NORTH CAROLINA’S 31,000 ZOMBIE WORKERS : North Carolina’s unemployment rate for September was 6.7 percent – a tenth-of-a-point less than it was the month before. But is that the real unemployment rate? It is hard to tell because there are North Carolina workers, folks who once had jobs or were looking for jobs, that have simply disappeared. A year ago, North Carolina’s workforce was 4.677 million strong. Today that workforce is 4.646 million – 31,000 less. No one can say where these workers went, but according to the N.C. Commerce Department’s Division of Labor and Economic Analysis, these 31,000 workers are no longer with us. (Full report is available online at: https://www.ncesc1.com/pmi/rates/PressReleases/State/NR_Sept_2014_StRate_M.pdf) It is a curious situation in a state where the population is growing and, according to Gov. Pat McCrory, part of the state’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is due to an influx of workers from other states. If those zombie workers were included among the unemployed, the state’s unemployment rate for September would be 7 percent. Some other secrets buried in the monthly unemployment report: In the last year, government in North Carolina really is shrinking – down 2,700 workers in the last month and 200 overall for the last year. “The only major industry experiencing a decrease over the year was government,” according to the report. Workers are putting in longer hours, but taking home a smaller hourly wage: “Average weekly hours for manufacturing production workers in September increased 18 minutes from August. … Hourly earnings fell by (3 cents) to $16.65, as average weekly earnings increased by $3.69 to $730.94 ($38,000 annually).”
NC appeals court says keep ASU early voting site (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court won't block enforcement of a trial judge's order requiring Watauga County to host one voting site on the Appalachian State University campus when early voting begins Thursday.
App State early-voting site could be restored (WRAL-TV) -- The state Court of Appeals has removed a stay blocking an earlier ruling that an early-voting site on campus at Appalachian State University should be restored. However, the state Supreme Court could still intervene.
Republicans Set to Gain From Laws Requiring Voter IDs (BusinessWeek) -- Republicans are poised to gain next month from new election laws in almost half the 50 U.S. states, where the additional requirements defy a half-century trend of easing access to the polls. In North Carolina, where Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan’s re-election fight may determine the nation’s balance of power, the state ended same-day registration used more heavily by blacks. A Texas law will affect more than 500,000 voters who lack identification and are disproportionately black and Hispanic, according to a federal judge. In Ohio, lawmakers discontinued a week during which residents could register and vote on the same day, which another judge said burdens lower income and homeless voters. While Republicans say the laws were meant to stop fraud or ease administrative burdens, Democrats and civil-rights groups maintain they’re aimed at damping turnout by blacks, Hispanics and the young, who are their mainstays in an increasingly diverse America. Texas found two instances of in-person voter fraud among more than 62 million votes cast in elections during the preceding 14 years, according to testimony in the federal case.
GOP Works to Improve Targeting of Voters (Wall Street Journal) -- The Republican National Committee hired a tech guru to develop a unified information hub but will face the midterm election with the goal not yet met.
Turnout will be crucial in NC's tight US Senate race (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Volunteers for both US Sen Kay Hagan and her Republican opponent, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, hope to connect with enough voters to win. Some have been going door to door for months.
Election to Cost $4 Billion, Topping Previous Midterms (Center for Responsive Politics) -- Almost $4 billion will be spent for this year’s midterm election, the Center for Responsive Politics is projecting. That figure makes this year’s election by far the most expensive midterm ever. The candidates and parties alone will combine to spend about $2.7 billion, while outside groups will likely spend close to $900 million on their own — a figure that veers close to the $1.3 billion spent by outside groups in 2012, when the hyper-expensive presidential race was fueling the fire. By the end of the battle, when totals for every category are added together, Team Red will outspend Team Blue, CRP projects. GOP and conservative-leaning candidates, party committees and outside groups will spend at least $1.92 billion, compared to at least $1.76 billion their rivals on the Democratic and liberal-leaning side will spend.
Tillis lone NC Senate candidate on live TV program (AP) — Thom Tillis got the stage alone Tuesday night in North Carolina's tight U.S. Senate race, the only candidate on a statewide television program in which he discussed views on abortion, global climate change and differences with absent Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan.
