Wednesday News: ¿Que demonios? edition


LIBRE, BACKED BY KOCH BROTHERS, AIMS TO RAISE GOP STANDING WITH HISPANICS (New York Times) -- Tapping some Democratic strategies, the Libre Initiative seeks to win over Hispanics by promoting economic freedom and smaller-government principles.

MCCRORY PLUNGES AHEAD WITH TRANSGENDER BATHROOM LAWSUIT MINUS COOPER (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Despite opposition from Attorney General Roy Cooper, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Tuesday that he’ll join a legal battle over whether a transgender Virginia high school student can use the men’s restroom at the teenager’s school.

COOPER FLUSHES MCCRORY’S REQUEST TO FIGHT TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS (AP) — North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Gov. Pat McCrory to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that would allow a transgender high school student to use the men's bathroom.

IN N.C., HEATED RHETORIC OVER TRANSGENDER LAWSUIT (WFAE-FM) -- A federal lawsuit involving a transgender high school student in Virginia is leading to heated political rhetoric in North Carolina. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory is criticizing state Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, for not getting involved in the case. N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger put out a statement suggesting Cooper is in favor of "forcing middle school-aged boys and girls to use the same locker room."

VA. TRANSGENDER BATHROOM CASE OVERFLOWS INTO N.C. POLITICS (Charlottesville Daily Progress) – A Virginia school district’s dispute over allowing a transgender high school student to use the men’s bathroom has spilled over into North Carolina’s political scene. N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper has rejected a call by Gov.. Pat McCrory, to side with a Virginia school district against a discrimination lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.


N.C. ELECTIONS HEAD STEPS DOWN AS 2016 CAMPAIGNS RES UP (AP) -- The head of North Carolina's statewide elections board is resigning just as the 2016 election cycle starts with candidates filing for ballot places next month, he said Tuesday.

STATE ELECTIONS BOARD CHAIRMAN TO STEP DOWN (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The chairman of the state Board of Elections on Tuesday announced that he is stepping down.

CHARLOTTE USES TECHNICALITY TO MOVE CONFEDERATE MONUMENT (Charlotte Observer) -- City says newly passed state law doesn’t apply

HEAD OF NORTH CAROLINA FUNERAL BOARD PLEADS TO TAX FRAUD (AP) -- The president of the North Carolina Board of Funeral Services is one of two men who have pleaded guilty to federal tax fraud. The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement that 61-year-old Kenneth Dale Stainback of Burlington and 60-year-old Stephen Ray Smith of Mebane pleaded guilty this week.

WAKE EARLY VOTING SET FOR 2016 PRIMARY (WRAL-TV) -- The Wake County Board of Elections approved an early voting plan Tuesday evening for the March 2016 primary, over the objections of the board's chairman.

TILLIS QUESTIONS AIR FORCE GAG ORDER ALLEGATIONS AT FORT BRAGG (Fayetteville Observer) -- North Carolina's freshman senator sent a letter to the Air Force chief of staff this week, asking for a response to allegations that members of the 440th Airlift Wing were told not to speak with members of a congressional staff delegation slated to visit Fort Bragg next week.

REPUBLICANS AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY SET ASIDE $8M FOR LITIGATION (AP) — Faced with new and protracted lawsuits and keeping reservations about the Democratic attorney general, North Carolina Republican legislators have set aside $8 million to keep defending laws they've passed.

MEDAL OF FREEDOM AWARDED TO ‘A CLASS ACT’ GROUP OF 17 (New York Times) -- Among those honored were such iconic figures as James Taylor, Willie Mays, Barbra Streisand, Itzhak Perlman and Steven Spielberg.

‘WHAT AN INCREDIBLE TAPESTRY’: OBAMA HONORS 17 WITH MEDAL OF FREEDOM (Washington Post) -- Recipients included James Taylor, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Barbra Streisand, Willie Mays, Itzhak Perlman — and lesser-known social agitators.

MONEY TO REPLACE N.C.’S AGING FERRY FLEET COULD DOCK DRIVERS (WRAL-TV) -- Roughly half of the state's ferries are more than 20 years old, but money to replace the aging fleet is hard to come by due to recent transportation funding changes. Options include tolling ferries or taking money used for other projects.

