Shining Rock Classical Academy update

Weekly update from Waynesville's excellent Smoky Mountain News on the trials and tribulations of the startup Shining Rock Classical Academy in Haywood County.

First, publisher Scott McLeod explains in plain language for readers the letter and intent of the state's public meetings law, and its application to charter school governing boards. Scott's headline says it all: "The public - not the newspaper - needs to know."

Perennial failed candidate chimes in on voucher decision

Big surprise, Richard Vinroot supports privatizing public education:

Even after losing, the plaintiffs continue to insist that allowing students choices in addition to traditional public schools somehow violates the State Constitution’s requirement that there must be, at minimum, a “general and uniform system of public schools.” However, our courts have long held that the legislature can establish other school programs in addition to---

I'm gonna stop you right there. The courts have *not* held that, and the Constitution is *not* ambiguous:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Cliffside back in the news

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Public hearings scheduled for stormwater discharge permits:

As part of the public feedback process, the department will hold two public hearings in September to gather input on the draft permits. The public hearing for the Dan River Combined Cycle Station stormwater permit is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Eden Town Hall, 308 East Stadium Drive, Eden. The public hearing for the Rogers Energy Complex stormwater permit is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Boiling Springs City Hall, 114 East College Ave., Boiling Springs. Speaker registration for both hearings begins at 5 p.m.

Just like death and taxes, stormwater happens whether you want it to or not. That being said, routing stormwater in and around industrial sites is complex and a *likely* source of toxic contamination of streams and rivers. From the "fact sheet" on Rogers/Cliffside:

Daily dose: Wilmington 10 injustice continues edition

Court denies money for family of late Wilmington 10 members (AP) — A North Carolina court ruled Tuesday that the relatives of four of the 10 people wrongfully convicted in a notorious 1970s firebombing case aren't entitled to state compensation.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/court-denies-money-family-late-wilmington-10-members-2948921

Appeals court: No compensation for families of Wilmington 10 (WRAL-TV) -- The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that families of four people who were eventually pardoned for their roles in Wilmington race riots don't deserve money from the state.
http://www.wral.com/appeals-court-no-compensation-for-families-of-wilmington-10/14810838/

Art Pope's donor denial rings hollow

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It does prove, however, that he views elected officials as merely tools:

And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz added in a Sunday conversation with Allen: “The men and women in this room spilled gallons of blood, spent your fortunes retaking the Senate, winning nine Senate seats, retiring Harry Reid as majority leader.”

“The main point of this weekend’s seminar is not the elected officials or the candidates,” said Art Pope, a longtime Koch network donor from North Carolina who is the CEO and chairman of Variety Wholesalers. “In fact, it’s not about candidates at all. It is more about policies and issues.”

Yes, it's frustrating when the puppets speak with their own voice, isn't it? And your efforts to minimize their importance merely serves to demonstrate your blatantly un-democratic view of how government should work. When the desires of the wealthy are more important than the basic tenets of our system of representation, the future envisioned by the Founding Fathers has been completely erased, and their worst nightmares have come to pass. But don't take my word for it:

Daily dose: Cause & effect version

NC residents could start paying for recycling TVs, computers (WRAL-TV) -- The state Senate recently passed a bill that puts the cost of recycling electronics on local governments, rather than manufacturers.
http://www.wral.com/nc-residents-could-start-paying-for-recycling-tvs-computers-/14809719/

Berger leads NC legislators in fundraising (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Senate leader raised more money this year than House Speaker Tim Moore
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article29...

Unexpected Budget Treasures: The Rocks

Curious. This past spring, out of nowhere, New Hanover Sen Michael Lee filed SB 160, a bill to remove "The Rocks," from across the southern tip of the barrier islands at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. This bill passed the Senate but stalled out in the House. It was then inserted into the budget (HB 97).

What are The Rocks?

The Army Corps of Engineers says The Rocks are the “best ever” project conducted by its South Atlantic Division. The Rocks have been referred to as a dam, a giant breakwater, and a jetty, and were built to close up what was called New Inlet. New Inlet was a break in a barrier island at the mouth of the Cape Fear created by a big storm in 1761. (Yes, that’s actually 1761.) Today, we see this kind of inlet appear across Hatteras when a storm comes through and creates a new opening for water to move between the ocean and the sound.

Grand Jury indicts Dana Cope

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He should have flown away in his little plane when he had the chance:

A Wake County grand jury indicted Cope, 45, on two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He had been SEANC’s director for 15 years before resigning in February, shortly after Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman launched a criminal investigation.

The case has also prompted the resignations of two other top SEANC officials: Tom Harris, counsel and chief of staff; and Toni Davis, communications director. SEANC’s financial director was demoted and its member services director was put on a year’s probation.

I take no satis...Okay, I take some satisfaction in his downfall, but I sincerely hope SEANC recovers (quickly) from this mess. State employees need and deserve a strong Association to help them weather the GOP storm, which would reduce their ranks significantly if left unchecked.

The NC GOP's lack of concern over police abuse of minorities

Just another chapter in the suppression of inferior races:

The most support comes in the House budget, which includes includes $2.5 million in funding to local departments to purchase body cameras. The Senate budget does not include those funds, and legislative leaders are in discussions to find a compromise spending bill by their self-imposed Aug. 14 deadline.

Two bills requiring most police officers in the state to wear body cameras did not make it out of a House committee, nor did a bill banning racial profiling and requiring officers receive diversity training.

I find it particularly repulsive when anti-government zealots tacitly approve when the enforcement arm of government violates the civil rights of *some* citizens, but bends over backwards to put deadly weapons in the hands of other citizens. I would call it cognitive dissonance, but that implies there's actually some cognition at work.

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