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

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.

Triangle Transit Authority
Triangle Transit Authority

The Raleigh City Council has approved a proposal for a downtown light rail line.

City council members voted last night to support a route that goes through the west side of downtown along Harrington Avenue. It's a segment of the light rail proposal from Triangle Transit Authority that would eventually run from Chapel Hill to Garner. The council's plan breaks from a recommendation by the city's Passenger Rail Task Force. That route would have brought tracks into the heart of downtown on both sides of the Capitol building.

Emergency management officials in Johnston County are launching a local emergency alert system. The county has paired with the company Code Red in an effort to improve response time to natural disasters. Emergency Management coordinator Darrell Alford says the system also warns residents about localized emergencies like boil-water advisories or pipeline bursts.

A brown pelican blown off course nearly a year ago by Hurricane Earl has been released into the wild on the North Carolina coast. The seabird nicknamed "Ralph" was found injured on the roof of a building in Nova Scotia last September. Ralph was transported earlier this year to the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter in Newport. The nickname stuck despite the fact that Ralph is a female. Clinic supervisor Maria Rush says Ralph completed the rehabilitation process this weekend.

City Council members in Raleigh are holding a public hearing today to get feedback about a light rail line proposal.

The recommendation from Raleigh's Passenger Rail Task Force takes light rail tracks down Morgan Street to the Capitol building. There, they split in two and run north along Wilmington Street and south on Salisbury Street. It's part of Triangle Transit Authority's plan to build commuter train and light rail tracks from Chapel Hill to Garner by 2025.

Dick Baddour
UNC Athletics

North Carolina athletic director Dick Baddour has announced he's leaving his position a day after the university dismissed football coach Butch Davis. Baddour will officially step down after the school's hearing with the NCAA infractions committee in October. Baddour says he asked Chancellor Holden Thorp to hire a new athletic director in time to name a permanent head coach for the football team.

The state Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for what it says is the most cost-effective plan to build a new Bonner Bridge. The existing bridge that connects Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks is nearly 50 years old and cost the DOT more than $26 million to repair over the last decade. The contract awarded to PCL Civil Constructors and HDR Engineering is the cheapest of the three proposals at $216 million, but also got the lowest technical score from state officials.

Local officials in Greensboro are considering more than a million dollars in incentives for Honda Aircraft to build a service and support center. Honda's offer asks for about $775,000 from Guilford County and $520,000 more from the city of Greensboro. The company opened a headquarters building at Piedmont Triad International Airport four years ago. That facility has about 600 workers. Honda tells county commissioners the expansion would add more than 400 jobs over the next five years. Commissioner Kirk Perkins supports the incentives. 

North Carolina's U.S. senators say they're on board with a new proposal to decrease the national debt. A bipartisan proposal released Tuesday from a group of six senators would attempt to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. The plan from the so-called "Gang of Six" cuts spending from the defense budget, Medicare and Medicaid. It also increases some tax revenues. Democratic Senator Kay Hagan says she supports the proposal.

A subsidized housing facility for teachers opens on Hatteras Island today in an effort to lure talent to Dare County schools. The Dare Education Foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon in Buxton for a building with 12 reduced-rent apartments. The island has two public schools with a total of nearly 600 students. Dare Education Foundation executive director Elizabeth Piff says teachers on Hatteras Island have a hard time finding housing they can afford. As a result, a given class can sometimes have four different teachers in the course of one school year.

Members of Congress from North Carolina are weighing in on the talks in Washington about the debt ceiling. The country could default on its debt after August 2nd if a deal isn't reached between Congress and the White House. Much of the impasse centers around taxes. Second district Representative Renee Ellmers says she is with her Republican colleagues who say tax increases are off the table.

The town of Chapel Hill is cracking down on residents who illegally park their cars in their front yards. Town officials say citation officers will start giving out tickets for those who violate the town ordinance at the beginning of next month. The issue came to light after residents reported widespread violations in the Pine Knolls and Northside neighborhoods. Rae Buckley of the Chapel Hill planning department says those areas are popular among UNC students who rent houses. But she says lawn parking causes concern for permanent residents.

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.