WUNC News

Stories, features and more by WUNC News Staff.  Also, features  and commentary not by any one reporter.

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Winter Weather
7:25 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Snowstorm Knocks Out Power For Thousands - Black Ice Threat Through Friday Morning

Crews working to restore power to the Triangle have set up camp outside WUNC's Chapel Hill offices.
Credit Rebecca Martinez / WUNC

Updated at 7:45 a.m., Friday, February 27

Duke Energy has set up a day camp of sorts outside the WUNC studios in Chapel Hill. The temporary mess hall has been set up to feed utilities workers brought in to restore power to the Triangle, where tens of thousands are still in the dark, so to speak.

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Chapel Hill Shootings
9:58 am
Mon February 23, 2015

On The Media: Chapel Hill Shootings

On the Media program logo
Credit NPR

Sunday's episode on February 22, 2015, of On The Media focused largely on issues surrounding the Chapel Hill shootings that left three young Muslims dead.

The show examined the divisive language of terrorism, reporting on media coverage and charges of double standards in that coverage, and at responses on social media.

You can listen to the whole program and selected excerpts below.

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Weather
8:42 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Winter Storm Updates - Black Ice, Area Closings, Delays And Power Outages

National Weather Service map (issued Thursday 8:00 a.m.) showing areas of Winter Weather Advisories (in purple) and Wind Chill Advisories (in light blue).
Credit National Weather Service
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Award Entries
2:25 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

WUNC Newscast Award Entry

Chapel Hill Shootings
9:16 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Chapel Hill Shooting Updates

Three Muslim young people were shot to death in Chapel Hill Tuesday night.
'Our Three Winners' Facebook page

Forty-six-year-old Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the killings of Deah Barakat, a second-year student in the UNC School of Dentistry and his wife, Yusor, who had planned to begin her dental studies at UNC in the fall. Yusor's sister, Razan, a student at NC State University, was also killed. We will continue to update this story as information becomes available.

Updated Monday, February 23, 10:15 a.m.

AtlantaMuslim.com has created a map of vigils and gatherings related to the shootings and the hashtag #OurThreeWinners

Updated Thursday, February 19 10:30 a.m.

President Obama includes the Chapel Hill shootings in an address at the White House during a summit on violent extremist. Here's a video of the full address:

Updated Thursday, February 19 7:00 a.m.

Much of the discussion about the motive behind the Chapel Hill shooting is whether it was a hate crime. Many in the Muslim community and on social media say it is, but police have not. Jorge Valencia filed this report today about the decision the police face, and the intricacies of a legal hate crime designation.

Updated Monday February 16 5:10 p.m.

A grand jury has indicted Craig Stephen Hicks in the murder of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, reports Jorge Valencia. Hicks turned himself into authorities last week, just hours after the shooting of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha. Now a grand jury believes there's enough evidence to pursue a felony case against Hicks. He's charged with first-degree murder and discharging a firearm into a dwelling. Chapel Hill police are still investigating and say Hicks may have been motivated by a parking dispute. Family and advocates around the world say Hicks was acting out of a bias against Muslims. 

Updated Monday February 16 10:50 a.m.

Qatar students and community hold solidarity walk for Chapel Hill victims. The march was Sunday and began at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

Read more about this march

Hear Phoebe Judge's conversation with a BBC news analyst about the Qatar march

Update Friday February 13 3 p.m.

The White House issued a statement by the President:

"Yesterday, the FBI opened an inquiry into the brutal and outrageous murders of Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Deah Shaddy Barakat, and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  In addition to the ongoing investigation by local authorities, the FBI is taking steps to determine whether federal laws were violated.  No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.  Michelle and I offer our condolences to the victims’ loved ones.  As we saw with the overwhelming presence at the funeral of these young Americans, we are all one American family.  Whenever anyone is taken from us before their time, we remember how they lived their lives – and the words of one of the victims should inspire the way we live ours."

“Growing up in America has been such a blessing,” Yusor said recently.  “It doesn’t matter where you come from.  There’s so many different people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions – but here, we’re all one.”

Thursday evening, the FBI announced it is looking into the murders. In a statement, the FBI said it has opened a "parallel preliminary inquiry". They're looking to determine if federal laws were violated. Agents will assist local police to process evidence from the triple-homicide.

Update Thursday February 12 2:58 p.m.

Frank Stasio joined Dr. Omid Safi, director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center to talk about the events on the nationally syndicated program, The Takeaway. Listen to the audio here.

"If these acts happen in your community, then they are a part of your community, they are a part of your legacy." - Dr. Omid Safi

Update Thursday February 12 11:48 a.m.

