Wednesday News: Poor, pitiful Pat edition


McCrory criticized in TV ad for shale gas exploration (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups is on television again, criticizing Gov. Pat McCrory for signing bills into law designed to encourage a type of shale gas exploration in North Carolina called fracking.

NC Governor's Mansion Site of Persistent Protests (TWCN-TV) -- Hispanic residents and their supporters have been protesting outside the North Carolina governor's mansion most evenings this month in hopes of persuading Pat McCrory to veto a bill still on his desk from the General Assembly session.

Immigrant backers stake out governor's mansion seeking veto (AP) — Hispanic residents and their supporters have shown up across from North Carolina's Executive Mansion most evenings this month demanding that Gov. Pat McCrory veto legislation addressing "sanctuary cities" and immigrant identification.

Other bills awaiting North Carolina governor's actions (AP) -- In addition to the immigration and food stamps legislation, the fate of 12 bills on Gov. Pat McCrory's desk was unknown as of Tuesday

Environmental Groups Call New NC Law "Polluter Protection Act" (WLOS-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCrory has signed the Regulatory Reform Act into law -- a wide-ranging law with parts that have upset environmental groups across the state.

McCrory Caps a Busy Year for Environmental Rewrites (N.C. Health News) -- Gov. Pat McCrory has given his signature to a bill that eliminates several environmental rules, including requirements for idling trucks and farmers who want to burn agricultural plastics. In signing HB 765 on October 22, McCrory capped a 2015 legislative session that included numerous efforts to redefine the state’s rules for polluters.

Bills pending on the governor’s desk (General Assembly Database) – Legislation awaiting action by Gov. Pat McCrory:
H008 -- Court of Appeals Election Modifications
H126 -- Mortgage Origination Support Registration
H215 -- Procedure for Waiver of Jury Trial
H318 -- Protect North Carolina Workers Act
H327 -- EMS Personnel Technical Changes
H558 -- Reserve & Nat. Guard/Military Affairs Comm
H709 -- NCNG Tuition Assistance Benefit Amendment
S037 -- Waive Tuition/Fallen Officer Was Guardian
S097 -- State Advisory Council on Indian Education
S313 -- Industrial Hemp
S524 -- Grad Requirements/Sports Pilot
S670 -- Term Limits for BOG Members
S676 -- Autism Health Insurance Coverage
S698 -- Legacy Medical Care Facility/CON Exempt


Clinton, Trump, maintain leads in N.C. (Public Policy Polling) -- Hillary Clinton has her largest lead in the state since May, according to the latest Public Policy Polling North Carolina survey.. 61% of Democrats in the state support Clinton to 24% for Bernie Sanders, 5% for Martin O'Malley, and 2% for Lawrence Lessig. A month ago Clinton led 51/23 in a Joe Biden-less field and these numbers suggest that pretty much everyone who's made up their mind since then has gone into her camp. Donald Trump may be on the down swing with Republican primary voters some places, but not North Carolina. He leads the field in the state with 31% to 23% for Ben Carson and 11% for Marco Rubio. None of the other GOP hopefuls in the state even get more than 6%.

Notable N.C. leaders support session limits (AP) — A new bipartisan group of political and corporate notables is promoting legislation limiting how much time the North Carolina General Assembly meets each year.

Legislators worry: Is NC abortion info safe? (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Two local legislators say data breaches raise questions about state government's ability to safeguard ultrasounds and other information on some abortions a new state law requires it to collect. Sen. Terry Van Duyn and Rep. Susan Fisher, both Buncombe County Democrats, wrote Gov. Pat McCrory recently that three incidents reflect the state Department of Health and Human Services' "repeated failure to secure the personal information of patients."

Medicaid expansion supporters plan 'die-in' at Capitol (AP) — Members of the North Carolina NAACP Forward Together Moral Movement plan to protest the lack of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

Tension rises among NC Republican leaders (Daily Tar Heel) -- Intraparty disagreements among Republican leaders in North Carolina have come to the fore amid this year’s protracted budget fight and accusations of a lack of transparency during the Board of Governors’ UNC-system president search — which led to chair John Fennebresque’s resignation Monday. “Even when you have unified party government, in this case Republicans in the legislature, governor and BOG, you’re not always going to have unity,” said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College.

