Steph Beckett

Youth Justice Project: Increase in Suspensions Could Have Negative Impact on All Students

When students misbehave in the classroom, they’re often suspended, meaning they’re sent home for a certain amount of time. The Youth Justice Project released a report that says suspending students can actually be harmful, both to those students and to the rest in the classroom. “Suspension and schools that have high rates of suspension actually have reduced school climates for all students,” said Peggy Nicholson, Co-Director of the Youth Justice Project. “So, it’s not necessarily that you get rid of one rotten apple, which a lot of people would have you believe. Schools that are actually addressing the behavior,...

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NC Child: Senate Budget Could Leave 50,000 Children Hungry

Over 1.6 million low-income North Carolinians receive health benefits through SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 43 percent of them are children. About one in five children in the state live in food insecure households. But that number could climb. The North Carolina Senate passed a provision in its new budget that cuts one of the requirements to receive SNAP benefits, and that could lead to other implications for hungry kids. “If they lose their SNAP eligibility, then at the same time they automatically lose their free or reduced lunch eligibility,” said Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications...

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Local Family Gives $18 Million to UNC Entrepreneurship Program

UNC currently offers a minor in entrepreneurship, and has since 2004. However, it’s application-based and selective. But soon, that minor will be opened up to more students. The Shuford family from Hickory, North Carolina are giving UNC $18 million to contribute to the program, and will almost double it in size and resources. “It is a very exciting moment for all of us,” said UNC Chancellor Carol Folt. “And as you heard, this gift really is the largest single one-time gift by a living individual or family in the history of America’s oldest public university’s college of arts and...

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UNC BOG Forms Funding Model Task Force

The UNC Board of Governors has distributed funding with the same formula for over 20 years. Until now. In light of the BOG’s five-year strategic plan “Higher Expectations” for access, student success, affordability and efficacy, the board is working on a new plan for fund distribution too. “This is a great time to go back now that we have that strategic plan in place, connect it with the way we provide the dollars to do that,” said Scott Lampe, chair of the newly-established UNC Funding Model Task Force. “And that’s our plan—we don’t have a new plan yet, just...

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Orange County to Revert Impact Fee Levels

Orange County currently charges an “impact fee” on developers to pay for a portion of the cost of providing public services to proposed developments. Impact fees in the county are used for school construction and expansion. But the Orange County Board of Commissioners is reverting its impact fee levels back to the way they were from 2012 to 2016. The board voted to do so at its meeting Tuesday. “What this does is it would roll back those fee increases that were adopted and actually some fee reductions that were adopted in November of last year and would put...

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Number of Insured Children in NC at All-Time High

The number of insured children in Orange County is higher than it’s ever been. 95 percent of children living in the county currently have health insurance. That’s all thanks to state and federal programs, according to NC Child. “It’s critical that we preserve the Medicaid program, that we protect the state Children’s Health Insurance Program, and that we don’t roll back some of those protections that families have gained through the marketplace that have been created by the Affordable Care Act,” said Laila Bell, Director of Research and Data for NC Child. The organization promotes public policy benefiting North Carolina...

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Town Council Considering Development Agreement for Amity Station

Chapel Hill may get more affordable housing units downtown—plus regular housing and office space. The Chapel Hill Town Council held a public hearing Monday and discussed a concept plan for the Amity Station property off of West Rosemary Street – the current location of Breadmen’s Restaurant. The plan has had some revisions since its last time before the council over a year ago. Chapel Hill Planning Director Ben Hitchings said the development company looking to buy the property, MHA Works, took different thoughts from different organizations into consideration. “The applicant has gone before the Housing Advisory Board and the comments...

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Travel Journalist Conference Visits Orange County

The North American Travel Journalists Association or NATJA visit towns and cities all over for its annual conference and marketplace – this year the journalists are in Orange County from Tuesday to Thursday. “They don’t go places really that are well-known necessarily, like big cities that might have unique stories to tell,” said Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle. “And I think in particular, HB2 both scared them and intrigued them, that we were so anti-HB2, so we did a lot of wooing in discussion with them to tell them why the Orange County community here was so unique.” The journalists...

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Chapel Hill Town Council to Consider Changing Meeting Day

The Chapel Hill Town Council currently holds meetings on Mondays and work sessions on Wednesdays. According to an email from Council member Ed Harrison, that’s the way it’s been for over thirty years. Former Councilman Gerry Cohen tweeted after seeing this story that he could validate the meetings had been held on Mondays for at least 45 years. But the council is now considering changing those days, and moving meetings to Wednesdays. Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said it could make the schedule smoother overall. “There are a lot of Monday holidays that throw off our schedule,” she said....

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Special Cohort of UNC Students to Graduate Sunday

Sierra Atwater is a senior at UNC. She’s local, from Pittsboro. Like other students, she’s graduating on Sunday with a bachelor of science in biology and a chemistry minor. But unlike many other students, she’s graduating with a cohort of carefully chosen students, called Chancellor’s Science Scholars or CSS. She began the program during the summer before her first year at Carolina with a boot camp to get CSS acclimated to college life, called Summer Bridge. “We came to Summer Bridge and most of us thought it was going to be like, ‘Wow we get to start college early,'”...

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