Dec 212012
 

newsobserver.com blogs

Submitted by cjarvis on 2012-12-20 12:54

 

Gov.-elect Pat McCrory announced three cabinet appointments and trio of key staff hires in a news conference Thursday.

He named as his top budget official Art Pope, a conservative political financier and former state legislator. Pope will take a leave from his business interests, his foundation and from all public and nonprofit boards he serves on in order to assume the job, for which he will be a non-paid volunteer, McCrory said.

Dome has learned that Pope has resigned from the board of directors of Americans for Prosperity effective immediately Thursday. He was one of three directors on the board of the national organization.

Pope, who owns Variety Wholesalers, a retail chain that includes Roses and Maxwell stores, has been working as McCrory’s transition co-chairman. His new title will be deputy budget director, but that’s because by law the governor is the budget director. Pope will be the top staffer in developing the governor’s budgets.

In recent years Pope has used his money to bankroll groups that advocate conservative causes, such as the Civitas Institute and the John Locke Foundation. He also has close ties to Americans for Prosperity, another conservative advocacy group.

McCrory also named Kieran Shanahan, a prominent Raleigh attorney and former federal prosecutor, to be the new secretary of the Department of Public Safety. Shanahan is a former Raleigh city councilman and a top GOP fundraiser.

Susan Kluttz, a former mayor of Salisbury and current city council member there, will serve as secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources. Kluttz was recently named to a new statewide group of civic and business leaders who will advance an agenda of economic growth and development.

McCrory selected Lyons Gray to be his secretary of the Department of Revenue. Gray, who lives in Winston-Salem, is a former, six-term state legislator and former chief financial officer with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. He was a senior advisor to UNC system President Tom Ross.

Bob Stephens, a Charlotte attorney, was named as McCrory’s chief legal counsel. Stephens has been a practicing attorney for about 40 years, he said.

Chris Walker, who has been the spokesman for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign and for U.S. Rep. Richard Burr, was named communications director.

There are three more cabinet positions to fill, in the departments of commerce, transportation and administration. Last week McCrory announced the selection of John Skvarla as secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, and Aldona Vos to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Update: The N.C. Democratic Party was quick to respond to the choice of Pope, who has been a lightning rod for criticism by liberal groups because of his high-dollar financing of conservative causes. The party called him an extremist who is buying influence.

Clay Pittman, North Carolina Democratic Party Spokesman, issued the following statement:

“We’d like to be shocked. It should be a surprise that Art Pope, the ringleader of North Carolina’s right wing, has been appointed Deputy Budget Director. It should be unexpected to see that Governor-Elect McCrory, once a moderate, progressive mayor, has cast his lot with the far-right. However, over the course of the 2012 campaign, and in this transition period, Pat McCrory has shown his true colors. It appears that a full-scale Pay-to-Play system has taken hold of the executive branch, where special interests, high-dollar donors, and the leaders of the right wing will have control of the Governor’s Mansion. This is a disappointment, but far from surprising.”

UPDATE: Pope has also resigned from two Civitas boards in North Carolina.

Here’s a statement from AFP President Tim Phillips: “As a founding Board Member, Art has been a wise leader and good friend over the years, and contributed greatly to the growth and success of Americans for Prosperity. We wish him all the best in this new opportunity.”

Also, a statement from Dallas Woodhouse, director of the North Carolina chapter of AFP: “Art has contributed real leadership and wisdom to AFP, and we’re happy to see him being honored with this appointment by Governor Elect-McCrory. While Art’s most important role was that of a broad vision setting member of the organization, not the daily operations of the North Carolina Chapter, his occasional advice and counsel is something that will be deeply missed. It has been the honor of a lifetime to get to know this kind and generous man personally, and I’m confident millions of North Carolina citizens can look forward to bright new days ahead in the state under Governor McCrory and Deputy Budget Director Pope.”

ECU trustee Kieran Shanahan will be secretary of the Department of Public Safety.

via McCrory picks 3 more cabinet members + 3 more staffers: Art Pope, Kieran Shanahan among them | newsobserver.com projects.