McCrory highlights N.C. rank in U.S. Chamber report – cherry picking? (WRAL-TV)— North Carolina ranked 10th in both the high-tech performance and innovation and entrepreneurship categories of the U.S. Chamber Foundation's sixth-annual Enterprising States: State Innovate Study. Here’s how N.C. ranked, comparing 2014 and 2015, category-by-category.
2015 CATEGORY 2014
4 Academic R&D Intensity 5
6 STEM Job Growth 6
6 Legal Environment 6
12 Long-Term Job Growth 14
12 High-Tech Share of All Biz 14
13 Short-Term Job Growth 15
15 Road Quality 15
15 Gross State Product Growth 16
14 H.S. Adv. Placement Scores 18
21 Economic Output per Job 19
25 Productivity Growth 19
17 Broadband Speed Availability 20
21 College A"ordability 21
24 Kaufman Index 23
18 Cost of Living 23
23 STEM Job Concentration 24

State Prison Leaders Promise Changes to Mental Health Services (N.C. Health News) -- At a conference for mental health advocates, prisons director David Guice outlines changes, new services.

Banned! N.C. says no to shipping company (Triangle Business Journal) -- A Wake County judge has banned an international shipping company from doing business in North Carolina and ordered it to pay $800,000 in refunds and penalties for allegedly failing to deliver packages to consumers. “Businesses that keep people’s money and possessions but don’t keep their word aren’t welcome in North Carolina,” N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper says in a statement. “If you pay to have a package delivered, it should arrive or you should get your money back."

Dare vote triggers backlash (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- Controversial ferry tolls on hold for now

Push to Remove UNC Statue Hits Roadblock (Public News Service) -- The debate surrounding a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill statue ironically called Silent Sam is anything but silent. The statue of a Confederate soldier was erected on the campus more than 100 years ago to recognize alumni who died in the Civil War.

Bill would give legal protection to firms that share data (Washington Post) -- The Senate on Tuesday passed a cybersecurity bill co-sponsored by N.C. Republican Sen. Richard Burr, that would give companies legal immunity for sharing data with the federal government, over the protests of some lawmakers and consumer advocates who say that the legislation does not adequately protect Americans’ privacy.

Judge rejects lawsuit over promised N.C. state trooper pay raises (AP) — A North Carolina judge rejected a lawsuit on Tuesday by state troopers who argued that the government reneged on millions of dollars in promised pay raises as it dealt with budget problems.

Army to Settle With Whistle-Blowing Hospital Worker at Fort Bragg (New York Times) -- The Army has agreed to pay a monetary settlement to a former infection control analyst at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, one of the Army’s busiest hospitals, after federal investigators determined that she had been punished for reporting threats to the health and safety of patients. The settlement of the claim by Teresa Gilbert, 51, was announced Tuesday by the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency set up partly to protect whistle-blowers in the federal government. The agency did not disclose the sum, but a spokesman described it as significant and noted that it included compensatory damages.

Army settles Womack whistleblower case with former employee (Fayetteville Observer) -- An infection preventionist for Womack Army Medical Center who claimed the hospital retaliated against her after she went to a higher authority to report serious infection control issues has received a favorable settlement, according to a decision from federal officials.

Former state Sen. Goss dies at age 65 (AP) — A former Democratic state senator who represented several northwest North Carolina counties earlier this decade has died. The Rev. Steve Goss died Monday at his home in Boone at age 65. His wife, Phyllis, said Tuesday her husband was diagnosed with cancer in April.

Grassroots N.C. governor candidate Daniel Orr (Richmond Daily Journal) — A write-in candidate for North Carolina governor says his campaign is as much about fixing the state’s fractured mental health system as it is about getting votes.
Daniel Orr, a U.S. Navy veteran who describes himself as an “advocate and activist” for patients battling mental illness and their families, is challenging Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic candidates Roy Cooper and Ken Spaulding.

How politics got rough in Southern Shores (Outer Banks Sentinel) -- Municipal elections in Southern Shores used to be sleepy things. In the 2011 elections, a grand total of three candidates ran for three seats on the town council. In 2013, there was one candidate running for one seat. This year, things have changed. Five challengers are taking on three incumbents in a crowded field. Fueling this large crowd of candidates is a fundamental debate over the character of Southern Shores — one that has deeply divided the town and turned its once pastoral politics into something of a blood sport.

Village Awaits Ruling On Patio (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Pinehurst’s efforts to save the patio in front of the village’s old downtown post office — and a state agency’s insistence that it must be moved — may be putting Gov. Pat McCrory in precarious position.

Federal budget deal could be good news for Fort Bragg (Fayetteville Observer) -- The proposed budget compromise expected to get through Congress this week includes growth in military spending above sequestration caps.