The Islamic Association of Raleigh will lead funeral prayers for the three shooting victims today. The funeral prayer will follow the midday prayer at 1:35. NC State University will host a vigil at the Brickyard tonight at 6.

Update Thursday February 12 11:13 a.m.

Update Thursday February 12 10:49 a.m.

One of the victims of the shooting, Yusor Abu-Salha, came to the StoryCorps Mobile Booth when it visited Durham, NC last summer.  >> Listen

Update 8:51 a.m. Thursday Feb 12

Hundreds of people gathered at UNC Chapel Hill last night to remember the three Muslims killed in a nearby shooting, and to support their families.

Farris Barakat is the older brother of victim Deah Barakat. He spoke of the three at the vigil last night. He asked the big crowd to live in their legacy.

"That you share the good that you know of them, and take the message that my mom wanted to make public and 'do not fight fire with fire," Barakat said.

>>WUNC's Jorge Valencia and Reema Khrais both attended the event. Here are their reports.

Update Wednesday February 11 8:44 p.m.

Update Wednesday February 11 8:11 p.m.

"You can't see where the crowd ends" at the vigil to honor the three slain students, reports Jorge Valencia.

Update Wednesday February 11 6:00 p.m.

There is a vigil this evening at 6:30 p.m. at the UNC "Pit." Prior to the vigil, at 6 p.m., a prayer service will be held in the Great Hall of the Carolina Union. Parking will be available in the Bell Tower lot.

Update Wednesday February 11 5:31 p.m.

Nada Salem was best friends with the two young women who died. The 21-year-old Muslim woman told reporter Reema Khrais that she strongly believes the crime was motivated by hate.

Salem points to something that happened a few months ago. She had gone over to the couple's house for dinner.

After she went home, her friend Yusor texted to say that their neighbor, Hicks, had come by, complaining that that young people had been "really loud and disrespectful."

And then, Yusor texted, Hicks "pointed to his gun and his pocket and he said 'I don't want this to happen again.'"

Salem had plans to attend UNC School of Dentistry with Yusor. She says not too long ago the couple gave her her first Carolina Dentistry sweater. The two women wanted to wear the sweaters to school at the same time.

"So that we can be matching and we can tell everyone we got in together; and two days ago she texted me again with [the sweater] picture saying that she can't wait for us to start again…together at dental school," says Salem. "It's like a daze for me, personally, I just don't want to believe it."

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Arts & Culture
11:49 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Cuteness Alert: New Pony Born Into Ocracoke's Herd

Hazelnut, newest member of the herd of ponies on Ocracoke, NC
Credit National Park Service

Say hello to Hazelnut! She was born mid-morning a couple of days ago into the celebrated Ocracoke pony herd.

Hazelnut's father is a direct descendant of the original Ocracoke ponies. The mother joined the herd in 2010.

The ponies are an important part of the region's history. Legend has it that the “Banker” horses survived being thrown overboard by European ships carrying livestock to the New World in the 16th or 17th century.

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Education
1:11 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

29 Percent Of North Carolina Public Schools Rated 'D' Or 'F'

Credit Reema Khrais

Updated 7:31 PM

North Carolina public schools received letter grades for the first time on Thursday, with high-poverty schools receiving more Ds and Fs than those with fewer low-income students.

Under the new A through F grading system, more than two-thirds of schools received Cs, Ds or Fs and only about five percent earned As.

The grades are based on two different metrics:

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Politics & Government
10:09 am
Thu February 5, 2015

The 'State Of The State' Through The Tweets Of Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia

Jorge Valencia is WUNC's Capitol Reporter.

WUNC's Capitol Reporter Jorge Valencia was at Governor McCrory's State of the State speech Wednesday. He live-tweeted the proceedings:

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Arts & Culture
10:28 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Unofficial Results: NC State Students Break Guinness World Record For Monopoly Play

William Warby Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday, NC State announced that a group of students would try to break the Guinness world record for number people playing Monopoly "in a single venue."

"Apparently the record is only 277 people. We're going to have around 45 to 50 tables of eight players," said Mick Kulikowski in the press office.

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The State of Things
10:51 am
Fri January 16, 2015

UNC System President Tom Ross To Resign

Tom Ross
Credit https://www.northcarolina.edu/?q=office-president/president

University of North Carolina System President Tom Ross will retire from his position, effective January 2016.  Ross has led the 17-school university system since 2011. 

In a joint statement with Ross, the Board of Governors said it "decided to begin the process of leadership transition."  

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