Burt Shavitz, the Burt behind Durham-based Burt's Bees who co-founded the natural cosmetics company before it sold to Clorox, has died. He was 80.

A spokeswoman for Burt's Bees says Shavtiz died Sunday at his home in rural Maine, surrounded by family and friends.

Shavitz was a hippie making a living by selling honey when his life was altered by a chance encounter with a hitchhiking Roxanne Quimby. She was a single mother and a back-to-the-lander who impressed Shavitz with her ingenuity.

Matt Born/AP

 North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory says fellow Republicans in the Legislature didn't follow their conservative roots when they approved a bill changing the Greensboro City Council.

The bill passed last week draws new district maps for electing council members in North Carolina's third largest city. The mayor will no longer be able to vote in most cases. City leaders also will be unable to redraw maps on their own following the next census.

Morning Edition's annual reading of the Declaration of Independence has become an annual tradition. To hear the words in our founding fathers as read by the familiar voices of NPR is quite a wonderful thing.

You can listen to it and savor those mighty words here.

Frank Stasio and the folks at The State of Things are taking July 3rd off in celebration of the July 4th holiday. So in keeping with our July 4th celebration WCQS will air an Independence Day celebratory special from America's Test Kitchen - July 4th Beer Special: The Amazing History, Lore and Science of America's Favorite Drink.

For more than twenty years Outward Bound has been offering wilderness courses for  war veterans.  The various programs are designed to help veterans rejoin civilian life.  The first courses for veterans were the result of a partnership between Outward Bound and the Veterans Administration for service members who served in Viet Nam.  David Hurand recently spoke with Matt Rosky about the program. Rosky is Veterans and Service Members Manager at North Carolina Outward Bound.  The interview was recorded at NC Outward Bound in Swannanoa.

Tony Kiss
Asheville Citizen-Times

The Fourth of July Independence Day Holiday weekend has arrived. If  the weather cooperates there will be plenty of fireworks and outdoor festivals to enjoy.  Topping Tony's list of at least 40 ways to celebrate the 4th,  the Red White and Blue Grass Festival July 3-4 at Catawba Meadows in Morganton.

Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly have approved a retooled city council for Greensboro.

The House and Senate voted Thursday for new district maps for electing council members in North Carolina'sthird largest city. The mayor will no longer be able to vote in most cases. City leaders also will be unable to redraw maps on their own following the next census.

The final measure divided Greensboro-area lawmakers and required a second vote in the House after a first attempt Thursday morning to adopt the changes failed.

Bob Geary via

Protestors advocating equal protection for gays, immigrants and the uninsured in the wake of last week's U.S. Supreme Court rulings were arrested at a demonstration in the North Carolina Legislative Building.

General Assembly police arrested six demonstrators Wednesday following a larger rally in the rotunda between the House and Senate chambers. The six refused to leave with the crowd of around 40 people after police told them they would be subject to arrest once the building closed at 5 p.m.

Gerry Broome/AP

Senate Republicans have backed off some provisions in their annual "regulatory reform" measure opposed by Gov. Pat McCrory's administration, but retain several that critics say would damage water quality and discourage citizen lawsuits.

The Senate gave tentative approval Wednesday to a wide-ranging measure focusing primarily on environmental rules. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources raised objections and GOP senators ran several amendments to address them.