James Beard Award is similar to the Academy Awards, but for the best chefs and bakers in America.

  From bakeries and dives to fine dining and drive-ins, North Carolina restaurants consistently top foodies' "best-of" lists.  So it was no surprise to many in the Tar Heel culinary scene when the state's chefs and bakers were on the James Beard Foundation's semifinalist list. 

The Foundation announced the the semifinalists Wednesday at a news conference in Chicago. Nine North Carolinians made the list in two categories - Best Chef: Southeast and Outstanding Baker.

View from the hilltop at Carver Pond Apartments on Meriwether Drive in Durham, North Carolina
Ildar Sagdejev

  In North Carolina, two million families live without adequate housing. 

A picture of George Poehlman and other aid workers
Dr. George Poehlman

Doctor George Poehlman recently returned from an eight-week aid mission in Liberia.  Upon his return, the retired Durham, N.C. family physician put himself in voluntary quarantine at a time when some other doctors around the country have refused such quarantine, noting that it's not necessary.

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.

Students in Neal Magnet Middle's STEM Academy building robots.
Carol Jackson

There's a school program in Durham North Carolina that is preparing low-income African American boys for science, technology and engineering careers. The program is not focused on those who are failing, but rather those who have been chosen for their potential to succeed. WUNC's Carol Jackson has this profile:

Duke University via Duke Today

This weekend there is a series of performances of Handel's Messiah at Duke Chapel in Durham, N.C. The tradition has been going on for 81 years. This year the performance will be recorded live and broadcast throughout the state and the world.

Dr. Rodney Wynkoop is the Director of Chapel Music at Duke University. He says that the text of the Messiah tells the entire story of the redemption of the world.

Hundreds gathered in downtown Durham on Tuesday night to protest the lack of charges against Darren Wilson. They held signs that read "We Are All Michael Brown."
Reema Khrais

Hundreds of people gathered throughout central North Carolina Tuesday night in response to the decision in Ferguson, Missouri to not indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown.

In Durham, dozens of protesters briefly stopped traffic on the northbound lanes of the Durham Freeway around 6:30 p.m.  They were chanting slogans like “No Justice, No Peace" and "No Racist Police." 

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.

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.

Host Ophira Eisenberg wearing a very stylish WUNC T-shirt


The comedy of Ophira Eisenberg includes many elements of her former dating life like lamenting about online dating and unreasonable expectations from your partner.

The charming brand of stand-up allowed Eisenberg to make a seamless transition to radio as host of the NPR trivia program Ask Me Another.

The show features contestants guessing about everything from Shakespearean soliloquies to the names of French pastries.

Remains of the records, shred this week by the Durham County Clerk of Courts.
Durham County Sheriff's Office

Gun rights groups are cheering the destruction of an 80-year-old registry of gun owners in Durham County, N.C.

A law passed this summer abolished the county registry: the only one in the state of North Carolina. It contained thousands of registrations, dating back to 1935. After the registry was discontinued this year, it became unclear who actually controlled the archive.

True Settles (left), Joshua Weaver
Carol Jackson

There's some innovative dancing taking place in North Carolina that's not on a stage; It's in a tiny basement-level space underneath the post office on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Two young men, Joshua Weaver and True Settles, are teaching area kids the latest dance moves.  But when the class is over, the two crank the music really loud, and battle their friends. The goal is to out-shine,  out-innovate and out-dance the opposition. Battles can last for hours.

Cover to the first installment of John Lewis' March trilogy of graphic novels

Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) was once inspired to fight for civil rights by a comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent protest in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Emmanuel Johnson worked as a teen reporter during the summer of 2014 at WUNC.
Carol Jackson

Emmanuel Johnson is a senior at Riverside High School in Durham. As a part of WUNC's Youth Radio Project, he reports on a changing neighborhood in his hometown.

I've lived in Durham, NC my whole life and I always walk past this park on the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Holloway Street. It's downtown, near the public library.