Daily dose

The plot sickens.

Like 'em or not, incentives key to luring jobs, officials say (Wilmington Star-News) -- To offer incentives or not offer incentives? That is the question plaguing local leaders.

Study finds N.C. business tax burden among 10 lowest in the country (Wilmington Star-News) – N.C. businesses have the 8th lowest total tax burden in the country while South Carolina has the 2nd highest, according to a study by Anderson Economic Group and reported in Site Selection magazine.

North Carolina tax collections are $405.7M higher than expected (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Tax collections are beating the state’s estimates this year but are expected to decrease the next two years. The numbers are important to legislators as they write the budget

State bill could hurt local waters, 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.

S.C. Senate budget: Ban junk food at Haley’s Governor’s Mansion (Charlotte Observer) – South Carolina state-purchased junk food would be banned from the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia under the S.C. budget proposal adopted Friday.

Ties to gov., clients put NC law firm in spotlight (AP) — Nearly four months into his job as North Carolina's governor, Pat McCrory's former employer is receiving unaccustomed public attention for its behind-the-scenes role in some of the state's biggest news stories this year.

McCrory to speak at Catawba College graduation (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory is the speaker for the graduation at Catawba College, where he's an alumnus.
· (CNN) -- GOP governor: Government should act like a smartphone
· (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC Gov. McCrory delivers weekly Republican address
· (The Hill) -- NC governor: Washington lacks 'executive leadership'
· (WRAL-TV) -- NC's Pat McCrory gives weekly GOP address
· (ABC News Radio) -- GOP Address: NC Gov. Pat McCrory on Efficiency and Job Creation Initiatives
· (YouTube) -- Governor Pat McCrory Delivers Weekly Republican Address

N.C. 12 | Nature's Toll Road (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- Paving the way to paradise on the Outer Banks brought tourists, jobs and prosperity, but at a cost. Continuing to rebuild and protect N.C. 12 after storms is threatening the islands' existence. Whatever the solution, it won't be easy, and it won't be cheap. Read the four-part series here.

Rebuilding N.C. 12 threatens Outer Banks' existence (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- Highway 12 down North Carolina’s Outer Banks isn’t much to look at: 110 miles of asphalt with sand or buildings pressed up against it.

All the lonely people: how we live alone past 65 (Raleigh News & Observer) --As the state’s over-65 population reaches one million, the number of older people living alone will rise. Faced with the alternative of long-term care, most older people prefer to live alone, but it’s not easy and there are emotional and physical risks. The keys to successful “aging in community” involve support from family and sometimes government, advocacy in health care, keeping up mobility, access to transportation and social involvement.

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.

Wolfe Memorial eliminating Sunday hours (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Starting this weekend, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial in Asheville will shut its doors on Sundays - a cost-cutting move by the state that some worry will hurt the historic site in the long run.

In 'no-man's land,' the mentally ill pile up in NC jails (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Studies estimate that nationally between 15 and 20 percent of jail and prison inmates have a serious mental illness. In North Carolina, that translates to roughly 5,500 in prison and an estimated 3,400 people languishing in jails

Redistricting disenfranchises minority party (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A study commissioned by a good-government group documents the unsurprising finding that redistricting in North Carolina has long been used by the party in power to disenfranchise voters who don’t support them. In 1992, Democrats received 52 percent of the votes in the state House but took 67 percent of the seats. In the Senate, Democrats won 55 percent of the votes and held 78 percent of the seats. Twenty years later, Republicans received 54 percent of the vote for House and hold 64 percent of the seats, while holding 66 percent of the Senate seats even though the vote was split 50-50.

Transportation funding change raises issues (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- A proposal brought forth by Gov. Pat McCrory to make sweeping changes to a state road-funding formula is getting mixed reviews from Twin Counties leaders.

Hagan Urges Secretary LaHood and FAA to Prevent Contract Tower Closures (N.C. Political News) – Sen Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday asking Secretary LaHood and Administrator Huerta to use authority provided by recently passed legislation to avoid the planned closure of 149 contract towers. The bill, which Hagan cosponsored, was designed to give Secretary LaHood the flexibility to end both the furloughs for 47,000 FAA employees and the closure of 149 contract towers.

Thorp speaks out on "complicated, convoluted" system (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Holden Thorp had some parting shots for UNC-Chapel Hill in a recent interview with the local radio station, WCHL. The station reports host Jim Heavner asked Thorp if he would change the governance process. Sounds like Thorp was just waiting to jump on that one, according to the Chapelboro website: "Oh yes I would,” Chancellor Thorp said. “I think we have the most complicated, convoluted governance system. “I’m sure in 1971 when Mr. Friday devised the whole thing, it made perfect sense. But to have two governing boards, both politically appointed — and I don’t think there’s anything you can do about the fact that in a public university you’re going to have a politically appointed board — but to have two boards where there’s always debate and some confusion about where the authority lies makes it very, very hard figure out the right course of action.”

