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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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Ron Francis as a player for the Hurricanes in 2000.
Hurricane.nhl.com

Carolina Hurricane's owner Peter Karmanos announced at a press conference on Monday that Ron Francis will be taking over as the team's General Manager.

Francis is a Hall-of-Famer who both began and ended his career with the organization (first in Hartford, and then later after the franchise moved to Raleigh in 1997). He remains the team leader in many offensive categories.

In recent years he's joined the team in management roles - climbing the ladder from assistant head coach to Vice President of Hockey Operations.

Signs protesting Amendment 1, North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.
Refidnas / Flickr

A dozen faith leaders announced Monday they have filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage. The faith leaders say they would like to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in their congregations, but can't because of the law.

It's the same argument often made affirming bans on same-sex marriage, though approached from the opposite direction.

A Duke doctor examines a pregnant woman.
Duke Medecine

A new study from North Carolina State University suggests women who suffer abuse during pregnancy are more likely to suffer post-partum mental health problems.

The study was one part of a more comprehensive program looking at health and wellness. The 100 women selected were of a demographic and social status not typically associated with high levels of abuse, which makes some of the finding all the more surprising.

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

UNC Healthcare has cut back the number of patients it's seeing at several of its facilities over the past two weeks. The hospital system is in the process of transitioning to a new electronic medical records system, and the cutbacks are part of anticipated roll-out period procedure.

The system, known as EPIC, is the same records software being implemented at Duke and Novant health systems. EPIC will allow patients to more seamlessly transition between the state's hospitals.

A map showing the hottest growth spots for immigrants in NC
NC Bankers Association

A new study is challenging the notion that low-paid immigrant populations are "taking" jobs from native North Carolinians.

HIV microscope image, virus, disease
Duke University

In the last year, Durham County has seen about 100 new cases of HIV reported. It's also seen about 20 new cases of syphilis.

Generally speaking, that's on par with other metro areas in the state, which are seeing more cases of STDs, while North Carolina's rural areas are seeing a decline.

It's hard to know what is accounting for the rise. The most obvious possibility is an increase in unsafe sexual activity. But there's also a chance that, as screening becomes more commonplace and more effective, we're simply identifying more cases that were there to begin with.

Cape Point is south of Buxton, Map
Google

One of the most popular sections of the Cape Hatteras seashore is off limits for vehicles for the next few months. The Cape Point area south of Buxton is the migratory home to the piping plover, a nationally- recognized threatened species.

In 2011, the park service implemented a vehicle management plan that requires a 75 foot buffer zone be put up to prevent off-roaders from driving near the birds.

Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

The NC Department of Health and Human Services unveiled its plan on Monday to reform the state's Medicaid system. While it had already signaled a shift from Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) months ago, the new plan partially outlines how the state would like to achieve that shift.

The Chatham Park project could boost Pittsboro's population to 60,000 people
Screen shot from online video / Preston Development Company

In a meeting Monday night, the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners presented Preston Development with more than 40 new requests to follow up on with regards to Chatham Park -- the massive new 7,120 acre live,work, play community. The project could bring as many as 60,000 new residents to Pittsboro, a town of 4,000 currently.

Rundown for WUNC’s 2014 Overall Excellence Entry

This entry contains examples of the best work of North Carolina Public Radio WUNC. The stories are excerpted in order to meet the category’s time limit.

0:00 – 4:17                  Legislative end of session wrap-up

WUNC's 7:06 AM Newscast on November 8, 2013 - posted for award contest entries

Salvation Army Logo
The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army in Fayetteville administers two funds for those in financial need. The first, know as CIP (Crisis Intervention Program) is there to help people whose electricity could be cut off at any minute.

The second, known as LEAP (pronounced "lee-app") is a seasonal fund to help cover higher-than-usual heating bills. After a polar vortex and an uncharacteristically heavy snowfall, LEAP is being put to the test this week.

Cree's LED streetlights on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill
cree.com

Those 8,000 new street lamps will save money, and are a green choice.

The Town of Cary has announced a partnership with Duke Energy Progress to switch out most of its high-pressure sodium streetlamps (the yellow kind) with LED lamps (the white kind).

LEDs are more easily directed in a specific direction and also more energy efficient. So not only can the town do a better job of putting the light on the road (as opposed to spilling off into the neighboring areas), they'll also save an estimated $200,000 a year.

The report aims at bringing a better balance between academics and sports at UNC at Chapel Hill.
Tnbailey09 voa Creative Commons

Over the past week, a new iteration of the UNC-Chapel Hill sports/academic scandal has been making headlines.

Toys
Ana_Fuji / Flickr

Every year, Durham Rescue Mission holds a Christmas Eve dinner for the needy. They serve turkey and ham. And for the kids, there's a toy giveaway.

But now, just five days out, the group is 6,000 toys short of what they need in order to give all the kids some new playthings for the holiday.

"We accept new and used toys throughout the year, but at Christmas time we do like to give a new toy to the kids," said DRM CEO, Ernie Mills. "What kind of new toy? I tell the parents, any kind of toy you would buy for your kids, our kids would love it also."

Laura Lee

Updated Saturday, 10/21/13 11:00 a.m.:

A vigil for a Durham 17-year-old who died in police custody turned violent on Thursday night when ranks of police officers dressed in riot gear clashed with a group of protesters.

