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Artist Ben Berns, formerly of UNCG, dies from cancer

Artist Ben Berns, formerly of UNCG, dies from cancer

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Ben Berns, a landscape painter whose work was collected by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and others, and who taught in North Carolina, has died of lung cancer at 70.

Berns was born in the Netherlands and was self-taught after leaving school at age 14. He made bronze sculptures, prints and drawings.

He taught lithography in the 1960s at the Pratt Institute in New York and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1971. He moved to North Carolina to teach at UNCG .

In the 1980s, Berns left the university and began his commercially popular landscapes that he painted from nature.

State’s use of incentives

to get legislative review

RALEIGH — A powerful legislative committee is expected to review the state’s use of business incentives following news that Google’s plan to build a data center in Caldwell County could cost the public up to $260 million.

Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight said he will ask the Senate Finance Committee to examine successes and failures in the state’s economic recruiting, the kinds of incentives offered and whether changes should be made.

“It has to benefit the people of the state. If we give away $100, we’d certainly like to get more than $100 back,” said Basnight, a Dare County Democrat, adding that he wasn’t passing judgment on the Google deal.

Google announced last month that it would build a $600 million data center near Lenoir and create as many as 210 jobs with average salaries of $48,000. Records show city and county tax breaks for Google amount to $165 million over 30 years, in addition to state tax breaks and incentives totaling $94 million.

The Google deal could become one of the richest incentives deal in state history.

Husband burns wife’s car with her Chihuahua inside

GREENVILLE — A grand jury has charged a man with larceny for burning his estranged wife’s car after he packed it with mementos of their life together, including her pet Chihuahua.

Craig Neal Robinson, 24, of Washington, was charged by a Pitt County grand jury with felonious breaking and entering, larceny of a dog, burning personal property, cruelty to animals and violating a domestic violence protective order.

Robinson allegedly took his wife’s car from her workplace Oct. 5 and set it on fire, according to police reports.

The dog’s remains were found after the fire department extinguished the blaze.

— Staff and Wire Reports

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