Gov. McCrory on Economic Development:
"I need you to help me work with the General Assembly to get a new strategic program in place, and this has to be done in literally a matter of weeks if we're going to continue to have success. This has to be the No. 1 priority in the first two weeks of this legislative session. -- Jan. 5, 2015: Speech to Economic Forecast Forum
“This legislation allow us to put a new economic development approach in place that helps to create jobs by putting greater emphasis on customer service, all while saving taxpayer money. With this new approach, our business recruiters will be able to respond to companies faster. We’ll be able to help existing companies grow and recruit new companies that are considering locating in North Carolina.” -- June 24, 2014: On signing HB1031- Act To Facilitate Economic Development
POLICIES & POLITICS
N.C. big pitch rejected, Mercedes moving headquarters from N.J. to Atlanta (AP) -- German luxury automobile maker Mercedes-Benz said Tuesday that it's moving its U.S. headquarters, with 1,000 jobs, from New Jersey to Atlanta, in part to be closer to its manufacturing facility in Alabama.
Mercedes-Benz snubs N.C., will move HQ ops to Atlanta (Triangle Business Journal) -- Mercedes has now confirmed it will invest about $100 million in a more than 200,000-square-foot build-to-suit headquarters in Atlanta. Read more on the company's relocation plans from our sister publication. The news comes just a day after Gov. Pat McCrory made a plea to hundreds of business leaders to let the General Assembly know that the state needs incentive money, especially since one of North Carolina's primary incentive tools — the Jobs Development Investment Grant program — ran out of money last year.
Mercedes-Benz headquarters headed to Atlanta (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Mercedes-Benz USA appears to have passed on North Carolina and chosen metro Atlanta for its new U.S. headquarters site, newspapers in Atlanta and New Jersey reported today.
Mercedes-Benz USA to move corporate HQ to Atlanta, not NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Mercedes-Benz USA announced Tuesday that it will relocate its corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Atlanta. The company selected Atlanta over several sites in North Carolina,
After NASCAR hall of fame debt write-off, some homeowners cry foul (Charlotte Observer) -- The city of Charlotte’s tentative deal with Bank of America and Wells Fargo to erase $17.6 million in NASCAR Hall of Fame debt has left some homeowners angry after they said they struggled to restructure their loans and fight foreclosure.
Economists Says NC Is In 'Sweet Spot' of Economic Expansion (WUNC-FM) -- Business, banking and community leaders packed the Sheraton Imperial Hotel Monday in Research Triangle Park for this year’s annual Economic Forecast Forum. It's sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. Economic experts seem to be on the same page when it comes to forecasting the state’s economy in 2015. Expectations are high. North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 5.8 percent. Mark Vitner says that’s no fluke. The Senior Economist at Wells Fargo told the crowd, he's optimistic.
Obama GovernorsMcCrory talks energy, infrastructure, Medicaid reform with Obama (McCrory’s Facebook Page) “I had a very lengthy and intellectual discussion with President Obama and a group of bipartisan governors today on issues like energy, infrastructure and Medicaid reform.”
McCrory joins other governors for meeting with Obama (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory says President Barack Obama was receptive to ideas about Medicaid reform and other issues during a discussion between the president, himself and three other governors.
McCrory: Obama open to Medicaid waiver for N.C. (Charlotte Observer) -- At a White House meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday, Gov. Pat McCrory raised the possibility of waiving federal rules on Medicaid expansion for North Carolina.
McCrory talks Medicaid, infrastructure with Obama (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory and four other governors sat down Tuesday with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss how the federal government could best work with states during the president's final two years in office. The 45-minute closed-door meeting, which included members of Obama's cabinet, covered subjects from immigration reform to energy exploration to education, but McCrory said his focus was on Medicaid and transportation infrastructure. "I presented a very strong argument for more flexibility if we even consider Medicaid expansion, so we can have a North Carolina plan instead of a Washington plan, and especially a plan that would encourage more people to get a job or get training before we expand another government program," McCrory said after the meeting.
