Jeremy Loeb

Reporter

Ways to Connect

A new poll shows a majority of North Carolinians are opposed to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The data out of Elon University shows 56 percent of state residents opposed to an amendment to ban gay marriage and civil unions. Assistant poll director Mileah Kromer says support for same-sex couples in North Carolina is now widespread.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are among several groups who filed a federal lawsuit today opposing new restrictions on abortions in North Carolina. The new state law requires women undergo specific counseling, view an ultrasound, and wait 24 hours before having an abortion. The groups argue that violates the free speech and due process rights of health care providers and women seeking abortions. Donna Burkett is Medical Director for Planned Parenthood Health Systems.

Congressman David Price
price.house.gov

Congressman David Price represents North Carolina's 4th District, which covers Durham, Chapel Hill, and parts of Raleigh and Cary.  The North Carolina Democrat spoke from Cairo, Egypt.  He's there as part of a bipartisan group working with the fledgling governments in Tunisia and Egypt to help set up democratic governments. 

Interstate 95 map
i95highway.com

State transportation officials are looking at ways of raising revenue to modernize Interstate 95. One thing they're looking at is tolling the highway. That's being considered up and down the coast. Greer Beaty with the Department of Transportation says a large-scale study of I-95 started early last year. She says there are a number of things to consider.

 New census data shows the number of same-sex couples in North Carolina has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

43 soldiers at Fort Bragg suffered heat-related injuries this morning during a 12-mile march. That's according to spokeswoman Jackie Thomas. Thomas says 25 of them were treated on the spot. 18 of them were transported to Womack Medical Center, where 13 of them were admitted, and one of them was placed in Intensive Care Unit.

Jackie Thomas: "I wouldn't attribute that to them being pushed too far. You know, you have to understand, it's a pretty grueling series of things that they've been going through in this competition. "

Voters in several communities will begin casting ballots today ahead of local elections on October 11th. Durham voters will be selecting their choices for mayor and city council.

John Edwards
citizensforethics.org

A government watchdog group wants the charges against former North Carolina Senator John Edwards dropped. Edwards is accused of conspiring to pay the expenses of his mistress using campaign donations. Those payments were made by two of his close friends. Melanie Sloan is Executive Director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Experts on solar energy are converging in Raleigh today for a conference designed to help expand the development of new technology. Siemens Industry is partnering with the North Carolina Solar Center for "Solar Exchange East" at North Carolina State University. Stephen Kalland is Executive Director for the North Carolina Solar Center. He says the conference will cover a number of issues.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission will hear testimony Tuesday on the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The Commission will hear from company officials in favor and from environmental groups opposed to the merger. Tom Williams is a spokesman for Duke Energy.

The Triangle's four major universities are collaborating on a multi-year study of "soft matter." The National Science Foundation awarded a 6-year grant worth nearly 14-million dollars to researchers at Duke, UNC, NC State, and NC Central Universities. Soft matter is usually material that is squishy like proteins, D-N-A solutions, polymers, and gels. They can be assembled into structures that researchers hope will one day prove useful.

Anti-Abortion License Plate
ncchoose-life.org

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is filing a federal lawsuit alleging the state's adoption of "Choose Life" license plates is unconstitutional on the grounds that a pro-choice alternative isn't offered. Katherine Lewis Parker is a Legal Director at the ACLU.

An artist's rendering of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral
holynamecathedralnc.org

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh plans to build a 2,000-seat cathedral in southwest Raleigh. Church officials say the Sacred Heart Church in downtown Raleigh has a seating capacity of 320 - making it the smallest Catholic cathedral in the continental U-S. Bishop Michael Burbidge says that's insufficient to serve the needs of a growing Catholic population.

Electric cars like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are coming onto the market. And charging stations for them are starting to pop up as well. The state Department of Commerce awarded Raleigh-based Praxis Technologies a 240-thousand dollar grant. Praxis has partnered with Silicon Valley-based Coulomb Technologies to install around 20 electric car charge stations across the state. Praxis CEO Skip Kurz says their goal is to raise awareness about the technology.

UNC Chapel Hill researchers have found that most Mexican immigrants to the United States adopt a more "American" diet despite the abundance of Hispanic food options. Carolina Batis is a P-h-D candidate in nutrition at UNC and author of the study. She says some of the changes include more healthy items like fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk, and fish.

Rural roads and bridges across the country are often unsafe and in need of repair. That's according to a new report by TRIP, a national non-profit research group out of Washington. The report finds traffic deaths are around three times likelier on rural roads than all other roads. 907 people died on rural roads in North Carolina in 2009. That's the third highest total in the country.

US Senator Kay Hagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Governor Bev Perdue
hagan.senate.gov

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands remain cut off from the mainland after Hurricane Irene dumped water and sand on several parts of Highway 12. There are several breaches in the highway just north of Rodanthe. Governor Bev Perdue says officials are doing all they can.

Hurricane Irene is gone but its effects linger on. The storm couldn't have come at a worse time for an area that relies on its tourism industry. Irene completely washed out a section of Highway 12 just north of Rodanthe. That means the only way to reach Hatteras Island as the important Labor Day Weekend approaches is by boat. Michael Gardener is manager of the Sea Side Inn in Hatteras Village.

Irene is blowing across the Outer Banks now as a Category 1 hurricane. Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Toolan says there's a section of Highway 12 north of Rodanthe that's washed over with sand and water. D-O-T is saying the road is intact.

Dorothy Toolan:  "This storm is just moving past Hatteras and the winds are starting to shift so we've still got a ways to go and as some of the bands move through, we have some lulls. You know, we're trying to remind folks that it's going to be with us for a while and they need to stay indoors."

Hurricane Irene
nasa.gov

Evacuations are underway on Ocracoke Island ahead of Hurricane Irene. Lucy Wallace is spokeswoman for the Ocracoke Ferry Office.

Hurricane Irene
nasa.gov

The town of Ocracoke and Hyde County has issued a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irene. There's a mandatory evacuation in place for visitors and a voluntary one for residents. But residents will have a mandatory evacuation starting at 5 am tomorrow. Hyde County spokeswoman Jamie Tunnell says people considering staying should heed the warnings.

Earthquakes might be rarer on the east coast than they are in the west. But Laura Wagner, assistant professor of seismology at UNC Chapel Hill, explains why tremors here can be felt over such long distances.

Federal officials are recognizing the work of state water quality and transportation officials in protecting wetlands. The Federal Highway Administration is presenting the state Division of Water Quality and Department of Transportation with two awards. Susan Massengale is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. She says one award is for the development of an advanced modeling system that produces accurate maps of streams and wetlands.

Durham is one of seven counties in North Carolina chosen to participate in a national, long-term children's health study. The National Children's Study is the largest long-term study on children's health ever done in the U-S. It seeks to recruit pregnant women or women expecting to be pregnant and then follow their children all the way to their 21st birthdays. Researchers will collect data from the children's environment to see how that correlates to any number of health problems that may develop.

Cree's LED streetlights on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill
cree.com

Durham-based LED light maker Cree is acquiring one of its competitors. The company announced it's buying Wisconsin-based Ruud Lighting for around $525 million. Commercial industries have been moving towards L-E-D lighting because it uses less energy and is less costly to maintain. Cree spokeswoman Michelle Murray says Ruud's experience selling outdoor lighting will complement Cree's lineup of indoor lighting fixtures.

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