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NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata talks public service, customer service and DMV triage

NC DOT Secretary Tony Tata met with the editorial board and some newsroom folks this week just to update us on the goings-on his department. Things are good: wait times are down dramatically at DMV locations, refrigeration is headed to the Wilmington port and his employees are all about customer service.

Tata began by talking about his tight-knit family. His father is the third-longest-serving member of the Virginia General Assembly. His sister is an educator and former track star who just had a stadium named after her. His daughter is at the Sorbonne in Paris, getting a Ph.D. in genetics. His son is playing baseball at a junior college. “Public service is ingrained in my family values,” he said.

Here are my notes from the meeting. They are NOT verbatim.

Duke prof: Federal study doesn't absolve fracking

The preliminary results of an ongoing federal study show that fracking chemicals have not leached through solid rock and contaminated drinking water aquifers in western Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reports.

But the early test results are not likely to change anyone's mind on the question of whether fracking is safe or not.

"This is one study, in one place, with a few wells," said Robert Jackson, an associate dean and biology professor at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.

Jackson and a team of Duke scientists have conducted tests that monitored well integrity in Pennsylvania and in Arkansas. Their research has found stray gas migration in Pennsylvania but not in Arkansas as a result of shale gas exploration.

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