Will Michaels

Daily News Producer

Will Michaels started his professional radio career at WUNC.

He was first an intern while studying at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a part of his internship, he worked for a semester on the daily national show, The Story with Dick Gordon. Will concentrated on radio while at college, studying under veteran NPR reporter Adam Hochberg. He began as a reporter for Carolina Connection, UNC's radio news magazine, and then became an anchor and managing editor for the program in 2009, when it was named the best college radio news program in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Will came back to WUNC after graduation in 2010 as the producer for the local broadcast of Morning Edition, rising before the sun to help host Eric Hodge gather and present the news. In 2014, he produced WUNC's My Teacher series, part of the North Carolina Teacher Project. He joined the team for The State of Things later that year.

In 2016, Will became WUNC's first Daily News Producer, creating content for WUNC newscasts and periodically filling in as host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered.

Outside of radio, Will holds a seat on the board of the North Carolina Governor's School Alumni Association. He attended Governor's School in 2005 for drama, and still considers himself a theatre geek at heart.

Ways to Connect

A team of professors at N.C. State is starting a program of language and culture classes for special operations soldiers. The Language Training Center will offer six-week intensive courses to prepare special ops members for deployment overseas. Program director Dwight Stephens says the classes are designed to bridge the gap between soldier and civilian.

North Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is calling on Congress to pass another piece of President Obama's jobs bill. The president divided his first proposal into pieces after it failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate. The first piece was also voted down last month. Mr. Obama urged lawmakers to pass the second part earlier today. It's a $50 billion proposal that would go toward infrastructure projects. Hagan says the investment would support businesses in North Carolina.

Ozone Levels Lower

Oct 31, 2011

State health officials say fewer emissions from cars and industrial buildings cut down on air pollution this year. The annual ozone season officially ends today. There were 26 days in which ozone exceeded healthy levels. That's well below the 10-year average of 41 days. Division of Air Quality spokesman Tom Mather says recent numbers are lower despite back-to-back hot and dry summers.

Researchers at N.C. State are working with Cumberland County Schools in an effort to improve education among foster children. The university's Department of Social Work says it will examine issues that might interrupt the learning process such as frequently switching schools. Dr. Joan Pennell is a professor of social work at N.C. State and the program's principal investigator.

The North Carolina State Fair attracted more than million people for the second straight year. The fair closed out its 10-day run yesterday with more than 100,000 people. But overall attendance fell about 7 percent short of last year's record numbers. State agriculture spokesman Paul Jones says vendors reported mixed reviews about this year's revenue.

A motion presented by the Chapel Hill Town Council this week would make it easier for food trucks to set up shop in town. The latest proposal would require vendors to operate at least 100 feet from the entrance of a restaurant. That's similar to new food truck rules that went into effect this month in Raleigh. Food trucks are allowed in Durham under the city's zoning ordinances. The Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce says food trucks are unfair competition for restaurants. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt says the ordinance has other provisions designed to protect other businesses.

President Obama continues a bus tour through North Carolina today. Will Michaels reports.

Mr. Obama speaks today at Guilford Technical Community College near Greensboro. His three-day bus tour started yesterday in Asheville. It's the third time the president has visited North Carolina since June. He spoke at a high school in Wilkesboro before making other stops in Marion and Boone. Mr. Obama again touted his jobs bill. He said he would break up the legislation into smaller parts and ask Congress to approve them individually.

State agricultural officials travel to eastern North Carolina this week to get an update on recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Leaders from the state Department of Agriculture will meet with farmers today in Rocky Mount and Thursday in Winton. Former Congressman Bob Etheridge is an advisor to the governor for hurricane recovery. He says some crop damage might not be covered by state or federal disaster funds.

Some voters in Wake County did not receive voter cards this year showing new boundaries for local school districts. Residents head to the polls tomorrow to vote for five seats on the county school board among other offices. Wake Board of Elections director Cherie Poucher says county commissioners denied the funds needed to send voter cards with the new districts. Despite that, Poucher says she expects a higher turnout than normal.

A recent study outlines efforts at North Carolina's military bases to help the Department of Defense reduce energy consumption. The report is from the Pew Charitable Trust. It says Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune are using energy reduction projects and bio-fuel to cut costs. Coby Jones is the energy program coordinator at Fort Bragg. He says recent renovations have cut energy consumption by 23 percent at 30 of the base's older buildings.

More than 50 new laws take effect this weekend in North Carolina.

Among the changes starting Saturday is a new provision in the medical malpractice law. People who file lawsuits will be limited to 500-thousand dollars in non-economic damages if they win a case. That includes compensation for pain, suffering and other injuries. There will not be a limit on payments for medical bills and lost wages.

