McCrory among 15 elected officials who scored invites to exclusive Koch brothers’ donor retreat (Washington Post) -- Seven sitting governors including North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory, six incumbent senators and two House members — all Republicans — have flown to Dana Point, California this weekend for the Koch donor network conference. NOTE: The Washington Post is one of nine news organizations allowed in to cover the traditionally private confab, on the condition that the donors present not be named without their permission.
Sales tax worries officials (Carteret News-Times) -- — With the N.C. Senate and the House of Representatives reportedly miles apart on a 2015-16 budget and not yet even negotiating in earnest, local government officials still have no idea whether a controversial sales tax distribution makeover in the Senate will take effect. What they do know is this: If the proposal by Onslow County Republican Sen. Harry Brown, the majority leader, does go into effect, Carteret County will have less state-shared revenue to work with in the future and will likely have to hike property tax rates to make up the difference.
North Carolina Lawmakers Absolutely Don't Care What You Think ... (High Times) -- Lawmakers in the Tar Heel State don’t believe in access to medical marijuana. In fact, members of the state House Judiciary Committee are so vehemently opposed to the idea that they won’t allow other legislators to even debate the issue.
Charles Koch Urges Conservatives to Skip ‘Corporate Welfare’ (Time) -- Conservative billionaire Charles Koch told his ultra-rich friends that they face a “life and death” decision whether to keep lobbying for tax breaks and government subsidies. “Business leaders (must) recognize that their behavior is suicide, that it is suicide long term. To survive, long-term, they have to start opposing, rather than promoting, corporate welfare,” Koch told about 450 allies at an Orange County, Calif., summit that began Saturday.
Final word on surplus: $445 million (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It wasn’t the biggest story of the past week. And it wasn’t the most surprising – this one was expected.
General Assembly puts memorials, other local matters under its control (Kinston Free Press) -- in North Carolina, a bill to place certain items and documents of a historical nature under the control of the Department of Cultural Resources already passed the state Senate and was awaiting action in the state House of Representatives. But before it passed out of the Senate – on a 48-0 vote – the Senate Rules Committee approved an amendment to Senate Bill 22 that placed all “objects of remembrance” under the control of the General Assembly.
POLICY & POLITICS
McCrory hobnobbing with Kochs at exclusive west coast resort (USA TODAY) -- The Koch event — set at the St. Regis Monarch Beach, a “Tuscan-inspired,” luxury resort perched above the Pacific Ocean – is giving political figures across the country the chance to mingle with influential business people and big donors. Six sitting Republican governors – Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Greg Abbott of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Doug Ducey of Arizona and Nikki Haley of South Carolina — were attending, along with a clutch of GOP federal lawmakers.
Scores attend Confederate flag rally in King (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A seemingly never-ending line of cars, pickups, SUVs and even a replica Hazzard County sheriff’s cruiser drove out of the parking lot of Central Park in King on Saturday to start the Confederate Pride Ride through Stokes County.
Confederate Flag Parade Held in Fuquay-Varina (TWCN-TV) -- Supporters of the confederate flag held a parade in Fuquay-Varina Saturday afternoon.
Confederate re-enactors defend the flag (New Bern Sun Journal) -- Re-enactors from the N.C. 5th, N.C. 7th, Riley's Battery and Northampton Artillery were seen waving flags, saluting passers-by, giving their story
Pro-Confederate flag rally in Monroe ‘peaceful and calm’ (Charlotte Observer) -- About 50 people attended
Bill will keep Iredell's grandest Confederate symbol standing (Statesville Record & Landmark) -- Like many counties the United States, Iredell recognizes those who fought in the nation’s battles. In counties located in Southern states, however, significantly more attention seems to have been given those who fought for the Confederate States of America. The statue of the Confederate Soldier, on the grounds of the Government Center in downtown Statesville, dwarfs all other similar monuments in Iredell County.
Masked, armed man arrested at State Capitol (WRAL-TV) -- A masked, armed man carrying a backpack full of spray paint was arrested at the State Capitol early Saturday, state authorities said.
Raleigh man found with weapon, spray paint on State Capitol grounds (Greensboro News & Record) -- Perren Tremayne Moss faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a weapon on the State Capitol grounds, and wearing a mask on public property.
Victim of 'catastrophic' injury advocates stiffer DWI penalties (Fayetteville Observer) --Rhonda Bryant is scheduled to leave prison Wednesday, 16 months after she climbed behind the wheel - drunk and high on cocaine - and left Fort Bragg soldier Jeremy Bruns crippled for life.
NC farmers markets part of USDA promotion of fresh foods (AP) — It's a season of produce bounty at farmers markets, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture says they play an important role in North Carolina's farm-to-table food network.
