WUNC News

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

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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:

A group of faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are pursuing the idea of a new ethics policy.

At a Faculty Executive Committee meeting Monday, epidemiology professor Jim Thomas proposed developing a comprehensive ethics policy for the university as a whole. Thomas says he first suggested the idea a decade ago, but the recent scandal involving sham classes has allowed the proposal to gain traction.

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