Daily dose: Women's rights, health once again under attack

Glazier says increased abortion restrictions need to be blocked (Fayetteville Observer) -- New efforts to restrict abortion access are on the horizon in North Carolina, state House Rep. Rick Glazier said at a news conference Thursday morning, and he wants them blocked. Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat and abortion rights supporter, led a group of legislators and abortion rights activists who said abortion regulations should not be further expanded.



GOP lawmakers look to tighten abortion rules as Democrats protest (WRAL-TV) -- Abortion-rights groups want the Republican-led legislature to keep its hands off rules proposed by state regulators for how North Carolina abortion clinics must operate.


NC legislature could step in on clinic rule proposal (AP) — Abortion-rights groups and their allies tried Thursday to preserve clinic rules proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory's administration from potential changes by the General Assembly this year they fear would erode constitutionally protected rights to the procedure.


NC legislature could step in on clinic rule proposal (AP) — Abortion-rights groups and their allies on Thursday tried to preserve clinic rules proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory's administration from potential changes by the General Assembly this year that they fear would erode constitutionally protected rights to the procedure.


Fisher calls on state to protect abortion rights (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- State Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, joined abortion-rights advocates Thursday morning to call on the General Assembly to protect a woman's right to choose just days before the state closes public comment on proposed rule changes for abortion clinics. "Every woman needs access to safe and legal abortion care in her own community," Fisher told the Citizen-Times just minutes before the press conference.


States more opposed to abortion have fewer -- but not fewer unintended pregnancies (Washington Post) -- A new study shows they actually have slightly more.


Rules are rules (WRAL-TV) -- Another day at the legislature, another social issue.


Lowe tapped to replace Parmon in 32nd Senate District (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Forsyth County Democrats picked the Rev. Paul Lowe by a decisive margin on Thursday to replace Sen. Earline Parmon in N.C. Senate District 32.


N.C. Bill Keeps Teachers’ Group From Collecting Dues Via Paychecks (WUNC-FM) -- North Carolina's Republican lawmakers are trying once more to prevent employees’ associations from collecting their members’ dues via payroll deductions.


Bill would hold charter schools more accountable for spending (Wilmington Star-News) -- State Rep. Larry Hall said his legislation would aim to end "reckless mismanagement" of taxpayer dollars by some charters.


NC Chamber, others back more transportation funding (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- North Carolina needs a significant increase in transportation spending and it is up to the state General Assembly to decide how to pay for it, state business leaders including Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kit Cramer said this week.


McGrady lands a top NC budget-writing post; gavels aplenty for WNC’s House legislators (Carolina Public Press) -- In a ceremonial signal that the state House is formally organized for the session ahead, several Western North Carolina legislators receive influential committee appointments.


Hanes Joins Fellow Dems in Pro-Business Caucus (Camel City Dispatch) -- By Staff Bringing to mind memories of Bill Clinton and the New Democrats of the late 80′s and early 90′s, Winston-Salem Representative Ed Hanes(NC72) has joined eleven other Democrats in the General Assembly who have come together as a pro-business alliance.


N.C. legislature meets, lobbyists in tow (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Charlotte companies are keeping their lawyers in the ear of elected representatives as the General Assembly session gets underway.



Lawsuit in NC courts challenges 2016 photo ID voter mandate (AP) -- Another lawsuit challenging election changes in North Carolina made by Republicans is focusing solely on a photo identification requirement to cast ballots in person beginning in 2016.


North Carolina’s new pitchman ready to sell state (Charlotte Observer) -- Chris Chung is ready to sell North Carolina.


Officials tour tax credit restorations (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- State officials visited Greenville and met with city leaders Thursday to tour local properties that have benefited from the now-defunct state historic tax credit program.


First drone approved for NC skies takes flight in Raleigh (WRAL-TV) -- The only drone permitted to fly in North Carolina took to the skies Thursday in Raleigh, where a team of researchers will use the unmanned aircraft for agricultural and environmental research.


Crime-fighting tool or legal robbery? NC law agencies rely on controversial program (WRAL-TV) -- Every year, North Carolina law enforcement officers seize millions of dollars in cash, homes and other property from residents under a controversial program that allows officers to take the property even if the person hasn't been charged with a crime.


Burr campaign says it brought in $1 million in one night (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sen. Richard Burr kicked off fundraising for his 2016 re-election campaign with an event in Washington Wednesday night that brought in more than $1 million. That's a record for a Burr fundraising event, said Paul Shumaker, the campaign general counsel. He said the final figure, after pledges are counted, would exceed $1 million.


