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News

Environment Top Story

What’s in the water?

A civil rights settlement forced DEQ to sample Duplin County waterways for pollution. The hard part is pinpointing the source.

Stocking Head Creek was up, licking the bottom of the bridge on NC Highway 50. An inch and a quarter of rain had fallen in the past two days, and the high water, the color of umber, scaled tree trunks and inundated swamps. At the storm's peak, the creek must have reached the road, because the grass along the shoulder was combed over and had yet to stand back up.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at the UNC Board of Governors’ rejection of a new history center for Silent Sam

On Friday the UNC Board of Governors rejected a proposal to return the Silent Sam Confederate monument to the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. But the decision was not a rejection of the idea of the statue’s return to campus. Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith said that such a return is still the only legal option.

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Environment Top Story

Trump administration proposal likely to have devastating impact on NC wetlands

They could be paved, mined, jammed with concrete, filled with pollutants like GenX or coal ash: More than half of North Carolina’s — and the nation’s — wetlands and streams could be destroyed and their downstream communities — both human and nonhuman — harmed because of a proposed rollback of a cornerstone of the Clean Water Act.

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Environment Top Story

The case against Murphy-Brown: Inside North Carolina’s latest blockbuster hog trial

Shortly after 10 o’clock yesterday morning, a federal jury in the hog nuisance case Gillis vs. Murphy-Brown delivered the news: Hung. After a fortnight of patiently listening to plaintiffs’ and defendants’ testimony, and two days of deliberation, the panel of eight women and two men declared they were deadlocked...

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Education Top Story

Facing state takeover, Wayne County schools leader won’t rule out a lawsuit

North Carolina state law would seem to provide just two options for Wayne County school leaders, close or accept the state’s takeover of a Goldsboro elementary school following last week’s reluctant vote by the State Board of Education. But, in an interview with Policy Watch Wednesday, Wayne County Superintendent Michael Dunsmore wouldn’t rule out a third option: File a lawsuit that challenges state officials’ handling of the Innovative School District selection process.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

GOP lawmakers expedite Board of Elections bill without Democratic, public input

Perhaps the sixth time is the charm? Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) unveiled another attempt Tuesday by Republican legislators to restructure the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement — this time through a process that is fast tracked and can’t be changed by anyone.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC Board of Governors member questions whether controversial Silent Sam “shrine” proposal meets state law

As the UNC Board of Governors prepares to take up the fate of the Silent Sam Confederate monument Friday, one board member says he's skeptical of a controversial $5.3 million plan to build a history center that would house -- and protect -- the divisive statue.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Student, faculty protests against return of ‘Silent Sam’ to UNC Chapel Hill gain momentum

As UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt addressed a tense Faculty Council meeting Friday, a group of students interrupted her defense of a controversial plan to return the Silent Sam Confederate monument to campus.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Debunking the EPA’s clean coal balderdash

Global carbon dioxide emissions are predicted to hit a record high this year, yet the Trump administration plans to eliminate a cap on the amount of the greenhouse gas new US coal-fired power plants can emit.

Last Thursday, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler...

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Environment Top Story

Hog trial drama: Defense attorney invokes Clint Eastwood, implies plaintiffs are liars in closing argument

Midway through Robert Thaxton’s closing arguments in the recent hog nuisance trial, the attorney for Smithfield Foods displayed a photo of a movie poster for Pale Rider, a 1985 Western starring Clint Eastwood. In the film, a mysterious justice-seeking preacher played by Eastwood tries...

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Defending Democracy Law and the Courts Top Story

House approves voter ID after long debate over voter fraud, student IDs

It was clear during two hours of debate Wednesday where the two political parties at the legislature diverged over photo ID: their belief in voter fraud. The GOP supermajority expectedly passed legislation that would implement a constitutional requirement that voters must show a photo ID to cast a ballot.

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Education Top Story

Facing stiff local opposition, State Board of Education hurtles toward school takeover vote Thursday

Michael Dunsmore, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, has one question for members of the State Board of Education as they mull a bitterly controversial proposal to seize control of a struggling Goldsboro elementary.

“If they vote Thursday to take my school over and Friday we close it, what do they do?” Dunsmore said Wednesday.

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Environment Top Story

Trump administration OKs seismic testing; environmentalists say the battle for the Atlantic is on

Louder than a thunderclap outside your window. Louder than a jet engine 75 feet away. Louder than the Krakatoa eruption 172 miles from the volcano. Conducted in the depths of the ocean, seismic testing blasts sound reaching 250 decibels...

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Trustees’ proposal for a $5.3 million home for Silent Sam draws criticism from students, faculty

The UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees unveiled its plan for the Silent Sam Confederate monument Monday: a new, $5.3 million University History and Education Center.

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Environment Top Story

NC makes some headway on GenX, but it’s just the tip of a very toxic and problematic iceberg

Last week was a momentous one for PFAS, although considering how widespread and durable they are in the environment, every week is big for industries’ estimated 4,700 perfluorinated compounds. First, DEQ explained in more detail its proposed consent order, developed in conjunction with Cape Fear River Watch, against Chemours for its profligate discharge of PFAS, such as GenX, into the Cape Fear River.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Monday Numbers: A closer look at the cost of voter ID

Lawmakers didn’t waste any time creating a voter ID bill after North Carolinians passed a constitutional amendment in the midterm elections. The Senate has already passed Senate Bill 824, a measure that will require North Carolina voters present a valid photo identification before casting an in-person ballot.

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