UNCP, ECU establish partnership | Fayetteville Observer

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Jun 262015


Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 11:15 pm | Updated: 12:05 pm, Thu Jun 25, 2015.

GREENVILLE – Two schools in the University of North Carolina system are working together on a physical therapy program.

Officials from East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday that establishes a satellite program for ECU’s doctor of physical therapy program at Pembroke.

The memorandum was signed at the ECU Health Sciences Building. Speakers included ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard; UNCP Chancellor Kyle Carter; and the incoming chancellor at UNCP, Robin Cummings.

UNC-Pembroke began a study in 2007 on the feasibility of establishing a physical therapy program, leading to the collaboration with ECU.

The agreement is the first step in establishing a stand-alone doctorate of physical therapy program at UNCP.

ECU’s doctorate of physical therapy program will accept up to four UNCP graduates beginning next summer. Once UNCP has eight students at ECU through the “assurance” program, by 2019, UNCP will begin a satellite program, with students in residence at ECU during their first and final semesters with online courses and clinical experiences in Pembroke and at surrounding health care settings, UNCP said in a release.

UNCP expects to have a stand-alone program in place by the fall of 2022.

“For UNCP, this is a big day,” said Carter, who is retiring at the end of the month. “When it happens in the future, this will be our first doctoral program, and it will open the door to other health care training in Pembroke. It’s a positive for our entire region.’’

Ballard also praised the agreement.

“Helping other institutions, helping the whole region through workforce development and preparing our students for the future – those are three things we’re committed to,” he said.

“My hope is that we train a lot more health professionals in both areas – at Pembroke and ECU. We know these people will get good paying jobs.”


Hospitals, colleges lobby against Senate tax proposals | The News & Observer

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Jun 262015


June 25, 2015
By Colin Campbell

Hospital and private university officials said Thursday that the Senate’s proposed tax changes could leave them with budget holes and reduced private donations.

The Senate budget – currently getting a critical, multiday hearing from the House – would drop a cap on nonprofits’ sales tax refunds from the current $45 million to $1 million over five years. And the budget would cap itemized personal income tax deductions at $20,000, including charitable contributions.

The provisions are among several policy items in the Senate budget that many House members oppose. Most of those disagreements will be hashed out in closed-door budget talks between the two chambers, but House Finance Co-Chairman Jason Saine said it’s important to gather public input first.

A temporary state budget is expected to be approved next week so legislators have more time to agree on a long-term spending plan.

“This should be an elongated process so we don’t do the wrong thing, and we get it right by the taxpayers,” Saine said Thursday. “We want to eliminate as best we can the unintended consequences.”

Cody Hand of the N.C. Hospital Association said one of those unintended consequences could be the closure of struggling rural hospitals. He says they often rely on the sales tax refund to balance their budgets.

“The difference that this refund makes is often the difference between black and red,” he said. “The effect on our rural communities and the ability for them to receive healthcare will really be impacted if not completely destroyed.”

But Sen. Andy Wells, a Hickory Republican, said lowering the nonprofit refund is a matter of fairness as for-profit hospitals compete with nonprofits.

“The nature of hospitals has changed: They’ve become very big businesses,” Wells said. “I happen to be in a district that has two hospitals – one for-profit, one nonprofit. One’s paying property taxes and sales taxes. One’s paying neither.”

Private, nonprofit colleges and universities, however, worry that their tax liability could also increase – particularly when they construct new facilities.

“When you do construction, so much of that is in equipment and purchasing of items for the building,” said Hope Williams, president of N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities. She said she doesn’t have an estimate of how many schools would be affected.

Rep. Paul Stam, an Apex Republican, said he’d like nonprofits that have a large building project to be exempt from the change if their typical annual spending doesn’t hit the refund cap.

Williams said that capping charitable tax deductions could also hurt colleges that rely on private donations. Donors, she argued, “might consider a smaller gift if there is no deductibility” above $20,000 in deductions.

According to estimates from the legislature’s nonpartisan research staff, about 50,000 taxpayers currently take more than $20,000 in charitable deductions – representing 1.2 percent of total tax returns.

Sen. Bob Rucho, a Mecklenburg County Republican, questioned whether donations are motivated primarily by the tax incentive. “Are people giving a $1,000 contribution to a church or to any charity for $50?” he said. “Or are they doing it because they think it’s a real good charity that they should support? I mean, think about it.”

Several House members, however, said they won’t support a change in charitable deductions.

“Charitable giving is not just a good thing for state government, it’s a good thing for everybody,” said Rep. Gary Pendleton, a Raleigh Republican and a financial consultant. “I have talked clients into giving away $2 million to charities by showing them what it was worth to them tax-wise.”

