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News Top Story

Monday numbers – a closer look at gun violence in the U.S.

Last week, a teenager in Florida opened fire in a high school and killed 17 people.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, used a legally obtained AR-15 assault-style rifle at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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Higher Ed Top Story

Legislators hope to find a compromise and a new home for UNC’s controversial Confederate statue

Students, faculty and staff at UNC continue protest the Chapel Hill campus’ Confederate monument, “Silent Sam.” The North Carolina Historical Commission continues to grapple with whether it can legally remove the statue.

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Environment Top Story

12 years of negligence. 1 million gallons of manure. A $64,000 fine. A Jones County hog farm is out of business — for now.

On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in rural Jones County. An environmental specialist with the state’s Division of Water Resources, Stilley investigates complaints of illegal spills and other environmental violations. The people responsible are rarely glad to see her.

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Education Top Story

NC’s massive school facility needs could overwhelm agreement on “historic” class size reductions

When North Carolina lawmakers approved what one Republican described as a “historic” investment in reducing elementary class sizes this week, it was viewed by many as a godsend for school districts that feared thousands of teaching jobs were at stake.

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Courts in Crisis Top Story

Keeping up with the…judicial maps – There are now more than there are Kardashians

Lawmakers late last week released two new versions of a judicial redistricting bill, making these the eighth and ninth maps released since last summer.

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Education Top Story

Special update: Controversial bill on class size, pipeline fund, elections/ethics board merger heads to the Governor

An omnibus bill alleviating some of the headaches associated with North Carolina’s class size crisis easily passed the state House by a 104-12 margin Tuesday, despite continuing opposition from top Democrats on its controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Board of Elections provisions.

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Education Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the K-3 class-size “fix”

When members of the North Carolina Senate passed a four-year plan for partially alleviating the state’s class size crisis Friday, some would say it was a long time coming. Local school districts and public school advocates have long warned that a legislative order to chop K-3 class sizes would have deleterious effects on the state’s classrooms, demanding a massive investment in classroom space and possibly crowding out “enhancement” teachers...

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News Top Story

Republicans unveil omnibus bill with jumble of controversial law changes

After weeks of public inaction on a host of smoldering policy controversies, Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly unveiled a new and controversial bill yesterday afternoon that addresses several high-profile issues. The new legislation, which was negotiated and written behind closed doors by and at the direction of House and Senate leaders, was made public in a contentious joint House-Senate Appropriations Committee meeting that featured several rancorous interactions between Republican defenders and Democratic critics of the bill.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Elections/Ethics board still silent on Hise investigation; Senator reports spending campaign funds on lawyers, accountants

Nearly a year after the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement began a probe into alleged campaign finance violations by State Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), the investigation continues.

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Environment Top Story

Renewable energy? Legislative committee considers whether NC trees burned in UK and EU should qualify

From the initial roar of a chainsaw to a North Carolina tree’s final incineration in a British power plant, the wood pellet industry disguises itself as a purveyor of renewable energy. But science shows that the practice of burning wood on a utility scale not only damages forest biodiversity but also releases more carbon into the air per megawatt than coal.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

Local officials voice opposition to judiciary overhaul as issue resurfaces at General Assembly

As lawmakers prepare to vote later this week on measures that are a secret to the rest of North Carolina, there is fear in some circles judicial reform could be put back on the table. House, Senate and joint committees have been talking about judicial redistricting and judicial selection for months without agreement between the two chambers.

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Education Top Story

Despite backing of legislature and UNC leaders, critics worry NC’s lab school experiment is doomed to failure

When Appalachian State University opens its Academy at Middle Fork to 300 chosen elementary students in Winston-Salem this August, by some accounts, it’ll be one of several pioneering, university-led efforts bound to turn around test scores for lagging North Carolina children in the coming years.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers – a closer look at the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Gov. Roy Cooper last week brokered a controversial memorandum of understanding with Dominion Power, which co-owns with Duke Energy, the even more controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Under the agreement, Duke and Dominion will pay a total of $57.8 million to a mitigation fund to pay for the “unavoidable” environmental damage caused by the pipeline, as well as for “support and funding” for economic development and renewable energy in the eight counties in eastern North Carolina affected by the ACP: Northampton, Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston, Sampson, Cumberland and Robeson.

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Education Top Story

Innovative School Superintendent needs more time to find turnaround operator for low-performing school

North Carolina’s controversial Innovative School District needs more time to tap a private operator that’s expected to take over a struggling Robeson County elementary this year.

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

The state of NC’s redistricting battles: A litigation cheat sheet for those trying to keep track

North Carolina’s redistricting plans have drawn major court involvement over the last few years, and it’s not looking promising that trend will change in 2018. There are five pending redistricting cases, four of which have had some action in the past month and it’s not easy to keep them straight.

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Education Top Story

School administrators report: Benefits of school funding overhaul “ambiguous”

The benefits of a comprehensive overhaul for North Carolina’s school funding system are “at best, ambiguous,” says a new report from the state’s top lobbying outfit for public school administrators.

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