Will Michaels

Daily News Producer

Will Michaels started his professional radio career at WUNC.

He was first an intern while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a part of his internship, he worked for a semester on the daily national show, The Story with Dick Gordon. Will concentrated on radio while at college, studying under veteran NPR reporter Adam Hochberg. He began as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC's radio news magazine, and then became an anchor and managing editor for the program in 2009, when it was named the best college radio news program in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Will came back to WUNC after graduation in 2010 as the producer for the local broadcast of Morning Edition, rising before the sun to help host Eric Hodge gather and present the news. In 2014, he produced WUNC's My Teacher series, part of the North Carolina Teacher Project. He joined the team for The State of Things later that year.

In 2016, Will became WUNC's first Daily News Producer, creating content for WUNC newscasts and periodically filling in as host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Outside of radio, Will holds a seat on the board of the North Carolina Governor's School Alumni Association. He attended Governor's School in 2005 for drama, and still considers himself a theatre geek at heart.

Ways to Connect

A recent study outlines efforts at North Carolina's military bases to help the Department of Defense reduce energy consumption. The report is from the Pew Charitable Trust. It says Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune are using energy reduction projects and bio-fuel to cut costs. Coby Jones is the energy program coordinator at Fort Bragg. He says recent renovations have cut energy consumption by 23 percent at 30 of the base's older buildings.

More than 50 new laws take effect this weekend in North Carolina.

Among the changes starting Saturday is a new provision in the medical malpractice law. People who file lawsuits will be limited to 500-thousand dollars in non-economic damages if they win a case. That includes compensation for pain, suffering and other injuries. There will not be a limit on payments for medical bills and lost wages.

Small businesses on Hatteras Island are struggling to turn a profit a month after Hurricane Irene swept across the Outer Banks. That's despite a decision from the Department of Transportation earlier this month to restart ferry service for both visitors and residents. Keith Andre owns a construction business in Frisco. He says building centers that usually provide his equipment are nearly empty.

FEMA's announcement that it won't run out of funds this week is good news for counties in eastern North Carolina. Local governments have been fronting the bill for disaster relief without a guarantee of reimbursement after Hurricane Irene. In Hyde County, health director Wesley Smith says officials ordered an insecticide spray from low-flying planes for 20,000 acres. He says flooding caused a boom in the mosquito population.

Police in Rocky Mount are using acoustic sensors to detect the sound of gunshots and find the location of the shooter. Sergeant Kevin Bern says the system called "ShotSpotter" uses four sensors strategically placed throughout the city.

State regulators continue a hearing today about whether Duke Energy and Progress Energy should merge.

Pittsburgh and Syracuse are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC announced yesterday it's council of presidents unanimously voted to accept the two Big East schools, expanding the conference to 14 universities. ACC commissioner John Swofford says the council started exploring the idea of expansion more than a year ago.

John Swofford: "We had had, I'll just say, a double-digit number of schools that had reached out to us. What we try to look at is to try to ensure the conference's viability for years to come and our strength moving forward."

Hospitals in eastern North Carolina are now using an online message board that lists beds available for patients with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Sixteen facilities are using the pilot program designed to streamline the admission process for those patients. Luckey Welsh is the director of the Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities. He says patients can sometimes spend days in the Emergency Room while the hospital looks for an available bed.

Drought conditions are improving across North Carolina after rain from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Division of Water Resources spokeswoman Sarah Young says some areas of eastern North Carolina were under extreme drought conditions just days before Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks a few weeks ago.

Several environmental groups have filed a challenge to the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The merger between the two North Carolina-based companies would create the country's largest utility. Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Gudrun Thompson says that makes Duke and Progress responsible for leading the way in developing clean energy resources.

Work crews are making changes to freeways in R-T-P as they build the new Triangle Expressway. The short segment of the Durham Freeway south of I-40 closed for good this week. That section of Highway 147 provided a quick connection to T-W Alexander Drive in south Durham. It will eventually be part of the Triangle Expressway, a toll road running along the west side of Raleigh from Morrisville to Holly Springs. D-O-T spokeswoman Holly Allen says drivers going south on the Durham Freeway should take a detour via I-40.

Police at UNC-Chapel Hill are now using a GPS to track stolen bicycles on campus. Under the strategy implemented this week, officers plant a tracking device on a so-called "bait bike," and then follow the signal if it leaves a certain boundary. Police at N-C State started using the device last November. Deputy chief Jon Barnwell says his department started seeing immediate results.

A utility based in Chicago is proposing an 80-megawatt wind farm in eastern North Carolina. The company Invenergy sent an application to state officials last week for a facility with 49 turbines at a site in Beaufort County. Jay Lucas is an engineer with the state Utilities Commission. He says an 80-megawatt farm could power 20,000 homes, depending on wind capacity.

Residents of Hatteras Island will be allowed to return home today.

AAA Carolinas expects more drivers on the road this holiday weekend despite damage from Hurricane Irene. The agency says about 870,000 motorists will be traveling in North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend. That's about 1 percent more than this time last year. And AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby says that includes areas with storm damage.