Several House committees plan to discuss the Senate budget more in meetings next Tuesday. So far, neither chamber has appointed its negotiators for the closed-door budget talks.

“We really won’t have direction as far as the conference committee until we have these discussions,” Saine said.

Short-term deal eludes legislators

State legislators on Thursday fell short of a deal to enact a temporary budget that would keep state government running beyond next Tuesday, the final day of the current fiscal year.

The short-term agreement, called a “continuing resolution,” would effectively extend the deadline for passing the final budget. Both the House and Senate stayed in session Thursday afternoon in hopes of passing the resolution, but the impasse means it won’t get a vote until Monday or Tuesday.

“No agreement has been made,” House Speaker Tim Moore said as he dismissed legislators for the weekend. He offered no further explanation.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, a lead budget writer, said the “sticking points” don’t relate to how long the temporary budget should be in place. A similar continuing resolution in 2013 ran for one month. Brown dismissed speculation that a final budget agreement could be months away, saying he doesn’t think a deal will take that long.

Sen. Terry Van Duyn, an Asheville Democrat, offered an explanation for Thursday’s continuing resolution impasse on Twitter. “We could not push through a continuing resolution because Senate Republicans insist on cutting TAs and House does not,” she tweeted.

Van Duyn was referring to a Senate budget provision that would cut thousands of teacher assistant positions and use the money saved to hire more elementary school teachers and lower class sizes. The House budget would keep teacher assistant funding at current levels; it’s likely that legislators want to resolve that issue before school districts begin hiring for the new school year.


Duke neuroscientist wins $4 million grant to study Parkinson’s disease | The News & Observer

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Jun 262015


June 25, 2015
By Rose Rimler


Duke University neuroscientist and biomedical engineer Warren Grill has been awarded a $4 million grant to study deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award guarantees funding for Grill’s work for the next four years, and another three pending administrative review.

Grill’s research focuses on deep brain stimulation, a treatment that has been used since the 1990s to alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

In this treatment, surgeons implant electrodes in the patient’s brain that emit regular electric pulses. For reasons that aren’t fully understood, these pulses quiet the abnormal patterns of neural activity that cause the unwanted movements experienced by Parkinson’s patients – possibly by interrupting these patterns, Grill said.

The electrodes are powered by a battery pack about the size of an Altoid tin that is implanted in the patient’s chest. A wire that is run under the skin connects the battery pack to the electrodes in the brain. The battery typically runs out every three or four years, when patients must have surgery to replace it.

More than 100,000 patients have received deep brain stimulation surgery since 1995, according to Medtronic, the company that manufactures the device.

Grill and his students have found that altering the rhythm and frequency of the pulses – like a Morse code sequence rather than constant bleeping – may treat symptoms more effectively. Also, Grill said, fewer pulses would increase the device’s battery life and allow for smaller batteries, which could be implanted in the head instead of the chest and require fewer replacement surgeries.

“For me, [the Javits Award is] a very big deal,” Grill said. With up to seven years of funding secured, Grill and his students have the freedom to pursue more “speculative” work.

To remain competitive for grants, scientists pursue ideas they think will show results quickly, even if those results aren’t especially groundbreaking, he said. Long-term funding frees scientists from the grant cycle and allows them to take bigger risks, such as pursuing an idea that might not bear fruit for several years.

Bigger risks lead to bigger payouts, Grill said.

Currently, Grill, his students and his collaborators – including neurosurgeons at Duke University Medical Center and Emory University in Atlanta – test different pulse patterns in Parkinson’s patients when they come in to change their battery packs. This means they have only been able to study the outcome of these patterns in an operating room for short periods of time.

With this award, Grill hopes to follow patients’ reactions to different patterns over a longer period of time. Patients might benefit from different patterns depending on what they’re doing – like writing versus walking, Grill said.

The Javits Award is named after New York senator Jacob Javits, who had the neurodegenerative disease ALS. It is awarded to senior researchers in brain research and applied neuroscience.


Student who was denied, admitted, denied at Johns Hopkins clears the bar at U-Va. | The Washington Post

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Jun 262015


By Nick Anderson June 25 at 7:17 PM

Sam Stephenson doesn’t hold a grudge.

The student from Virginia’s Culpeper County was denied early admission last fall to Johns Hopkins University, his first choice. Then he received a welcome-to-Hopkins e-mail that urged him to “Embrace the YES!” Then, like 293 others, he received a follow-up e-mail from the elite university in Baltimore telling him to please disregard that mistaken missive of good news.

