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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Haven-Friends for Life threatened with fines for conditions at unlicensed animal shelter

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM

For more than seven years, state regulators have threatened to penalize the Haven-Friends for Life, an unlicensed animal shelter in Hoke County that at times has kept more than 1,000 animals in deplorable conditions. And for seven years, Linda Spear, owner of the Haven, has largely ignored—or done the minimum to stave off—regulators. Even after the Animal Welfare Section at the N.C. Department of Agriculture, stripped the shelter of its license, the Haven has continued to keep more animals than it can care for, regulators say. Now the state is again threatening to levy civil penalties, up to $5,000 per...

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Supreme Court: for-profit corporations can have religions

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Birth control coverage in insurance is optional for more than 90 percent of businesses in the country according to the Supreme Court’s latest decision. In the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., the crafts retailer Hobby Lobby argued that it shouldn’t have to provide birth control in its insurance plan for employees, which the Affordable Care Act mandates. The ACA allows businesses to not go along with the mandate, so long as they pay a fine, but Hobby Lobby (as well as furniture manufacturer Conestoga, who joined onto Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit) chose to argue against the mandate...

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Raleigh “Sexy Schoolgirl” 5K cancelled

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 2:52 PM

A Hillsborough Street foot race with a racy theme was cancelled Thursday, following complaints from the community. Former Raleigh police captain Paula O'Neal told City Council members she questioned the message the race sends, especially with the problems of rape and violence against women in schools and on college campuses. The Sexy Schoolgirl 5K was scheduled to take place August 9, with a bar crawl to follow. Proceeds from the race were to benefit the MATHCOUNTS Foundation, a national middle school coaching and competitive math program. The UK’s Daily Mail reports that MATHCOUNTS is distancing itself from the race, and asks that...

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State awards contract for high-occupancy toll lanes in Charlotte

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Last year, the Indy reported that North Carolina transportation leaders were moving on a controversial plan to construct high-occupancy toll lanes, better known as HOT lanes, for a congested portion of I-77 north of Charlotte. On Thursday, the N.C. Department of Transportation finalized that deal, signing off on a contract with Spanish-based transit company Cintra. DOT agreed to a public-private partnership with the group to build and operate HOT lanes on about 26 miles of I-77 stretching from uptown Charlotte to the Lake Norman area. That stretch of roadway is known to be one of the most congested areas in...

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Fired over shower episode, Wake County detention officer loses lawsuit

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

One of the area's odder cases was dismissed in federal court this month when a judge upheld the termination of a female Wake County Detention Center officer who stood next to a naked inmate while he showered.  The judge's ruling wraps up the gender discrimination lawsuit that plaintiff Monifa Gethers had filed against Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. On Jan. 5, 2010, a prisoner at the Raleigh detention center smeared himself with feces and wrapped himself in a blanket. Gethers, a sergeant, claimed she helped escort him to the shower. Two male officers claimed they told Gethers that her presence...

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It must be the verandas: Orange County among the easiest places to live in the U.S.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 8:16 AM

The Triangle is an island of blue in North Carolina's sea of orange. Blue is where the living is easy(ier), according to The New York Times, which mapped the hardest places to live in the U.S. Orange is the land of hardship. Unless you live in Orange County, which ranked 93rd of 3,135 counties in the U.S. That places the home of Hillsborough, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC in the top 3 percent of the country. In other words, with a median household income of $55,000 and a life expectancy of 80.2 years, it's easy to live there. Just look...

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

House, Governor "mini-budget" offers teacher pay compromise

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Updated: The House voted unanimously Thursday to pass the new $21.3 billion budget. The bill allocates $1.8 million to DENR for coal ash regulation, as well as $134 million to the Medicaid risk reserve. It provides for in-state tuition for veterans and gives retirees a 1.44 percent cost of living increase.  In a statement, Senate President pro tempore Phil Berger criticized the budget but said the Senate "stands ready to negotiate a fair compromise."  "We want to give teachers more than a five percent raise and cannot accept unrealistic Medicaid estimates that create an unbalanced, unsustainable budget," Berger said.  Rep....

