As you may remember, BlueNC used to offer a news round-up under the heading Daily Dose, which was widely read and much appreciated. Unfortunately, we had to stop publishing it, for reasons we'll get into later. It is disturbing story, and it warrants a complete and careful telling, more than I can do right now.
In any case, we're very excited that Daily Dose is back. So please enjoy this excellent summary of today's news, made possible by a good friend of BlueNC.
With Senate bill done, NC House next on coal ash (AP) — It's now the turn of House members to review legislation that creates a 15-year timeline to clean up and dispose of coal ash stored next to Duke Energy power plants in North Carolina.
Rep. Goodman: Coal cleanup shouldn't raise rates (Richmond County Daily Journal) -- State Rep. Ken Goodman doesn’t want Duke Energy customers to get stuck with the tab for the electric company’s coal ash spill cleanup. A bill requiring Duke to close its North Carolina coal ash pits within 15 years is in the state House after gaining final Senate approval last Thursday. Goodman, D-Richmond, said the bill includes a loophole that could allow the company to charge customers for part of the cleanup and closure costs. “Unfortunately, Republican senators voted down an amendment that would have ensured that the rate-payers would not have been responsible for any cost associated with closing coal ash ponds in North Carolina,” Goodman said in a statement. “As this bill moves through the House, I will continue to fight to ensure that the costs of dealing with coal ash are paid by Duke Energy and not by the rate-payers.” Rep. Garland Pierce, D-Hoke, echoed Goodman’s sentiments in a Sunday newsletter to constituents.
NC's "Moral Monday" turns focus on voters (AP) — North Carolina's "Moral Monday" legislative protest movement is turning its focus to voter registration.
Moral Mondays goes statewide in N.C. (Workers World) -- As the short North Carolina legislative session winds down to a close as this article goes to press, the Moral Monday movement is making plans to take the movement on the road during the summer with outreach, education and continued mobilization. Under the banner of “Moral Freedom Summer” — drawing on the 50th anniversary of “Freedom Summer” in 1964 — the North Carolina NAACP announced at the final Moral Monday in Raleigh on June 23 plans to “turn mass mobilization into mass organization.” While much of the effort will be focused on voter registration, young organizers in counties across the state will be engaged in a number of organizing initiatives aimed at deepening the unity built between struggles by the Moral Monday movement and engaging more people in the broader fightback. Plans are in the works for Moral Monday rallies in cities across the state throughout the summer and fall.
Are Arrests Harming Moral Monday Movement? (WUNC-FM) -- The Moral Monday protests from Raleigh have garnered national attention over the past year. A key component of the protests has been media attention on arrests. Dozens were arrested this year for various non-violent offenses, a move some say is becoming an overt aim of many protestors. Amy Laura Hall is a professor of ethics at the Duke Divinity School. She has participated in the Moral Monday protests from the start, but she says the tactic of getting arrested -- or "orderly submission" as she calls it -- is flawed.
Groups competing in N.C. Senate race run TV ads (AP) — Two independent groups on competing sides of North Carolina's U.S. Senate race are running new television ads against their targeted candidates on abortion and education spending.
New US Senate ad highlights education funding (WRAL-TV) -- Senate Majority PAC begins running a new ad Monday that is critical of state House Speaker Thom Tillis' education funding record.
New Senate ad attacks Tillis on education funding (McClatchy Newspapers) -- An outside group supporting U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election will run a new TV ad starting Monday that criticizes her rival House Speaker Thom Tillis for the state legislature’s cuts to education.
Dark money floods in North Carolina's Hagan-Tillis Senate race (Charlotte Observer/Sunlight Foundation) -- Outside groups bought virtually all the ads that one Charlotte TV station has aired in North Carolina’s hotly contested Senate race, and nearly half of the dollars they spent haven’t been reported to the Federal Election Commission. That’s the conclusion of a Sunlight Foundation analysis of all the ad orders received through mid-June at Raycom Media’s WBTV Channel 3, located in the state’s most expensive media market. The race between Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and her Republican challenger, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, has attracted an enormous influx of money that is either impossible to trace to its source, or never reported to the nation’s campaign finance watchdog. Two of the nation’s biggest sources of undisclosed campaign money – unabashed in their backing of Republican candidates -- have combined to spend more than $10.5 million in the North Carolina Senate contest: Americans for Prosperity for at least $7 million and Crossroads GPS for more than $3.5 million.
