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GenX, PFAS and Chemours are part of the lexicon in the Cape Fear region. It’s been that way for two years, since the general public first heard about chemicals in the area’s drinking water supply. In part one of our series, WHQR takes a look at how it started, and where we are today. 

The next edition of WHQR's Soup To Nuts Live! will feature local band Stray Local on Thursday, January 24 at 7:30 pm (doors open 6:30 pm) in the MC Erny Gallery at 254 N. Front St. in downtown Wilmington. Price: $10 suggested donation at the door.Reserve a seat by sending an email to soup@whqr.org or call 910-343-1640 during regular business hours. EDIT: SOLD OUT! All seats have been reserved!


  WHQR mourns the passing of incredible entertainer, Wilmington native, and famed composer, arranger, pianist, and singer, Grenoldo Frazier (1953-2018) who passed away during the holidays. Grenoldo was monumental in shaping Wilmington’s arts and music scene. No matter the genre--jazz, Broadway and movie music, patriotic favorites, holiday music, or contemporary music done with a twist--Grenoldo was always a captivating performer.

Vince Winkel

This week the deadline passed for applying for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, in the wake of Hurricane Florence. They have closed their support center at the Independence Mall. But the agency is still active in the region.

A Wilmington man released from prison, after serving nearly three decades for a 1988 murder, will receive $7 million from the city. The New Hanover County Superior Court convicted Johnny Small in 1989 for the robbery and murder of a local pet shop owner. 

Vince Winkel

Cape Fear River Watch and an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center this week addressed their decision to join a proposed consent order between Chemours and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. They answered questions from citizens during a meeting Wednesday at UNCW’s Lumina Theater.  

Vince Winkel

Today environmental groups sued the federal government to prevent seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean. The process is used to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean’s surface, and is the first step toward offshore drilling.  Scientists find it can also be quite harmful to marine life.

Cape Fear Public Utility Authority officials say they welcome the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent Draft Toxicity Assessment for GenX and PFBS in the Cape Fear River. But, they also say the EPA’s work doesn’t go far enough.

This week participants in a GenX exposure study began receiving their test results. Some 345 New Hanover County residents took part in the study, giving blood, urine, and tap water samples late last year.  The  North Carolina State researchers behind the study are in Wilmington this week to explain the results.

Opening Reception: October 26, 2018
Closing Reception: November 23, 2018
Show Closing: December 12, 2018

UNCW Creative Writing professor Wendy Brenner’s short story "I Am the Bear" will be nationally podcast and broadcast on NPR's "Selected Shorts" program this upcoming Thursday, August 30 (locally on Sunday). "I Am the Bear" is performed by actor Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy, 13 Reasons Why), with guest hosts Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre.

Vince Winkel

The New Hanover County Airport Authority has a new chairperson... and for the first time in its history, the chair is a woman. Donna Girardot was appointed to the position last week. She becomes Chair as Wilmington International Airport goes through another year of growth. WHQR sat down with Girardot, to discuss her new role.

Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Chapter

We are now into year two of the public’s awareness of GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear region’s water supply. Health studies are currently underway to study the impact these chemicals might have on humans. Meanwhile experts are piecing together other available data to better understand the threats. 

Chemours

On Tuesday, Chemours announced that carbon adsorption bed technology has been installed at two locations on its Fayetteville Works plant on the Cape Fear River. This is supposed to reduce the emissions of GenX into the air immediately.

Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has added two more weeks for public feedback on coal ash disposal and recycling.  DEQ held a meeting on that topic in Wilmington last month. The agency decided to extend the comment period after citizens said they wanted more time to provide feedback on the rules.

The Wilmington City Council is throwing its support behind Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s request to stop production at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant.  The resolution, directed to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, asks regulators to require the company to stop all operations that produce perfluorinated compounds like GenX.  The resolution is not binding, but does send a message.

Four Republican Senators in North Carolina have introduced new legislation, to make available a network of scientists and other resources, to focus on water quality in the state. Senator Michael Lee of New Hanover County says the bill creates no additional cost to taxpayers. 

This week New Hanover County’s revamped process for funding non-profit agencies gets underway. The approach was approved by county commissioners last November, and aims to offer a more objective structure to funding such organizations.  

Thousands of people face deportation if the U.S. Congress does not approve funding to continue the DACA program.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, protects more than 700,000 people who came to the U.S. as children of undocumented immigrants.  They are also undocumented. Thousands of those people are in the Cape Fear Region.

House Bill 189 made it through the House late Wednesday, freeing up funds focused on the GenX and emerging contaminants problem. It now goes to the Senate, where its future is not so bright.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

Wilmington International Airport has set another passenger record. Numbers just released show that more than 836,000 passengers flew in and out of ILM last year.  This year, the airport is set to grow in new ways.

A North Carolina state committee plans to address the growing threat of GenX and other “emerging contaminants” in the Cape Fear River through legislation on Wednesday.  The legislation does not include any additional funding, and that isn’t sitting well with the environmental community.

Vince Winkel / WHQR Public Radio

The Tregembo Animal Park on Carolina Beach Road has two fewer animals today. That’s because Ben and Booger, a couple of bears, are on their way to a new home in Colorado. The move was triggered by a lawsuit filed in August by two North Carolina residents.

Vince Winkel

ON JUNE 8, LIFE CHANGED IN WILMINGTON.

THAT’S THE DAY PAGE ONE OF THE STARNEWS DECLARED “TOXIN TAINTS CFPUA DRINKING WATER.”   

Chemical Company Chemours in Fayetteville is now ordered by the Department of Environmental Quality to provide even more bottled water.  Test show a growing number of tainted wells near the company’s plant along the Cape Fear River. 

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality announced today it has cited Chemours with violating the conditions of its wastewater discharge permit.  The move comes after the company failed to report an October 6 chemical spill at its Fayetteville Works facility on the Cape Fear River.  UPDATE: The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality began the process Nov. 16 of revoking the discharge permit for Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility. 

The Town Council is Oak Island’s governing body consisting of 5 Council Members and the Mayor. This body sets Town policy, enacts ordinances and adopts the annual budget. There are seven people running for two open seats. Oak Island has a population estimated at 7,700 people. In the summer, including day-trippers, that number can hit 50,000. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. 

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are joining forces to consider legal action against those they consider to be responsible for the deadly opioid epidemic facing this region. The North Carolina Department of Health says that opioid deaths have increased 73 percent statewide and doubled in New Hanover County over the last decade. 

The Town of Oak Island, part of Brunswick County, is governed by a Council of five and a mayor. As of 2016, population estimates landed at about 7700 people. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. Two people are running for mayor in this year’s election. Kenny Rogers is challenging Mayor Cin Brochure as she seeks her second term. A big issue for Oak Island is erosion.

Debbie Aitken

Lawsuits against Chemours and parent company DuPont are starting to roll in. Leland resident Victoria Carey filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont and Chemours last week after discovering GenX in her water heater. Chemours is the maker of GenX, the contaminant found in the Cape Fear River, which provides the raw water the CFPUA and the Brunswick County Utilities Department uses for drinking water. 

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