After 30 years, NC has no plan for historic Blount Street mansion (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State began acquiring Heck-Andrews House, 309 North Blount Street in downtown Raleigh, in 1984
Vendors return to score contracts at Defense Trade Show (Fayetteville Observer) -- Hundreds of companies representing the state's second-largest industry will be in Fayetteville this week lobbying to bolster their place in North Carolina's defense industry. The 14th annual North Carolina Defense Trade Show is Monday at Fayetteville Technical Community College. The event is hosted by Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, along with the North Carolina Military Business Center.
Scotland County is motivated to recruit industry (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Local businesses concoct one-of-a-kind incentive packages
Fight over 440th Airlift Wing remains (Sanford Herald) -- After the Air Force Reserve Command pushed back the deactivation of the 440th Airlift Wing by one year, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers was one of the first to say the fight wasn’t over. “We will remain in this effort and on this fight, and we will be watching really closely and [will be] ready to act at anytime,” Ellmers, who represents North Carolina’s 2nd district, said Thursday.
McConnell warns Obama against tobacco carve-out (The Hill) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning U.S. officials negotiating a massive trans-Pacific trade agreement for President Obama not to target tobacco growers in a final deal. McConnell said singling out the tobacco industry would set a dangerous precedent for future trade deals, in a letter to Obama’s top trade representative.
Decision to stop marketing heated cigarette shows challenges in selling adult smokers (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Getting adult smokers to try new tobacco products, whether snus, chew sticks, film strips, electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn cigarettes, has not been an obstacle for Reynolds American Inc. However, turning trial into regular or occasional usage has proven challenging even for the industry’s innovation leader. Case in point: Reynolds said Tuesday it is discontinuing its second attempt in 12 years at marketing a heated cigarette, Revo, which was aimed at further diversifying the company’s smokeless product options.
Joy of discovery drives epidemiologist Allen Wilcox (Raleigh News & Observer) - -The pressures on young researchers can be immense, from the need to publish and compete for limited grant money to the tedium and uncertainty that underpin scientific discovery.
Coastal business bustles despite shark concern (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- — Baiting hooks with pieces of shrimp and casting them out into the wind and waves, Ashlie Scott Newbie and Payton Lane knew a shark could nibble their lines at any time.
Fundraising for park to tell black experience stalls (AP) — Supporters of a park that would showcase the black experience in North Carolina are overhauling their efforts, including a possible name change and the addition of a monument that would be more uplifting than others about slavery and Jim Crow laws, as they try to determine why donors haven't embraced the project.
Group quick to corral 60-pound tortoise in Burgaw (Wilmington Star-News) -- A woman found it in the street near the corner of Fremont Street and U.S. 117 and dragged it to safety.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
Writer retraces steps of Englishman's trip through Carolinas (AP) — Scott Huler has the definite sense now that he's walking uphill, into a more rolling terrain where the color green dominates.
Dynamic Decade: Hatch reshapes university with eye toward future (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Nathan Hatch, president of Wake Forest University, has been quietly reshaping Winston-Salem's most prestigious institution over the last decade to ready the "collegiate university" for a brighter future in the competitive, evolving landscape of higher education.
SMART girls could become future scientists (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Ebony Sneed loves that the annual SMART Scholars Workshop is always teeming with role models – that is, female scientists – for her 13-year-old daughter.
Boot camp at UNC training veterans as aspiring entrepreneurs (AP) — Dozens of military veterans and spouses are wrapping up a boot camp for aspiring entrepreneurs at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Mavunga transfers from North Carolina to Ohio State (AP) — North Carolina center Stephanie Mavunga is transferring to Ohio State, leaving the Tar Heels without their entire four-player recruiting class ranked No. 1 nationally in 2013.
School district found in violation of state and federal laws (New Bern Sun Journal) -- A recent investigation by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction has resulted in a corrective action plan for Craven County Schools to provide training to a special education teacher, case manager and school administrators, as well as a finding of noncompliance in state and federal laws concerning the education of a student with disabilities.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Duke says it needs mammoth lines to fuel WNC's growth (Hendersonville Times-News) -- Residents of the study area where Duke Energy is looking to construct roughly 45 miles of new transmission lines have expressed doubts about the project's need and questions about possible alternatives. Duke officials say explosive growth in Western North Carolina necessitates more energy, a need they plan to meet by expanding generation in Asheville and strengthening transmission infrastructure.
Duke Energy turns to natural gas in place of coal (Greensboro News & Record) -- What does the end of the "big coal" era mean to Duke Energy, the environment and Triad ratepayers?
Shale in Stokes: More questions than answers (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Samples that contained signs of shale gas or oil were pulled from depths that coincide with where people in Stokes County get their drinking water.
Obama to Unveil Tougher Climate Plan With His Legacy in Mind (New York Times) — In the strongest action ever taken in the United States to combat climate change , President Obama will unveil on Monday a set of environmental regulations devised to sharply cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s power plants and ultimately transform America’s electricity industry.