Rove-backed Crossroads groups reserve $15 million more for fall – a third for N.C. (Washington Post) -- The conservative super PAC American Crossroads and its nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS plan to reserve about $15 million worth of fall air time in five key Senate races, bringing its total investment for the post-Labor Day campaign to more than $20 million in six battleground contests. The Crossroads organizations will reserve about $14.6 million in five states Democrats are defending: North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana and Iowa, the group told Post Politics Monday. The new reserves will come on top of about $5.6 million in fall broadcast and cable advertising time in Alaska American Crossroads reserved last month. … About $5.1 million will go to North Carolina, a state with several expensive media markets. There, Sen. Kay Hagan (D) faces state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in a contest that has already attracted heaps of outside cash. The reserve will cover the period between Sept. 30 and the election.
Supreme Court limits birth control mandate (Washington Post) -- The Supreme Court struck a key part of President Obama’s health-care law Monday, ruling that some companies may refuse to offer insurance coverage of specific birth control methods if they conflict with the owner’s religious beliefs.
A Ruling That Both Sides Can Run With (New York Times) -- Even as conservatives celebrated coming out on the winning side of a divisive social issue, their court victory may have also handed Democrats an issue that will turn out liberal voters. … In North Carolina, a spokeswoman for Senator Kay Hagan promised a “heavy emphasis” on how the court’s decision fits into a broader pattern of Republican attitudes toward women and their health care choices. Some political observers said they doubted the ruling would have much impact. Lynn Vavreck, a professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that the data from the 2012 elections showed the so-called Republican war on women did little to persuade undecided voters to cast their ballots for Democrats. “If I’m a woman with a somewhat liberal point of view,” Ms. Vavreck said, “I’m likely voting for the Democrat. It’s baked in.” But in a sign of how Republicans hope the issue of abortion rights can harm Democrats, Ms. Hagan has found herself the subject of a new attack ad. The commercial draws attention to Democrats who oppose banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The ad features a mother and father talking about how their daughter was born at 23 weeks. “It was a human being that wants to live, that has a soul,” the father says.
Democrats: Hobby Lobby ruling could boost 2014 hopes (Politico) -- Democrats may be decrying the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, but the party’s campaign strategists believe they can use it to their benefit in this year’s midterm elections. Despite the legal setback for Obamacare, the strategists hope the ruling will boost Democrats’ efforts to keep the Senate by persuading some Republican-leaning women to defect in states with competitive races while galvanizing younger women who typically don’t vote in midterms. They argue the 5-4 decision dovetails well with claims that the GOP is waging a “war on women,” a charge they have used effectively in recent elections. … Democrats said the decision could help their Senate incumbents on the margins in Colorado, North Carolina and Montana. … In North Carolina, where he is trying to oust Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, Republican Senate nominee Thom Tillis tweeted: “Today’s SCOTUS rulings were a win for our 1st Amendment freedoms, a loss for Hagan, Obama, & DC bureaucrats.” Hagan’s campaign responded that “the contrast on women’s health in North Carolina could not be clearer today.” “Kay has a record of standing up to protect women’s access to basic preventive care, while Thom Tillis sees no problem with letting employers make personal health decisions for women,” spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said.
Hobby Lobby Ruling Galvanizes GOP and Democrats (Wall Street Journal) -- The latest Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act reinforces the lines of attack both parties are using to mobilize their political bases for the 2014 midterm, while potential presidential candidates signaled the case would resonate into 2016.
