Coach Smith’s Big Day: Tar Heel Legend Receives Pres. Medal of Freedom on Wed.

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith is set to receive his Presidential Medal of Freedom Wednesday.

President Barack Obama will present the honor to Smith and 15 others at the White House. WCHL, 97.9 FM, will have live on-air coverage of the ceremony starting around noon on Wednesday as well as wrap-up coverage with on-site reporters from Carolina Connection.

On the court, Smith won two national championships and when he retired, he was the winningest coach in college basketball history. But it is the humble man’s work away from the sport that truly set him apart and deems Smith worthy of the United States’ highest civilian honor.

Taking a stand in a time period when many high-profile figures sat on the sidelines, Smith used his position to advocate for civil rights. In fact, Smith recruited UNC’s first black scholarship athlete and helped in Chapel Hill’s desegregation process in the 1960’s.

Many of his players called Smith a “second father” and his leadership of these young men led to an impressive 96 percent graduation rate.

The wife of Coach Smith says he will not attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House Wednesday.

In an interview with WNCN in Raleigh, Dr. Linnea Smith said attempts were underway to figure out how to get her husband to the presentation, but she added that traveling is hard for Smith and “it’s just really something beyond his ability right now.”

 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/coach-smiths-big-day-tar-heel-legend-receives-pres-medal-of-freedom/

Dean Smith to Receive Medal of Freedom Nov. 20

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The date has been set for legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith to receive his Presidential Medal of Freedom.

On Nov. 20, President Barack Obama will present the honor to Smith and 15 others, the White House announced on Wednesday.

On the court, Smith won two national championships and when he retired, he was the winningest coach in college basketball history. But it is the humble man’s work away from the sport that truly set him apart and deems Smith worthy of the United States’ highest civilian honor.

Taking a stand in a time period when many high-profile figures sat on the sidelines, Smith used his position to advocate for civil rights. In fact, Smith recruited UNC’s first black scholarship athlete and helped in Chapel Hill’s desegregation process in the 1960’s.

Many of his players called Smith a “second father” and his leadership of these young men led to an impressive 96 percent graduation rate.

It is still unknown who will represent Smith at the medal ceremony, says Steve Kirschner from the UNC athletic department.

 

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/dean-smith-receives-medal-of-freedom-nov-20/

Some Warn Public Not To Panic Over Obamacare Glitches

CHAPEL HILL – As the Obama administration is scrambling to fix major malfunctions in the online health care market place, efforts are being made here in Chapel Hill to help people sign up and avoid the confusion.

Sherry Hay, Director of Community Health Initiatives at UNC Family Medicine, has been helping to lead community events, such as phone banks and informational forums, to educate people about the Affordable Care Act.

Since its launch on Oct. 1, the HealthCare.Gov site, the online market place through which consumers can enroll in health care, has been plagued with problems.

President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged on Monday that the new health care law’s website hasn’t been functioning as it should, but he insisted that Americans should still register for Obamacare, despite the technical problems.

Hay said she alarmed about the misinformation circulating in the media.

“One of the most concerning things is [the notion] that there will be someone in Washington making a decision about their health care, in lieu of that decision being made with their primary care provider,” Hay said. “That is absolutely not correct information.”

At UNC Family Medicine, Hay said she and her team have been helping their patients enroll through the market place.

“So yes, it is frustrating. I understand that, but it is coverage that provides you access. Hopefully in the long term, you’ll see a quality increase and also see our costs go down.”

Hay said the Affordable Care Act is more than just the market place and that the program has many benefits.

“One is making prevention a reimbursable service for Medicare recipients. Prevention, particularly for our older population, for all of us is important. Those many things that the act covers are critical to our long-term health.”

In addition to the government website, applicants can enroll by phone or by mail.

People can call 1-800-318-2596, a line which is open 24/7. A representative will be available to walk consumers through the enrollment process.

Hay explained a new tool has been created on the website to outline which plans are available by state.

Obama pledged Monday to recruit the “best and the brightest” to rectify HealthCare.gov’s technical problems.

“Yes, there have been some problems, but the extent of the law is well worth sometimes what changes bring—which are a few bumps in the road.”

Local Health Care Exchanges Informational Events:

The League of Women Voters is holding a community event Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the Hillsborough Public Library.

Get Covered America is holding an events nationwide as part of “Treat Yourself To Coverage.” Information sessions will be happening in the Triangle and across the state.

http://chapelboro.com/news/health/some-warn-public-not-to-panic-over-obamacare-glitches/

16-Day Government Shutdown Comes To An End

WASHINGTON – Congress has approved and President Barack Obama has signed legislation to avert a U.S. government default on its debts.

The bill also ends a 16-day partial government shutdown, meaning furloughed federal employees are headed back to work, and they’ll be paid for the time they were gone.

The legislation that ends the partial government shutdown and increases the debt limit is only a temporary fix. It funds the government only through Jan. 15 and allows normal borrowing through Feb. 7, or a little longer.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde says it’s “essential to reduce uncertainty” by “raising the debt limit in a more durable manner.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/16-day-government-shutdown-comes-to-an-end/

First Day Bumpy For Health Care Signup

CHICAGO – Things were a little bumpy on the first day Americans could sign up for health insurance under the health care law.

