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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Ben Bradford / WFAE

Charlotte firefighters have spent nearly a full day extinguishing a fire at a burning paper recycling plant in west Charlotte.


North Carolina General Assembly

The leader of the North Carolina Senate will not push legislation to remove the Confederate flag as an option on some state license plates, as Governor Pat McCrory has called for.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

At the Riverbend coal plant near Charlotte, a front end loader shovels a load of coal ash and drops it into the bed of a truck, which will haul the ash to a landfill in Georgia. Riverbend is one of four coal plants where Duke and state lawmakers committed to removing all the ash from ponds where it’s stored. Heavy metals, like arsenic, can seep from the ash into groundwater.


Ben Bradford / WFAE

Since a spill polluted the Dan River early last year, coal ash has become an environmental head ache for Duke Energy. But while Duke, state regulators, and environmental groups struggle with how to safely store or bury more than 100 million tons of the waste, other industries don’t look at coal ash as waste—it’s a commodity, and they want more.


Charah

Duke Energy and Chatham County have resolved a dispute over the transfer of coal ash.

North Carolina General Assembly

North Carolina Senate leaders are gearing up for another budget battle with their counterparts in the state House and Governor Pat McCrory, even before releasing an actual budget document.


usgs.gov

News that state environment officials were drilling near the Dan River last week to look for oil and gas caused a stir. One headline read: “North Carolina Wants To Frack In Small Town Already Struggling With Coal Ash.”


Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

North Carolina Senate leaders have unveiled their new plan to overhaul how the state distributes sales taxes and provides tax incentives to businesses. It gives a bit of ground from a March proposal that drew outcries from the governor, House lawmakers, the Charlotte Chamber, and city officials, but still contains the key elements of that earlier proposal. That includes a big hit to Mecklenburg County’s budget. 


Ben Bradford / WFAE

A former Charlotte Bobcats executive has a plan for soccer in Charlotte. He wants to spend  millions on a minor league team—started this year—with the goal of growing a fan base of thousands and ultimately getting absorbed into the major league. It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Some other cities have done just that in a matter of years.


Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

The process of legislating typically looks more like C-SPAN and less like ‘House of Cards,’ or other TV dramatizations of Washington. But the rules that govern Congress or the North Carolina General Assembly are both dense and malleable—occasionally you’ll see legislators exploit them in a way that seems made for TV. Below are some recent examples from the North Carolina Senate.

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