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Featured Articles Policy Watch Investigates

Contentious, costly HB2 underscores North Carolina’s urban and rural divide

Since its passage in March, the struggle over House Bill 2 has underlined an already apparent divide between urban and rural North Carolina.

The law began as a struggle between the conservative majority in the North Carolina legislature and the Charlotte city council, which moved to provide broad anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

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Environment Featured Articles

The political machine behind the conflict between NC Farm Families and the Waterkeeper Alliance

A hard rain drips down the window of a farmhouse. A farmer stares at the dreary day and takes another sip of coffee from his cup.

“Struggle,” one of several ads produced by NC Farm Families is narrated by a young woman extolling the virtues of family farming. Her family’s farm, near Mt. Olive, she says, is a century old. “A farmer works six days a week because farming gets in his blood,” she says, with a touch of solemnity in her voice, “then goes to church to give thanks.”

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Environment Featured Articles

EPA Office of Civil Rights investigating intimidation claims against DEQ

Attorneys for several environmental justice groups have asked the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate a complaint that state environmental officials and the pork lobby tried to intimidate them at a confidential mediation session earlier this year.

“This is further evidence of DEQ’s inability to unwillingness to address civil rights complaints,” the letter, dated July 11, read. It asks the EPA to “ensure that members of the public are able to raise those concerns safely.”

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Featured Articles Policy Watch Investigates

In one of NC’s bleakest food deserts, hope is on the horizon

A new sign went up this week at the once-abandoned shopping center on Phillips Avenue in East Greensboro.

That’s rare enough in one of the city’s poorest areas and itself cause for celebration.

But what the sign represents is much larger.

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Environment Featured Articles

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to scale back endangered red wolf program in NC, send some animals to zoos

At this moment, on millions of acres in northeastern North Carolina, 45 endangered red wolves are living much like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago: Hunting for deer and rabbits, hanging out with their mates, raising their kits.

But by 2018, a third of these wolves — the entire wild species — will be relocated from their native lands in five counties to just one: Dare, near the federal bombing range and in part of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

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Harris Nuclear Power Plant (Photo: Duke Energy)
Environment Featured Articles

At Duke University, Christine Todd Whitman touts nuclear power, but dismisses its risks

As EPA chief under George W. Bush, Christine Todd Whitman never met a fossil fuel she didn’t like. She owned oil wells in Texas and Colorado. She belonged to Vice President Dick Cheney’s secretive Energy Policy Group, a cabal of high-ranking government officials and oil and gas industry executives, that among other recommendations, called for fracking.

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Featured Articles Policy Watch Investigates

McCrory’s HB2 timeline: Tracking the Governor’s oft-changing stance and explanations

As the battle of HB2 continues it is instructive to look at Gov. Pat McCrory’s shifting positions on the law, its necessity and the arguments used to justify it.

Whether he was voicing concerns about “public safety” and protecting “long established values and norms,” defending “state sovereignty” or contending that that transgender people are actually mentally ill, the Governor’s explanations for the law (and, indeed, his position on the law itself) have changed frequently and sometimes dramatically over the last six months.

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Environment Featured Articles

The future of a species hangs in the balance in eastern NC

Federal decision on endangered red wolf could come as early as next week

A red wolf in the wild is rare to see. Lanky and graceful, with a trim brown-and-buff coat and cinnamon ears, red wolves are a federally recognized endangered species — so endangered that only 40 live in the wild. All of the wild red wolves live on 1.7 million acres of both public and private land in five counties in eastern North Carolina. This is part of the wolves’ original territory, where federal wildlife officials reintroduced them in 1987 in hopes of saving the species.

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Environment Featured Articles

A timeline of North Carolina’s endangered red wolves

Red wolves are indigenous to the southern and southeastern United States. However by 1962, they were nearly extinct.

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Featured Articles Policy Watch Investigates

HB2 injunction reveals state’s anti-LGBT position and its controversial allies

Last week's federal ruling blocking part of HB2 for three defendants in the ongoing lawsuit was seen as a victory for LGBT people and their advocates.

In his 81-page ruling, federal Judge Thomas Schroeder concluded those challenging HB2 "are likely to succeed" in arguing HB2 violates Title IX, ?the federal law against gender discrimination in educational institutions.

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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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