Teacher turnover in Guilford County just under 15%

That's one out of every six or seven teachers who are walking away:

Guilford County Schools’ teacher turnover rate, 14.95 percent, is the highest since 2007-08, the first year of the recession. The turnover rate that year, 15.7 percent, is the highest during nearly two decades.

When asked about the reasons why teachers are leaving the classroom, some educators also point to teacher pay and a negative political climate around public education...The average salary for a public school teacher in Virginia is about $15,000 more than in North Carolina. And that’s just with a bachelor’s degree.

This is quite possibly the single biggest threat to the future of our state, and what does the Republican-led General Assembly do? They throw a one-time "bonus" at teachers, knowing they will get a healthy chunk of that money back in taxes, while they (once again) cut income taxes for the wealthiest North Carolinians. Their priorities are clear, regardless of rhetoric and data-twisted graphs, and the smarter the teacher is, the more likely he/she will see through the lies and make the decision to leave. So we're not just losing a percentage, were losing the sharp edge, as well.

Thursday News: The Burr in NC's side edition


Dems set sights on Senate majority (The Hill) -- With the field of Senate contenders coming into focus, Democrats see 2016 as a prime opportunity to regain a majority in the upper chamber. Here’s a look at the state of the Senate races based on interviews with insiders from both parties. -- NO-SHOWS: North Carolina and Colorado: Democrats looking to take out Republican Sen. Richard Burr in North Carolina should see him as vulnerable but the list of Democrats who have passed on the race is log, leaving the Democrats relying on untested or obscure candidates. Former Sen. Kay Hagan will not be making a comeback, and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also has declined to run, leaving Democrats to plumb the depths of their second tier. Democrats similarly argue that it’s too early to panic, pointing to former Sen. Hagan’s late entrance into the 2008 Senate race, when she defeated former Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Coal Ash Wednesday: The amazing disappearing fines


$18 million gone, unlike the Dan River coal ash, which is still there:

"This was a pennies-on-the-dollar settlement," Longest says. "And it raises serious concerns about whether [DEQ] is trying to protect the environment of North Carolina or trying to protect Duke from further litigation."

DEQ isn't saying much about the settlement, which also orders Duke to "accelerate" cleanup at four of its most faulty lagoons, in Asheville, Wilmington, Goldsboro and Belews Creek. Through a representative, DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart declined an interview request, directing the INDY instead to the agency's press statement.

Oh no, van der Vaart isn't going to answer any pesky questions, but he will take to the Op-Ed pages and pen a self-righteous rebuttal to any bad press he might receive. As far as that "protecting Duke from further litigation," if it looks and swims and quacks like a corporate duck, well. You know the rest. I was going to add something about how corporate ducks are prone to vicious attacks if you don't throw the bread fragments to them quickly enough, but that would be carrying the duck reference a little too far, so I'll leave that alone.

Group may take over Pittenger properties

And reporters have already lost the main thread of the story:

Charlotte-based South Street Partners is in talks to become the new manager of properties overseen by U.S. Rep Robert Pittenger’s former real estate firm.

Pittenger Land Investments identifies raw tracts in potential growth areas and gathers investors to buy the properties, which are held by limited liability companies. The goal over time is to make a return by selling the properties to developers.

No. That is their "stated" goal, but you skipped millions of dollars that Pittenger already made by scamming those investors. You guys just covered this a few months ago, and you need to keep this part of the story front and center:

Wednesday News: Nancy and Jennifer edition


Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane Wins Her Third Term (TWCN-TV) -- Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has won her third term. She beat Chiropractor Dr. Bob Weltzin.

Next up for Jennifer Roberts in mayor’s race: Edwin Peacock on offense (Charlotte Observer) - -Voters took to her positive, if unspecific, message

Rampant sexual harassment in Mark Meadows' staff office

And he knew all about it:

According to a report in the Huffington Post on Monday, Meadows was told by multiple women about his chief of staff’s behavior in March. The report says Meadows barred West from his D.C. office but reassigned him to an office in the 11th congressional district, and continued paying him; West has since been released with a “sizable severance.”

The report says that payments made to West after the complaints were filed—a full of rate of $38,750 for the period of April 1 through June 30, and continued payment through August 15—could have violated House Ethics rules. The Foundation of Accountability and Civic Trust has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate West’s severance payment.

Gee, thanks. Send him back home so he can harass a whole new set of women, all the while drawing a six-figure salary from taxpayers. Many of whom are also women, by the way, which adds one more layer of WTF to this story. And once all the threads from this debacle get unraveled, Meadows himself may be the subject of ridicule:

Tuesday News: Duke Energy's charitable contributions edition

Coal ash sites worry Belmont residents (WSOC-TV) -- Several Belmont residents are worried coal ash sites they didn't know about could be contaminating their water. In the 1990s, Duke Energy buried 800,000 tons of coal ash at a horse farm and on Holy Angels property in Belmont. Duke spokesperson, Catherine Butler, said, "It can be used as fill material instead of dirt so back in the 1990s, Duke Energy upon the request of different land owners, provided coal ash to be used as fill material."

Tuesday is election day in many places in NC

from WTVD 11 news this morning:

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Tuesday is Election Day in North Carolina. While there are no statewide races, in the ABC11 viewing area, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Nash, Harnett, Vance, Wake, and Wayne counties all have local elections.

Raleigh is picking a mayor and city council. Mayor Nancy McFarlane's running for reelection on a platform of economic development for all, growing downtown, and boosting transit


Charlotte Mayor's Race: Endorsement you decide

Charlotte's second primary is coming to a close and voters will decide tomorrow which Democrat will face Republican Edwin Peacock in November's general election. Roberts is still being called the front runner, but most media sources are not singing her praises. More importantly, former mayoral candidate David Howard and respected LGBT activist and journalist Matt Comer have endorsed Dan Clodfelter.


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