N.C. CHARITIES STILL IN NEED DESPITE UPTICK IN DONATIONS (WRAL-TV) -- The North Carolina Charitable Giving Report released Tuesday shows nonprofits across the state raised twice as much money in the last year than the year before. But most of the increase went to political and economic development groups who reported their earnings for the first time.

NC CHARITIES’ TAKE IS UP FOR FIRST TIME IN 3 YEARS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Traditional charities that registered with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s office brought in significantly more money last year, as seen in the 10 percent increase in donations to Meals on Wheels of Wake County, state officials said Tuesday.

NOT ALL MONEY GIVEN TO CHARITY ACTUALLY GETS THERE (Greensboro News & Record) -- Much of what North Carolina residents gave to charity through professional fundraisers last year actually reached them. Much, but hardly all.

BARTENDER ACCUSED OF THREATENING BOEHNER TO BE RELEASED (AP) — Michael Hoyt, a former Cincinnati-area bartender accused of threatening to kill John Boehner, will be released from custody after a federal judge said Tuesday that the man was of low risk to the community and has enough support to live a productive life. Hoyt, who smiled often and responded "Yes, sir," to the judge, appeared via video conference from a federal center in Butner, N.C.

FOLWELL RESIGNS EMPLOYMENT ROLE, MULLS RUN FOR TREASURER (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Dale Folwell, a former legislator who leads the state Division of Employment Security, announced Tuesday that he’ll resign effective Dec. 1.

FOLWELL RETIRING FROM STATE COMMERCE POST (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Dale Folwell, a prominent Forsyth County appointee in the McCrory administration, said Tuesday he is stepping down from his Commerce Department duties on Dec. 1.

N.C. RANKED 7TH MOST BUSINESS-FRIENDLY (Mountain Xpress) -- North Carolina was ranked the seventh most business-friendly state by the Pollina Corporate/AEDI (American Economic Development Institute) Top Ten Pro-Business States Report released this month – though still far back from its top ranking in 2008. When Gov.Pat McCrory entered office, North Carolina dipped to a 2013 ranking of 15th and 2014 ranking of 11th. In 2008, when Democratic Gov. Mike Easley was in office, the state ranked first and a year earlier, it ranked fourth.

KOREAN WAR SOLDIER'S REMAINS SENT HOME DECADES AFTER DEATH (AP) — A Korean War soldier's remains have been sent back to his home state of North Carolina 65 years after he was killed in action.

DEMOCRAT CHALLENGES NC REP. CHRIS MALONE (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State Rep. Chris Malone of Wake Forest will have a Democratic challenger next year: Wake Forest attorney Terence Everitt.

MCGRADY TO SEEK FOURTH TERM IN NC HOUSE (Hendersonville Times-News) -- N.C. Rep. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson) announced today that he will seek a fourth term in the state House of Representatives for District 117, covering northern Henderson County.

CONGRESSIONAL PRIMARIES PUSH TO THE RIGHT (WUNC-FM) -- Like 2014, pundits anticipate contested, close, election races in North Carolina’s 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts. Kay Daly is taking on Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers in the second - a region stretching from Chatham County to Fayetteville. Daly threw her hat, and arms in the race, earlier this year.

WHITE DECIDES AGAINST REMATCH WITH ROUZER (Wilmington Star-News) -- The two candidates battled in the 2014 Republican primary, with Rouzer eventually going on to win the congressional seat.


THE MAMMOTH AGRICULTURE SCIENCES CENTER COMING TO RTP (Triangle Business Journal) -- Right now, 5 Davis Drive in Research Triangle Park is just a building, housing the Hamner Institute, a center focused on chemical and drug safety research. But the top exec of the company that bought the property for $20 million in 2013 sees a thriving urban center in its 10-year plan, with more than 1 million square feet of rentable space for life science innovators big and small.

FORT BRAGG FAMILIES ENJOY EARLY THANKSGIVING MEAL (WRAL-TV) -- Golden roasted turkeys, baked ham, lots of stuffing and cut sweet potatoes piled plates Tuesday at Fort Bragg for those who couldn't make it to spend the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with family.

SAM’S FIELD NOTES: COASTAL THANKSGIVING (Coastal Review) -- The tradition of showing appreciation for what we have seems most appropriate here on the coast where serenity, beauty and wonders of nature are abundant.