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Dec 212012
 

 

Modified Fri, Dec 21, 2012 09:47 AM

By Luke DeCock – staff columnist – ldecock@newsobserver.com

CHAPEL HILL — For all the anticipation that accompanied its release Thursday, former Gov. Jim Martin’s report into academic fraud at the University of North Carolina is narrow in scope and limited in utility. It is not the whitewash or cover-up some will surely accuse it of being any more than it is the comprehensive inquiry North Carolina would like it to be. It is merely incomplete, a window into one specific kind of fraud in one specific department.

By placing the blame on former Department of African and Afro-American Studies chairman Julius Nyang’oro and former department administrator Deborah Crowder, the Martin report compartmentalizes the fraud in one department, wrapping it up in a neat tidy bundle, laying the institutional responsibility squarely at the feet of two former employees who both refused to cooperate with the investigation.

“Two people who went sideways,” Board of Trustees chairman Wade Hargrove noted Thursday. “It’s painful but reassuring.”

In that respect, Martin’s investigation resembles the investigation of the football program, which laid the bulk of the institutional responsibility squarely at the feet of John Blake and Jennifer Wiley, two former employees who refused to cooperate with the investigation.

What Martin’s report does well, it does very well: It examines and outlines the academic fraud that took place within the department going back to 1997. The investigation exhaustively searched the rest of the university for patterns that would suggest similar types of fraud. It followed up on potential irregularities in six other departments. It found none.

Martin did not discern any connection to athletics despite considerable anecdotal evidence, but given the methods used, that was unlikely anyway. The investigation, with “unfettered access to University systems, records and personnel,” relied heavily and almost exclusively on statistical analysis and interviews with cooperating parties.

Martin’s calls to Nyang’oro and Crowder went unanswered. They remain silent. Martin rejected the analysis of phone records, dismissed any examination of email correspondence and declined to interview any current or former basketball players.

“My opinion was basketball players wouldn’t tell us anything we didn’t know from other sources,” Martin said.

That’s not exactly leaving no stone unturned.

Was there academic fraud in Nyang’oro’s department? Of course there was. That was absolutely clear before anyone picked up the phone to give Martin a ring. Martin was able to determine that specific type of fraud was limited to that department and determine the extent of it.

Then, along with the consulting firm Baker Tilly, Martin was able to give the university a blueprint for corrective action and prevention. To the extent that was the goal, mission accomplished.

But there remain real questions with serious implications: Who orchestrated that fraud? Why did it happen? And how did so many athletes end up in the suspect classes?

Those questions remain unanswered. Martin advanced a theory that the fraud was designed to boost enrollment in the nascent department, albeit without any evidence to support that claim.

“You can have a lot of theories and hypotheses about this, but in order to come up with some kind of condemnation you have to have some evidence,” Martin said.

Later, Martin added: “You can speculate. I’m sure the district attorney is speculating. But he has access we don’t have.”

Orange County district attorney Jim Woodall was listed among those interviewed for the report. Perhaps he’ll be able to get to the “who,” “why” and “how” behind what was going on in AFAM. Martin only got to the “what.”

DeCock: ldecock@newsobserver.com, Twitter: @LukeDeCock, (919) 829-8947

via DeCock: Martin report narrow in scope, limited in utility – DeCock – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 212012
 

Modified Thu, Dec 20, 2012 06:52 PM

Former Gov. Jim Martin and a management consulting firm, Baker-Tilly, did their duty, as best they could, no doubt, in issuing a report on academic fraud in the African and Afro-American Studies Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. But there are a couple of considerable gaps in the report, gaps perhaps not the fault of Martin or consultants.

The gaps are named Deborah Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro. Crowder was the administrative assistant of the department and Nyang’oro its chairman. Both are implicated in the report as the ones responsible for various independent study classes, sometimes called “no show” because students got no lectures and submitted a paper at semester’s end.

 

The classes, as is now well-known, were favored by athletes and apparently by the academic support system that, according to one former member of the support staff, was focused on keeping players eligible. Martin’s report noted 216 courses in the department with real or potential problems and 454 suspect grade changes.

 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/20/2557829/a-grade-for-the-martin-probe-incomplete.html#storylink=cpy
Former Gov. Jim Martin and a management consulting firm, Baker-Tilly, did their duty, as best they could, no doubt, in issuing a report on academic fraud in the African and Afro-American Studies Department at UNC-Chapel Hill. But there are a couple of considerable gaps in the report, gaps perhaps not the fault of Martin or consultants.The gaps are named Deborah Crowder and Julius Nyang’oro. Crowder was the administrative assistant of the department and Nyang’oro its chairman. Both are implicated in the report as the ones responsible for various independent study classes, sometimes called “no show” because students got no lectures and submitted a paper at semester’s end.
The classes, as is now well-known, were favored by athletes and apparently by the academic support system that, according to one former member of the support staff, was focused on keeping players eligible. Martin’s report noted 216 courses in the department with real or potential problems and 454 suspect grade changes.

