New Hanover County

New Hanover County


According to documents released to WHQR by New Hanover County, former Public Health Director Phillip Tarte was fired late last month -- after a year and a half of failures his supervisors at various times called “colossal,” “egregious,” and “reprehensible.” Those failures included his unwillingness or inability to take the Covid-19 pandemic seriously, forcing other top officials to “work around” him, and at times hampering or endangering those efforts.

Hannah Breisinger

It’s been just over a year since New Hanover County leaders, and particularly County Chair Julia Olson-Boseman, pushed for a redesign of Wave. The county cited funding shortfalls, and a need for new leadership. Now, Wave’s new Executive Director Marie Parker is tasked with overseeing the transit system’s reboot.

City of Wilmington/New Hanover County

On Thursday, January 28th, the Cape Fear Housing Coalition hosted their annual Legislative Breakfast online. They returned to a theme from last year: other cities’ success in creating affordable housing bonds, which the Cape Fear region has yet to adopt. 

Vince Winkel

On Monday afternoon, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will hold its final meeting of the year. Year-end meetings, especially even-year meetings that see the swearing in of new board members, don’t often see packed agendas. There is one notable item on the table, $25.5 million in contracts to move forward with the Healing Place treatment center.

Note: Late Friday, the Commissioners' agenda was updated to include a discussion of reopening New Hanover County elementary schools; according to the agenda the commission is "interested" in seeing all elementary (pre-k through 5th grade) schools open for full-time, in-person instruction effective by the beginning of the second semester, starting January 11, 2021.

NC Department of Commerce

On Monday, November 30th, the North Carolina Department of Commerce downgraded the health of New Hanover County’s economy. The main reason for the change: the higher than the average unemployment rate.  

While the jockeying for first, second, and third place went back and forth, it was the same three names at the top of the results for New Hanover County's Board of Commissioners race throughout the night. WHQR's Ben Schachtman recaps the results.

In the last weeks of the campaign, a television ad endorsing two Republican and one Democratic candidate aired in the Wilmington area, raising some eyebrows. It’s not just the cross-party ticket that struck some as odd, it’s also the group behind the ads --- a Raleigh-based super-PAC, the type of political committee that doesn’t often wade into local municipal or county races.

The group also produced television ads and mailers targeting two additional Democratic county commission candidates, an aggressive approach the New Hanover County GOP has largely avoided.

File Photo

At this week’s City Council meeting, Wilmington leaders approved allocating COVID-19 Relief Funds to Good Shepherd, as well as an agreement for the long-anticipated development at Castle Street. But it was proposed Riverwalk improvements and WAVE’s redevelopment that drew the most debate from council. 

File Photo

 As the 2020 presidential election looms, North Carolina has received a grade of “D” in women’s political participation.

Cape Fear Museum/NHC County Library and Information Technology Department

  This week, the Cape Fear Museum and County’s Library and Information Technology Department unveiled an online, interactive exhibit of the events of the 1898 Wilmington coup d’état. WHQR reports on what you can discover with these new resources.      

File Photo

North Carolina’s moratorium on evictions expired in late June. The federal moratorium ended a month later. As a result, housing advocates are bracing for a wave of evictions in the upcoming months -- and local governments and non-profits are stepping in to help.

Cape Fear Collective / Cape Fear Counts

  From closed schools, to lost jobs to struggling businesses, add the Census count to the growing list of things affected by coronavirus pandemic.  WHQR reports on how the count has been going -- and what to expect when the Census closes on September 30th.

  At Monday afternoon’s meeting, New Hanover County Commissioners unanimously approved $1.3 million in CARES Act funding to create two new programs: child care support, and housing assistance. The meeting also ended with a motion not on the agenda.

Katelyn Freund

Tropical Storm Isaias officially left the eastern part of North Carolina in the early hours of Monday morning. In the storm’s wake -- hundreds of thousands without power and property damage from suspected tornadoes, fires, wind, and rain. As WHQR reports, Cape Fear counties are in the midst of their damage assessments.   

COVID-19 Updates & More

Jul 23, 2020

This page lists and/or directs to resources available to our community during the coronavirus outbreak. Resources will be updated regularly.

Click here to view WHQR's news coverage of the coronavirus. 

Vaccines and testing:

For many, the most pressing current concerns are getting tested and vaccinated. 

The best place to find information on when and where vaccines are available in New Hanover County is at the county's vaccine website, which you can find here.

Note: You can receive info about NHC, New Hanover Regional Medical Center (now under Novant), and Wilmington Health from the county's vaccine call line, or you can contact those providers directly.

  • NHC Public Health: Vaccinations can be scheduled by calling 910-798-6800 when appointments are available.
  • NHRMC: Vaccinations can be scheduled at or by calling (910) 662-2020 when appointments are available.
  • Wilmington Health: Vaccinations can be scheduled at or by calling (910) 407-5115 when appointments are available.