HOW DID THE CHAIR DO? Tillis Debates an Empty Chair in N.C. (New York Times) – Sen. Kay Hagan said she would not show up for the debate tonight against her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, and she didn’t. Watch:
Tillis: NC should consider expanding Medicaid (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis covered familiar ground in an appearance on a cable TV news show carried live Tuesday night: calling for fewer regulations and more security on immigration, terrorism and health issues. He did offer more specifics on abortion, saying states should have the right to decide; Medicaid expansion, saying the state should consider it if financial controls are successful; and climate change, saying there’s not a simple explanation for what causes it.
Poll: Hagan 46%, Tillis 43% as Senate race remains toss-up (WRAL-TV) -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis with only two weeks left until the Nov. 4 election, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday. Hagan, who is seeking a second six-year term, holds an 11-point lead over Tillis among female voters and a 14-point lead among voters ages 18 to 34. Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, holds an 8-point edge among voters ages 65 and older and a 17-point lead among white voters, who compose the bulk of those surveyed.
Poll: Economy, health care top issues on voters' minds (WRAL-TV) -- As North Carolina voters head to the polls, starting Thursday, the economy remains top of mind for most, according to a WRAL News poll released Tuesday.
Hagan goes on offensive in Wilson visit (Wilson Times) -- Sen. Kay Hagan stopped in Wilson County Tuesday afternoon at Sharp farms in Sims as part of her nine-city North Carolina First Tour to talk to supporters about her continued defense in Washington of farming issues. Democrat incumbent Hagan is in the midst of an expensive, heated race with Republican challenger Thom Tillis, N.C. House speaker. Pender Sharp, who runs a five-generation farm started by his great-grandfather in the late 1800s, said agriculture today is a complex business and they need people in Washington who will help farmers. Sharp reached out to Hagan for help and she has always done so, he said. Hagan told supporters that agribusiness is a $77 billion enterprise in North Carolina. "It is the No. 1 economic — jobs and money — that we have in the state of North Carolina,” Hagan said. "As a U.S. senator from North Carolina, I want to be sure that our agriculture, farming and our agribusiness grows and grows and creates that economic vitality that we need in North Carolina.”
Hagan Blasts Tillis On Medicare, Social Security (TWCN-TV) -- Sen. Kay Hagan used a Port City campaign stop to criticize Thom Tillis over issues facing senior citizens, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Hagan was in town for the third day of her statewide “North Carolina First” tour. Hagan is the incumbent in a tight race with Tillis for her U.S. Senate seat. “Speaker Tillis would authorize privatization of Social Security and a voucher system for Medicare,” she said. “That is not what the people of North Carolina want.”
Tillis Senate bid imperiled by tea party toll-road disdain (Washington Times) -- They spoke one after another at a tea party meeting at an upscale pub — conservative voters and activists vowing to derail Republican Thom Tillis‘ run for U.S. Senate because, as state House speaker, he muscled through a toll road project. “Since the creation of the automobile until this point, there [haven’t] been toll roads [in North Carolina],” conservative activist Chuck Suter said at the meeting, which is an offshoot of the Charlotte Tea Party. “We would expect this to come from Democrats.” “I don’t want to send him to D.C,” fumed Mary Amstrong, a businesswoman and Republican voter who regularly attends the weekly meeting at the Dilworth Neighborhood Grille. “Based on what [Mr. Tillis] is doing to us in North Carolina, I don’t want to give him any more power”
Environment Is Grabbing Big Role in Ads for Campaigns (New York Times) -- From every angle, campaigns for Democratic and Republican candidates are targeting voters concerned about energy and climate change.
Campaigns compete for youth vote (Daily Tar Heel) -- The Republican and Democratic National Committees have launched opposing initiatives for the upcoming midterm elections — the target this time: youth voters.
DMV search of records turns up ineligible N.C. voters (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The voter rolls kept by the State Board of Elections contain 145 names that belong to a certain category of ineligible voter – immigrants in the U.S. under a federal program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, according to elections officials.
What sparked voting change? (Wilson Times) -- After an early voting plan for Wilson was settled upon for the November election, four more hours were added locally and approved recently by the state.
“Hagan had no role or influence,” Tillis continues to push stimulus report (Greensboro News & Record) -- Sen. Hagan had no role nor influence in the grant award, according to documents from the energy section of the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources. Independent examiners monitored and audited the projects throughout the process. The JDC project received the highest score of the 68 industrial-commercial projects in the first, $75 million round of stimulus funding. DENR officials said there was nothing unusual about the process, and Sen. Hagan’s connection to the federally funded projects got little attention or coverage until last month. That’s when online magazine Politico reported on the 2009 stimulus and detailed JDC’s projects. The report also noted that Tillis voted to allow state participation in the federal renewable energy tax credit program in 2010, which benefitted a bank in which Tillis owns at least $50,000 in stock.
