Daily dose

The destruction of public education and the practice of corporate bribes continue to attract editorial interest. Voters will ultimately decide whether giving $100 million to a very profitable insurance company while firing school teachers is a proper choice. Lots more below the fold.

NAACP plans new protest, arrests at NC Legislature (AP) -- Opponents to the vision of progress offered by North Carolina's Republican leaders say they're stepping up the nonviolent demonstrations until they're heard.

Bill to allow concealed weapons on campuses ready for state House floor (AP) -- Some North Carolina lawmakers want to give concealed weapon permit holders more places to carry or store their pistols.

House to vote on whirligig designation (Wilson Times) -- The North Carolina House is scheduled to vote tonight whether to designate whirligigs as the state’s official folk art.

McCrory pushes for offshore drilling while watermen head to Raleigh (WRAL-TV) -- House lawmakers are scheduled to take up bills changing the state's firearm laws and adopting new state symbols tonight. A game fish bill has coastal watermen headed to Raleigh for a public hearing this afternoon. The NAACP plans another protest at the General Assembly tonight. Plus, notes to Gov. Pat McCrory from Charlotte Panthers owner Jerry Richardson show push and pull over public support for the football team's stadium.

Public financing backers scramble to save NC plan (AP) — North Carolina's milestone public financing program for appellate court candidates — already bruised by court rulings and third-party campaign spending — is in danger of being killed off this year in the name of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

Charter Board Debate Intensifies (WUNC-FM) -- The State Senate is scheduled to debate a bill tomorrow that creates a separate board to oversee the growing number of charter schools in North Carolina. Senate Bill 337 has gone through several revisions since it was introduced by Republican lawmakers two months ago. One of the provisions in an earlier bill, for example, removed the requirement that charter school teachers be college graduates. That requirement has since been re-instated.

Iredell Rep. Robert speaks out against I-77 tolls (Charlotte Observer) -- State Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, said Sunday he opposes toll lanes on Interstate 77 – the first state politician to openly oppose the N.C. Department of Transportation’s $550 million plan.

State bill could hurt local waterways, officials say (Charlotte Observer) -- A measure before the N.C. legislature could wipe out ordinances that protect Mecklenburg County’s water-supply lakes and streams, local officials say.

Legislation changed to preserve riparians (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Language that would have exempted privately owned land along area river basins from certain environmental regulations was removed from legislation passed by the state Senate last week.

NC county may end Alcoa dam licensing fight (AP) -- Officials in the North Carolina county that's home to a closed Alcoa aluminum smelter are weighing a deal that could remove a hurdle to the corporation renewing a license for dams that once powered the plant and now produce electricity for sale.

McCrory visiting Texas to talk offshore energy (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is visiting an offshore energy trade conference in Texas to try to help build momentum for drilling off the coast of North Carolina and other states.

Poll shows NC voters want to retain campaign finance reform law for statewide judges (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A new poll shows a majority of North Carolina voters favor the state's current system of publicly financing the campaigns of candidate for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The survey from the N.C. Center for Voter Education, finding 68 percent favor the program and 23 percent oppose, comes amid warnings that last year's multi-million-dollar campaign for Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby's seat threatens to remake the campaign financing landscape. Newby won re-election over appellate Judge Sam Ervin IV, with a huge infusion of outside money. Statewide judicial candidates can accept public financing if they agree to spending limits and refuse political action committee and special interest money. But with the emergence of "super PACs," which collect and spend money independent of candidates, those limits are meaningless.
Thousands in Reserves, Guard lose civilian jobs (LA Times) -- It's illegal for employers to penalize service members because of their military duties, but many are replaced or demoted.

GOP supermajority stirs passions, stakes new direction (Kinston Free Press) -- Successive elections gave Republicans power in the General Assembly, then supermajorities and a GOP governor. Nearly halfway through the 2013 session, the image of what complete Republican control of the legislative process becomes clearer.

