News

GERRY BROOME / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A rush to execute death row inmates in Arkansas led to national concern about the use of the death penalty. In North Carolina, juries continue to send people to death row. They sentenced 16 people to death in the last ten years. But in that time there has not been a single execution. Some are questioning why the country has the death penalty if it is not being used. Others advocate for abolishing it altogether. They say it does not deliver the justice it intended, costs too much, is not administered fairly, and could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Abingdon Press/2017

In 1947, dozens of white men in Greenville, South Carolina kidnapped and murdered a young black man named Willie Earle. Several of the men later confessed to the crime and said it was retaliation after a black man allegedly stabbed a white cab driver. However, after a trial, nobody was convicted for the murder.

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

Lawmakers recently passed a bill reducing the size of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Republicans said the court's caseload is down, but Democrats complained the only motivation was to prevent Governor Cooper from making appointments.

So who’s right?

Spring 2017 Elon University Poll
Elon University

A new political poll from Elon University found that more North Carolina voters support Governor Roy Cooper than not after his first 100 days in office.

Storms in Raleigh caused flooding in Kinston. This photo was taken April 25, 2017.
Associated Press

The mayor of Kinston wants the N.C. Legislature and U.S. Congress to help prevent future floods as the Neuse River crests from more heavy rain.

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed two secretarial orders
Department of the Interior

On Friday, President Trump has issued an executive order that opens up the possibility of off-shore drilling in American waters, including off the coast of the Carolinas.

Liz Bell

Many communities in eastern North Carolina are still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The storm hit the East Coast last October, and in Edgecombe County hundreds of students were displaced after flooding nearly destroyed Princeville Elementary School. Now the Edgecombe County school board must decide on next steps for rebuilding the school.

David Hoffman

Earl Scruggs is considered one of the most influential banjo players of all time. He made a name for himself performing with Bill Monroe’s band on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in the mid-1940s. Scruggs went on to compose seminal records like “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”

Phillip Lewis

In the novel “The Barrowfields” (Hogarth/2017) a character named Henry grows up revering his literary father, a man who ensconced the family in a strange house on a hillside in western North Carolina. But his father’s dark unraveling pushes Henry away.

He abandons the sister and mother he had promised to protect and vows to stay away from his gloomy mountain hometown forever. But the ties of family and home prove stronger than Henry’s will to escape them both.

A traffic stop in Fairfax County, Virginia
Fairfax Police Department

In North Carolina, young black men are  twice as likely to be stopped in their car than white men. In some U.S. cities, including Chicago, the ratio is much higher. 

Photo: Mark Martin
Courtesy of Mark Martin

The chief justice of North Carolina's top court threw his support behind legislation to raise the age of juvenile offenders.

North Carolina is now the only state to automatically try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal court. But Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin says it's time for that to change.

"Our own Department of Public Safety conducted surveys on this issue which reflected that over 90 percent of parents already thought that 18 was the age for adult jurisdiction," Martin said.

During a press conference to rally support for the bill, Martin highlighted that North Carolina is the only state that has not upped the age limit to try defendants as adults. He said that teenage mistakes can follow North Carolinians into their adulthood as they seek employment. In other states, an error in judgment made by a 17-year-old would have a smaller impact on his ability to find employment later in life.

McGuire's Miracle The Documentary

Alexander Julian is credited with the iconic revamp of Tar Heel sports uniforms. But his journey to creating the legendary Carolina blue argyle was a long time in the making. Julian drew up his first designs when he was a child, and he started working the sales floor at his father Maurice Julian’s haberdashery when he was in his teens.

The new REAL IDs are now available in North Carolina.
N.C. Department of Transportation / Division of Motor Vehicles

The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles began offering "REAL ID" identification cards Monday.

The identification cards are alternatives to standard state-issued cards and comply with federal requirements enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The new IDs are marked with a gold star in the upper right corner.

In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which increased security standards for state-issued driver licenses and IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification.

YMCA of the Triangle

The YMCA of the Triangle has announced it will open a new facility in downtown Raleigh this year. The recreational center will be located at the old Wachovia building at 227 Fayetteville Street.