Spending for ALEC Member Tillis Breaks All Records (PR Watch) -- The Kochs are spending big to advance the career of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) leader Thom Tillis. The Koch brothers' new Super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund (FPAF) -- launched this summer -- has announced a huge new seven-figure ad buy attacking Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC). The ad buy makes the N.C. Senate race between Hagan and Republican state Speaker of the House Thom Tillis all-time number one in outside spending, at $55.7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Spending is on track to surpass $100 million, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Nearly $8 million was spent there (in party and non-party independent spending) just in the last week, according to the Campaign Finance Institute. … Variety Stores, led by recent N.C. state budget director and long-time Koch associate Art Pope, gave FPAF $400,000, according to the Associated Press. Pope has been called the "third Koch brother," having been recognized at the Kochs' exclusive 2011 retreat in Vail, Colorado for donating at least $1 million to Koch causes. He was on the board of AFP until recently and has spent millions funding conservative groups and right-wing politicians.
MARCH OF SURROGATES: Ryan, Tillis to rally GOP at Wingate (AP) — U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is coming to the home of the Jesse Helms Center to campaign for GOP Senate nominee Thom Tillis.
Tea Partyers fall in line (The Hill) -- Tea Partyers have learned to play nice after a cycle of knockdown, drag-out fights with the Republican establishment that have gotten them nowhere. Sensing a GOP majority in the Senate is within reach, conservative groups have put down their bombs and are working together with establishment actors to make that happen — even backing formerly sworn enemies in some races. In North Carolina, Tea Party Patriots and others are actively supporting Republican Thom Tillis, who was far from being the conservative pick in his primary. He faces Sen. Kay Hagan (D).
Tillis seeks to end gridlock (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Electing a Republican majority to the U.S. Senate will move Congress out of the gridlock that has prevented any meaningful legislation from being passed, the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s seat said.
Hagan campaigns here today (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is scheduled to make a campaign appearance at East Carolina University today.
Walker hopes to keep NC Congress seat for GOP (AP) — The race to succeed Howard Coble has seen its share of the unexpected since the longest serving Republican U.S. House member in North Carolina history announced nearly a year ago he wouldn't seek a 16th term.
Brunswick stew: Mallard Creek BBQ, flavor of Charlotte’s political history (Charlotte Observer) -- You know all about the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church barbecue, right? You know about the history – it’s been held every year since 1929. You know about the politics – candidates from around the state and even the nation show up to press flesh and causes on the fourth Thursday of October. You certainly know about the barbecue, 14,000 pounds of pork shoulder, cooked over wood and dished out by a well-coordinated army of church volunteers. But do you know about the Brunswick stew? Because that’s a different beast altogether. Mallard Creek’s Brunswick stew breaks with tradition in so many way: Instead of potatoes, it has rice. Instead of shredded chicken and beef, it has ground-up chicken, beef and pork. Instead of lima beans, it has only corn and tomatoes.
Former Gov. Hunt joins Sen. McLaurin for teacher talk (Richmond Daily Journal) -- A man described as a “champion of education” was in Richmond County to talk to Sandhills teachers on Tuesday. Former Gov. Jim Hunt joined state Sen. Gene McLaurin at the Hamlet Depot and Museums to receive comments from educators on the issues they feel the strongest about before speaking at a campaign event for McLaurin, a Rockingham Democrat.
NAACP President Says Political Fliers in Fayetteville Not Racially Motivated (TWCN-TV) -- Multiple media outlets reported the fliers showed up Sunday at Kingdom Impact Global Ministries. The flier read "Kay Hagan doesn't win! Obama's impeachment will begin! Vote in 2014."
Early Voting Gets Underway Thursday For The November Election (TWCN-TV) -- The state's voting changes have been scrutinized by courts all the way up the U-S Supreme Court and there are some changes to early voting this year
White, Cook vie in Senate race rematch (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- In their rematch for state senator in District 1, both incumbent Bill Cook and challenger Stan White are vying for a prize that eluded them in 2012: a decisive victory on election night.
POLICY & POLITICS
Poll: McCrory approval drags (WRAL-TV) -- Only about a third of registered voters say they approve of the job that Gov. Pat McCrory is doing, according to a WRAL News poll conducted by Survey USA released Tuesday. McCrory's numbers are little changed from March, although fewer respondents said they disapproved of the job he was doing this week than in March. Still 46 percent of voters said they disapproved of the governor's job performance.