Hobby Lobby Decision: Republican Senate Candidates would go further (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee release) -- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued the following news release: Today the Supreme Court ruled that a woman's boss has the right to deny her health insurance coverage for birth control, reminding voters across the country what's at stake in this election. Nearly every GOP Senate candidate in the country supports radical, anti-woman measures that would go even further than today's decision and block birth control access. Nearly every Republican Senate candidate in the country supports wildly unpopular Personhood legislation, which as recently as last cycle was only embraced by the most far-right candidates. Cory Gardner in Colorado, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Terri Lynn Land in Michigan,Joni Ernst in Iowa, and Steve Daines in Montana all support Personhood measures which could ban popular forms of birth control for the women of their states.
Hagan “Extremely Disappointed” In Hobby Lobby Decision (N.C. Political News) -- U.S. Sen.r Kay Hagan (NC) released the following statement on the ruling issued today by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. “I am extremely disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision. It is shameful that a woman’s access to contraception is even up for debate in the year 2014. The choice about whether to use birth control should be between a woman and her doctor, not her boss, and no employer should be allowed to interfere with a woman’s access to contraception.”
Fitzgerald: Hobby Lobby Decision “Incredible Victory For People Of Faith” (N.C. Political News) -— In a the N.C. Values Coalition called a “major victory for religious freedom,” the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that business owners have the right to object on religious grounds to federal mandates like the HHS mandate. Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the N.C. Values Coalition, released the following statement applauding the decision: “This is an incredible victory for people of faith. The federal government has been stopped from running roughshod over the First Amendment rights of people of faith who seek to exercise their religious beliefs freely in their businesses, as well as their personal lives. Limiting the free exercise of religion to the four walls of the church building is never what our Founders intended, and it’s a shame that it took a lawsuit to convince the Obama administration of that.”
After Hobby Lobby decision, both sides jockey for position, money (Washington Post) -- With the Hobby Lobby decision, birth control, religious freedom and abortion are likely to be buzzwords in the 2014 campaign, with women key to the fortunes of both parties.
Democrats Work to Mitigate VA Scandal as Political Issue (Roll Call) -- Politicians have always touted their support for military veterans back home. The willingness to expend federal dollars to provide the best care possible is popular across the partisan spectrum and is rarely cause for controversy. But the issue has been turned on its head in recent months, with the fallout from the Veterans Affairs scandal prompting even the Obama administration to admit a “corrosive culture” at the VA affecting facilities across the country. It’s also invited criticism of vulnerable House and Senate Democrats from Republican candidates and outside groups. For Republican challengers and operatives, the VA scandal offers a striking example of federal government mismanagement with a Democrat at the helm and provides another link between Democratic incumbents and President Barack Obama. … Democratic operatives say privately they don’t believe this issue will hurt the party this fall. But incumbents and candidates are nonetheless moving quickly to fix the crisis and ensure it’s clear they are on the right side. As the targets of GOP attack ads, congressional Democrats have actively highlighted their past and present efforts on behalf of veterans to mitigate any potential for voter backlash. … Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., who’s been criticized by her GOP opponent, invited acting VA Secretary Sloan D. Gibson to the Fayetteville VA Medical Center — which an internal audit found to have some of the longest wait times. They met again on June 25 on Capitol Hill with other Democratic senators, including Mark Begich of Alaska.
Tillis: Hagan Backed By Left-Wing Moveon.Org (N.C. Political News) -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis’ campaign says that “left-wing special interests continue to pile on their support for Washington liberal Kay Hagan.” The release highlights a recent endorsement of Hagan’s candidacy by the “radical” MoveOn.org group. The Tillis campaign’s release says that the MoveOn.org endorsement raises questions over “whether Hagan supports the group’s extreme ideological positions and controversial activities, including advocating for cuts to defense spending.” The release adds that Hagan accepted over $100,000 in campaign contributions from MoveOn.org during her 2008 campaign.
Congressional District 6 candidates prepare for final stretch (Greensboro News & Record) -- With only two weeks remaining before the GOP runoff in the 6th Congressional District, both candidates are pouring time and resources into getting their supporters to the polls on July 15. Former minister Mark Walker and Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. are vying for the GOP nomination for the seat now held by Republican Howard Coble. The winner meets Democrat Laura Fjeld in the general election on Nov. 4. Walker said he feels he’s entering the last sprint with a groundswell of support.
