State Senate's proposed budget; State Energy Office; Four North Raleigh shopping centers | Heroes & Zeros | Indy Week
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State Senate's proposed budget; State Energy Office; Four North Raleigh shopping centers 

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Where is the money going? The state Senate's proposed budget penalizes other progressive, valuable initiatives, including many community-based corrections programs that emphasize rehabilitation for juveniles and adults. Although these programs would be funded in 2007-08, there is no money allocated for 2008-09. At risk: 13 programs, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils and Project Challenge, a rehabilitation and restitution program for low-income youths, and Women at Risk, which offers therapy, substance abuse counseling and education for women and teenage girls.

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What a coincidence: While state senators consider dismembering the State Energy Office, its Utility Savings Initiative is one of 10 regional finalists for the Council of State Governments Innovations Award. Created in 2002, the USI has saved North Carolina taxpayers $66 million by helping state agencies and public universities reduce their energy consumption and costs. The USI focuses on energy efficiency, performance contracts and billing error corrections to keep costs down. There were 113 nominations for the annual award, which recognizes programs that highlight major policy trends. The winner will be announced in mid-July.

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From the Department of Shortsightedness: When people should be using public transit to reduce air pollution and decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, The News & Observer revealed that four North Raleigh shopping centers have banned city buses from their premises. The proprietors of Brier Creek Commons, Towne North, Brennan Station and Bent Tree claim the buses pose a safety hazard because the shopping centers weren't designed to accommodate them. This begs the questions: How were commercial developments approved that couldn't handle buses? And how can the carless shop at these businesses?

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