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AG demands info on Atrium, UNC Health deal

N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein says he has not yet received enough information about how a proposed tie-up between UNC Health Care and Charlotte’s Atrium Health would affect consumers. “Experience cautions that large-scale health system mergers are often not in the public interest,” Stein wrote to Atrium CEO Gene Woods and UNC Health Care CEO William Roper. “The state and the public have a right to know the facts behind your proposal.”

Union County Group eyes opening a new bank in Monroe

A group of 12 Union County business people led by local business leader David Cuthbertson hopes to launch North Carolina’s first new bank since the financial crisis. The group has hired Randy Helton, former CEO of American Community Bancshares of Monroe, which was founded in 1998 and sold to Yadkin Financial in 2009. “This thought process has been going on for a year and a half,” Helton says. “If there is a place that needs a community bank and deserves it, it’s certainly that area.”

Green diaper material maker scores $17.5 M in funding

Tethis, a Raleigh startup working to commercialize products manufactured from starches and other renewable feedstocks, has raised $17.5 million in a funding round led by Blue Hill Group. Founded in 2012 by N.C. State graduate students, the company’s first product is a biodegradable alternative to diaper material made from petrochemicals.

Wake Forest Baptist eyes expansion

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center may expand in western North Carolina. Wake Forest Baptist CEO Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag says several independent hospitals in the western part of the state have shown interest in forming a partnership with the medical center.

Chemours CEO says he’s heard GenX concerns, doesn’t believe there’s health impact

Mark Vergnano, CEO of chemical Company Chemours, said his company has heard community concerns about discharges of GenX and related substances in Eastern North Carolina, but doesn’t believe the discharges have, “adversely impacted anyone’s health.” The comments came on the company’s earnings call. Chemours reported profit of $746 million on $6.18 billion in revenue.

Smithfield pulls pigs from Jones County hog farm with multiple environmental complaints

Lanier Farms of Jones County, which was hit with the largest civil water quality penalty of all concentrated animal feeding operation in at least six years, has been abandoned, at least for now, by Smithfield Foods. The farm had housed 7,450 hogs owned by the conglomerate.

Durham consumer products incubator selects Spring class

Startup Stampede, a Durham consumer product incubator, has chosen nine consumer product companies for its 2018 program, which runs from March 1 through May 4 in Durham. Among those selected: Beard and Lady, which sells grooming products for men and women; Brothers Vilgalys, which makes small-batch spirits; Descalza, which makes handcrafted, latino-inspired clothing; Fillaree, a small-batch liquid soap manufacturer; Healthy Roots Dolls, which creates dolls and natural hair care; Nellino’s, which makes pasta sauces; Tracy’s Gourmet, which sells artisan foods; and Wotter, a swim gear brand for women.

Asheville fine dining reputation grows with award nominees, new eateries

Asheville continues to grow its fine dining scene, with four James Beard Award semifinalists this year and a dozen new restaurants and bars on the way. Katie Button, of Nightbell and Cúrate, and Meherwan Irani, of Chai Pani, were nominated in the Best Chef, Southeast category; Leah Wong Ashburn of Highland Brewing Co. was nominated in the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional category; David Bauer of Farm & Sparrow was nominated for Outstanding Baker. In addition to those established award nominees, Asheville is expecting a slew of new restaurants this Spring and summer, including wine bars and taprooms, fine dining, and a high-end ice cream shop.

NASCAR nobility interested in Carolina Panthers

Drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch say they have had talks with potential bidders for the Carolina Panthers. “I’m not the leader of it at all, but I have had a conversation, one conversation, with one of the groups that is interested in buying it,” Busch told the Charlotte Observer. “I’ve put my name in the hat just to kind of have a seat at the table, if you will, when it comes to what is going to happen next.”

SAS teams up with ECU on rural quality of life project

Cary-based data analytics firm SAS is partnering with East Carolina University on an initiative to address economic, educational and health disparities in rural America. The company and university plan to develop new technologies, microbusinesses and strategies to boost quality of life in rural North Carolina. “This is an opportunity for SAS to support a university initiative that benefits the people of our home state,” said Emily Baranello, vice president of the SAS Education Practice. “ECU’s research, powered by the data and analytics at the heart of innovation today, could transform the lives and futures of rural North Carolinians.”

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