Business & Economy

Michael Christian headshot
kenan-flagler.unc.edu

Former stockbroker Bernie Madoff and former New York Times journalist Jayson Blair share infamy for their unethical business decisions.

A new report considers the psychology behind these transgressions and shows that misdeeds tend to escalate into larger scandals over time.

Life's difficult choices rarely present themselves in one dramatic question or one big decision. Instead, our most important choices in life, including ethical ones, present themselves in small baby steps.

-Jayson Blair  

Corn Damage
Brian Long

The path that Hurricane Arthur took last week hit an area of the state where a lot of corn is grown.  And several farmers will be affected.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and staff traveled by Forest Service plane to see the crop damage first hand.  Ag spokesman Brian Long says a lot of the damage was in Hyde County, known for growing corn.

“There are parts of Hyde County where you can just look and you would almost think you were somewhere in the Midwest, because it’s just is corn, and corn, and corn," said Long.

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

The latest North Carolina jobless numbers show a spike in county unemployment rates from Alamance to Yancey.  But there has been some positive movement over the past year.

May jobless numbers released by the NC Commerce Department show 92 counties with a higher unemployment rate than the month before.  But from this time last year, all 100 counties saw their unemployment rates drop.

A picture of the sun setting behind the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Ian Britton / Freefoto.com

AAA is forecasting the busiest July 4th travel weekend since 2001, in part because of a recovering economy. But with a tropical storm headed toward the Outer Banks, travelers might end up making other plans.

It's not yet clear whether Tropical Storm Arthur will make landfall in North Carolina, but Dare County is readying its hurricane action plan, just in case.

On the other side of the state, tourism is up already in Asheville this summer.

A picture of a bottle and a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Wikipedia

In less than five years the number of craft beer breweries in North Carolina has more than doubled. From Manteo to the mountains - tasting rooms, tap houses and local seasonal drafts are pouring in. Asheville now has more breweries per capita than anywhere in the country. 

A picture of a car wrapped in Fox News and American Idol ads.
Nicolelajones / Wikipedia

The Raleigh Planning Commission wants to close a loophole in the city's sign ordinance. This morning, they'll present a proposal to the City Council that would force businesses to move vehicles emblazoned with company information away from the street.

The measure would require the vehicle to be parked behind the building or near the entrance to the business.

A picture of the South Wake Landfill.
Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

The South Wake Landfill in Apex is putting its garbage to work. Wake County recently hosted an open house for its landfill gas power plant.

Solid Waste Director John Roberson said the plant is making money and producing electricity from the garbage that's decomposing inside the dump and cutting down on bad smells there.

Mike Oniffrey

Randy Lewis almost lost the family dairy farm in 2009. The price of milk had bottomed out, and costs for feed, fertilizer and fuel had gone sky-high.

"It was either find some other way to make money or sell the cows and quit," he says.

But Randy had an idea that might just save the farm. He's bottling milk right on-site. Of the 150 dairy farmers in the state, only five bottle their own milk. And Randy's figured out how to do it without shelling out a lot of money.

Watch the story here:

Vuse electronic cigarettes, part of a growing industry, are now being distributed nationally.
R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company

Reynolds American is now distributing its electronic cigarettes nationally. The Vuse vapor product had been widely available in only four states until now. It became the top-selling E-cigarette in Utah and Colorado last year. E-cigarettes heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge that is then inhaled. Vuse is a battery-powered, smokeless vapor product.

Car engine
Via Tsuji / Flickr Creative Commons

Drivers in North Carolina pay more when the check engine light comes on than motorists in other states. 

That's according to a survey from the organization Car M.D.  The annual state-by-state ranking found the average car repair cost came out to about $426 in the Tar Heel State.

Goathouse Refuge Cats
Eric Mennel / WUNC

Siglinda Scarpa walks me through the main house at The Goathouse Refuge, when a golden yellow cat that looks a lot like all the other 200+ cats starts rubbing against both of our legs, purring the way cats purr.

"Hey, Mimi," says Scarpa (presumably this is the cat's name), "What do you say? Stop that shooting range!" Scarpa chuckles.

A picture of curbside recycling carts in Durham.
Ildar Sagdejev / Wikipedia

Durham's Solid Waste Department is cutting four jobs to make up for a $1.1 million budget shortfall.

Director Donald Long said his department is very expensive to run. Its $16 million budget is about the same size as last year, and Long said one of the only places to cut costs is personnel.

Downtown Raleigh Skyline
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsolson / flickr

Tech start-ups in the Triangle received welcome news this week. Durham-based Bull City Venture Partners plans to invest some $26 million in projects throughout the mid-Atlantic.