Pope, contender for GOP chair, sees challenges in new majority role (Wilmington Star-News) -- It appears the stars also are aligning for Claude Pope, 52, to take over as the next chief of the state GOP.

Central Prison changes way of dealing with mentally ill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Over the past 25 years, crisis intervention team training has spread among law enforcement agencies across the country. Now it is being tested in the nation’s prisons, which have become the largest repositories for people with mental health problems.

Mentally ill in NC jails without treatment options (AP) — North Carolina's shortage of options to treat the mentally ill means county jails hold thousands of sick inmates, costing taxpayers big bucks as they wait for weeks or months to be evaluated or treated.

Financial crimes - 'Bad guys don't respect jurisdictions' (Wilmington Star-News) -- A statewide Financial Crime Initiative has been launched by the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys.

FDA's New 'Plan' for Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (Public News Service) -- May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started it off with a major announcement. The agency will allow a form of women's emergency contraception, Plan B One-Step, to be sold over the counter and to females as young as age 15.

U.S. Senate bill lets states tax Internet purchases (AP) -- Attention online shoppers: The days of tax-free shopping on the Internet may soon end for many of you.

Web Sales-Tax Bill May Hit a Wall (Wall Street Journal) -- A bill that effectively would end tax-free online shopping appears to be sailing smoothly toward Senate passage Monday but will hit choppier waters in the Republican-controlled House.

Local owners of small businesses are divided over proposed Internet sales tax (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A bill that would require Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from customers is receiving mixed reactions from local small-business owners.

Former DA to appear in court Monday (Port City Daily) -- Former District Attorney Rex Gore—chief prosecutor for the 13th District for nearly 20 years—will appear in Brunswick County Superior Court on Monday. Gore, 65, faces one felony charge.

Sanford just might win South Carolina seat (Washington Post) -- The consensus among strategists is that the former governor is the candidate gaining momentum in the race’s final 48 hours, despite a 2009 scandal involving an Argentine mistress and no support from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Colbert Busch, Sanford Tied in Senate Race (Wall Street Journal) -- The unlikely candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch, comedian Stephen Colbert's sister, is in a dead heat with former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in Tuesday's special election for a U.S. House seat.

Colleges Boost Financial Aid (Wall Street Journal) -- Private U.S. colleges, worried they could be pricing themselves out of the market after years of relentless tuition increases, are offering record financial assistance to keep classrooms full.

Former Carolina Hurricane wins 'Amazing Race,' $1M prize (WRAL-TV) -- After more than 30,000 miles, five continents and nine countries, hockey brothers Bates and Anthony Battaglia are one of four remaining teams battling it out for $1 million on "The Amazing Race."

Offensive Union County creek name refuses to fade away (Charlotte Observer) -- Nearly 30 years ago, educator Bea Colson led the fight to once and for all change the racially offensive name of a creek in eastern Union County.

NCSU researchers explore herbal oils to kill pathogens on fruits, vegies (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Researchers at NCSU and the University of Tennessee are experimenting with the use oils extracted from herbs or spices to kill dangerous pathogens such as E. coli, listeria and salmonella on organically grown tomatoes, cantaloupe and other produce.

Alzheimer's claims civic trailblazer Owen (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Through decades of community service at the local and state level, Cary Owen always carried herself with dignity and class, friends and family recall.

McCrory visiting Texas to talk offshore energy (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory is visiting an offshore energy trade conference in Texas to try to help build momentum for drilling off the coast of North Carolina and other states.

Commissioners to discuss tall structures, hear 2013-14 budget requests (New Bern Sun Journal) -- A proposed tall structures ordinance to regulate wind energy or cell phone towers that has received two public hearings by the Craven County Board of Commissioners is expected to get a vote at today’s 7 p.m. meeting of the board.

NC county may end Alcoa dam licensing fight (AP) -- Officials in the North Carolina county that's home to a closed Alcoa aluminum smelter are weighing a deal that could remove a hurdle to the corporation renewing a license for dams that once powered the plant and now produce electricity for sale.