NC board rejects legislative candidate's complaint (AP) — A second North Carolina regulatory panel has rejected allegations by the Democratic challenger of state Rep. Tim Moffitt that the Republican offered him a state job in exchange for pulling out of their election this fall.
Environmentalists’ TV campaign expands targets (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Environmental groups who have attacked in TV ads a handful of Republican lawmakers for their support of fracking are expanding their targets, as promised.
In time for Fourth of July, a study of America's red and blue voters (LA Times) -- As America prepares to celebrate the red, white and blue come Friday, a new study sheds fresh light on the reds and the blues as well as the broad political middle where most Americans reside, not pleased but not terribly engaged, either.
SHORT SESSION – DAY 49; OVERTIME 1 DAY=$50,000
No deal in sight (WRAL-TV) -- Senators have dug in on their position that Medicaid estimates by Gov. Pat McCrory and the state House are too rosy, and Senate leader Phil Berger predicted it could take most of July to work through the impasse. Among the meetings on today's calendar - the Council of State meets first thing this morning.
NC House mini-budget returned to sender by Senate (AP) — The North Carolina Senate unceremoniously ditched a House bill that was designed to hasten state budget talks with a rare maneuver Monday night that could instead aggravate negotiations between Republicans in both chambers.
Senate swiftly rejects House 'mini budget' and teacher pay plan (Voter Update Magazine) -- so much for the latest legislative attempt to quickly pass through a teacher pay raise. After the Republican-led N.C. House last week unanimously approved an alternate state budget more narrowly focused on increasing educator salaries and backed by Gov. Pat McCrory, the GOP-controlled N.C. Senate threw the plan right back on Monday night, rejecting the measure without even taking a vote. Senate Rules Committee Chair Tom Apodaca was scathing in his criticism of the measure, noting that this new, smaller spending plan arrived at the Senate even as the two chambers are locked in negotiations over a more comprehensive state budget passed by the House two weeks ago. “There are a number of problems with this latest political gimmick,” Apodaca said. “The biggest problem is the bill violates the balanced budget requirement in our Constitution and in our State Budget Act.” According to Apodaca, a key chasm between the House and Senate centers on Medicaid funding.
“GIMMICK:” Senate swats House 'plan B' budget (WRAL-TV) -- The Senate said a bid by House leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory to raise teacher salaries without passing a larger budget is a "political gimmick."
NC Senate rejects House education mini-budget without even a vote (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Using a rare procedural maneuver, the Senate rejected the House’s education-focused spending plan without so much as a vote Monday. Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca sent the mini-budget – endorsed by Gov. Pat McCrory – back to the House without considering it, citing a rule that allows the chamber to return a spending bill that is not balanced. Apodaca said the $134 million the House put toward Medicaid won’t cover the state’s obligations for the health insurance program and the budget didn’t include enough money for its pension obligations. But more than anything, Apodaca said, the move was designed to send a message. “We are serious about getting a budget deal and it’s time to stop playing games,” the Hendersonville Republican.
Berger: Medicaid primary sticking point in budget (WRAL-TV) -- With a new fiscal year beginning Tuesday, lawmakers remain far apart in negotiations on a state budget. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Monday that Medicaid is the main issue holding up an agreement. Any budget deal must include better control on Medicaid spending, including a reduction in how many people are eligible for the health care assistance, he said. "We want reductions in the welfare spending that is ongoing at the present time," Berger said. The spending plan the Senate adopted in late May would cut thousands of elderly and disabled from the Medicaid rolls and would push for a managed care-type system to control future costs. The House and Gov. Pat McCrory favor a plan that puts physicians and other health care providers in charge of cost control and doesn't change eligibility requirements.
With Senate bill done, NC House next on coal ash (AP) — It's now the turn of House members to review legislation that creates a 15-year timeline to clean up and dispose of coal ash stored next to Duke Energy power plants in North Carolina.
