Ben Bradford

Reporter

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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Local News
10:21 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Despite Decision, MeckLINK Proceeds As Normal

Mecklenburg County officials learned last week they will not get hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid funds to administer mental health, disability, and substance abuse services. But, the county is proceeding as if will get the money, anyway, despite the state’s decision to reassign those funds to an outside organization.

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Local News
8:51 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Warnings Aplenty That MeckLINK Unprepared

A slide from an October presentation by the Department of Health and Human Services shows the organizations administering Medicaid funds for mental health services in North Carolina.
Credit North Carolina General Assembly

Mecklenburg County Commissioners are shocked and livid that the state has removed hundreds of millions of dollars of Medicaid funds from MeckLINK, the county’s mental health service agency. Commissioners are pointing fingers and leveling accusations at the state, but the decision had been a long-time in the making.

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Local News
6:55 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Wave Of Temporary Retirements Hits South Carolina In Advance Of New Law

44-year old Randy Scott is the police chief in Columbia, South Carolina, and he’s retiring tomorrow, but not for long. In two weeks, he hopes to take a new job as Columbia’s police chief—again. Scott is retiring temporarily, so he can start receiving his pension, while also receiving his salary.

Megan Lightle at the South Carolina Benefit Authority says this is pretty common amongst public employees. She uses a hypothetical example to explain how it works.

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Local News
8:06 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Nearly 30,000 NC Jobs Could Be Lost If No Budget Deal Reached

The fiscal cliff could cost North Carolina 30,000 jobs in 2013.
Credit Peter Shanks/Flickr

The combination of tax raises and spending cuts, known as the fiscal cliff, begins taking effect on Wednesday. If no compromise is reached in Washington, North Carolina could lose nearly 30,000 jobs and three percent of its economic output, according to a July report from George Mason University. That’s next year alone. Overall, North Carolina would face more than a $120 billion in cuts over the next decade.

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Local News
1:47 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

State Unemployment Report Shows Modest Improvement

North Carolina's unemployment rate continues to dip.
Credit North Carolina Department of Commerce *Data is preliminary.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 9.1 percent in November, according to the latest data today from the state’s Commerce Department. That’s still more than a point above the national rate of 7.7 percent, but it’s still more “ho ho ho” than “bah humbug.”

While it decreased by 0.2 percent, North Carolina’s unemployment is still the fifth highest in the nation. But, there’s some trends that have Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle feeling the holiday spirit.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

McCrory Appoints Millionaire GOP Fundraiser Art Pope To Head Budget

At a press conference Thursday morning, Governor-elect Pat McCrory appointed millionaire, conservative activist Art Pope to be his deputy budget director--the governor's top aide on budget issues. Pope is an experienced legislator, but the appointment is likely to be a lightning rod.

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Local News
10:15 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Belmont Abbey Wins Contraceptive Ruling, In Blow to Health Care Reform

Belmont Abbey College participated in one of more than 40 cases around the country challenging the contraceptive mandate.
Credit Courtesy of Belmont Abbey College

Belmont Abbey College in Gaston County won a lawsuit against the “contraceptive mandate,” a section of the health care reform law requiring employer-provided insurance to offer free access to contraceptives, like birth control pills. Wednesday’s decision is part of a series of lawsuits around the country that could ultimately bring another piece of the law before the Supreme Court.

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Local News
9:28 am
Tue December 18, 2012

After Much Debate, Council Awards Carolina Theatre To Foundation

Foundation for the Carolinas will renovate the theater, and build a lobby and office tower on the site.
Credit danmachold/Flickr

The City Council decided the fate of the Carolina Theatre Monday night, awarding it to the non-profit Foundation for the Carolinas for $1, over a competing, half-million dollar bid. The historic venue has fallen into disrepair since closing in the 1970s, but its sits on prime Uptown real estate.

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Business
12:57 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Charlotte Firm Takes Lead In Smaller, Factory-Built Nuclear Reactors

Babcock & Wilcox's prototype reactor lies 20 miles outside of Lynchburg, Va.
Ben Bradford/WFAE

The U.S. government and the nuclear industry are betting on new, much smaller nuclear reactors that can be mass produced in factories, and shipped around the world. 

"We are trying to jumpstart a new U.S. industry," says Assistant Secretary of Energy Pete Lyons. "That’s my goal: A U.S. industry, U.S. jobs, clean energy."

Last month the Department of Energy partnered with Charlotte-based nuclear company Babcock & Wilcox to finish development, in a deal that could total over $400 million. But critics worry that the model for the new reactor is flawed at its core.

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Charlotte's Economy
5:21 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

State Tax Revenues Increase In Good Sign For The Economy

The General Fund is the state’s piggy bank, where revenue goes in and payments come out.  Today, the State Controller’s office released a report showing that, since June, the fund earned almost $300 million more than the same time last year. That’s an increase of over four percent. Amber Young at the controller’s office says it’s for the best possible reason-- people are earning more.

“It’s just things are doing better—individual income went up five percent,” Young said. “We’re seeing more people working again. Corporate went up about that amount.”

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