Gurnal Scott

Assistant News Director

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television.   After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there.  He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards.  In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston.  He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002.  Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio.  He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director.  In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent.  Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

Gurnal left WUNC in January 2015.

Ways to Connect

Duke Energy provides electricity for most of North Carolina since the 2012 merger.
Duke Energy

Duke Energy is introducing a program to provide its largest customers with renewable power.   The utility's 'Green Source Rider' initiative would give companies that use large amounts of power an option to use renewable energy in their new or expanded facilities.

Duke Energy will ask participating customers what their new power preference is: wind, solar or some other source.  Spokesman Jeff Brooks says it's then up to the utility to find them ample amounts..

Duke University Hospital
Duke Medecine

Durham County public health officials are investigating a child's death that may have been because of a case of bacterial meningitis.  The health department says the child was rushed to Duke University Hospital after showing symptoms of the disease Wednesday.   

Thursday, operators at the daycare the child attended, Mount Zion Christian, closed the school to be cleaned and disinfected.  Public health spokesman Eric Nickens says he wants parents to know that just being around an infected child will not pass the disease along. 

Prescription drugs at a pharmacy.
Aunti P via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina residents have turned in millions of unused pills this year as part of a effort to fight substance abuse.  State Attorney General Roy Cooper says more than 9,500,000 prescription and over-the-counter drugs were collected during the fall months by police agencies statewide. 

Wake County Shjeriff's Office

The man accused of tampering with a thrill ride at the North Carolina State Fair had his first court appearance Monday.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting bodily injury. 

A judge denied a defense request to reduce his $225,000 bond.  Prosecutors are concerned that because he has no ties to the area, he may be a flight risk. 

Raleigh attorney Roger Smith, Jr. is representing Tutterrow.
NC State Fair

Officials with the North Carolina State Fair say a worker has been injured while disassembling a ride.

Fair spokesman Brian Long says a 35-year-old man was hurt early Monday morning when a piece of one of two rides called the Vortex fell on him.

The ride is not the same one that injured five people last week.  The man's name and condition have not been released.  He was taken to WakeMed Hospital. 

State fair organizers say this year's midway is expected to be one of the best attended of all time.  Final attendance figures for Sunday will be released Monday.  

Prescription drugs at a pharmacy.
Aunti P via Flickr, Creative Commons

Orange County health officials say they will soon begin distributing kits that will help to prevent certain drug overdoses. 

State legislators passed a law that allows the drug Naloxone to be prescribed to patients.  Naloxone can reverse overdoses caused by painkillers like Oxycontin and hydrocodone.  

Orange County health director Colleen Bridger says making the kits available can help reduce what was a high number of deaths in the state since 1999 from abuse of these powerful pain medications.

Technical Park International

State Fair organizers are continuing their investigation into why a thrill ride malfunctioned injuring five people.  Fair-goers won't be able to ride "The Vortex" this final weekend of the 2013 fair.  The ride revved up again unexpectedly after it was stopped to let people off Thursday night. Two of the five people were said to be critically hurt.  

Cone Health

Cone Health in Greensboro will add more specially-trained nurses to a program that can  assist in getting domestic violence convictions. 

The system's forensic nursing program provides training in getting visual proof and logging other evidence that can be used in court cases.  

Program coordinator Catherine Rossi runs the forensic nursing program.  She says techniques nurses learn are similar to those crime scene investigators and medical examiners use to analyze injuries.

HIV microscope image, virus, disease
Duke University

Duke researchers say a protein in breast milk may be a key in preventing babies from contracting HIV from their infected mothers. 

The protein Tenascin-C is produced by the body to aid in helping wounds heal.  Doctors found after isolating the breast milk component that it neutralizes HIV transfer even as breast-fed babies are exposed multiple times daily.  

Sallie Permar is a professor of pediatrics at Duke.  She says their questions now center on moms with HIV.

NC Sweet Potato Commission

Buyers of sweet potatoes grown in North Carolina will likely pay more for them at the market this year. North Carolina sweet potato growers have led the nation for years in producing the root crop.  State agriculture estimates are that Tar Heels last year produced about 47 percent of the crop nationally.

But Sue Johnson-Langdon of the non-profit North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission says this year's yield fell victim to mid-year rainfall that ranks among the wettest in more than a century.  

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

The federal Food and Drug Administration has tapped UNC-Chapel Hill researchers to compile data that  may lead to stronger tobacco regulations. 

One study will focus on effects of tobacco products on the lungs.  The other will examine what people know about the dangers of tobacco and how warnings can be improved.  

Kurt Ribisl is a professor of health behavior at UNC-Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health.  He says most people are unaware of all the negative effects of tobacco.

