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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Raleigh, demonstrators protest Thom Tillis' ties to ALEC

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 9:14 AM

On his way to Caffé Luna in Raleigh Monday night, House Majority Leader Thom Tillis and freshman members of the General Assembly seemed unfazed as they crossed paths with demonstrators who had assembled outside the eatery. As Tillis and friends hobnobbed inside, on nearby street corners, about 15 protestors organized by Tony Ndege and the North Carolina Coalition Against Corporate Power took Tillis to task on such issues as fracking, tax reform, voter ID legislation, immigration and education and their most major pet peeve, corporate power. In particular, protestors condemned Tillis’ cozy relationship with ALEC, also known as the American...

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wake forced to correct how it educates students on long-term suspension

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM

The Wake County school system has officially conceded that it has to do a better job educating students with disabilities who receive long-term suspensions. Advocates for Children's Services lodged an official complaint against Wake in July of last year and Wake has come up with a corrective plan of action as part of a settlement agreement. Here's a partial account from Keung Hui's WakeEd blog: In this July complaint, Advocates for Children's Services and attorney Mark Trustin had charged that Wake was failing to provide an appropriate alternative education to five students who missed 10 or more days due to...

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No Surprises: Sally Greene appointed to Chapel Hill Town Council

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 3:42 PM

You might have seen this one coming. Chapel Hill Town Council members on Wednesday tapped former (well, not anymore) Councilwoman Sally Greene to fill the panel's vacant seat. The seat has been open since Penny Rich departed to join the Orange County Board of Commissioners last month. Greene seemed the frontrunner coming into Wednesday's meeting. She was a popular councilwoman from 2003 until 2011, when she stepped down reportedly to focus on her work at UNC's Center for the Study of the American South. Town leaders were also expected to be under pressure to appoint a woman to replace Rich,...

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Democracy NC report analyzes election by race, gender, age

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Today’s Democracy NC analysis of the 2012 election results by gender, race and age has yielded some predictable results, but also some surprises. The predictable: A majority of voters in Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties chose President Obama over Mitt Romney. The race was close in Chatham County where Obama slipped under the wire by about 1,700 votes; however, the president won decisively in Durham County, by more than 77,000 votes. The surprise: Wake County went for Obama by about 50,000 votes, but it also had the second-highest Republican voter turnout in the state after Mecklenburg County. Wake County...

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Appeals court rules on Bowden case: Cary's sign ordinance constitutional

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

The Town of Cary is no longer screwed. Nor is it, according to today’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, doing the screwing. The court ruled in favor of the town, determining that its sign ordinance does not violate a First Amendment right to free speech. The decision overturned a lower court ruling. The case stems from a disagreement between the town and Cary resident David Bowden, who died in 2011, over roadwork that allegedly resulted in water runoff damaging his home. In response, Bowden hired someone to paint a sign on his house that read "Screwed by the Town...

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Friday, January 18, 2013

INDY Week columnist Bob Geary wins leadership award

Posted By on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

My work often takes me to community advocacy meetings and puts me in contact with people who fight fiercely for a better Wake County. When I tell them I work with INDY Week, the first thing they tell me, almost 100 percent without fail, is how much they love Bob Geary. When I showed up at WakeUp Wake County's annual meeting last night, I expected to hear the same thing. Instead, I saw it on the agenda. WakeUP, a nonprofit group that has advocated for better transit and education, honored Bob as the first recipient of its Stan Norwalk Community...

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Roy Cooper to DMV: Some undocumented immigrants can be issued driver's licenses

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Undocumented immigrants in North Carolina who have been granted a special status by the Department of Homeland Security can apply for a state driver's license if they have proper legal documentation. This is according to a opinion issued today from N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper. You can read the opinion here: AG_letter_to_DMV.pdf Cooper issued his opinion after the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles announced earlier this week it would cancel driver's licenses issued to 13 undocumented immigrants who are legally in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). In September 2012, then-DMV Commissioner Mike Robertson had...

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Economic segregation increases in N.C. schools

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Poor schools are getting poorer, while the rich get richer, a new study from Duke University finds. “The average imbalance by race in North Carolina hasn’t really changed,” says Charles Clotfelter, a public policy professor who helped conduct the study. “North Carolina schools are becoming more imbalanced by economics than race. That’s something to worry about.” It’s something to worry about because, as Clotfelter notes, schools with high percentages of low-income students find it hard to recruit and retain good teachers. That’s a problem for low-income students, who usually perform worse on tests than their affluent peers, because highly qualified...