Chagrined Hopkins officials apologized for the mixup.

The double denial stung: “The first time when I got rejected, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the second time,” Sam told The Washington Post.

But Sam’s mother, Cathy Stephenson, reported a happy ending this week to the college-bound tale of whiplash. Here is her update:

Hi Nick,

I am the mom from the story about Sam who was rejected from Johns Hopkins in December then accepted and then denied again. Just wanted to let you know that he finished in the top 1 percent of his class at [Eastern View High School]. … He also received the musician award, and finished 7th place in State for pole vault. He had a great year. He was accepted into [the University of Virginia’s] Kinesiology [program]. … So, we are very proud of him. He also made the U-Va. marching band and will perform at the football games and be in the Macy’s [Thanksgiving] Day Parade. Just wanted to let you know that great things happened to him even if Johns Hopkins didn’t accept him. It is their loss on such a great student.

— Cathy Stephenson

So Sam — an Eagle Scout, competitive golfer and pole vaulter — cleared the bar. He’ll attend a different top-flight university. His mother said that he feels Charlottesville “is where God wants him to be.”


U-Mich. president: It’s time we talk openly about sexual misconduct | The Washington Post

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Jun 262015


By Mark S. Schlissel June 24

I am a university president, a physician-scientist, an educator and a father. The issue of sexual misconduct at the University of Michigan, and at all of our nation’s campuses, keeps me awake at night.

I feel personally responsible for the safety of all students at U-M.

This year, U-M committed to a thorough, transparent and honest self-examination to assess the problem of sexual misconduct that affects our students.

We surveyed a representative sample of students on our Ann Arbor campus about their experiences with sexual misconduct. The survey instrument was designed by national experts, and we worked hard to achieve a strong response rate (67 percent). The survey included very specific questions, with explicit descriptions of behaviors that allowed us to distinguish different types of sexual assault and the conditions under which they occur.

Our goal was to gain as deep an understanding as possible about sexual misconduct at our university so we can improve our education and prevention efforts and enhance existing services that help survivors, while creating a safer, more respectful and more caring community overall.

We expected from the outset that many of the survey results would be troubling, but public availability of reliable scientific data is essential if we are to make college campuses safer.

While there has been valuable research on how to help sexual assault survivors, there is a surprising lack of data available about the specific circumstances of sexual misconduct on college campuses. This has hampered our collective success in developing strategies to reduce sexual misconduct across the country.

Sexual misconduct is a problem not just on college campuses, but in our society as a whole.

Though existing research provides some evidence that young people enrolled in college are at less risk of sexual assault than those who are not, the risk on campuses must be addressed.

We are committed to sharing any insights we have gained through our survey with the broader higher education community and are making response data available publicly at this Web site.

Universities not only need the best information possible to address sexual misconduct — they need to talk openly and honestly with their communities about the issues on their campuses. That is a necessary step in making our campuses safer. We must now have the difficult conversations that will allow us to develop and implement the most effective solutions. We are convinced that these conversations will be most productive if they are informed by accurate data.

We learned that in the past 12 months at the University of Michigan, 11.4 percent of our students said they experienced some form of non-consensual (also known as unwanted) sexual behavior that could have included touching, kissing, fondling or penetration. Among undergraduate women, the number was 22.5 percent. (The 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study, conducted at two other large public universities, found as many as 20 percent of undergraduate females experienced some form of sexual assault.)

We also learned that far too many students are not telling anyone about what they experienced, and consequently, are not getting the support they need. Only 46 percent said they told someone such as a friend or roommate; just 3.6 percent talked to an official resource. We can do a much better job in helping members of our community feel safe in sharing what has happened and know how to report sexual misconduct.

We must work much harder to improve a culture where 23 percent of students experience harassment. Unwanted attention and harassment should not be a cultural norm. I hope we can change that.

The data also confirm that certain subgroups within our communities need extra attention.

Women were about eight times more likely than men to report experiencing non-consensual penetration. Groups more likely to say they experienced non-consensual penetration included underrepresented minorities; members of fraternities and sororities; bisexual, gay and lesbian students; and club sports participants.

Alcohol also is a factor in sexual misconduct, which many would expect, but we learned that verbal pressure is as prevalent in the experiences reported by our students. Physical force is rarely used; for example, fewer than 1 percent of students report experiences involving physical force in unwanted penetration.

Knowing this added level of detail will help our campus experts more effectively tailor educational programs at groups and behaviors that we found to be associated with assault.

I would also note that this was a baseline, initial survey. We expect to repeat this survey so we can assess the effectiveness of our interventions and look for improvement over time.

