The struggle to save Pungo Hospital continues

Seeking help from the courts:

Last Thursday, in a Beaufort County Superior Court case that took place in Wilson, Judge Milton Fitch, Jr. granted the town’s request for a temporary restraining order, keeping Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC, who objected to the ruling, from removing equipment from the building, shutting off the building’s utility service or demolishing the building, said Town Attorney John Tate.

“The town was concerned that equipment was going out of the building and they were preparing for demolition,” Tate said. “On Wednesday, a crane showed up at the hospital and that looked quite ominous to us so we filed for a temporary restraining order that will simply keep the hospital intact while we work out a solution.”

This conflict should force us to re-evaluate the way we approach the nexus of health care and the private sector. When your "business" has a major impact on the lives and health of a large percentage of the community, a P&L statement should not be sufficient evidence to plunge that community into a life-threatening crisis. This problem is screaming for a statutory solution, but I shudder to think what the GOP-controlled NCGA would come up with. They'd probably authorize Vidant to demolish Town Hall.

Coal Ash Wednesday: "cap and leak" plan moves forward

Stick a Band-Aid on it and do a victory dance:

The legislation mandates that ash be excavated at only four of Duke’s 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. “Low-risk” ponds can be capped in place without removing ash. A moratorium on Duke seeking rate hikes to pay for coal ash cleanup would expire in January 2015, as the Senate bill had stated. The House had pushed for the moratorium to end in December 2016.

Contaminated groundwater has been found near ash ponds at all of Duke’s coal plants. The Southern Environmental Law Center said the committee changes seek “to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.”

“Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina,” the center said.

This isn't a compromise bill, it's the bastard child of a horrible plan and an already compromised plan. And the only reason it's moving forward is political in nature, so Republicans won't get punished in November for doing nothing.

Bullshit

McCrory and the NCGOP now proudly claim:

How about this one? The North Carolina General Assembly now contains the biggest bunch of liars in the history of the Old North State.

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Daily dose: Plums and pits edition

BERGER GETS THE PLUMS, LEAVES McCRORY AND TILLIS WITH THE PITS
More and more it appears that Phil Berger will end up being the winner – at least as far as getting done what you want done is concerned – by the time all the air goes out of the current legislative session. House Speaker and GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Thom Tillis just wanted to somehow look in charge. He’s looked desperate and victimized by circumstances that he hasn’t been able to control. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory wanted a teacher pay increase to get educators and parents off his back. Instead got a Senate-designed confusing mess that left teachers dissatisfied and feeling they’d been hoodwinked. McCrory wanted the legislature to pass his wife’s priority, a bill to regulate puppy mills. Didn’t happen. McCrory wanted Medicaid reform. See puppy mill bill. On the other hand, Berger and his allies in the Senate wanted to cut education spending and flatten the salary scale. Check. He wanted to deliver some action on the coal ash mess, since it happened in his district. Check. He was happy to come out with nothing, if the House didn’t go along with the incentives legislation. Check. Phil Berger isn’t running statewide and he’s got himself a custom tailored district to make sure his re-election isn’t threatened. Check. There’s more, but that would be piling on, and Berger’s too polite for that kind of thing.

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Pat McCrory's crisis continues: "legacy by damnation"

The words are haunting.

So much for McCrory orchestrating deliberations at the NC General Assembly

Hat-tip to Chris Fitzsimon for finding this:

Sen. Kay Hagan's Women's Summit

The ballroom at the Elliott University Center at UNC-Greensboro was filled Saturday with Democratic women, who were all there by invitation. The women from all over NC were there for the Kay Hagan for U. S. Senate's Women's Summit.

My overall impression of the event was this: Sen. Hagan and her campaign have a well-thought out game plan in term's of on the ground organizing and communicating (including TV) strategy. Her campaign staff is young (the only young people in the room Saturday), but they appear very knowledgeable and very engaged.

The failure of 1224

Not sure what exactly to make of the failure a few minutes ago of House Bill 1224.

One thing I do know. The economic development part of the bill would have provided some $13 million (depending on which article one reads) to extend and expand natural gas service to Canton, home of the Evergreen Packaging paper mill formerly operated by Champion International. Local news sources, including the Asheville Citizen-Times, are portraying this as a vote against the mountains.

Recent reports claim that nearly 60% of the state's economic development money over the past 5 years has gone to three counties: Mecklenburg, Wake, and Durham. Headline stories have noted $100 million to MetLife, $85 million to the Carolina Panthers, and $36 million to Sealed Air.

Voting is a right, not a privilege.

The Orange Board of Elections (BOE) held 2 meetings in July, a week apart, to discuss a request for Sunday voting hours to be added for the upcoming November election. When it was first brought up as a request from religious groups who celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday, our BOE chair commented that they could not make changes without 'hearing from the other side.' That caused a stir amongst the 15 or so people present that day. The murmur in the crowd was, What other side?

Another meeting was set for the following week, and advertised through a press release. Over 70 people turned up. The chair set 15 minutes for each 'side' to speak. A petition with 700 names from our communities requesting Sunday hours was presented, along with numerous other letters with multiple signatures. Representatives of various groups spoke for Sunday voting opportunities.

Fracking is an earth-shattering experience

After averaging 2 significant earthquakes per year for 30 years, Oklahoma's magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes shot up to 145 in less than half of this year. The jump in earthquakes coincides with (SURPRISE!) Oklahoma's beginning fracking operations.

Today Oklahoma experienced a 4.2 magnitude earthquake. That's significant. It would seem that perhaps fracking can produce big earthquakes, too, not just lots of small ones.

Although the powers that be in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, still won't admit that all the earthquakes are caused by fracking. Just a coincidence, you know.

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