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House Dems decry Trump’s food stamp cuts: ‘Ebeneezer Scrooge would be proud’

WASHINGTON — The morning after they voted to impeach President Donald Trump, a group of U.S. House Democrats gathered outside of the Agriculture Department’s headquarters to berate the administration for a policy that’s expected to knock about 700,000 ...
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Must Reads News Top Story

Holiday season “must read”: The harsh reality of poverty in High Point, NC

High Point is not what comes to mind when thinking about the hungriest metropolitan area in the United States. A small city of about 114,000 people, located in North Carolina’s Triad region (with Greensboro and Winston-Salem) (Map 1), High Point has long been at the forefront of the state’s prominent, and almost defining, furniture industry.

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Education Top Story

A new and valuable public school or simply a business opportunity?

Local officials express concerns about scant community connections of proposed Durham charter school operator Should it matter if leaders of a large charter school planned for one county live in another?  Durham Public Schools (DPS) officials think it should. 

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New report: Gerrymandering to blame for stalled gun control proposals in North Carolina

Most North Carolinians favor stricter gun laws, according to recent polling, but efforts to advance gun safety legislation have languished in the state General Assembly. 

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Education Top Story

The lingering inequality of school discipline in North Carolina

Mark Robinson ostensibly addressed the Guilford County Board of Education, but the broad, barrel-chested man spent most of his two-minute speech in November booming at the audience instead. “Folks who sit in offices in high places and look ...
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Environment Top Story

PW special report: Residents of NC town long treated as a massive waste dump demand action

Alcoa Corporation polluted the Stanly County town of West Badin with toxic chemicals for decades. Now, the people living there want action. Macy Hinson was raised in a small house that rested at the foot of a short hill at 415 Lee Street, 100 yards from an unlined pit where aluminum titan Alcoa disgorged its hazardous waste.

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NC Republicans Foxx, Walker and Murphy rush in to defend Betsy DeVos

National education policy divide on display as D's, R's spar over controversial education secretary WASHINGTON — When U.S. House Democrats berated Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday, North Carolina Republicans came to her defense.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

National civil rights group to intervene in Silent Sam lawsuit

A national civil rights group will intervene on behalf of its clients in the lawsuit that led to the controversial settlement in which the UNC System handed over $2.5 million to the Sons of Confederate Veterans – along with the polarizing ”Silent Sam” statue.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has been talking with potential student and faculty litigants, the group’s executive director said in an interview with Policy Watch Tuesday. They plan to file this week.

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Environment Top Story

Low levels of 16 types of “forever chemicals” — PFAS — found in New Hanover County compost

Since PFAS are unregulated, no public notification is required.

Food packaging could be a source of perfluorinated compounds detected in compost produced by New Hanover County. 

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U.S. House committee to take up ‘Medicare for All’ legislation

WASHINGTON — Toward the end of his life, the late U.S. Rep. John Dingell Jr. reportedly asked his wife to carry the torch on his family’s signature cause: progressive health care reform. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell has made ...
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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Rate of complaint-driven inspections of industrialized livestock operations second-highest in 10 years

Stench and flies. Noise and traffic. Waste flowing into waterways. Manure-infused spray. Complaints about industrialized livestock farms prompted the NC Department of Environmental Quality to inspect those facilities at the second-highest rate in 10 years, according to a report recently submitted to the legislative Environment Review Commission.

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Education Top Story

State Board of Ed examines decline in teacher licensure exam pass rates

The percentage of teachers passing state licensure exams has fallen to 80 percent, leaving some members of the State Board of Education (SBE) to wonder if students are being shortchanged by ill-prepared teachers. A report shared with SBE members this week showed the passing rate on state teacher exams falling from 96% percent in 2014 to 80.2% in 2018.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Critics vow to combat UNC’s “Silent Sam” deal with Confederate group

Students, faculty and legal experts are all questioning last week’s legal settlement in which the UNC System gave the “Silent Sam” Confederate monument to the Sons of Confederate Veterans – along with $2.5 million.

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Environment Top Story

An infant’s gravesite, environmental concerns could put proposed Caswell County mining operation on the rocks

In addition to historic cemeteries and archaeological resources, state is concerned about asbestos, drinking water pollution  Rubbie Francis Wade entered this world in 1921. She left it eight months later, in the summer of 1922. A descendant of the enslaved, Rubbie was not considered by whites important enough to document.

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Government isn’t ensuring safe housing for N.C. military families — watchdog report

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is failing to ensure that all military families have access to safe, quality housing, according to a new government watchdog report. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) oversees private-sector developers who build, renovate, manage and maintain military housing. 

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Breaking: State court cites time constraints in approving congressional maps that are “not perfect”

North Carolina Republicans officially ran out the clock – at least legally – when they enacted a new Congressional map just weeks before candidate filing. A three-judge state Superior Court panel ruled unanimously Monday that the map can go forward and set aside its prior injunction postponing congressional candidate filing.

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