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Archive for May, 2012

NC amendment banning same-sex marriage in effect

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s constitutional amendment slamming the door on same-sex marriages is now in effect. But the debates on its full meaning continue.

The State Board of Elections on Wednesday certified the results of North Carolina’s May 8 primary elections, including the constitutional amendment defining marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman. That step means the ban is added to the state constitution, which makes it much harder for lawmakers to change in the future.

The amendment has left municipal managers wondering if cities and towns can offer benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees. Nine local governments already offer the benefits.

Charlotte’s city council is asking for a legal opinion from Attorney General Roy Cooper before deciding whether to offer partner benefits.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Jailed former legislator Wright having custody status reviewed

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Wright represented District 18 in Wilmington for eight terms before being expelled in March 2008

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NCDOT suspends most road work for Memorial Day weekend

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

RALEIGH, NC (NCDOT NEWS RELEASE) — As the summer travel season begins, the NC Department of Transportation is taking steps to help motorists save both time and money by suspending most road construction work on major routes across the state. By avoiding traffic delays, motorists can reach their destinations more quickly while cutting down on fuel consumption and costs.

To help motorists focus on driving, most construction projects along interstate, NC and US routes will be suspended from 4 p.m. Friday, May 25, until 9 a.m., Tuesday, May 29, with five exceptions:

-I-40 between Old Fort and Black Mountain (McDowell County) is reduced to two lanes in each direction on Old Fort Mountain near the Buncombe County line for barrier wall improvements;
-US 321/221 in Boone (Watauga County) is reduced to two lanes over Flannery Fork Creek for construction of a new bridge;
-US 421 (East King Street) in Boone has lane reductions from Hardin Street to NC 194 for repaving;
-US 17 Business in Jacksonville (Onslow County) is reduced to two-lane, two-way traffic on the Buddy Phillips Bridge over the New River for construction of a new bridge; and
-US 17 in Windsor (Bertie County) is reduced to one lane on the Cashie River Bridge due to construction. Traffic is controlled by signals; however, commercial trucks are restricted on this route, and detour signs are in place. All motorists are encouraged to use the US 17 Bypass around Windsor to avoid possible delays.

In addition, motorists can expect delays due to race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway that will generate significant delays in northeast Mecklenburg County and southwest Cabarrus County. The heaviest traffic is expected on I-85, US 29, NC 49 and Bruton Smith Boulevard.

For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter.

Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. The site has a number of features to help travelers in addition to providing up-to-the-minute traffic information. For example, users can use NCDOT Mobile to easily locate the nearest North Carolina rest areas where they can take a break from their drive. They can pull up more information about amenities available at the rest area , as well as view the facility on a map and get driving directions.

To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.

Here are some additional tips for navigating the highways during the busy holiday travel season:

-Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible.
-Stay alert. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zone areas.
-Be patient and obey the posted speed limit.
-Use alternate routes, when possible, to avoid traffic congestion.
-Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available over the phone by dialing 511.
-Don’t drive drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks.
-Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.

While you’re behind the wheel this Memorial holiday, remember your job is to be a safe driver, so focus on the road and let everything else wait until you arrive at your destination.

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PPD Names David Simmons Chairman and CEO

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — Pharmaceutical Product Development, LLC (PPD) today announced that its board of directors has named David Simmons chairman and CEO. Mr. Simmons, an experienced pharmaceutical industry executive, joins PPD from Pfizer Inc., where he served as president and general manager of the emerging markets and established products business units. Mr. Simmons begins his new role June 4 and will be based in PPD’s headquarters in Wilmington, N.C.

"We are pleased to welcome David to PPD," said Stephen H. Wise, managing director of The Carlyle Group and PPD board member. "David is a proven leader whose deep industry knowledge and vision will enable PPD to further its partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies around the globe."

Mr. Simmons said, "This is a remarkable opportunity to join and lead a world-class pharmaceutical services organization through its next phase of prosperity and expansion. As we work to extend PPD’s industry leadership position, we will maintain and strengthen PPD’s reputation for quality, innovation and integrity. I look forward to working with PPD’s seasoned leadership team and exceptional employees worldwide. Together, we will continue to grow the company and deliver quality results for clients and stakeholders."

Allen R. Thorpe, managing director of Hellman & Friedman LLC and PPD board member, said, "David’s wealth of pharmaceutical industry and international experience, combined with his well-honed leadership skills, will power PPD to meet the evolving needs of its clients. David is a client-focused leader with a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the biopharmaceutical industry. Working with PPD’s strong leadership team and talented employees, David will enhance PPD’s impressive credentials as an industry leader."

Mr. Simmons joins PPD following 15 years with Pfizer in several senior roles. In his most recent position, Mr. Simmons was the president and general manager of the emerging markets and established products business units. These business units represent approximately $18.5 billion of Pfizer’s annual revenue. In addition to these business units, his duties also included responsibility for the biosimilar development program. Prior to this role, Mr. Simmons held various positions of increasing responsibility in information technology and pharmaceutical operations, including roles in several countries around the world.

Mr. Simmons earned his degree in applied mathematics and industrial management from Carnegie-Mellon University.

PPD is owned by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, which jointly purchased PPD in December 2011.


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UNCW names new provost

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW NEWS RELEASE) — Denise A. Battles has been named the next provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Currently dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado, Battles will officially join the university July 16, replacing retiring provost Cathy Barlow.

“I could not be more pleased to welcome Dr. Battles to UNCW,” said Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “She has an excellent track record of strong leadership and effective management in higher education. Even more importantly, she is a creative problem solver who will bring new ideas and approaches to our campus, supporting our ongoing quest for innovation.”

The provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs reports directly to the chancellor, oversees all academic units of the university and serves as chief operating officer.

“I am truly excited to become a part of this excellent university,” said Battles. “UNC Wilmington has a strong reputation for academic quality, which will be maintained and enhanced through Chancellor Miller’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and community partnerships. I look forward to building on the strong foundation that is here at UNCW and working closely with faculty and staff to provide our students with an incredible learning experience.”

A professor of geology, Battles spent much of her academic career at Georgia Southern University, joining the faculty of the Department of Geology and Geography as an assistant professor in 1990. While moving through the academic ranks to associate professor and full professor, she also served in numerous administrative capacities, including assistant dean and associate dean of the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology. In 2005, she became the first (founding) dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado.

Battles has received numerous honors and awards during her academic career. She served as president of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences in 2008-09 and, in the 2000-01 academic year, she served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Auburn University. She has published extensively, both on her research areas in geology and on effective leadership and institutional change in higher education.

She plans to relocate to Wilmington during the summer with her husband, Michael Mills.

“It’s a beautiful city and a very welcoming community,” she said. “It’s certainly different from northern Colorado, and we look forward to exploring the culture and environment of a coastal community.”

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