NCDP Clips for Monday, February 23th, 2015
Tweet of The Day
POLICIES & POLITICS
Group Home Funding Runs Dry (N.C. Health News) — Without adequate funds, group homes for people with mental health and developmental disabilities are at risk of closure.
McCrory rare vulnerable incumbent GOP: Diminishing Dem govs look for answers(Politico) — The Democratic National Committee is still analyzing how the party botched 2014 so badly. The party acknowledged its struggles in a preliminary DNC “autopsy report” released on Saturday. The document — authored by a panel that included Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who will leave office this year — specifically pointed to the party’s loss of governors’ mansions since 2008 when enumerating its “devastating losses at all levels of government.” … Democrats’ best pickup opportunity appears to be North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory has been mired with low approval numbers and faces a challenge from Attorney General Roy Cooper. Asked whether Cooper would give him a serious race, McCrory balked. “I don’t concentrate on potential competition,” he said. “I concentrate on things that I can control.”
10 most competitive Senate races in ’16 (Washington Post) — A look below at the Fix’s latest rankings of the 10 most competitive Senate races in 2016 immediately tells you one thing: Republicans have significant vulnerability. Of the 10 states considered the most ripe for a party takeover, eight are held by Republicans — including seven that President Obama won in 2008 and six that he won in 2012. … 9. North Carolina (R). Burr has gotten on his fundraising horse in recent weeks, raising a reported $1 million at a single fundraiser last month after heading into the 2016 cycle with just $700,000 cash on hand. The big name on the Democratic side is former senator Kay Hagan, who lost by two points in November but just took a fellowship at Harvard University.
A Top Topic for Governors: Supreme Court Case on Health Law (Wall Street Journal) — If the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits in most of the country, governors firmly expect the next move is Washington’s. The governors, in town for the National Governors Association winter meeting, say the issue is a top focus at their conference and will be high on the list of topics when they meet Monday with President Barack Obama . … “It’s a very precarious position we’re going to be in and it’s going to come up very quickly,” said Republican Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, where at the last official count, 365,000 people had got subsidies through HealthCare.gov. “We all want Congress to do something—but even if they do, will the president sign the bill? … The president and the Congress together need to work in anticipation of potential court decision, as opposed to reacting to a court decision. That will be too long a time to wait.”
Charlotte City Council to vote on ethics policy Monday (Charlotte Observer) — The Charlotte City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on changes to its ethics policy for elected officials that include more disclosure on personal finances and greater clarity on what gifts can and can’t be accepted.
Obama’s Expected Keystone Veto Likely to Be First in Wave (New York Times) — Wielding the weapon of his pen, President Obama this week is expected to formally reject a Republican attempt to force construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But in stopping the transit of petroleum from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama will be opening the veto era of his presidency. The expected Keystone veto, the third and most significant of Mr. Obama’s six years in office, would most likely be followed by presidential vetoes of bills that could emerge to make changes in the Affordable Care Act, impose new sanctions on Iran and roll back child nutrition standards, among others. Rep. David E. Price, a North Carolina Democrat, said Mr. Obama had little choice: “I don’t think, in this divided government, there’s much doubt he will have to use it.”
Appalachia report cites progress, challenges after 50 years (Hickory Record) — The agency created five decades ago to fight poverty in Appalachia has helped county economies grow with nearly $4 billion in spending, but the region still lags in key measures of educational, economic and physical well-being, according to a new study.
NC hospitals reduce practice of suing patients (AP) — North Carolina hospitals have sharply reduced the practice of suing patients who don’t pay their bills.
A look at Giuliani’s claims about Obama’s speeches (Washington Post Fact Checker) — Four Pinocchios to the former NYC mayor for saying the president never talks about American exceptionalism or love of country.
Harvard’s Ash Center Honors Innovative State and Local Government Projects(Govt. Executive) — Attention state and local governments: The 2015 Bright Ideas might spark ways to develop and implement smart programs. Catawba County, Cabarrus County, ECU’s Office of Community and Regional Development, Conover, Mecklenburg County, Rutherford County and the N.C. Innovation Center recognized.
Tobacco companies fighting over claims on smoking’s effects (AP) — America’s biggest tobacco companies say they are ready and willing to pass along factual public health information about cigarettes.
Valeant agrees to buy Salix for about $10 billion in cash (WRAL-TV) — Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. has agreed to buy Raleigh-based Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. for about $10 billion in cash.
Veteran entrepreneurs say military service gave them skills to succeed in business(Fayetteville Observer) — Veterans who are becoming entrepreneurs say their training and experience in the military translates well to the business world.
Duke Senior Is One Step Closer To Living On Mars (Duke News Service) — Duke senior Laurel Kaye is one of 100 finalists in a competition to be the first humans to colonize Mars. Winners of the Mars One contest will live, work and conduct research on Mars for the rest of their lives.