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Friday, January 11, 2013

McCrory's chief lobbyist, Fred Steen, also an ALEC bigwig

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Gov. Pat McCrory picks so many winners he should play the ponies. McCrory named as his chief lobbyist Fred Steen II, a state chairman and board member of ALEC, a rightwing organization funded in part by the Charles Koch Foundation. ALEC, also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, is composed of at least 300 corporations and 2,000 legislative embers and is funded in part through grants by right-wing organizations, including the Charles G. Koch Foundation. Corporate members pay as much as $25,000 a year to belong to ALEC, with additional fees assessed if the members sit on one of...

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David Crabtree's tepid interview of Tony Tata

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM

During WRAL anchor David Crabtree’s interview of newly appointed Transportation Secretary Tony Tata earlier this week, Crabtree seemed star struck. Crabtree scored an exclusive interview with the retired US Army general, who was fired as Wake County schools’ superintendent late last year. It was Tata’s first interview since the incident. But, rather than questioning Tata over the possible reasons he might have been fired, Crabtree sympathized with Tata about the dismissal. var width=576; var height=324; wral_insert_video_player_11955937(width, height); While Crabtree’s opinion lines up with popular sentiment, he failed to do his due diligence as a journalist by questioning Tata about such...

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bad news for Raleigh's school capacity

Posted By on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 10:48 AM

On Monday, Wake County commissioners voted to kill a proposal that would have created badly needed school capacity near downtown Raleigh. The commissioners considered buying the former YWCA building on East Hargett Street to convert into a school. It would have been a win for Raleigh considering city councilors are seeking to increase density in downtown, even though there are few plots of land left in the city's core where new schools can be built. Here's a partial account of Monday's commissioner's meeting from the WakeEd blog. The Wake County Board of Commissioners had agreed Nov. 19 to purchase the...

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Monday, January 7, 2013

John Skvarla, new Sec'y of DENR: snake oil salesman?

Posted By on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 12:34 PM

John Skvarla, the newly anointed Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has publicly stated that under his watch, regulations—and the relaxation thereof—will be grounded in science and fact. In an illuminating interview with WRAL’s Laura Leslie, Skvarla failed the scientific sniff test. (The portions referenced below begin around 11:21.) First, Skvarla insinuated that oil and gas are infinite, renewable resources. When Leslie noted that these fossil fuels are not renewable, he replied, “Some people would disagree with you. The Russians, for example, have always drilled oil as if it’s a renewable resource … There is a lot...

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Friday, January 4, 2013

EPA: Lots left to do on fracking study

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 4:18 PM

If you enjoy reading instruction manuals, chances are Friday's webinar report on a long-awaited fracking study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was a hoot. EPA scientist Jeanne Briskin, who is helping to lead the study, explained the multi-pronged approach the agency is taking to tackle fracking, which could begin permitting in North Carolina as soon as 2014. Perhaps not coincidentally, that's when the EPA expects to issue its draft report on the environmental impacts of the controversial drilling method. The EPA study is expected to focus on fracking's effect on groundwater, water supply and wastewater treatment. All are...

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Community gardens get go ahead

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Creating urban gardens on vacant lots in economically depressed areas of Raleigh will now be easier, after a City Council vote Wednesday. Progressive urban planning organizations maintain that community gardens can have a major impact, not only by creating additional food sources in areas with less access to grocery stores, but also by creating a gathering place within the community. Ryan BattenThe Wedge garden is located behind the YMCA near NCSU campus. It is technically illegal. INDY Week previously reported on pirate gardens in Raleigh, which defy the current zoning code. Many of those gardens will now be under the...

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Get an update on the EPA's fracking study

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Those looking for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final word on fracking impacts will have to wait—at least until 2014. But the EPA is hosting webinars today and tomorrow to provide a progress report on the ongoing study. By this morning, all slots were filled for today's 2 p.m. webinar, although spots remained for Friday's noon session. Register here. According to the EPA, the webinar is going to offer updates on the study's approach and status, as well as five technical roundables held in Nov. 2012. EPA officials say the purpose of the Congress-requested study will be to "assess...

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"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
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by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

by MJKopechne on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

This story is all over the place. Starts off with media interviews in a parking lot, dabbles in legal strategy …

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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
DIRECTOR …

by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

by MJKopechne on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

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