Earlier this spring, U-M also participated in a survey developed and administered by the Association of American Universities that for the first time looked at sexual misconduct across many campuses.

By carefully studying sexual assault on our campus, comparing our data with others and openly sharing what we learn, we hope to inform solutions across the country. While I suspect there is no “one size fits all” approach given the large number of institutions of higher education in the U.S., sharing our data can help us approach campus sexual misconduct as the threat to public health that it truly is – and help prevent our students from ever having to experience its horrors.

Many campuses provide services to help survivors. Here at Michigan, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center has been in place for nearly 30 years, having been created in response to student activism. I want to give the professionals at all campuses data that will help them help their students.

All of the fellow higher education leaders I have spoken with understand that we can and must do better.

I have met with survivors and their family members. The ongoing pain caused by sexual assault is heartbreaking. It limits the ability of survivors to take full advantage of the educational and growth opportunities that universities exist to provide. We must do more to reduce sexual misconduct, address incidents appropriately, encourage survivors to seek help, and provide support for all those affected.

As a parent, I’m always concerned about the safety and well-being of my children. That concern didn’t end when they headed off to college or afterwards as they continued to study or began their careers. We all want our children to live, work or study in an environment that is as safe and supportive as possible. That is my aspiration for our students at U-M and for all of the daughters and sons who study at educational institutions across the country.

Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution. He took office in July 2014.


UNC Pembroke links to ECU program | The Daily Reflector

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Jun 252015


By Holly West
Wednesday, June 24, 2015

East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke announced the creation of a satellite program for ECU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program Monday.

UNCP has been working to establish a physical therapy program since 2007. UNCP Chancellor Kyle Carter said the partnership with ECU has been a long process. It started under his predecessor, Interim Chancellor Charles Jenkins, and will continue under Chancellor-elect Robin Cummings after Carter retires Tuesday.

“You build on what you inherit and you pass things on to others that are still in process,” Carter said. “Chancellor-elect Cummings has the ability to actually implement this very, very important program for UNC-Pembroke.”

Starting in the 2016-17 school year, ECU will establish an assurance program that will reserve places for up to four UNCP students in each entering physical therapy class. Once there are about eight UNCP students that meet the requirements for admittance to the ECU program, the assurance program will be transitioned to a full satellite program.

In the satellite program, students will attend classes at ECU for the first and last semesters of their three-year program. They will take the rest of their classes at UNCP. The satellite program is predicted to begin by 2019.

All the students’ clinical experiences will take place in health care facilities near UNCP.

Amy Gross McMillan, associate chair of ECU’s department of physical therapy, said this program will help increase the number of health care providers available in rural areas.

“Students who come from an area are more likely to stay and work in that area or to eventually come back to that area,” she said. “We have a history of not receiving very many applicants or applications from that Robeson County area. We look forward to adding to the diversity of our applicant pool, adding to the diversity of our health care workforce and moving forward with this collaboration.”

Phyllis Horns, ECU’s vice chancellor for health sciences, said service is an important part of the college’s mission, as exemplified by other programs such as the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s dental clinic in Lumberton, about 10 miles from UNCP’s campus.

“We really focus on serving rural and underserved populations,” she said. “We strongly believe that outreach is an important part of who we are as a university.”

An important part of that community service is collaborating with other schools, ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard said.

“Those are the kinds of things that we think not only make a difference, but it’s the way we have to do business in the future,” he said. “Collaboration is where higher ed needs to go.”


ECU to offer physical therapy program at UNCP | The Robesonian

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Jun 252015


Last updated: June 24. 2015 7:01PM

PEMBROKE — In the next year, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will lay the foundations for what could evolve into the school’s first independent doctoral program.

An agreement signed Wednesday by East Carolina University Chancellor Steve Ballard and UNCP Chancellor Kyle Carter will establish a satellite of ECU’s Department of Physical Therapy doctoral program at the Pembroke campus.

In a new pilot program for the 2016-2017 academic year, ECU will reserve four places in its incoming doctoral class for UNCP undergraduates. Once the pilot program is admitting at least eight qualified UNCP undergraduates each year — estimated to occur by 2019 — it will transition to a satellite program. At that time, students will attend class on ECU’s campus for their first and final semesters, but will spend the other semesters of the three-year program at UNCP.

All clinical experiences for the satellite students will take place in the clinics and hospitals surrounding UNCP. The program is expected to grow to approximately 10 students per year.

The collaboration will also lead to the addition of a pre-physical therapy club and pre-physical therapy advisers at UNCP.

