UNC Football Rallies to Support the ‘Save the Fox’ Campaign

The UNC football team is joining in on the “Save the Fox” campaign aimed at helping Superior Court Judge Carl Fox.

Fox is a UNC alumnus who was diagnosed in April with cancer where the bone marrow fails to make enough healthy blood cells.

Thousands of community members have participated in bone marrow drives to register new donors into the bone marrow database. After football practice on Tuesday, more than 70 Carolina players and coaches voluntarily participated in the registration process, according to the university.

Coach Larry Fedora said in his weekly radio show on Tuesday night, “The football program is always looking to help in our community and this is a great opportunity to assist someone who not only went to the University of North Carolina as an undergrad, but also got his law degree from UNC and has served our state for more than 30 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol as he battles this disease.”

A release from goheels.com says other registration drives have been organized. On Friday, fans at the UNC volleyball match vs. Virginia can register in the lobby of Carmichael Arena with Delete Blood Cancer. This is the annual “Turn it Pink” match to honor all cancer survivors. The match starts at six o’clock. Then, on Saturday evening, a Delete Blood Cancer registry table will be set up at the men’s soccer game at Fetzer Field at seven o’clock. Finally, next Saturday, October 17, a Delete Blood Caner registry table will be set up for fan participation in Tar Heel Town before the football game against Wake Forest. UNC says a registration table will also be available on the Kenan Stadium concourse.


UNC Researcher Wins Nobel Prize

A UNC researcher has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Aziz Sancar was one of three recipients of the award from the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, announced on Wednesday.

Sancar spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about winning the award. Listen below:


Sancar is the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

Sancar says in a news release from UNC that he got the call early Wednesday morning, “It was 5 a.m. so I was a bit incoherent. But I managed to thank him and told them it was an incredible honor.”

Sancar has been at UNC since 1982, according to the university. He was honored with the Nobel Prize for his work on mapping the cellular mechanisms that underlie DNA repair. Sancar says this work is already being used in cancer treatment.

Sancar shares the award with Paul Modrich of the Duke University School of Medicine and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Tomas Lindahl of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory in Great Britain.


UNC To Host NC’s First National Veterans’ Arts Festival

Sunday, October 18, UNC will play host to the 2015 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, featuring an art exhibition and performances by military veterans from around the country.

The annual festival got its start in 1981 and travels to a different city each year – but this will be its first-ever stop in North Carolina. It’s a project of the Veterans Affairs Department: VA hospitals nationwide hold local arts events, with the top performers being invited to appear in the national festival.

More than 120 vets will be in Chapel Hill for this year’s festival. It begins at noon with an art exhibit in Gerrard Hall, followed by a show at 2 pm on the stage at Memorial Hall.

NVCAF Host-Site Coordinator Jillian Thompson and veteran performer Dolores Day (a singer-guitarist) joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week to talk about the festival.


Tickets to the Memorial Hall show are free. To order them in advance, call 919-286-0411, extension 6070.

For more information on the NVCAF in general, visit this page.


UNC Joins Coalition Aiming to Improve Admission Process

The University of North Carolina has joined a diverse coalition of public and private colleges and universities that is coming together to improve the college admission application process.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success is developing a free platform of online tools to streamline the experience of planning for and applying to college for all students.

Steve Farmer is the Vice Provost for Enrollment and Admission at Carolina, and he tells WCHL’s Blake Hodge more about Carolina’s involvement in the project.


UNC Faculty Assembly Urge Governor to Veto Legislation

Faculty assembly leaders are urging Governor Pat McCrory to veto legislation concerning the UNC System.

Faculty leadership for the UNC System sent a letter to Governor Pat McCrory asking him to veto a bill that would set term limits for members of the UNC Board of Governors.

The letter to the governor, which is dated for last Friday, claims the legislation “purports to correct but in reality reinforces the politicization of Board of Governors appointments.”

Senate Bill 670 imposes term limits on appointees of the 32-member board to serve no more than three four-year terms. The bill also adjusts the process for selecting a new System President; it says at least three final candidates shall be submitted to the full board. The selection of a President-elect would require a majority of votes from the entire board.

An earlier provision called for the final three candidates to be made public; it was later removed before the bill was passed.

The letter to the governor, which was first reported on by the News & Observer, says, while faculty have been critical of the board, “there is no possible circumstance in which the faculty would support laws that strengthen the legislature’s arbitrary power to dictate the composition of the board.”

The letter summarizes that “the point is that any goal ill-obtained, whether laudable or not, is merely a precedent for further abuse of power.”

WCHL asked the governor’s office for an update on McCrory’s intention regarding Senate Bill 670 but did not receive a response.


UNC QB Marquise Willams Named ACC Back of the Week

Two North Carolina Tar Heels have been honored by the Atlantic Coast Conference for their respective performances against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The ACC announced that quarterback Marquise Williams was named Back of the Week and Caleb Peterson was named Offensive Lineman of the Week.