House OKs remote testimony, but no funding (WRAL-TV) -- State House lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a measure that would allow State Crime Lab analysts to testify via videoconferencing. But the bill includes no money for the technology.
McCrory threatens veto of charter school bill (AP) — North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory threatened to veto a bill Monday that would shield charter school teachers from publicly disclosing their names and salaries.
Omnibus criminal justice bill passes NC House (AP) — A wide-ranging bill making changes to criminal justice laws has cleared the North Carolina House, but not before lawmakers would give appellate court judges the right to carry lawfully-permitted concealed weapons for their safety.
House backs off med student set-aside (WRAL-TV) -- House lawmakers have backed off a bid to require UNC Hospitals to set aside 25% of clinical rotation spots for students from the state's other allopathic and osteopathic medical schools.
POLICY & POLITICS
NAACP seeks to extend deadline for eugenics claims (AP) -- North Carolina's NAACP chapter and others are calling on legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory to extend Monday's deadline for victims of the state's 20th century eugenics program to formally apply for compensation.
Commerce Jobs (N.C. Insider) -- Four high-ranking Commerce Department employees are being offered jobs as vice presidents in the new Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the chairman of the partnership's board of directors said Monday. During a conference call meeting last week, the board authorized the hiring of Jean Davis, Wit Tuttell, John Loyack and David Spratley, John Lassiter said. Davis will make $120,000 a year, and the three other vice presidents will make $110,000, he said.
Orange County pulls financial support from Research Triangle Regional Partnership (Triangle Business Journal) -- Economic development officials in Orange County, one of the original 13 counties that used to make up Research Triangle Regional Partnership's sphere of influence, have opted to not renew their financial support in the new fiscal year.
On the Next Docket: How the First Amendment Applies to Social Media (New York Times) -- A man says the violent rap lyrics he posted on social media were art, but he was locked up for threatening his ex-wife. The Supreme Court will weigh in next term.
McCrory passes over LGBT protections in new employment order (Q Note) -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory passed over protections for LGBT workers in signing a new executive order today barring employment discrimination for state workers. Statewide LGBT advocates are condemning the exclusion and are insisting the governor revisit the new order. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the governor has falsely claimed the new order mirrors federal employment language which already includes protections for LGBT workers. The executive order was signed on Monday and prohibits discrimination against state employees on the basis of “race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.”
Gov. McCrory signs anti-discrimination order for state employ (Voter Update Magazine) -- Republican Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday issued an executive order requiring equal employment opportunities for all state employees and applicants for employment “without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability and genetic information.” McCrory's four immediate predecessors – Jim Martin, Jim Hunt, Mike Easley and Bev Perdue – also signed executive orders on anti-discrimination policies “This order ensures fairness and encourages people to work for state government,” McCrory said. “Insisting on nondiscrimination will strengthen our state and demonstrate that we value diversity of thought and each of our citizens’ unique backgrounds.” According to the governor’s office, there are more than 87,000 employees throughout state government agencies, universities and community colleges in North Carolina.
Western NC’s only abortion provider closes, new clinic opening delayed (Carolnia Mercury) -- The only abortion clinic in western North Carolina closed its doors on Saturday, leaving the region without an abortion provider for at least six months. Planned Parenthood responded to news of Femcare’s closure earlier this year with plans to open a new clinic in Asheville in mid-summer to ensure continuity of services for the region, but that clinic opening has been delayed
After privatization, booze costs more in Washington state (Washington Post) -- Taxes meant to keep the initiative revenue-neutral are hitting consumers’ bottom lines.
Longer ferry route to cost NC $1 million more (AP) — North Carolina will pay about $1 million extra this year to provide ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands since a longer route must be used because continued shoaling makes the traditional route unsafe, state officials said.
