(6.08.12) Senate panel approves bill limiting sea-level rise planning
WILMINGTON — A Senate committee on Thursday signed off on a bill limiting the ability of the state to plan for potential sea-level rise, calling it a “common sense” approach that would prevent negative economic consequences along the coast. The measure would prohibit state agencies from using projections of accelerated sea-level rise – based on global warming and the melting of polar ice caps – in drafting coastal development rules, and instead require that they use only historical sea-level-rise data.
(6.08.12) Soaking by Beryl helps end drough
WILMINGTON — North Carolina is drought-free for the first time in almost two years, thanks partly to heavy and widespread rain that fell over large swaths of the state as Tropical Depression Beryl worked its way north last week. “The rain that we got from Beryl did help, especially in the southeastern part of the state where we had the counties in moderate drought,” said Sarah Young, spokeswoman for the state Division of Water Resources.
(6.08.12) Wrightsville Beach purs smoking ban on November ballot
WILMINGTON — Wrightsville Beach voters will be going to the polls Nov. 6 to decide whether to ban smoking on the town's beaches. In a unanimous vote Thursday afternoon, the board of aldermen agreed to place the issue on the ballot following validation of resident signatures on a no-smoking petition presented to the aldermen on April 12.
(6.08.12) Senate committee likes the slow-rise approach for sea-level forecasts
RALEIGH — Rejecting a science panel’s warning that the North Carolina coast should prepare for an increasingly rapid rise in sea level later in this century, a Senate committee on Thursday endorsed far-reaching rules that would force planning and regulatory agencies to base sea-level forecasts only on the slower rates recorded in the past.
(6.07.12) Rouzer runs controversial coastal bill in legislature
WILMINGTON — Proposed state legislation regarding sea-level rise has already made national news and been the butt of jokes on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” On Thursday morning, the controversial proposal is expected to get its first airing in a General Assembly committee.
(6.07.12) New licensing test in the works for N.C. teachers
RALEIGH — State education leaders will consider requiring a new elementary teacher licensure test focused on strategies of teaching reading. The test is considered more rigorous than the current exam, the Praxis II tests, which are subject tests for certification areas. The Praxis would be replaced by the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure if the State Board of Education approves.
(6.07.12) Groin project gets a hearing
WILMINGTON — Figure Eight Island could soon move a step closer to building the first terminal groin along the coast, depending on the outcome of a public hearing on the potential impacts of the proposed permanent erosion-control structure. The Army Corps of Engineers is holding the hearing today on the project’s draft environmental impact statement.
(6.06.12) Wilmington tax increase clears first hurdle
WILMINGTON — Few people spoke during the city’s public hearing Tuesday night on the upcoming fiscal year budget despite a proposed tax increase. Four people spoke during the public's chance to voice opinions on the recommended $134.2 million budget, three of whom were representatives of outside agencies that get some city funding. The city council then unanimously approved the budget on a first reading, emphasizing that changes will likely be made before a final vote June 19.
(6.05.12) Fisheries see tides of change
WILMINGTON — A still-struggling economy, diminishing numbers of watermen and shifting environmental conditions are among the factors contributing to fluctuating harvest levels in the state’s four biggest shellfish fisheries, according to officials with the state Division of Marine Fisheries. The pounds of harvested oysters and blue crabs have increased by 81 percent and 40 percent respectively since 2007, while the amount of clams and shrimp have decreased by 30 and 46 percent in the same time period.
(6.05.12) Report lists additional problems at New Hanover Head Start
WILMINGTON — Another federal review of New Hanover County Community Action Inc.’s Head Start program described more problems at the Wilmington nonprofit, including “massive” staff turnover, the hiring of unqualified employees for top positions and a shortage of books and other supplies in classrooms.
(6.04.12) Wilmington’s recreational fees could increase
WILMINGTON — It may soon cost a little more to play tennis or skateboard in Wilmington, especially if you live outside the city limits. The city’s recommended budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year includes various additions to fees in an attempt to shift the cost of maintaining and improving recreation services to users instead of all taxpayers.
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