WUNC News

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

Ways to Connect

OpenDurham.org via the Duke Archives

This week marks the 75th anniversary of Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to Duke University Basketball. In that time, the Blue Devils have won 4 national championships, and made 38 NCAA Tournament appearances. But the building itself has as much history as the teams that have passed through it.

At its founding, the stadium was the largest south of Philadelphia. It flaunted some of the most modern conveniences of any venue.

Joseph Sledge, photographed at Pamlico Correctional Institution in Bayboro, N.C. Thursday, February 28, 2013.
ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com

It's impossible to listen to the radio every minute 24 hours a day. Even the biggest WUNC fan is bound to miss something. So here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite stories from 2014 that you might have missed.

Closer to Freedom (December 8, 2014)

Spencer Herlong / GoHeels.com

UNC can cap off a turbulent season with a bowl victory in Detroit. The Tar Heels will take on Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl after going 6-6 in the regular season. Head Coach Larry Fedora says the opportunity is as much about 2015 as it is about those seniors who are leaving.

"Just like getting extra practices for Spring Ball," said Fedora. "We're trying to get as many reps with those guys who are going to be with us and we feel like can help us in the future."
 

the artists

Many local and national musicians come through the North Carolina Public Radio studios each year and 2014 is no exception. As radio reporters and hosts, we have the chance to book bands we love and ask them anything. Eric Hodge regularly does just that.

And so we asked Hodge, of all the interviews you conducted this year, which five should we not miss? Here are his choices, in no particular order:

Sylvan Esso: Durham-based duo Sylvan Esso's latest album is full of catchy tracks, ripe for getting stuck in your head.

In the past year, WUNC producers and reporters have been experimenting with the ways in which we tell stories.

We're creating videos, and making photo essays and running Twitter campaigns. One of our most ambitious projects was a special report, Outspoken: The State of Teaching In North Carolina.

Here are the top 10 most viewed miltimedia stories from the past year:

Clemon H. Terrell enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1950 as a steward. He would make the officers' beds and shine their shoes, among other duties. Due to segregation, there were limited opportunities for advancement. This week, 34 years following his retirement from the service, Terrell was promoted to honorary Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer.
 

"I was ecstatic. Being promoted to Chief Petty Officer is a prestigious promotion," he said, adding that the the Chief Petty Officer has the respect of everyone "from the Admiral on down."

A picture of cats
Jeffrey W www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/4544016041/ / Flickr

In a letter addressed to euthanasia technicians and registered animal shelters in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says the use of gas chambers for euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer acceptable.

The letter comes from Dr. Patricia Norris, the new director of the Animal Welfare Section at the Department.

"We're basically clarifying the policy for everybody," said Norris.

Michael J. Rosenburg, CEO of Health Decisions in Durham.
Health Decisions

Multiple outlets are reporting Triangle doctor Michael J. Rosenberg is among the six victims of a plane crash in Maryland on Monday.

The plane was registered to Sage Aviation, of Chapel Hill, which is owned by Rosenberg. Rosenberg is the CEO of Health Decisions, a pharmaceutical company in Durham. Triangle Business Journal named him a 2013 Health Care Hero:

Pittsboro, NC mayor Bill Terry at Chatham Park groundbreaking.
Chatham EDC via Twitter

Construction of the 7,000+ acre development that plans to greatly expand the size and population of Pittsboro began this week with a UNC Health Care facility.

Developers announced the groundbreaking Tuesday. The 25,000 square-foot medical plaza is the first building to go up in Chatham Park. While UNC hasn't said what services the building will provide specifically, it's expected to house specialists.

Pisgah National Forest
Flickr

It's a touchy debate, consisting of rather loaded language. But, surprisingly, there may be a consensus somewhere in the underbrush.

Earlier this month, the Southern Environmental Law Center put out a release saying new plans to open 700,000 acres of Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests up for timber operations were a dramatic shift in policy:

A hummingbird in flight
Ed Yoo / Endeavors Magazine, UNC

New modeling from Vanderbilt and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill gives a 3-D breakdown of how a hummingbird's wings work. The method by which the birds move has eluded scientists for some time. But new video imaging shows the airflow the birds create which allows their agility.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, addressed reporters on Tuesday morning.
Reema Khrais

Leaders of North Carolina’s NAACP are expressing their disappointment in the decision to not indict Ferguson, Missouri white officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Reverend William Barber spoke at a press conference in Durham this morning. He said that the decision to not indict Wilson is an indictment of the system itself.

“And we're plagued with it here. It's an indictment, right here, on the system in North Carolina. Racial profiling is real in this state,” he said.

Alan Levine / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. 1.3 million North Carolinians are expected to be traveling to visit friends and family this year, 90 percent of whom will be on the road (according to AAA of the Carolinas). That said, here's some essential public radio podcast listening you can take with you on the road, for those moments of stop-and-go.