Crowder and Nyang’oro declined to talk to anyone with Martin’s group. Both are retired. It appears only they could address important questions: How did these courses come to be? How did athletes manage to enroll in substantial numbers? Why did some athletes do well in these classes but not in many others? Did anyone know these no-show classes existed outside the departmental office?

Problems contained?

Martin’s group found the problems were confined to African studies. Its report reached the sweeping but dubious conclusion that the problems represented an academic scandal, but “not an athletic scandal.” Significantly, the report found that problems with the classes went back to 1997, five years after Nyang’oro took over. University officials initially wanted to go back a much shorter period in their own investigation. That changed when suspicions arose that problems might have had a longer history.

The university also says that the reports about the courses shouldn’t cause any further problems with the NCAA, the governing body of college sports, because regular students, not just athletes, were in the classes as well and were treated equally.

That’s a nice piece of rationalization, but the university has other concerns. Martin’s review is one of five investigations related to academic fraud. In one, the State Bureau of Investigation is looking at a 2011 summer school session in which Nyang’oro was paid $12,000 to teach a class that had no lectures and required only a paper. An accreditation agency also is looking at the campus.

The university has an entire law school. Is it not possible for someone in that school to determine a way in which Crowder and Nyang’oro could be compelled to tell what they know about these classes?

And they could tell what they know about the favorable treatment some star football players allegedly received.

It’s not over

Absent full comments from the two people the report puts at the center of the problems,this story cannot be said to be over. It’s had some frustrating and occasionally reassuring moments along the way.

Initially, it seemed the blame was going to fall on a tutor alleged to have helped athletes too much with their work, but it became obvious the problems went beyond that. Other stories began to unfold, with the university reluctantly responding to each one. That pattern was frustrating in many ways, for it appeared that either the university was trying to keep a lid on things or that the administration didn’t know what was going on.

Then there was the moment when Mary Willingham, who had worked in the academic support system but then moved to another job in 2010, stated plainly to The N&O that the no-show classes were used to keep athletes eligible and that the support staff knew it. Willingham had been moved to come forward after attending the memorial services for the late UNC system President Emeritus William Friday, a long-time advocate of pulling the reins on college athletics.

Martin approached his task with the precision of a professor, which he was, and the findings on the numbers of questionable classes are valuable. But this sorry saga, which has wounded a great university, has yet to reach its final chapter.

via A grade for the Martin probe: incomplete – Editorials – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 212012
 

Modified Fri, Dec 21, 2012 07:28 AM

By Dan Kane, Jane Stancill and J. Andrew Curliss – dkane@newsobserver.com

CHAPEL HILL — No-show classes and poorly managed independent studies within UNC-Chapel Hill’s African and Afro-American studies department stretch back to 1997, former Gov. Jim Martin said in a report released Thursday.

The review found 216 courses with proven or potential problems, and included up to 560 suspected unauthorized grade changes. But the report did not find that athletics were at the heart of the misconduct.

“This was not an athletic scandal,” Martin said. “It was an academic scandal, which is worse; but an isolated one.”

Martin released his report to university trustees and a special panel of the UNC Board of Governors after he and a national management consulting firm, Baker Tilly, spent more than three months compiling nearly 20 years of enrollment data, reviewing records and interviewing dozens of students, staff and officials connected to an academic fraud scandal that emerged in May.

That’s when UNC officials reported that 54 lecture-style classes within the African studies department over the past four years never actually met and required only a paper turned in at the end of the semester. Their report also found that independent studies in the department, which are designed to require only a paper, were not properly tracked.

Those classes were heavily populated with athletes.

Martin’s report expanded the number of irregular courses substantially, to 216, but didn’t address how many athletes were involved in those classes. It laid the blame on Julius Nyang’oro, the former department chairman, and his assistant, Deborah Crowder.