Greensboro’s hidden petroleum highways (Greensboro News & Record) -- Tyler Hunter didn’t know that for more than a decade he was living next to a hot spot of pollution and a storage shed full of equipment that’s cleaning it up — ever so slowly. Among 29 wells that monitor groundwater under the vacant lot near his home on Quaker Landing Road, the dirtiest contains 9,000 times permissible levels of benzene and worrisome quantities of four other hazardous chemicals. That’s 25 years after the Plantation Pipeline leaked a huge amount of gasoline next to the Guilford Greene neighborhood, then under construction not far from Lake Brandt, which supplies drinking water for Greensboro. “I had no clue,” said Hunter, who learned about the environmental cleanup last week from a reporter. “I don’t know that it was disclosed to us when we bought the house.” The pollution resides deep below the surface and poses no direct threat to public health in a neighborhood served by city water and sewer, officials say.

Monitors stay tuned to pipelines in Greensboro (Greensboro News & Record) -- Think NASA. The space agency’s mission-control center comes to mind inside the headquarters of Colonial Pipeline Co., where a dozen or so operators juggle an ocean of fuel with deft clicks of a computer mouse. The controllers sit at large cubicles, each with an overhead bank of online screens that show real-time cutaways of the massive system. The network spans 5,500 miles of pipe and makes a major stop in west Greensboro.

No new term on panel for Culpepper (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Bill Culpepper, a member of the N.C. Utilities Commission since 2006, will not be reappointed when his term expires next month,

Inglis all-in on emissions tax (Politico) -- He's battling to persuade fellow conservatives to embrace a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Europe’s carbon market goes bust (Washington Post) -- Faltering cap-and-trade system plagues climate change efforts, darkening outlook for greener future.

New technology propels 'old energy' boom (Associated Press) -- Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade — just not the one we expected.

Take Climb Up a Lighthouse (Coastal Review) -- Bodie Island Lighthouse is said to offer “one of most commanding views from an Outer Banks lighthouse." Now, you can go up and take a look for yourself for the first time in the structure's 141-year history.

The Big Stories Then in the Clear Light of Now (New York Times) -- In this first Retro Report video, a reviled garbage barge that became an international media story in 1987 is found to have simply been ahead of its time. The 1987 voyage of a barge loaded with New York garbage. It became an international fiasco, but foreshadowed the modern recycling movement.

Geopolitics Raised in Gas Debate (Wall Street Journal) -- The debate over whether the U.S. should export some of its natural-gas bonanza is increasingly shaped by geopolitical implications.

N.C. marina to serve commercial, recreational vessels (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- In Dare County, where there is a boat for every six people, North Carolina is building a $5 million public marina that will be the first in the state to serve commercial and recreational vessels. Together.

Tesla drives Calif. environmental credits to the bank (LA Times) -- Zero Emission Vehicle credits could give the automaker as much as $250 million this year, highlighting the state's effort to promote the electric car.

St. Aug’s grads inspired by life lessons (Raleigh News & Observer) -- AT&T executive Cynthia Marshall doled out life lessons to 228 Saint Augustine’s University graduates, the first class to graduate since the school changed its name from Saint Augustine’s college.

Record number of students set to graduate from Nash (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Nash and Edgecombe community colleges once again are gearing up to send off hundreds of men and women to “Pomp and Circumstance” in the next couple of weeks as graduation days for the two institutions continue to draw near.

