Politics & Government
8:43 am
Tue July 8, 2014

NC Utilities Commission Reconsiders Solar Energy Cost, Possibly Affecting Industry's Future

The construction of a photovoltaic array at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY.
Credit Brookhaven National Laboratory

Environmental groups say hearings underway in Raleigh could determine whether North Carolina’s solar energy industry continues to grow at a rapid pace.

North Carolina has recently become one of the country’s top solar states. It’s number four, after California, Arizona and New Jersey.

Duke Energy and Dominion Power are required to make or buy certain percentage of their energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind and hog and poultry waste. The state utilities commission is reviewing how much energy companies should have to pay for that energy.

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Politics & Government
7:43 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Lawmakers Set To Negotiate Budget Agreement

Credit NC General Assembly

State lawmakers involved in budget negotiations have an important week ahead.

Budget negotiators are expected to meet this week to hammer out the details of a spending plan adjustment for the fiscal year that has already started.

The House will be holding skeleton sessions. The Senate is expected to hold some regular floor sessions, though leaders say they plan to focus on getting a budget done.

It remains to be seen whether lawmakers will work out a few remaining issues, including coal ash, film incentives, and common core education standards.

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Arts & Culture
3:08 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Beat Making Lab: Behind-The-Scenes Blog

Two of the teen participants in the chapel Hill Beat Making Lab
Credit Beat Making Lab

Beat Making Lab is a project where where music artists (producers and emcees)  travel around the world teaching young people to make hip hop and electronic beats. It's run by Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin aka The Apple Juice Kid.

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Arts & Culture
3:04 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Listen: Teen DJ Remembers Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice
Credit Beat Making Lab

Chapel Hill, NC teenager Jennah Jones is also known as DJ Twice. She's part of a project in which teens listen to NPR news stories and and create alternate versions, with original hip hop soundtracks.

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The State of Things
11:07 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Meet Alexandra Zagbayou

Alexandra Zagbayou
Credit studentudurham.org

Meet Alexandra Zagbayou

Alexandra Zagbayou was born in Montreal but returned to her father's homeland of Ivory Coast when she was 4 years old. Six years later, her family fled because they feared political persecution in the tense years before the country's civil war.

"We thought we would be in the U.S. for a summer. The summer turned into 15 years," she said.

The family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Zagbayou learned English by reverse engineering her school's French classes.

Later, her parents returned to Africa while she and her sister stayed in Raleigh with their aunt and uncle. A few years after that, their uncle was killed.

Zagbayou's older sister became her primary guardian while she worked hard to finish high school and secure funding for college. 

One summer, Zagbayou taught dance classes to homeless and displaced youth. This was when she first began to process her own challenging life experiences. She realized not only that she related to her students, but that she had come out the other side. 

Today she helps run the Durham-based college-access organization, Student U. The program empowers students to pursue their own educational journeys despite diverse challenges. 

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Transportation
7:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Clogged Inlet Boosts Cost Of Running NC Ferry

Credit NCDOT

With the ferry trip to Ocracoke Island now taking a little bit longer, it's also become more expensive to operate.

Boats are taking an alternate route that tacks on three miles and 30 minutes to the trip. It will also cost the state Department of Transportation more than an additional $1 million each year.

Tim Haas of the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division says the state has applied for a permit that would allow for a wide ferry channel.

"The way that Hatteras inlet has opened up, a 100-foot wide channel is not sustainable," he says.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Mon July 7, 2014

This Week At The NC General Assembly: Focusing On A Final Budget

Credit NC General Assembly

North Carolina lawmakers say they'll have a busy next few days hashing out differences in their state budget plans.

It's likely there will be fewer lawmakers roaming around the legislative building this week. A select group of Senate and House negotiators are expected to hunker down and focus on the state's spending plan. They'll need to resolve differences in their adjustments to the budget for this fiscal year.

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Hurricane Arthur
4:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

#Arthur: Snapshots Of A Storm

Credit 'Preppy Pimp' / Instagram

Updated July 4 7:15 a.m.: Hurricane Arthur is still a category two hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour. It is moving off the coast, but has left flood waters and downed trees across the Outer Banks. The National Weather Service says the storm surge was as high as four feet overnight.

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Hurricane Arthur
7:31 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Arthur Leaves Flooding, Power Outages Along Outer Banks

Credit National Weather Service / NOAA

Update: Highway 12 Could Reopen Saturday

Governor Pat McCrory says the North Carolina coast took less damage than expected from Hurricane Arthur.  

The storm moved north between the Outer Banks and the mainland as a Category 2 hurricane.  Emergency management officials are reporting downed trees and widespread power outages in their damage assessments this morning, but no injuries have been reported.  

The governor encouraged vacationers who might have canceled trips to the coast to renew their plans.

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Politics & Government
6:41 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

NC House Approves Plan For Coal Ash Clean Up, Sends It To Senate

Some 39,000 tons of ash leaked from a pond in Eden, N.C., into the Dan River in February.
Credit Riverkeeper Foundation

The state House of Representatives has signed off on a plan to close and clean up Duke Energy’s 33 coal ash ponds.

The ash in the ponds is a contamination threat to waterways. And Duke Energy says it could cost up to 10-billion dollars to remove all of it.

In a House debate today, Democratic leader Larry Hall asked who would pay for the clean up.

"The rate payers really should not be penalized further in this bill," Hall said."That's the big elephant in the room."

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