Daily dose

Just in time for the holiday:

170K long-term jobless in NC face benefits cutoff (AP) -- The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits is taking effect, and that means about 170,000 long-term jobless are losing their last checks.

http://www.wral.com/170k-long-term-jobless-in-nc-face-benefits-cutoff/12612312/

More bad news below the fold:

N.C. will become first state to forfeit federal long-term unemployment benefits (Charlotte Observer) -- Federal extended unemployment benefits end for more than 70,000 jobless North Carolinians on Sunday as the state becomes the first in the nation to opt out of the federal long-term compensation program.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/29/4137390/north-carolina-will-become-first.html

GOP leaders in North Carolina push voter ID (LA Times) -- After the Supreme Court's voting rights ruling, Republicans also aim to end early voting, Sunday voting and same-day registration, all popular with blacks.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-voting-rights-20130630,0,211700.story

PAY TO PLAY: For Tillis and his donors, an interest in bills (Raleigh News & Observer) -- As a legislator, N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis is prohibited under state law from raising money from lobbyists during the lawmaking session. The ban, however, doesn’t apply to federal candidates – meaning Tillis, a Republican can solicit for a U.S. Senate campaign.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998621/for-tillis-and-his-donors-an-interest.html

Rucho’s passion falls short of legislative goals (Charlotte Observer) -- On tax overhaul, hospital costs and airport authority, Matthews Republican’s big issues have so far been frustrated.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/29/4137555/ruchos-passion-falls-short-of.html

N.C. tax overhaul: Where it stands (Charlotte Observer) -- Tax overhaul and the budget are the biggest remaining issues standing between North Carolina lawmakers and the end of the legislative session.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/30/4138211/nc-tax-overhaul-where-it-stands.html

NC Racial Justice repeal leaves questions in its wake (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Among them: What will happen to appeals already scheduled to be heard, and when will executions resume?

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998928/nc-racial-justice-repeal-leaves.html

McCrory favors pistol permits, abortion curriculum (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory, speaking in Greensboro on Friday, tipped his hand on a couple of controversial bills that could be headed to his desk for approval.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998552/dome-mccrory-favors-pistol-permits.html

POLICY & POLITICS

170K long-term jobless in NC face benefits cutoff (AP) -- The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits is taking effect, and that means about 170,000 long-term jobless are losing their last checks.

http://www.wral.com/170k-long-term-jobless-in-nc-face-benefits-cutoff/12612312/

N.C. will become first state to forfeit federal long-term unemployment benefits (Charlotte Observer) -- Federal extended unemployment benefits end for more than 70,000 jobless North Carolinians on Sunday as the state becomes the first in the nation to opt out of the federal long-term compensation program.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/29/4137390/north-carolina-will-become-first.html

New law cuts state unemployment benefits, disqualifies NC for federal benefits (NEWS14-TV) -- Thousands of laid-off North Carolinians are about to take a major cut, or even lose their long-term state unemployment benefits. Starting July 1, a new law passed by the legislature to reduce state debt will take effect.

http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/695947/new-law-cuts-state-unemployment-benefits--disq...

Change in benefits becomes reality for the unemployed (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Being caught in the crossfire of a political fight over unemployment benefits shifts to painful reality Sunday for at least 70,000 North Carolinians, including about 12,000 in the Triad and Northwest N.C.

http://www.journalnow.com/news/state_region/article_de7fafb8-e137-11e2-a479-001a4bcf6878.html

Former ALE director contests firing: calls it political Former state Alcohol Law Enforcement Director John Ledford is contest his firing, contending it was politically motivated and unlawful, even though it was done amid the typical replacement of agency officials whenever there is a change in administrations. Ledford, a longtime Democratic-connected figure, stepped down from his position as director in advance of the new Republican administration earlier this year. He reassigned himself to the position of an agent stationed in Asheville, where he is from. New Department of Public Safety Commissioner of Law Enforcement Frank Perry dismissed him, saying Ledford had no authority to take that position, nor to give himself a salary far in excess of what the job pays – nearly $66,000. The department contends Ledford was not a career state employee, and so cannot challenge his dismissal.