Government, Business Leaders Warming to Medicaid (N.C. Health News) -- North Carolina’s economy and business climate is improving, but the state needs to get health care costs under control in order to remain economically competitive. That was the message given to about a thousand banking and business leaders Monday from both Gov. Pat McCrory and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina head Brad Wilson at the annual economic forecast forum sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the N. C. Chamber of Commerce, held in Research Triangle Park.
Obama makes pitch to governors (USA Today) -- President Obama touted positive economic numbers in a meeting with four state governors Tuesday, and urged them to work with his administration in the coming year. Citing higher job growth rates, slowing health care costs, and increased energy production, Obama told leaders of the National Governors Association: "We are poised to really build on that success in 2015, but it does require us to continue to make some good choices and most importantly to work together." The president spoke with the NGA's executive committee: Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., the NGA chairman; Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, the vice chair; Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn.; and Gov. Pat McCrory, R-N.C.
Red-state governors discuss expansion of Medicaid with Obama (The Hill) -- President Obama appears more willing to compromise on the path toward Medicaid expansion in several red states, a pair of GOP governors said after a White House meeting on Tuesday. Govs. Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) and Gary Herbert (R-Utah) told reporters they believe the president would sign off on their states’ alternative expansion plans for the low-income insurance program.
McCrory Talks Energy, Infrastructure, Medicaid Reform With President Obama (N.C. Political News) – Gov. Pat McCrory traveled to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet. During the meetings, McCrory talked about energy, infrastructure and Medicaid and thanked the president for U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s willingness to pursue energy exploration off the North Carolina coast.
“We had a very lengthy and intellectual discussion on issues like energy, infrastructure and Medicaid expansion. “I stressed to President Obama that as we continue to consider reforming Medicaid, we want a North Carolina plan, not a Washington plan. The President listened, was receptive, and we had a respectful debate and conversation on many of the issues.”
Obama's year of the veto (Politico) -- Democrats used the still-falling price of oil to justify the president’s continued opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, leading to Republican charges of politically motivated shortsightedness. “What goes up must come down, and vice versa,” said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, quoting the band Blood, Sweat and Tears as he walked out of an Oval Office meeting with Obama. “That’s what’s going to happen with oil. It’s not if, but when.”
Governors In in Lawsuit Against Obama Immigration Act want Congress to act (The Blaze) -- Governors involved in the lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration say there needs to be action from Congress to resolve the immigration crisis. “Even though we are not a border state, we are impacted by the illegal immigration and at this point in time we need to have this issue resolved,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) told The Blaze shortly after meeting with Obama Tuesday as part of a delegation from the National Governors Association.
McCrory has testy exchange with AP reporter about stock payout (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory defended his actions surrounding a stock payout from online mortgage broker Tree.com in a testy exchange Monday with the Associated Press reporter who first reported it.
2 N.C. House members snub Boehner in speaker's vote (AP) — Reps. Walter Jones from the 3rd District and Mark Meadows of the 11th District, two House Republicans from North Carolina, declined to support John Boehner for a third term as speaker.
As Power Shifts to G.O.P., Lives of Freshmen in Transition (New York Times) -- For some, Tuesday was a day to stake out alliances and make the tough choices that go with becoming a representative of the people. Representative Mark Walker, a deeply conservative North Carolina Republican and Baptist pastor, said he was under pressure from his new constituents to vote against Mr. Boehner as speaker. Mr. Walker voted for him anyway, despite hundreds of calls asking him to vote for Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, a Tea Party favorite. “My position was that it’s not enough to be just conservative — you have to have the skills to be a leader,” Mr. Walker said as he waited in the speaker’s photo line. As he spoke, his daughter called for him; it was their turn to step into the room with the cameras. “Dad!” she said. Mr. Walker scurried off.
McHenry Gears Up For Leadership Role in 114th Congress (TWCN-TV) -- After five terms, Rep. Patrick McHenry, (R) 10th District, was forced to move offices, but this time for good reason: He moved into leadership -- fourth in line in the House Republican leadership.
