News

Construction workers monitor the a solar farm in Fuquay Varina
http://www.stratasolar.com / Strata Solar

North Carolina companies are in the midst of a sustainable energy boom. Solar farms have bloomed, wind farms could be on their way, and local entrepreneurs are experimenting with biofuels and solar power. But cheap natural gas and new legislation could slow sustainable energy growth.

Experts are discussing these advancements at the North Carolina Department of Commerce's 10th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference in Raleigh today. Keynote speaker Marilyn Brown is a professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She said today on The State of Things that many people are looking to fracking for natural gas to solve our energy needs.

US Army image of a bassoon from the US Army Band Europe.
Flicker user SJrankin

  The music critic and composer Cecil Gray once said: "The bassoon in the orchestra plays the same role as Gorgonzola among cheeses -- a figure for fun. Actually, the bassoon can be the most romantic and passionate of instruments, and Gorgonzola can be the finest of cheeses, but they must both be treated properly."  Why would anyone pick up the bassoon?

Meals on Wheels volunteers in Wake County.
Meals on Wheels of Wake County

The automatic budget cuts or sequester handed down from Washington are starting to affect North Carolina organizations that serve seniors.  Meals on Wheels of Wake County says they got the news last week.  Sequestration means they will lose funding that equates to 12,000 meals a year.  Alan Winstead, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels of Wake County, says he’s confident they will find alternative funding to continue serving hot lunches to 1,300 seniors a day, but the budget cuts have other implications. 

A 17-year periodic cicada from the Magicicada genus in Brood XIII. Cicadas from this genus will emerge in NC soon.
Bruce Marlin, via Wikimedia Commons

North Carolinians in the western Triangle and Triad soon will be visited en masse by the ear-splitting song of the 17-year cicadas. Over the next ten days or so, cicadas from  a group classified as Brood II will begin emerging from the ground and begin a month-long mating frenzy. The females will lay their eggs by sawing little slits into twigs on trees and depositing their eggs into those slits. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs drop to the ground and tunnel into the soil to feed on tree roots, where they'll stay for another 17 years until they become adults.

Coastal plain counties where the groundwater is improving.
NC Division of Water Resources

Officials with the state Division of Water Resources say a new report shows great improvement in groundwater levels over a 15-county area in eastern North Carolina. According to state officials, deep-well, freshwater aquifers in the coastal plain have to stay above full capacity to keep from mixing with saltwater.  If they were to mix, cities would have to spend money to filter out saltwater to make their water is safe to drink.

UNC School of Law, university
Steve Exum, UNC School of Law

Many law schools across the country have experienced a drop in applications over the past two years.  Officials say rising tuition and a shaky job market are contributing to the decline. 

“Applications this year, reflecting kind of a national trend are down to about 1,510 from 2,300 last year, that's about a 35 percent drop,” says Jack Boger, dean of the UNC School of Law. “A lot of law schools experienced that kind of drop a year ago; we didn't at that point, but the national trend has caught up with us.”

Rolling Jubilee Poster
Rolling Jubilee

So easy to get, so hard to pay off.

With the national average for student debt hovering around $23,000, a group of activists is purchasing student debt from collectors and simply "forgiving it." The group, known as Rolling Jubilee, call their movement "a bailout of the people by the people." 

On The Story, host Dick Gordon speaks with Rolling Jubilee member Christopher Cassucio, who owes more than $100,000 in student loan debt.

`Sea of Greed` is a book by Judge Douglas McCullough reflects back on the Manuel Noriega arrests.
amazon.com

  Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was a infamous figure on the international stage during the 1980s. Before he became a caricature of the "crazy" dictator, he was on the payroll of the CIA and helped the United States gain information on Cuba.

Alligator River bridge repairs
NCDOT

The Alligator River Bridge in Tyrrell and Dare counties is once again open to traffic.  The U.S. Highway 64 swing bridge was reopened to traffic late Sunday evening after being closed for the better part of two weeks.  The Alligator River bridge is a major connection between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina. 

It’s Tax Day and many people are hoping for tax refunds.  But will they save it or spend it?   The waiting room was full on Friday at the taxpayer assistance center at Northgate Mall in Durham. Tradell Adkins was there.

“Every year I try to say I’ll get it done around January, February, at the latest March.  But it always ends up being in April," says Adkins.

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