Will Michaels

Producer, "The State of Things"

Will Michaels is a fan of news, sound and story. He started as an intern at WUNC when he was a student at the University of North Carolina. 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 in 2010 as the producer for Morning Edition for a couple of years, rising before the sun to help morning 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 is now a producer for The State of Things.

Ways to Connect

Animal Control officials say at least 10 packs of wild dogs are roaming neighborhoods in Cumberland County. Residents have recently reported feral dogs attacking or killing family pets. County Animal Control director John Lauby says more owners are abandoning their pets as they struggle with an economy still coming out of recession. Dogs instinctively join packs after being without food for long periods of time. Lauby says some residents have been feeding the wild dogs, which takes away his ability to trap them.

The FDA has approved a Triangle company's method of treating dry-eye disease. The medical-device company TearScience announced today it will start producing its product called LipiFlow. TearScience president and CEO Tim Willis says it's a treatment that includes a series of procedures to open obstructed oil glands in the eyelids that usually keep eyes moisturized.

The National Park Service is accepting public comment about rules governing off-road vehicles on the Outer Banks. North Carolina environmental groups filed a lawsuit in 2007 that said regulators did not have proper rules in place to protect wildlife from vehicles that might disturb sea turtle nests and other natural habitats. At the same time, some North Carolina lawmakers lobbied for beach access to support local businesses. Mike Murray is the superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Federal investigators are looking into allegations of mistreatment at the Wake County jail. The North Carolina ACLU compiled 57 complaints in 2009 and 2010 from detainees accused of illegal immigration. Some say their rights to due process were violated. The ACLU claims that constitutes a violation of an immigration law called 287(g). It allows the federal government to enter into agreements with local law enforcement to carry out immigration functions. Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison:

A Raleigh task force has recommended a $300 million light rail route for the downtown area. It's part of a proposal from Triangle Transit Authority to complete commuter train and light rail systems from Orange to Wake Counties by 2025. Eric Lamb is Raleigh's transportation planning director. He says the proposed route leaves the existing tracks at Morgan Street and splits into two tracks that wrap around the Capitol Building at Wilmington and Salisbury Streets.

Social workers in Cumberland County are contacting high school dropouts this summer in an attempt to bring them back to class. Natasha Scott is the district's executive director of student services. She says her department is looking up every dropout and contacting them individually before the next school year.

Natasha Scott: "What that includes is making phone calls to students and actually going out and making home visits to students. So you always want to keep looking for students and keep working until you work yourself out of a job, essentially."

Voters in Durham County will decide on a half-cent sales tax designed to increase revenue for a future rail line in the Triangle. Commissioners voted unanimously last week to place a referendum on November's ballot. It would raise more than $18 million to fund Triangle Transit Authority's proposal for a train network connecting Chapel Hill to Garner. Wake and Orange Counties decided to put off referendums until next year. Durham commissioner Ellen Reckhow says it makes sense for the county to take the lead on the project due to its central location in the Triangle.

An American flag salvaged from the World Trade Center on 9/11 will be in North Carolina this Independence Day. The National 9/11 Flag is touring the country before going on exhibit at the September 11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero. It arrives at the North Carolina Fourth of July Festival in Southport on Monday. Event coordinator Brad Fisher says the flag is the centerpiece of this year's festivities.

North Carolina's gas tax will increase by 2.5 cents this week. Analysts say that will cost drivers about $20 per year while raising about $150 million for the state's transportation fund. About 60 percent of that money comes from the gas tax. The increase goes into effect Friday, just before the holiday weekend. But Tom Crosby of Triple A Carolinas says it won't stop drivers from hitting the road for Independence Day.

Firefighters took a step forward this week in controlling North Carolina's wildfires. Forestry officials say the blaze in Dare County was fully contained Monday night. But Division of Forest Resources spokesman Chris Carlson says firefighters still face the daunting task of putting it out.

Chris Carlson: "There are some areas within the interior that are just too far to get water to, so they may continue to smolder for a while. The peat soil is deep, so the only thing that we can do is monitor it and wait for Mother Nature itself to put it out with lots of rain."

A North Carolina law goes into effect this week that bans electronics from landfills. Starting Friday, materials like computer equipment and televisions will have to go to local recycling facilities. Lowell Shaw of Wake County Waste Management says the law keeps elements in electronics hardware like cadmium and mercury from seeping into groundwater.

Victims of North Carolina's April tornadoes are entering their last week to apply for disaster aid. The Federal Emergency Management Administration extended the deadline from last week to July 5th. The extension came after the state said less than a quarter of victims who claimed they needed assistance had submitted applications. Officials also added Alamance County to the list of North Carolina disaster areas last week. North Carolina Emergency Management spokeswoman Julia Jarema says some residents are still assessing the damage done to their homes.

