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Friday, July 27, 2012

Follow the money: state politics is awash in it

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Many North Carolina legislators will tell you that campaign contributions in no way influence their votes or policy-making. Once you've stopped laughing, check out the new project by the Institute for Southern Studies, Follow NC Money which tracks outside money flowing in to North Carolina elections. The Citizens United Supreme Court ruling relaxed political spending rules, spawning the rise of so-called SuperPACs, innocuously known as "independent expenditure committees." There is a flotilla of other committees unaffiliated with a party or candidate that also bear watching: Political action committees, plus nonprofits, business leagues and special interest groups that are allowed to...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

A boom, a flash, then the wood flies at Weaver Street

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Lisa Sorg Update: Tuesday, July 24: Weaver Street officials say the tree expert was hopeful; he painted on some pesticide to stop insects getting in the tree's wounds. Update, Friday at 4:15 p.m.: A Carr Mill Mall representative is having a tree expert assess the damage. There isn't a full report yet, but check the Triangulator blog next week for details. Shortly before 6:30 p.m. Thursday, lightning struck an oak tree on the east side of the lawn at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, stripping the bark from part of one side. Wood chips flew about 20 feet and hit...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sterilization Victims Foundation restarts victim verification requests

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

People who believe they—or someone they know—were involuntarily sterilized as part of the state's eugenics board can again request that their cases be reviewed. The N.C. Justice For Sterilization Victims Foundation, which verifies the cases, temporarily suspended accepting requests on June 20, after the N.C. Senate eliminated its operational funding—and compensation for the victims—in the state budget. At that time, the foundation was processing 140 requests; it has received a additional inquiries since. The foundation is again accepting inquiries, and to keep it open, the N.C. Department of Administration has trimmed funding from other agency services. Executive Director Charmaine Fuller...

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Durham activist Pauli Murray elevated to Episcopal sainthood

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 9:48 AM

By the time the incense began burning to start the traditional service at St. Titus Episcopal Church Wednesday night, 300 people had crowded into a space capable of seating 100. At the fourth annual celebration of Pauli Murray's life at St. Titus, community members crowded the church Murray worshipped at as a young girl to celebrate her new status as an Episcopal saint. "There's a particular interest all over town and people are really hungry to know more about it," St. Titus Deacon Sarah Woodard said. Murray was a leader in civil, women's, labor and LGBT rights. She also...

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Durham denies beer and wine privilege licenses never

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 6:13 PM

How easy is it to get a license to sell beer and wine from the City of Durham? There are multiple ways of getting at the answer, one of which is to examine how many applications for it the city ultimately denied. We did. Since 2002, the city's department of finance has received 576 applications for the beer and wine privilege license from restaurants, mini-marts and other alcohol outlets. In 10 years, not one of those applications was rejected. It's one of the more interesting factoids that didn't make it into this week's cover story, which examines the city's role...

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Study: Pennsylvania fracking not to blame for water salinity

Posted By on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM

A new study released this week by Duke University researchers seems to excuse fracking from at least one groundwater hazard in Pennsylvania. The report, issued by researchers in Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, indicated "natural pathways" in drill-heavy northeastern Pennsylvania could be to blame for elevated levels of underground salts and gases in the region's drinking water. According to the Duke study, researchers found higher levels of salt content with similar geochemistry to Marcellus brine in drinking water samples, although there seemed to be "no direct links between the salinity and shale gas exploration in the region." The higher...

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Meeting tonight on Durham's proposed food truck rules

Posted By on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Durham food trucks have long enjoyed more lenient operating rules, especially compared with Chapel Hill and Raleigh. But now the Bull City's mobile vendors could be subject to stricter regulations, if a proposed amendment to a city ordinance passes. Durham planning officials will hold a meeting tonight at 5:30 at City Hall to discuss the potential changes to the city’s Mobile Vending Provisions ordinance that would affect how local food trucks operate on public property. The ordinance includes new rules about where and when mobile vendors—wheeled or un-wheeled vehicles, carts, stands, tables and other devices—can park. Grace Smith, planning supervisor...

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Perdue vetoes fracking bill—what's next?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 4:46 PM

On Sunday, the lame-duck Gov. Bev Perdue handed down her third veto of GOP-backed legislation in four days when she axed Senate Bill 820, a controversial measure paving the way for hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking," in North Carolina as soon as 2014. It comes days after the governor used the veto power on a GOP-backed budget plan and an overhaul of the Racial Justice Act. It remains to be seen whether Republican legislators have the support to override Perdue's fracking veto in the N.C. House. A veto override requires a three-fifths vote from both chambers, and neither chamber...

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