North Carolina death toll from COVID-19 is now two.  In a recent media briefing, Governor Roy Cooper reminds people that these deaths are just the beginning.  


Widespread testing for COVID-19 is a strategy that works in the first phase of a pandemic – containment.  But that’s not where North Carolina health officials are now.  WHQR speaks with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Kamitsuka about what this mitigation phase means. 


North Carolina’s strategy in the battle against COVID-19 is changing.  Widespread testing is no longer helpful.  As the state moves from containment to mitigation, health officials are prioritizing both testing and personal protective equipment.


Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order that extends public school closures through May 15th and shuts down massage therapy, nail and hair salons, gyms, and movie theaters.  

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

As the Cape Fear region adjusts to Coronavirus precautions, each day brings a rise in the number of presumptive cases across the state.   But the narrow testing criteria makes it hard to measure the scope of infection in North Carolina.


As the coronavirus spreads across North Carolina, the battle moves into a new phase.  State officials say the response is no longer containment.  It's now mitigation. 

courtesy CDC

The unprecedented move, just days ago, to cancel events that might draw more than 100 people came from an Executive Order out of the North Carolina Governor’s office.  This statewide mandate is now enforceable, yet it’s hardly the most extreme measure officials have taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19.  


With 63 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina – spread across 18 counties, authorities are doing what they can to slow its spread.  But social distancing and shutting down schools and restaurants can’t stop the criminals hoping to turn a profit from a crisis.  


Governor Roy Cooper's Executive Order, announced Tuesday, requires all bars and restaurants in North Carolina to suspend dine-in services. 

There are 33 presumptive cases of novel Coronavirus in North Carolina.  While all schools in the state will remain closed for at least two weeks, the move raises real concerns about child welfare.

Adobe Stock

The count of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is now at 33.  People presumed to have the novel Coronavirus are in 14 counties – with most of the cases still concentrated in the middle of the state. 

University of North Carolina Wilmington

As of Thursday afternoon, there is not yet a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Cape Fear region.  But school officials are watching the situation closely.  

courtesy Professor Jennifer Le Zotte, UNCW

Women make up only a third of state legislators in the United States.  On Capitol Hill, the numbers are lower – with women holding only about 24% of Congressional seats.  But according to a recent UN Study, the number of female heads of government around the world is down by a third compared to five years ago.

North Carolina is now operating under a State of Emergency.  With seven presumptive cases of Coronavirus as of midday on Tuesday, state officials say it’s a critical moment in the outbreak.  The declaration comes as test kits are on backorder and the number of cases is expected to rise.

Joe Biden is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination after Super Tuesday.  Michael Bloomberg dropped out Wednesday morning and endorsed Biden – and North Carolina has proven to be an important state in this development.  


Tuesday is Primary Day in North Carolina, and electioneers -- people stumping for their candidates at polling locations – say they’re seeing a steady flow of voters.  And despite their partisan passions, they are surprisingly devoid of vitriol.  At least on this day…

Tuesday March 3rd is Primary Election Day in North Carolina, and polls are open until 7:30 this evening.  As I traveled around between Brunswick and New Hanover County polling locations, I spoke with voters about the issues that drove them to vote.  At most stops, I saw people electioneering – that is campaigning for their candidates.  But not at Williston Middle School.

On Wednesday’s CoastLine, Primary 2020 will be over in North Carolina.  Join Rachel Lewis Hilburn and Port City Daily’s Ben Schachtman while they unpack the results and how those results shape the November general election.


Listen for CoastLine Wednesdays at noon.  Email us at coastline@whqr.org.  And subscribe to the podcast.



New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the third-largest county-owned hospital in the country.  As medical costs continue to rise and political and financial uncertainties loom, NHRMC is exploring the best path forward – whether that’s a sale, a merger, or a reorganization.  On this week’s CoastLine, we explored the process.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is exploring whether to sell, create a partnership, reorganize, or remain independent.  

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

The 2020 Primary is underway in North Carolina.  Early voting lasts through Saturday.  Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3rd.  WHQR spoke with the Democratic candidates competing for three open seats on New Hanover County’s Board of Commissioners. 

Katelyn Freund / WHQR

Early voting in the 2020 Primaries is underway through this Saturday, February 29th.  Election Day is next Tuesday, March 3rd.  In the race for New Hanover County Commissioner, six Democratic candidates are competing for three open seats.  Don Betz, Leslie Cohen, and Travis Robinson are half the Democratic slate.  

North Carolina’s primary election is underway.  This is the chance for voters to decide which party nominees compete in the November election.  Early Voting runs through February 29th and Election Day is March 3rd.  

Joe D'Alessandro / NC Filmmaker Series

Wilmington is rich with talented film directors, actors, and screenwriters.  But there are also makeup artists, location scouts, gaffers, prop masters. And construction coordinators.  A community of these professionals came to North Carolina in the 1980s with Dino DeLaurentiis, and now, decades later, a somewhat smaller community still calls Wilmington home. 

WHQR speaks with Jeff Schlatter about his career as a Construction Coordinator.

Early voting in the North Carolina primary is underway.  Brunswick County residents who vote in the Republican primary will decide on their presidential candidate, U.S. Senate nominee, and a host of state races.  

Pawlik Lab

Coral reefs are dying in the Caribbean.  It’s especially alarming in the Turks and Caicos because the cause appears to be a rapidly-spreading new disease that started in Florida.  

WHQR / Katelyn Freund

Nativism and white supremacy, the battle over slavery, and the public adoration of explorers were critical elements of mid-19th century.  Two of the key players from that era, Jessie and John Fremont, were also America’s first big celebrities.