Aaron Keck

Economist: Rosy Picture For NC, US In Next Five Years

CHAPEL HILL – The unemployment rate is still high and the recovery is still slow, but one prominent Triangle economist says the outlook for the next five years is very, very good. “Despite everything that’s going on Washington (and) everything that’s yet to go on…the underlying fundamentals of the economy are dramatically improved,” says Michael Walden, professor of economics at NC State. Walden delivered the keynote address Wednesday at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Outlook Briefing. The U.S. economy lost nine million jobs and six percent of its GDP during the “great recession” of 2008-09, but Walden...

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Snow Still In Wednesday Forecast (But Not Much)

CHAPEL HILL – Old Man Winter is hanging on for at least a couple more days in the Triangle, with snow returning to the forecast for Wednesday—but National Weather Service meteorologist Barrett Smith says there won’t be much accumulation in our area, and the weather will turn much nicer from there. “We’re going to see a low-pressure system moving across NC (Tuesday) evening and overnight,” he says. “We’ll see some rain overnight Tuesday night…(but then) we expect another band of precipitation to develop Wednesday during the day.” That band could include some snow, with high temperatures on Wednesday topping...

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By Way Of Introduction

Hey y’all. If you’re reading this, you likely know me as WCHL’s (former) news director and (current) evening news anchor; some of you may also know that I perform at the DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro. And you advanced scholars will know that it was comedy that brought me to WCHL in the first place—back in 2010 I was head writer for “DSI Witness News,” a comedy spot that riffed on local people and events, and the folks at WCHL liked it so much they asked me to do real news too. True story. Anyway. I served as WCHL’s news director for the last year and a half, but earlier this month I handed the reins to Christopher Hosken—(insert long sigh of relief here)—leaving me with some actual free time. So as of today, I’m adding “Local Buzz columnist” to my resume. Consider this my intro chapter. So what’s this column going to be about? I’m not a science wizard like Jeff Danner; I don’t know North Carolina like DG Martin; and while I may look like a geek, I can’t hold a candle to Alicia Korenman. (And sadly, I’m not a kid anymore.) What I can offer, though, is some interesting political insight, a dash of snarky skepticism, and a fair bit of decent comic timing—so we’ll go with that, I think. For starters. Also, I have a...

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UNC Turning To “Competency-Based” Approach

CHAPEL HILL – As the UNC system reexamines its strategic goals for the next five years, university officials have turned to employers and business leaders to identify key needs—and the result of that will be a new focus on a novel academic approach called “competency-based learning.” That’s according to UNC president Tom Ross, who says today’s business leaders want people who can think and communicate effectively for themselves. “When we talk to people–business leaders and other employers of all types–they tell us what they need more than anything else who can think critically, who can write and communicate orally,...

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Help For Alzheimer’s Caregivers, From Home Instead Senior Care

CHAPEL HILL – According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans have had a personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease—and more than 60 percent of Americans say they feel unprepared to care for a loved one who’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “I just don’t know that you’re ever really prepared, unless you’ve walked through it before and seen the toll that it takes,” says Stephen Lair, the franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Chapel Hill. “It affects the whole family.” This week, Home Instead is offering a series of classes designed for family caregivers to help cope with the disease...

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Ross: UNC Strategic Plan Blends Quality Education, Job Needs

CHAPEL HILL – This week, the UNC Board of Governors examined the first draft of the strategic plan that will govern the university for the next five years—and system president Tom Ross says he’s confident it will move UNC in the right direction. “What’s most exciting to me about this plan is (that) it really incorporates together our responsibility to help the state be prepared to meet the workforce demands of the future, but to do it with high academic quality,” he says. Read the plan here. The five-year plan is entitled “Our Time, Our Future: The UNC Compact...

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UNC Strategic Plan Pushes Quality Education, Definition Pending

CHAPEL HILL – It was standing-room only in Chapel Hill’s Spangler Center on Thursday, as the UNC Board of Governors got its first look at a draft of the strategic plan drawn up last fall by a controversial committee–a plan that could redefine the very nature of education in North Carolina. Click here to read the plan in full. “Our Time, Our Future” The economic situation is improving in North Carolina, but it’s still not ideal—and as system president Tom Ross said Thursday, higher education remains in a period of great transition. “Times have changed, (and) they’re going to...

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Council Applicant Profiles: Schuler, Pedersen, Marsh

CHAPEL HILL – Later this month, Chapel Hill Town Council members will appoint one person to fill the seat left vacant by Penny Rich when she joined the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Eleven residents applied to be considered for that spot on the Council. All week long, WCHL will be profiling each of those eleven applicants. We continue today in Part 3 of our series, with Carl Schuler, Bjorn Pedersen, and Jennifer Marsh. Read Part 1, with Gary Kahn, Maria Palmer and Aaron Shah. Read Part 2, with Loren Hintz and Paul Neebe. See the full list of...

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Council Applicant Profiles: Loren Hintz, Paul Neebe

CHAPEL HILL – Later this month, Chapel Hill Town Council members will appoint one person to fill the seat left vacant by Penny Rich when she joined the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Eleven residents applied to be considered for that spot on the Council. All week long, WCHL will be profiling each of those eleven applicants. We continue today in Part 2 of our series, with Loren Hintz and Paul Neebe. Read Part 1, with Gary Kahn, Maria Palmer and Aaron Shah. Chapel Hill High School biology teacher Loren Hintz is a UNC grad who’s lived in Chapel Hill since 1992; this...

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Eleven Contending For Vacant CHTC Seat

CHAPEL HILL – Later this month, the Chapel Hill Town Council will appoint a new member to fill the seat left vacant by Penny Rich—and after a flurry of applications right before Monday’s deadline, Council members will have eleven residents from which to choose. The eleven applicants include a former Town Council member, several former candidates, a former Transportation Board chair, a current Planning Board member, and one student at UNC. Town clerk Sabrina Oliver has to verify all the last-minute applicants to ensure they meet the criteria—eligible candidates have to reside in Chapel Hill and be registered voters—and then the candidates will get a chance to make their case at a special Council meeting next week. “The applicants will have an opportunity to make brief remarks regarding their interest in serving,” says Town spokesperson Catherine Lazorko. “That will occur at a special meeting of the Town Council on January 14…(and) it’s an opportunity for the community to learn more about these people who would like that seat.” Six residents submitted applications on Monday, including former Council member Sally Greene. Greene was elected to the Council in 2003 and served two terms before stepping down in 2011; at least one potential applicant, George Cianciolo, withdrew his name last year after learning that she was interested. That makes Greene the presumed frontrunner in the race, but she’s only one of six...

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