http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/former_ale_director_contests_firing_calls_it_political

After delays, overruns, audits, new Medicaid claims system begins (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state’s long-delayed system for paying Medicaid claims will finally have its debut on Monday. Now that the system is built, it’s time to see how it performs.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998924/after-delays-overruns-audits-new.html

McCrory favors pistol permits, abortion curriculum (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory, speaking in Greensboro on Friday, tipped his hand on a couple of controversial bills that could be headed to his desk for approval.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998552/dome-mccrory-favors-pistol-permits.html

After 6 months, Meadows touts constituent service (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- These days U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows spends most of his time in the nation's capital, but his focus remains firmly on the mountains.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130630/NEWS/306300074/After-6-months-Meadows-touts-constituen...

Local Officials Asked to Help on Health Law (New York Times) -- The White House is recruiting local officials to promote and carry out President Obama’s health care law in states like Texas and Florida where governors are hostile to it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/us/politics/local-officials-asked-to-help-on-health-law.html?ref=us

Gay marriage: In states, a hodgepodge lies ahead (AP) -- The Supreme Court's landmark rulings on same-sex marriage have energized activists and politicians on both sides of the debate. Efforts to impose bans, and to repeal them, have taken on new intensity, as have lawsuits by gays demanding the right to marry.

http://www.wral.com/gay-marriage-in-states-a-hodgepodge-lies-ahead/12610853/

UNC-Chapel Hill switches at top from Thorp to Folt (AP) -- North Carolina's flagship public university is seeing a change at the top.

http://www.wral.com/unc-chapel-hill-switches-at-top-from-thorp-to-folt/12612310/

Student loan debt makes college less attractive for Fayetteville, region students (Fayetteville Observer) -- Anyonga Blackwell was surprised that Congress did not reach a compromise before the Fourth of July recess to prevent interest rates on federal student loans from doubling.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/30/1266478?sac=fo.local

Monday new deadline for feds in Alamance County case (AP) -- A federal judge has granted the U.S. Justice Department more time to provide Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson’s defense attorney with more information on cases of alleged discrimination highlighted in a lawsuit filed last December.

http://www.news-record.com/news/article_892a0f7c-e0c4-11e2-a2b2-001a4bcf6878.html

Walnut Cove commissioners disband police force (AP) -- The board of commissioners in Walnut Cove has voted to disband the town's police department, leaving patrols with the Stokes County Sheriff's Office.

http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/article_29a9a9a6-31fd-53fb-bec8-b62ed01f2bd6.html

GENERAL NEWS

Pilgrimage to Israel bonds Christians, Jews (Charlotte Observer) -- For 10 days 43 Charlotteans (20 Jews, 23 Christians) traveled to Israel together in what is believed to be the city’s first such interfaith trip. Now back home, they hope to spur the city’s interfaith dialogue.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/29/4137374/43-baptists-jews-discovereach.html

He’s Gettysburg’s photo detective (Washington Post) -- William Frassanito’s study of the battle’s historic photos — which he began as a child — has led to some of the biggest revelations in the past 50 years about the Civil War battle and its aftermath.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/civil-war-historian-makes-gettysburg-his-focus-and-his-home/2013...

The United States of brands (Washington Post) -- What's the corporate brand most closely associated with your state?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/06/29/the-united-states-of-brands/

Historic Dudley Mansion's sale price is $1.25 million (Wilmington Star-News) -- The bank-owned home at 400 S. Front St. in Wilmington last sold in August 2012 for $3.234 million and is appraised at $1.185 million. The mansion, which was built in 1825 and takes its name from the state's first elected governor, has a long tradition as a party place. In the late 1800s, residents Pembroke and Sarah Jones held lavish parties, which according to local lore, helped give rise to the famous phrase, "Keeping up with the Joneses."