Williams put together an amazing stat line in Carolina’s 38-31 win over Georgia Tech – the Tar Heels’ first victory in Atlanta since 1997. The senior quarterback finished the contest with a career high 148 rushing yards and ran for two touchdowns. Williams also caught a touchdown from receiver Quinshad Davis on a trick play.

Meanwhile, Peterson was busy blocking for Williams and running back Elijah Hood – who ran for two touchdowns of his own. Peterson registered a career-high 13 knockdown blocks in the win.

The victory over the Yellow Jackets is also the largest comeback win in Tar Heel history, after Georgia Tech scorched out an initial 21-0 lead before Carolina finished the game on a 38-10 run.


Art’s Angle: Save The Date

Write down the date October 3, 2015. It may mark the official turnaround for Carolina Football, not only in the Larry Fedora era but possibly all time. Remember, Florida State was once a women’s college before it went coed and began playing football. Somewhere in there was a game like the Tar Heels’ remarkable comeback victory in Atlanta Saturday.

If so, it would have been tough matching what happened at Grant Field, a grassy grave for Carolina over the last 18 years and eight visits.

The Heels lost a game a month ago to an inferior opponent whose only advantage was it knew how to win. In the 38-31 victory over Georgia Tech, they may have finally learned for themselves. If so, buoyed by a manageable schedule moving forward, the sky could be the limit for Fedora’s fourth UNC edition. In a phrase, they did not quit when some of us may have.

How many of you were tempted or actually turned off the TV and/or radio when the Yellow Jackets methodically marched down the field on their first three, time-sapping possessions? Haven’t we seen that movie before? And wasn’t the Carolina defense beginning to look a lot like last season?

It is not a stretch to say that Fedora, the man who hired him (Bubba Cunningham) and the entire UNC football program was standing at a crossroad. And neither road looked very attractive. More mediocrity or having to mount the greatest comeback in school history.

Despite having blueprints from how Notre Dame and Duke contained the Jackets’ triple option by closing off the edges, Gene Chizik’s defense looked helpless, so much so that Georgia Tech kept going for it on fourth down. Tech Coach Paul Johnson considers himself such a genius with the triple option that, whatever alignment the defense shows, he thinks he has an answer for it. And he usually does.

Carolina completed a drive of its own to score late in the half and the defense finally forced a punt, which the Jackets botched in what was a pathetic, if abbreviated, punting exhibition by both teams. So, after scoring again, the Tar Heels were suddenly down 14-21 and receiving the second half kickoff.

They must have been doing 5-Hour Energy shots on the sideline because they scored 17 points in less than four minutes, extending into the third quarter. Now only if they could stop the Jackets – a mighty big IF. After all, the last time Carolina accomplished that in Atlanta was five head coaches ago and a not-so-gray Mack Brown on the sideline.

How good was Marquise Williams on a day when many people – Fedora and Seth Littrell, apparently not among them – thought the Marquise de sod was on a trés short leash? Were you looking for Mitch Trubisky after the first two failed drives that consumed less than five minutes on the clock? (Trouble with playing Georgia Tech is you get fewer possessions than in most games because the Jackets churn up so much time along with yardage.)

The game was enthralling but hardly perfect on both sides. Fedora gambled and goofed with an onside kick that gave Tech a short field it did not need. Less than two minutes later, the four-point deficit was 11 when Jackets’ quarterback Justin Thomas threw perhaps the best touchdown pass of his career. And after the Tar Heels got it back to four and their goal line stand stopped Thomas on two plunges when he could have waltzed it in from the edge, why did freshman Ty’Son Williams get the ball on a most critical third-and-one from their own 10-yard line?

Another shank from Carolina’s combination of petrified punters set Tech up again 36 yards from another score when linebacker Cayson Collins made the biggest play of so many in the game. He finally got the ball out of Thomas’ hands by stripping him in the backfield, forcing a fumble that Junior (and he really is a junior) Gnonkonde recovered, setting up the most spectacular snap of the game – the reverse pass from Quinshad David to Williams for the third TD reception of his career (and Davis’ fourth TD pass).

At that juncture, after spotting Tech the 21 points, Carolina had outscored the Jackets 31-7. No one does THAT at Grant Field, at least no one not named Clemson or FSU. Williams ran for his second score (Elijah Hood also had a pair) to set his personal rushing high of 148 yards. Add 134 yards passing and no picks to the one TD catch and his leash is now as long as the next seven games, all imminently winnable with the likes of Wake Forest, Virginia, Pitt, Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech and N.C. State on the slate.

Pulling off the largest comeback in school history could also be remembered as a game for the ages. Despite taking over a program still on NCAA probation and recruiting under the cloud of another probe, Fedora has managed to assemble perhaps the most electrifying offense in the entire ACC. If the cloud does lift this spring, as expected, imagine what this guy unshackled could do.

Maybe build the best program ever at UNC? If so, remember the date.