Obama to adopt tough limits on greenhouse gases (Washington Post) -- The administration’s revised Clean Power Plan would target coal-burning power plants and is certain to face legal challenges and fierce opposition from Republicans.
EPA Emissions Rule to Mandate Tougher Cuts Than Expected (Wall Street Journal) -- The EPA on Monday will set the nation’s first-ever limits on power-plant carbon emissions, mandating ambitious cuts that exceed the targets laid out in a proposal released last year.
Region's ocean temperatures warmer than Florida's (Wilmington Star-News) -- Onshore winds push currents that pushed water temperatures into the mid-80s.
Harnessing the sun's power (Bluffton Today) -- Recent efforts to offer more incentives to solar panel consumers are making it easier and more economical than ever to harness the sun’s power for energy in South Carolina. More Beaufort County residents are becoming interested in solar energy, said Sam Kirkland, owner of Wind Turbines of South Carolina LLC, the Bluffton-based company that installs solar panel system. “The number of calls that I’ve gotten in the last three months in South Carolina have quadrupled at the very least and people are just all talking about solar,” Kirkland said.
A quiet attempt to keep more secrets (Charlotte Observer) -- Here’s what you get when you combine a legislative penchant for secrecy with a willingness to use the annual budget as a vehicle to make changes in N.C. law:
Time for a budget deal (Greensboro News & Record) -- State government is still functioning, even though its new fiscal year began July 1 without a new budget.
Congress makes the wrong move on coal ash rules (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- Like everything else in Washington, clean water and soil - which in a saner time Republicans and Democrats unified to support - now reflect the city's reflexive, destructive partisan divide. … The administration of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a former Duke employee, and his predecessors have been scandalously cozy with the utility. Federal investigators, according to reports earlier this year from the Charlotte Business Journal, are still examining the conduct of state officials. Nobody can say with certainty that the EPA regulations would have prevented Duke's Dan River spill, or barred Dominion from disposing of ash under a golf course, but it's clear that in each case state regulation did far too little to protect public safety.
Fix state roads (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Three of North Carolina’s top office holders issued press releases last week with positive economic news. Just don’t try reading about them in a moving vehicle on local state-maintained roads.
A big hand extends to vulnerable children (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The timing could not have been better. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust has announced the launch of an early childhood development initiative at a time when many of our children could not be more at risk.
70 years after Hiroshima, world marching toward the unthinkable (Raleigh News & Observer column) – Clay Whitehead and Neil Offen: The Obama administration supports replacing 100 nuclear bombers ($550 million each) and 12 nuclear submarines ($6.6 billion per vessel) with 16 nuclear warheads, over the next three decades transferring about $1 trillion from the American people to the nuclear arms industry.
For next 70 years, Japan should be world’s peacemaker (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Simon Partner: Now, 70 years after Japan’s defeat in World War II, is indeed the time to imagine a role for a more assertive Japan, in both East Asia and the rest of the world. But it should not be as a military power. Japan’s role for the next 70 years should be as a global peacemaker.
Hiroshima should still haunt us, 70 years on (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Many of us are here because many of them aren’t. And 70 years after President “Give ’em Hell” Harry Truman led as hell was unleashed on Hiroshima, who among us whose father lived because that bomb was dropped can honestly say it shouldn’t have been dropped? That’s the evil of war. It’s as addictive, soul-ravaging and mind-numbing for nations and their people as meth is for its addicts. There are no answers, only terrible ironies.
Sobering news on N.C. children (Charlotte Observer) -- Annie E. Casey Foundation report shows more N.C. children are growing up poor
Wrong Direction on Death Penalty (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Ghoulish. Grotesque. Macabre. Those are just a few of the words that leap to mind in an attempt to describe the latest effort by the Republican majority in the N.C. General Assembly to “reform” the state’s method of putting fellow human beings to death.
The case for fetal-cell research in wake of Planned Parenthood videos (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Nathalia Holt: Every time I worked with a fetal liver, I imagined that somewhere in California a woman had made the agonizing, heartbreaking decision to end her pregnancy. Yet she had also donated her aborted fetus to medical research. A promise had been made; these cells were not simply trash.
CFCC must restore trust (Wilmington Star-News) -- We will leave it up to state officials to decide if there was any wrongdoing during Ted Spring's relatively short tenure as president of Cape Fear Community College.
Congress punts on transportation bill (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Unable once again to agree on a long-term transportation funding bill, Congress last week approved a short-term bill on the eve of its annual August recess.
Lawmakers risk public safety with driver’s ed cuts (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- State school officials have had plenty of concern in recent years as the Legislature has chipped away at funds traditionally available for public education, such as the scholarships lawmakers have made available to pay for students to attend private schools.
Legislators tinkering under state’s economic hood (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The image I have of North Carolina’s legislature is of a bunch of weekend “mechanics” standing around under the hood, taking out parts, yanking wires. One prays that when they are finished, the state’s economic engine will still work.