7 Triangle graduations set for May 11-12 (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Triangle’s cap-and-gown parade started Sunday at St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh and will culminate next weekend when the area’s other seven colleges and universities celebrate their graduates. The festivities started at Wake Tech Community College on Saturday, when 1,400 students received degrees. Separate ceremonies were held at the new gym on the main campus. Here’s a rundown of the commencements coming next weekend: Duke University; When: 10 a.m. Sunday at Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham; Speaker: Melinda Gates, philanthropist and Duke alumna. Meredith College; When: 7 p.m. Saturday at Dorton Arena, State Fairgrounds, Raleigh; Speaker: Anne-Marie Slaughter, international affairs scholar. N.C. Central University Undergraduates; When: 8 a.m. Saturday, O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium, Durham Speaker: Fredricka Whitfield, CNN news anchor and correspondent; • Graduate and professional students, When: 3 p.m. Friday at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium; Speaker: Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. N.C. State University; When: 9 a.m. Saturday at PNC Arena, Raleigh; Speaker: Phil Freelon, architect and president of the Freelon Group Inc. Shaw University; When: 11 a.m. Saturday at Dorton Arena, State Fairgrounds, Raleigh; Speaker: Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers Jr., president of Voorhees College and Shaw alumnus. UNC-Chapel Hill; When: 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill; Speaker: Steve Case, co-founder of America Online, chair of the Case Foundation and CEO of Revolution. William Peace University; When: 10 a.m. Saturday on the University Green, Raleigh; Speaker: Erskine Bowles, businessman, former UNC president, former White House Chief of Staff.

COA in the ’60s: Ward was student president (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- College of the Albemarle is observing its 50th spring commencement on Saturday.

Boosts - Energy assist is routine, not an outrage (Fayetteville Observer) -- A proposal to repeal North Carolina's mandate that utilities participate in the "renewables" market is back on its feet and reeling around the state Senate. Its opponents should hit it harder this time.

S.C. nullification bill pushes N.C. off stage (Charlotte Observer) -- We in North Carolina thank you, South Carolina. We’ve been sucking up the national spotlight with our legislative shenanigans. Glad to see you steal it away last Wednesday when your state House passed a bill declaring the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, “null and void.”

McCrory: Lack of federal cooperation holds back North Carolina's economy... (Durham Herald-Sun column) -- To get North Carolina moving forward again, our administration is concentrating on reforms in three fundamental areas: the economy, education and efficiency. We’re making great progress on some complex long-term problems, but on two critical issues – health care and energy – we’re going to need the federal government’s cooperation. On Monday, I will participate in a panel of Outer-Continental Shelf governors on the need to expand offshore energy exploration. In February, during a White House visit, I asked President Obama directly to expand offshore leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. He told me the issue is being reviewed. The time for further delay is over. … Medicaid reform and energy are just two issues where the federal government needs to join North Carolina in solving problems that affect people’s everyday lives. I hope the president adopts our view that government must be a partner - not an adversary - to progress. By working together, we can get North Carolina and the nation back on the right track by simply unleashing the unlimited potential of our people. This formula has worked before. I guarantee it will work again.

Again? Big knives are out for North Carolina Pre-K (Fayetteville Observer) -- If you're getting the idea that our state legislature dislikes North Carolina Pre-K, you could be forgiven for that. You could also be right.

Listen to the Jims (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Anytime the two Jims - Holshouser and Hunt - strongly agree on anything, you can be pretty sure they're right. And when it comes to the matter of public financing of judicial elections, they most certainly are.

A Needed Step For Our Region (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Of all the unmet needs in North Carolina, surely the desperate shortage of adequate facilities for the mentally ill would come near the top of anybody's list.

Cutting pre-K not good for anyone in NC – businesses, too (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- To meet the future demand for a more skilled and educated workforce, North Carolina must invest in what works: high-quality early care and education. We agree with Gov. Pat McCrory and many of our state lawmakers that proficiency in reading by the third grade will help children succeed in our K-12 system and graduate from high school ready for college and career. High-quality early-learning programs are crucial to achieving that goal.

Public notice issue enters realm of clean water (Wilson Times) -- Tired of reading about the issue of public notice advertising? Truth be told, we’re tired of writing about it. However, it is a critical issue — for newspapers certainly.

Is NC getting best return on film subsidy millions? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Isn't it wonderful when glamorous movie stars come to town, like when Robert Redford stopped by Asheville during filming of 'The Clearing?'



McCrory is going to Texas to learn how to ... Texas? Seriously?

Maybe he'll come back with plans for an exploding fertilizer plant.