UNC Linebacker’s Football Career Over Due to Neck Injury

North Carolina linebacker Joe Jackson will be unable to continue his playing career after suffering a neck injury. The university announced Jackson’s decision on Thursday.

Jackson, a junior from Jacksonville, Florida, was injured in the season-opening loss to South Carolina, in Charlotte.

Jackson said in a release, “After talking with my family and the UNC doctors, I have decided it is in my best interest to stop playing football. It was a difficult decision, and I appreciate the support of my teammates and coaches.”

Jackson was listed as a starting linebacker entering the season and made four tackles against South Carolina before being injured.


What’s Left After the General Assembly Went Home

The North Carolina General Assembly has wrapped up one of the longest legislative sessions in recent memory.

Municipalities’ ability to make decisions specifically impacting their communities, public school funding being diverted to charter schools, light rail spending, status of sanctuary cities, and the discreteness of the search for the next UNC system president were all up for debate in the whirlwind of action over the final few days of the legislative session.

Local Government Control: Senate Bill 279

A piece of legislation was introduced on the final day of the legislative session that proposed restrictions on local governments, before flaming out in spectacular fashion.

The changes were introduced as part of an unrelated bill that started out in an attempt to address qualifications of sexual education experts to approve sex ed curricula in school districts across the state. Throughout the intense debate on Tuesday, social media lit up with protests over the surprise amendment. LGBT advocates argued the move was aimed at reversing decisions by some municipalities extending discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation.

After being voted down by the House Rules Committee, a previous version of the bill – without the restrictive language – was passed by the Senate.

Charter School Funding: House Bill 539

Another piece of controversial legislation was also stopped in committee Tuesday night. The bill would have shifted some traditional public school funding to charter schools.

Public schools already split funding with charter schools based on enrollment numbers, but the new proposal would have taken money from pots previously reserved for public schools and diverted it to charters across the state.

Supporters say the bill would just provide equal funding to charter schools. Opponents argued against allowing charter schools to split funding for nutritional meals and transportation with public schools, because charter schools are not required to provide the same food and transportation services as traditional schools.

The bill could be brought back up in the short session next year.

Lawmakers said they wanted more time to evaluate charter school needs.

Light Rail Spending Amendment of Revenue Law Changes: Senate Bill 605

The House had voted earlier in the week to pass an amendment that would have removed the $500,000 spending cap on light rail.

The cap was originally placed in the state budget with no discussion beforehand.

Some have called the cap a “project killer” for the Durham – Orange Light Rail project, because the 17-mile light rail proposal is counting on 25 percent of the funding to come from state dollars.

The Senate sent the amended legislation to committee, where it will stay until at least next April.

The legislation to remove the cap could be reevaluated next session.

Sanctuary Cities: House Bill 318

Legislation is heading to Governor Pat McCrory that would ban sanctuary city policies, similar to what Chapel Hill and Carrboro have in place, from being adopted in the future.

This places the status in our community in limbo with several jurisdictional questions left to be answered, likely through litigation.

Protestors delivered letters to Mcrory on Wednesday asking him to veto the legislation. Another protest was held on the UNC campus on Thursday.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt spoke with WCHL’s Blake Hodge about the proposal earlier in the week before it was passed. Listen below:

UNC President Search: Senate Bill 670

Finally, term limits have been placed for members to serve on the UNC Board of Governors, who will now only be able to serve three four-year terms on the 32-member board.

An amendment on the bill had called for a public meeting with the final three candidates for the president of the 17-campus UNC System.

That proposal was removed before the bill was finally passed to the governor.

Now the dozens of pieces of legislation that were nailed down in a fast-paced few hours await the signature of Governor Pat McCrory to become the law of the land.


UNC Legend, 95, Will Lead “Walk For Health”

Bobby Gersten is 95 years old. A 1942 Carolina alum, he’s UNC’s oldest living former basketball and baseball player. He helped build Carolina’s basketball dynasty in the 1950s by recruiting players from New York to play for Frank McGuire. And today, closing in on 100, he’s still as active and energetic as ever.

On Saturday, October 10, Bobby G. will lead UNC’s “Walk for Health,” an annual event to promote healthy lifestyles and get young people active and interested in physical fitness. This year’s walk will begin at 12:30 pm at the Eddie Smith Field House and proceed to Peace and Justice Plaza – where there will be an unveiling of the tribute marker recognizing local heroes in the fight for equality. (The marker already exists at the plaza, but it’s being updated to add two more names: longtime Town Council member Bill Thorpe and legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith.)

Prior to the walk, there will be a youth soccer game at the Field House at 11 am. Two distinguished Carolina alums will also be on hand to lead the event: ESPN president John Skipper and CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin.

Bobby Gersten and William Thorpe, Jr. stopped by WCHL and spoke with Aaron Keck about the Walk for Health.


For more information about the Walk for Health, visit UNCWalkForHealth.com.