The group began raising funds more than a year ago and has already invested in one Raleigh-based digital media initiative. Co-founder David Jones says the mid-Atlantic is an area ripe with innovation, but investors often need convincing.

Book cover shows newspaper stands
uncpress.unc.edu

The advent of the internet forced many industries to adjust, and newspapers were no exception. To deal with new competition and the changing face of advertising, community papers are reaching across platforms. A new book, "Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability" (The University of North Carolina Press/2014) seeks to assist local papers in that transition.

 

Host Frank Stasio and NC Budget Director Art Pope
Anita Rao / WUNC

In 2012, Governor Pat McCrory selected Art Pope to serve as the state’s budget director.

Pope has a long history in North Carolina politics and government. The attorney and businessman served in the legislature before launching several charitable organizations and think tanks centered on libertarian principles.

The PowerUp 3.0
PowerUp Toys

A Durham man is among the first in the country to test a new type of drone that can be made out folded paper. The device has a plastic propeller, an attached rudder, and is directed by an iPhone app.

The drone is called the PowerUp 3.0. It was created by Shai Goitein, a former Israeli Air Force pilot.

Goitein took his engineering idea to the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter last fall. He asked for $50,000 and received $1.2 million dollars.

Here's the original concept:

A picture of the Rockford restaurant's sign.
Shop Local Raleigh

The Raleigh City Council has created a task force to review the city's sign ordinance. The measure determines what signs certain businesses can have, what they look like, and where they put them.

Raleigh recently overhauled its planning code, but didn't change the sign ordinance much. Local businesses and associations have complained that the rules are too restrictive. This week, Raleigh appointed 11 business people and residents to study the issue.

Planning and zoning administrator Travis Crane says he's looking forwards to what the task force finds.

stack of money
Flickr user 401(K)2013

For the first time, North Carolina’s 16 regional councils of government have come together to create a blueprint for statewide community and economic development.  

The report is called “North Carolina Tomorrow, Building Communities for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”  It focuses on the competitive advantages of each region, like Tourism and Energy.  But also give attention to emerging technologies like video modeling and gaming.

Extraordinary Ventures
Leoneda Inge

It is high school graduation season and most young adults are preparing for life in college or in the workplace.  Landing a job in this economy continues to be hard for millions of people.  But what if you have autism?

There’s a community in Chapel Hill that has come up with several small business models that ease young people with autism into the adult world of work and self-sufficiency. 

If you talk to a parent who has a young child with autism, the conversation will eventually lead to “The Cliff.” 

Bureau of IIP, flickr.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

When you go into a job interview, you’re being judged on so many different things - far more than your knowledge of the industry. Many employers asses how you dress, your body language, how enthusiastic you are. For some women a new Duke study shows that even your voice may play a factor. 

Purple Heart
Leoneda Inge

A career fair gets underway this morning in Raleigh that’s not for your the average job-seeker.  It’s specifically for men and women who were injured in the line of duty.

They’re called “Wounded Warriors” and in these tough economic times, there’s a special push to get this group back to work.

Whatever the unemployment rate – it’s usually twice as high for veterans. 

Vice Admiral David Dunaway doesn’t like that statistic.

Electronic Cigarettes
Leoneda Inge

Reynolds American is forging ahead with its electronic cigarette brand.  The announcement was made Friday in Tobaccoville.

Reynolds American CEO Susan Cameron says it’s time for everybody to have the chance to try out their VUSE digital vapor cigarette. 

“It it’s selling like hot cakes, you need more hot cakes,” said Cameron.

And Cameron had no problem whipping out her personal VUSE.

“Yes, this is a VUSE, I tried it, and I actually use it, it’s spectacular.”

Unemployment Rate
NC Commerce

At first glance, there are several signs North Carolina’s job market is improving.  In fact, last week, the state Commerce Department reported the jobless rate in April was down to 6.2-percent.  That’s the lowest it’s been since 2008.

But some economists and advocates say unemployed workers are still facing a tough job market and less help from the state.

Chef Vivian Howard accepted a Peabody Award for the PBS series 'A Chef's Life'.
Cherry Bombe Magazine / via Twitter

North Carolina chef accepted a prestigious award last night for a TV series that chronicles her life and her cooking.   Vivian Howard is co-owner of  "Chef and the Farmer," a fine dining restaurant in Kinston, N.C.  She and the television crew that makes the series "A Chef's Life" accepted one of broadcasting's highest honors, a Peabody Award, in New York. 

Howard says the journey to being accepted by the Kinston community was a long one.

"It really took a while for them to warm up," says Howard. 

Firefighters use hose to tame large fire
creative commons

Many young children dream of becoming firefighters someday. But not everybody sustains that desire into adulthood. What is it that makes some people want to run into the buildings when everyone else is fleeing? 

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