Allies Say Willingness to Talk to Anyone Defines Scalise (New York Times) -- Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana has long been a politician of relentless outreach in service of relentless ambition. “He builds relationships like no one I’ve ever seen,” said Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, the chief deputy to Mr. Scalise, who as whip is the third-ranking House Republican. “He’s an Italian from New Orleans, there is a cultural expectation that you build friendships.” He will go anywhere, and talk to anyone, Mr. Scalise’s friends and allies say, and that at least in part is what led him to address a group of white supremacists affiliated with David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, at the Best Western Plus Landmark Hotel in Metairie, La., a dozen years ago.
Voting Rights: One Way the GOP Might Reverse What Scalise Scandal Made Worse (Roll Call) -- Republicans have a singular opportunity not only to put the Scalise contretemps to rest, but also to enhance their appeal to black voters -- all while making some substantial and overdue alterations to domestic policy.
Tillis takes NC Senate seat in new Congress session (AP) — Republican Thom Tillis was seated Tuesday in the U.S. Senate, his ultimate reward for narrowly winning an extensive and expensive campaign over Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November.
Burr: No intention to rewrite CIA torture report (WRAL-TV) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, the incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that he won't try to rewrite the report issued last month cataloging brutal interrogation tactics used by the CIA operatives on suspected terrorists although he strongly disputes portions of the report.
King Settles Flag Lawsuit; Christian Flag, Statue To Be Removed (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The Veteran’s Memorial at King Central Park is losing its Christian flag and statue of a soldier kneeling by a cross, ending four years of contentious debate. The King City Council on Tuesday voted 3-2 to approve a settlement agreement in the lawsuit, Steven Hewett v. the City of King.
NC AFL-CIO leader to participate in summit on raising wages (AP) — The secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina chapter of the AFL-CIO is participating in the first National Summit on Raising Wages scheduled for Washington, D.C.
Supreme Court justice decries attack ads (WRAL-TV) -- Associate Justice Robin Hudson was sworn in Tuesday for her second term on the North Carolina Supreme Court, and she had some choice words for groups that aired campaign ads such as one that attacked her during last spring's primary.
Will historic tax credits get a new life? (Carolina Public Press) -- Once considered a leader in offering state-sponsored tax credits for historic rehabilitation, North Carolina will send its lawmakers back to Raleigh next week with no program for encouraging historic preservation in place.
Increasing teacher pay at top of Iler's education priorities (Wilmington Star-News) -- The Republican from Brunswick County presented his 2015 education goals at a school board meeting.
Register to lead mental health advocacy group (WRAL-TV) -- The advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina has named Jack Register its new executive director. Register replaces Deby Dihoff, who retired in December after eight years with the nonprofit. NAMI NC has been active in the debate over improving mental health treatment in the state.
US judge checks if trial OK for NC man on al-Qaida charge (AP) — A federal judge appears ready to take another look at a North Carolina man previously declared mentally competent to stand trial on a charge that he sought to join an al-Qaida-linked militant group in Syria.
McDonnell sees unexpectedly lenient sentence (Washington Post) -- The federal judge in Robert McDonnell’s corruption case sentenced the former Virginia governor to two years in prison for selling the influence of his office – significantly less than sentences handed out to officeholders in political corruption cases in North Carolina.
Texan gun rights advocates are planning to build a gun at the state capitol (Texas Tribune) -- Second Amendment advocates plan to manufacture guns at the Texas Capitol during an armed rally set for the opening day of the 2015 legislative session next week.
Randolph County looks at buying land for megasite (News & Record, Greensboro) -- Randolph County is considering spending $4.2 million for 258 acres that would make up part of a 1,200-acre megasite, which it hopes could help lure an auto manufacturer to the state. County commissioners will hold a public hearing on Feb. 2 to discuss the proposal.
Political scientist Philip Converse has died (Washington Post) -- He was one of the most influential scholars of American voting behavior.
Council bolsters rules against discrimination (Greensboro News & Record) -- It adds protections for sexual orientation and gender identify to housing ordinances.