Mark Binker
WRAL TV

Mark Binker, a widely respected journalist and experienced member of the North Carolina Capitol Press Corps, died unexpectedly Saturday morning. He was 43.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this episode of the WUNCPolitics podcast, a conversation with Jessica Huseman, senior reporting fellow at ProPublica.

Image of Ken Rudin, the Political Junkie
kenrudinpolitics.com

 

This Saturday marks 100 days in power for the Trump administration. The Trump team is touting the president’s accomplishments, which include job creation efforts and national security measures. A significant number of these measures were instituted through executive orders or memorandums, a maneuver for which Republicans criticized former President Obama.

Man Bites Dog Theatre

What do we choose to remember as we grow older? How do the stories we tell ourselves shape our own identity? The play “Marjorie Prime” explores these questions through the story of an 85-year-old woman dealing with memory loss. Marjorie finds companionship in artificial intelligence modeled after a younger version of her deceased husband.

Rebecca Ward

 After more than 15 years, rapper Joshua Gunn is familiar with the Durham hip-hop scene. As a teenager Gunn made a name for himself in underground Durham rap battles. He paired up with artists like acclaimed DJ Terminator X of Public Enemy and MC Lyte.

Trump supporters outside the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
Elizabeth Baier / WUNC

Elon University has released a new poll that asked North Carolinians what they think about President Donald Trump. The poll was taken during the lead-up to the president's first 100 days in office.

The Oxford Wastewater Treatment Plant treats 3.5 million gallons of wastewater per day.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Flooding. Sewer spills. Contaminated drinking water.

Across North Carolina's communities, water systems have been pushed to their limits, and in some cases overrun. Hurricane Matthew, for example, wreaked havoc. On a smaller scale, flooding throughout the Triangle this week showed that drainage systems are susceptible even outside major disasters.

Courtesy of Karen Ziegler

LGBTQ individuals have long been pushed out of religious and spiritual communities, but that has not made all of them lose their faith. In fact, many LGBTQ folks have taken on leadership roles to advocate for and heal their communities. 

All-Star Comedy Team Creates Middle-Grade Comic Novel

Apr 27, 2017

When a comedian, a cartoonist and an author team up to write young adult fiction, it leads to a hilarious book about a sixth-grader with a secret.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The General Assembly has completed the override of the governor's veto of a measure reducing the state Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

 

Governor Roy Cooper’s political battle continues with the Republican-led General Assembly. The state House and Senate voted this week to override Cooper’s veto of a bill to consolidate the state elections and ethics boards.

Courtesy of Penguin Books

Sixteen years ago, environmentalist Paul Hawken searched for a comprehensive list of the most effective solutions to climate change. He was dismayed to find that not only was there no such compendium, but no one seemed capable of producing one. So, Hawken decided to make one himself. He gathered data from scientists and organizations to map, measure and model existing solutions to climate change and the effects they would have if scaled 30 years into the future.

Barry Lam / hiphination.org

 When professor Barry Lam needed a break from the college classroom, he set out to turn his scholarly passion into a podcast. “Hi-Phi Nation” uses investigative journalism and narrative storytelling to peer inside under-explored philosophical question.

The abandoned railroad corridor that has become the American Tobacco Trail.
Durham Trails and Greenways 2011 Master Plan

The state Department of Transportation wants to remind high school students during prom and graduation season that taking pictures on railroad tracks can be deadly.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Updated 11:50 a.m., 4/28/2017

Thursday's crossover deadline came and went with a bang. Debate got heated when House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) objected to a final vote on House Bill 113. The measure allows for private citizens to take their local governments and police departments to court for failing to comply with immigration law enforcement.

It was clear Jackson believed Republicans violated a bi-partisan agreement on which bills would get a final vote just ahead of the deadline--Jackson said HB 113 was not one of them. Nonetheless, Jackson backed down when it was clear he was being outmaneuvered by the GOP leadership. The bill survived crossover and moved on to the Senate.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

At the General Assembly it's "crossover week." That means lawmakers in Raleigh are scurrying about and busier than usual as they try to advance dozens of bills before a self-mandated cutoff for legislation to cross over from one chamber to the other.

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