“Helping other institutions, helping the whole region through workforce development and preparing our students for the future — those are three things we’re committed to,” Ballard said on Wednesday.

“My hope is that we train a lot more health professionals in both areas: at Pembroke and ECU. We know these people will get good paying jobs.”

Phyllis Horns, vice chancellor for ECU’s Division of Health Sciences, said this collaboration could also increase the diversity of the region’s health care workforce.

“I retire on Tuesday, so Chancellor-Elect (Robin) Cummings has the opportunity to actually implement this very, very important program for UNC Pembroke,” Carter said. “I want to thank ECU. The personality (here) really is collaboration, it’s regional engagement and they are great partners.”

The satellite program could evolve into an independent UNCP doctor of physical therapy program by 2022, provided that it continues to admit at least eight students a year — from the pool of UNCP undergraduates and from qualified applicants living in the school’s service area — and the program is approved by UNC General Administration.

Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education, ECU’s Department of Physical Therapy has advanced the education of physical therapists since 1970.

“This college and the Department of Physical Therapy have a strong tradition of training health care providers for North Carolina and to work in rural, eastern North Carolina,” said Amy Gross McMillan, associate chair of physical therapy at ECU. “We know that students who come from an area are more likely to stay in that area (to work).”

McMillan said she hopes this partnership will lead to more applications from students in the southeast region of North Carolina and from Robeson County, in particular.

ECU’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy is one of the most competitive programs offered by the university. It accepts North Carolina residents only and the average undergraduate GPA for this year’s incoming class was 3.75. The program frequently sees more than 300 applicants for 30 admission slots.


ECU, UNC Pembroke form physical therapy partnership | WITN

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Jun 252015


Updated: Wed 10:14 PM, Jun 24, 2015
By: Dave Jordan

To view news video at WITN, click here.

ECU is teaming up with UNC Pembroke to meet the need for more physical therapists in the eastern part of the state.

Officials from both university’s announced that ECU’s physical therapy department would be launching a satellite program on the campus of UNC Pembroke.

The new initiative will start as an “assurance program” in 2016 with up to 4 spots in ECU’s doctoral program reserved for Pembroke students.

Those students will spend their first and last semesters of the 3-year program on ECU’s campus and the rest of the program will be completed at UNCP.

Clinical experiences for those students will also be completed at Pembroke area health care facilities.

Once enough qualified undergraduate candidates are identified, the “assurance program” will become a full satellite program.

ECU anticipates the program could grow to include around 10 UNCP students per year.


Vidant staff gets heart pump training | The Daily Reflector

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Jun 252015


By Michael Abramowitz
June 25, 2015

The world’s smallest heart pump was showcased Wednesday at Vidant Medical Center, where physicians who will use it began training at the manufacturer’s mobile learning lab in Greenville.

Vidant Medical Center is the first North Carolina hospital to participate in the Abiomed Mobile Learning Lab program, an interactive, facilitated learning experience brought directly to the hospital.

The lab provides an opportunity for Vidant’s cardiologists, nurses and cath lab staff to learn about Abiomed’s Impella 2.5 Heart Pump, one of the newest, minimally invasive heart technologies, according to Dr. Ramesh Daggubati, director of cardiac catheterization labs at East Carolina Heart Institute at Vidant Medical Center, and clinical professor in the cardiovascular sciences department at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

“Our community of patients and partners deserve the best therapies available,” Daggubati said. “Our participation with the mobile learning lab will ensure that our staff is highly trained to effectively utilize the most innovative healthcare technology solutions available for our patients.”

Abiomed technicians began training Vidant’s medical staff on use of the Impella 2.5 through the use of simulators, animations and other information. The device is inserted through the skin into an artery in the leg, then threaded through the artery into the heart to support patients’ blood circulation during angioplasty, a surgical procedure to fix circulatory blockages in the heart, Daggubati said.

“This Food and Drug Administration-approved device allows cardiologists and surgeons to offer another option to patients evaluated as high-risk who are experiencing angina and otherwise might have to rely on medical therapies,” Daggubati said.

The patients who would most benefit from the Impella pump are those whose blockages are so severe and possibly complicated by other diseases such as diabetes that they are at a high risk of cardiac arrest during the same procedure done without the pump, Daggubati said. It also is more efficient at pumping blood through the body than the traditional balloon pump it replaces, with no more risk to patient safety than the balloon poses.

“The device makes surgeons more comfortable about tackling such procedures in high-risk patients,” Daggubati said. “It’s like having a seat belt on when you travel in a car.”