“No evidence from our review points to anyone else’s involvement beyond Ms. Crowder and Dr. Nyang’oro,” the report said. “While we cannot definitively conclude regarding the degree of Ms. Crowder’s responsibility for the academic anomalies noted in this report, both this review and (an earlier report) found a dramatic reduction in academic anomalies after Summer 2009, which coincided with the time of Ms. Crowder’s retirement.”

The report found no problems beyond the African studies department.

Wade Hargrove, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said Thursday morning that portions of the report were “painful.”

“The indiscretions, failures, and irregularities strike at the heart of the core values of the university,” he said. “In facing and correcting these lapses, we honor more than 200 years of commitment by members of the faculty, the staff, and the administration – past and present – to assure that every student who comes here receives a rigorous, challenging and meaningful academic experience. These irregularities must never be allowed to occur again.”

Several on both boards praised Martin for the thoroughness of his report.

“I think we have dug up enough information,” said Hari Nath, a Board of Governors member who sits on the special panel looking into the scandal.

While many bemoaned the mess that had been created and operated quietly for nearly 15 years, they said they believed it was now time to “move forward.”

“It’s a disturbing report. It is astonishing,” said Jan Boxill, chairwoman of the faculty. “But I think the policies we have in place allow us to move forward, but just always to be vigilant. I think that is the key. We’ve got enough faculty who want to do that, so we’re here.”

Numbers rise, then fall

Boxill was satisfied that the report did not find a broader athletic scandal, but others said that’s because Martin and the Baker Tilly staff did not look in the right places. Jay Smith, a university history professor who has been outspoken about the scandal, said Martin should have been scrutinizing how athletes in the big-money sports of basketball and football got into the suspect classes, and how they benefited from them.

“It’s a stunner,” Smith said. “I mean, I just can’t believe that they had such a blind spot for athletics.”

The report made mention of athletes enrolled in the no-show classes and independent studies, but said their enrollments were not an issue because the athletes had similar representation in all the courses offered by the African studies department.

Martin also speculated that since African-Americans have a disproportionate representation on basketball and football teams at UNC-CH and other competitive universities, it stands to reason they would be represented in African studies in higher numbers.

But he was hard-pressed to explain why those numbers plummeted for basketball players in the last five years.

Only one basketball player took an independent study out of the department during that time. A spokesman for the athletic department, Steve Kirschner, has said the players during those years had different interests, but the drop coincides with the disclosure of an independent study scandal at Auburn University, which was discussed by UNC-CH’s Faculty Committee on Athletics.

Martin said the first no-show class in the fall of 1997 coincides with African studies becoming a department. It had operated as a curriculum prior to then. Nyang’oro had been appointed to lead African studies in 1992, and largely got away with the no-show classes because he had poor supervision, Martin said.

The number of no-show classes and suspect independent studies grew slowly for the first five years, but then began to shoot up by the 2002-2003 academic year. The independent studies dropped dramatically by the 2006-2007 academic year, but the no-show classes didn’t drop off significantly until the fall of 2009.

That is when Crowder retired. Martin said he thinks her retirement shows she was heavily involved in setting up the suspect classes. As department manager, Crowder would have had the ability to enroll students and report grades.

Martin said some within the university described Crowder as if she were a living “Statue of Liberty,” willing to help any struggling student. But he said any students she put in suspect classes suffered a loss because they did not receive an education.

Nothing from Nyang’oro

Martin theorized that Nyang’oro, the former chairman, may have used the no-show classes and independent studies to boost his enrollment numbers, and thereby make the case for additional instructors. He said he and Baker Tilly representatives could find no evidence that Nyang’oro or Crowder benefited financially from the suspect classes.

They did find, however, that Crowder had received $100,000 and some Hummel figurines in 2008 from the estate of the father of a long-time academic tutor and adviser for the men’s basketball team. The payment arose from a “close” friendship Crowder had with the adviser, Burgess McSwain, who died in 2004. The money and items were in exchange for taking care of the father’s dogs.

Nyang’oro resigned in August 2011 when the irregularities were first discovered, then was forced into retirement in June. Martin said he tried to reach Nyang’oro and Crowder by phone but was unsuccessful.

Martin defended academic support staff, saying supervisors raised questions about independent studies twice, in 2002 and 2006, to the faculty athletics committee. Both times, no one saw a problem, minutes show. Martin said that may be because the enrollment numbers had not shot up when the academic support officials first went to the committee, but had subsided when they revisited the issue four years later.

