Duke Energy self-reports "no contamination found" in Lumberton

In a related story, Fluffy the dog says, "I don't know who tore up that couch pillow, but I'll keep an eye out."

Tests near the coal ash site at the closed Weatherspoon Power Plant in Lumberton show no hazardous levels of toxic material, Duke Energy officials said Thursday. Duke just competed groundwater testing near the Lumberton plant, according to Duke spokeswoman Zenica Chatman. The tests showed no impact on nearby wells or the Lumber River, she said.

"We're very encouraged by what we're seeing," she said.

She says, while looking at the stock readout showing Duke Energy's stock stabilizing at around $72 per share. As is often the case when PR makes it into the regular news columns, there's more to be learned in the commentary:

Friday News: Just shoot me now edition

U.S. Rep. McHenry, State Sens. Apodaca, Jackson, Rep. Jeter backing Jeb Bush (AP) — U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry is chairman of Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential bid in the state. Co-chairmen are state Sens. Tom Apodaca and Brent Jackson, along with state Rep. Charles Jeter. Bush’s steering committee includes Darrell Allison, who leads the school-choice group Parents for Educational Freedom in N.C.. Former White House political director Jonathan Felts is the advisor for Bush's campaign in N.C. He recently was an adviser to Gov. Pat McCrory.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/congressman-north-carolina-lawmakers-supporting-jeb-bush-2967047

Eddie Goodall wants state to adverti$e for more charter school applicants

Think of how many more incompetent educators might try their hand if they only knew:

We already spend $20 million annually for lottery advertising, and senators want to spend $10 million more. We spend zero for charter schools. Advertising how to start charter schools in North Carolina offers a greater return on our taxpayer money than lottery advertising.

Better idea. Take $1 million of the lottery ad money and tell families and businesses about how to start a charter school. One primary reason we have dwindling charter applications (71 in 2014 and 40 this year) is that residents are unaware that it is indeed they and partnering neighbors or colleagues who apply to start the schools of choice.

No, the primary reason we have dwindling charter applications is that proponents are realizing it's not nearly as easy as people like you have been telling them. Somewhere around 1/3 of new charter schools close their doors within the first year, many of those never able to hold their first class. And poor financial planning is the major cause:

Thursday News: Pot calls kettle black edition

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Tillman's take: 'Big disconnect in the House' (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Senate majority whip, wrote to his constituents with his views on the state budget impasse. “The NC House is divided on this issue,” he wrote. “When the leadership in the House wants one thing and the caucus wants another — how do you get a deal done? The longer we go without a budget the harder it is to fix the problem. “The House wants to spend too much money. We want to cut taxes, reduce spending and run government more efficiently. Hopefully one day we’ll come to an agreement and go home.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article32...

Is privatization behind NC Senate's cuts to mental health?

I wouldn't bet against it:

Insko is also vice chairwoman of the House's appropriations committee for Health and Human Services. Her committee proposed allocating about $712 million for LMEs this year, a slight bump from the $705 million budgeted last year. The Senate, however, wants to cut LME spending to about $519 million, forcing the organizations to drain their reserves.

The co-chairmen of the chamber's appropriations committee for Health and Human Services—Sens. Louis Pate, Ralph Hise and Tommy Tucker—did not respond to the INDY's interview requests for this story. But when lawmakers rolled out funding cuts for community treatment options in 2013, Pate, a Mount Olive Republican, told the INDY that runaway Medicaid expenses were strangling the state budget. (Medicaid ran a $130 million surplus last year.)

Don't confuse them with real numbers, it might shatter their carefully crafted delusions of private for-profit supermen coming to the rescue. And one of the most active managed care organizations as far as lobbying and campaign donations is United For Health (United Health Care):

Wednesday News: Legislative paralysis version

Leadership lacking (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Educators locally and statewide have by now scratched the L-word from their students’ civics vocabulary lists as their first week is well underway without decisive action from state legislators on spending levels for the new school year.
http://www.reflector.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-leadership-lacking-2965279

Price tag rising for extended legislative session (WRAL-TV) - -While the prolonged budget stalemate has idled lawmakers, the bill for their stay in Raleigh continues to rise.
http://www.wral.com/price-tag-rising-for-extended-legislative-session/14853466/

Tuesday News: Pittenger redefines "integrity" edition

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Pittenger declines, again, to disclose House ethics letter (Charlotte Observer) -- Rep. Robert Pittenger reiterated Monday that he won’t release a letter from the House Ethics Committee that he said approves of the sale of his longtime real estate company to his wife before taking a seat in Congress.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article32279871.html

Pittenger: My former business acted with integrity (Charlotte Observer column) -- From U.S. Rep Robert Pittenger, in response to “Investors question Pittenger markups”
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article32257080.html

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