Congratulations to Neal Hutcheson ’92. His documentary about moonshiner “Popcorn” Sutton has earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Television Programming Excellence. The Last One, which first aired last year on South Carolina public television, follows Sutton as he makes “one last batch” of moonshine in the Appalachian Mountains.
In a letter sent to NC State written by her attorney, Mary Easley indicated that she is “appealing her dismissal both with respect to the termination of her contract and with respect to any severance, notice or hearing which she may be due under NCSU’s policies, regulations and rules.”
As we reviewed our options for meeting the substantial budget reductions for this year, next year and the foreseeable future, it became clear to us that addressing such a severe loss of funding would require some elimination of programs. Programs that Mrs. Easley was hired to administer or participate in are among those that are being eliminated or reduced – specifically the Center for Public Safety Leadership and the Millennium Seminar Series. With this substantial loss of job responsibilities and on the advice of the NC State Board of Trustees, I terminated Mrs. Easley’s contract. Mrs. Easley may, of course, pursue whatever grievance process or legal action she now deems appropriate.
Update: Drew Nelson, NC State’s assistant general counsel, sent a letter dated July 2 to Mary Easley’s attorney that outlines the appeal process.
If you were a Cub Scout, you probably participated in the Pinewood Derby. Well, last Thursday N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute and the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Program for Value-Added and Alternative Agriculture held the Zucchini 500 at the North Carolina Research Campus Farmers Market in Kannapolis. It’s kind of like the Pinewood Derby, but instead of creating a car from a block of wood, contestants use a zucchini.
Yep, that’s the Brickyard (in 1967). And, it’s the design of Dick Bell ’50, who is considered one of the pioneers in landscape architecture in North Carolina. A member of the first graduating class of the College of Design, he designed some of Raleigh’s most recognizable landmarks, including Pullen Park, and his projects include the master plans of NC State’s North Campus and the campuses of Appalachian State and Fayetteville State universities. And now, though retired in Atlantic Beach, he’s started a blog: “Pebbles in the Pond.” He’s been posting for not even a week, but his blog is already packed with NC State references and trivia:
Landscape architecture in this state began in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, at North Carolina State College as course work.
Chancellor Jim Woodward was recently asked why James L. Oblinger and Larry Nielsen will be allowed to return to the faculty following a six-month study leave after resigning as chancellor and provost, respectively:
Standards for removing tenured personnel are high, Woodward said: There must be proof of incompetence, neglect of duty, or grievous misconduct.
“The wrongs that they have done, or might have done, that we have identified to date do not meet the standards that would have to be met,” Woodward said.
Lawyers for NC State today gave to the U.S. Attorney’s Office additional documents related to the hiring of Mary Easley. In an accompanying letter, Stephen Smith of McMillan Smith and Plyler says that e-mails sent from and received by an e-mail account belonging to former Chancellor James L. Oblinger between January 2005 and June 11, 2005, had been deleted. NC State IT staff were instructed to “do everything possible to reconstruct” the documents.
In this process a substantial number of e-mails were recovered and they are included in documents produced today. However periods of time remain between January and June, 2005 for which thus far we have been unable to recover records from this account. We have retained the services of an IT forensic expert who is presently working to take all possible steps to recover these documents. We will produce to the grand jury all responsive documents recovered and we will make all others available as public records.
The above slideshow features all the alumni magazine covers that we have on file from the 1980s. We’re missing 1983 and, it seems, a couple of other issues. We’ll add them later if we can find them. We’ve started in on the 1990s and 2000s, and you can see them, as well as event photos, on our Flickr page. To see the above slideshow in full-screen mode, click play, then the box with the four arrows in the bottom right corner.
The July issue of Wired magazine has a feature article on the controversy surrounding the work of NC State researcher Mary Schweitzer. She’s the paleontologist who in 2007, with colleagues, “announced in the journal Science that [they] had indeed uncovered seven preserved fragments of protein” in a sample of Tyrannosaurus rex femur. The story — “Origin of Species: How a T. Rex Femur Sparked a Scientific Smackdown” — is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of scientific research and what happens when others reject your findings.
The discovery generated international headlines—”Study: Tyrannosaurus Rex Basically a Big Chicken” — as the first molecular confirmation of the long-theorized relationship between dinosaurs and birds. It was also the first-ever evidence that protein could survive even a million years, much less 68 million. The New York Times reported that the finding “opens the door for the first time to the exploration of molecular-level relationships of ancient, extinct animals.” Some news outlets couldn’t resist drawing parallels to a certain popular fictional tale. The research, suggested the UK Guardian, “also hints at the tantalizing prospect that scientists may one day be able to emulate Jurassic Park by cloning a dinosaur.”
Before long, however, a distinctly human subplot emerged. Within 16 months, three separate rebuttals appeared, two in Science itself. Many researchers were skeptical of the quality of Asara’s data and doubted that collagen could survive so long, even partially intact. “You’re talking about something a hundred times older than anything ever sequenced,” says Steven Salzberg, director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland. “If you have extraordinary results, they require extraordinary evidence.”