News

Erskine Bowles is spending his last few days as president of the UNC system. Tom Ross takes over in January.

The Erskine Bowles Era was defined in his first few years by streamlining the 17-campus UNC system - and then, in the final years, because of the recession, fighting for dwindling resources.

Tom Ross takes over for Bowles at a time when those resources are likely to be at an all-time low. Ross was, most recently, the President of Davidson College. He says he hopes to have has much success courting state legislators as Bowles did:

Total lunar eclipse captured January 20-21, 2000
Mr. Eclipse/Fred Espenak; nasa.gov

Night owls across North Carolina could witness an eerie occurrence tonight. There will be a total lunar eclipse from around 1:30 to 4 am. That’s when the Earth is directly between the moon and sun, temporarily blocking out the moon.

Campus Cops In Limbo

Dec 20, 2010

Every year, hundreds of arrests are made by police officers on private college campuses. The offenses range from public intoxication to drunk driving to sexual assault.  The officers making the arrests are fully licensed by the state; they carry firearms; and they are specially trained to work in a community made up mostly of 18 to 22 year olds.  But a case making its way through the North Carolina court system challenges their authority - and offers a different twist on the old arguments about the separation of church and state. 

State Jobless Rate Up

Dec 17, 2010

New numbers out today paint a struggling jobs picture for the state of North Carolina.

 North Carolina lost more jobs in November than any other state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – the state lost 12-thousand 500 jobs.

That may explain why the state’s unemployment rate crept up by a tenth of a percent to 9-point-7 percent in November.

The U.S. Senate may take up the DREAM Act tomorrow. The immigration reform bill aimed at students is likely to be opposed by both North Carolina senators.

The Dream Act is a bi-partisan bill first introduced in Congress in 2001. It passed the U.S. House last week  It allows the children of illegal immigrants to attend college or enter the military, with the opportunity to pursue a path to legal citizenship. 

NC State has received the largest gift in the University's history. Lonnie and Carol Johnson Poole have given $40 million, most of it to the College of Management.

Lonnie Poole is a graduate of NC State and founded Waste Industries USA in 1970. He led an investor group that took the company private for $550 million in 2008.

$37 million of Poole's $40million gift will go to the College of Management at NC State. That school will now be named for him. $2.5 million will go towards building a clubhouse at the university's golf course.

Rockwell, `The Problem We All Live With,` 1963, oil on canvas, 36 x 58in., Illustration for Look, Jan. 14, 1964
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, NRM. 1975.1, Licensed by Norman Rockwell Licensing, Niles, Ill.

American Chronicles – The Art of Norman Rockwell is currently on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art.  It has traveled the country since last Spring.  The exhibit includes some 40 original oil paintings – chronicling six decades of Rockwell’s work – and a complete set of more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers.  Rockwell was meticulous in creating scenes of American life – whimsical and idyllic.  During the latter part of his life – he took his work out of New England and captured what was transforming the south – the Civil Rights movement.

America has not reached the peak of the foreclosure crisis. But a survey by Fannie Mae says that hasn’t hampered people’s dreams of home ownership.

North Carolina is among the ten states hit hardest by foreclosures this year - up there with Florida, California and Ohio.  Doug Duncan is Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae – the Federal National Mortgage Association.  He says their 2010 Own-Rent Analysis says no matter the person’s race, geographic region or income –aspirations of home ownership are strong.

Perdue Undecided On Video Gambling

Dec 16, 2010
Bev Perdue
Laura Leslie

Governor Bev Perdue says she has not yet ruled out the possibility of asking lawmakers to legalize and regulate internet gambling.

Minor-League Shakeup

Dec 16, 2010

The Carolina Mudcats minor-league baseball team has been sold to a group in Florida. The team is slated to move after next season.

The Mudcats Double-A franchise is leaving largely due to the travel costs associated with flying to games in the far-flung Southern League.

Perdue To GOP: Walk The Walk

Dec 16, 2010
Bev Perdue
Laura Leslie

The new Republican majority hasn’t even taken power in the statehouse yet, but Governor Bev Perdue is already asking them for favors.  At a hearing Wednesday, Perdue urged lawmakers to limit the length of their sessions, and set up an independent panel to handle redistricting.

GOP Seeks Current-Year Cuts

Dec 16, 2010
Thom Tillis
NC General Assembly

The state legislature isn’t back in session till January. But incoming Republican leaders are asking Governor Bev Perdue to start cutting spending now.

At a special budget meeting Wednesday, leaders of state agencies painted a grim fiscal picture, projecting that next year’s revenue will fall around $3.7 billion short.  That means lawmakers will either have to raise revenue or cut spending by about 20%.

Officials at Fort Bragg are holding a town hall meeting tomorrow for military families who have babies. Military investigators have been looking into a series of ten unexplained infant deaths on base since last year. So far they haven't found an environmental link, and they're waiting for consumer product safety results.

Tom McCullom is a spokesman for the base:

Justin Townes Earle
myspace.com/justintownesearle

Singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle has forged a sound that harkens back to another era. His albums are crisp and his live performances inspired. The latest album, "Harlem River Blues" is something of a love letter to New York City. WUNC's Eric Hodge sat down with Justin Townes Earle before he played Cat's Cradle Monday, December 13th, 2010.

CFOs More Optimistic

Dec 15, 2010

Chief Financial Officers say they are a lot more optimistic about the economy in this last quarter of 2010 than they were just a few months ago.

