Sunday News: Cause & effect version

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WATER OPTIONS OFFERED TO RESIDENTS NEAR LUMBERTON COAL ASH SITE (Fayetteville Observer) -- Duke Energy is offering residents who live near a coal ash site $5,000 if they agree not to sue the company. The offer was discussed during a meeting Wednesday when Duke Energy officials talked to the residents about ways the company can provide water to them.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170301/water-options-offered-to-residents-near-lumberton-coal-ash-...

DUKE ENERGY CEO’S PAY JUMPED 27 PERCENT TO $13.8 MILLION LAST YEAR (Charlotte Observer) -- Duke Energy chairman and CEO Lynn Good’s pay jumped 27 percent last year to about $13.8 million, the company said Friday in its shareholder proxy statement.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article136276868.html

Tillis MIA too

Richard Burr is rightfully getting skewered for allowing our democracy to be held ransom to Russian oligarchs, but don't forget there's another senator supposedly representing North Carolina, Thom Tillis. Though a lightweight in his first term, Tillis is nonetheless a United States Senator, and as such, has enormous power should he choose to exercise it.

Saturday News: Gerrymandering goes to trial

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LAWSUITS TESTING POLITICAL GERRYMANDERING CLAIMS MOVE TO SUMMER TRIAL (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Two lawsuits questioning the breadth to which N.C. lawmakers can design congressional districts for partisan gain are on path toward a summer trial. A panel of three federal judges issued a ruling on Friday rejecting a request by state lawmakers to dismiss the cases filed last year by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, two organizations that have been critical of partisan gerrymandering by both parties. The federal judges — James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama) and U.S. District Judges William Osteen Jr. (appointed by Republican President George W. Bush) and W. Earl Britt (appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter) — noted the novelty of the arguments put forward in the cases challenging the maps drawn and approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016. But they also noted “obstacles the plaintiffs must overcome to prevail.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article136347448.html

Environmental Injustice: Public comment stifled on Richmond County Enviva project

Tearing down the forests is apparently not enough, now they're muzzling the opposition:

A press conference will be held by The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, a local citizen engagement group, to voice concerns about the health and environmental concerns of locating an Enviva wood pellet facility in this predominantly black community. Concerned residents have on multiple occasions attempted to address the county with their concerns, and have been repeatedly denied. On March 7th, the Richmond County Commissioners will hold their monthly meeting, and representatives from Enviva will appear to speak on the agenda. The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County have once again been denied the opportunity to speak during the public comment section.

Concerned citizens fear this facility will create harmful particulate matter and pollutants, will create constant noise and disrupt their quality of life, and clog up roads with dangerous truck traffic. The County has offered Enviva $1.6 million in direct cash incentives and property tax breaks of up to 85%, which residents oppose as a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

Press conference is this Tuesday (3/7), and there will be a rally March 25th. Please spread the word about both, because this issue touches on both deforestation and environmental justice, not to mention the stifling of public comment. The Richmond County Commissioners have set up pretty zany rules about what you can say and when:

Friday feel-good: Tarheels give back via Peace Corps

It ain't all Ivory Tower Intellectualism:

For the third year in a row, UNC-Chapel Hill has moved up in the rankings of the Peace Corps’ Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges and Universities list. UNC-Chapel Hill ranks No. 7 among large schools, up from No. 12 last year.

According to the Peace Corps, 51 Tar Heels volunteered around the world in 2016. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, nearly 1,300 Carolina alumni have served as volunteers overseas.

Just a quick anecdote: In my travels as a US Army soldier during the latter years of the Cold War, I came in contact with Peace Corps folks quite often. We had some fairly intense debates about *how* to achieve peaceful situations worldwide, but the truth is, the work they did (and do) far surpasses what military training and intervention are capable of. Why? Because conflict is almost always caused by the struggle to survive, the desperate need for life's essentials, like food, potable water, shelter, security, etc. If you can help people secure these things with their own two hands, conflict becomes far less likely. It sounds simplistic, but it is the truth, and the Peace Corps has accomplished so much in the "avoided conflict" category it's impossible to quantify. That's Meagan Meekins pictured above, and if you see her on campus, don't run. She's the UNC-CH Peace Corps recruiter, and she can help you figure out where you want to go and what you want to do.

Exporting bigotry: NC man charged in gay-bashing incident in Key West

Because we don't already have a bad enough reputation:

Kevin Seymour and Kevin Price told police that about 1 a.m. on Feb. 23, they were riding bicycles in the 700 block of Duval when they saw a man swerving on a rented scooter. Seymour says he shouted to warn the scooter rider, identified by police as Davis, that he almost hit a car. Davis yelled, “You guys are a couple of fags,” “I bet you faggots voted for that bitch Hillary” and “You live in Trump country now,” police say.

When Seymour threatened to call police, Davis allegedly told him, “If you do that, I’ll cut you up.” At one point, the scooter rider struck the rear tire of Seymour’s bike, knocking him to the ground. Seymour and Price got the scooter tag number before he fled. The scooter was rented from A and M Rentals. It was found parked near the Southernmost Point.

Dude, you're on fricking vacation. Leave the hate at home, for God's sake. I fear "Florida Man" may end up playing second fiddle to "North Carolina Man" in the national "Holy shit what did he do now?" competition...

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