Dave DeWitt

Managing Editor for News

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Managing Editor for News. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.

He has filed storites for NPR’s news magazines as well as Marketplace and Only A Game. He formerly worked in college athletics, college admissions, and with the Tar Heel Sports Network. In 2001, he wrote the non-fiction book "True Blue".

 

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mid-currituck bridge
NC DOT

A controversial bridge project that would make the northern Outer Banks more accessible could happen earlier than expected.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge has been on the drawing board for years. The seven-mile bridge would cross the Currituck sound and link Corolla to the mainland.

The State Department of Transportation heard a proposal for a quicker timeline for bridge construction earlier this month. Gov. Pat McCrory outlined the fast-tracking of the project in November.

alligator
NC Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina’s hunters may soon get a chance to bag a gator.

The State Wildlife Resources Commission is considering adding alligators to the list of "huntable" animals.

According to the best guess by biologists, the number of alligators has risen steadily in North Carolina in recent years. An exact number of the stealthy, largely nocturnal reptiles is very hard to determine.

Oil drilliing
Wikipedia

A new economic assessment is the latest effort in the ongoing fight over possible oil exploration off the North Carolina coast.

A Duke Energy power plant and coal ash ponds outside Asheville.
Zen Sutherland

A standing-room-only crowd packed a state government board room in Raleigh last night to express their thoughts on North Carolina’s commitment to climate change.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

North Carolina is home to seven natural lakes. Jordan Lake—despite its name—is not one of them. It’s a reservoir, created in 1974.

And almost from the day it was first dammed, Jordan Lake has been impaired.

Enviva
Dave DeWitt

Enviva, the embattled wood-pellet manufacturer, has announced a $5 million conservation program designed to save some of North Carolina’s environmentally sensitive forests.

Enviva has been under fire from critics for using whole hardwood trees to make the majority of the wood pellets it produces, instead of wood waste. At its two plants in North Carolina, more than 85 percent of the wood comes from hardwood trees.

Kathy Bosiak
Climate Generation

The main goal of the U.N. Climate Talks in Paris this week and next is to negotiate international efforts to deal with the climate crisis. But it will also serve as a learning experience for future generations.

Dave DeWitt

Trucks carrying long logs stream into the wood pellet plant on the edge of Ahoskie all day, every day. The facility, owned by a company called Enviva, was an abandoned saw mill just five years ago. Now, it towers over the adjacent Wal-Mart and Hardees, spewing white smoke.

Along the fence that encircles the plant, logs are stacked 40-feet high. Longleaf pine, southern red oak, white ash - pretty much every tree species that grows in the southeast could be used to make wood pellets.

Judge Arnold Jones
NC Innocence Inquiry Commission

North Carolina Superior Court Judge Arnold Ogden Jones II has been charged with trying to bribe an FBI agent to collect text messages between two phone numbers in what the judge said was a family matter.

Greg Fishel
WRAL.com

Broadcast meteorologists on local television have one job. It’s simple to express but difficult to do well. Predict the future, a few days at a time.

To be an effective forecaster, a broadcast meteorologist has to be a scientist. And because it’s TV, she or he also has to be likable and trustworthy.

Greg Fishel of WRAL is all of those things. He also used to be a global warming denier. Now, he admits he was wrong.

John Fennebresque
Dave DeWitt

John Fennebresque has resigned his seat on the UNC Board of Governors, effectively immediately. An attorney from Charlotte, Fennebresque had served as Board Chair since 2014.

Last year, he oversaw a controversial review of UNC academic centers that some called politically motivated. It eventually led to the closing of the UNC-Chapel Hill Law School’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, among others.

Duke Energy
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has announced it will buy Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion dollars in cash.

Piedmont Natural Gas serves customers in almost every area of the state, outside the Triangle. Both companies are headquartered in Charlotte.

“This transaction consolidates our critical natural gas and power infrastructure into one company to greatly enhance customer service, safety, integrity, and reliability,” said Piedmont CEO Tom Skaines in a conference call.

North Topsail Beach
North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach officials are hoping the federal government will help rebuild after coastal flooding associated with Hurricane Joaquin washed away about $15 million in sand there.

