We kick off this week with a look at the relationship between a major developer and a member of Wilmington’s City Council.
It doesn’t appear any campaign finance laws were broken, but Councilman Charlie Rivenbark still declined to discuss his offer to assist developer State Street Companies in a dispute with the city — -after the developer donated $13,000 to his 2017 reelection campaign. We get into it.
Then, we take a look at a downtown Wilmington project to replace CFPUA sewer lines under North Water Street. The project, begun in March 2018, was intended to take just over a month; it’s now gone over a year. One business has already closed its brick and mortar location, blaming construction. Other businesses are frustrating. We spoke with one owner, and the city, to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Speaking of Water Street construction, the Downtown Sundown concert series lost its traditional location to recent work. Although city staff suggested several potential new locations, WDI CEO and President Ed Wolverton wanted to move the concerts to the parking lot on the south side of Market Street between Front and Second streets.
The only problem? It will cost the city money and city staff were against the move.
We also clear up some misconceptions about this week’s story about a dog that was shot and killed this week. Plus, we address some angry messages we got accusing our coverage of being “one-sided.”
In Carolina Beach, journalists were greeted Monday morning by an email from the town outlying it’s new media relations policy:
Any media requests for interviews or information are to be submitted … by 1:00 p.m. on Mondays.
On Tuesday of that same week, our Town Manager and staff will make themselves available in person, on the telephone, or via email between 4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. to answer submitted questions. Exceptions will be made for critical incident and other emergency related matters.
Reaction from local media outlets, including Port City Daily, was swift and, by the end of the day, Carolina Beach’s new town manager Lucky Narain had backpedaled slightly, saying that there were some issues that – while not emergencies – would not have to wait upwards of a week for comment. Still, concerns remain about how Narain’s new “pilot program” will affect government transparency — for now, journalists will have to wait and see how it plays out.
Lastly, a silver lining to a tragedy. Last month, a car accident took the life of a 1-year-old child and injured the child’s grandmother. But Carolina Beach is committed to rallying behind the family and has events planned to help raise funds to support them.
If you missed any of these stories, you can catch up below. Then take a deeper dive with our weekly podcast.