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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Advocates: Census citizenship question could harm already undercounted NC communities

“Is this person a citizen of the United States?” To some that might seem like a simple question to put on the 2020 census, but to some already undercounted populations it perpetuates fear and creates a real possibility for their communities to lose resources.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers – a closer look at private drinking water wells post-Florence

Many Robeson County residents have drinking water that is more acidic than strong black coffee, while a smaller number of private wells water contained higher than recommended levels of Chromium 6 or lead.

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News Top Story

Will 2019 bring an end to partisan gerrymandering?

Cases from NC, Virginia, Maryland could provide vehicle for Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling Three U.S. Supreme Court gerrymandering cases originating in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina could change control of one state capitol and possibly establish a new standard for how far states can go in drawing partisan political boundaries after the 2020 elections.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Days appear to be numbered for Winston-Salem Confederate monument

At the corner of 4th and Liberty Streets in downtown Winston-Salem, the city is changing. A construction crew is working throughout the week, where a pile of demolition debris will soon become a Hotel Indigo - part of a chain of hip, modern boutique hotels.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

With ‘Raise the Age’ taking effect in December, N.C. prepares for a landmark criminal justice reform

Raising the age of juvenile justice in North Carolina this year is going to come with a steep price tag, but there are 20,000 kids with their futures at stake counting on the adults in charge to get it right.

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Must Reads News Top Story

Evictions: An ongoing epidemic in North Carolina

Eviction, and the displacement that follows, is a very harsh reality for many North Carolina residents. With ever increasing rent prices, the inadequacy of investment in affordable housing programs, compounded by the loss of affordable units because of expiring subsidies and stagnant wages...

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at Read to Achieve and early childhood literacy

The State Board of Education holds its first meeting of 2019 this week. Members will discuss the findings of a new statewide report on North Carolina's Read to Achieve program. The initiative passed by the General Assembly in 2012 was designed to insure students could read at grade-level by third grade.

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Environment Top Story

5 takeaways from Gov. Cooper’s document dump about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Gov. Roy Cooper's office did coordinate with state environmental officials on the timing of a key water quality permit approval and a controversial $57.8 million deal with Dominion Energy over the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

But a Policy Watch review of more than 19,000 pages of public records found no evidence that the voluntary fund, outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between Cooper's office and Dominion, explicitly greased the way for project to proceed. Republican lawmakers have repeatedly alleged that the permit approval was contingent upon Dominion ponying up $57.8 million for a voluntary economic development fund. Both the approval and the fund were announced on the same day, Jan. 26, 2018, just 23 minutes apart.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: NC ends the year with the nation’s highest number of board certified teachers

This month, 557 teachers across the state earned their national certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. With nearly 22,000 teachers having earned the respected credential...

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Education Top Story

“Lawyers, guns and money”: Stories that mattered to North Carolina schools in 2018

1. North Carolina superintendent trips over state laws, critics say North Carolina’s massive purchase of tablets, intended to boost tech for elementary literacy, came and went quietly in June, but the events preceding state Superintendent Mark Johnson’s move did not.

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Environment Top Story

The war on the environment in 2018: Five stories that mattered

2018 will go down as the Year of So Much Winning. When the smoke clears from the manufactured border crisis, foreign policy SNAFUs, financial meltdowns, presidential Twitter tantrums, and other mind-boggling behavior from the executive branch, we can also see an EPA in complete disarray...

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Through the looking glass: 2018 courts news sets NC up for what to watch in 2019

There weren’t the same fireworks in the courts world this year, but there certainly was plenty of news to reflect back on. Lawmakers have been in session a large part of the year, and working on things like voter ID, changing the Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement and working out a deal on judicial redistricting.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Five of the top PW Investigates stories of 2018

1) Trove of emails provides a window into conflicts at UNC The University of North Carolina system has for several years struggled with the increasing politicization of the UNC Board of Governors, the members of which are appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Documents: Federal prosecutors knew of Bladen County voting allegations, but took no action

Voting rights advocates say GOP priorities drove Trump appointee to ignore allegations, focus resources elsewhere The State Board of Elections compiled evidence and interviews detailing a systematic ballot fraud operation in Bladen County two years ago...

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Environment Top Story

Meeting Gov. Cooper’s climate change mandate will take more than just turning out the lights. It will require a new way of thinking.

About five years ago, before the public widely knew that the world's greenhouse gas emissions were tipping the climate over the point of no return, Alex Johnson, Durham's urban forester, was weighing what trees to plant to replace the mass die-off of the city's willow oaks.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

GOP wants to shield investigations from public scrutiny; Cooper won’t go along

Governor calls on lawmakers to "fix" elections bill that would expand secrecy “Democracy dies in darkness” isn’t a new phrase but it’s certainly one that has gotten a lot of attention in the Trump era. North Carolina Republicans, though, are apparently working from a different playbook, and give evidence of wanting to dim the lights dramatically.

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