NCDP Clips for Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
EARLY VOTERS NEED GOOD ID—OR A GOOD EXCUSE (WUNC-FM) — Early primary voting begins tomorrow morning and runs through March 12. North Carolina State Board of Elections Spokeswoman Jackie Hyland says early ballots offer the same candidates as the March 15 primary ballot. But early voters may register the same day as they vote. Hyland says the a state law requiring valid photo identification is now in effect. Voters without ID may sign an affidavit explaining why they have no ID and receive a provisional ballot.
I-77 TOLL CONTRACTOR FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY IN TEXAS MOORESVILLE TRIBUNE) — Has North Carolina found a way out of its I-77 toll lanes contract just two weeks before Gov. Pat McCrory faces a GOP primary opponent who’s made it the top issue of his campaign? The company building the controversial project between Mooresville and Charlotte filed for bankruptcy in Texas on Wednesday, and the N.C. Department of Transportation is now reassessing its contractual obligation to continuing with the I-77 project.
MCCRORY PLEDGES TO BACK TRUMP, GOP NOMINEE (Raleigh News & Observer) — While some Republican leaders nationwide pondering what they’ll do if Donald Trump gets the party’s nomination, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory isn’t thinking about it a bit. He’ll be backing Trump – or whoever wins the GOP nomination. The N.C. Democratic Party sent out a news release declaring “McCrory to back Trump as nominee” and later, the national Democratic Governors Association headlined, “NC Gov Backs Trump As Other Govs Back Away.”
#MCCRORY’SPOTTYPOLITICS: LINCOLN STATE SEN. WANTS SPECIAL SESSION (Lincoln Times-News) — Gov. Pat McCrory may not be ready to call state lawmakers into Raleigh to combat Charlotte’s recently passed transgender rights ordinance but Lincoln County Republican state Sen. David Curtis is.
MCCRORY DECLINES TO GIVE SPEECH AT GOP RALLY (Rocky Mount Telegram) — Gov. Pat McCrory didn’t give a keynote speech at the annual Nash County GOP Convention on Wednesday. Instead, he pulled up a chair with Nash County Commissioner Robbie Davis and held an informal question-and-answer session.
MCCRORY, BOND COMMITTEES WANT ELECTION COMPLAINTS DISMISSED (AP) — A committee supporting a $2 billion bond on North Carolina’s primary ballot and Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign say formal complaints suggesting improper coordination between the committee, McCrory and a legislator should be dismissed.
LARGE MAJORITY OF N.C. RESIDENTS BACK BONDS (High Point University Pol) — A large majority of state residents – 69 percent — support the $2 billion Connect North Carolina Bond – which will be decided on the North Carolina primary election ballot and includes significant resources for higher education.
CONNECT NC: GUIDE TO BOND PACKAGE (Greensboro News & Record) — The statewide bond is the first on the ballot since 2000.
MEEKER: COMMISSIONER’S ELEVATOR PHOTO GOES AWAY IF ELECTED (AP) — North Carolina’s labor commissioner won’t be smiling at you anymore inside an elevator if Democrat Charles Meeker get elected this November.
BLUST ANNOUNCES CONGRESSIONAL BID FOR DISTRICT 13 (Greensboro News & Record) — State Rep. John Blust will run for Congress in the newly drafted District 13. Blust, R-Guilford, is the second legislator to announce an official campaign, but he is one of at least five who could end up running for the seat. Seven-term state Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, will run in the district, while state Rep. Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford, state Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, and Guilford County Commissioner Hank Henning are all contemplating whether to join the race.
POLICY & POLITICS
JUDGE MAKES RULING ON SYRIAN REFUGEES (WFMY-TV) — A federal judge is keeping at least one Governor in check when it comes to Syrian refugees. The judge ruled the state of Indiana cannot block aid to Syrian refugees, saying it’s unconstitutional. The Governor there, like Gov. Pat McCrory in North Carolina, is seeking to stop programs that helped resettle refugees in states. Refugee advocates welcomed the ruling that put a stop to it.
MAN FREED AFTER 23 YEARS IN PRISON ON SEX ASSAULT CONVICTION (AP) — A judge has freed a man who spent 23 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually assaulting his then 9-year-old daughter, a crime she now says didn’t happen.
LAWMAKERS EXAMINE NC WORKS PROGRAM (TWCN-TV) — When it comes to finding a job in North Carolina, the NC Works program is supposed to make it easy for job seekers to get the resources they need. But lawmakers say they are concerned this collaboration amongst the Department of Commerce, Community Colleges, and the Department of Public Instruction is not working as well as it should be.
ANGELOU POST OFFICE TURNS CONTROVERSIAL (AP) — The relatively uncontroversial step of naming the downtown Winston-Salem post office after poet Maya Angelou took an odd turn in the House as nine Republicans balked at putting her name on the building. Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Ken Buck of Colorado, Michael Burgess of Texas, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Andy Harris of Maryland, Tom Massie of Kentucky, Alex Mooney of West Virginia and Steve Palazzo of Mississippi voted no. Rep. Don Young of Alaska voted present.
SUPREME COURT’S NEW ERA (New York Times) — On Monday U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an opinion dissenting from the court’s refusal to hear a prisoner’s complaint against the North Carolina prison system for failing to accommodate his wish to get together with fellow Jewish inmates for an hour every week to pray and study religious texts. At 11 pages, Justice Alito’s dissent was unusually long for an opinion of this kind. It’s the first time in his 10 years on the court that I can recall him ever expressing empathy with a prison inmate.