NCAA Reopens Investigation Into UNC Academics (Inside Higher Ed) -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association will reopen a 2011 investigation into academic misconduct at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the university announced Monday. The original investigation concluded that the university had not violated any NCAA rules when it allowed no-show classes in African and Afro-American Studies to count toward students' athletic eligibility. At the time, it was determined that -- as other students also took the courses -- there was no indication that athletes received more favorable treatment than non-athletes. No evidence was found that the students received grades without submitting some work even if the classes did not meet, the university said in 2012.
NCAA reopens investigation at UNC over academic misconduct (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Amid years of questions surrounding the relationship between athletics and academic fraud at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the NCAA is reopening its investigation into academic improprieties at UNC, the university announced Monday.
New NC laws take effect July 1 (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A number of new laws go into effect Tuesday, from inmate healthcare to clinical chiropractic standards to concealed-carry gun permits.
Wilmington-to-Charlotte bus service set to begin (AP) — Extended intercity service provided through the N.C. Department of Transportation means the beach is a bus ride away from some towns.
Joines only N.C. mayor to join homeless initiative (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The encouragement taken from progress in reducing chronic homelessness in Winston-Salem has inspired Mayor Allen Joines to tackle the same problem with veterans. Joines is the only North Carolina mayor participating in the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness, led by first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.
Deadline extended again in Dix negotiations (WRAL-TV) -- There is no deal yet over the future of the Dorothea Dix property near downtown Raleigh. "We're still talking and making headway," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said Monday. The City of Raleigh and state government have been working on a deal over the property for months. Negotiations began after lawmakers objected to a long-term lease deal forged by then-Gov. Bev Perdue in late 2012 as she was about to leave office. Rather than head to court, both sides agreed to put that lease deal on hold until May this year.
Documents: Blackwater guards were out of control (AP) — A State Department investigator warned that contractors for Blackwater Worldwide saw themselves as above the law and that the contractors, rather than department officials, were in command, according to a memo disclosed Monday.
Marine accused of desertion returned to US unit (AP) — A Marine corporal who was declared a deserter nearly 10 years ago after disappearing in Iraq under mysterious circumstances was held Monday at a North Carolina brig after being apprehended in the Middle East, a spokesman said.
McCrory Appoints for Environmental Management, Emergency Response, Sheriff Training (Voter Update Magazine) -- The office of Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday announced appointments to commissions on environmental management, emergency response and training standards for sheriff offices.
King named president of Asheville-Buncombe Tech (AP) — The interim president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is getting the job on a permanent basis. The school's board of trustees voted Monday to name Dennis King as president.
Vidant: Town didn't fulfill agreement (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Belhaven officials’ latest accusations against Vidant Health are an attempt to divert attention from their failure to fulfill their agreement to have a viable plan to take over operations of Pungo Hospital, a Vidant administrator said Monday.
Concord Mills debuts sales event to replace tax-free weekend (Triad Business Journal) -- Concord Mills will debut a new sales event to provide shoppers with discounts lost when North Carolina ended its tax-free holidays.
Someone steals 36 snakes from NC store (AP) -- Why did it have to be snakes?
New Bern chef wins Food Network episode (Jacksonville Daily News) -- New Bern has won its second Food Network cooking competition since 2012, and this time it came down to key lime pie. Persimmons chef Gerry Fong beat out three other chefs to take the crown
Apple Expands iTunes U Education App for iPads (New York Times) -- Apple will soon take another step toward persuading schools to ditch textbooks in favor of iPads by giving instructors a tool to teach from the tablet. … Apple has been making an aggressive push to get iPads widely used in schools, and its efforts have been fairly successful. The company says 10 million iPads are now in use in schools around the world. Apple has 94 percent of the tablet market share in schools in the United States, according to the research firm IDC. Some schools, like Montlieu Academy of Technology in North Carolina, have reported an improvement in average test scores after iPads were incorporated into classrooms.
'Tammy' boon for the East (Wilmington StarNews) -- Tammy, a new film to be released this weekend starring Melissa McCarthy, spent about $14 million in the state last year during its production.