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Americans for Prosperity lobbies lawmakers to expand the voucher program

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 2:18 PM

In the Triangle, we have what you might call policy gangs. On the left, you have the NC Justice Center, the ACLU, NC Policy Watch, Institute for Southern Studies, and the AFL-CIO. On the right you have CIVITAS, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, and the John Locke Foundation. These two "coalitions" fire off salvos at each other all day long, each pushing their economic and moral agenda. Still, it's strange to see all of one side's logos clumped together on one document. It has an air of Potemkin about it. The right flank, together with the North Carolina...

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Durham man indicted for offering kickbacks to charter school in exchange for contract

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM

A Durham man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for dispensing bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy  involving a federally funded charter school in Dayton Ohio.  Carl L. Robinson, 47,who prosecutors say operated an educational consulting business called Global Educational Consultants, along with three others connected with the charter school, called Arise! Academy, were charged with several crimes including bribery and conspiracy. The Southern District of Ohio is prosecuting the case. The other individuals indicted include the superintendent and two board members of Arise, all of Ohio. Arise, which operated between 2008 and 2010,...

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Woman indicted for murder of Durham firefighter

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Forty-one-year-old Crystal Brandi Fox has been charged with the first-degree murder of retired Durham firefighter Donald "Donnie" Watson nearly two years after his death. Fox is currently serving out a meth-related sentence in the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women. Watson,74, was found dead in a bedroom at his home on Regis Avenue on July 9, 2012. An autopsy determined he died of homicidal blunt force to the head. There were no signs of forced entry. Two months later, investigators revealed they had a male suspect, but no announcements were made immediately afterward. Watson was a 33-year veteran and captain...

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

15 arrested at last Moral Monday of legislative session

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM

More than a thousand people gathered at Halifax Mall Monday evening, to mark the sixtieth week of Moral Mondays since the movement began last April. Following a series of speakers, much of the crowd moved into the Legislative building for a “Sit-in, Stand-in, Teach-in, Plan-in, Pray-in.” People split up into groups to plan for a statewide voter registration, education and mobilization campaign for the November election. The Reverend William Barber called the gathering “the largest mass sit-in in a Southern Legislature.” Fifteen people were arrested for civil disobedience, bringing the total number arrested as part of Moral Monday to more...

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Durham police officer disciplined in aftermath of Huerta shooting

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 4:28 PM

In a letter to Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield dated June 20, Police Chief Jose Lopez indicated that DPD has disciplined the officer involved in the suicide of a teen who shot himself with his hands cuffed behind his back while sitting in a police cruiser.  On the early morning of Nov. 19, 2014, Officer Samuel Duncan was driving his cruiser into the police headquarters parking lot with 17-year-old Jesus Huerta in the back seat, when Huerta shot himself in the head. Duncan apparently failed to discover Huerta's gun during a standard pat-down during the teen's arrest.  Duncan, who been...

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Durham residents no longer required to register guns with county

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Until last week, Durham County was the only place in North Carolina requiring gun owners to register their firearms at the county courthouse, thanks to a law implemented in 1935. The original law was authored following a string of violence in “shot houses,” where people went to buy cheap liquor. That requirement is now obsolete, as the General Assembly last week ratified Senate Bill 226, which repeals the Durham County Firearm Act.  Effective immediately, Durham County residents are no longer required to register their handguns with the Clerk of Superior Court.  According to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Woodard, a Democrat who...

