New Hanover County

RLH / WHQR

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.  

NOAA

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. 

RLH / WHQR

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? 

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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.

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.

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.

Vince Winkel

New Hanover County has issued a State of Emergency, prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people and closing public beach access points in order to ensure social distancing and reduce the risk of COVID-19. 

Vince Winkel

Businesses in the Cape Fear Region are facing an uncertain future, with many closing temporarily and some that may never recover. The U.S. Senate is racing to pass a trillion-plus dollar economic aid package. It is likely to include direct aid to individuals, and to small businesses in the form of long term no-interest loans to be paid back starting in 2021. 

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New Hanover County leaders have announced the county’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus. The person, who recently traveled internationally, is doing well, and isolating at home. They’re just one of many individuals who have received COVID-19 testing in the county.

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.  

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While health officials have yet to confirm a coronavirus case in the City of Wilmington, city leaders are working to address resident concerns. Last night’s city council meeting -- which was streamed and held in an almost entirely empty room -- featured discussions on COVID-19 testing and city-employee paid leave.

 

New Hanover County emergency officials held a media briefing Friday afternoon to update the community on the coronavirus.

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.

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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.  

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.

The Cape Fear Housing Coalition hosted the first Legislative Breakfast of 2020 on Thursday. Featured speaker Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan shared how her city passed a $25 million dollar affordable housing bond in 2016. WHQR reports local officials took note.

New Hanover County

Public transportation in the Cape Fear region is about to get a reboot.  That’s the word New Hanover County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman used to describe the revision of the Wilmington / New Hanover County joint WAVE agreement.  

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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In October, Governor Roy Cooper released his Clean Energy Plan for North Carolina. The plan has two central pledges: a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 – and the state becoming carbon neutral by 2050. WHQR reports on what’s happening locally.

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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.

Hannah Breisinger


Citizens can, and should, be involved in their local governments. That’s the philosophy behind a series of sessions held by New Hanover County, aimed to educate the community on the inner-workings of local services and programs. The all-day sessions are being held today and tomorrow at the county’s Northeast Library.

Hannah Breisinger


New Hanover County Commissioners approved expanding an upcoming substance use treatment center to include 100 beds for women. The women’s facility will accompany the already-approved 100-bed facility for men, both of which have yet to enter the design-phase.

A public meeting about a proposed new crossing over the Cape Fear River gets underway Monday, April 29th at 5 PM -- as stakeholders in Brunswick and New Hanover County marshal their resources. 

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