Similiar information is available from Brunswick County here.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has an online index of testing sites -- Find My Testing Place - NCDHHS

Other important resources:

North Carolina's Community Resources Page

New Hanover County’s Resources & Assistance Page

Brunswick County’s Community Assistance Page

Pender County’s Community Resource Page

New Hanover Disaster Coalition

Check My Symptoms - NCDHHS

Community Care North Carolina Covid-19 Triage Plus - 1-877-490-6642


RETOOLNC, NC Department of Administration Grant

NC Department of Commerce Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief Fund (MURR)

NC Department of Commerce's Job Retention Grant (JRG)

NCDHHS Guidance for Businesses and Opertions 

Count on Me Program

UNCW Swain Center Resources -- For Executive Education & Economic Development 

NCDHHS Resources for Businesses and Employers

Brunswick County's Resources for Businesses

Support from the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC)

Cape Fear Community College Small Business Center

Disaster Assistance Loan

NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

  • With New Hanover County, the Chamber has set up a Business Emergency Operations Center. The dedicated number for this Center is 910-762-2611. The email is This service is for any business in the region in need of assistance.

Housing Support

  • NC Hope Program - For residents who are behind on rent or utilities due to Covid-19

Childcare Services


NC Courts Update


Brunswick County Schools' Online Educational Resources/Video Tutorials

New Hanover County Schools' Social Distance Learning 

Pender County Schools' ClassLink


NC Kids Digital Library


Food Services 

Text FOODNC to 877-877 to find free meal sites

Cape Fear Food Council 

New Hanover County Food Assistance Resource Guide

New Hanover County Senior Resource Center

Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc.

New Hanover County Schools

Brunswick County Schools 

Pender County Schools

Brigade Boys & Girls Club

Salvation Army of the Cape Fear

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

Brunswick Family Assistance

Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) - NCDHHS

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program

Mental Health

Restaurants, Dine-out and Delivery:


  • Click here to find out the latest about WAVE's transportation routes.


  • To apply for unemployment insurance, visit the NC Department of Commerce’s website. There is specific information for filing due to COVID-19.
  • Financial assistance help through Help Hub, by calling 910-769-5357.


  • If you are a student or faculty member of UNCW and have questions about COVID-19, contact the Student Health Center at 910-962-3280 or 910-962-0587 or by email at
  • The Counseling Center's number is 910-962-3746.

Volunteer Services

Share Cape Fear

United Way of the Cape Fear Area

Recovered COVID-19 patients can choose to donate their plasma to the Red Cross


Gov. Cooper: School Plans This Week

Jul 9, 2020

The number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina continues to rise. Thursday afternoon Gov. Roy Cooper addressed both the increase, and the issue of schools reopening. 

Vince Winkel

The Partnership Advisory Group has voted unanimously to recommend Novant Health as the best choice for the future of the Regional Medical Center. Next week, the Board of Trustees will consider the matter, and on July 13 the decision reaches the County Board of Commissioners. 

Vince Winkel

As the decision draws near on the Medical Center’s future, the Partnership Advisory Group resumed its in-person meetings last night at the Burney Center on the UNCW campus. 

New Hanover County To Hold Hearing On NHRMC Future

Jun 14, 2020
Vince Winkel

It was 11 months ago that New Hanover County announced they were going to explore selling the Regional Medical Center.  Last week, county officials and residents heard from the top three candidates under consideration.

Vince Winkel

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the protests began in Wilmington on May 30 with a gathering at 1898 Memorial Park. The next day, they moved to the steps of Wilmington City Hall. Every day and night since, people have gathered with signs protesting racism and police brutality.  One voice has stood out from the crowd. 


New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington have instituted a nightly curfew.  Officials say they respect the right to a peaceful protest – but they don’t know the identity of a group that’s gathering nightly.    


New Hanover County officials presented the proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st at a meeting Monday morning.   With the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the beginning of what could be an above-average hurricane season, there is no proposed tax increase.  


Hurricane season officially starts June 1. And the 2020 Atlantic season is forecast to be more active than usual, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some are even calling for an “extremely active” season. New Hanover County is preparing for the worst. 


North Carolina is set to launch Phase One of its reopening 5 pm on Friday, May 8th.  There are four major metrics that state officials are watching to see how the Covid-19 pandemic is playing out in the state.  

Vince Winkel

At least anecdotally, it seems that a few months of isolation has triggered a need for human contact. Old friends are connecting after years of being out of touch.  Have you heard from an old friend lately? 

Adobe Stock

While New Hanover County’s stay-at-home order expires Wednesday, Apr. 29, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo has signed his own five-day-long proclamation in its place. Many of the restrictions are the same -- but a few have been lifted within city limits. 

Starting Wednesday, April 29th, New Hanover County will offer free drive-through diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. The County will continue this service for four weeks, to help determine how the virus is affecting the Cape Fear Region. WHQR explains how the process will work.

Vince Winkel

Six proposals were made public last week regarding the future of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. A group opposed to selling the facility, Save Our Hospital, did not like what it saw.  WHQR’s Vince Winkel spoke with the organization’s President, Gene Merritt.

Bottega Live - March 2020

Mar 27, 2020

The March edition of Bottega Live features three unique artists: Sarah Brown, Josh Starkey, and the new Wilmington duo For The Birds. WHQR's Bottega Live airs each month in conjunction with Wilmington’s Fourth Friday Gallery Walk, at 8 pm that Friday.

Serving The Less Fortunate In The Coronavirus Age

Mar 23, 2020
WHQR/Nick Santillo

The mission of Wilmington’s Good Shepherd Center is to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless and foster transition to housing. Today, those needs are more urgent than usual, as the coronavirus puts a strain on organizations that serve the less fortunate.