WUNC News

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

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Ken Bosma / Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week voters in North Carolina chose Baptist minister Mark Walker over Phil Berger Jr. in the 6th District Republican primary runoff.  Walker was arguably the more conservative of the two candidates.   A new study in the Journal of Politics finds that political moderates are less likely to run for Congress. The study looked at state legislatures around the country.

Tulane Publications via Flickr/Creative Commons

North Carolinians are waiting to hear what happens next after a pair of contradictory rulings on the Affordable Care Act.

A three judge panel in Washington shot down the law's subsidies for state's where people are enrolled in the federal exchange, not a state-run exchange. This includes North Carolina. A separate panel ruled just the opposite just hours later, saying the subsidies were, in fact, lawful.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Governor Pat McCrory met with Senate Republicans Tuesday to try to narrow their differences over budget adjustments meant to be in place three weeks ago. McCrory's office and a top budget negotiator confirmed the 90-minute visit.

But, Senator Harry Brown says McCrory and senators did not have a breakthrough in the closed-door gathering. The Jacksonville Republican says the governor and lawmakers proposed potential compromises to end the delays preventing the budget's completion.

A picture of a woman photographing a beach house on stilts.
Eric Mennel / WUNC

The panel responsible for studying sea-level rise along North Carolina's coast met Monday in New Bern. It was the first meeting under a new mandate to look at the forecast for sea-level rise for a shorter time period.

Four years ago the Coastal Resources Commission's science panel issued a dire report saying oceans could rise 39 inches by the year 2100. The state then issued a moratorium on using that prediction for policy purposes. The new guidelines for the science panel call for a 30-year prediction.

Chapel Hill bus
bendertj / Flickr/Creative Commons (Image cropped)

There are two informal gatherings this week in which the public is invited to share ideas about the future of downtown Chapel Hill, including the development of Rosemary and Franklin streets. The project is called Chapel Hill Downtown Imagined:

A screenshot captured Saturday at Mirlo Beach near Rodanthe shows the surf advancing on Highway 12.
NCDOT / facebook.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $20.3 million contract for beach re-nourishment just north of Rodanthe. The contract is going to the same Illinois dredging company that re-nourished the beach in Nags Head just before Hurricane Irene hit the area in 2011, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, of Illinois.

Duke University Hospital
Duke Medecine

Researchers at Duke University will become part of a national network focusing on undiagnosed diseases.

The National Institutes of Health have granted $7.2 million for geneticists at Duke to look at the rarest diseases in the world, affecting fewer than 50 patients each.

Doctor David Goldstein is one of the principle investigators for the project. He says a team at Duke has spent four years taking what used to be a purely clinical investigation and moving it into the world of genetics.

Duke Health's Raleigh Hospital
Duke Medicine

  State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow the use of a marijuana oil to help treat childhood seizures.

Researchers say the hemp oil extract, known as cannabidiol (CBD), is not psychoactive and would be used to treat only debilitating seizure disorders.

Several lawmakers, like Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), showed their support for the bill by relating their experiences of having family members with epilepsy.

Medical student studying the structure of a pelvis.
University of Nottingham Medical School

A new study from Duke University suggests a chemical found in many plastics can make breast cancer cells resistant to treatment.

The report discusses the effects of BPA on Inflammatory Breast Cancer cells. It's a type of cancer found in 1-5 percent of breast cancer cases. Researchers suggest that the chemical neutralizes the effects of prescription drugs meant to keep the cancerous cell from growing.

Co-author Scott Sauer says it was important to look at the drug resistance factor, not just how the BPA interacted with the cancer itself.

Downtown Raleigh Skyline
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsolson / flickr

Tech start-ups in the Triangle received welcome news this week. Durham-based Bull City Venture Partners plans to invest some $26 million in projects throughout the mid-Atlantic.

The group began raising funds more than a year ago and has already invested in one Raleigh-based digital media initiative. Co-founder David Jones says the mid-Atlantic is an area ripe with innovation, but investors often need convincing.

Police Training
Nashville.gov

The Wake County Public School System has proposed a new agreement with local law enforcement regarding the use of police inside the schools.

School Resource Officers are local law enforcement patrolling the county's 26 high schools and 33 middle schools, one to each school.

The school board discussed publicly for the first time Tuesday night a new "Memorandum of Understanding" -- or MOU -- that would require specialized training for officers who will work with public school children. The agreement also requires more rigorous reporting of SOR-student interactions.

Beginning Monday June 2, North Carolina Public Radio - WUNC's daily program "The State of Things" will be heard on WCQS, Western North Carolina Public Radio.

A Duke Blue Devil guarding the net in a lacrosse game against Virginia.
Duke Photography

Duke Lacrosse has had to come a long way since the national attention brought on by false rape allegations in 2006. The tactic that's likely been most effective in changing the public face of the program could be considered the most difficult, but the Blue Devils have made it look easy: Winning.

The team took home their third national championship on Monday (2010, 2013, 2014) holding off Notre Dame 11-9 in Baltimore.

A vacation home on the Outer Banks after super-storm Sandy.
Don McCullough, via Flickr, Creative Commons

The group that implements rules along the North Carolina coast has decided to shrink the scope of a study on sea level rise.

The Coastal Resources Commission had been considering a  study of the effects of sea level rise over the next 100 years. At their meeting Thursday they decided to limit that study to just 30 years, along with  updates every five years.

The commission thought the study would have more weight if it were more limited.

Durham County Jail
Laura Candler

  *Updated 10:11am to reflect Sheriffs Association comments.

A new report from the ACLU of North Carolina suggests many of the state's county jails are not compliant with sexual assault prevention measures. The group says of the state's 100 counties, 58 responded to requests regarding the measures jails take to prevent the assault of prisoners. None of those 58 were in full compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a 2003 federal law.

David Wright and Eddie Lanier
StoryCorps

The StoryCorps mobile recording booth is in Durham this month. The silver Airstream trailer-turned recording studio is in town to collect stories from North Carolina. 

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.

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