Bayer CropScience Continues To Grow RTP Headquarters (WUNC-FM) -- Bayer CropScience is moving forward with multi-million dollar plans to upgrade its North American and Global Seeds headquarters in Research Triangle Park. Bayer CropScience’s latest announcement includes building a new greenhouse in RTP. The greenhouse will include research on seeds, plant disease and insect testing. The greenhouse, plus surrounding infrastructure and parking expansion will cost about $29.6 million.
Bayer CropScience to make $30M investment in RTP (WRAL-TV) -- Bayer CropScience's $29.6 million expansion at its North American and Global Seeds headquarters in RTP also will include a 29,500-square-foot greenhouse to enhance agricultural and bioscience industry leadership in the Triangle.
Chatham-Randolph Megasite Seen as Ideal Location for Auto Plant (TWCN-TV) -- It's North Carolina's only megasite certified for a single large user and backers believe the recent state certification of the Chatham-Randolph megasite could lure an automaker.
Non-profit that helps NC veterans looks to expand (TWCN-TV) -- A non-profit that supports members of the armed services in the Tar heel state is celebrating its best year yet. Operation North State helps out North Carolina troops in need, both overseas and at home.
Durham-based Automated Insights lands $5.5M in deal with AP (WRAL-TV) -- Durham-based Automated Insights, which uses proprietary robotic technology to produce content for web sites, has landed $5.5 million in new venture capital funding. The Associated Press, which is an investor, also says it will use Automated Insights for some news stories.
8th Legionnaires' case confirmed; cases now suspected beyond health facilities (Wilson Times) -- Wilson County health officials confirmed an eighth case of Legionnaires’ disease Monday linked to Wilson Pines, a nursing and rehabilitation facility.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
UNC gets $11 million in fed funds to expand solar energy research (UNC News) -- The Energy Frontier Research Center for Solar Fuels (EFRC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received $10.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences to advance emerging solar energy technologies and to turn these technologies into devices that can efficiently produce fuels. This award, part of a $100 million initiative from the Department of Energy for research, allows the UNC EFRC to continue to create innovative approaches to producing solar fuels with the energy of the sun stored for night-time use. It will build upon the center’s capstone project: the dye-sensitized photoelectrosynthesis cell. DOE support will be used to optimize device components and integrate them into devices for generating and storing solar fuels for long durations, at low cost and with earth-abundant materials. The UNC EFRC for Solar Fuels is led by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Thomas J. Meyer, Arey Professor of Chemistry. It benefits from research collaborators at the University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology and Research Triangle Institute and strong institutional support from UNC.
UNC snags $11M to harness the power of the sun (Triangle Business Journal) -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got a big cash boost in its efforts to discover solar technologies of the future : $10.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.
System off Florida on track to become Tropical Storm Arthur; NC effect unclear (AP) -- The 2014 hurricane season may get its first named event Tuesday as the National Hurricane Center says a system off the Florida coast is expected to become Tropical Storm Arthur, but its effect in North Carolina is questionable.
Forecast: Hurricane off Carolinas coast on July 4th (Charlotte Observer) -- Forecasters aren’t expecting a powerful hurricane, but the storm – which will be named Arthur when it reaches tropical storm status, probably later Tuesday – could bring heavy rain and high surf to the coast.
Regions hires Wells banker to lead energy group (Charlotte Observer) --Regions Bank said Monday that it has hired a former Wells Fargo Securities banker to lead its group that provides financing and other capital markets services to energy companies. Brian Tate will be based in Charlotte, reporting to John Barton, head of specialized industries. Regions has a growing capital markets operation in Charlotte.
Is Duke Energy following its home state's turn to the right? (Environment & Energy) -- Jim Rogers is burnishing his reputation as an influential former utility executive willing to prod the industry to tackle climate change and embrace a cleaner, smarter grid. But he admits his calls to action -- and his legacy following a seven-year run as CEO of the politically powerful Duke Energy Corp. -- are on shaky ground in North Carolina, where a conservative takeover is complicating green policymaking and climate action. Making matters worse, his hand-picked successor at Duke is facing scrutiny over a massive coal ash spill and efforts to slash payments to homes and businesses generating solar energy, among other controversies. "Legislation that fundamentally changes how utilities are regulated requires building a consensus among Republicans and Democrats and all the various stakeholders engaged with utilities," Rogers said during a recent phone interview from his office in Charlotte. "It requires being open to the possibility that climate change is a reality, and I don't think the Republicans in North Carolina believe it's a reality, a possibility even."