Counties surrounding Cumberland interested in Sanderson Farms plant (Fayetteville Observer) -- Sampson, Hoke, Robeson and Harnett counties offered sites to the company, which wanted to build a $95 million chicken processing plant in Cedar Creek.
9 died of flu in N.C. during Christmas week. (AP) — State health officials say at least nine people died from influenza in North Carolina during the week of Christmas.
Flu cases continue to increase in N.C. (WTVD-TV) -- North Carolina's flu season took a big turn for the worse over Christmas week. In a briefing to the media Tuesday, state health officials said, only eight flu deaths had been reported through the week of Dec. 20, but nine people died the following week. "The intensity is different every year. This year does seem to be more intense than recent seasons," said Zack Moore, Chief Epidemiologist at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Durham Doctor In Voluntary Quarantine After Returning From Liberian Aid Mission (WUNC-FM) -- The Ebola virus seems to be slowing its spread in West Africa in recent weeks. Some media outlets report Liberia is poised to re-open its schools after the epidemic forced them shut six months ago. Durham's Doctor George Poehlman recently returned from an eight-week aid mission in Liberia. Upon his return, the retired family physician put himself in voluntary quarantine at a time when some other doctors around the country have refused such quarantine, noting that it's not necessary.
Duke and UNC doctors are at the heart of Ebola therapy study (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A team of doctors and other researchers from Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill is providing much of the technical expertise for a new clinical study in West Africa that is treating Ebola patients with transfusions of blood plasma from survivors
Pine coffin maker believes in more grounded burial (LA Times) --Do n Byrne is only 45, but he's already planned his burial. He wants to be lowered into a shovel-dug grave in one of his own handmade pine coffins. Byrne lives off the grid on a North Carolina homestead with no electricity or running water. Pounding away with antique hand tools, he builds pine coffins for families who want to return to the days when burials were cheap and simple: a shovel and a plain pine box. He intends to die the way he lives too — as close to nature as possible. Byrne builds his coffins from raw pine in an outdoor workshop a few steps from a rustic cabin where he lives with his wife and their two small children.
Sparks, wife separate after 25 years of marriage (New Bern Sun Journal) -- He’s known as one of the most popular romantic novelists around. But Nicholas Sparks wasn’t able to pen a poetic ending to his own love story
Lenovo offering buyouts to veteran workers to 'remain competitive' (WRAL-TV) -- Lenovo, its work force swollen by several thousand employees after two major acquisitions in 2014, is offering buyouts to veteran workers. The world's No. 1 PC manufacturer says the offers are voluntary and includes several business units.
Flight testing underway on GE Aviation engine (Wilmington Star-News) -- Testing will continue through January prior to expected FAA certification in 2015, the company said.
Cutrale and Safra Group complete takeover of Chiquita (AP) — Safra Group and Brazil's Cutrale completed their acquisition of Chiquita Brands International Inc. Tuesday, taking the banana producer private.
Developer of 'female Viagra' promotes co-founder to CEO post (WRAL-TV) -- Sprout Pharmaceuticals, which is seeking FDA approval for a "female Viagra," says Cindy Whitehead, it's co-founder and chief operating officer, is now its chief executive officer.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
NC GOP to meet secretly on education policy (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A legislative committee met briefly Tuesday to endorse a handful of education proposals, but a meatier discussion will take place Thursday when Republicans gather behind closed doors to talk about an education agenda for the upcoming session. House and Senate Republicans have a six-hour session scheduled for Kannapolis and have invited education experts to speak. Included on the speakers list are Mary Laura Bragg of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh and Julia Freeland of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation in California.
Lawmakers unclear on what 'flexibility' districts may get on Read to Achieve (WRAL-TV) -- Lawmakers charged with studying education issues say the state should consider offering school districts "flexibility" on the Read to Achieve program. But it's far from clear what that flexibility would look like or if it will actually be offered in the coming legislative session.
Increasing teacher pay at top of Iler's education priorities (Wilmington Star-News) -- The Republican from Brunswick County presented his 2015 education goals at a school board meeting.
