NCDP Clips for Tuesday August 18, 2015


NCDP Clips for Tuesday, August 18

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LEGISLATURE 2015

Still no agreement on spending levels in late NC budget (AP) — Top legislative leaders at the North Carolina General Assembly are still working toward reaching a milestone in their negotiations on a state budget that’s nearly seven weeks overdue.

Lawmakers Stuck on Finding Compromised State Spending (TWCN-TV) — —State lawmakers say there is still a stalemate when it comes to finding a compromised state spending plan. Legislators close to the negotiations say once a bottom line for spending is agreed to, the process could move along quickly. However, agreeing on that bottom line is a tough hurdle to cross.

POLICY & POLITICS

‘Journey for Justice’ to focus on voting rights in NC (AP) — The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP will talk about a march from Alabama to Washington, D.C., in support of voting rights.

173 Confederate flag rallies since Charleston massacre, mapped (Washington Post) — In the two months since a racially-motivated gunman walked into a predominately-black Charleston church and murdered nine parishioners on June 17, there have been at least 173 rallies and protests across the nation in support of the divisive symbol the gunman adopted as his own: the Confederate battle flag. That works out to an average of a little under three pro-Confederate rallies per day. … The largest rally so far was held in Ocala, Florida, in mid-July, in support of a county’s decision to return a Confederate flag to a position on government property. It drew an estimated crowd of 5,000 people, as well as reports of sporadic gunfire. Other big rallies include a crowd of 4,000 in North Carolina.

Confederate flag spotted atop Asheville construction crane (AP) — An Asheville construction worker has climbed to the top of a crane to remove a Confederate flag that had been placed there.

Confrontation over Confederate flag leads to gun pointing in Hickory (Charlotte Observer) — A teen was flying the flag from his pickup truck

Closing arguments Tuesday in Charlotte police shooting trial (AP) — After two weeks of testimony, a jury will hear closing arguments Tuesday in the case of a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of an unarmed black man.

Summit to focus on jobs for NC (The Robesoian) The 2015 North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit will be held on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C. This annual two-day event hosted by the North Carolina delegation provides business leaders from across the state the opportunity to network, collaborate and discuss shared legislative and business concerns.

Traffic deaths up 19 percent in NC (Charlotte Observer) — Traffic deaths are up 19 percent in North Carolina so far this year, mirroring a troubling national trend, according to data from the National Safety Council.

School of Government receives $100,000 to support programs for local officials(UNC News) — The School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a gift of $100,000 from Prudential Financial, Inc. for continued funding of initiatives that support the school’s work assisting North Carolina local elected officials as they lead and govern their communities.

‘Celebrating the Dream’ gala Aug. 29 marks anniversary of Voting RIghts Act(Wilmington Star-News) — Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young and former congresswoman Eva Clayton will be among guests

Carson’s claim that Planned Parenthood targets blacks to ‘control that population’(Washington Post Fact Checker) – Republican Ben Carson earns Four Pinocchios for mixing flimsy history and false facts about Planned Parenthood’s founder.

U.S. Lacks Ammo for Next Economic Crisis (Wall Street Journal) — As the U.S. economic expansion ages and clouds gather overseas, policy makers worry about recession. Their concern isn’t that a downturn is imminent but whether they will have firepower to fight back when one does arrive.

In N.C., 55,000 sign up for ACA plans during special enrollment (Triangle Business Journal) — In North Carolina, more than 55,000 individuals bought Affordable Care Act health insurance plans during the special enrollment period, half of whom did so because they lost other coverage.

‘This Looks Like a National Strategy’ (New York Times) — On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act earlier this month, Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation, published “Give Us the Ballot,” a book about the decades-long political

State revokes Guilford shelter’s license for ‘severity of violations’ (Greensboro News & Record) — After months of complaints, rumors and allegations of animal cruelty and abuse, the N.C. Department of Agriculture on Monday revoked the United Animal Coalition’s license to operate animal shelters in Davidson and Guilford counties.

GENERAL NEWS

Apex Ranked First in Best Cities to Live (TWCN-TV) A North Carolina suburbs city was ranked first by Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live.”

Triangle tech, energy execs offer A-to-Z wish list to boost growth (WRAL-TV) — In a new survey conducted by RTI International for the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster, 123 executives from tech and energy firms were asked what "kind of support" they wanted in order to boost economic growth. From lower taxes to more marketing, education, mass transit and training.

The largest number of N.C. commuters travel between these two counties (Triangle Business Journal) — A new report offers county-by-county details about who’s commuting where in North Carolina.

Rower who crossed Atlantic rescued off North Carolina (AP) — An American rower who crossed the Atlantic to raise AIDS awareness was rescued off North Carolina while rowing north on the final leg of the journey up the East Coast.

SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES

Catalyst Creating Opportunities In Stem For Students With Disabilities (EdNC) — Nationally, 12.9 percent of students in public education have disabilities. In North Carolina, 168,980 — or 12.5 percent — of students in public education have disabilities. I teach science to students with disabilities at Dillard Drive Middle School and most of my students head to the occupation course of study (OCS) program in high school. We need more STEM and vocational programs to help support them to reach their goals, as well as allowing them to consider a wide range of STEM Career opportunities and educational pathways.

Tech execs’ wish list for Triangle education: STEM and more (WRAL-TV) — High-tech and energy sector employers have a "wish list" for educators and policy makers to follow if Triangle firms are going to find workers in the future that meet skill set demand. What’s on it?

ANOTHER YEAR: County commissioners agree to fund teaching assistants(Washington Daily News) — The future is looking a little bit brighter for Beaufort County’s teaching assistants—at least until next year.