Garbage Power: Landfill Generates Enough Energy For 4,000 Homes (WUNC-FM) -- The South Wake Landfill in Apex is putting its garbage to work. Wake County recently hosted an open house for its landfill gas power plant. Solid Waste Director John Roberson said the plant is making money and producing electricity from the garbage that's decomposing inside the dump and cutting down on bad smells there.
Duke Energy still considering making request to pay less for solar power (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Installers of rooftop solar systems say the uncertainty over 'net metering' is taking some of the sizzle out of their business.
Officials clash over beach contamination warnings (AP) — A federal plan to lower thresholds for warning the public about contaminated beach water is drawing protests from state officials in the Great Lakes region and along the ocean coasts who say the revisions could unnecessarily scare away swimmers.
Mosquito-borne virus reported in Buncombe County (AP) — A third case of a mosquito-borne virus that can sicken victims for weeks has been confirmed in North Carolina.
4 NC Beaches Receive Superstar Status (TWCN-TV) -- The National Resources Defense Council ranked the state fifth out of 30 for water quality.
Putting the "Sea" in Cleanup (Coastal Review) -- This summer the N.C. Coastal Federation is taking people out on the water to pick up marine debris from local islands.
Opposition to wood pellet facility gathers steam (Wilmington Star-News) -- A group of environmental organizations is holding a public hearing here Tuesday
New York Communities Can Ban Fracking, Court Rules (Wall Street Journal) -- The ruling is a victory for opponents who have used zoning laws in more than 170 towns and cities to pass bans or moratoria on fracking.
North Dakota's Fracking Problem (Wall Street Journal) -- North Dakota is forced to burn off 30% of the natural gas produced from fracking in the Bakken Shale as pipeline infrastructure and regulations struggle to keep pace with the state's oil boom.
Contraception ruling a setback (Charlotte Observer) -- The Supreme Court’s narrow 5-4 decision on Monday allowing some for-profit corporations to opt out of contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act might have turned on this comment from Justice Anthony Kennedy, most often the high court’s swing vote. Because the Obama administration had granted religious accommodations to other groups, he questioned whether the contraception mandate was critical to public health. “It must have been that the coverage was not that important,” Kennedy said during oral arguments.
Hobby Lobby ruling expands corporate rights (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling reduces access to contraception and expands corporate rights.
Expand the cleanup in bill (Fayetteville Observer) -- t's been nearly five months since a massive coal-ash spill on the Dan River, and North Carolina lawmakers and residents are still grappling with what the disaster will mean for communities across the state that deal with coal-ash pollution on a daily basis. As we saw when the Waterkeeper Alliance released its results from well-water sampling of homes near the Buck Steam Station in Rowan County, coal ash is not just a political talking point. It's a real problem that affects children and families, and that has some communities living in fear of their own faucets. The only way to ensure that drinking water and people's homes are protected from this toxic threat is to remove all ash from unlined pits and move it to lined storage away from waterways. While the state Senate claimed that its bill was sufficient to contain coal ash and minimize its impacts on neighbors, it overlooks several key factors.
Coal-ash cleanup (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Well, it’s progress. The state Senate has improved some proposals on regulating power plant residue.
ALEC and tax-cut magic (New York Times column) -- Two years ago Kansas embarked on a remarkable fiscal experiment: It sharply slashed income taxes without any clear idea of what would replace the lost revenue.
Edenton a testament to the power of NC's historic preservation tax credits (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Small rural NC towns like Edenton are fighting hard to keep our communities economically viable. The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program is a mighty strong weapon that North Carolina towns and cities have in their arsenal in this fight. It's a weapon we need state legislators to save.