Photo in Klan-like garb leads to threats against Nash Central High students (WRAL-TV) -- Six students are being escorted to class at Nash Central High School, officials said Tuesday, after a photo of them wearing what some say are Ku Klux Klan-style hoods made the rounds on social media.
Residents assail school board over KKK-inspired photo (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- NASHVILLE – Members of the community came out to express their dissatisfaction with the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education and school administration during the board’s monthly meeting about the handling of an Internet photo posted on the social media website Instagram of six Nash-Rocky Mount high school female students dressed in white and wearing white, cone-shaped hats reminiscent of Ku Klux Klan costumes that has created a firestorm in the area.
North Carolina Shifts the State's Burden to Students (Higher Education Works) -- North Carolina’s public universities have always struck a careful balance between state support and student tuition, making sure that students and their families can afford a high-quality college education. But since 2007, that balance has slipped. Public universities have been hit with more than $500 million in state reductions. As the state invests less, students and parents have to pay more.
INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE: College to offer new program from Duke grant (Washington Daily News) -- Through a grant given by Duke Energy, Beaufort County Community College has bought equipment to establish an Industrial Maintenance Program,
In Fervent Support of the 'Gap Year' (New York Times column) -- Research shows that students who take a gap year not only arrive at college refreshed and refocused, but also perform better academically. One study found that gap-year students at Middlebury and the University of North Carolina maintained grade point averages between .1 and .4 points higher than their gap-free peers. “That should reassure parents worried that their kids are never going to get back on track after a gap year,” says Bob Clagett, a former dean of admissions at Middlebury who conducted the study.
NC Board of Education to discuss 10-point high school grading scale (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Teenagers all around the state are eagerly awaiting what the State Board of Education will do in the next two days about potentially expanding the 10-point grading scale to cover all high school students this fall
NC State guard Henderson arrested after pellet gun incident (AP) — North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson and another man have been arrested after a pellet gun was fired at a car, police said Tuesday.
Number of those fired in UNC grades scandal remains fuzzy (AP) — Officials at North Carolina's flagship university may fire fewer staffers for their role in an academic fraud scandal than University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt previously described.
Resolving to improve education (Charlotte Observer column) -- Making sure that every student is successful in school should be everyone’s concern. The truism that our children are our future should make us commit our energy and resources to their well-being and education. However, our commitment to the common good wavers when money is involved, and we forget that we get what we pay for. A good example is the crisis facing Rockingham County, N.C., schools, where voters in the November election rejected a quarter-cent increase in the local sales tax. In the December meeting of the Rockingham County Board of Education, administrators described schools without toilet paper, textbooks, or copy supplies. That’s the district of Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the N.C. Senate. Like many legislators in North and South Carolina, he supports diverting money from public education into vouchers for private schools. He has also championed failed education reforms such as merit pay for teachers and ranking school districts with letter grades.
Ex-Wake Forest trustee says referee targeted him with slur (AP) — The CEO of an Atlanta-based hotel management company and former chairman of the Wake Forest University board of trustees says a basketball referee aimed a slur at him during a game.
Cameron Indoor Stadium: Designed By An African American For A Segregated School (WUNC-FM) -- Tuesday, January 6th marks the 75th anniversary of Cameron Indoor Stadium, home to Duke University Basketball. In that time, the Blue Devils have won 4 national championships, and made 38 NCAA Tournament appearances. But the building itself has as much history as the teams that have passed through it. At its founding, the stadium was the largest south of Philadelphia. It flaunted some of the most modern conveniences of any venue.
CFCC's Surf City campus to be finished this month (Wilmington Star-News) -- Classes at the 24-acre campus will begin in May, according to a college official.
Proposed WCPSS strategic plan to change student learning (WRAL-TV) -- Wake school leaders are finalizing a five-year strategic plan that would change how students learn in the Wake County Public School System.
It would be more fair to change grading scale all at once (Wilmington Star-News editorial) -- The State Board of Education created a potential nightmare for teachers and an unequal system for students.