NC Governor touts reforms that helped veterans (WNCT-TV) – Gov. Pat McCrory responded to new numbers from the state Division of Veterans Affairs (NCDVA). A new report covers the first two years of McCrory's administration. It details the number of completed veteran benefits claims grew by 113 percent from 2013 to 2014. This means services went to 12,851 more veterans. McCrory's administration credits reforms while he has been in office. This includes establishing in-state tuition for veterans who choose to go to all NC community colleges and universities.


Attention Sunday Shows (Mother Jones) -- Interviewing elected officials from both sides of the aisle is a big part of the reason these Sunday programs exist. They can’t host a debate about climate policy and invite only Democrats. At the same time, however, global warming denial is so ingrained on the right that it's becoming increasingly difficult to find Republicans who can talk about the issue without misinforming viewers. The Media Matters report cites examples of this: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) saying on This Week that "the big debate is how much of it is manmade and how much it will just naturally happen as Earth evolves."


Mike Huckabee stresses opposition to gay marriage at First Baptist Church (Charlotte Observer) -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came to First Baptist Church of Charlotte on Thursday night to woo the white evangelical voters from the South he will need if, as expected, he makes another run for the White House in 2016.


Ag forum on Feb. 5 highlight agriculture, military partnerships (N.C. Political News) – The potential for North Carolina’s two largest industries – agriculture and the military – to work together will be highlighted at the 10th annual Ag Development Forum on Feb. 5 at the State Fairgrounds.


Romney poverty guru: He got my research wrong (Politico) – Ron Haskins, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, said Mitt Romney erred in his Mississippi State speech suggesting that none of the policies of the past half century have worked or promoted marriage. Welfare is not the bogeyman some conservatives make it out to be, Haskins argued, because the program can be tweaked to promote marriage, full-time work and education — all of which his research has found are proven to lift people out of poverty, he said.


NC Central to host conference on school-to-prison pipeline (AP) -- The retired warden of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is the keynote speaker for a conference at N.C. Central University on students going to prison.


Berger Aide Named Turnpike Authority Executive Director (N.C. Political News) – As part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s continued focus on enhancing customer service and operating more efficiently, Secretary Tony Tata has named Beau Memory as the new executive director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. Memory has a long history of service with NCDOT, the Turnpike Authority and the N.C. General Assembly.


Town hires new management company to reopen hospital (Washington Daily News) -- The Town of Belhaven recently hired a company out of Florida to manage its hospital that closed this past summer.


Tata, Fox News darling, calls for Bowe Bergdahl court-martial (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Wednesday night to discuss whether Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should be charged with desertion.



North Carolina could be ‘ground zero’ in fiber competition (Charlotte Business Journal) -- “You could actually argue that North Carolina, six months from now, may be the most competitive wire-line market in the country,” says Blair Levin, former executive director of the National Broadband Plan.


N.C. flu death total reaches a record 137; 13 in Guilford (AP) -- The death toll related to the flu epidemic in North Carolina has reached a record 137 victims this season, with 81 percent being people age 65 and older, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced.


9 flu-related deaths reported in North Carolina last week (AP) — Nine people died from flu-related illness in North Carolina last week, the smallest number for a reporting period in more than a month.


N.C. State Industrial Extension Service Opens New Hanover Office (Wilmington Business Journal) -- As economic development leaders continue working on ways to bring more employers to the Wilmington area, an organization that assists manufacturers has opened an office in Wrightsville Beach.


Moore County day care worker charged with felony child abuse. (AP) — Authorities in Moore County say a worker at a Southern Pines day care faces charges after a 10-month-old received a head injury.


Teen wearing monitoring device charged in Charlotte break-in (AP) — Police in Charlotte say an electronic monitoring device worn by a teenager on probation helped them in tracking him down in connection with a home break-in.


Low supply pushing up prices for popular Bermuda grass (WRAL-TV) -- The entire sod industry in the Southeast is having supply problems with the increasingly popular grass. The problems began during the recession of 2007. When construction plunged, so did the demand for sod. That's when a lot of growers switched their fields to other crops.



Guilford schools superintendent turns down raise (Greensboro News & Record) -- Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green turned down a 3 percent raise Thursday night.


School board told 80 teaching jobs may be lost in Cumberland County schools (Fayetteville Observer) -- The Cumberland County school system has faced a series of painful budget cuts in recent years.