A study from UNC-Chapel Hill has found elevated levels of abuse and eating disorders in pregnant women who experience depression. Doctors at the UNC School of Medicine say about one-third of pregnant women with depression also experienced eating disorders. About 1 percent of the general population has an eating disorder. Doctor Samantha Meltzer-Brody is the lead author of the study. She says physicians should routinely test pregnant women for eating disorders and abuse.

A biologist at UNC-Chapel Hill is one of 15 scientists chosen to join a national plant research program. Dr. Jeff Dangl studies how plants recognize and respond to diseases. His research is part of a $75 million grant awarded last week by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Dangl says the program has wide implications for human health and the environment.

Dare County Commissioners are holding a series of public meetings next week to address long-term implications of the wildfire there. The blaze started more than six weeks ago when lightning struck in an area of peat soil near Stumpy Point. Firefighters say it could smolder for months and light new fires. Some commissioners worry that could keep visitors from coming to the Outer Banks this summer. Warren Judge is the chair of the Dare County Board of Commissioners. He says smoke conditions vary day by day based on wind direction.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would require drivers under 18 to log 120 hours behind the wheel before getting a license. A parent or other qualified adult would have to sign off on the log. However teens could wait and get their licenses without taking driver's education classes when they turn 18. Lawmakers say the bill comes from recommendations by a task force charged with reducing teen highway deaths. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Greer Beaty says the agency supports parents' involvement in teaching their children how to drive safely.

A fire bucket on display at the new museum
City of Raleigh

The history of the Raleigh Fire Department goes on display today at a new museum downtown. The department's Historical Society has gathered artifacts and photos dating back to the Civil War era. Battalion Chief Alan Walters has served at the Raleigh Fire Department for 31 years. He says the museum shows the fire department has changed since it was founded in 1819, but the firefighters have not.

Perdue Vetoes Budget

Jun 13, 2011

Governor Bev Perdue has vetoed the budget sent to her by the North Carolina General Assembly. The decision comes a week after the Republican-led House and Senate passed the bill, sending it to Perdue's desk. It's the first time in state history that a governor has vetoed a budget passed by the Legislature. Speaking from the Capitol's old Senate chamber yesterday, Perdue said the bill would hurt public education, the environment and health care.

The North Carolina baseball team is heading to the College World Series for the fifth time in six years. The Tar Heels grabbed an early lead Saturday against Stanford and hung on through lousy weather to sweep the best of three series in the NCAA super regional. Head coach Mike Fox says his team earned another trip to Nebraska.

An elementary school in Fayetteville that was damaged by an April 16th tornado could reopen sooner than expected. One of the strongest tornadoes that touched down that day blew much of the roof off Ben Martin Elementary School. No one was injured in the incident. Students have been going to class at two other schools nearby. Administrators said they hoped to get students back to Ben Martin by December. But principal Crystal Brown says they now expect to move in at the end of October.

The Pitt County School Board has voted to require a daily moment of silence for all county schools. Board members passed the proposal earlier this week. It directs teachers to observe up to a minute of silence every morning before instruction begins. Board member Worth Forbes proposed the idea in January. He says the policy creates a consistent way for students to start the school day.

This year's harsh winter has led to a steep decline in North Carolina's shrimp catch. That's according to state wildlife officials, who say cold waters killed the majority of white shrimp in North Carolina water. That species usually spends the winter near the shore and swims out to sea around the beginning of June. Carlyle Gilgo is a seafood dealer in the town of Sealevel near Morehead City. He says he hasn't caught any shrimp yet this year.

A non-profit organization has released a report that claims private utilities are not providing affordable or healthy water to some small communities in North Carolina. The report from Clean Water for North Carolina says private companies charge their customers using a system called single tariff. It allows them to raise rates if they make more investments in water systems. Katie Hicks is the lead author of the report.

The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival has canceled its fall season for the first time in 34 years. Administrators made the decision in light of the state budget proposal, which cuts essentially all state funds for the festival. About 15 percent of the organization's $1.1 million budget comes from the state. Artistic director Pedro Silva says the festival has to start looking for other sources of funding as the next fiscal year approaches.

Sports equipment manufacturers meet with medical experts in Chapel Hill Thursday to consider ways to prevent sports concussions. The conference is meant to address research connecting concussions to dementia in retired athletes. A recent Wake Forest University study of football helmets says there is no helmet that can fully prevent concussions. But manufacturers have made progress in producing helmets that reduce the odds of a head injury. Robert Parish is the President and CEO of Jarden Team Sports, which owns the Rawlings brand of sports equipment.

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