Compromise on ways to count NC students who leave school (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- A good compromise would be to require the calculation of two rates – a raw dropout rate that’s the same as the statistic currently compiled, plus an adjusted rate that takes special categories of students who later get diplomas into account.
Duke Energy asks judge to dismiss most recent coal-ash suit (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Duke Energy says a federal judge should dismiss an environmental lawsuit over coal-ash leaks at the closed Buck Steam Station, contending N.C. regulators are addressing the problem. Charlotte-based Duke also argues that if Judge Loretta Biggs does not dismiss the suit, she should stay the action until the state completes its work. Duke says the Yadkin Riverkeeper Foundation and the Waterkeeper Alliance are barred from bringing the private suit, filed in September. It argues that the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has filed suit over coal-ash issues at Buck, located in Rowan County, and taken other enforcement actions. It cites federal law that bars private suits involving the federal Clean Water Act when state agencies have acted.
Duke moves forward on coal ash (Greenville, S.C. News editorial) -- The new year is beginning on an encouraging environmental note in the Upstate after Duke Energy agreed in principle just weeks ago to remove all of its coal ash near Williamston at the company’s W.S. Lee Steam Station. The coal ash is being stored near the banks of the Saluda River, and sharp attention has been focused on it since recent incidents in North Carolina where coal ash stored in ponds by Duke Energy leaked into waterways. Duke’s agreement to remove all the coal ash from the banks of the Saluda River near Greenville and Anderson represents a significant victory for environmental groups that have been pushing for this for months.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
NC Utilities Commission won't change way solar payments calculated (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The N.C. Utilities Commission has decided not to change the way electric utilities calculate payments to independent energy developers for solar power and other renewables.
INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE: College to offer new program from Duke grant (Washington Daily News) -- Through a grant given by Duke Energy, Beaufort County Community College has bought equipment to establish an Industrial Maintenance Program.
57% Believe Solar Energy Will Make Major Contributions (Solar Daily) -- When pushed to look 15-20 years into the future, over half (57%) the U.S. population feels solar energy it will make a major contribution, while 35% believe it will make a minor contribution and only 8% expect that solar energy will make hardly any contribution at all. As for whether Americans believe we now have the technological know-how for solar energy to become a really important part of our nation's energy needs, the answer for the majority is that we do (63%), while 20% believe that we do not and 17% are not sure at all. A recent Harris Poll asked American adults to think ahead 2-5 years and assess if they feel solar energy will contribute to meeting our energy needs. Presently, 31% of Americans believe it will make a major contribution to meeting our energy needs within the next 2-5 years, while 53% feel it will make a minor contribution and 16% expect it will make hardly any contribution at all. These are some of the results of The Harris Pol of 2,205 U.S. adults surveyed online Oct. 15 -- 20, 2014. Full results of the study, including data tables, can be viewed here.
Republican Wave Boosts Anti-Renewable Energy Efforts -- Again (Governing Magazine) -- Every state that’s tried to repeal renewable energy standards has failed, but attacks may resurface in several states this year. In the wake of a Republican wave in several states in November, attacks on renewable energy standards may resurface in North Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio, to name a few.
Duke Energy to buy power from new solar projects (Terre Haute Tribune-Star) -- Duke Energy has signed 20-year agreements with three solar developers to purchase up to 20 megawatts of solar power for its Indiana customers. The company has filed a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to approve the agreements,
Natural gas pipeline plans worry landowners about values, future (Fayetteville Observer) -- Emotions varied, often depending upon how close the pipeline was to residents' property, during the open house at the DoubleTree hotel off Cedar Creek Road. Some residents came to see if changes to the pipeline would effect their property. Others came to see how close it would get to their neighborhoods. Officials from Dominion North Carolina Power, Piedmont Natural Gas and Duke Energy answered questions, and small booths surrounded tables that stretched halfway across a ballroom inside the hotel. Donovan McLaurin cursed under his breath as he ran his finger along the red pipeline symbol that cut across the middle of his property. "Why ... didn't they run it down there?" the 68-year-old said, looking at one of more than a dozen maps spread along tables at an open house in the Cedar Creek community Tuesday night. "They have total disrespect for the property owners." McLaurin said he planned to develop a swath of land near his home near Wade, but the red lines he traced on the map - the route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that would run 550 miles from West Virginia to outside Lumberton - sliced through the property. Now, he said, he fears the property will lose thousands in value and he won't be able to develop it.