If named transportation secretary, Foxx would oversee regulators of his former employer (Charlotte Observer) -- If Mayor Anthony Foxx is confirmed as U.S. transportation secretary, he’ll take charge of an agency that regulates his former employer, a Charlotte-based maker of hybrid and electric buses.

Blueberries' growing popularity is good news for N.C. farmers (Wilmington Star-News) -- Blueberry production in the state has shown significant increases over the past five years.

DMV Clarification on Issuing Crash Reports to Citizens and Media (N.C. Political News) -- In response to numerous media inquiries, the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles wants to clarify some confusion about the issuance of crash reports. NCDMV is continuing its long-standing policy of providing public records, including crash reports. While any citizen can obtain a crash report from NCDMV, federal statute requires NCDMV to redact any personal information from these reports and state statute requires the agency to charge a $5 dollar fee, unless the requesting individual meets certain exceptions. NCDMV sent a memo to all law enforcement and other agencies tied to its system in October 2012 notifying them that only certified copies of crash reports would be available beginning January 1, 2013.

Mental health advocates hold walk at Dorothea Dix campus (WRAL-TV) -- Trying to make sure the mentally ill in North Carolina receive the attention and support they need, more than 1,500 people gathered on the Dorothea Dix campus Saturday for an annual walk and fundraiser.

Forum asks: What are costs, benefits of immigration? – At least $20 (WRAL-TV) Leadership Triangle will host a forum Tuesday evening to examine The Economic Impact of Immigration. The event is open to the public with tickets priced at $20.

Speakers at the state Republican convention (WRAL-TV) -- Former Congressman J.C. Watts, Sen. Scott Brown, and Karl Rove, an adviser to former President George W. Bush, will speak at the state Republican convention in Charlotte this June.

How military assault rifles became a civilian favorite (Washington Post) -- In the mid-1980s, legislation supported by an Alexandria arms dealer, Rene Carlos Vos, and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre helped make powerful firearms more readily available.

Woman charged with stealing lottery tickets (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Rocky Mount police arrested a woman for a theft Tuesday who has a criminal record dating back to 1988 for larceny.

Union County could face lawsuit over Christian prayers at meetings (Charlotte Observer) -- The Freedom from Religion Foundation has sent a letter to Union County renewing objections to what it called unconstitutional sectarian prayers, and urged the board to remove prayers from its meetings.

Former state senator Bob Warren passes away (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Bob Warren, the former state senator who helped lead a push for the state’s seatbelt law passed away late last month at the age of 84.

Former athlete takes his spirit to boost the moods of ECU patients (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Samuel Sears is a leader in the growing field of health psychology, which seeks to integrate psychology into medical care, taking into account a patient’s well-being as well as his physical health. His work at ECU won this year’s O. Max Gardner Award from the UNC system.

The Last Refuge From Scandal? Professorships (New York Times) -- While colleges have always courted accomplished public figures, a leap to the front of the class has now become a natural move for those who have suffered career flameouts.

In South Carolina, an ex-governor's quest continues (LA Times) -- Republican Mark Sanford has sought redemption and a return to his former House seat. But the race, which ends Tuesday, remains a tossup.

No decision yet on whether new CSS Neuse site will be declared state historic site (Kinston Free Press) -- The decision to turn over the CSS Neuse site to the North Carolina Department of Archives and History was delayed after an all-day inspection last week.

County commissioners may impose 60-day moratorium on new shooting ranges (Fayetteville Observer) -- A 60-day moratorium on new outdoor shooting ranges will go before the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

New roles for Foxx, Watt test Charlotte’s leadership bench (Charlotte Observer) -- With Mayor Anthony Foxx and U.S. Rep. Mel Watt seeking jobs in Washington, who will step up in Charlotte?

Woman honored at Susan G. Komen Race for Cure (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Addy Jeffrey did all the things a woman is supposed to do to catch breast cancer early – she had routine mammograms and she checked her breasts for lumps.

Inside the deal: How John Swofford helped save the ACC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Maryland left. Rumors were rampant that others might too. In the ACC’s most tumultuous time, commissioner John Swofford acted swiftly, advocating and negotiating a grant of rights deal that protected the league’s present and secured its future.

Hospital fined for explosion in patient's room (AP) — State workplace safety investigators have issued more than $9,000 in fines for serious violations from a fire that broke out at a Durham hospital as employees tried to resuscitate a patient last year.

Pinecrest High’s Maness Records First MLB Win (Southern Pines Pilot) -- One day after making his first big league appearance, Sothern Pines native Seth Maness picked up the win in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 7-6 victory at Milwaukee Saturday afternoon.