Fewer people want to be teachers; NC education leaders look for solutions (WRAL-TV) -- Fewer North Carolina students are enrolling in teaching programs, a problem education leaders say they are trying to tackle by strengthening recruitment, improving teacher preparation and supporting pay increases.


Elementary School Sees Work Pay Off Under District Grading Scale (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Thursday, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools released letter grades for each of its schools. Mineral Springs Elementary, with its “B+,” was one of the two highest scoring high-poverty schools in the district. The other was Bolton Elementary, also with a “B+.” That “B+” is one of two grades that the school will receive. The state will release its own grades — based on end-of-year tests and growth — for schools across the state next week. For many, including Mineral Springs, those grades will be lower. The district released its grades this week as a way to preempt the state with a model that school officials say better reflects the reality in their schools.


Superintendents, education advocates join effort to reduce school testing (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Parents have been complaining at least since the 1990s about the proliferation of school testing, which they say limits classroom creativity and puts too much pressure on children.


Judge orders Duke to release emails in lawsuit over bogus cancer research (WRAL-TV) -- A judge on Thursday ordered Duke University Health System officials to turn over emails regarding clinical trials linked to a discredited former researcher to a third-party for inspection.


N.C. Bill Keeps Teachers’ Group From Collecting Dues Via Paychecks (WUNC-FM) -- North Carolina's Republican lawmakers are trying once more to prevent employees’ associations from collecting their members’ dues via payroll deductions.


Bill would hold charter schools more accountable for spending (Wilmington Star-News) -- State Rep. Larry Hall said his legislation would aim to end "reckless mismanagement" of taxpayer dollars by some charters.


9 takeaways from the CMS ‘State of our Schools’ speech (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will focus on literacy and developing talented leaders in the coming year, and the district is positioned to make more progress in student achievement, Superintendent Ann Clark said Thursday at the district’s State of our Schools speech.


Tighten oversight of NC charters (Raleigh News & Observer editorial) -- One charter school’s problems in Kinston raise valid concerns about charter school rules and controls.


Why Some NC School Districts Want To Authorize Their Own Charter Schools (WUNC-FM) -- When North Carolina charter schools were first imagined in the mid 1990s, there were two big dreams: The first was to create something different, a sort of hotbed of innovation. The second was to take all of that new thinking – at least the stuff that worked – and share it with traditional public schools. “But the second half of that never occurred,” said Jim Merrill, superintendent of Wake County Public Schools.


Some Local School Districts Wanting Authority to Operate Charter Schools (TWCN-TV) -- With state lawmakers back in session, local public school districts across the state are making a somewhat unexpected request.


Powerful Pillowtalk: The dilemma of school choice (EdNC column) -- In 2011, our family very intentionally moved to a socio-economically, racially, and ethnically diverse neighborhood in the Triangle with a new elementary school literally a hundred yards from our back porch. We were confident that the proximity to Research Triangle Park and the burgeoning neighborhood growth would easily elevate the school’s performance, despite the failing report card the school had posted over the previous years since the school opened.


Dartmouth Cites Student Misconduct in Its Ban on Hard Liquor (New York Times) -- The college’s president announced the prohibition as part of a far-ranging overhaul of campus life, but experts say few universities are likely to follow his lead.


5 arrested, fraternity banned after alleged hazing (Charlotte Observer) -- Five fraternity members were arrested after authorities received reports that they allegedly hazed a Johnson C. Smith University student. A warrant was also issued for a sixth person.



New details flow in federal coal ash probe (Greensboro News & Record) -- A federal grand jury looking into possible criminal charges linked to the Dan River coal ash spill subpoenaed additional documents this summer that are only now coming to public light. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina asked the N.C. Utilities Commission for all its “memos, emails, documents and correspondence” relating to engineering inspections of the Dan River Steam Station’s two coal ash ponds “from 1976 to the present.”


Timeline Dan River coal ash spill (Greensboro News & Record) -- Feb. 2, 2014: A 48–inch storm water pipe beneath the unlined ash pond from the shuttered Dan River Steam Station broke. Duke Energy estimated at the time that 82,000 tons of coal ash and 24 to 27 million gallons of basin water from the 27-acre pond drained into the Dan River. Feb. 8: Duke Energy crews plugged the leak.


Coming Sunday: Special section on Dan River spill (Greensboro News & Record) -- A year after the third-largest coal ash spill in U.S. history, the News & Record will publish a special section on its impacts. The publication will explore what happened to the Dan River and what effect the spill may have in the years to come.