Poll: North Carolinians split on marriage ban (WRAL-TV) -- An exclusive WRAL News poll finds North Carolinians are evenly split on whether Republican leaders should try to save the state's same-sex marriage ban in federal court.
GOP leader: NC officials can refuse to marry gays (AP) — A top North Carolina Republican said Tuesday that he will back a bill protecting state officials who refuse to issue marriage licenses or perform weddings for same-sex couples.
Berger wants bill to protect NC officials who refuse to conduct same-sex marriages (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Senate leader Phil Berger said Tuesday that he would introduce a bill that would protect the jobs of magistrates, registrars of deeds and their employees who refuse to officiate at weddings for members of the same-sex if their refusal is based on religious beliefs.
Residents rally for magistrate (Greensboro News & Record) -- John Kallam Jr. resigned for refusing to marry same sex-couples.
NC September jobless rate dips slightly to 6.7 percent (AP) — North Carolina's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 6.7 percent in September, but so is the number of people working, state officials said Tuesday.
Mecklenburg commissioners reach compromise on smoking ban (Charlotte Observer) -- Mecklenburg County commissioners debated the role of government Tuesday in banning smoking on county and municipal grounds and ending tobacco use in most parks.
Blue Cross to reveal 2015 health insurance rates (AP) — North Carolina's largest health insurer is describing what it will charge people who buy health insurance on their own.
MILITARY FRIENDLY? States Ease Laws Protecting Poor Borrowers (New York Times) -- Lawmakers in several states have voted to increase the fees or the interest rates that lenders can charge on personal loans used by millions of poor or financially struggling borrowers. Lenders have come under fire in Washington in recent years. Yet one corner of the financial industry — lending to people with poor credit scores — has found sympathetic audiences in many state capitals. Over the last two years, lawmakers in at least eight states have voted to increase the fees or the interest rates that lenders can charge on certain personal loans used by millions of borrowers with subpar credit. The overhaul of the state lending laws comes after a lobbying push by the consumer loan industry and a wave of campaign donations to state lawmakers. In North Carolina, for example, lenders and their lobbyists overcame unusually dogged opposition from military commanders, who two years earlier had warned that raising rates on loans could harm their troops. The lenders argued that interest rate caps had not kept pace with the increased costs of doing business, including running branches and hiring employees. Unless they can make an acceptable profit, the industry says, lenders will not be able to offer loans allowing people with damaged credit to pay for car repairs or medical bills. … North Carolina lawmakers, meanwhile, collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the consumer finance industry. Speaker Thom Tillis, who supported the bill in the House, was one of the biggest beneficiaries. Mr. Tillis, a Republican who is running for United States Senate, has received more money from the American Financial Services Association than any other Senate candidate, according to OpenSecrets.org. Mr. Tillis’s campaign manager, Jordan Shaw, said the donations did not sway his voting record. “He wanted to make sure that people still have these loans as an option,” Mr. Shaw said. “He also recognized that the risks can drive up the rates.”
Funding for Fort Bragg's 440th Airlift Wing set to end in March; but may continue to operate (Fayetteville Observer) -- Funding for Fort Bragg's 440th Airlift Wing budget is slated to end in March, but that doesn't mean the unit will inactivate anytime soon
NC social worker accused of selling Medicaid info (AP) — A Mecklenburg County social worker is accused by federal authorities of selling identifying information of federal Medicaid recipients to a man believed to have bilked the government out of more than $3 million.
poll: North Carolinians favor Ebola travel ban (WRAL-TV) -- Despite information from scientists that a travel ban on those coming from Ebola-affected countries won't help curb the viral outbreak, more than three-quarters of North Carolinians surveyed say they favor travel restrictions.
Multiple efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor (AP) — Public health advocates and lawmakers are working anew to bar children from working on tobacco farms.
SAS foresees adding 600 workers in Cary over next 3 years (Raleigh News & Observer) -- SAS co-founder and CEO Jim Goodnight foresees adding about 600 workers at the company’s local headquarters over the next three years and projects that 2014 revenue will probably rise about 5 percent. “The demand for analytics keeps growing,” said Goodnight. Customers use SAS business intelligence and analytics software to analyze their operations and predict trends. The growth that Goodnight foresees, with regard to both headcount and revenue, are in line with SAS’s recent track record.
