February 25, 2016 — Schools in the area closed early Wednesday because of tornado warnings and forecasts of storms and flooding. Here on campus we had rain off and on until a full-blown hail storm at 5 o’clock. UNCP sent alerts when that storm hit, telling people to shelter in place. The university stayed open during the day and for evening classes. But Robeson Community College and the Public Schools of Robeson County had both dismissed by 12:30 pm. Fayetteville Technical Community College cancelled all classes after 1:00 pm.
A new head coach for men’s soccer has already been announced, to replace Phil Hindson, who left for Winthrop University. John Miglarese was head coach at King College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He’s the eighth head coach in the history of the Braves program. He has logged six all-conference selections and a pair of team academic awards from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Miglarese has 16 years of coaching experience, including a side job right now, coaching a minor league team in West Virginia. Starting in the fall the Braves will look for their first winning season in four years.
After countless delays, a permit has been approved by the federal government to remove water from coral ash ponds around the state. Removing the water is essential to preventing future spills. State environmental officials strictly monitor the process. The North Carolina coal ash law requires Duke Energy to close facilities in Sutton, Asheville, RiverBend and Dan River by August 1, 2019. Their other sites are to close no later than 2029.
Over the break, the university took down some maple trees in front of Old Main, the landmark building that’s featured in many a photograph and the school logo. Some people are disappointed, but facility planners have the best of intentions: the health of the trees was in decline, and they often dropped large branches that were a hazard to people who sit and walk there. Assistant Vice Chancellor Steve Martin says the plan is to replace them with native species that are more environmentally appropriate.
February 18, 2016 — A small gas leak in the Chavis University Center Tuesday night caused police to evacuate the building as a precaution around 9 p.m. A dining hall employee told an officer in the building that he smelled gas. They identified the source as a hole in a pipeline for one of the grills. Students and employees waited outside for about 30 minutes while maintenance workers treated the problem. Fire stations No. 19 and No. 21 also responded to the call.
A fundraiser in Scotland County inspired some local volunteers to learn some new dance moves to help raise money for the arts. “Dancing with the Scotland County Stars” raised about $12,000 for the Storytelling and Arts Center of the Southeast and for the Scotland County Arts Council. Eight couples competed for recognition, such as the People’s Choice Award and Judges’ Choice. The latter
went to UNCP professor Jonathan Drahos, director of the theater program, and his wife, Carolanne Marano, a choreographer. About 250 people paid for a buffet dinner and made bids in both silent and live auctions.
A student from Lumberton High School allegedly pulled a gun on another student while at a bus stop. Parents told the Robesonian newspaper their kids saw the students involved. The two in the altercation had started fighting while on the bus. The driver stopped and the two got off, and one pointed a gun at the other. The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office Justice Division is investigating the incident. It is reported that the student with the gun is under the age of 16.
Some state lawmakers are talking about slashing the cost of tuition at UNC-Pembroke and several other schools in the system. A plan is being floated in the state senate that proposes in-state tuition at $500 a year. Out-of-state tuition would be lowered to $2,500. The intent is to reduce the cost of bachelor’s degrees and student-loan debt, and attract more out-of-state students. The changes could cost the system up to $65 million dollars a year in lost revenue. Whether state appropriations would make up for that kind of budget shortfall remains to be seen–if the legislation passes at all.
Over the break, the university officially opened the Entrepreneurship Incubator in downtown Pembroke. A ribbon cutting ceremony featured former congressman Mike McIntyre, Chancellor Cummings, and other local dignitaries. The 17,000 sq. ft facility can house up to 10 start-up businesses, who will get the consultation of professional staff. There are plans to include UNCP student interns and other ways to get students involved. The university purchased and renovated the building with funds from grants, alumni, and other donors.