Public Meetings in North Carolina Over Controversial Pipeline (Public News Service) -- Public meetings are under way this week in North Carolina on a proposed project that already is spurring a legal battle in Virginia. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would be 550 miles long and carry 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
Study links Ohio earthquakes to Houston company’s wells (Fuel Fix) -- Earthquakes that shook an Ohio town last year are linked to hydraulic fracturing, according to a new study published by a scientific journal today.
Motel owners: State responsible for Buxton erosion, flooding (AP) — A claim that blames the state Transportation Department for flooding that occurs along N.C. Highway 12 in Buxton on Hatteras Island is to get a hearing Wednesday.
Dare County Chips In at Oregon Inlet (Coastal Review) -- The county will spend $300,000 toward an effort to dredge the inlet, which has become so dangerous that the Coast Guard is assuming broader power to regulate boat traffic.
Goals for the NC court system (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin details his goals for the state’s court system. Among them, electronic filing, civics lessons and special courts for mentally ill defendants
Why RTP should be a Mercedes magnet (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Mercedes is reportedly entertaining bids to relocate its US headquarters from New Jersey. There are at least 10 reasons the Research Triangle Park is a competitive location. It’s not just about the state incentive package.
Replenish NC's incentives fund (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It’s one of the curiosities of this era of Republican rule in Raleigh that GOP leaders in the General Assembly don’t seem to follow Gov. Pat McCrory. They’ve overridden his vetoes and gone their own way, and McCrory’s inexperience in dealing with the General Assembly shows. But there are issues where GOP lawmakers will regret not abiding by the governor’s wishes. One prominent misstep was ignoring his call for revenue neutral tax reform. The General Assembly likely will face a revenue shortfall when it convenes this month. Now the governor is calling out lawmakers on something he says is of vital importance, a replenishing of the state’s funding for incentives to lure business to North Carolina. One rumor had Mercedes-Benz considering Research Triangle Park for relocating its headquarters, but the company said Tuesday it’s going to Atlanta. The governor hints there may be other fish on the line, but he insists lawmakers have to act quickly.
Losing the Tea Party Baggage (New York Times column) – Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s success in jettisoning his own conservative baggage indicates that in many swing states, the Tea Party and the Christian right will tolerate tactical apostasy and remain loyal on Election Day. In fact, the 2014 Republican primaries showed how weak the Tea Party had become, even in the South. Establishment Republican Senate candidates beat insurgents from the right across the board in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee, Alaska and Mississippi. The implosion of the Tea Party allows the Republican Party to shelve for the moment harsh deficit reduction policies that conservative analysts like James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute viewed as “the dodgy austerity economics of the Tea Party G.O.P.”
Film to air on Bill Friday, Terry Sanford (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- A tribute to North Carolina’s greatest generation by Durham filmmaker Steve Channing will appear Thursday on UNC-TV.
Time to close the chasm in Medicaid (Greensboro News & Record column) -- When the General Assembly convenes next week, its first order of business should be to expand Medicaid coverage.
Time to limit excessive NC pensions (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A supplemental fund has provided fattened pensions for some high-salaried North Carolina public employees.
How those plump pensions for some help us common folk (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- By setting up a supplemental fund to help some retirees exceed federal limits, the legislature is making our shopping for fig cookies easier.
Coastal warning (Greensboro News & Record) - Scientists predict accelerating sea-level rise along North Carolina’s coast. Will the politicians heed this information?
Our earlier primary will draw a crowd of candidates (Fayetteville Observer) -- The inauguration of the next president is two years away: Jan. 20, 2017. But if you listen carefully, you can hear a rumbling in the distance.