SAS CEO Goodnight, N.C. Gov. McCrory on incentives (Triangle Business Journal) -- SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and Gov. Pat McCrory took a break from the fanfare of celebrating SAS' newest building Tuesday to talk incentives. The discussion followed frustrated comments by Goodnight at a recent CED event. There, he criticized incentives that attracted tech companies to the Triangle, saying that keeping salaries competitive was an increasing strain on SAS. McCrory told Goodnight that their takes really aren't that far off. "My goal would be for no company to have to take incentives," he says, pointing to recent changes in tax policy as evidence of that stance. Attracting companies to rural areas, however, requires the added push of incentives, he says. The approach to those incentives, however, is being fine-tuned, he says.
Massive SAS building, more jobs reflect Goodnight's enduring commitment to N.C. (WRAL-TV) -- Jim Goodnight runs the world's largest privately held software company with more than $3 billion in revenues and operations from China to Latin America. Yet the billionaire founder of SAS continues to invest in jobs and in facilities at the company's Cary headquarters. On Tuesday, he unveiled the latest building – a massive structure named "Q" - and he talked about more jobs. So why build in N.C.? There are many reasons, perhaps none more than old-fashioned loyalty. "This is my state," Goodnight said in an interview following the media event that officially opened "Q." He was responding to this question: "You could build anywhere and hire anywhere. Why here?" "I was born here," he added. "There's a feeling of loyalty." … Throughout the event Wednesday morning, Goodnight was anything but stiff. He jousted a bit with top VIP guest Gov. Pat McCrory about economic incentives, labeled one reporter's question about growth in 2014 revenues as "silly" and later joked to the media gaggle as he answered a barrage of questions while adorned with microphones.
McCrory Touts Furniture Market’s Impact (N.C. Political News) — Gov. Pat McCrory praised the economic and cultural impact of the Fall 2014 High Point Market today during a visit to the furniture exposition. “The High Point Market is more than a trade show,” McCrory said. “With its colorful history and economic benefits, it’s become part of North Carolina’s culture and has made High Point the furniture capital of the world.”
U.S. Justice Department Will Review Fayetteville Police Policies (WUNC-FM) -- The U.S. Department of Justice will spend the next several months reviewing the policies and practices of the Fayetteville Police Department. The review comes at the request of Fayetteville Police Department as part of the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services program. They'll be looking at the use of force and deadly force by the police, as well as community interaction.
McCrory at opening of Zoo's polar bear exhibit (Stanly News & Press) -- Gov. Pat McCrory will be the featured speaker at ribbon-cutting ceremonies on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 10:30 a.m. for the North Carolina Zoo’s expanded polar bear exhibit. Joining McCrory at the podium for the grand opening of the $8.5-million habitat will be John E. Skvarla III, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Dr. David Jones, zoo director. The zoo is an agency of DENR.
SBI investigates death threat against Jones County sheriff candidate (McClatchy Newspapers) -- The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating a death threat against a Jones County sheriff candidate.
Governor to dedicate Universal building (McDowell News) -- The formal dedication of the new Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center is set for Thursday afternoon. The dedication ceremony will include Gov. Pat McCrory as the keynote speaker. McDowell County and McDowell Technical Community College are hosting the ceremony. The governor will dedicate the building at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Airwaves: For Public TV or Internet Interests? (Public News Service) -- As the song goes, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Will wireless kill some free public TV? That's the latest media question. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is holding an auction in which wireless companies – such as Verizon and AT&T – will bid.
State art museum returns to offering weekly family-friendly tours (WRAL-TV) -- The 30-minute tours are at 10:30 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays.
Manager at NC state crime lab quits after cheating on exam (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Donald James Faggart was caught copying answers on an annual proficiency test.
Sunken German WWII U-boat found off N.C. coast (Washington Post) -- About 4 p.m. on July 15, 1942, about 30 miles off Cape Hatteras, U-576 attacked. In the ensuing free-for-all, the sub sank one ship and damaged two others but was assailed by aircraft and escorts, and sank with all hands. On Tuesday, researchers announced that they had discovered the wreck of U-576, as well as the wreck of the sunken merchant ship, and hailed the find as a rare snapshot of a little known chapter of World War II. The two ships were found in August in 690 feet of water a few hundred yards apart following a five-year search headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NC hospitals have gear in place for Ebola (AP) — Hospital officials in several of North Carolina's largest cities say they have protective gear and procedures ready in case they need to treat an Ebola patient.