Small businesses on Hatteras Island are struggling to turn a profit a month after Hurricane Irene swept across the Outer Banks. That's despite a decision from the Department of Transportation earlier this month to restart ferry service for both visitors and residents. Keith Andre owns a construction business in Frisco. He says building centers that usually provide his equipment are nearly empty.

FEMA's announcement that it won't run out of funds this week is good news for counties in eastern North Carolina. Local governments have been fronting the bill for disaster relief without a guarantee of reimbursement after Hurricane Irene. In Hyde County, health director Wesley Smith says officials ordered an insecticide spray from low-flying planes for 20,000 acres. He says flooding caused a boom in the mosquito population.

Police in Rocky Mount are using acoustic sensors to detect the sound of gunshots and find the location of the shooter. Sergeant Kevin Bern says the system called "ShotSpotter" uses four sensors strategically placed throughout the city.

State regulators continue a hearing today about whether Duke Energy and Progress Energy should merge.

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."

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.

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.

Several environmental groups have filed a challenge to the proposed merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy. The merger between the two North Carolina-based companies would create the country's largest utility. Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Gudrun Thompson says that makes Duke and Progress responsible for leading the way in developing clean energy resources.

Work crews are making changes to freeways in R-T-P as they build the new Triangle Expressway. The short segment of the Durham Freeway south of I-40 closed for good this week. That section of Highway 147 provided a quick connection to T-W Alexander Drive in south Durham. It will eventually be part of the Triangle Expressway, a toll road running along the west side of Raleigh from Morrisville to Holly Springs. D-O-T spokeswoman Holly Allen says drivers going south on the Durham Freeway should take a detour via I-40.

Police at UNC-Chapel Hill are now using a GPS to track stolen bicycles on campus. Under the strategy implemented this week, officers plant a tracking device on a so-called "bait bike," and then follow the signal if it leaves a certain boundary. Police at N-C State started using the device last November. Deputy chief Jon Barnwell says his department started seeing immediate results.

A utility based in Chicago is proposing an 80-megawatt wind farm in eastern North Carolina. The company Invenergy sent an application to state officials last week for a facility with 49 turbines at a site in Beaufort County. Jay Lucas is an engineer with the state Utilities Commission. He says an 80-megawatt farm could power 20,000 homes, depending on wind capacity.

Residents of Hatteras Island will be allowed to return home today.

AAA Carolinas expects more drivers on the road this holiday weekend despite damage from Hurricane Irene. The agency says about 870,000 motorists will be traveling in North Carolina over the Labor Day weekend. That's about 1 percent more than this time last year. And AAA Carolinas spokesman Tom Crosby says that includes areas with storm damage.

Public schools across eastern North Carolina are implementing backup plans for classes due to extensive damage from Hurricane Irene. In Tyrrell County, all but one public school building were breached by three feet of water and sewage. Students there are on a limited schedule in makeshift classrooms until further notice. State school support director Ben Matthews says coastal districts are still trying to come up with estimates for how much it will cost to repair their schools.

Dare County officials are asking residents to conserve power as utilities set up emergency generators on Hatteras Island. Parts of the main highway on the Outer Banks were washed away in four spots near Rodanthe. That left residents who waited out the storm stranded on Hatteras Island. Dare County spokeswoman Cathryn Bryan says emergency crews are taking bare essentials to the hardest hit areas.

The state Department of Transportation says storm surge from Hurricane Irene has completely washed away segments of Highway 12 on Hatteras Island. The storm cut several channels through the road just north of Rodanthe. Highway 12 connects the island to the rest of the Outer Banks and the mainland. DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty says much of the road is still impassible.

Total rainfall amounts from Irene
National Weather Service Raleigh

Hurricane Irene unloaded more than a foot of rain on top of storm surge in eastern North Carolina. Flood waters swept into towns near the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds as ocean water spilled into narrow inlets, and then into neighborhoods. Meteorologist Brandan Dunstan says the massive storm spread hurricane-force wind gusts and rain from the coast to the Piedmont.

Hurricane Irene is moving across the Outer Banks this morning. Will Michaels reports the storm was downgraded to a category 1 hurricane, but residents are still seeing high winds and surf up and down the coast.

Irene is cutting a path along the coast between the Outer Banks and the mainland. Meteorologist John Cole is taking cover at the National Weather Service in Morehead City.

The outer bands of Hurricane Irene are making their way across eastern North Carolina. The National Weather Service reports steady rainfall in the Wilmington area and swells of six to nine feet along the Outer Banks. Tommy Hutcherson owns the Ocracoke Variety Store. He says he's making some last-minute preparations before conditions get worse.

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