The State of Things
12:14 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Documentarians Track The Trail Of Trash

Debris left in the wake of the destructive EF5 tornado that hit Moore, OK in 2013.
Margaret Morales and Phil Corrigan

In the 1950s, the Keep America Beautiful campaign encouraged Americans to stop littering and simply throw away their trash.

But where exactly is that "away"? Once we toss something into a garbage or recycling bin, it leaves our lives, but where does it go?

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2:15 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

NC Falls Behind Federal Water Quality Standards

The Tuckasegee River at Bryson City, North Carolina.
Credit Brian Stansberry, Wikimedia, Creative Commons

North Carolina is not keeping up with the Environmental Protection Agency's rules to measure water quality. 

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources has not updated its standards of measuring toxic metals in water since 2007.  The Clean Water Act requires states to hold public hearings and review their rules every three years.  North Carolina is the only state in the EPA's southeast division that has not adopted the latest federal rules. 

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2:00 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Restaurant Menus Provide Valuable Data On Fish Populations

Duke researchers used menus from the mid-20th century to fill in missing details about Hawaii's fish population.
Kyle Van Houtan

Duke researchers have thought up a creative way to fill in missing details about Hawaii's wild fish population: restaurant menus.  

The colorful artifacts that tourists often save as souvenirs are filled with tiki-men, surfers and luau girls. But they also contain valuable information that a trio of scientists used to fill in a 45-year gap in Hawaii's official records during the mid-20th century. 

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5:00 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Nature Conservancy Buys Land To Rebuild Woodpecker Habitat

A red-cockaded woodpecker outside her nest.
John Maxwell USFWS

The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 459-acre stretch of property in Pender County that will help expand habitat for the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The U.S. Navy covered half the purchase price in order to create a buffer for nearby Camp LeJeune.

Debbie Crane is the communications director for the state chapter of the Nature Conservancy. She says the property is the perfect place for longleaf pine, which the woodpeckers love. But what has endangered the birds is the destruction of so many longleaf pine groves.

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5:47 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Researchers Unveil New Program That May Predict Storm Landfall

NOAA satellite picture of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. A new hurricane predictor model unveiled at Coastal Carolina University is named for the storm that hit South and North Carolina.
Credit NOAA

Weather forecasters may soon have a new tool that could predict a hurricane's landfall more accurately. Researchers at Coastal Carolina University say the Hurricane Genesis and Outlook -- or HUGO -- project uses climate factors and data from previous storm seasons to predict where a storm will hit up to five days in advance. 

The new model could mean more focused information when it comes to coastal evacuations.

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1:04 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

State Sues Alcoa Over Ownership Of Yadkin River

Alcoa's Narrows Dam with Badin Lake in the background, on the Yadkin River
Credit Nancy Pierce Photo / DO NOT USE

The State of North Carolina is suing ALCOA over ownership of submerged water along the Yadkin River.

The basic elements of this story are water, hydroelectric dams and naturally, lots of money. ALCOA owns four dams along the Yadkin River that make electricity. Those dams used to provide power for an ALCOA aluminum smelting plant in Stanly County, where the company once had hundreds of employees. The company wants another 50-year federal license to operate the dams. But the factory is closed, the electricity produced is sold out of state and there is a question about who owns the river bed. 

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2:00 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

N.C. Zoo's Baby Gorillas Celebrate First Birthday

Baby gorillas Bomassa (left) and Apollo (far right) with moms Jamani (second from left) and Olympia will both get a first-birthday party at the N.C. Zoo on August 3.
Credit N.C. Zoo photo by Diane Villa

Baby gorillas Bomassa and Apollo, who were born at the North Carolina Zoo, have reached a milestone: their first birthdays. 

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The State of Things
12:22 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Film Travels The Country Exploring Sustainable Community

The poster for the film 'Within Reach' which screens Monday, July 29th at the Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC.
Credit withinreachmovie.com/freestore

Film director Derek Alan Rowe and executive director of Sustain-A-Bull Amy Campbell decipher the meaning of "sustainable community" and talk about their recent endeavors

The words "sustainable" and "community" have quickly become buzz words in our society. But filmmaker Derek Alan Rowe wanted to know what it really meant to live sustainably.

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3:30 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Sea Turtles Snagged; NC Regulators Suspend Gill Nets

A leatherback turtle hooked and entangled in a fishing net.

State environmental officials are suspending certain fish nets along the coast after at least eight sea turtles were trapped. 

The state Division of Marine Fisheries says the suspension goes into effect at sunset Wednesday for what are known as large-mesh gill nets.  Anglers leave the nets out overnight this time of year to trap flounder. 

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5:08 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

35-Acre Solar Farm Under Construction In Orange County

A Strata Solar farm
Credit Strata Solar

A new six megawatt solar farm is under construction the Orange County community of White Cross. When it’s completed, it will be the second largest in the Triangle. The project is being designed by Chapel Hill based company, Strata Solar. The firm's Blair Schoof says when it's up and running, the 35-acre farm will provide energy for about 750 homes.

Strata Solar is the state's largest solar developer, responsible for generating more than 145 megawatts around the state. Schoof says two farms in the Triangle area are already operational with eight more planned for next year.

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