Packaging error prompts recall of naproxen pills (AP) — A North Carolina company is recalling nearly 12,000 boxes of pain relief tablets sold at Dollar Tree stores because some cartons contain a different medication that could cause allergic reactions.
Legendary editor transformed The Post (Washington Post) -- Ben Bradlee’s gift for leadership and zest for journalism — and life — made him the most celebrated editor of his era. He directed The Post’s coverage of Watergate, which resulted in the only resignation of a president in U.S. history.
Ben Bradlee Dies at 93 (Wall Street Journal) -- Ben Bradlee, who steered the Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, died Tuesday at 93. He died from natural causes at his home in Washington after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years, according to a spokeswoman for the Post.
Ben Bradlee, Editor Who Directed Watergate Coverage, Dies at 93 (New York Times) -- Mr. Bradlee, a quintessential newspaper editor, supervised The Washington Post’s exposure of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Ben Bradlee dies at 93; Washington Post editor led Watergate coverage (LA Times) – Ben Bradlee, who led the Washington Post from 1968 to 1991 and became the best-known newspaper editor of his generation, has died. He was 93. Bradlee died Tuesday at his home in Washington, the Post reported. His wife, Sally Quinn, said in an interview with C-SPAN last month that he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Under Bradlee's leadership, the Post won 18 Pulitzer Prizes, including the 1973 public service medal for its reporting on Watergate. His steadfastness in the face of unrelenting White House pressure to drop the Watergate investigation made him a hero of “All the President's Men,” the 1976 film based on Woodward and Bernstein's bestselling account of one of the most dramatic chapters in American journalism history. It won four Oscars — including one for Jason Robards as the hard-charging editor — and made Bradlee a household name.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
Teachers find new ways to fund classroom projects (Kinston Free Press) – Teachers turn to websites take place of state funding.
Charter Day School Inc. maintains contentious posture (Wilmington Star-News) -- The continuing tug-of-war between businessman Baker Mitchell's local charter schools and state officials could come to a head on Monday if Charter Day School Inc. does not turn over salary information twice requested by state regulators. The school group, which has four charter schools in Southeastern North Carolina, was the only one among 148 charters in the state not to comply with the request, said Lynda Fuller, spokeswoman for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (DPI). This is the latest scrutiny in a rising level of criticism and concern, including by Gov. Pat McCrory, the State Board of Education and media organizations questioning how charter schools managed by private companies are spending taxpayer funds and whether local boards have given over control to those companies. Charter Day School Inc. (CDS) Board of Trustees Chairman John Ferrante reiterated Tuesday that the school group had provided every document in its possession to the state.
NC officials weigh cameras on buses, how to pay for them (WNCN-TV) -- North Carolina Attorney General announced Monday that he wants to see cameras on the stop arms of all school buses who catch drivers who pass stopped school buses. And while the state's politicians want to make sure children are safe, the hard question is how to fund putting cameras on thousands of buses. Some, including Cooper, say this technology would pay for itself. “We have to be as creative and innovative as we possibly can to protect our children,” said Sen. Josh Stein, a Democrat from Wake County. “It's very important to us to make sure we are protecting children getting on and off the bus,” said Sen. Ralph Hise, a Republican from Mitchell County. Hise called the matter, “Something we need to look at.”
UNC awaits report for answers on academic fraud (AP) — North Carolina has faced three years of questions about how academic fraud took place in a department popular with athletes.
Wainstein UNC-CH probe goes beyond previous investigation (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Former prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein's team has gone where former Gov. Jim Martin hadn’t in examining academic issues at UNC-Chapel Hill, and it has the cooperation from the two people at the scandal's center.
UNCG chancellor announces plans to retire in 2015 (AP) — UNC Greensboro Chancellor Linda Brady says she plans to retire next summer, but said her decision has nothing to do with three former employees who face prison time for allegedly working a second job on university time.
UNCG records still under wraps (Greensboro /News & Record) -- University might be violating state law by denying News & Record requests for information about firing of 3 employees
UNCW Receives $300,000 White House Grant (TWCN-TV) -- UNCW received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice as part of the White House’s recently launched “It’s On Us” campaign.
NCSU trustee pleads guilty in U.S. Ca[pitol gun case (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC State University trustee Ronald Prestage said he was unaware that the gun was in a small briefcase when he tried to carry it into a congressional office building while on a lobbying visit.
