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."

Charlotte Mayor's Race: Endorsement Roundup...now 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.

Conflicts of interest abound in NC Fracking "regulation"

Starting with the suppression of local government:

Before adjourning their session last week, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law prohibiting towns, cities and counties from adopting any regulations or ordinances on natural gas drilling or the controversial practice commonly known as fracking.

The provision appears to have put the kibosh on efforts by the city of Sanford and the Lee County commissioners, who had wanted to consider additional regulations of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

For those who have been following this issue closely, it will come as no surprise that Lee County is the epicenter of this legal earthquake. Between coal ash dumps and being in the crosshairs of frackers due to likely shale deposits, citizens are understandably concerned. But it's also home to a small group of influential pro-frackers determined to enrich themselves and their friends, no matter the environmental cost:

Monday News: Miranda rewritten edition


Public defender's offices might lose some independence (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The agency that oversees public defenders across North Carolina would lose independence under a change made in the state budget, Forsyth County Public Defender Paul James said last week. The change is twofold. The first change is transferring the N.C. Office of Indigent Defense Services to the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. The second change, which is more troubling to James, would authorize the director of the state Administrative Office of the Courts to modify the budget of Indigent Defense Services without the approval of its board.

Blistering editorial on #NCGA big-government bullying tactics

And the courage of those who stood up to them:

Before ending its session early Wednesday morning, members of the legislature took one more crack at government overreach, trying to pass measures that would limit the authority and decision-making ability of local city and county governments. And they did so through underhanded methods that should put them to shame.

Fortunately, watchdogs from the media and advocacy groups, as well as other legislators, were paying attention, and the Rules Committee killed the bill.

Unfortunately, there have been many more bills that weren't killed in Committee, that passed floor votes, and were signed by the Governor, that were just as deserving of shame as this piece of Legislation. Including this unnecessarily cruel attack on unemployed hungry people:

Sunday News: Swim at your own risk edition

Study: Polluted Runoff Reaches N.C. Beaches (N.C. Health News) — Septic tanks and bird droppings contribute to the stew of pollutants that pour into the ocean during and after storms on the Outer Banks, but measures to remediate the toxic flow could prove to be costly and politically difficult. A draft report on a stormwater pilot project almost a decade in the making details episodic elevated levels of bacteria from fecal contamination at Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills beaches in the vicinity of nine ocean outfalls – large pipes maintained by the state Department of Transportation.

Alamance County Sheriff not off the hook yet

I wonder how he feels about having to look over his shoulder constantly?

The U.S. Justice Department is appealing a judge's ruling clearing a North Carolina sheriff of allegations he ordered deputies to target Hispanic residents for enforcement, violating their civil rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said it had received complaints about Johnson, his deputies, and their treatment of Latinos for years. Johnson denied the allegations. The Republican was elected to a fourth four-year term in November after running unopposed.

It's bad enough that he runs his office like a tyrant, using his deputies as a blunt object with which to strike out against imagined dark-skinned enemies. But in order to create like-minded drones, he sends his deputies off to anti-immigrant indoctrination camps, as well:

Saturday News: Teacher exodus continues edition

Teacher turnover rises in N.C public schools (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Teacher turnover rose last school year to the highest in the past five years in North Carolina public schools, including Triangle school systems, according to a new state report.

More Teachers Leave N.C. To Teach In Other States (WUNC-FM) -- More teachers are leaving North Carolina to teach in other states, according to a report from the Department of Public Instruction. It shows 1,082 of the state’s teachers left for classrooms in other parts of the country last year. That’s more than triple the number that left for other states in 2010.

Art Pope's crusade against Eastern NC wind farm

Sure to earn him kudos at the next Koch Brothers retreat:

Jillanne Gigi Badawi and her husband Stephen Owens, residents of Perquimans County, are asking the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings to force state regulators to subject the Amazon wind project to a new regulatory review. The couple is being aided by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank that has criticized renewable energy as a costly boondoggle.

Iberdrola has secured about a dozen permits, approvals and certificates for the wind farm. They include the N.C. Utilities Commission, state erosion-control and storm-water permits, county conditional use permits, and approval from the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

Talk about hypocrisy. Renewable energy apparently has the dubious honor of being the only business sector that faux-Libertarians in JLF and Civitas believe is not regulated enough. Maybe the puppets need another lecture from el Presidente John Hood:

Friday News: Really wet instead of crazy wet edition

Track of Joaquin moves farther offshore (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- While Governor Pat McCrory declared a State of Emergency in all North Carolina's 100 counties on Oct. 1, National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge Richard Bandy told the Sentinel that "based on wind speed probabilities." Hurricane Joaquin has—as of today—been downgraded. The forecast now calls for "tropical storm conditions possible" for Sunday and Monday.


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