More than 800 CFOs from across the country – representing public and private companies – were surveyed by Duke University and CFO Magazine. 

Kate O’Sullivan is Senior Editor at CFO Magazine.  She says 50-percent of the CFOs surveyed say their companies plan on spending money in the new year on everything from research and development to full-time hiring.

The Wake County School Board is one step closer to hiring a new superintendent. The new leader will be faced with several challenges involving the state’s largest school district.

A new superintendent will deal with a significant budget shortfall, a federal Title VI investigation, and a review by the agency that accredits the county’s high schools. On top of that, the school district’s top administrator will also inherit a deeply divided School Board.

That Board met last night behind closed doors. They interviewed candidates earlier this month at a hotel in Raleigh.

More Uninsured In Bad Economy

Dec 15, 2010
NC Institute of Medicine
NC Institute of Medicine

The number of people who lack health insurance has been climbing in the wake of the economic downturn. That's according to an new analysis by the state Institute of Medicine.

Volunteers and wildlife rehabilitators have rescued about twenty endangered sea turtles from cold waters and beaches so far this month. Lou Browning is a wildlife rehabilitator on Hatteras Island who's been helping transport turtles stunned by cold waters to veterinarians.

"When the temperature drops quickly, we get a cold that comes through the sound and the water temperature drops dramatically, when it drops below about 56 degrees Fahrenheit, sea turtles have a difficult time and they become lethargic."

NC Building Codes Get Greener

Dec 14, 2010
ASU Tech Chair Jeff Tiller
ASU

The state’s Building Codes Council agreed today to require higher energy efficiency in new buildings.  Starting in 2012, commercial buildings must be 30% more energy efficient than they’re required to be today.  New homes must be 15% more efficient. That means more insulation, better windows, and other changes.

Senate Dems Stay With Nesbitt

Dec 14, 2010
Sen. Martin Nesbitt
NCGA

Asheville Democrat Martin Nesbitt will be leading the Senate Democrats in their first session as a minority party in more than a century.

Blackbeard
NC Department of Cultural Resources

Archeologists are unveiling artifacts recovered from the wreck of the notorious pirate Blackbeard's flagship today in Greenville. Many of the 122 items from the Queen Anne's Revenge will be sent to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and the North Carolina Museum of History.

middle schoolers
Jane Van Middlesworth

At many middle schools, students have the option of enrolling in band classes to play music. But very few have their own marching bands. Northern Middle School in Greensboro is an exception to that rule. The band has made quite a name for itself in parades and concerts across the state. In fact it's so good that it has been invited to play at college football's Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida on New Year's Day.

Senate Dems To Choose Leaders

Dec 14, 2010

State Senate Democrats will meet in Raleigh today to do something they haven’t done in more than a century – choose a minority leader. 

Current President Pro Tem Marc Basnight has led the Senate for 18 years -- the longest-serving legislative leader in state history. But last month’s elections put an end to his tenure. When the Senate convenes in January, Democrats will be in the minority for the first time since Reconstruction.

State officials are encouraging people in the Roanoke River Basin to attend public hearings on water usage. The state is holding a series of meetings focusing on the quantity of water needed to support population growth over the next few decades. Steve Reid works for the State Division of Water Resources. He says the river and its tributaries are used for everything from drinking water to recreational boating:

Simple Test For Ovarian Cancer Unlikely

Dec 13, 2010

Researchers have been looking for a way to screen women for ovarian cancer, and find it early. But a Duke researcher warns it might not be so simple.

Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, in part because it's often found in its late stages. There's already a blood test, plus ultrasound... but the protocol's not that accurate. 

Duke gynecologist Laura Havrilesky says one reason why screening doesn't work so well is that ovarian cancer isn't just one disease, but many. And the dangerous cancers grow fast.

The wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards is being laid to rest today.  Hundreds of supporters and some protestors have vowed to gather outside the service.

Elizabeth Edwards is being remembered as a mother, wife author and role model for many across the country.   It’s her celebrity that is drawing a radical, anti gay protest from Kansas to Raleigh.  George Reed is the executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. He says hundreds of people have joined the council in denouncing Westboro Baptist Church.

A coordinated effort among law enforcement, schools, and non-profits would help to combat the impact of gangs in Guilford County. That’s according to a study presented today by UNC Greensboro. Youth Focus, a non-profit for at-risk youth is one of the groups involved in that effort.

Executive Director Chuck Hodierne says he hopes the study will make the community more aware of the issue of gangs. He says gang activity is a very difficult problem to address directly:

Perdue, GOP Agree On Slimmer State Payroll

Dec 10, 2010
Gov. Perdue
Laura Leslie

Incoming Republican leaders are applauding a new plan by Governor Bev Perdue to streamline state government, cut state jobs, and save millions of dollars.

Walker Golder
Audubon North Carolina

One of the last undeveloped barrier islands in North Carolina is one step closer to permanent protection. Audubon North Carolina has purchased a 35-acre tract of land on Lea Island in Pender County. The money was made available through a private donation.

Black farmers in North Carolina and across the country are celebrating the signing of a bill authorizing payments to settle a racial bias lawsuit.

For decades – African American farmers have complained to the government about discrimination from the United States Department of Agriculture – or USDA.  With the stroke of a pen – President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 – freeing up 1.15-billion dollars in settlement money. 

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