With Abiomed assistance, every doctor training in heart surgery at Vidant’s heart institute will incorporate the Impella into his or her training regimen, under the supervision of nine certified interventional cardiologists already trained on the device who have performed 10-20 procedures per year, Daggubati said.

“It’s not just physicians we train, though,” Daggubati said. “The entire team of cath lab technicians and nurses also participate in the training. Our trained teams have reduced the time required to set up the device for insertion to within two minutes.”

The procedure has been in place at Vidant since 2010 and has been responsible for saving as many as 55 high-risk lives per year since then, Daggubati said. Under the FDA’s expanded approval, he expects that number to increase by hundreds.

More information about the Abiomed Impella 2.5 heart pump can be found at www.protectedpci.com.


Brunswick Town excavations uncover more waterfront features, tar kilns |State Port Pilot

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Jun 252015


Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 1:50 pm

By Jason Tyson, Staff Writer

Recently completed archaeological investigations at Brunswick Town-Fort Anderson State Historic Site, conducted by students from East Carolina University, have revealed new details about important structures on the grounds spanning multiple time periods.

During the last portion of the field school’s five-week session, which ended June 19, undergraduate and graduate excavators divided into two teams to dig in separate locations. They continued the study of a colonial-era wharf on the Cape Fear River bank, and located the original wooden floor of a gun emplacement used during the Civil War, buried in one the earthwork traverses of the fort.

The first team used a low-tide opportunity to dig in an area where the wharf is believed to have tied into higher ground, sifting through mud and deposits of naval stores to discover that location.

“We’ve got enough samples now to certainly tell us what type of wood was being used on the wharf. We now know a lot more about its structure, and we may even be able to tell its age,” site manager Jim McKee said. “What we did not know before was exactly where it had started.”

East Carolina University’s Dr. Charles Ewen, team leader from the school’s Anthropology Department, said the dig was a success and the students recorded thousands of bits of data which will continue to be analyzed.

The 160-foot “crib-cobb” style wharf was built by William Dry II and abandoned in 1769.

“There are not too many places in the state where students can use archaeology to uncover history, so it’s been a real thrill for them,” Ewen said. “It’s the rest of the story, of trying to figure out how regular people lived and what they were doing.”


UNC gets federal grant for coastal work | The Herald Sun

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Jun 252015


Jun. 23, 2015

Ray Gronberg

UNC has landed a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to continue work on coastal hazard-management issues together with more than a dozen other universities.

The five-year grant will fund a “Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence,” to replace the university’s Coastal Hazards Center.

The old center has been around since 2008 and received about $18 million from Homeland Security.

Its work included the creation of new computer models to predict the storm surge from hurricanes and tropical storms, and mapping software for emergency managers to use in planning and running disaster-response efforts.

Now, Homeland Security wants the professors involved to take on “a pretty fundamental challenge,” namely helping communities prepare for such threats as storms, rising sea levels and erosion, said Gavin Smith, the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning professor who’s headed both centers.

In many coastal communities, the challenge isn’t just that they’re “vulnerable to natural disasters, they’re also rapidly growing,” Smith added.

The new Coastal Resilience Center is supplanting the Coastal Hazards Center, whose successes helped make the case to Homeland Security for continued funding, Smith said.

“Key partners,” along with UNC, include N.C. State University, East Carolina University, Old Dominion University, the University of Rhode Island, Louisiana State University, Oregon State University and Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute, Smith said.

Participating N.C. State faculty will help colleagues at UNC refine the storm-surge models, concentrating on making the software work faster so it’s that much more useful in an emergency to agencies like the U.S. Coast Guard.

East Carolina faculty will concentrate on figuring out why property owners are quicker and more willing than others to invest in “risk-reduction measures of their own” like buying flood insurance, putting up storm shutters or elevating buildings, Smith said.

They then want to “take that information and work with communication specialists” to make a better and more effective pitch for preparedness measures, he said.

Old Dominion, meanwhile, is taking on the specific job of assessing Norfolk’s vulnerability to rising sea levels.

The Virginia seaport is the U.S. Navy’s major East Coast base and is at risk because “much of the physical infrastructure [there] is at or near sea level,” Smith said.

The resilience center, like its predecessor, is also supposed to help train people to go into the hazard management/reduction field. Another North Carolina school, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, is participating in that part of the project.

And finally, Homeland Security wants from the collaboration a better strategy for measuring how well and how fast communities recover from a disaster. That means figuring out what statistics to keep track of, mapping progress, and checking aerial and satellite images.

Smith, who’s worked as a hazard-mitigation and recovery planner for the governments of North Carolina and Mississippi, said the center has “an implicit understanding” with Homeland Security that it will try raising money from other sources “to become more self-sustaining over time.”