RALEIGH BUSINESSMAN ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY BRINGING HUNDREDS TO U.S. (WRAL-TV) — Omer Gur Geiger, a businessman who owns mall kiosks in North Carolina and surrounding states, was indicted in Virginia this week on charges he brought hundreds of illegal workers to the United States, hid them from the IRS and did not fairly pay them for work performed.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
LOSS OF TEACHER OF YEAR TO PRIVATE INDUSTRY ‘HEARTBREAKING,’ MAY BE PART OF SNOWBALLING TREND (Mooresville Tribune) — What does the future look like for public education in North Carolina? If losing a Teacher of the Year is any indication, the outlook isn’t bright, some say. Longtime Mooresville Middle School Teacher Allen Stevens, the 2015-16 Teacher of the Year in the Mooresville Graded School District, will say goodbye to an 18-year career in education on Monday. Stevens is going into the private sector where he will work for WGB Group in Mooresville, a specialized manufacturer’s representative firm serving a variety of retail channels.
NC SCHOOLS FACING TEACHER RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION CHALLENGE (Raleigh News & Observer) — Higher education and K-12 educators said Wednesday that more needs to be done to recruit and retain North Carolina teachers at a time when fewer students want to enter the profession and those who are in the classroom are less experienced.
DROPOUT PREVENTION GROUP: MORE STUDENTS GRADUATING DESPITE POVERTY (WRAL-TV) — A North Carolina dropout prevention group released its annual report Wednesday and said a majority of the public school students it served last year either moved up to the next grade or graduated "despite high levels of poverty and other significant barriers to success."
PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT UP IN NC SCHOOLS; 90% IN 2 DISTRICTS (AP) — Corporal punishment in North Carolina public schools jumped after years of declines even as fewer school districts allow paddling.
FAYETTEVILLE STATE IS FIRST STOP ON TOUR FOR UNC PRESIDENT (TWCN-TV) — Margaret Spellings has promised to visit the campuses of all 17 universities in the UNC System. First stop on that tour for the new UNC System President was Fayetteville State University.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
DUKE ENERGY SHEDDING 900 JOBS, MOSTLY IN CAROLINAS (Charlotte Observer) — Voluntary buyouts account for ‘vast majority,’ company says
SOLAR EDUCATION IN MOUNT AIRY CITY SCHOOLS (EdNC) — Eighth grade students in the Mt. Airy City School system will learn that knowledge is power during their exploration into solar voltaic systems and how they produce electricity. O2 emc has partnered with the Mount Airy City School system, providing grant funding for an in depth study of solar electricity through O2 emc’s SiSTEM program which stands for Solar integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
GRANT TO FUND DEVELOPMENT OF SMARTER, MORE EFFICIENT HOMES (NCSU News Release) — Mo-Yuen Chow, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded $791,950 from Total S.A. to develop a Cooperative Distributed Home Energy Management System. This is a three-year project.
NCSU ALUM BRINGS SUSTAINABILITY TO SMALL FARMS (NCSU News Release) – Joshua Ringer, 42, is founder and CEO of Indigdev, which helps small farmers and communities find sustainable agriculture practices through research, consulting, education and production. Ringer, who earned his master’s degree in soil science from NC State in 2000, lives in Stillwater, Okla., with his wife and four children. Ringer, who earned his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State in agricultural and extension education services in 2014, is working with farmers in southeast Asia and in Oklahoma. He focuses on smallholder farms – typically those with limited resources and land.
ENVIRONMENTALISTS, HOG-FARM INDUSTRY AT ODDS OVER HEALTH OF BLACK RIVER (Raleigh News & Observer) — New testing of a North Carolina river disputes a recent TV ad campaign defending the environmental record of hog farms, advocates say.
CURRITUCK LAND DEAL COULD PROTECT BEACH DRIVING PRIVILEGES AND OFFER HAVEN FOR WILD HORSES (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) — A land swap between Currituck County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could ensure beach driving privileges and make a haven for wild horses.
WALT DE VRIES: I’VE ALWAYS SUPPORTED BONDS, BUT MAYBE NOT THIS TIME (Charlotte Observer column) — Do you have as many questions about the March 15 $2 billion statewide bond issue for colleges and universities as I have? Not necessarily about the merits of the many buildings – all seem worthwhile – but how we are being sold on how it is to be done.
FOR TORTURE RHETORIC ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, BLAME BURR (Raleigh News & Observer) — Presidential candidates are vying to see who can be the harshest about what torture techniques they would order; This kind of rhetoric is possible only because Sen. Richard Burr has deprived our nation of the conversation we need to have about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program
FISHING HOOKED BY STATE POLITICS (Wilmington Star-News) — Nothing seems to escape the long reach of politics these days. Sometimes all the bickering and jockeying for position makes us want to escape politics and just go fishing.
HOW WE SEE 3 STATE PRIMARIES (Charlotte Observer) — Most of the attention paid to North Carolina’s March 15 primary has been on the races for president, U.S. Senate and governor. There are, though, also campaigns for eight Council of State offices. Many of these offices serve vital roles, so voters should research who would make the best nominees for their parties.
NC MUST STOP, NOT EXPAND FRIGHTENING SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Thanks to the N.C. General Assembly, Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh is due to receive $583,800 of your tax dollars this academic year. That money was supposed to be used for public schools. Greensboro Islamic Academy is also due to receive $546,000 that was intended for public schools.