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

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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:

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