Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 8:55am

From today's News & Record:

Remember the surprise that officials expressed last month on discovering that relatively weak, corrugated metal made up part of the pipe that ruptured, causing the massive Feb. 2 spill?
The pipe was one of two drainage culverts running under the Dan River ash basin, both of which were designed to carry uncontaminated stormwater from behind the ash ponds under the polluted basin and out to the river.

Here’s what the 1986, five-year report said about part of the first pipe, the part destined to rupture so dramatically 28 years later:

“Part of this culvert is constructed of corrugated metal pipe which would be expected to have less longevity of satisfactory service than the reinforced concrete pipes,” engineering consultants Clay Sams and Fred Tucker warned Duke and the commission in their 1986 report.

Sunday, December 15, 2013 - 5:11pm

Shon Demetrius McClain is dead. Shon Demetrius McClain was a father, a husband, someone's brother, someone else's son. He had not even been convicted of a crime. Shon Demetrius McClain was booked into jail for an open container violation, a crime worthy of a citation, a slap on the wrist at worst, and failure to appear on a "drug paraphernalia" charge.

war on drugs
Monday, December 2, 2013 - 4:39pm

... and he did nothing to help his cause in doing so.

During a news conference held by the NC NAACP in Raleigh today, Art Pope came out of his office to tell his side of the story.

Barber and Pope exchanged words as Barber walked toward Pope's office to deliver a letter.

"We want to put a stop to the use of wealth to influence policies in a negative way," Barber said. "That's why it's not a boycott. It's a picket."

Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 10:39am

How does a former Wake County School Board member and failed candidate for state auditor land a seat on the town commission as a write-in candidate with no campaign, in the tiny mountain town she recently moved to? I don't know, but that's exactly what Debra Goldman managed to pull off in the little town of Ronda, located in eastern Wilkes County.

According to Shirley Johnson with the Wilkes County Board of Elections, unofficial tallies show 60 voters wrote in Reece's name, 59 wrote in Goldman's and 75 wrote in Foster's.

Foster is an incumbent who declined to file for re-election but changed his mind and ran as a write-in. He attempted to put Reece on the town board to fill a vacancy in 2012, but [Mayor] Varela derailed the effort.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - 9:20am

Somehow I don't think the editors at meant for this piece to slip through.

"But finally, early on the first Saturday morning following the launch of the exchange site — probably because the rest of the state (unlike my five-year-old) was still asleep -- I was able to log-in and complete my registration and check out all my options for insurance.

There were literally 50 plans that were better than my current insurance -- both with lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs and better coverage. And there were ten plans with a higher premium than my current insurance, but with lower deductibles."

Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 5:53pm

Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel, Invisible Man, has been banned from the shelves of school libraries across Randolph County.  Parents everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that their precious little snowflakes remain unmolested by "hard" reading.

By a 5-2 margin, the Randolph County Board of Education voted Monday night, at its regular meeting held at Eastern Randolph High School, to remove all copies of the book from school libraries.


Voting in favor of the ban were Board Chair Tommy McDonald and members Tracy Boyles, Gary Cook, Matthew Lambeth and Gary Mason. Voting against the action were Board Vice Chair Emily Coltrane and member Todd Cutler who both first introduced a motion to keep the book in the schools. This first motion was defeated by a 2-5 vote.

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 8:21am

While reading this article, about a six page letter from the Legislative Black Caucus to NCDHHS Sec. Wos, demanding answers for the department's many public missteps of late, a couple of things jumped out at me.

First, this:

For the first time in weeks, DHHS Spokesperson Ricky Diaz talked to ABC11 on camera. Diaz got one of those raises -- more than $20,000. We asked him about that and other complaints lodged against the department.

Jon Camp: How do you justify some of those salary increases including your own?

"The secretary, when she walked into the department, walked into a leadership team which was vacant," said Diaz.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 3:55pm

Randolph County is one of the most Republican leaning counties in North Carolina. It should come as no surprise that our entire delegation to the General Assembly is Tea Party red through and through. They aren't just Republicans, these are partisan, hardcore Republicans.

You might recall that in this year's budget community colleges took a substantial cut in funding.

The President of Randolph Community College says he’s changing his tune when it comes to asking state legislators for money.

Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 1:25pm

Moral Monday is on the road again this week, this time gathering voices in Manteo, Burnsville, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The focus in Charlotte will be poverty, and if you don't believe poverty is a problem in your city or town, think again. As noted in this piece from the Observer, things are tough all over.

In this city of bankers and others of affluence, 64,000 people live on an income that’s roughly $11,500 a year for a family of four. That’s considered extreme poverty. In all, more than 140,000 Mecklenburg County residents – 15.6 percent of the county’s population – live in poverty.

Worse, a good chunk of the poor are children. Twenty-two percent of Mecklenburg’s children live in poverty, and an astounding 40 percent of its children of color are poor.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 4:28pm

North Carolina currently holds the distinction of having the fifth highest unemployment rate in the nation. That statistic could change soon, since people who aren't able to draw unemployment benefits no longer count, but sweeping a problem under the rug helps no one.

Cutting unemployment benefits might seem like a smart move to Tea Party legislators in Raleigh, but it's of little use to the thousands of North Carolinians now facing the choice between starvation or working in one of Art Pope or the Walton family's retail sweat shops. There is simply no good reason for our state, once a leader in manufacturing and agriculture, to be in such dire straits.