Public schools across eastern North Carolina are implementing backup plans for classes due to extensive damage from Hurricane Irene. In Tyrrell County, all but one public school building were breached by three feet of water and sewage. Students there are on a limited schedule in makeshift classrooms until further notice. State school support director Ben Matthews says coastal districts are still trying to come up with estimates for how much it will cost to repair their schools.

Dare County officials are asking residents to conserve power as utilities set up emergency generators on Hatteras Island. Parts of the main highway on the Outer Banks were washed away in four spots near Rodanthe. That left residents who waited out the storm stranded on Hatteras Island. Dare County spokeswoman Cathryn Bryan says emergency crews are taking bare essentials to the hardest hit areas.

The state Department of Transportation says storm surge from Hurricane Irene has completely washed away segments of Highway 12 on Hatteras Island. The storm cut several channels through the road just north of Rodanthe. Highway 12 connects the island to the rest of the Outer Banks and the mainland. DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty says much of the road is still impassible.

Total rainfall amounts from Irene
National Weather Service Raleigh

Hurricane Irene unloaded more than a foot of rain on top of storm surge in eastern North Carolina. Flood waters swept into towns near the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds as ocean water spilled into narrow inlets, and then into neighborhoods. Meteorologist Brandan Dunstan says the massive storm spread hurricane-force wind gusts and rain from the coast to the Piedmont.

Hurricane Irene is moving across the Outer Banks this morning. Will Michaels reports the storm was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, but residents are still seeing high winds and surf up and down the coast.

Irene is cutting a path along the coast between the Outer Banks and the mainland. Meteorologist John Cole is taking cover at the National Weather Service in Morehead City.

The outer bands of Hurricane Irene are making their way across eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service reports steady rainfall in the Wilmington area and swells of six to nine feet along the Outer Banks. Tommy Hutcherson owns the Ocracoke Variety Store. He says he's making some last-minute preparations before conditions get worse.

State officials are once again urging residents of eastern North Carolina to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Forecasters say the storm is likely to pass directly over the Outer Banks Saturday evening as a Category 3 hurricane. Governor Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency for all counties east of I-95 this morning. Perdue says federal agencies are now ready to respond to potential storm damage.

State officials say residents in eastern North Carolina should prepare for the worst if Hurricane Irene brings high winds to the area. Visitors began leaving Ocracoke Island this morning and local officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for residents starting tomorrow. Governor Bev Perdue asked coastal residents this morning to prepare an evacuation plan.

Bev Perdue: "We want folks there to take this storm seriously and to get prepared. We do this regularly in North Carolina. We know how to do it. We are preparing for the worst. Get that plan together today... please."

Hurricane Irene
nasa.gov

North Carolina forecasters are keeping an eye on Hurricane Irene as it makes its way toward the southeast. The storm became a Category 2 hurricane late last night and is expected to strengthen to Category 3 later today. Meteorologist Katie Roussy says the latest forecast has North Carolina in the path of the storm.

Marketing professionals are helping launch a program at Wake Forest University designed to explore new ways to appeal to consumers. The school says it's partnering with marketing companies to teach students how the retail industry is changing. The project's executive director Roger Beahm says online purchases are increasing, which changes the way manufacturers have to present their products.

The state Department of Transportation says it's considering ways to improve activity at North Carolina's ports. The agency is conducting a study it says is designed to explore options for expansion. The Ports Authority proposed building an international port near Southport in 2006. Opponents citing environmental concerns fear the state will use the study to justify building the mega-port. DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty says the agency will consider every proposal.

The Veterans Affairs office in Fayetteville is looking for ways to help homeless veterans there. The VA says the number of homeless female veterans is rising as more women serve in the military. Stephanie Felder is the homeless program coordinator at the VA in Fayetteville. She says the meeting attracted nonprofit groups and employment agencies to help put male and female veterans back to work.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has voted to place annual catch limits on some fish. The council is charged with preventing over-fishing off the coast of North Carolina and other south Atlantic states. The panel voted this week to limit catch totals on species like mackerel, grouper, and dolphin fish. Mike Leonard of the American Sportfishing Association says recreational fishermen are worried the decision could lead to stricter rules for more popular fish.

A team of researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke have taken a step forward in targeting diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. Scientists studied parts of human cells called mitochondria, which produce a cell's energy. The study found a protein linked to cancer causes mitochondria to divide. Duke Medicine doctor David Kashatus says that division can cause cancer cells to form under the right conditions.

The Army is looking to hire more substance abuse counselors at Fort Bragg.

The head of the Army's substance abuse program says the number of troops abusing alcohol has doubled in the last five years. About 11,000 soldiers were treated for alcohol abuse in 2010. 2,000 more were using drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Military doctors say some soldiers resort to substance abuse after going through the stressful cycle of training, fighting overseas and readjusting to life at home. The Army is calling for 130 more counselors at major bases, including 10 at Fort Bragg.

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