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130628/ARTICLES/130629580/1002/news?Title=Historic-Dudley-Ma...

Local WWI Veterans honored for service (WRAL-TV) -- Five local World War I veterans were honored Saturday at the State Capitol nearly 100 years after serving our country.

http://www.wral.com/local-wwi-veterans-honored-for-service/12611818/

NC retiree remembers space center's beginning (AP) -- Today, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center sits on nearly 2,000 acres of land and is home to some of the most sophisticated technology in the world. It's the training ground for American astronauts.

http://www.wral.com/nc-retiree-remembers-space-center-s-beginning/12599266/

By one measure, UNC athletes’ academic performance takes a big dip (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In the latest statistics from the NCAA, the men’s basketball team, at one point the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a near perfect score, sits in eighth place.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2999195/by-one-measure-unc-athletes-academic.html

Woodin to retire from Telegram (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Longtime Rocky Mount Telegram Publisher Rip Woodin, who steered the newspaper through hurricanes, a historic flood and into the digital age, has announced plans to retire at the end of July. “While I am sad to see Rip leave, I am pleased to announce that Telegram Advertising and Marketing Director Mark Wilson has agreed to assume the lead position in Rocky Mount beginning August 1,” said John Cooke Jr., president of Cooke Communications.

http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/news/woodin-retire-telegram-2094655

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

Fracking wastewater not headed to ENC wells, state leader says (New Bern Sun Journal) -- The head of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission assured those attending a Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation seminar in New Bern Saturday that wastewater from hydraulic fracking in the Piedmont would not be pumped into deep injection wells in Eastern North Carolina.

http://www.newbernsj.com/news/local/fracking-wastewater-not-headed-to-enc-wells-state-leader-says-1....

Duke Energy, Progress merger a year later (Charlotte Observer) -- A year after the shock and awe of Duke Energy’s merger with cross-state Progress Energy, the companies are starting to work as one, says the executive charged with making that happen.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/29/4135154/turning-two-companies-into-one.html

Obama: Make climate change a must for your vote (AP) -- President Barack Obama is urging Americans to make climate change a political litmus test, asking them to declare they won't vote for any politicians who don't protect future generations from environmental devastation.

http://www.wral.com/obama-make-climate-change-a-must-for-your-vote/12610938/

How Audubon Society’s Chief Took Wing From Journalism (New York Times) – David Yarnold, the president and C.E.O. of the National Audubon Society describes his career journey, which included many years at The San Jose Mercury News.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/jobs/how-audubon-societys-chief-took-wing-from-journalism.html?ref...

EDITORIALS

NC shoving our friends and neighbors off the financial cliff (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- On Sunday, 70,000 jobless North Carolinians will lose access to federal unemployment benefits. By the end of the year, 100,000 additional jobless workers will be cut off, leaving a total of 170,000 jobless workers and their families in crisis. North Carolina's unemployment insurance cliff has arrived.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/28/2996646/nc-shoving-our-friends-and-neighbors.html

NC GOP takes the helm, but loses direction (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republicans pledged to do the people’s will, but now they can’t figure out their own.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998704/nc-gop-takes-the-helm-but-loses.html

North Carolina’s poorest children: Overall rank is shameful (Winston-Salem Journal) -- This year’s annual report on the overall well-being of North Carolina’s children comes with a few asterisks that ameliorate the state’s one-point drop in national rankings, specifically that the long-term trends look better. But the fact remains that we have much to do if we want to better the lives – and futures – of our youngest children.

http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/editorials/article_8ea2df7a-e00a-11e2-81dd-0019bb30f31a.html

Hagan: We must take care of our veterans (Fayetteville Observer column) -- As we gather with friends and family this July Fourth for backyard barbecues and fireworks, we should take a moment to honor not only the values of freedom and liberty that make our country great, but also those who have fought to protect them. North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the nation - a place where we pride ourselves on the support we provide to our military, our veterans, and their families.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/30/1266542?sac=fo.opinion

Black pastors try to make a difference in face of violence (Wilmington Star-News) -- Some of them know both the victims of that violence and those who are responsible for the attacks.