“In part,” he said, “the trick had been shifted to … lecture courses that did not meet,” he said.

Silent on Peppers

Chancellor Holden Thorp commissioned Martin’s report after evidence emerged showing the no-show classes stretched back further than the review period of the university’s report.

A UNC-CH graduate provided emails to the News & Observer suggesting a 2005 class was turned into a no-show class, and a transcript for Julius Peppers suggested he had been in no-show classes and suspect independent studies while a student from 1998 to 2002. Peppers, a two-sport star who now plays for the NFL’s Chicago Bears, has denied through his agent taking part in any academic fraud.

Peppers did not graduate, and his transcript shows he scored Bs or better in African studies courses that, when reviewed for the 2007-2011 period, were found to lack academic integrity. Martin said he could not comment on whether Peppers was in any suspect classes because of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prevents universities from releasing academic records related to specific students.

Much of the scandal in the past several months has centered on how the classes were used by the university’s academic support program for athletes. UNC records show athletes accounted for nearly two-thirds of the enrollments in the 54 no-show classes found between 2007 and 2011, and other documents obtained by the N&O show Nyang’oro worked with the support program to make them available to athletes.

A class Nyang’oro launched four days before the beginning of a summer semester in 2011, for example, was filled by football players and a former player.

Martin’s probe is one of five into the academic fraud that are either under way or soon to begin. The SBI is investigating after the N&O reported that Nyang’oro had received $12,000 in summer pay for the 2011 class. And last week the association that provides the university with its accreditation said it plans to send a special committee in the coming months to look into how the university is cleaning up what the association described as a possible lack of rigor and adequate work by athletes taking African studies courses.

The academic fraud has prompted numerous reforms, and Baker Tilly was also commissioned to determine whether those changes would prevent a similar scandal from happening again. Raina Rose Tagle, a partner with the firm, said the new controls would be a strong deterrent, but she also cautioned that there is no failsafe.

“You are doing what you can do,” she said.

Kane: 919-829-4861
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/21/2556839/martin-report-suspect-unc-classes.html#storylink=cpy

 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/21/2556839/martin-report-suspect-unc-classes.html#storylink=cpy

 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/21/2556839/martin-report-suspect-unc-classes.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/12/21/2556839/martin-report-suspect-unc-classes.html#storylink=cpy

via Martin report: Suspect UNC classes stretched back to 1997 – Local/State – NewsObserver.com.

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Dec 212012
 

ECU's Vintavious Cooper (21) runs the ball in for a touchdown against Houston Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Scott Davis/The Daily Reflctor)

ECU’s Vintavious Cooper (21) runs the ball in for a touchdown against Houston Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Scott Davis/The Daily Reflctor)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Like so many other traditions associated with college football pushed aside in the rush to maximize profits, bowl games — once a definitive reward for an exceptional season — no longer reflect a remarkable achievement for a team. This season will see some 35 games involving 70 universities, including several programs seeking to avoid ending the year with a losing record.

For East Carolina University, which plays the University of Louisiana Lafayette in Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl, the low profile of the game fails to reflect the season players and coaches delivered on the field. This was a year of transition, one that saw the Pirates compete for a Conference USA division title, and all involved should be proud of what the team achieved over the past four months.

One year after limping to a 5-7 regular season that saw the Pirates left out of bowl play, East Carolina can be proud to watch the team compete in the 12th New Orleans Bowl beginning at noon on Saturday. After completing an 8-4 regular season, including a 7-1 record in conference, the Pirates look to knock off the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Layfette, which finished second in the Sun Belt Conference.

This was an uncommon year for East Carolina. High-profile out-of-conference match-ups against South Carolina and North Carolina gave fans a thrill, though the Pirates fell short in both games. A bizarre game against the University of Texas El Paso in Greenville saw Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium evacuated due to severe weather, and only an October loss to the University of Central Florida kept the team from playing in the conference title game.

The ups and downs on the field were matched by those away from the gridiron. Many fans will remember this season for the Pirates earning an invite to the Big East Conference, itself not entirely stable for the long term, and the architect of that move, Athletics Director Terry Holland, announcing his intention to retire when his replacement is named. Those are enormous changes that could alter the future of Pirate football.