Explaining North Carolina’s Proficiency Standards (EdNC) — A recent NAEP mapping study gave high marks to North Carolina’s proficiency standards. According to NAEP’s findings, only Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New York have higher 4th grade proficiency standards for reading. Only New York, Massachusetts and Texas have higher 4th grade proficiency standards for math. Only Wisconsin and New York have higher 8th grade reading proficiency standards. And only New York beats us in 8th grade math proficiency standards.

Driver’s ed funding remains a top concern for Wake County parents, teens (WRAL-TV) –While lawmakers drag their feet on a state budget, the issue of funding driver’s education programs in Wake County continues to worry parents and teens.

Marine Lab Takes to the Air With Drones (Duke U News Service) — Duke University has opened a new research and training facility for the use of unmanned aircraft systems — commonly referred to as drones — in marine science and conservation. The Marine Conservation Ecology Unmanned Systems Facility is located at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C.

Dear college student: Get an education, not just a degree (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Eric Johnson: Thousands of new students are settling into North Carolina colleges and universities this week. Most will have already endured a formal orientation and received all manner of official guidance, but there are some informal practices that can make the difference between receiving a degree and earning an education.

UNC med-school leader targeted in anti-trust case (Durham Herald-Sun) — His employer is still only an “un-named co-conspirator,” but UNC medical school dean Bill Roper is now a defendant in an anti-trust lawsuit that challenges an alleged anti-poaching deal between Duke and UNC.

THE SPILL

More light on Dukeville water questions (Salisbury Post editorial) — Duke Energy has a mess on its hands when it comes to coal ash ponds; there’s no question about that. After tons of coal ash spilled into the Dan River from a Duke pit in February 2014 and leaks at other sites came to light, the company negotiated a settlement that left it with one of the largest federal criminal fines in North Carolina history.

New tests show contaminants feared from Duke ash ponds may occur naturally(Charlotte Business Journal) — Initial water tests performed at a small number of control wells in the state show metals contaminants at similar levels to those found in wells near Duke Energy coal ash ponds, state environmental officials say. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is testing wells that are generally in the vicinity of Duke coal ash disposal sites but have no groundwater connection to water from the sites.

Tests show more contaminated wells; unknown if from coal (Raleigh News & Observer) — Tests of wells in the vicinity of Duke Energy coal-fired power plants — but not close enough to have been affected by their ash storage ponds — show contaminated water supplies, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported Monday. Duke Energy said the results from what is called background testing indicates that groundwater contamination found near the plants is naturally occurring and not the result of leaking coal ash basins.

Duke Energy Statement in Response to New Well Testing Results (PR Newswire) — Duke Energy today issued the following statement regarding background well sampling data released by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The State has now tested wells near coal ash basins and wells that are far enough removed from the basins to be unaffected by them. The new results validate what we and others have been saying—the constituents found in the water samples occur naturally at various levels across the state. In addition, the background wells and the vast majority of private wells tested, all meet federal drinking water standards.

Why not recycle coal ash instead of burying it? (Fayetteville Observer editorial) — It’s unfortunate that state regulators haven’t put stronger emphasis on recycling the waste instead of burying it. The ash from several South Carolina coal plants is being recycled into building material. As an official at the N.C. State University Minerals Research Laboratory told the Citizen-Times of Asheville, "The fact is, as long as we’re burning coal, we’re going to have coal ash, and it makes a lot more sense to recycle the material than send it off for disposal." It does. Before the train cars start rolling to Chatham and Lee counties, we hope that option gets another look.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

‘We’re listening,’ Duke’s regional manager says (Hendersonville Lightning column) — Duke Energy is listening to all landowners as it selects power line route. The need is real and there is no single solution Duke Energy meets the daily energy needs of more than 11 million Carolinians by connecting 50 power plants to 190,000 miles of power line. This infrastructure touches all of our communities. It connects homes and business to reliable energy resources across both states, powering the economy and daily conveniences.

Report From N.C. Finds Ground Source Heat Pumps are Extremely Efficient (Hydrogen Fuel News) The GSHP or Ground Source Heat Pump is 45 percent more efficient than any other heating or cooling system, according to a new report from N.C. Sustainable Energy Association. the number of individuals who install this systems completely depends of the amount of state and federal incentives there are, — According to the report.

Public meeting planned for town contaminated over 4 decades (AP) — Federal and state agencies will hear from the public about a plan to restore the natural resources in a Brunswick County town contaminated for several decades by a wood treatment operation.

Triangle tech, energy execs offer A-to-Z wish list to boost growth (WRAL-TV) — In a new survey conducted by RTI International for the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster, 123 executives from tech and energy firms were asked what "kind of support" they wanted in order to boost economic growth. From lower taxes to more marketing, education, mass transit and training.

Google can tell you if solar roof panels will pay off (Solar Daily) — Google has got a good look at your roof, and can tell you if it is worth the investment to install solar energy panels.

Clock Ticking as EPA Prepares Response Over Hog Pollution (N.C. Health News) — By August 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must address allegations over North Carolina’s hog industry, which environmentalists say is harming the health of racial minorities.

Duke researcher bags $5M grant from U.S. to study renewable energy (Charlotte Business Journal) — Gas prices have come down since 2008 but finding cost-effective sources of renewable energy is still a goal for the federal government.

Spartanburg County Council passes Duke resolution (Tryon Daly Bulletin) — The Spartanburg County Council passed a resolution opposing the Duke Energy Western Carolinas Modernization Project on Monday,

Dune Rule Kicks Up Sand in Topsail (Coastal Review) — Owners of lots in Topsail Beach where homes once stood are threatening to sue the town over rules meant to protect sand dunes and other homes from flooding.

Deadlock leaves Brunswick County alone, backing seismic testing for offshore oil(Wilmington Star-News) — An effort to change Brunswick County’s stance on seismic testing deadlocked Monday, meaning it will remain the only government in North Carolina to support the process.