News

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. 

Dix Closure Imminent

Dec 8, 2010
Dorothea Dix Hospital
NC DHHS

It looks like the closure of Dorothea Dix hospital will be almost complete by the year's end.   The state-run psychiatric facility in Raleigh has been slated for closure for years under the state's mental health reform. The only patients to remain on the downtown campus will be 30 minimum security criminal patients. 

Members of the Fort Bragg based 82nd Sustainable Brigade arrive home later today. About 100 soldiers are making the trip after serving for a year in Afghanistan. Military officials say the group handled getting supplies to soldiers throughout the embattled country.

Sergeant First Class Jason Allgood says today's reunion comes just in time for the holidays:

Photo from the Edwards Campaign
the Edwards Campaign

On October 21, 2004, at a hotel in Kenosha Wisconsin, Elizabeth Edwards found a lump in her breast the size of a plumb. An election that could vault her husband into the vice presidency was just days away. She was the mother of three children.

Elizabeth Edwards Dies

Dec 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards died at her home in Chapel Hill this morning.  She was 61.  Edwards was the estranged wife of former North Carolina Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards.  A family statement says, ``Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family.''  Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

Budget Cuts Could Cost Students

Dec 7, 2010

State education leaders are warning lawmakers that double-digit budget cuts will affect university and community college classrooms.

State lawmakers are looking for spending cuts to offset a $3.2 billion shortfall next year.  But higher education officials say a proposal to cut their budgets 10% would mean fewer seats, fewer classrooms, and higher tuition.  UNC Chief Operating Officer Jeff Davies says universities already sustained huge cuts in this year’s budget.  He says schools would have to raise tuition 6.5% just to keep their doors open:

Tobacco workers employed by Lorillard plan to protest at an FDA meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning in Raleigh. The government is reviewing the safety of menthol cigarettes- Lorillard has a market share of about 35 percent of the product. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 317-T in Greensboro is organizing the event. Randy Fulk is the union's international representative. He worked for Lorillard Tobacco for more than 36 years:

Pres. Barack Obama at Forsyth Tech
Jennifer Rotenizer, Winston-Salem Journal

There have been encouraging signs the economy is no longer shrinking – but growing.   President Barack Obama told a crowd in Winston-Salem yesterday he will continue to fight for investments in education and innovation – a move he says will help continue the country’s economic recovery.   The president’s words were welcomed by students and staff at Forsyth Technical Community College where they’re in the business of re-invention and re-training.

Debra Goldman
Wake Schools

The Wake County School Board meets later today. One item on the agenda is a discussion on a revised student assignment plan for next year.

Rep. Tim Moore
NC General Assembly

State Republicans plan to introduce a bill that would require voters in North Carolina to present identification… possibly photo identification… before casting votes. Republicans have tried to pass this sort of bill before. But they’ve been the minority party.  They will take over the House and Senate in January.

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