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Thursday News: Career day


DURHAM SCHOOLS WILL CLOSE MAY 16 FOR TEACHER RALLY: Officials have voted to close schools in a North Carolina district as more than 1,000 teachers are expected to take a day off to lobby for better pay. Local media outlets report the Durham Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday to close schools on May 16. Teachers are expected to call out of work that day and head to Raleigh to urge lawmakers to raise pay and increase resources for students. More than 1,000 Durham teachers are planning to attend the March for Students and Rally for Respect. The event starts with a march in downtown Raleigh to the legislative building as the lawmakers go back into session. Teachers also plan to meet with House and Senate members to push for school safety improvements and repairs to crumbling buildings.

Wednesday News: Time to pay the piper


NCDP SUES TILLIS AND NC GOP OVER CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA SCHEME: The North Carolina Democratic Party contends that Sen. Thom Tillis and the North Carolina Republican Party's actions during the 2014 campaign violated federal law and elections regulations, according to a complaint by the Democrats. Democrats planned to file the complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday morning. The complaint alleges that Tillis and the state Republicans "knowingly assisted Cambridge Analytica's foreign national employees in influencing" Tillis' 2014 campaign against incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan. Further, the complaint says Tillis and the Republicans "accepted illegal and in-kind contributions" from John Bolton's super PAC through the use of Cambridge Analytica. The Tillis campaign, the NC GOP and the Bolton political action committee all hired Cambridge Analytica during the 2014 campaign.

Tuesday News: The War of Southern regression


ORANGE COUNTY HOLDS PUBLIC DISCUSSION ABOUT CONFEDERATE FLAG ISSUE: The Human Relations Commission-hosted Community Conversation was held just two days after a long-anticipated, 20X20-foot Confederate battle flag was hoisted onto a 60-foot flagpole. However, it had been in the works for over a month after residents raised concerns about the planned flag and asked the county to come up with some rules. The conversation was sparked earlier this year when property owner Robert "Doug" Hall Jr. secured a permit for a 60-foot flagpole on his land near the Division of Motor Vehicles office on U.S. 70. Hall also reached out to the group Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County (ACTBAC) about helping him install a mega-size flag.

Monday News: Resistance has a leader


JOSH STEIN STANDS UP AGAINST THE WORST OF TRUMP'S AGENDA: During his first 16 months in office, Stein has been on the front lines with a troop of Democratic attorneys general firing off a slew of lawsuits, targeted complaints and other actions against the Trump administration. “To me, it’s not about fighting the Trump administration, it’s about standing up for the people of North Carolina,” Stein said recently. Stein has joined the group to oppose offshore drilling, education policies, a travel ban and the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. At the beginning of the month Stein fought the administration’s plans to try to block a question about citizenship from the 2020 Census questionnaire. Not even a whole week later, he joined other states with Democratic attorneys general in a pushback against a Texas lawsuit attempting to further dismantle the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama's signature health legislation.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DUKE ENERGY, NOT RATEPAYERS, SHOULD PAY FOR COAL ASH MISMANAGEMENT: Is it fair that North Carolina consumers, who already paid for electric power produced at Duke Energy’s coal-burning power plants as long as 70 years ago, get another bill to pay for the company’s management failures that led to spills and contamination from coal ash storage facilities? Imagine the outrage if years after consumers filled up their cars with gasoline they got a bill demanding more money for that same gasoline because there was an accident at a refinery. That’s just what Duke Energy’s managed to achieve, with the help of North Carolina’s utilities Commission. A couple of months ago the Commission approved a rate increase on consumers in the eastern half of the state. While it was less than Duke initially asked for, it included about $230 million to pay for coal ash removal while at the same time imposing a $30 million penalty for failure in coal ash management.

Saturday News: Shameless


WALKER CAMPAIGN BRAGS ABOUT RECORD-BREAKING $650,000 PENCE LUNCHEON: U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and other North Carolina Republicans believe his April 20 luncheon with Vice President Mike Pence in Greensboro was the most lucrative fundraising event for a U.S. House race in state history. "By being the first to bring Vice President Pence to our state and raising more than $650,000 in a single lunch event – one of the largest congressional fundraisers in North Carolina history – he has established himself as a critical leader in helping conservatives retain majorities both statewide and nationally," said Jack Minor Jr., a Walker spokesman. The $650,000 total roughly equaled the total his campaign had raised so far, according to campaign filings through March.

Friday News: Environmental Justice


JURY PUNISHES SMITHFIELD IN HOG NUISANCE LAWSUIT TO THE TUNE OF $50 MILLION: A federal jury in North Carolina is awarding more than $50 million in damages to neighbors of an industrial hog operation responsible for smells, noise and other disturbances so bad they couldn’t enjoy their rural homes. Jurors on Thursday awarded 10 neighbors of a 15,000-head swine operation a total of $750,000 in compensation plus $50 million in damages designed to punish the hog-production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods. Lawyers didn’t sue the farm’s owner, instead targeting the Chinese-owned corporation. Smithfield uses strict contracts to dictate how farm operators raise livestock the company owns. The decision is the first in dozens of nuisance lawsuits filed by more than 500 neighbors against hog operations. Smithfield says the lawsuits are a serious threat to a major agricultural industry and employer in North Carolina.

Senate Judiciary approves Mueller protection bill

And yes, I chose this particular Tweet because it's evidence Fran De Luca is against investigating public corruption. Hypocrites-R-Us...

Thursday News: Skip your own meal


NC AG JOSH STEIN APPEALS TO SUPREME COURT OVER DUKE RATE INCREASE: The state Utilities Commission had approved an increase of about $5.22 a month for residential customers in the eastern half of North Carolina, including much of Wake County. Some of that money would go toward coal ash pond cleanups at Duke plants, which is one of the reasons Stein’s office asked the Supreme Court to take another look at the decision. The Sierra Club has also filed an appeal in the case. The attorney general argues that Duke’s violation of environmental regulations and criminal laws in dealing with coal ash and evidence that the company knew the risks of storing ash in unlined ponds well before the 2014 Dan River spill should have kept the commission from approving the increase.

Wednesday News: "Pour" judgment


FOUR CANDIDATES FOR LEGISLATURE HAVE DWI CONVICTIONS: Four Triangle candidates for the state legislature have been convicted of driving while impaired since 2000. Three say they had a lapse in judgment. One, Ray Ubinger, a Durham Libertarian, said his arrest was unjust. Ubinger has also faced charges of carrying a concealed gun and resisting a police officer. Two of the four candidates are Libertarian, a party that has not had a candidate elected to the legislature. They are running in districts with a history of electing Democrats. The two Republicans are running in heavily Democratic districts where incumbents are seeking re-election. Ubinger, who is running in Senate District 22, pleaded not guilty in 2001 to the weapon and resisting charges. He argued at a jury trial that the judge and other court officials were not legitimately elected, because the state does not count all write-in votes, and that the roadblock where he was stopped was unconstitutional. He was found guilty of both charges. If elected, Ubinger said, he would work to end random checkpoints.


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