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Friday, June 20, 2014

In interview, Governor McCrory plays tiny violin for real estate agents, private sector, himself

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 4:38 PM

This morning, Governor Pat McCrory gave a short interview to WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jessica Jones which you can find here and here. There was a substantial amount of mouthbreathing, sighing, and aggressively interrupting Jones's questions—at least three different times. This is not unusual for McCrory. In interviews, he seems to have a wily, indignant demeanor, as if throughout asking himself why he even agreed to do it. On TV, he has a sly, carnivorous look on his face like a fox or hyena of some sort. Jones sounded audibly annoyed by the governor's interruptions. The Governor seemed uncomfortable. Embattled even. Despite the...

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Chapel Hill High graffiti artists troll principal

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Graffiti trolling Principal Jackson at Chapel Hill High this month.Behold: Graffiti artists with an apparent, albeit spotty, grasp of ethics. An Indy reader sent us this photo, taken at Chapel Hill High School earlier this month. It appears to be a prank trolling Principal Sulura Jackson, who was accused by teachers last year of failing to cite her sources in numerous letters and writings. Although it's cut off in the photo, the pranksters wrote "cite this" before directing Jackson to Easybib, a free, online bibliography generator. They also took the time to misspell Jackson's first name and write the word...

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N.C. House lawmakers covered up budget shortfall

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM

The House budget is a gamble and lawmakers knew the odds were bad, so they tried to keep them secret. The News and Observer reports that a key House budget negotiator, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, told the executive director of the North Carolina lottery to keep quiet about concerns that increased advertising spending would not generate the $106 million in revenues predicted. This is because lawmakers inserted strict lottery advertising provisions into the budget that weren’t originally accounted for. Alice Garland, the lottery’s executive director, told the paper she spoke privately with Rep. Nelson Dollar, a key budget writer, to...

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More N.C. teachers report threats and attacks by students than in nearly every other state

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM

A U.S. Department of Justice report released this month suggests North Carolina is struggling with certain measures of public school safety. The study found that 17.1 percent of public school teachers in North Carolina report being threatened or physically attacked by a student in any given year. Only Florida and the District of Columbia reported higher percentages in this measure, for which the national average is 12.8 percent. The DOJ study, titled Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2013, and co-administered by the department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Center for Education Statistics, culled statistics from 2001 to 2012. ...

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

N.C. House passes toned-down environmental reform bill

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Lawmakers in the N.C. House of Representatives gave final approval to a bill that makes several changes to the state’s environmental rules Thursday morning. The House bill, passed in a 105-12 vote, is a milder version of a Senate bill that made a number of harsh changes to environmental laws. “We appreciate the thoughtful and reasoned consideration that the House gave to this bill as it came over from the Senate,” said Dustin Chicurel-Bayard, the communications director for the NC Sierra Club. “It is much improved.” But the House bill still removes protections from isolated wetlands, prevents local governments from...

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Coal ash hearing brings out praise and inquiry

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 8:47 PM

It’s unfortunate that it took 35,000 tons of coal ash being leaked into the Dan River to make environmental clean up a priority this session. But Senate Bill 279—“the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014”—makes a decent dent in the issue. Senators at a June 16th meeting of the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Committee were eager to parade their response to the Governor’s Coal Ash Plan. Environmental groups in attendance also criticized SB 729. The bill sets out deadlines for coal ash dumps or “coal combustion residual surface impoundments” to be closed, based on priority level: high, intermediate and...

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Wake County Schools’ police officers will get training

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 4:05 PM

The Wake County school board unanimously approved a measure last night that requires in-service training and certification for School Resource Officers. Officers must also attend annual training sessions on topics that uniquely pertain to school environments, including cultural competency, alternatives to incarceration programs and mediation and conflict resolution processes. Additionally, officers will be required to keep track of student referrals to the criminal justice system and explain the circumstances that caused the referral. Law enforcement agencies will be asked to report that data to the school district. The new Memorandum of Understanding comes after a federal complaint alleged that police...

