Jason deBruyn

Jason deBruyn is the WUNC data reporter, a position he took in September, 2016.

In the role, Jason investigates story lines hidden in data to uncover untold issues that matter to North Carolinians. He passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and using data to shine a light on disenfranchised groups have been taken advantage of.

Prior to joining WUNC, Jason covered the business of health care and pharmaceuticals for Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, an affiliate of the American City Business Journals network. His reporting roots trace to the Enquirer-Journal, a community newspaper in Monroe, North Carolina.

In a 5-4 decision along traditional conservative-liberal ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question, not reviewable by federal courts, and can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the constitution.

In addition to its harmful impacts on families, the opioid epidemic has hurt the labor force. But a bright spot finds the negative effects on businesses can be reversed in areas with the political appetite for action.

Nick Knittel

Durham police and fire officials confirmed one fatality from a gas explosion in downtown Durham that destroyed one building and severely damaged four others.   A firefighter was severely injured. He underwent surgery for non-life-threatening injuries on Wednesday afternoon and was recovering  by evening. The owner of Kaffeinate coffee shop, 61-year-old Kong Lee, died as a result of the explosion, according to a Durham Police Department statement.

 

Businessman Greg Lindberg arrived on the North Carolina political scene in 2017 with a big fat check book. Previously unknown in political circles, he started making six-figure contributions and landed squarely on the radar of campaigns across the state.

North Carolina's public education institutions must improve the pipeline from ninth grade through postsecondary graduation to meet future workforce needs. That's according to a new report from Carolina Demography and the John M. Belk Endowment.

Roan Fields-Moffitt likes to explore wooded areas. On a damp and cloudy early afternoon in January, he rustled through leaves, climbed over fallen trees and threw sticks in a stream. His dad, Jacob Fields, and mom, Desiree Moffitt, walked with him and took turns pushing Roan's 16-month-old twin sisters in a stroller.

North Carolina emergency departments saw 5,343 opioid overdose related visits in 2018. That's down eight percent from the high of 2017, but still well above any other year in recent history.

The data show that although programs to tackle the opioid crisis show early signs of paying off, the state still has a long way to go before the epidemic is in the rearview mirror.

It's become cliché for executives of health systems and insurers to talk about the need to move away from a fee-for-service reimbursement model toward one that pays for value and rewards health providers for keeping patients healthy, not for simply treating them when they are sick.

About one-third of Americans don't drink alcohol. About another third drinks fewer than one alcoholic drink per week.

In Bladen County, where elections officials are investigating potential elections tampering, a small group of 12 people attested as official witnesses for 294 mail-in ballots, or nearly 40 percent of mail-in ballots from Bladen County.

What's more, the same group accounted for both of the required signatures for 151 of those ballots, according to a WUNC analysis of 796 mail-in-ballot envelopes from Bladen County.

One man – McCrae Dowless – filed in-person requests for 592 absentee ballots at the Bladen County Board of Elections in the month's leading up to this year's midterm election.

In 2015, after a young white man who had claimed allegiance to the Confederacy massacred nine people at a historic black church, the availability of a North Carolina specialty license plate bearing the logo of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans was in jeopardy. With some drivers in North Carolina thinking the specialty plate might not be available soon, demand for that plate, which includes the Confederate battle flag, soared.

Hate crimes across North Carolina have been increasing in recent years.

From 2016 to 2017, the number of hate crimes committed in the state jumped 12 percent to 166.

Voter turnout in North Carolina was exceptionally high in 2018, but some races drew more attention than others.

There's ongoing disagreement about the levels of coal ash in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington. Environmental advocates say they have visibly seen ash, but Duke Energy says its water tests show otherwise.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Jason deBruyn WUNC

The latest numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services show for the 2017-18 school year, Buncombe County once again had the highest number of unimmunized students, who opted for a religious exemption.

On a busy Thursday morning at Asheville Children's Medical Center, Dr. Sam Kohn made the rounds. It was toward the end of summer break, so there were lots of back-to-school check-ups and vaccines on the schedule that day.

Many visits were easy, following the simple routine of parents bringing their tots in for their shots.

Premiums for the majority Affordable Care Act plans in North Carolina will decrease for the first time in history, but the chief executive of the state's largest health insurer says they would be 15 percent lower if not for actions taken by the Trump Administration.

Due to seal level rise flooding, owners in the Carolinas have lost nearly $1.7 billion in property values since 2005.

Sarah Alsammak walked across North Carolina State University's campus pointing out various landmarks. One of her favorite places is the tunnel where students draw graffiti art.

She stopped to pose for a photo – which took longer than it might have, if not for students darting between her and a photographer. She hasn't painted anything on the tunnel walls herself, but said she might before she graduates.

On the whole, Republicans have outraised Democrats in North Carolina's 13 federal House races, but Democrats are still hoping to flip a few seats come November.

North Carolina teachers are expected to get a raise of $891 this year, on average, which would bump the state up two spots when compared to other states.

North Carolina's farmers are nervous. As an all-out trade war with China looms on the horizon, it's North Carolina's agriculture industry that could bear the brunt.

The National Rifle Association gave more grant funding to a Concord-based charity than any other school or charity in the nation – by a wide margin.

Speedway Children's Charities received $425,000 from the NRA every year from 2010 through 2016, according to data provided by the Associated Press and analyzed by WUNC.

Half a century ago, the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending. But today, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates sometimes far higher than their white neighbors.

The N.C. Department of Commerce released the file on its effort to recruit a coveted Toyota-Mazda auto manufacturing plant.

The file contains nearly 400 pages of text messages, emails, and other documents that together paint the picture of how economic development leaders sought to woo the car makers to North Carolina.

When auto manufacturers Toyota and Mazda build a $1.6 billion joint manufacturing plant in Alabama, it will mark another miss for economic developers in North Carolina.

North Carolina was a finalist for the plant, which will add 4,000 manufacturing jobs near Huntsville, but ultimately lost out in the final stages of negotiations.

It's a testament to modern medicine. Death rates from heart disease around the nation have been cut in half.

But new research sheds light on the wide disparities in cardiovascular death rates depending on geography.

Winter is coming, later and later. And then spring comes ever earlier.

Analyzing freeze dates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the days between the first freeze of fall and the last freeze of spring are shrinking.

North Carolina's doctor offices are awash in pharmaceutical and medical device industry cash. These financial relationships are starting to raise questions about prescribing habits and other conflicts of interest.

Already, some large pharmaceutical companies have paid millions to settle allegations of kickback schemes, and watchdog groups are asking questions about deep relationships between some doctors and drug and medical device companies.

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