WINSTON-SALEM SCHOOL OFFICIALS QUESTION LEGISLATURE’S SUMMER READING PROGRAM (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools officials are questioning whether the $1.1 million investment into a summer program to support third-grade students struggling with reading was worthwhile. Superintendent Beverly Emory said the district is reviewing its plan for the state-mandated summer reading camp after results from this past summer fell below some school officials’ expectations.

FBI, POLICE INVESTIGATING THREAT AGAINST JEWISH SCHOOL (AP) — Police and the FBI are looking for someone who issued a threat against people involved with a Jewish school in Greensboro.

CHAPEL HILL STEP-BROTHERS CHARGED WITH POSTING SCHOOL SHOOTING THREAT (TWCN-TV) -- Shane Long, 17, and Caleb Etheridge, 16, are charged with false reporting of a mass violence on educational property.

RACIAL INCIDENT AT BREVARD HIGH LEADS TO CHARGES (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Three Brevard High students were suspended and a fourth was in the process of being disciplined earlier this week, according to Kevin Smith, schools-community relations coordinator for Transylvania County Schools. Two of the suspended students were involved in an on-campus incident. The third was involved in an off campus incident. The on-campus incident prompted charges against a 15-year-old male, according to Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney. The teen was charged with ethnic intimidation and disorderly conduct, Mahoney said. The charge involved a threatening comment, according to Mahoney.

NCC ESTABLISHES NEW E-SPORTS TEAM (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Nash Community College is in the process of developing its own sports team, but one that will require the use of the mind more than muscles.

RACHEL SCOTT'S LEGACY COMES TO DARE COUNTY (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- Local schools forming clubs to foster a kinder culture -- Rachel Scott was 17 years old when she was killed in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. But she has come to be remembered as more than the first student killed in that attack — and more than a victim.


LAWMAKERS: GIVE THE PUBLIC MORE TIME TO STUDY COAL-ASH POND PLAN (Washington Post) -- Three Virginia lawmakers have asked state environmental officials to give the public two more months to study a controversial plan by Dominion Virginia Power to drain a pond at Possum Point Power Station that is filled with potentially hazardous coal ash.


GOOGLE TO BUY SOLAR POWER TO RUN MASSIVE NC SERVER FARM (AP) — Google says it will offset the tremendous electricity needed for its North Carolina server farm with solar power under a new program that allows corporations to voluntarily pay more for renewable energy.

GOOGLE IS FIRST CUSTOMER OF DUKE GREEN-ENERGY PROGRAM (Charlotte Observer) -- Google will become the first customer of a Duke Energy program to bring renewable power to energy-hungry companies, the two said Tuesday. Duke will buy energy from a 61-megawatt solar farm, the second-largest in the North Carolina, to be built in Rutherford County. Google will buy energy credits that represent the electricity generated for its Lenoir data center.

DUKE SIGNS DEAL TO SELL SOLAR POWER TO GOOGLE DATA CENTER (WFAE-FM) -- Duke Energy and Google announced a deal Tuesday that will supply Google's Lenoir data center with power from a new solar farm under development in Rutherford County. Duke says the 61-megawatt facility being developed by Rutherford Solar LLC will be one of North Carolina's largest.

A CAR DEALERS WON’T SELL: IT’S ELECTRIC (New York Times) -- Car dealers are showing scant enthusiasm for putting consumers into electric cars, despite large fan clubs and governmental pledges.

WHIRRING DEVICES HAVEN’T CLEANED UP JORDAN LAKE POLLUTION (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Experimental whirling devices floating in Jordan Lake have not significantly improved water quality after a year in operation.

DUKE ENERGY FIGHT WITH CHURCH OVER 3RD PARTY SOLAR COULD HAVE BIGGER IMPACT (WTVD) – Faith Community Church in Greensboro has an arrangement with NC WARN. The environmental advocacy group paid to have solar panels at the church and the church pays NC WARN for the electricity – half of what it would be charged by Duke Energy. Duke says its against the law. North Carolina is one of four states that only allows regulated utilities to sell power. According to state Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, the Department of Defense is the single largest energy consumer in the world. In 2007, under President Bush, the military set a goal to use 25% renewable energy by 2025, but state law gets in the way of N.C. military bases achieving that goal because they can't outsource solar generation to third parties. That it could jeopardize military bases in the state during the next round of Base Realignment Closures (BRAC). "We're putting North Carolina's bases at a disadvantage if we don't authorize third party sales," Szoka says.