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Orange County commissioners to consider tax increase tonight

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Guard your pocketbooks. One of the Triangle's most expensive places to live may soon be a little more expensive. Orange County commissioners are expected to vote tonight on a $200.4 million budget that includes a 2-cent property tax increase. Officials say the cash is needed to pay for the needs of the county's two school systems, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools and Orange County Schools. The plan would spend roughly $97 million on the two systems. Chapel Hill leaders have already approved a one-cent tax increase. Tonight's meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road...

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20 arrested for Moral Monday civil disobedience

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Yesterday, Moral Monday gathered for the fourth straight week to protest the General Assembly's austere cuts that will hurt poor North Carolinians. This week's march focused on worker's rights, highlighting the participation of labor unions, NC Raise Up, teachers, and women's groups. Youth organizers also kicked off a "Moral Freedom Summer" timed with the 50th anniversary of the original Freedom Summer. Paid organizers will be sent to 50 NC counties to encourage voter participation in the wake of the GA's redistricting scheme. After the rally on Halifax Mall, Moral Monday protestors entered the legislative building and went up to the second floor to sing and...

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Court of Appeals: Duke officers did not use excessive force in 2010 killing outside hospital

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:51 PM

A three-member Court of Appeals panel unanimously agreed that two Duke police officers acted legally after a struggle outside Duke University Hospital in 2010 left a man dead from a bullet to the brain. The judges' 24-page opinion, published this morning, analyzed the case of Aaron Lorenzo Dorsey, who, during a physical tussle with the police officers, reached for the gun of one of them. As the struggle continued, Officer Jeffrey Liberto fired a shot into Dorsey's head, killing him. Dorsey's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Duke, LIberto and a second officer, Larry Carter, alleging negligence, assault, and...

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Water utility surcharge rules won't protect ratepayers

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM

The N.C. Utilities Commission has released final rules for implementing a law that allows utilities companies to increase rates without public input. Water and sewer utilities can hike rates twice a year, in 5 percent increments, to pay for infrastructure improvements without having to hold public hearings. North Carolina’s two largest investor-owned utilities, Aqua NC and Utilities, Inc., had significant input in the rulemaking process. Consumer advocates say the rules for implementing the so-called surcharge mechanism allow for the possibility of ratepayers being overcharged without giving them an opportunity to voice disagreement. Aqua NC customers already pay among the highest...

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Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield sets timetable for police department review

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 8:03 AM

So much for summer vacation. Starting this week, Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield will spend the next two months reviewing and evaluating each of the 44 recommendations to address issues of racial profiling at the Durham Police Department, according to a letter Bonfield sent to City Council yesterday. Bonfield will have a full report for City Council no later than the Aug. 21 work session, and possibly as early as Aug. 7. After six months of public hearings and debate over police conduct, particularly as it involves racial profiling and use of force, the Human Relations Commission issued 34 of the recommendations ...

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It is about the guns, and the efforts of liberalsocialists to keep them out of the hands of victims.

by Pat Orsban on Politicians and the Gun Lobby Want You to Think Parkland Is About Something Other Than Guns. Don’t Let Them. (News)

Plenty of warning signs here. All ignored. No law would have stopped this. One law allowed the body count to …

by Pat Orsban on You’re Damn Right I’m Going to Politicize This Tragedy. You Should Too. (News)

This should read "prescribe" not "proscribe," which has the opposite meaning.

by Jeffrey Vanke on Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Will Lecture UNC Journalism Students (News)

"There are fifty-five hundred residential units in downtown, up eighteen hundred from just a couple of years ago, and with …

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What does this clown know about journalism?

by John Sagar on Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Will Lecture UNC Journalism Students (News)

Comments

It is about the guns, and the efforts of liberalsocialists to keep them out of the hands of victims.

by Pat Orsban on Politicians and the Gun Lobby Want You to Think Parkland Is About Something Other Than Guns. Don’t Let Them. (News)

Plenty of warning signs here. All ignored. No law would have stopped this. One law allowed the body count to …

by Pat Orsban on You’re Damn Right I’m Going to Politicize This Tragedy. You Should Too. (News)

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