At $20 million, though, the Homeland Security grant is as large as the pledge the university obtained recently from GlaxoSmithKline to underwrite AIDS research.

Homeland Security has made a point over the past decade of enlisting universities in research and education efforts.

The UNC announcement was one of three new awards of grant money this year, the others going to the University of Houston for “border management” research and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to look at hardening “critical infrastructure.”


In Memoriam: Fenner Samuel Corbett | The Daily Reflector

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Jun 252015


Fenner Samuel Corbett

Fenner Samuel Corbett, 91, died Thursday, June 18, 2015, after a brief battle with cancer. Born January 4, 1924, Fenner was the adopted son of Eva Vincent and Fenner Stickney Corbett. Fenner gave his body to the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University for anatomical study. A memorial service will be held Tuesday, June 30 at 1 pm., St. Pauls Episcopal Church, Greenville, NC. The family will receive friends at a reception in the Parish Hall following the service. A native of Greenville, NC, Fenner graduated from Greenville High School. He received the Keck Cup for most outstanding student in the class of 1941. Fenner attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for one year and then accepted a Naval Academy appointment. He attended the Naval Academy for one year and returned to Carolina where he graduated in 1945. At Carolina Fenner was commander of the Naval ROTC and an inductee of the Order of the Grail-Valkyries, an intellectual honorary society. Upon graduation, Fenner served in the Navy for four years on several battleships during World War II. He lived in San Francisco for five years working for MGM and briefly owning a record company. His career then took him back to the military where he served and retired from the Air Force after 20 years. For the remainder of his career, Fenner served for 15 years as a trust officer with Frost National Bank in San Antonio, TX. After retiring, he returned to his beloved eastern North Carolina. For the last 33 years, Fenner lived a full, wonderful life enjoying the things he loved mosteastern North Carolina, Bogue Sound, good friends, sailing and music. Music was a big part of his daily life. He listened to classical, jazz, blues, and country; but his favorite was Mozart and Beethoven. Fenner loved nature and found much peace from the water and working in his woods at home. Most of all, he loved people and interacting with them. While fighting his battle with cancer, Fenner was an example to everyone he encountered. He fought the fight valiantly and graciously, never giving up on living every last minute of his life to its fullest. Always he claimed, Im a Tar Heel born, Tar Heel bred and Tar Heel dead. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Emily Edwards Corbett; his son Harry Fenner Corbett, MD, and wife Robin of San Luis Obispo, CA; his daughter Alice Taylor Watkins and husband Col. James Watkins of Austin, TX; stepson Lindley Warren Edwards and wife Annette of Alpharetta, GA; and stepdaughter Gigi Edwards Myers and husband James of Raleigh, NC; four grandchildren Harrison Michael Corbett, Christopher Michael Watkins, James Taylor Watkins, Mary Alice Watkins Brady and husband Daniel James; and two step-grandchildren James Lindley Myers and Richard Warren Myers; his 96-year-old sister Grace Tomlinson; and sister-in-law Frances Corbett. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 31 years, Alice Castlen Corbett, his parents and five siblings. A special thank you to Dr. Patel; Dr. Lepera; Dr. Leinweber; his radiation buddies: Anita, Janet, Judy, Kathy, Austin, Brent, and Rick; the ICU team and palliative care at Vidant Hospital. Memorial contributions can be made to the Friends of the School of Music, A.J. Fletcher Music Center, East Carolina University Greenville, NC 27858. Contributions should be made payable to the ECU Foundation or a charity of ones choice. Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory. Online condolences at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.


New dentist has year of life ‘firsts’ | Carteret County News-Times

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on New dentist has year of life ‘firsts’ | Carteret County News-Times
Jun 252015


Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 11:20 am

MOREHEAD CITY — Shannon Holcomb is experiencing a lot of “firsts” in her life this year.

She is a recent graduate of the inaugural class of the East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine, and starting in July, she will be the first female dentist at Coastal Dentistry, 405 N. 35th St., since the practice opened in 1980.

“It is bittersweet the way everything came together and everyone welcomed me to the practice” said Dr. Holcomb concerning her opportunity to move to the area and begin a job with her new doctor of dental medicine degree.

She explained that as a part of the first ECU School of Dental Medicine, it was a very close-knit class of 52 students that got along well with its faculty over the past four years.

“It was one of those experiences (that) you’re like a family,” she said.

She said she decided to spend her dental school years at ECU – where she also received her undergrad and master’s degrees – because she liked the school’s mission statement, “to serve.”

