News

News

Environment Top Story

NC Senate appoints industry front group member to Oil and Gas Commission slot reserved for conservation voice

Jim Womack has a reputation in North Carolina for being many things, but a conservationist isn’t one of them.

An outspoken fracking proponent, of course. A blogger who, under the pseudonym James Madison, likened President Obama to a Marxist Muslim imam, sure. A Tea Party supporter and Lee County Commissioner who voted to dismantle the environmental board — yes, that happened.

...
Read more 0
Education Top Story

Facing charter takeover, Robeson County leaders tell state to stay out

Just days after a North Carolina official tapped a Robeson County elementary for a controversial charter takeover district, local leaders say the state isn’t welcome in Southside-Ashpole Elementary.

“The governor of North Carolina and the legislators cannot justify that, as far as I’m concerned,” Jerry Stephens, a Robeson County commissioner, told Policy Watch Tuesday. “It’ll be such a great fall-out.”

...
Read more 0
Education Top Story

Documents point to potential conflict of interest in state charter takeover plan

Two groups seeking state contracts to run struggling North Carolina schools have professional ties to the man who may ultimately steer the decision to hire them, N.C. Policy Watch has learned. According to documents obtained by Policy Watch, AMIKids Inc. and Communities in Schools (CIS) of Robeson County are two of...

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts Top Story

Experts express concerns about consequences of eliminating judicial primary elections

North Carolinians will lose their “precious right to vote,” as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg calls it, in at least one election next year if lawmakers override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 656.

“The Electoral Freedom Act” eliminates next year’s primary election for...

...
Read more 3
Environment Top Story

Duke Energy’s flood maps reveal only part of the risk of a coal ash spill

Saturday nights at the 311 Motor Speedway in rural Pine Hall smell of fast food and fuel. Wooden bleachers overlook the track, essentially a clay bowl, where under the bright lights, mini stock cars careen through the turns, monster trucks tear up mud bogs, and "Ucars" -- souped up Hondas and Chevys and Fords -- speed down the straightaways.

...
Read more 1
Education Top Story

As decision day approaches, local pushback against state-mandated charter takeover heats up

Cornelius Redfearn, principal at Durham’s Glenn Elementary, said Tuesday night that the looming uncertainty over a possible charter takeover at his school is “weighing on” his teachers.

By week’s end, Redfearn and his staff should get an answer one way or the other. North Carolina officials say district leaders should know by the end of the day Friday whether a key state administrator will recommend their school for the controversial Innovative School District (ISD).

...
Read more 3
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

As Board of Governors continues with conservative new road map, some worry about direction

A new UNC Board of Governors Task Force began what members called the “massive” job of analyzing UNC President Margaret Spellings’ administrative staff Monday.

The effort is so far long on ambitions and short on specifics.

...
Read more 0
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

New developments in the conservative move to reshape UNC

At a Wednesday meeting of a UNC Board of Governors task force, there was a long discussion of how to make meetings of the full board more efficient, more productive, with more “deliverables.” In short, as several members said repeatedly, the objective is to make it run more like a successful business. Running the meeting was task force Chairman Tom Fetzer, the former N.C. Republican Party Chairman who was appointed to the board in March.

...
Read more 1
Education Top Story

Durham fires back at state over school takeover plan

Two weeks, says Bryan Proffitt. That’s about how long he says Durham parents, educators and community leaders have to convince the head of North Carolina’s contentious charter takeover district that a takeover in Durham isn’t worth the fight.

“Can we beat one guy?” says Proffitt, president of the Durham Association of Educators, an advocacy group for local teachers. “Yes, we can beat one guy.”

...
Read more 2
Law and the Courts Top Story

Will partisan gerrymandering survive? Our report from yesterday’s argument at the U.S. Supreme Court

The majority of justices on the U.S. Supreme Court made clear Tuesday that partisan gerrymandering is distasteful and does a disservice to voters, but it remains unclear if they will intervene.

“Could you tell me what the value is to democracy from political gerrymandering?” asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor. “How does that help our system of government?”

...
Read more 4
Law and the Courts Top Story

First Monday in October

The United States Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday, already loaded with blockbuster cases headed for argument in the first several weeks.

Some familiar issues -- voting rights, same-sex marriage, cell phone privacy, employee arbitration -- will all make an appearance early in the term.

...
Read more 0
Education Top Story

Faced with charter takeover, local district mulls closing school

Faced with accepting charter takeover or closing a struggling elementary, leaders in at least one eastern North Carolina town say they may pick closure over the state’s controversial Innovative School District.

“That’s not ideal,” says Sen. Angela Bryant, a three-term Democrat who represents Rocky Mount in the N.C. General Assembly. “But we are not interested in the innovation zone.”

...

Read more 1
Environment Top Story

Demoted former DEQ chief contradicts department policy in national environmental journal

When Donald van der Vaart and John Evans ran the NC Department of Environmental Quality, they were not shy about expressing their anti-regulatory, pro-business philosophy. But now the former secretary and his chief deputy, who stayed at the agency in lesser roles after Roy Cooper was elected governor, have published a controversial article in a professional journal promoting views that not only clash with those of the current DEQ leadership, but also appear to flout its authority.

...
Read more 0
Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Opposition to Confederate monument grows, but UNC officials decline to act

Dr. Altha Cravey, a tenured professor of Geography at UNC-Chapel Hill, knew she was unlikely to hear anything about the ongoing “Silent Sam” controversy at Tuesday’s Spellings Commission meeting.

The meeting, with panels moderated by UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and UNC alum Frank Bruni of the New York Times, was mostly to tout UNC System President Margaret Spellings’ vision for the University and discuss the 2006 Spellings Commission Report “then and now.”

...
Read more 0
Education Top Story

General Assembly stonewalling Cooper’s nominees to state Board of Education

Sandra Byrd has been a decorated North Carolina high school teacher in western North Carolina and an associate professor at UNC-Asheville, where she also served as assistant provost.

So she seemed a natural fit when Gov. Roy Cooper announced in May that Byrd was one of three new nominees for seats on the State Board of Education, North Carolina’s top public school board.

...
Read more 0
Law and the Courts Top Story

Lawmakers refuse to say how incumbent judges and D.A.’s fare in new maps; so we did it for you

Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly, Montgomery) said last week that the North Carolina House will pass legislation redrawing the maps under which state judges and district attorneys are elected without any information being made available to the public about ...
Read more 4

Send this to a friend