Durham Police Department

Durham police officers are crediting an initiative started six years ago for reducing crime in one of the city's most violent neighborhoods. 

"Operation Bull's Eye" targeted a two-square-mile area with high rates of crime and "shots fired" calls.  Officers used enforcement and community-building programs to bring shooting incidents down by more than half and overall violent crime down by nearly 40 percent. 

Durham's deputy chief Larry Smith says the lower numbers can't be attributed to enforcement alone.  

United States Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune now has a memorial for military service members wounded in the line of duty. A Purple Heart memorial was given an official dedication Friday.

Captain Ryan Powell is from the Wounded Warrior Battalion Regiment at Quantico, Virginia. He says the memorial is being located near the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East headquarters which provides non-medical care for injured Marines on base. That includes a recovery protocol that also treats the mind, body and spirit...


Conservation groups will begin an effort next year to clear debris from North Carolina waterways.  Fishermen have told coastal organizations that many spots where they drop lines are littered with old crab pots and debris hidden deep in the water. 

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is leading a two-year project to clean up state waters from StumpyPoint to the Virginia line.  Ladd Bayliss is one of the federation's coastal advocates.

Duke Photography

The Duke Blue Devils return to the gridiron Saturday after an open date last weekend.  The Naval Academy will come to Durham for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff at Wallace Wade Stadium. 

Last week it appeared this contest may have been in doubt.  The Midshipmen faced the possibility of canceling their appearance because of the ongoing government shutdown.  Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said Navy kept Duke in the loop on their travel plans.


State transportation officials are working to permanently fix N.C. Highway 12 in Dare County. NCDOT officials say they are in the process of hiring a contractor to build a permanent bridge that will resist future washouts.  

Currently, a temporary metal bridge links where the roadway was destroyed by Hurricane Irene last year. 

Secretary Tony Tata said in an agency release that the project will be an important step in offering a reliable route to the Outer Banks for businesses, residents and visitors. 

US Coast Guard

The Coast Guard suspended its search Wednesday night for a missing boater near Cape Lookout.  The man sent out a distress call Tuesday night saying that his 22-foot Bayliner was taking on water.  He said his plan was to put on his life vest, gather some supplies and swim about 200 yards to shore. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill says it appears the unidentified boater was well prepared in the event of trouble

"Having a life jacket is one of the most important things to help keep that person above the water and prevent them from drowning," says Hill. 

Strickland Farms tobacco and house
Leoneda Inge

U.S. tobacco growers are watching new regulations being considered across the Atlantic.  The European Parliament is set to vote on guidelines that would curtail the use of additives in tobacco that provide flavorings to the plant. 

Burley tobacco -- produced mainly in Kentucky -- contains a number of additives that change the taste.  North Carolina has some burley growers, but mostly exports flue-cured tobacco.  N.C. State extension economist Blake Brown says any new regulations could hurt tobacco farmers.

Kroger announced it is buying Harris Teeter.
Mike Kalasnik via Flickr, Creative Commons

Harris Teeter shareholders have approved a plan for Kroger to acquire the Matthews-based grocery chain.  Harris Teeter officials said in a statement that 83 percent of the votes cast by shareholders were in favor of the $2.5 billion merger agreement.   The acquisition by Ohio-based Kroger still has to be approved by federal regulators. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

North Carolina governor Pat McCrory has criticized the federal Justice Department's lawsuit alleging racial discrimination over new voting rules as a government overreach.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the law signed by McCrory in August, saying changes such as restrictions on certain types of ID and fewer early-voting hours would reduce participation rather than expand it. 

NC State Athletics

The UNC football team faces off this weekend against in-state rival East Carolina.  North Carolina has won 12 of 15 all-time games against the Pirates from Greenville, but that won't dampen the pride that each squad will bring into the game at Chapel Hill.  Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora says the game puts old friends and foes back on the same field.

Duke Energy's Cliffside Steam Station
Duke Energy

State Attorney General Roy Cooper says he will appeal Duke Energy's latest rate hike. The North Carolina Utilities Commission  approved a plan this week allowing the nation's largest utility a to increase consumer rates by 4.5 percent for the first two years and by 5.1 percent in the third year. 

The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) water cycle.
Environmental Protection Agency

North Carolina environmental officials have said "no" to a federal grant to check water quality in areas where fracking may occur.  The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the money from the EPA would only pay for salaries of people brought in to do testing. 

Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder says DENR doesn't need them.


Engineers in Raleigh's Storm Water Utilities Department are planning to replace dams protecting some capital city neighborhoods.  Each project is expected to begin next year with costs into the millions of dollars.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State health officials have confirmed the first death from West Nile virus in North Carolina this year.   The Department of Health and Human Services says the victim was an adult in Wilson County.  Privacy rules do not allow the age, name or gender to be disclosed.