She said this mission statement and the school’s faculty is what drove her to continue her education at ECU.

Although she believes she will miss her classmates and the faculty she has worked with over the past several years, she said she is excited to work at Coastal Dentistry, where she has been warmly received.

Dr. Holcomb, a Fayetteville native, said she had hoped to relocate to the beach, but did not originally expect to move to Carteret County.

“I’ve been in Greenville for 13 years and fell in love with Eastern North Carolina,” she said.

While a dental student at ECU she had a patient who would travel from Wilmington specifically to see her.

This patient always told Dr. Holcomb she would have to move closer to Wilmington, so she would not have to travel so far to see her for appointments.

The patient had a connection to a banker in Carteret County, who in turn set up an interview for Dr. Holcomb at Coastal Dentistry.

“Dr. (Cliff) Schweitzer called me for an interview,” she said. After the phone interview, she came to the Morehead City practice and met Dr. Schweitzer and his family in person.

“Once I came to the practice and met his family, I knew this was it,” said Dr. Holcomb.

She noted her Wilmington patient will now transfer to Coastal Dentistry to see her, and said it will be easier trip than heading to Greenville.

Ms. Holcomb will start here on Tuesday, July 7, after she takes a trip with the Dominican Dental Mission Project. She leaves Thursday for the week-long trip.

This is her third year working with the dental-minded mission trip to the Dominican Republic, but will be her first time going as a certified dentist.

Dr. Holcomb said she is very mission minded, and has also participated in Missions of Mercy Clinics before, as well as Relay for Life in honor of her stepmother who lost her battle with cancer.

“I like to be involved in all aspects of community service, whether it be a soup kitchen or dental mission,” she said.

She feels her service-oriented attitude will work well with her new coworkers.

To become a patient of Dr. Holcomb, call the Morehead City office at 247-2169.


McCrory signs bill giving vets in-state college tuition | The News & Observer

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on McCrory signs bill giving vets in-state college tuition | The News & Observer
Jun 252015


June 24, 2015
By Taylor Knopf


Military veterans will have an easier time receiving in-state tuition rates at UNC schools and North Carolina community colleges starting this fall semester.

Gov. Pat McCrory was joined by about a dozen military members at the Executive Mansion Wednesday as he signed Senate Bill 478 into law. It goes into effect July 1.

The law waives the 12-month residency requirement to receive in-state tuition for certain non-resident veterans and those entitled to education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty Education Program or the Post-9/11 Educational Assistance Program.

“We firmly believe that a lot of you are not North Carolina residents but you are stationed right here, and we want you to stay in North Carolina when you finish your service,” McCrory said. “This new law will boost North Carolina’s economy by encouraging the talent to stay right here.”

McCrory also signed Senate Bill 43 which gives vets an extended time period to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License from 90 days to one year.

“We want to continue to be the most veteran-friendly state in the United States of America,” McCrory said. “Veterans are leaders. They are highly skilled, trained and have a history of getting jobs done. In fact, they are going to help fill the skills gap that we have in North Carolina.”


UNC Board of Governors member facing assault charge | The News & Observer

 News clippings compiled by ECU News Services  Comments Off on UNC Board of Governors member facing assault charge | The News & Observer
Jun 252015


June 24, 2015
By Craig Jarvis

Doyle Parrish, a major political donor who is on the UNC Board of Governors and the Centennial Authority, is facing a domestic violence charge.

He was arrested last month after a woman said he slapped her and pushed her to the ground in his Raleigh home. Parrish, 61, was arrested on a misdemeanor count of assault on a female on May 13, according to court records. The alleged victim, Nancy Parrish, reported the incident to Raleigh police. His wife is named Nancy Parrish.

The woman reported bruising and abrasions on her shin and foot, according to a court document.

Parrish could not be reached.

A magistrate ordered Parrish remain in the Wake County Jail on a mandatory domestic violence hold for two days. A district court judge on May 18 ordered Parrish released on his promise to appear at his next court date and ordered him to stay away from his wife.

Parrish is the CEO of Summit Hospitality Group, a firm that manages hotels, and serves on the board of a hotel trade association, Hospitality Alliance of North Carolina.

The state House appointed him to the Board of Governors in 2013. At the time, House Speaker Thom Tillis told Republican legislators in an email he estimated that Parrish was “directly responsible for more than $100,000 in financial support through personal contributions to my campaign committee and other candidates and through the Hospitality Alliance.”

Parrish is currently on the Board of Governors search committee looking to hire a successor to UNC President Tom Ross. The Centennial Authority runs PNC Arena in Raleigh.