Elizabeth Friend

Producer
Pittsboro courthouse
1nativeTexan / flickr

Researchers from Duke and N.C. State this week briefed Pittsboro officials on the presence of unregulated chemicals in the town's water supply.

Cameras outside the International Space Station captured a stark and sobering view of Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.
Courtesy of NASA

Coastal flooding from hurricanes and other tropical storms is getting worse, according to a recent study by researchers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City. Scientists looked at more than 120 years of data on tropical cyclones and rainfall in North Carolina. They found six of the wettest events occurred in the last 20 years. Hans Paerl, the study's lead author, says statistical analysis shows that’s more than just a string of bad luck.

Drone in flight
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

The Research Triangle has been chosen to host test sites where researchers will develop drone technology in rural and suburban settings.

A water fountain inside a hallway at a school at Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Even low levels of lead can cause harm to children, but 22 states, including North Carolina, don’t require schools and day cares to test the levels of lead in children’s drinking water.

The pro-Confederate group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, or ACTBAC, helped install this 20x20 foot flag northwest of Hillsborough last April. Under Orange County's new regulation, this flag would be considered too large and subject to zoning
Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County

The Orange County man who raised an enormous Confederate battle flag on his property along Highway 70 is appealing the county’s ruling that his flag violates a new ordinance.

Lineman Mike Garner and Line Superintendent Shannon Inman prepare to respond to damage from Hurricane Dorian.
Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op / Carteret-Craven Electric Co-op

The lights are out for thousands of people in southeastern North Carolina as crews assess damage from Hurricane Dorian.

The SPCA of Wake County is gearing up to shelter animals in advance of Hurricane Dorian making landfall in the Carolinas.
SPCA of Wake County

Animal rescue organizations are working to get some shelter animals out of areas likely to be hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Wake County Public Schools

Some special education students in Wake County are still waiting for a ride to school due to a shortage of drivers.

Wikimedia Commons

Triangle-based tech company Cree is feeling pressure from U.S. trade disputes with China. CEO Gregg Lowe detailed the company's fourth quarter earnings in a conference call Tuesday. 

“The current operating environment is very challenging,” said Lowe. “Geopolitical and macroeconomic issues impacted our financial results in the fourth quarter, and we expect them to present some additional headwinds in Q1 of 2020 and perhaps beyond.”

A picture of a man using an e-cigarette.
www.vaping360.com / Vaping3650/Flickr

State health officials are investigating a series of hospitalizations possibly related to vaping. Three patients in North Carolina have been treated for a severe lung illness since July.

Aerial photo taken August 4, 2019, shows a large algae bloom in the Chowan River. State officials are warning the public to avoid the bloom, which has tested positive for microcystins.
Environmental Working Group / EWG

Toxic algae are increasingly showing up in lakes across the country. A new study from the Environmental Working Group examines how state and federal agencies monitor microcystins, which are toxins that can form in blue-green algae.

The IR-4 project focuses on specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs.
Flickr user Josh Mazgelis

The national agricultural research program that works to get regulatory approval for conventional chemical and bio-pesticides will soon be housed at North Carolina State University.

A bus, a car, and four lime green scooters at an intersection in downtown Durham.
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

Electric scooters are touted by companies as a greener way to get around, but new research from North Carolina State University suggests they have a larger carbon footprint than many users might realize.

flounder
NC DENR

The state Marine Fisheries Commission will meet later this month to consider instituting fishing seasons to help increase the stock of one of the state’s key commercial fish species.

A recently hatched Loggerhead turtle crawls on the sand headed for the ocean
National Park Service

A record-breaking number of sea turtle nests have been recorded at Cape Lookout National Seashore this year, and more are expected in coming months. 

The previous record was set in 2016, said B.G. Horvat, chief of interpretation at Cape Lookout, when researchers confirmed 352 established nests.

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline run through eight counties in Eastern North Carolina.
Roy Luck / Flickr/ Creative Commons

A federal appeals court on Friday tossed out key permits related to the Atlantic Coast pipeline, saying that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decisions regarding the permits were “arbitrary and capricious,” and that the agency seemed to have “lost sight of its mandate” to protect endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019. / NOAA

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discovered a methane seep field off the coast of Bodie Island in 2012, but they didn’t get a look at it until this year.

minority obese
Courtesy of the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

New research from Duke University suggests discriminatory housing and development policies that have shaped predominately minority neighborhoods may be contributing to higher obesity rates in those communities.

 Demolition crews dismantle the building at 806 N. Duke St., next to the site of the April gas explosion in Durham, N.C.
Elizabeth Friend / WUNC

The landscape of North Duke Street in Durham is slowly starting to change, three months after a deadly gas explosion tore apart a block near downtown.  

Demolition crews have leveled one building next to the site of the explosion at the Kaffeinate coffee shop. That address, 806 West Main Street, is the only one on the block with an active demolition permit, according to city records.

Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park NC
Keith Weston / WUNC

A study out of Michigan examining the persistence of chemicals like PFAS in drinking water could have repercussions for communities in North Carolina.

OverHook / Pixabay

A new state law creates harsher penalties for those who illegally sell drugs that result in a fatal overdose.

Under the "death by distribution" law, drug dealers can be charged with second degree murder if someone overdoses on an illegal substance they've sold.

Albemarle Sound, NC
NASA / PD-USGOV

Large-scale algae blooms in the Albemarle Sound and its tributaries are prompting water quality experts to remind the public to avoid contact with green or blue water where algae may be over-abundant.

North Carolina is now tracking babies born with alcohol or drug dependencies.
Tulane Publications / Flickr, Creative Commons

Open enrollment began this week for 540,000 Medicaid recipients in North Carolina who will be transitioning from fee-for-service to a managed care system.

"This change is the most signifigant one that has happend in the Medicaid program since its inception," said Debra Farrington, chief of staff of the N.C. Medicaid program.

Farrington said enrollees will be asked to select from a number of pre-paid health plans administered by private entities contracting with the state and physicians.

Town of Chapel Hill

A leaky roof, lack of space and aging infrastructure are just some of the problems plaguing the roughly 40-year-old building that houses the Chapel Hill Police Department.

US Army Corps Of Engineers

In the town of Duck on the Outer Banks, all beaches are open to the public. But the walkways to the beaches are not, as all access points are private property controlled and maintained by subdivisions and home owner's associations. Town officials say that’s not by design. Duck incorporated in 2003, after all the oceanfront properties had been developed.

City of Raleigh

Cameras to keep an eye on road flooding are coming to 16 locations across Raleigh. The city will install them in areas where heavy rains and flooding have closed roads in the past.

Google Maps

A $4 million dollar appropriation in the state Senate’s budget would enable Audubon North Carolina to purchase a portion of one of the state's last undeveloped barrier islands.

Sandy Hook Promise

At the start of the next school year, North Carolina middle and high school students will have a new tool to report threats to school safety. State Superintendent Mark Johnson introduced the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” at a press conference Thursday.

Artist's rendering of how the Molok waste collection system will look in Raleigh.
City of Raleigh

The City of Raleigh is testing out a new way to collect trash and recycling.

A year-long pilot program aims to get roll carts off the sidewalks downtown. Instead, garbage, mixed recycling, and cardboard will be collected in large underground cylinders. Six of the cylinders are being installed at the corner of Wilmington and Hargett streets this week.

The nine-banded armadillo has been spotted more than 170 times in North Carolina in the past 12 years. Wildlife officials are asking the public to share photos and details to get a better idea of the creature's range.
Jay Butfiloski / N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

If you’ve come across a nine-banded armadillo anywhere in North Carolina, wildlife officials want to hear about it.

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