McCrory dismissive of coal ash TV ads (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday weighed in on the TV ads that have been pounding him over coal ash pollution, sponsored by a national environmental organization. The theme of the spots has been that new regulations the governor signed are too lax. They conclude with the message that the governor “has coal ash on his hands,” showing an image of dirty palms. "I think it's just a total waste of money," McCrory told reporters during a tour of SAS in Cary. "They ought to be spending their money to clean up the environment ... not on ridiculous, negative political TV ads."
Public Input Wanted For Dan River Restoration (WFDD-FM) -- A group of environmental agencies wants public help to restore the Dan River after a massive coal ash spill in February. The group partnered with Duke Energy and released a report earlier this month with some initial proposals and members are looking for more ideas. Among other findings, the report highlighted a project to restore fish and other wildlife in the river, as well as buying wetlands to filter out any pollutants before they reach the water way. There's also an idea to encourage fish migration in order to replenish those that were lost in the spill. Sara Ward is an ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Raleigh. She says the Dan River spill created a loss for the public, too, because now use of the river is limited. She says that’s why they’re seeking public input on potential restoration opportunities. “Our goal is just to learn what’s out there and to learn what projects might best offset those natural resource injuries that might have occurred with the goal of offsetting those losses.”
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Duke Energy won’t raise customer rates based on tax order (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Duke Energy says its two N.C. utilities won’t raise rates to collect for corporate taxes they no longer pay, despite a regulatory ruling that would allow them to.
Duke, PSNC won’t bill customers for tax cut (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Duke Energy is not going to overcharge its customers for corporate income taxes the company doesn't pay, even though it could do so under a recent NC Utilities Commission ruling.
Duke Energy starts energy aid program (Charlotte Observer) -- Up to 4,000 North Carolina households could be eligible for makeovers worth up to $10,000, Duke said.
Cree unveiling next-generation LED bulb soon (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Cree, which makes the top-selling LED light bulbs, soon will be unveiling a next-generation version that will be cheaper and produce even better light.
Solar Energy Discounts Become Employee Perk in New Program (New York Times) -- Originally conceived by campaigners at the World Wildlife Fund, the initiative uses bulk purchasing power to allow for discounts on home systems.
Petition Hearing Reveals Gaps in Drilling Air Rules (N.C. Health News) -- Even as the starting point nears for drillers to start exploring for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, many of the rules to insure adequate pollution controls are not in place.
CRC Won't Fill Science Panel Vacancies Yet (Coastal Review) -- Uncertain of what an updated sea-level rise report would accomplish, two members of the N.C. Coastal Resource Commission's Science Panel resigned this year. The chairman won't fill any positions until the release of that report in 2015.
No charges for hunters after western NC attack (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials say they will not pursue criminal charges against bear hunters whose hounds attacked and injured a hiker and her dogs in western North Carolina.
Beyond Coal campaign verifying all Duke letter names (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Beyond Coal campaign officials continue to verify whether all 80 businesses they said supported a call to shut down Duke Energy's Lake Julian plant agreed to have their names used. Beyond Coal used the business names in a letter to the Duke Energy CEO demanding the plant's closure. The campaign is a joint effort of the Western North Carolina Alliance and Sierra Club, both nonprofits. Campaign officials have supplied permission confirmations to the Citizen-Times from several local companies since a Friday online story reported eight owners had not authorized use of their business names in the Oct. 16 letter. Another four owners said they did not know if they had granted permission. The Citizen-Times contacted 19 businesses Friday. Seven owners said they had agreed to sign the letter.
Military Bases Build Their Own Power Grids (Wall Street Journal) -- Fear of hackers, terrorists and natural disasters has the Pentagon pushing construction of independent power grids at military bases across the U.S.
Supreme Court (Greensboro News & Record) -- Robin Hudson, Cheri Beasley and Sam J. Ervin IV are well-qualified to serve as associate justices on state’s high court.
Utility companies should share the tax cut (Burlington Times-News) -- To their credit, the state’s largest electricity providers, Duke Energy and its eastern offshoot Duke Energy Progress, automatically reduced bills to match the reduction in the corporate income tax. But the providers have until Friday to revert to the higher 6.9 percent rate. Unless the parent company, Duke Energy, is a glutton for bad publicity, it will leave customers’ rates alone. The company is spending sizable amounts of money on an ad campaign to improve its reputation in light of the damage its coal-ash storage ponds have done and threaten to do to the environment. The per-customer amount may be small – pennies on a month’s bill – but utilities should not be permitted to pocket tax cuts that are designed to reduce their costs.