NC-20 opposes sea turtle nesting protection (Washington Daily News) -- NC-20 is strongly opposing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s proposed designation of 740 miles of coastline in six states as critical habitat for loggerhead . Tom Thompson, former economic-development director in Beaufort County, is chairman of the organization. “The habitats that have been identified are those with the highest amount of density of nesting occurrences. We’ve got a lot of turtles that are using those specific geographical areas. We’ve also identified areas adjacent to those areas because the coastline is somewhat living. So, it can shift from year to year. We want to give them some room for expansion because they will shift down the beach if erosion occurs to find suitable habitat,” said U.S. Fish& Wildlife Service spokesman Chuck Underwood.

State bill could hurt local waters, 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.

NC’s new energy economy: temporary, nomadic work (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC solar farms give rise to a burst of activity during construction, leaving behind skeletal crews for monitoring and maintenance. In many ways, shale gas exploration and wind farm development here would follow a similar bell-curve pattern.

Where Do Old Cellphones Go to Die? (New York Times) -- E-waste is a growing toxic nightmare. And it’s not just a problem in developing countries.

Duke Energy brings clout to Triad recruiting (Greensboro News & Record) -- Duke Energy has supplied power to the Carolinas for more than a century. Now, Duke is bringing its corporate power to the Triad to recruit major industries. Duke said last week it will help Randolph, Montgomery and Chatham counties develop sites that could attract major corporations and manufacturers. For the Triad, the program could attract the ultimate prize: an auto manufacturer.

Western NC beekeeper, farmer help bees flourish (AP) — Beekeeper Jackson Corbin has been stung hundreds of times. "Once you've been doing this job for a while you don't even realize it," Corbin said. "The main times when you get stung is if you try to move the bees out of the way or smash them." Corbin has been beekeeping for more than 10 years

Pelicans showing up dead again at NC beaches (AP) — Authorities are trying again to figure out why dead and injured pelicans are showing up on North Carolina beaches.

JCSU students create sustainable garden (Charlotte Observer) -- Students bring sustainable gardening practices to community

Cirque du Soleil executive tells UNCSA graduates that art matters (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The message that Jerry Nadal, who helps run Cirque Du Soleil, had for the 221 budding artists graduating from UNC School of the Arts Saturday was simple yet profound – what they do matters.

Bennett honors interim president (Greensboro News & Record) --Esther Terry will serve as Bennett’s president through June 30; officials haven’t said what happens after that date.

Computer pioneer speaks to High Point University grads (Greensboro News & Record) -- Trust your youthful soul, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told High Point University’s class of 2013 Saturday. You do not have to change just because you’re an adult now, just because you’re in the “real world,” just because you feel pressure to behave a certain grown-up way.

Fayetteville State graduates celebrate at Saturday's commencement ceremony -- THE CEREMONY: Fayetteville State University's 146th annual spring commencement, 9 a.m. Saturday, Crown Coliseum NUMBER OF DEGREES CONFERRED: 641 SPEAKER: Sharon Orlopp, global chief diversity office and senior vice present for Walmart Stores Inc.

St. Andrews confers 80 degrees (Fayetteville Observer) – THE CEREMONY: St. Andrews University's 116th Annual Commencement, 9 a.m. Saturday, DeTamble Terrace NUMBER OF DEGREES CONFERRED: 80 SPEAKER: Dr. Joseph Bathanti, North Carolina poet laureate and longtime friend of St. Andrews

610 receive diplomas at UNC-Pembroke (Fayetteville Observer) -- HE CEREMONY: UNC-Pembroke's annual spring commencement, 9 a.m. Saturday, The Quad NUMBER OF DEGREES CONFERRED: 610 SPEAKER: Arlinda Locklear, Pembroke native and Washington, D.C., lawyer

Queens holds spring commencement (Charlotte Observer) -- Queens University of Charlotte renewed a tradition Saturday morning, conducting its annual spring commencement exercises on Burwell Lawn, in front of the Myers Park school.

A noble life in the digital age (Charlotte Observer) -- Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, delivered the commencement address Friday at the Hayworth College and Graduate school at Queens University of Charlotte. It came with a twist.

Raleigh's race to the bottom (Hendersonville Times-News) -- A strong early childhood education and a healthy environment are, along with a sound economy, the most important legacy we can leave our children and future generations. North Carolina’s Republican leadership seems determined to undermine all three in a misguided stab at fiscal austerity. … “Government closest to the governed” used to be a guiding principle of conservative philosophy. But today’s General Assembly acts as if forcing a top-down approach to minimize regulation will somehow open a floodgate of new economic development. Like cutting funding for teacher assistants in early grades, it’s a race to be bottom that’s likely to bring few short-term benefits but plenty of long-term consequences.