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20130629/ARTICLES/130629546/1108/opinion?Title=Editorial-Black...

Voting rights threatened by high court (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- In striking down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 last week, the U.S. Supreme Court has increased the likelihood that minorities will face new obstacles in exercising their right to vote.

http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/voting-rights-threatened-high-court-2094431

Court throws open doors to trouble at the polls (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Make no mistake about it. The right to vote has entered choppy seas. As with all forms of liberty, vigilance is the remedy.

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20130630/OPINION01/306300015/Court-throws-open-doors-trouble-polls

Lawmakers should back fiscal policy favoring region (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- The N.C. Legislature has been a busy place this year — so busy that lawmakers have had difficulty knowing how to vote on many of the bills proposed.

http://www.dailyadvance.com/node/2094395

Unemployment benefits in jeopardy (Greenville Daily Record) -- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Pitt County’s April unemployment rate to be 8.4 percent, meaning that more than 7,500 residents are without work.

http://www.reflector.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-unemployment-benefits-jeopardy-2094957

Focus on taxes could hurt what makes NC great for business (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- You can just picture all the smart boys and girls at the legislature, the governor’s office and the think tanks poised in front of their lap tops searching through the data to justify their contention that North Carolina’s climate is anti-business.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2998923/focus-on-taxes-could-hurt-what.html

UNC system the vehicle to a better NC future (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The opportunity to go to college, no matter your financial circumstances, is a part of the fabric of North Carolina.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/29/2996651/unc-system-the-vehicle-to-a-better.html

The most efficient investment NC can make is in children (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- As legislators enter the final phase of closed-door state budget negotiations, young children could wind up being the biggest losers. Services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, Medicaid for pregnant women and even the task force created to prevent child deaths are on the chopping block.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/06/30/2996396/the-most-efficient-investment.html

The vote on voting (Greensboro News & Record) -- To some North Carolinians, the Supreme Court’s ruling last week on the 1965 Voting Rights Act may have seemed like a cruel joke.

http://www.news-record.com/opinion/n_and_r_editorials/article_af0b9a48-e04d-11e2-b33a-001a4bcf6878.html

Don’t limit access of mentally ill to meds (Charlotte Observer) -- Experience can be a useful teacher for N.C. lawmakers – in this case, it’s the experience of Pennsylvania.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/30/4135775/dont-limit-access-of-mentally.html

DOMA ruling brings change, confusion (Fayetteville Observer) -- In most of North Carolina, Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act will hardly be noticed. But at Fort Bragg, it's a big deal.

http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2013/06/30/1266550

Should N.C. insurers set own auto rates? NO (Charlotte Observer column) -- For years, big out-of-state insurance companies have fought to change the way we regulate car insurance in North Carolina. After another failed attempt in the legislature in April, they’re at it again. Their persistence is driven by one thing. Greed. To put it simply, they see an opportunity to make more money off of N.C. drivers.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/30/4135788/should-nc-insurers-set-own-auto.html

Should N.C. insurers set own auto rates? YES (Charlotte Observer column) -- As an insurance executive with responsibility for agency operations in North Carolina, I am disheartened by the recent mischaracterization of an amendment to modernize the way auto rates are set in this state.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/30/4135781/should-nc-insurers-set-own-auto.html

Tax reform goal: Help businesses hire (Charlotte Observer column) -- Consider that North Carolina has the highest tax rates in the Southeastern United States – and at the same time has falling wages, one of the worst jobless rates in the nation, and is ranked 44th in the country in business tax friendliness, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. In fact, only 10 states have personal income tax rates higher than North Carolina’s top rate.

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/06/30/4135780/tax-reform-goal-help-businesses.html