FEMA officials visited the area twice in the last two weeks. They will decide if a federal disaster declaration is warranted. If granted, federal money will be used to replenish sand and rebuild dunes along the coastline.

Margaret Spellings
Dave DeWitt

Margaret Spellings has spent her professional life in the eye of the political storm. She served President George W. Bush as Education Secretary and political advisor. And now that she’s the choice of the UNC Board of Governors to be the new UNC system president, it’s not going to get any less windy.

First, let’s start with those who believe they have hired a quote “game-changer.”

UNC Board of Governors
Dave DeWitt

The UNC Board of Governors is meeting behind closed doors Friday in Cary amid strong disagreements over the search for a new system president.

Aziz Sancar
Dave DeWitt

Aziz Sancar and Paul Modrich have both devoted their professional lives to DNA repair. That might seem like a small enough area of research that, if two of the most important scientists in the field live and work a few miles apart, they would be frequent collaborators.

biogas
Dave DeWitt

To a visitor, the hog houses down a dusty dirt road outside Magnolia, North Carolina look like any other hog houses.

Here in Duplin County, there are low-slung buildings like this one around every bend, filled with hundreds of thousands of hogs. But this facility is different—just how different can be found down the hill behind the building.

Manure, flowing from the hog house, falls out of a pipe and into an open-air cement tank. From here, it goes to a much larger, circular, blue tank called a digestor.

BOEM

North Carolina is one step closer to offshore wind turbines. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management - the federal agency that supervises offshore wind power development as well as offshore oil drilling - announced earlier today the completion of an environmental review of three potential sites off the North Carolina coast.

BOEM found no significant environmental or socioeconomic issues that should stop the issuing of wind energy leases.

Dave DeWitt

The dank, dark tunnel deep inside the Cowans Ford Dam—about 100 feet or so below the water line of Lake Norman north of Charlotte—is where I learn a little-known fact.

All dams leak.

Jeff Lineberger, Duke Energy’s director of Hydro Strategy and Licensing, and Mike Williams, the Cowans Ford facility director, smile and patiently explain to a novice the small waterfalls cascading down a staircase and into a trough alongside the tunnel.

solar
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The 429-page state budget, released just before midnight Monday, contains plenty of provisions that will affect the future of the environment in North Carolina.

flounder
NC DENR

The General Assembly may halt an effort by the state agency tasked with managing fisheries to limit flounder catches.

Last month, the Marine Fisheries Commission was supposed to vote on setting limits on southern flounder, a staple on restaurant menus across the state and a $4.8 million business for commercial fishermen.

Those limits included raising the minimum size limit to 15 inches, implementing a total allowable catch limit for commercial harvest, the prohibition of large-mesh gill nets and no further reductions to the recreational limits.

Allen plant
Duke Energy

Duke Energy has settled a landmark lawsuit over air pollution at coal-burning power plants in North Carolina.

The suit was first filed in 2000 by the U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the EPA. They alleged that Duke Energy violated the federal Clean Air Act by unlawfully modifying 13 coal-fired electricity generating units located at the Allen, Buck, Cliffside, Dan River, and Riverbend plants, without obtaining air permits and installing and operating the required air pollution control technologies.

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Two proposals in the State Legislature would have a significant impact on the so-called Jordan Lake Rules. The rules were passed in 2009 and were designed to reduce polluted runoff into the lake, among other regulations. Jordan Lake has been on the federal list of impaired waterways since 2002.

One provision in the current Senate budget would delay the implementation of the Jordan Lake Rules for two years. The rules have been delayed previously in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Conservation groups notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today that they intend to sue the federal agency over its management of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

The groups say the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed in its responsibility to protect red wolves. The nearly 30-year old program is an effort to re-introduce the animals that were extinct in the wild.

The North Carolina Attorney General’s office has announced it will not retry a white police officer who shot an unarmed African-American man in Charlotte. Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell in 2013 after responding to a breaking-and-entering call.

The voluntary manslaughter trial of Kerrick ended in a mistrial last week. The hung jury was stuck at 8-to-4 in favor of an acquittal.

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