News

Pittsburgh and Syracuse are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC announced yesterday it's council of presidents unanimously voted to accept the two Big East schools, expanding the conference to 14 universities. ACC commissioner John Swofford says the council started exploring the idea of expansion more than a year ago.

John Swofford: "We had had, I'll just say, a double-digit number of schools that had reached out to us. What we try to look at is to try to ensure the conference's viability for years to come and our strength moving forward."

Doug Rader
www.edf.org

Doug Rader's family has lived in North Carolina's mountains for centuries, but as a child it was the coast that fascinated him. As he combed the tidal swamps for wildlife, he knew he wanted to spend his life studying and protecting the state's aquatic ecosystems. Now he's chief oceans scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, and he's gained a reputation for finding consensus among fishermen, environmentalists and regulators.

Some of the nation’s leading housing finance experts will be in Raleigh today and tomorrow for the American Mortgage Conference.  Thad Woodard is president and C-E-O of the North Carolina Bankers Association.  He says they wanted to present a major platform to answer some major questions about the future of home financing.

A proposal under consideration by state officials may help protect Haw River and surrounding areas. The plan involves reclassifying a portion of the river in and around Guilford County. This aims to preserve existing water resources by limiting development. Jason Martin heads planning in nearby Alamance County. He says the river’s status as an emergency water supply led to the push for reclassification.

A new report released yesterday takes a close-up look at the state of workers in North Carolina’s tobacco fields.

The report – “A State of Fear – Human Rights Abuses in North Carolina’s Tobacco Industry” was produced by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee and Oxfam America.  It includes interviews with migrant farm workers, mostly undocumented and representatives of the tobacco industry.


Baldemar Velasquez is president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee AFL-CIO. He says the only way to better the lives of the tobacco workers is for industry to step in.

The Chancellor at North Carolina Central will play a key role at a White House event next week. Charlie Nelms will lead a town hall at the annual conference of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The ReUse Warehouse

Sep 16, 2011

Each day, building materials that could be recycled or reused are removed from homes and businesses and sent to the landfill. A new business in Durham called The ReUse Warehouse has begun collecting these products and reselling them at discounted prices. The warehouse is designed to divert materials from the landfill and give local families access to reasonably-priced building goods.

Howlin' Wolf
wikipedia.org

Sun Records founder Sam Phillips discovered music legends like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, but Phillips said the greatest talent he ever met was Chester Arthur Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf. The University of North Carolina will honor the Delta Blues great with a symposium and tribute concert on Monday. The event includes a talk by music scholar Peter Guralnick, who had the opportunity to see Howlin’ Wolf in concert. Guralnick is also writing a book on Phillips. He joins host Frank Stasio to talk about how Wolf’s talent and Phillips’ business sense helped shape the blues sound in the 1950s and 1960s.

Hospitals in eastern North Carolina are now using an online message board that lists beds available for patients with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Sixteen facilities are using the pilot program designed to streamline the admission process for those patients. Luckey Welsh is the director of the Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities. He says patients can sometimes spend days in the Emergency Room while the hospital looks for an available bed.

Ruthie Foster
ruthiefoster.com

Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster grew up on gospel music. Her family sang and performed religious tunes and touches of that tradition are found in Foster’s sound. But she is also heavily influenced by folk and that combination gives her blues an authentically soulful sound that earned her the title of Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year at the Blues Music Awards last year. Foster performs at North Carolina State University’s Stewart Theatre tonight at 8 p.m., but first she plays live in the studio and joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her path to discovering the blues.

Governor Bev Perdue will lead a forum today on overcoming the challenges facing of the state's rural communities. Her first stop is in Martin County in eastern North Carolina.

85 of the state's 100 counties are considered rural. These small communities are struggling with higher-than-average unemployment, infrastructure problems, and young people moving away to larger cities.

Perdue will lead conversations on these and other challenges in an effort to improve rural competitiveness. The panels will be made up of state and local leaders, as well as rural development experts.

Raleigh Denim

Sep 15, 2011
Raleigh Denim
eco-chick.com

When Victor and Sarah Lytvinenko started making jeans in their downtown Raleigh apartment four years ago, they had no way of knowing where their project would take them. They went from being denim makers with a small presence in North Carolina to high style designers with products being sold across the world.This weekend they will be at fashionSPARK, part of the SPARKcon festival in Raleigh.

Just about every bluegrass musician has been directly or indirectly influenced by Wade Mainer. Mainer, a master of the banjo, taught himself to play his instrument of choice as a child and developed an innovative two-finger picking style. That style, combined with Mainer’s strong vocals earned him popularity as a performer and recording artist in the 1930s and 1940s. He is credited with bridging the gap between old-time music and bluegrass music and artists like Doc Watson and Bill Monroe have cited Mainer as a major influence. Mainer died earlier this week. He was 104 years old.

President Obama rallies the crowd at Reynolds Coliseum
NC State

President Barack Obama was in campaign-mode during his stop at N-C State University yesterday.   His jobs speech was more like a re-election campaign speech.   There was chanting, cheering and waving – and Mr. Obama didn’t mind the attention at all.  

The mood in Reynolds Coliseum was patriotic.