GREEN BUILDING GAINING TRACTION IN THE CAPE FEAR (WWAY-TV) — When you think green you might think money, you might think the environment but saving money and the environment could be going hand-in-hand in the Cape Fear region. One example of how people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint is having solar shingles installed on their roofs. Solar shingles are small panels shaped like regular roof shingles that capture sunlight and store the energy.

MOMENTUM GROWS TO ELIMINATE TOXIC CHEMICALS IN CONSUMER PRODUCTS (Public News Service) -- It's a big week for big-box stores and large retailers, as North Carolinians gear up for Black Friday shopping. Health advocates say news that a major retailer is committing to sell vinyl flooring made without toxic substances is an early holiday gift to consumers.

TOPOGRAPHY, GROWTH MAKE DEALING WITH FLOODING A CHALLENGE (Wilmington Star-News) -- Nearly 18 inches of rain swamped parts of Brunswick County in early October. Now officials want to see if there's any steps they can take to deal with future flooding events.

STANDOFF OVER GOVERNMENT CLIMATE STUDY PROVOKES NATIONAL UPROAR BY SCIENTISTS (Washington Post) -- A letter signed Tuesday by the country's largest scientific societies warns that the congressional investigation into a global warming study goes way beyond climate scientists


UNC-CHAPEL HILL NEEDS A BALANCED RESPONSE TO STUDENT DEMANDS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Students are making strong demands at Chapel Hill. Now campus leaders must decide how to answer.

END NO-BID JAIL MAINTENANCE CONTRACT (Charlotte Observer) -- Mecklenburg Sheriff Irwin Carmichael has asked his staff to help him decide if he should put a $7-million-a-year jail maintenance contract up for competitive bidding.

AT THANKSGIVING, THE REASONS TO TAKE IN TODAY’S PILGRIMS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Jonathan Gerard: The criteria our Jewish congregation discussed were religious, political and practical, and all three measures of evaluation of allowing Syrian refugees to resettle here consistently led to the same conclusion: Let them in.

U.S. CAN RESETTLE VULNERABLE REFUGEES AND PRESERVE SECURITY (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Amid the tragic events occurring in Paris and beyond, our society has responded with knee-jerk reactions that don’t fully consider security measures already in place that protect U.S. citizens while showing compassion to the world’s most vulnerable populations.

STATE HIGHWAY PLANS STILL LARGELY IGNORE AGING I-95 (Fayetteville Observer) -- Many of us will be thinking about our highway system this week.

9999 AREN'T WORTH ONE AMERICAN (Mount Airy News column) -- Recently Gov. Pat McCrory sent a letter to the president basically saying “don’t send any Syrian refugees to our state.” I think McCrory’s letter is probably a political ploy. It gets him some press coverage, and maybe helps him out with the far right. Either way it’s largely a symbolic gesture with no real teeth to it. While I may question McCrory’s motives in sending this letter, I certainly don’t question the letter’s message. Until our government is able to thoroughly and appropriately vet all refugees, they don’t belong in our state or in our country.

UNC BOARD OPENS ITSELF TO MEDDLING (Southern Pines Pilot) -- The last thing we need is the General Assembly foxes putting themselves in charge of the University of North Carolina henhouse. But if such a thing should start happening, the UNC Board of Governors has itself partly to blame.

BOARD MUST RELEASE THE MINUTES (Wilson Times) -- We’re glad that the acting chairman of the UNC system board acknowledges error in his board’s approving salary increases for 12 chancellors in the system behind closed doors last month.

N.C. POLITICIANS HAVE LONG TAPPED INTO FOREIGN FEARS (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- The most dangerous place to stand during the past few days has been between a politician and a TV camera, as they try to one-up each other in showing how opposed they are to admitting Syrian refugees.

VETERANS FIGHTING FOR THERAPY (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Congressman Walter B. Jones Jr. has been working, without success, to gain approval for military doctors to prescribe hyperbaric oxygen therapy for mild traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.