Snap Judgment

Chatham Park
Sasaki Associates

The developers of the 7,000 acre Chatham Park project have submitted a rezoning request to the town of Pittsboro, NC. Months after the initial zoning approval, the developers have acquired a few tracts of land that add up to about 45 news acres.

According to Tim Smith of Preston Development, every time they add new land to the project, the whole lot will need to go through a rezoning process. He says this does not put the project on hold, because it can continue to operate under the old zoning until the zoning is confirmed.

G.K. Butterfield, of Wilson, will lead the Congressional Black Caucus
Wikipedia

G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) will be the next leader of the Congressional Black Caucus. Butterfield, who represents much of Eastern North Carolina, was unanimously elected on Wednesday by the 45 member group.

“I’m moved by the unwavering support the CBC has shown me throughout the years,” said Butterfield in a release. He is the caucus's most recent Vice-Chair.

J. Cole
the artist

Rapper J. Cole grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. This week, with very little fanfare, he announced that his new album would go on sale December 9. The album is called "2014 Forest Hills Drive." The title refers to Cole's childhood home in Fayetteville.

The announcement came with a short documentary of the musician, wearing a sky-blue UNC jersey, re-visiting many of the places of his childhood.

There's the roller rink, and the game arcade, and the football field where he rapped publicly for the very first time:

Frost design
RachelEllen via Flickr/Creative Commons

Residents of the Piedmont will experience a bitter cold snap Tuesday morning.  A strong front passing through the state Monday evening will lead to temperatures only reaching as high as the 30s Tuesday.  

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says the chilly weather will stretch into Tuesday night.

Sharp predicts it will be very cold Tuesday night with lows near 20, upper teens in more outlying areas. 

Then on Wednesday we will start what Sharp calls a moderating trend, with temperatures still well below normal for this time of year. 

Wonder what that proposed 17-mile light rail project that would connect Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina would look like? Take a look at the latest model. It's made using Google Earth's virtual tour capabilities and other 3D software:

Project planners will have an environmental impact statement ready for public review in early 2015. The project is set to be constructed between 2020 and 2026 depending on approvals and funding.

Patches relaxes at the zoo.
NC Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo's popular polar bear, Patches, died on Sunday.

In recent weeks, Patches had become uninterested in food, and was lethargic, according to Ken Reininger, the zoo’s general curator. Tests revealed the female bear had an extensive lung mass which was likely cancer.

“In the wild the average life span of a polar bear is 15-to-18 years old,” said Dr. David Jones, director of the zoo. “Patches was 26-years-old. She exceeded wildlife expectations by living a long life.”

the WUNC audio board with a paper version of the new NPR clock
Carol Jackson

Beginning Monday, WUNC is changing its newscasts in Morning Edition.  This means more news about North Carolina throughout the morning hours.  You'll now hear newscasts at :01, :19, :31 and :42 minutes past each hour. 

This does mean that some of the sounds that mark your morning routine are shifting slightly - so please watch that clock.

This is part of a larger change in all the NPR newsmagazine programs. 

Craig Bromby
Hunton & Williams LLP

A lawyer advising North Carolina's environmental agency on rewriting clean-up rules for Duke Energy's coal ash dumps previously represented the electricity company on the same issue.

Craig Bromby was hired in June at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He retired in March as a partner at the Raleigh office of Hunton & Williams, where his corporate clients included Duke.

The odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) was the most common species found in parks and forests, but was absent in street medians.
Adrian Smith

A new study out of North Carolina State University suggests there's a remarkably high diversity in the types of ants found in cities.

Published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the paper looks at different environments along Broadway Avenue in Manhattan. Researchers found more than 20 different species of ants in the median of the road alone. They found more than 20 other species in the surrounding parks and urban forests.

A pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed on Wake Tech campus.
WRAL via Twitter

Officials say one worker has been killed and four others were hurt when a pedestrian bridge under construction on Wake Tech Community College's northern campus collapsed. Wake County EMS officials say the four men suffered injuries Thursday that were serious enough to send them to a hospital trauma unit.

Jeff Hammerstein with Wake EMS says he thinks the highest point on the bridge was 40 feet above the ground. 

Some North Carolina legislators say they were surprised and upset to hear that their House Chamber is undergoing renovations.

They say they didn’t green light the $125,000 expense, and that it didn't go through the legislative services commission. The project received approval from the office of House Speaker Thom Tillis, who is transitioning to U.S. senator.

“Quite a surprise,” said House Republican Representative Julia Howard. “I am shocked that they’re taking the red curtains down, that’s a piece of our history. It does disturb me.”

BB&T Logo
Wikipedia Commons

Winston-Salem based BB&T has announced a today to buy Susquehanna Bank. The $2.5 billion deal adds 245 new branches to BB&T, and extends the bank's reach into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Much of Susquehanna's growth comes in more rural markets - something BB&T hopes to capitalize on:

Pages