State lawmakers have wrapped up their short legislative session this week.

President Barack Obama spoke to thousands of people on the North Carolina State Campus this afternoon. The president is promoting his 450-billion dollar jobs bill. He told the crowd the bill would provide money for important infrastructure projects.

President Obama:  "In North Carolina alone there are 153 structurally deficient bridges that need to be prepared. Four of them are near here, on the belt-line. Why would we wait to act until another bridge falls?"

Haitian flag
wikipedia.org

Last year's earthquake turned the eyes of the world to Haiti. In the aftermath, thousands of aid workers rushed to help Haitians whose homes and lives had been devastated, but some types of help are more effective than others. How does understanding the culture and history of a place make it easier for outsiders to aid the people in need? Host Frank Stasio poses the question to Reina Galjour, a Saxapahaw native recently returned from working as a midwife in Haiti; Bonnie Elam, president of the Raleigh-based group The Haiti Connection; Deborah Jenson, professor of French and Romance Studies at Duke University and co-Director of Duke's Haiti Lab; and writer Madison Smartt Bell, author of a trilogy of novels on Haiti's 1791 slave revolution.

Stingray at NC Aquarium
ncaquariums.com

This summer saw a big jump in the number of people who were stung by stingrays off the coast of Corolla on the Outer Banks. Ocean Rescue officials say the usual number of stings is between one and five. But this year, there were 70 to 100. Olivia Burrus is the curator at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. She's says the stingrays may have found a lot of food in the area.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Triangle tomorrow.   He’s drumming up support for his “American Jobs Act” plan.

President Obama will talk jobs and the economy at N-C State tomorrow afternoon.  He’ll also speak with the owners of a small business in nearby Apex.  The business is West-Star Precision.  It is a manufacturer of specialized machined components for the aerospace and medical industries.  Brenda Steen is executive director of the Apex Chamber of Commerce. She says the company is not a chamber member – but President Obama’s visit will benefit all.

James Augustus McLean was a powerful force in North Carolina's art world for most of the 20th century. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and turned down an offer to teach at the prestigious school to return to his home state. His fledgling art school in Raleigh fell victim to the Great Depression, but McLean continued to create and inspire other artists throughout North Carolina until his death in 1989.

Voters in North Carolina will decide next May whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that would ban gay marriage. Earlier today, the state Senate voted with a three-fifths majority in favor of a proposed amendment that recognizes marriage as being between one man and one woman. The House passed the measure yesterday. Republican Senator Buck Newton says adding such an amendment to the state constitution would make it more difficult for judges to overturn bans on same-sex marriage.

North Carolina voters will be asked to consider same-sex marriage in the next primary election. A bill that allows people to decide at the polls whether to ban gay marriage in the state constitution passed the Senate today and was approved in the House yesterday. WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie joins host Frank Stasio to talk about the language of this legislation and how it was debated in the General Assembly.

Enron on Stage

Sep 13, 2011

Ten years ago, Enron became the ultimate symbol of corporate malfeasance. The company robbed Americans of billions of dollars, helped destroy accounting giant Arthur Andersen and caused rolling blackouts across California. Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh is revisiting this dark chapter in American corporate history with the play, “Enron,” on stage now through September 25th.

Candidates for Raleigh mayor and city council meet tonight for a candidate forum.

For the first time in 10 years, there is no incumbent running for mayor in Raleigh. In April, Charles Meeker decided not to seek a sixth term.

Three candidates are seeking to replace him and none of them are democrats. Nancy MacFarlane is running as an unaffiliated candidate, although she has been endorsed by the Wake County Democratic Party. Randall Williams and Billie Jean Redmond are running as Republicans.

Lawmakers in the North Carolina House have passed a bill to let voters decide whether to add an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. 75 legislators voted in favor of the bill, after three and a half hours of debate.

Drought conditions are improving across North Carolina after rain from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Division of Water Resources spokeswoman Sarah Young says some areas of eastern North Carolina were under extreme drought conditions just days before Irene made landfall on the Outer Banks a few weeks ago.

District Court Judge Craig Brown retired in 2008 after working for decades in the Durham judicial system. He was first a criminal defense attorney, then took the bench as a district court judge. Brown's career was not without controversy. He often spoke out against the inequities he saw in the judicial system, and some of his decisions drew criticism. Throughout his career, Brown battled an auto-immune disease that eventually left him blind.

NC Remembers 9-11

Sep 12, 2011

People across the country remembered the victims of 9-11 yesterday. In North Carolina, the ceremonies took many forms and were held in many communities.

Firefighters gathered near the airport in Morrisville to remember fellow first responders killed at the World Trade Center. They did it by climbing and walking the equivalent of 110 stories, while wearing photos of their fallen colleagues around their neck.

And later, the North Carolina Symphony gave a special performance at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh.

State lawmakers are back in Raleigh this week for a special session to vote on potential amendments to the state constitution.

Ten years ago, a well-known U-N-C Chapel Hill Economist and his wife found themselves in the middle of the 9-11 attacks.   They were staying at the Marriott Hotel between the World Trade Center towers – attending an Economics Conference.  Jim Smith and Linda Topp had been married just five weeks earlier. 

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