N&O wins 2014 Photo Staff of Year (Raleigh News & Observer) — The photography staff of The News & Observer has been named 2014 Photo Staff of the Year by the N.C. Press Photographers Association.
‘Birdman’ Wins Best Picture at Oscars (Wall Street Journal) — “Birdman” was named best picture at the Academy Awards ceremony, and its director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, won for best director. (List of Winners) Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore won the top acting honors.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
School choice not a good choice for schools (Chapel Hill News column) — The last week in January was “School Choice Week” in North Carolina. That calendar observance snuck up on me. Suddenly, there was a proclamation in the U.S. Senate, rallies in all 50 states and even a School Choice 10K run in Florida. The conservative John Locke Foundation hosted a School Choice breakfast in Raleigh featuring a panel discussion celebrating charter schools, vouchers and home schooling. The General Assembly, in the session just begun, is considering further expansion of options to traditional public schooling. All this proceeds on the assumption that school choice is a good thing. But is it?
Portrait of poverty on a cold morning (EdNC) — The children, maybe a couple dozen of them, stood in tight groups in the early morning darkness. A couple sported knit hats that had been yanked down over their ears. Most wore light jackets or hooded sweatshirts.
Spotlight on Jones County schools: Growing our students one child at a time (EdNC) — In the wake of the state’s release of school letter grades, many people on both sides of the aisles have expressed concern and confusion — concern about the formula used for the grades (80 percent achievement and 20 percent growth), and confusion about what growth is and how it is calculated. Growth “compares the actual performance of the school’s students to their expected performance based on their prior testing performance.”
Fans, former players attend public memorial for Dean Smith (AP) — North Carolina has said its final farewell to Dean Smith.
In memory of Dean Smith, a tribute – and a challenge (Raleigh News & Observer) — Almost 53 years after the Rev. Robert Seymour and Dean Smith took a young black man to dinner and changed Chapel Hill forever, Seymour stood onstage at the Smith Center to attempt to assess Smith’s legacy. Seymour, for decades Smith’s pastor at Binkley Baptist Church, was the final speaker at Sunday’s memorial service for Smith, who died Feb. 7 at 83, and was the most resonant among many touching, stirring remembrances.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Brunswick County commissioners oppose wind-energy proposal (State Port Pilot) — Concerns over how massive wind turbines in offshore waters could affect beach tourism has prompted the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners to formally wade into the wind energy debate. The board voted unanimously Monday to send a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opposing the lease of offshore areas and construction of wind turbines off the North Carolina coast “until we feel our concerns have been adequately addressed.”
Supply of drinking water isn’t endless (Raleigh News & Observer) — Emily Berglund, is an associate professor of civil, construction, and environmental engineering at N.C. State, explains how we can make the most of one of our nation’s most prized natural resources, water.
Chimney Rock still closed as ice thaws, falls from trees (AP) — The weather may be improving around the state, but western North Carolina’s popular Chimney Rock attraction remains closed.
Museum ecostation helps ignite science curiosity (Raleigh News & Observer) — The NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Prairie Ridge Ecostation in West Raleigh plays host to activities for all ages, including this Saturday’s presentation about controlled burns.
A Celebration of Community (Coastal Review) — Almost 11 years after developers bought the old Manns Harbor Marina in the hopes of building a condominium complex, the docks have been returned to their original purpose and are an example of what can happen when local people want it to.
Secrecy a slap at taxpayers (Wilmington Star-News) — Cities, counties and the General Assembly don’t think employees’ performance problems are any of your business.
Measles risk (Greenville Daily Reflector) — State health officials are right to urge North Carolina parents to get their children vaccinated for measles — even if there have been no cases reported in the state this year so far.
FCC should topple NC limits on public Internet access network (Raleigh News & Observer) — This Thursday the Federal Communications Commission may improve North Carolinians’ chances of getting inexpensive, high-speed Internet access without having to go through cable and telephone companies. In a ruling that could vastly expand high-speed Internet access here and across the nation, the FCC will respond to petitions from the cities of Wilson and Chattanooga, Tenn., seeking permission to expand their municipal broadband networks. The two cities have established successful networks that deliver low-cost, high-speed Internet access, but their ability to serve customers outside their borders is limited by state laws passed at the behest of commercial Internet providers.
Expand film grants to bolster competitive status (Fayetteville Observer) — The film industry cried foul last year when state legislators halted an incentives program that had benefited TV and movie production.
A Map Act ruling that helps NC landowners (Raleigh News & Observer column) – A state law called the Map Act allows the DOT to designate land as part of a transportation corridor and place restrictions on its development. The status prohibits new building and requires approval for other uses that can take up to three years to grant.