Dubious honor: N.C.’s Senate race may top $100 million (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It’s not exactly something North Carolinians would brag about down at the corner grocery: “Our U.S. Senate race is going to cost more than maybe any other one in the country. Could be more than $100 million by the time both candidates stop raising money and outside contributors stop giving.”
Jury trial requirement should remain in N.C. constitution (Wilmington Star-News) -- North Carolina voters will be asked on Election Day to decide whether to alter the constitutional mandate
A 60s radical back with conservative allies (Morganton News-Herald column) -- Howard Fuller was back in North Carolina last week promoting his new book, “No Struggle, No Progress: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Education Reform.”
Make your voice heard – take time to vote (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Early voting begins Thursday in North Carolina and with it, the home stretch to what feels to some of us like the longest U.S. Senate race in history.
Kerr Scott Pulled Off Our State’s Greatest Political Upset (Southern Pines Pilot column) -- What was the greatest political upset in North Carolina political history? Old-timers will tell you that it was Kerr Scott’s victory in the Democratic primary for governor in 1948. Scott, a dairy farmer from Alamance County, beat the favored candidate of the conservative wing of the party.
The Democratic Panic (New York Times) -- In hopes of preserving control of the United States Senate, Democratic candidates are keeping their distance from President Obama’s best policies, but that’s a risk. … Few voters know that the 2009 stimulus bill contributed heavily to the nation’s economic recovery, saving and creating 2.5 million jobs. Not a word of it is spoken on the campaign trail, where little credit is also given to the White House for months of promising economic news. Similarly, the Affordable Care Act, one of the most far-reaching and beneficial laws to have been passed by Congress in years, gets little respect even among the Democratic candidates who voted for it. Though none support the Republican position of repeal, most talk about the need to “fix” the health law, as if it were a wreck alongside the road rather than a vehicle providing millions of people with health coverage. “When I think about the health care law, frustrated, disappointed, you can put a lot of words toward it, but every day I work to try to fix it,” said Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, in a radio ad. (Mr. Begich voted for the law.) In a recent debate, Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat of North Carolina, talked mostly about the “common-sense fixes” she wants to make to the law. Several Democratic candidates, including Ms. Hagan, Ms. Nunn, and Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, quickly adopted the right-wing talking point that President Obama needs to impose a travel ban on all residents of African countries with Ebola cases, even though most public-health experts say such a ban would be ineffective and could make the situation worse. … Many of these candidates are running in difficult political environments and are being careful about what they say or don’t say in hopes of preserving Democratic control of the Senate. They run the risk, though, of alienating important constituencies who prefer a party with a spine, especially black voters, who remain very supportive of Mr. Obama. By not standing firmly for their own policies, Democrats send a message to voters that the unending Republican criticism of the president is legitimate. There is much that is going right in this country, and there is still time for Democrats to say so.
For State Senate: Jerry Tillman (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Some refer to the 29th District N.C. Senate race as “The Tom and Jerry Show.”
Modest Proposal: Quarantine Texas, Promote N.C. (Southern Pines Pilot column) -- Recently, someone knowingly exposed to the Ebola virus got on an airplane and traveled 2,400 miles. A few days later, it was discovered this person had the disease.
Walmart Moms divided on US Senate race (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The so-called Walmart Moms were more interested in education, jobs and the economy than they were ISIS or Ebola. And while they had not made up their minds about the North Carolina Senate race, they were certain about one thing – they were sick of all of the negative TV commercials. “Everything we teach our kids – to be supportive and don’t bash the other kids,” said one woman. “Then we hear it on TV. This one is bashing this one and this one is bashing this one.” Added a second woman: “We teach our kids not to bully. What are they doing?” Ten Charlotte women gathered Tuesday night to participate in a focus group sponsored by Wal-Mart Stores. This is part of a project by the retail giant to examine the attitudes of swing voters during elections.
So what is your priority? (Wilson Times) -- This year, millions of dollars have been funneled into North Carolina. And for what purpose? To inundate our airwaves with attack ads.
When cruelty comes to the fair, NC should stop it (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The NC State Fair is meant to support best practices in agriculture and animal husbandry. The deliberate torture, or “soring,” of Tennessee walking horses to force the artificial, high-stepping “big lick” gait is the antithesis of best practices
North Carolina should reject home insurance industry rate hikes (Fayetteville Observer) -- When a hurricane hits, property damage can be astronomical. Insurers may face millions, even billions, in claims.