Differing accounts of the encounter circled almost immediately after the crowd of more than 100 was dispersed from the edge of the Durham Police Department’s headquarters parking lot on South Duke Street.

UNC Health Care
UNC Health Care / UNC Health Care

UNC Health Care announced a new partnership with Nash Health Care in Rocky Mount on Monday. The partnership allows Nash to access some of the resources of the larger UNC system, including medical supplies and management services.

The partnership gives UNC 0.2% of Nash's annual revenue, or an estimated $400,000-a-year to start.

The House debated SB 353 today.
Screen Shot, WRAL Broadcast

The State House has passed a bill imposing new restrictions on clinics that perform abortions. The bill passed 74-41. Republicans say the measure is meant to protect the health of women. Republican Jim Fulgium of Wake County is a physician. He says this legislation will provide the rules to protect a woman's health.

Sara Carucci
The Monti

Our series of stories from The Monti concludes today with Sarah Carucci. She now works as a graduation coach at Communities in Schools -- but she got her start in education as a teacher. Her story was recorded in front of an  audience at Motorco in Durham as a part of WUNC's American Graduate collaboration with The Monti.

American Graduate & The Monti: Jonas Monast

Sep 27, 2012
Jonas Monast
The Monti

All this week we're featuring stories recorded in front of a live audience about critical moments at school. It's part of our on-going American Graduate project, a public media initiative looking at the drop out crisis and other issues in education. Everybody has a story about a turning point at school -- sometimes it's about a big test or academic triumph -- other times it's about something a little more intimate, like falling in love for the first time. That's the subject of this story from Jonas Monast. It was recorded in front of a live audience at The Monti.

American Graduate & The Monti: Casio Noell

Sep 26, 2012
Casio Noell
The Monti

All this week WUNC during All Things Considered we're hearing personal stories about education told live at The Monti. It's a performance storytelling group that hosts events around the Triangle and in Greensboro. As a part of American Graduate Week, we're featuring stories about the drop out crisis -- and other issues with public education. Today the story of Casio Noell -- he spoke to a live audience in Durham.

Holden Thorp
UNC-Chapel Hill

Holden Thorp is stepping down as chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill. Thorp said in a statement released earlier today that the decision "wasn't easy" but that he was resigning in the best interests of the university. Thorp resigns after a tumultuous last four years. Thorp has led the University through scandals in the football program, African-American studies department, and in fundraising.  His last official day will be June 30th, 2013.

Democratic Governor Bev Perdue says she will not run for re-election this year. Perdue released a statement today saying she won't seek another four-year term because she believes a re-election bid would make it more difficult to find a bipartisan solution to fund public education in a divisive political environment. Perdue became North Carolina's first female governor in 2008. Perdue announced last week she would offer a budget this spring that would seek a sales tax increase for education. Republicans in the legislature let a temporary sales tax increase expire last summer.

Sate of the ReUnion
Sate of the ReUnion

The first week of January (Jan 2-6), we'll have a week of special programs in place of SOT. It'll be State of the Re:Union, hosted by Al Letson.Jan 2 (noon & 9pm)

The Bronx-Still Rising from the Ashes

The Bronx has long been a symbol of America's failings. It's still the poorest urban congressional district in the nation, and for many who live in New York's other boroughs, the Bronx is usually a place to avoid. But despite the area's troubles, some have stayed and put down roots, intent on surviving and making their borough better. This episode looks at the hold-outs and the dreamers who've committed their lives to building community in the Bronx.

Orange County and UNC Chapel Hill are working together to make productive use of a landfill gas. Methane originates from the decomposition of organic materials such as food. The collaboration will collect methane from the county's landfill and use it to produce electricity using a generator at UNC. Ray DuBose is the director of UNC Energy Services. He says projects like these are not without precedent.

A judge has ruled that Durham novelist Michael Peterson will get a new trial in his wife's 2001 death. Judge Orlando Hudson ruled Wednesday that former State Bureau of Investigation agent Duane Deaver misled the court about the bloodstain evidence at the 2003 trial in which Peterson was convicted of murder in the death of Kathleen Peterson, who was found at the bottom of a bloody staircase. The SBI fired Deaver in January after an independent audit found he misreported, mishandled or exaggerated forensic evidence in 34 criminal cases.

Injured pelican
Toni O'Neil

Dead and injured pelicans are washing up on North Carolina shores. Around 20 dead birds were found on North Topsail Beach earlier this month. Many had severely broken wings.

Researchers from NC State and UNC Chapel Hill are working on an improved blueprint for the Internet. The project is part of the National Science Foundation’s effort on “Future Internet Architecture.”  The team in North Carolina is focused on making more choices available to end-users. Ilia Baldine is a senior researcher at UNC.

WUNC's Youth Radio Club on the job
David Brower

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  To celebrate, we check in with WUNC’s new Youth Radio Club. It’s a group of 7th and 8th graders from the Durham Nativity School. The club was formed as a part of WUNC’s American Graduate Project. Each Friday after school, the students take the bus over to our studios to learn a little about what it takes to produce a public radio news piece. Thanksgiving is on their minds this week.

Fans of sustainable farming are meeting in Durham this weekend. The 26th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference seeks to address the growing demand for local and organic food. Fred Broadwell is with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. He says one hot trend is permaculture. It uses observations of nature to design self-sufficient ecosystems.

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