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Week of Feb. 28: Military jets, voter harassment, WHA, and city-county meeting

On the edition, we get updates on frustrations with low-flying military aircraft over Wilmington and the identity of organization that allegedly harassed voters — specifically an elderly black couple — in Brunswick County. Plus, the latest on the Wilmington Housing Authority and the struggle to form a plan to deal with the affordable housing crisis.

First: when the pandemic hit, and commercial air travel dropped off severely, military bases to advantage of empty runways to ramp up training flights. On top of that, a 'hot refueling' contract allowed military aircraft to gas up without taxiing off the tarmac. All this meant a lot of military aircraft, flying relatively low, over residential areas. This led to frustrated residents — who some tried to paint as unpatriotic — and political wrangling over what to do. Now, there seems to be at least a basic compromise agreement in place.

Then, a follow-up on last episode's look at some strange and apparently unauthorized 'canvassing' by a rogue group of Republicans. After WECT reported on the Black couple who felt harassed by this group, the local Democratic party condemned them — and the local and state GOP renounced them.

Plus, the latest on the troubled Wilmington Housing Authority, whose mishandling of a burgeoning mold crisis has now left 150 families — with over 300 children — displaced from their homes. We look at the latest on the crisis, plus the audit history that shows a history of management failures.

And finally a few notes on the joint meeting between the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County — which saw the death of the $50 million housing bond, the unanimous approval (by county commissioners, at least) of a replacement $15 million plan.


Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.