scharrison's blog

That'll do, pig

Utilities are scrambling to find partners to help them achieve REPS-mandated conversion of hog waste into energy:

The state's electric utilities are looking for business partners that will convert swine waste into electricity. They'll pay more than they spend, themselves, to generate power from coal, natural gas or nuclear fuel. But the cost will hardly be recognizable on utility bills.

If the whole process works, everyone wins. The swine waste now stored in lagoons, which is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, will be put to a good use producing clean electricity. The air around farms will not smell as bad because the lagoons will be capped. And farmers should generate new cash from the sale of both electricity and fertilizer.

School diversity not just a Southern issue

The N&O's Steve Ford pens a great editorial on Northern influence over Southern education trends:

If you moved here from the Northeast, you might have brought your own set of progressive values. But you would have seen racial tensions in your former home that were a corrosive force many communities were ill-equipped to deal with.

The tendency back there was for municipalities to wall themselves off, typically on the basis of income. Inner-city riots, crime and general social dysfunction made the cities and their residents seem threatening. With school systems tied to municipalities, not counties, residents of affluent towns didn't (and still don't) need to think about having poor kids in their children's classrooms.

It's not surprising that folks moving to Wake County from such places would bring with them a certain set of attitudes and expectations. And that when they got here, many would settle in the newer suburbs of Cary, Apex, Holly Springs and Wake Forest, if not the sprawling stretches of North Raleigh.

Raleigh and Durham at odds over water quality

The tab for short-sighted development is coming due, and someone has to pay:

Raleigh, and a large part of Wake County, needs Falls Lake for its drinking water and will spend millions upgrading the city's water treatment plant if pollution isn't reduced by 2016.

But Durham looks as though it will be on the hook for millions of dollars to lower the amount of sediment-laden stormwater that rushes off pavement in its urban core into streams, creeks and rivers that flow into the lake. Durham doesn't get its water from Falls Lake but from Lake Michie and the Little River Reservoir.

Study finds Wind and Solar could power NC

And not just in a supplemental fashion, either:

John Blackburn, professor emeritus of economics and former provost and chancellor at Duke, challenges the widely held view that this state's wind and solar resources are so inconsistent that their use would still require significant backup power plants or additional baseload generating stations. This theory takes the view that winds in many places in this state are not steady or strong enough to provide substantial generating capacity, and that the sun does not shine strongly enough in winter months to produce enough power.

But Blackburn, in a study for the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Maryland, argues that a carefully planned combination of wind and solar generating units are capable of providing for North Carolina's electricity needs with only modest assistance from hydropower plants, natural gas generation and purchased power.

Dallas Woodhouse stalks Kay Hagan in Wilmington

Once again (to the best of my knowledge), Art Pope's attack poodle takes to the streets:

What: Rally to Greet Senator Kay Hagan
When: Friday, March 5 th
Time: 11:00am-1: 00pm
Where: Across from the Hilton Wilmington Riverside Hotel
301 North Water Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

If you cannot make it to Wilmington, please forward this to friends and family who live nearby.
We've got some great groups who are freedom fighters in the cause that are involved in this rally: Campaign for Liberty, Cape Fear Tea Party Patriots, Wilmington Liberty Group, Alliance for a Better Local Economy, We the People of Brunswick County and others.

Hope to see you there,
Dallas Woodhouse
State Director
Americans for Prosperity

Realtors win again, antitrust violations ignored

Instead of action, the SBOE delivers a toothless tongue-lashing:

At issue Thursday was a narrower question: whether the N.C. Association of Realtors violated state statutes in requiring its members to pay an assessment to support the association's campaigns in 24 counties to fight local real estate transfer tax hikes. An agent had objected to paying the assessment in addition to her regular dues to the association, arguing that it forced her to contribute against her will. She said she was forced to do so in order to keep her access to the association's multiple listing service. She also argued that she had difficulty finding out what the association was spending on the local campaigns.

The board found itself in an uncomfortable position. As board chair and Buncombe County lawyer Larry Leake put it, the N.C. Association of Realtors committed a "moral wrong" by requiring members who needed access to multiple listings to, in effect, pay for referenda campaigns. But he said there was no legal peg the board could use to find that the association had violated the law.

Right Wing nuttery: murder on your resume a "plus"

Just when you think you've heard it all:

Pantano was charged with a capital crime for slaying two Iraqis during a raid in 2004 and hanging a sign over their bodies with a Marine slogan, "No better friend, no worse enemy." Ultimately cleared of the charges, Pantano went on to write a book about the experience. He hopes the notoriety will help him win the Republican nomination.

"This is my effort to turn a negative into a positive," Pantano told The Associated Press during a recent interview at his Wilmington home. "I think that the voters in this district will see a life story ... of a guy who has chosen to serve over personal gain."

Gang of Five wins 5-4 vote in favor of re-segregating schools

Setting the dials on their time machine back to the 1950's:

In a chaotic and conflict-filled meeting, Wake County's school board voted Tuesday night to kill the district's long-standing diversity policy and begin implementing neighborhood schools.

By a 5-4 vote, the board gave the first of two approvals needed to pass a resolution calling for abandoning busing for diversity, a policy that has won Wake national recognition and has been an important factor in student assignments for decades. The resolution calls for assigning students to schools in their communities.

IBM slashes more jobs in RTP

And the offshoring beat goes on:

Local workers at IBM, one of the area's biggest employers, got hit by another wave of layoffs Monday. The extent of the damage from this round is not clear, but those notified will swell the ranks of the jobless already well-represented by castoffs from Sony-Ericsson, Nortel Networks, Lenovo and others. The cuts affected IBM operations across the nation, according to a labor union trying to organize IBM's workers.

"It's clear IBM is moving work offshore at a record rate," said Lee Conrad, national field coordinator ofAlliance@IBM. The union reported that IBM had cut more than 1,200 jobs in the U.S. and Canada as of Monday afternoon. Conrad said the total is likely to increase as more information is collected.

Journalism students replace seasoned reporters

Seems like a good idea, until you think about it for more than 45 seconds:

These schools have for years operated internal publications and news services, and professional news outlets often buy freelance pieces from reporters who are still in school. So why not make more explicit arrangements to have journalism students, who will work for course credit, fill the gaps left by the pros whom the news outlets could no longer afford to pay?

That is exactly what a number of institutions have done. The latest partnership, announced this week, is an alliance between New York University and the New York Times, which cut 200 newsroom jobs last year. The university, in consultation with the Times metro desk, will run a hyper-local news site covering Manhattan’s East Village.

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