WCBE

Michael Tomsic

Michael Tomsic became a full-time reporter for WFAE in August 2012. Before that, he reported for the station as a freelancer and intern while he finished his senior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Heââ

In the swing state of North Carolina, a fight for early voting rights that seemed to end with a strongly worded federal court ruling last month, may be just getting started. That fight began in 2013, when the state made cuts to early voting, created a photo ID requirement and eliminated same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and pre-registration of high school students. More than half of all voters there use early voting, and African-Americans do so at higher rates than whites....

Lowe's home improvement company, like a growing number of large companies nationwide, offers its employees an eye-catching benefit: Certain major surgeries at prestigious hospitals are free. How do these firms do it? With a way of paying that's gaining steam across the health care industry, and that Medicare is now adopting for hip and knee replacements in 67 metropolitan areas, including New York, Miami and Denver. Here's how the program works: Lowe's and other employers pay one flat rate...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Jeff Gordon is in his last NASCAR season. He's retiring at the end of the year. The four-time series champ came from a different part of the country and had a different style than the racers before him, and he helped NASCAR connect with a new generation. From member station WFAE, Michael Tomsic reports. MICHAEL TOMSIC, BYLINE: Jeff Gordon is well-groomed, polite and somewhat corporate, not exactly the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Environmentally-friendly and NASCAR - maybe that sounds like a non sequitur to you. Burning fuel is a fundamental part of stock car racing, but NASCAR, like other pro sports, is trying to decrease its carbon footprint. From member station WFAE, Michael Tomsic reports. MICHAEL TOMSIC, BYLINE: The same sport that roars to life with this... UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Drivers, start your engines. TOMSIC: .....

NASCAR's old point system was a mathematical labyrinth concerned with consistency: Drivers didn't have to actually win a race to make the playoffs, as long as they were in the top 10 often enough. Even NASCAR CEO Brian France has joked that fans needed a computer next to them to figure it out. Take this announcement at a race in Richmond, Va., last year: "Joey Logano is still barely clinging to that 10th spot in points, but he's 25th two laps down. Jeff Gordon only 2 points behind him." Now,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfmZPCP7JhA The first big race of the NASCAR season is on Sunday, and Brad Keselowski, the sport's brash, young champion, will begin defending his title. If you don't follow NASCAR closely, a video may have been your introduction to Keselowski last fall. An ESPN anchor asks Keselowski, who's holding a massive glass of foamy beer — which he drinks throughout the interview — what winning is like. Keselowski's response is unguarded. "Pretty damn awesome," he says. ...

Moonshine used to be big business in the South, an illegal business that also kept the federal courthouses busy. Now one of those facilities, once on the front lines of the war on homemade booze, is shutting down. The Johnson J. Hayes Federal Building is in Wilkesboro, N.C., where distilling corn whiskey in backwoods breweries was once the town's main trade. It's one of six federal courthouses closing in the South over the next year or two. The courthouse sticks out in Wilkesboro; it's a...