Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 11:03am

Taking country club exclusivity on the road:

A group of vintage sports car buffs wants use of the park for a daylong “hill climb” on Sept. 11, a Thursday. State officials appear ready to grant the request, assuming the legislation passes, for a $10,000 fee. Key figures in the Pilot Mountain event were heavy donors to the campaign that got McCrory elected in 2012.

“If we see the opportunity to do something for economic development in a rural part of the state, we’re going to listen to that,” said Brad Ives, an assistant environment secretary who oversees parks. “We’re going to expose some well-heeled people to a beautiful part of North Carolina.”

Here's a thought: repeal the tax breaks for those "well-heeled" citizens so we can once again afford to keep the parks open every day. As it stands right now, tourists better do their research before traveling to North Carolina, or they're liable to run into a "Closed" sign at the entrance to a park. That's bad enough, but if they find out they can't get in because some rich folks have "reserved" the park for themselves that day, those tourists will never come back. Those rich folks might not care about that, but our government should.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 9:15am

THE SPILL
'Living on Water' comes to life (Martinsville Bulletin) -- Yolanda Brown’s favorite part of the “Living on the Water” Festival on Saturday at the Virginia Museum of Natural History was seeing world-champion sand sculptor Alan Matsumoto carving a 7-foot-tall whimsical work. “This is amazing. Look at the hair. Look at the (details) on in,” said Brown, of Martinsville, as she admired Matsumoto sculpting King Neptune, god of the sea in Roman mythology, playing cards with a mermaid. It will contain the words, “Go Fish.” … Brian Williams, program manager in Martinsville/Henry County for the Dan River Basin Association, gave a talk about the Duke Energy coal ash spill and its aftermath called “Heartbreak on the Dan.” During his talk and in an interview, he expressed concerns that only a small fraction of the coal ash that went into the Dan River has been removed, that flooding might stir up remaining coal ash and sediment, and that environmental damage, including marine and wildlife damage, may occur. “The river is not back to normal,” Williams said. “The river is not cleaned up. It’s never going to be cleaned up. How do you live with it?”
http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/article.cfm?ID=42790

Daily dose
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Sunday, July 27, 2014 - 7:33am

This one takes the cake: The decision to reduce protections for Jordan Lake, while spending millions on a Rube Goldberg contraption that might or might not make matters worse.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 6:27pm

I was going to change everything to my real name, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. Everybody knows it's Nancy Miller Martin anyway...lovex7 can go bye bye. Also everybody knows that my brother is former Congressman Brad Miller. He and I were blogging here at the same time. I just looked it up and I have been a member for more than 8 years and Brad for longer than that.. Boy, am I behind.

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Posmo @
Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 1:58pm

Is $70,000 a sufficient way to show appreciation for being appointed to the UNC Board of Governors?

Tillis’s Super PAC, Grow NC Strong, Raised $105,000, Including $70,000 From Three Men Tillis Appointed To The UNC Board Of Governors.
...
An Appointment To The UNC Board Of Governors “Is One Of The Most Prestigious And Sought-After Appointments In North Carolina Business And Political Circles.”

Maybe $70K is enough, but why not give a few thousand more, just to be sure?

A controversial pick for the UNC system’s Board of Governors backed by House Speaker Thom Tillis gave another $5,000 toward the Tillis campaign effort.

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Posmo @
Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 1:03pm

In addition to keeping the salaries of for-profit charter school employees secret, the NCGA's charter school bill allows discrimination against LGBT students.

Back in June, after a two-day battle over amendments that would have banned charter schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, House Republicans advanced a compromise provision that said "charter schools shall not discriminate against any student with respect to any category protected under the United States Constitution or under federal law applicable to the states."

That amendment was added to the bill on a 115-0 vote.

But when the measure went to conference committee for a compromise deal, Senate negotiators successfully pushed to have the clause removed.

Rep. John [sic] Hardister, R-Guilford, the lead House negotiator, said he agreed to the change out of concern that "it could have broad effect." Asked for clarification, he couldn't explain further.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 10:49am

Maybe the idea had supernatural origins:

"This just came forth like Aphrodite from the sea foam of the Aegean," Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, told members on the House floor Friday, backing a move to preserve the task force.

On Thursday, when the measure was vetted by the House Rules Committee, Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, the committee chairman, said that the task force deletion was requested by the Senate. But House members and others who later investigated said they could not find a Senate member who would claim ownership of the move.

The only "foam" present during this session is what's dripping from the mouths of power-mad Republicans like Stam, who see a technical corrections bill as a handy vehicle to get things done that wouldn't pass muster on their own merits.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 10:27am

More Walking Mayor news. Good to see someone in NC doing the right thing for a change.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 9:40am

Bill Maher has a new website up called Flip a district. Renee Ellmers is in the number three spot.

Renee Ellmers
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BlueNC @
Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 9:27am

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
· Thursday July 24: McCrory On Budget Stalemate: 'We're Making Headway' (WUNC-FM) -- “I did present both the Senate and House caucuses, I think, breakthrough plans on how to work out our differences.” McCrory Said.
http://wunc.org/post/gov-mccrory-budget-stalemate-were-making-headway

· Friday July 25: McCrory Says He Could Veto State Budget (WUNC-FM) -- "I’ve clearly communicated my issues and concerns and I will stand by those issues and concerns. If the budget doesn’t address my issues and concerns, I’ll definitely consider vetoing the budget like I would consider vetoing any other bill," said McCrory.
http://wunc.org/post/governor-mccrory-says-he-could-veto-state-budget

THE SPILL
Enviro groups unhappy with ash legislation (Charlotte Observer) -- Several environmental groups wrote N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and House speaker Thom Tillis
http://obsearthenergy.blogspot.com/2014/07/enviro-groups-unhappy-with-as...

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