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Environment Featured Articles

In Columbus County, mercury, PCBs and a long-overdue Superfund cleanup point to a larger problem: accountability

The air smells acrid in Riegelwood, where a faint breeze scours your sinuses with the scent of sulfur coming from the International Paper plant. All day long, dozens of semi-trucks, loaded with logs, pull onto John Riegel Road headed for the factory. Here, the wood will be chemically boiled and bleached to make fluff pulp, a material used in disposable diapers.

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Environment Featured Articles

The Holtrachem Superfund site: A long, dirty legacy in Riegelwood

1963: Riegel Paper Corporation, now International Paper, operates on 26 acres in Riegelwood in Columbus County. The corporation transfers the land to Allied Chemical Corporation, which manufactures liquid bleach and other chemicals. 1979: Allied sells the facility to ...
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Education Featured Articles

Former state legislator adds fuel to the fire over how charter schools are funded

When North Carolina lawmakers heard proposals in June to dramatically revamp how charters are funded, public school advocates pleaded for more time.

The bill before the chamber, a state Senate draft authored by a staunch charter supporter would have bound traditional K-12 schools to grant charters access to more pots of public funding. Lawmakers, concerned about the precedent of authorizing such a major change in funding during the chamber’s short session, deferred until next year.

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Featured Articles Policy Watch Investigates

Uncertainty, anxiety overshadow new school year for transgender students

As North Carolina families load up at back-to-school sales this week, a looming question remains for North Carolina students:

Will they be returning to public schools and universities where House Bill 2 still dictates which restrooms they can use?

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A glossary of terms for Transgender discussions
Policy Watch Investigates

A glossary of terms for Transgender discussions

Discussion of transgender issues is new to many people - even some within the LGBT community itself.

It helps to start with the correct terminology, as defined by medical professionals and transgender people themselves.

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Environment Featured Articles

Meet Jeffrey Warren: The mastermind behind the state’s bad environmental laws could get a plum job at UNC

In mid-August, the high season’s last hurrah, the packed beach at Nags Head is veiled with blue umbrellas that match the color of the ocean and the sky. Yet at just three feet above sea level, Nags Head is sinking, and portions of the beach are receding, both natural geologic occurrences that have shaped the coastline for thousands of years.

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Environment Featured Articles

Jeffrey Warren’s Greatest Hits

Jeffrey Warren: Geologist, former adjunct associate professor and recording artist of a kids’ rock album Synonym Toast, he is also a powerful architect of state environmental legislation.

Warren’s LinkedIn page lists 56 bills on which he says that he served as an “advisor/strategist” for the Senate. Most of the legislation focused on weakening environmental protections for the coast and water and air quality.

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Education Featured Articles

Tempers flare among charter school supporters as state tightens vetting process

It was 13 days ago that the State Board of Education signed off on just eight of 28 aspiring new charter schools in North Carolina, a stunning flip for a board that’s approved dozens of new charters since state lawmakers lifted the 100-school cap on charters in 2011.

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Environment Featured Articles

Panel of scientists, including several from N.C., disagree with EPA’s rosy fracking report

More than two dozen scientists, including several from N.C. State and UNC Chapel Hill, have criticized the Environmental Protection Agency's 2015 draft fracking report, stating it downplays the risks that horizontal drilling poses to local water supplies.

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Environment Featured Articles

House Speaker Tim Moore’s recent $1.5 million pet project could directly benefit campaign treasurer, contributors

On June 27, state lawmakers were in the throes of hashing out the 2016-17 budget, when tucked on page 182, a new line item appeared, as if by magic: a $1.5 million grant for water and sewer upgrades and dam repair at John H. Moss Reservoir in Cleveland County.

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Education Featured Articles

HB2 back in the spotlight after Mecklenburg Commissioner’s incendiary comments

When a U.S. Supreme Court stay on transgender-friendly school bathroom policies forced Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, perhaps the forerunner of such reforms in North Carolina, to reconsider its own groundbreaking policy last week, some bemoaned the news.

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Education

Budget cuts take a bite out of DPI’s ability to support local school districts

As enrollment rises, legislature slashes agency budget

“People in North Carolina, if they knew how little was spent on administration, they should be sending us ‘thank you cards’ for doing the work to support teachers in the classroom.”

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Environment Featured Articles

State toxicologist assailed by Gov. McCrory has lengthy record of research and public service

He’s testified against Dow Chemical. He’s faced down ExxonMobil. His testimony helped two farmworkers whose baby was born without arms or legs reach a settlement with Ag-Mart over pesticide exposure.

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Featured Articles Law and the Courts

HB2 update: Inside the federal courthouse at yesterday’s hearing

With elbow-length winter-white hair, and wearing black shorts and a sleeveless shirt, Hunter Schaefer looked vaguely Nordic. Her celery-thin legs were jammed into thick-soled, black platform shoes, and, like many girls and boys in their early teens, she seemed coltish.

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Environment Featured Articles

Two years after Dan River disaster Duke Energy plans for massive coal ash landfill

At 12 stories, the proposed coal ash landfill at Duke Energy’s Dan River Steam Plant in Eden would loom taller than any building in this small town.

At 23 acres, the landfill would consume the same amount of space as 17 Morehead High School football fields.

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Education

Failing charter schools: Inadequate screening and oversight causing big problems for many NC families

Erinn Rochelle says she beat herself up for months after her sons’ charter school unexpectedly shut down during its first year of operation.

“Not only did I put my kids there, I recommended that school to my friends,” said Rochelle, whose children entered the brand new StudentFirst Academy in Charlotte in 2013. “Four or five of them decided to enroll their children there too, and it just makes me feel really bad. My name is tarnished.”

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