Sweeps - Growing urgency for campaign-finance probe (Fayetteville Observer) -- Even before a formal investigation begins, concerns are growing about campaign donations by the video sweepstakes industry.

The stench of politics is growing (Fayetteville Observer Column) -- Plenty of bad legislation gets filed in the General Assembly every year. Some of it really stinks. But this one raises malodor to a new level. Three state senators (Republicans Trudy Wade of Gulford County; Harry Brown of Onslow County; and Brent Jackson of Duplin County) have filed a bill (S328) that would loosen state standards for garbage trucks. It would revise the current requirement that says the garbage-containing portion of the trucks must be leakproof. Instead, the state "may require design of these containers to be leak-resistant in accordance with industry standards."

State Sen. Eleanor Kinnaird: Solar is progressive (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- We have leaders in the state who have moved forward to diversify their energy source: SAS in Cary, Apple in Maiden, Google in Lenoir have invested in significant solar installations. Will we continue with 20th century polluting energy or move to 21st century clean energy? Do we have vision and bold courage, or are we stuck in the 20th century?

John E.P. Morrison: How the renewable energy standard really works (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Rep. Mike Hager is holding our state hostage to a national political interest that offers no benefit to North Carolina and harms rural communities and individuals.

Kim Martin: N.C. no role model (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Rep. Mike Hager and 16 conservative organizations want to end North Carolina’s renewables policy in order that N.C. be a role model for free markets (“Hager digs in to keep bill alive” May 1). If supply and demand are the basis for a free-market economy, and the prices of goods and services are set in a free-price system, I can assume that Hager and his allies will be eliminating all tax breaks and subsidies that businesses currently enjoy. In 2011 N.C. gave Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds more than $10 million in tax credits. North Carolina can strive to be like Texas, the state which gives the most incentives (on average more than $19 billion annually). Of course, Texas has one of the highest poverty rates in the country and most of the “new” jobs created are minimum wage. I look forward to seeing how a truly “free-market economy” will work in North Carolina.

Diplomas - Grads need creativity as they head out into the world (Fayetteville Observer) -- The procession has begun. Newly minted graduates of this region's colleges and universities are walking down the aisles this weekend and next to get their diplomas, then walking out into a difficult world.

Pittman’s rebellion fizzled, but another brews (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- State Rep. Larry Pittman has a divinity degree and a knack for sermonizing, but for all he understands about the power of the pulpit, he’s still learning about the power of the Internet.

The 350th birthday we missed in NC (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- In the Carolina Charter of 1663, King Charles II of England granted to his political cronies the lands south of Virginia and “westward unto the South Seas” to be known as Carolina. This was the birth certificate of what would become North Carolina and South Carolina.

Holshouser and Hunt: Big money and fair courts (Fayetteville Observer column) -- As former Republican and Democratic governors, we often disagree. But here's one area where we strongly agree: We don't want the integrity of our courts - or your right to a fair trial - put at risk by large campaign donations.

There is a difference between high rates on loans and predatory lending (Wilmington Star-News) -- The state Senate just voted to let predatory lenders charge borrowers even more.

N.C. film and TV industry produces entertainment – and jobs (Charlotte Observer column) -- The story on the state’s film and TV production incentives did not paint a full picture of the success of a program that sustained more than 4,000 jobs and brought $376 million of spending into North Carolina last year alone.

Rep. Mel Watt is excellent nomination for housing finance (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Ten-term U.S. Rep. Mel Watt has faced many challenges in his public career, but his next job, head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will dwarf them all.

A Charlotte launching pad (Greensboro News & Record) -- Suddenly, the Charlotte mayor’s office looks like a launching pad to bigger jobs. Last November, former Mayor Pat McCrory was elected governor in his second try. Now his successor, Anthony Foxx, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation. It hasn’t always been so for Charlotte mayors. Harvey Gantt, Eddie Knox, Sue Myrick and Richard Vinroot failed to win statewide elections.

Celia Rivenbark - Just like hurricanes, cicadas are unstoppable (Wilmington Star-News) -- No one finds it odd to host a hurricane expo with refreshments as though anyone is in the mood for lemon thins after a talk about deadly weather.

Duke program a positive step for the area (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- It is certainly positive news that Duke Energy has chosen a 320-acre section of the Middlesex Corporate Centre for its 2013 Site Readiness Program.

Raleigh lawyer witnessed Watergate history (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Raleigh attorney Gene Boyce was among the first of the Watergate investigators to learn that President Richard Nixon taped conversations in the White House.

The mayor doesn’t matter – or does he? (Charlotte Observer column) -- As intrepid and forward-looking journalists, we at the Observer quickly turned last week to who would serve as Charlotte mayor once Anthony Foxx steps down to become U.S. transportation secretary.