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Archive for February, 2012

Accident knocks out power, phone, e-mail to Wilmington operations center

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Power, phone and e-mail access is out at the City of Wilmington’s operations center on River Road.

A city spokeswoman said this afternoon a crane accidentally knocked over a utility line on River Road, severing electrical and fiber optic lines to the operations center. The utilities are not expected to be restored until Monday.

City offices that are affected by the outage include trash, stormwater, traffic, fleet and streets. The city is trying to get some level of service restored as soon as possible for customer citizen calls.

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UNC panel recommends 8.8 percent tuition increase

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

CHAPEL HILL, NC (AP) — A University of North Carolina Board of Governors committee has recommended a proposal that would see college costs rise by more than $400 per student on average.

The committee made its recommendation Thursday in Chapel Hill, a day before the full board is scheduled to vote on the proposal.

UNC System President Tom Ross is recommending increases that average nearly 9 percent, running from $199 at UNC-Pembroke to $676 at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Ross says the increases will only make up for about 17 percent of the $414 million cut from the system’s budget by lawmakers last year.

The 16 university campuses and the School of Science and Math in Durham have eliminated more than 3,000 employees since then.

Students are planning demonstrations to protest the proposal Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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NC banking regulator overseeing US mortgage deal

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

AP Business Writer

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s long-time banking commissioner is the choice of America’s big banks and attorneys general to make sure a $25 billion settlement over widespread mortgage abuses is carried out.

The US Justice Department announced Thursday that 62-year-old Joseph Smith Jr. will oversee the deal that aims to compensate borrowers who suffered from flawed and faked foreclosure practices.

President Barack Obama nominated Smith in 2010 to head the federal agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but he was blocked by Senate Republicans.

Smith takes his job with a reputation of someone able to balance the industry’s health with consumer interests. Bankers and consumer advocates say he’s earned their respect over a decade as the top regulator of North Carolina’s state-chartered banks, thousands of mortgage brokers and consumer finance companies.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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STUDY: New Hanover Co. death rate and binge drinking higher than state average

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– The New Hanover County Health Department has released the 2011 New Hanover County Community Health Assessment. The community health assessment involves a collaborative process among community partners to evaluate the health status of county, through collecting information firsthand from residents in the county and health data from local, state and federal sources. This provides the opportunity to identify the leading health priorities and develop a plan to effectively address these health issues in New Hanover County. During the interim periods, a State of the County Health Report (SOTCH) is completed annually to highlight progress of programs, policies and environmental changes related to the health priorities and improving the health status of the community.

David E. Rice, New Hanover County Health Director said, “The Community Health Assessment provides a snapshot into the health of New Hanover County residents. This document is a key resource the entire Health community should use when planning strategies to improve health outcomes.”

Below are some key findings from the 2011 New Hanover County Community Health Assessment:

* New Hanover County and North Carolina shared the same top five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer (all sites), cerebrovascular disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injuries. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in New Hanover County with 1,982 deaths from 2005-2009.
* New Hanover County death rate is higher than the rate for North Carolina; 200.5 per 100,000 persons compared to 191.7.
* Since 2007, New Hanover County continues to have higher percentages of heavy and binge drinkers than North Carolina (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System).
* As of 2009, 80.6 percent of adults in New Hanover County do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetable servings per day.
* Chronic diseases, obesity, and drug and alcohol abuse were voice by residents as the county’s biggest health concerns.
* New Hanover County residents collectively expressed the desire for continued community collaboration efforts, attention to youth prevention initiatives, pedestrian safety improvements and community well-being.

For the full version of the 2011 Community Health Assessment or to view the State of the Community Health Report, visit Health Reports on the New Hanover County Health Department’s website.

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New NC law could delay primary runoff by three weeks

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — If a leading candidate fails to get more than 40 percent of the vote in a North Carolina primary election race this May, when is the runoff?

It depends.

The runoff recently has been held seven weeks after the primary, which this year would be June 26. But a new state law designed to fulfill a federal mandate would delay all runoffs until July 17 should one be needed for a congressional primary.

State Board of Elections Director Gary Bartlett said Thursday three additional weeks would be needed to comply with requirements that North Carolina military personnel and other state residents living overseas are sent absentee ballots 45 days before the runoff.

The General Assembly approved the primary runoff date changes with little fanfare last year.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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