For now, however, players, coaches and support staff should take pride in their achievements and a season of strong performances. Even though a saturated bowl season diminishes the importance of being selected for a game, the purple and gold faithful knows what this year’s squad has done and will be cheering on Saturday in celebration and support.

via The Daily Reflector.

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Dec 212012
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

In case NASA is totally wrong and the world does end sometime today a reporter from The Daily Reflector asked local officials what song they would add to an “End of the World” playlist:

Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas — “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steam

Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks — “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” R.E.M. or “There You Are,” Lonestar

Pitt County Schools Superintendant Beverly Emory — “Amazing Grace,” sung by Elvis Presley

East Carolina University’s Chief of Staff Phillip Rogers — “I Will Rise,” Chris Tomlin

ECU’s Brody School of Medicine Dean Paul Cunningham — “Every Little Thing Gonna Be All Right,”
Bob Marley or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,”
Bobby McFerrin;

Pitt County District Attorney Clark Everett — “Anything by Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj or Justin Bieber. Compared to that, the end of the world wouldn’t be so bad.”

via The Daily Reflector.

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Dec 202012
 

By: Katie Banks | 9 On Your Side

Updated: December 19, 2012 – 6:58 PM

BETHEL, N.C. – Six months ago, the people of Bethel felt like they had nowhere to turn.

News spread quickly that the only healthcare clinic in town would close by September 1st.

It was a decision ECU’s medical school said would save them money, but residents argued it would cost lives.

When fall arrived, the clinic doors closed as planned, but the town never gave up.

After several meetings, ECU offered to transfer ownership of the clinic to the town for just $1.

And now, there’s new life within its walls.

A team from the Greenville Health Care Center moved in on December 3rd, and runs the clinic like a family practice.

“I remember when Bethel was our thriving town,” says Lee Quinn, a physician assistant who now works at the clinic. “So, my hope is that this can rejuvenate, or be a part of rejuvenating, the town of Bethel so that more people will come here.”

And for long-time patient Ola Perry, seeing the clinic reopen was the answer to her prayers.

“It was a good feeling,” she says, “a good feeling. It was like a Christmas present – a really big, Christmas present.”

via Bethel clinic reopens, new health care provider already seeing patients | 9 On Your Side.

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Dec 202012
 

Published Wed, Dec 19, 2012 05:19 PM

By Mark Schultz – mschultz@newsobserver.com

CHAPEL HILL –

UNC is seeking state approval to modify and resume using its wastewater treatment system at the Bingham Facility, three buildings west of Carrboro that currently house about 150 dogs used to study hemophilia and other blood disorders.

Last month the Orange County Board of Adjustment denied neighbors’ request for a public hearing on a new permit when it determined the university’s plans fell outside the county’s jurisdiction and required only state approval.

In a Dec. 6 letter, however, the state Division of Water Quality asked the university for much more information about its plans.

The state wants to know what pollutants are in the wastewater, the effectiveness of proposed treatment of any carcinogens and isotopes, and a list of surfactants (detergents) used in washing down cages and throughout the facility.

The letter from environmental engineer Nathaniel Thornburg also asks UNC to reconsider how much wastewater it expects to generate and possibly scale back the irrigation field where it plans to spray the treated wastewater.

“It’s more than what we would usually ask an applicant to provide,” Thornburg said. “We want to address the public’s concern and get the information on the record.”

The state’s request, especially its suggestion that UNC consider downsizing its spray field, addresses neighbors’ major fear. They worry that a bigger field, plus the university’s purchase of three nearby properties, signals plans for a bigger facility.

Associate Vice Chancellor Bob Lowman, however, has stressed that the university has no plans to expand at Bingham

“We are very pleased,” said Laura Streitfeld , director of the grassroots watchdog group Preserve Rural Orange. “I consider it great progress and a victory for all of the neighbors who expressed the concerns. I think it’s terrific.”

The state has given UNC a Jan. 5 deadline to respond but says the university can request an extension.

The university has been spending about $3,500 a month pumping and hauling the Bingham Facility’s waste to the Orange Water and Sewer Authority treatment plant since it shut its system down two and half years ago, Associate Vice Chancellor Bob Lowman said. A three-month delay could cost about $10,000.

Schultz: 919-932-2003

via State seeks more information about UNC animal research wastewater plan – Orange County – NewsObserver.com.

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