Hope behind bars at Craggy Correctional Center (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- There are 590 inmates at Craggy prison – two-thirds of whom are fathers. For the men, the opportunity to not only see, but hug and kiss their children while incarcerated gives them hope.


Copperhead, cottonmouth snakes more common with rain, cool temps (Wilmington Star-News) -- Snakes are seen most often in the fall, when they seek shelter, and the spring, when they come out of shelter, said Dean Ripa of the Cape Fear Serpentarium.

Fidelity adding 600 jobs at NC site, promised $17M in breaks. (AP) — Mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments plans to add 600 jobs over three years in North Carolina in return for getting about $17 million in subsidies and sweeteners from state and local coffers.

600 NEW JOBS: Incentives, grants to fuel Fidelity RTP investment (Durham Herald-Sun) -- Fidelity Investments will add 600 new high-paying jobs and invest $8 million in its Durham and Cary facilities through the end of 2018, bringing its total Triangle employee count to more than 4,000. The Durham County Board of Commissioners will also consider offering the financial services firm incentives up to $450,000 at its Nov. 9 meeting.

Fidelity to add 600 jobs in RTP (WRAL-TV) -- Fidelity Investments officials said Tuesday that the company will add 600 jobs to its Research Triangle Park campus in the next three years.

Fidelity to add 600 jobs in Triangle (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Fidelity Investments on Tuesday became the latest financial services company to announce a major expansion in the Triangle, pledging to create 600 jobs over the next three years.

McClatchy revenue down 7 percent in 3rd quarter (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Total advertising revenue declines 10 percent


N.C. State University leader, wife give $1.15M to establish scholarship (AP) — North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife have given $1.15 million to establish a tuition scholarship for the children of the school's employees.

NCSU leader, wife give $1 million for scholarship fund (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson and his wife, Susan, have given the university $1.15 million to start a scholarship that will help pay tuition for the children of NCSU employees.

NC eighth grade scores down, but fourth grade scores up on national test (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The state’s eighth graders did worse on national tests of math and reading than they did two years ago, making North Carolina one of three states with statistically significant declines in both subject areas.

Scores slip in math and reading for young U.S. students (Washington Post) -- The Nation's Report Card showed a decline in math scores for U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders for the first time since testing began in 1990. Reading scores were also sobering. In addition, the tests once again revealed large achievement gaps between white and minority students, and between poor and affluent children.

Student Test Scores Slip (Wall Street Journal) -- At a time of focus on boosting U.S. competitiveness, average test scores mostly ticked down in the so-called Nation’s Report Card.

Nation’s report card: CMS heads the class, but skills still lacking (Charlotte Observer) -- The latest round of national reading and math scores could bring celebration or gloom in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools – or perhaps both.

When F stands for fiercely proud of my ‘failing’ school (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Lindsey Kennedy: As a proud parent of a kindergartner at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, I will wear the school’s “F” using Hester Prynne as inspiration. I am confident my own child will be instilled with the same strength of character, honesty and compassion Nathaniel Hawthorne describes in “The Scarlet Letter” by attending Lakewood Elementary.

ECU hires chancellor search firm (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- The East Carolina University committee charged with finding the replacement for Chancellor Steve Ballard voted Tuesday to hire Illinois-based Witt/Kieffer as its search firm.

CMS: Use least amount of force needed in removing student (Charlotte Observer) -- Randy Hagler, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ chief of police, said there are no specific rules on removing a student, other than to use “the least amount of force necessary.”

Positive News for HBCUs (Inside Higher Ed) -- New Gallup-Purdue University report says black students are more likely to feel supported and be engaged in work after graduation if they attend historically black colleges and universities.

Bridging the Gap Conference Strengthens K-16 STEM Education in NC (TWCN-TV) -- Igniting an interest in STEM careers, that’s the goal of a three day conference taking place at NC State’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh this week where teachers and students are getting hands on experience in science, technology, education, and math.

How much students at local colleges make 10 years after starting classes (Charlotte Agenda) -- The government's revamped College Scorecard looks at how graduates are doing a decade after getting their diplomas. Davidson College ranks highest in the area with a median salary of $58,500. Kings College is at the bottom of the list with $27,800.


McCrory Caps a Busy Year for Environmental Rewrites (N.C. Health News) -- Gov. Pat McCrory has given his signature to a bill that eliminates several environmental rules, including requirements for idling trucks and farmers who want to burn agricultural plastics. In signing HB 765 on Oct. 22, McCrory capped a 2015 legislative session that included numerous efforts to redefine the state’s rules for polluters.