Offshore Wind Farm Leases Draw Few Bids From Wary Industry (New York Times) -- Wind Farm projects off the coast of New England, New Jersey and Delaware are dead, moribund or struggling.


Is the Military getting undue credit for solar in N.C.? (Clean Technia) -- The US Military has earned high praise for its embrace of renewable energy to power its bases, with a goal of sourcing 25% of its facility energy from renewable sources by 2025. Greenpeace’s other issues with the military notwithstanding (and we have a lot), a military powered by renewable energy is smarter, more secure, and less wasteful than one powered by fossil fuels. But in its latest deal for renewable energy, a 13 MW solar farm at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, the military has a problem: it may be taking credit for renewable energy that it doesn’t deserve.


George W. Bush's Favorite Green Car Is Making a Comeback (National Journal) -- Under President George W. Bush, hydrogen-powered cars were the automotive technology of the future, with the promise of ditching gasoline and driving for miles with only water as exhaust. But a lackluster market and tepid government support made the technology less of a priority, especially as electric cars and hybrids took off. Hydrogen cars became regarded as more of a fantasy than the future. Until now.


New technique helps probe performance of organic solar cell materials (Solar Daily) -- A research team led by North Carolina State University has developed a new technique for determining the role that a material's structure has on the efficiency of organic solar cells which are candidates for low-cost, next generation solar power..


State Studies LNG Plant at Ports (Coastal Review) -- A plant to export liquid natural gas could be built at the state ports in Morehead City or Wilmington, according to a report presented recently to the N.C. General Assembly.


Red wolves could be declared extinct in NC (Washington Daily News) -- The problem of red wolves in eastern North Carolina may be heading to resolution.


Why 50 million smart meters still haven’t fixed America’s energy habits (Washington Post) -- Technology alone is not enough to help people save energy. Here's what else we need.



NC officials must follow law on same-sex marriage (Raleigh News & Observer) – State Sen. Phil Berger is setting up North Carolina to again take the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Is this really what he ought to be doing at a time when the state’s trying to land new businesses, preferably high-paying, high-tech businesses? Responsible business owners look at all sorts of things before they establish themselves in a state, including the quality of its educational system and whether it is welcoming and supportive to all people.


Be mindful of consequences of oil, gas exploration (Wilmington Star-News) -- Now that President Obama has opened up parts of the Atlantic coastline, including North Carolina, to oil and gas exploration, attention should turn to safeguarding the ocean and our shores against negative environmental effects of an activity that is known to pollute. Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders have pushed for offshore drilling, as well as hydraulic fracturing, to search for oil and gas deposits. Caution is warranted.


Offshore oil drilling still a long way off (Fayetteville Observer) -- To drill or not to drill? It's not the question. Not in the Oval Office, anyway. President Obama surprised a lot of people Tuesday when he moved to allow oil exploration off the Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia coasts. He likely also touched off a courtroom war that will rage for years to come. It's a startling about-face for a president who has resisted expanding offshore drilling and opposed the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to U.S. refineries. But it's welcome news for the governors of the affected Southern Atlantic Coast states, who have pressed for offshore oil exploration.


Public access shouldn't cost a ton of cash (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Part of the bedrock of open government lies in easy access to public records, something that officials at all levels of public office seem to resent more and more about the philosophy of our republic.


Time to take back Carolina from dysfunctional leaders (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- I wanted to cry out when I read that UNC-CH has hired yet another $950-an-hour law firm without a cost ceiling to be paid for from development funds made up of donations to UNC from people like you and me.


Duke’s commendable gesture toward religious co-existence (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- While Duke University leaders were trying to use the call to prayer as a model of tolerance and peaceful co-existence, external pressure forced them to abandon this noble idea.


Lynch holds her own (Greensboro News & Record) -- Sen. Thom Tillis used Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing Wednesday to defend North Carolina’s voting laws, which have been challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice.




Assaults on gay & women's rights

by the NC GOP indicate that they're taking orders from the NC Bigoted Values Coalition.

Next thing you know, McCrony will appoint Tamifitz as budget director.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Tony Tater's appearance on Fox

One just has to marvel at the thought process behind this.

Fox nuts: we should get someone to comment on the Bergdahl story. I know, how about the Transportation Secretary from North Carolina?

Tater: You know what would help improve North Carolina's transportation systems? If I went on Fox and talked about Bergdahl!

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014