The initial signup day Tuesday began with a stalled website, an error message and a menu that didn’t work.

In 36 states where the federal government is running the marketplaces, a snag involving security questions on users’ accounts cropped up repeatedly, preventing many from completing their enrollment.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/first-day-bumpy-for-health-care-signup/

President Obama Blasts Republicans For Shutdown

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama blames Republicans for the government shutdown and says they didn’t even accomplish their goal.

“They’ve shut down a whole bunch of parts of the government, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business,” President Obama says.

***Listen to the Complete Address***

The President addressed the nation Tuesday afternoon from the Rose Garden.

He says the shutdown is not about deficits.

“After all, our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 50 years,” President Obama says. “We’ve cut them in half since I took office. In fact, many of the demands the Republicans are now making would actually raise our deficits.”

The Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, requires all Americans to have health insurance and gives everyone the opportunity to shop for the best policy for them, much like shopping at a store.

In his address, President Obama even took time to share how the American people can access the health care options.

“Just visit healthcare.gov, and there you can compare insurance plans side-by-side the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon,” President Obama says. “You enter some basic information and you’ll be presented with a list of quality, affordable plans that are available in your area with clear descriptions of what each plan covers and what it will cost.”

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/president-obama-blasts-republicans-for-shutdown/

Marking 50 Years Since ‘I Have a Dream’

Photo courtesy Julian Wasser/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will join former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton at the Lincoln Memorial today to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

President Obama says he considers the 1963 march and the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech a “seminal event.”

He says the anniversary is a good time to reflect on how far the country has come and still has to go.

WCHL will bring you President Obama’s remarks Wednesday live in the 3:00 p.m. hour. And, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan joins Ron Stutts in the 8:00 a.m. hour of the WCHL Morning News to talk about the March on Washington as well as North Carolina’s new voting law.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/marking-50-years-since-i-have-a-dream/

White House Calls For Increased Grid Spending

Image courtesy of Manu_H

NEW YORK (AP) – An Obama Administration report says the cost of weather-related power outages is rising as storms grow more severe and the U.S. electric grid gets older. It calls for increased spending on the nation’s electric power system.

Power outages cost $18 billion to $33 billion per year, according to the report, a figure that has been rising steadily over the past 20 years. That can rise to $40 billion to $75 billion in years with severe storms such as 2008’s Hurricane Ike and last year’s Superstorm Sandy.

The White House report says spending to make the grid stronger and more flexible will save the economy billions.

Thunderstorms, hurricanes, blizzards and other extreme weather caused 58 percent of all outages since 2002 and 87 percent of outages affecting 50,000 or more customers.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/white-house-calls-for-increased-grid-spending/

UNC Professor Supports Obama’s Mortgage Plan

CHAPEL HILL – Mortgages remain one of the most important issues to homeowners and one of our local professors says President Barack Obama’s plan for mortgage reform is a good move.

President Obama recently said that he wants more lenders to offer 30-year mortgages to individuals buying a home.

Director of UNC’s Center for Community Capital and professor and chair of the department of city and regional planning at UNC, Roberto Quercia, explains that 30-year mortgages differ from interest-only mortgages because they allow borrowers to pay less interest and more capital over time.

“It’s a great mortgage instrument for low-to-moderate income families because it allows them to buy a house, and at the same time, pay back the loan and build equity, build wealth, along the way,” Quercia says.

President Obama says he wants these types of loans to be handled by private lenders and move away from federally-chartered private lenders like Fannie May and Freddie Mac. Quercia says that the federal government does not want to be in another situation like in the 2008 financial collapse where Fannie and Freddie’s losses were passed onto taxpayers.

“That issue of private profit, public losses was something President Obama wants to avoid in the future,” Quercia says.

Last year, President Obama also made pushes for more borrowers with more debt than the value of their home, or “underwater” homeowners, to refinance to a better interest rate. In this speech, Quercia says the President made a new proposal, urging lenders not to deny loans to individuals with bad credit scores.

“Somehow, he wants lenders to take into account that if you’ve got a blemish in your credit because of unemployment that was no fault of your own, but because of the bigger, broader crisis, somehow, once that borrower gets a new job, they should be able to refinance,” Quercia says.

Quercia says he thinks the President’s proposals will probably work, but that there weren’t enough details in the speech to know for sure.

“Also, many of those initiatives will require the involvement of Congress, and obviously, the politics of this are such that it is unclear what the ultimate program or initiative will look like,” Quercia says.

President Obama gave his speech in Phoenix, Arizona, where many homes rapidly lost their value in the immediate wake of the housing crisis.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/unc-professor-on-obamas-mortgage-plan/

Obama to Sign Student Loan Bill Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House says President Barack Obama will sign a bill Friday to lower the costs of borrowing for millions of students.

The bipartisan bill has been awaiting Obama’s signature since earlier this month, when the House gave it final congressional approval after a drawn-out process to reach a compromise in the Senate.

The bill links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. It would offer lower rates for most students now, but higher ones down the line if the economy improves as expected.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says Obama will sign the bill in a ceremony at the White House. He says in the coming months, Obama will lay out an aggressive plan to reduce costs for college students.

http://chapelboro.com/news/national/obama-to-sign-student-loan-bill-friday/