Newsmakers video: Who owns WNC’s water (Carolina Public Press) -- From charges that one city uses ‘water as a weapon’ to a discussion of whether private or public entities are suited — and adequately funded — to manage drinking water, the most-recent Newsmakers event tackled questions about water ownership.

Environment Hall Receives LEED Platinum Certification (Duke U. News) -- Environment Hall, the 70,000-square-foot home of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has received LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The five-story, $40 million hall, which opened in 2014, is the first large building on Duke’s campus to be awarded LEED Platinum certification, signifying that it meets or exceeds the highest standards for sustainability and green design.

Growing a Rooftop Garden at Duke University (Duke U. News) -- Graduate students at the Nicholas School of the Environment started a rooftop garden at Environment Hall, allowing students and employees the chance to learn more about agriculture.

McCrory criticized in TV ad for shale gas exploration (AP) — A coalition of environmental groups is on television again, criticizing Gov. Pat McCrory for signing bills into law designed to encourage a type of shale gas exploration in North Carolina called fracking.

Energy industry gives Duke-Piedmont deal thumbs up (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Duke Energy’s $4.9 billion bid to buy Piedmont Natural Gas has drawn a largely positive industry reaction but mixed reviews elsewhere as people sort through the implications of the proposed deal.

Piedmont Natural Gas CEO Skains could be due $11 million if forced out after Duke merger (Charlotte Observer) -- Piedmont Natural Gas CEO’s future role unclear

Environmental groups hit McCrory with new ad (WRAL-TV) -- The North Carolina Environmental Partnership, a group of environmental advocates, has begun airing an ad critical of Gov. Pat McCrory. After two conservative groups went on the air in support of the governor, this is the first ad of the 2016 campaign critical of McCrory.

$120 million manure-to-energy plant heads to phase 2 (St. Louis Business Journal) -- Roeslein Alternative Energy, based in south St. Louis County and founded by Rudi Roeslein, is heading into the second phase of a $120 million project with Smithfield Foods’ Hog Production Division to make natural gas out of livestock manure. Duke Energy in North Carolina has agreed to purchase a portion of the gas (often referred to as renewable natural gas or RNG) to help meet its clean energy requirements for power generation.

Feds convene team to examine only wild red wolf population (AP) — Federal officials overseeing the only wild population of red wolves announced the formation Tuesday of a planning team that includes representatives on different sides of the issue.

Activism in Russia Can Mean Jail, Beatings (Coastal Review) -- Members of Environmental Watch of the North Caucasus, a group of Russian activists, visited the N.C. coast recently. No one beat them, handcuffed them and hauled them off to jail.


North Carolina's dark money trail goes national (Independent Weekly) -- Whenever North Carolina politics winds up in the New York Times , it's a good thing, right? Ugh. Here's a fascinating read in the op-ed pages of today'sTimes . The piece, written by the Center for Responsive Politics ' Robert Maguire, questions how the IRS will respond to a recent tax filing from Carolina Rising , a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that is not supposed to spend a majority of their cash on political activity and aren't allowed to function to benefit one candidate or group.

UNC President Tom Ross sets example (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Departing UNC President Tom Ross comment on the John Fennebresque shows the grace that has gone missing from the UNC Board of Governors.

Time to pull back from UNC political chaos (Fayetteville Observer) -- The University of North Carolina system gets a new president next spring. And its Board of Governors will have a new chairman soon. We hope both events will pull the system back from the chaotic discord that has marked the past year.

Wos took on Herculean tasks at DHHS, Problems All Perdue’s fault (Charlotte Observer column) -- Agency responds to Winston-Salem Journal editorial

Medical examiner: Painful process needs immediate improvement (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Residents are experiencing delays from the state medical examiner’s office that aren’t just inconvenient; they’ve reached the stage, as one critic says, of being cruel. The office must resolve this problem immediately.

Driving while black in NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A New York Times investigation shows that blacks are disproportionately subject to traffic stops and charges.

Are Charlotte police stopping, searching motorists just because they are black? (Charlotte Observer) -- In this, the Big Data era, corporations sack employees and entire product divisions based on trendlines spit out by computer programs. The eye-opening data in a recent New York Times report on traffic stops in Charlotte warrants serious study, if not dramatic firings.

We have a problem we no longer can deny (Greensboro News & Record column) -- We can't find solutions to racial profiling until we admit it exists.

Spellings joins diverse club as UNC president (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- UNC presidents included businessmen and college administrators, liberals and conservatives