Recent quotes:

Officials to vote on new bike riding trail near RDU :: WRAL.com

County commission chair Sig Hutchinson said he envisions that the area will be known as the "Boulder, Colorado of the East Coast." Apart from the trail's recreational use for hikers, joggers and bikers, Hutchinson and other commissioners believes the project could be a crucial economic driver to the area. Hutchinson suggests that the new project represents $19 billion dollars for the state and that it will support over 190,000 jobs.

BCBSNC amps up security due to 'frustrated customers'

A so-called "system failure" at BCBSNC enrolled thousands of customers in the wrong health insurance. Customers across the state complained of long wait times with customer service representatives and problems with their bills.

Allen and Son BBQ

Keith Allen chops his own wood and tends his own pit, positioning the coals so that their contact with drippings from the meat will produce precisely the smoky flavor he’s looking for. “I’m trying to get the taste,” he told us. “Everybody else is just trying to get done.”

KKK leader still marked at UNC

The Board of Trustees decreed that the new “Carolina” Hall must feature a historical marker that “explains Mr. Saunders’ contributions to UNC and the State of North Carolina,” the circumstances that led an earlier Board of Trustees to name the building for him and the reason why the current board has chosen to remove his name.

North Carolina's racist roots

If you were driving through North Carolina in the mid-1960s, chances are you’d see this billboard:“You are in the heart of Klan country. Welcome to North Carolina. Join the United Klans of America, Inc. Help fight integration and communism!”

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial of Historic Asheville, NC

Considered by many to be one of the giants of 20th-century American literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of “Altamont” Asheville, North Carolina, and “Dixieland” the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse, earned the Victorian period house a place as one of American literature’s most famous landmarks.

Caring for others, Dean Smith catalyzed a caring community

For as long as anyone can remember, Smith devoted several hours every Monday morning to corresponding with former players, coaches, team managers, almost everyone associated with the Carolina basketball family. His memory for even the smallest events in others’ lives was legendary. […] “I never really thought about a legacy, except the nice thing I’m probably most pleased with, the real high graduation rate: 96 percent. But the fact they all stick together. They call themselves the Carolina Family. I didn’t plan that. They’re really good people. I think they all like me now. They might not have liked me when I played. I don’t know whether that’s a legacy, but I’m very proud of all of ‘em.”

GOP Senator: Don't Force Employees To Wash Their Hands After Using Toilet

“I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,'" the senator said. Tillis said his interlocutor was in disbelief, and asked whether he thought businesses should be allowed to "opt out" of requiring employees to wash their hands after using the restroom. The senator said he'd be fine with it, so long as businesses made this clear in "advertising" and "employment literature." “I said: ‘I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom,” Tillis said.

What's a Center for Civil Rights for?

But UNC board member Steven Long took issue with what he said was a lack of diverse points of view at the center. […]“I’ve read your materials,” said Long, who was on the board of the conservative Civitas Institute, according to a 2013 news release. “There is no diversity of opinion in that center.”Shaw responded: “We are unapologetically representing clients in cases ... We’re civil rights advocates. We have a point of view.”Boger pointed out that the law school’s Banking Institute was created to support the banking industry in North Carolina. “We don’t ask that center to consider socialism as an alternative or to talk about the dissolution of large banks,” he said. Boger also pointed out that public health professors advocate against sugary drinks in the fight against obesity.

Big improvement in Durham's image over last 20 years

Green was showing the City Council results of the bureau's latest "State of Durham's Image" survey last week. Among its findings is that, of about 500 Wake County respondents in a telephone poll early this year, more than 65 percent said Durham had a positive image in their minds. Only 8.1 percent had a negative image.That's almost a 180-degree flip from 1993, when the bureau commissioned its first survey of how its neighbors viewed the Bull City. Then, 65 percent of Wake respondents reported negative vibes where Durham was concerned, and only 12 percent saw the city in a favorable light.

UNC-Chapel Hill Should Lose Accreditation?

Any accrediting agency that would overlook a violation of this magnitude would both delegitimize itself and appear hopelessly hypocritical if it attempted, now or in the future, to threaten or sanction institutions—generally those with much less wealth and influence—for violations much smaller in scale. […]If falsified grades and transcripts for more than 3,000 students over more than a decade are viewed as anything other than an egregious violation of those standards, my response to the whole accreditation process is simple: Why bother?
Great weather, a vibrant collegiate atmosphere, music, arts, and tons of food festivals make Chapel Hill a great college town. Beautiful Georgian architecture and the basketball powerhouse Tar Heels are infectious. There’s no way life in Chapel Hill can’t center around the University. With over 700 acres of parks and natural areas, the town could double as a nature sanctuary, yet it’s connected worldwide. As a part of the “Research Triangle” there are tons of opportunities to work in science, tech, or healthcare. The town also boasts one of the highest rates of residents with graduate degrees, and a local, world-class research university. If that’s not enough for you, Chapel Hill was also recently hailed as “America’s Foodiest Small Town” by Bon Appetit magazine.
The Senate passed a massive fracking bill Thursday which would lift North Carolina's fracking moratorium and allow drilling to begin as early as July, 2015. S786, or the Energy Modernization Act, could be heard in the House next week.  One of the most egregious provisions in the bill which made disclosing fracking trade secrets a Class 1 felony was reduced, in an amendment by Sen. Chad Barefoot, R- Wake, to being punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, the difference between months and days of community punishment. Senate Democrats had proposed no punishment for disclosure of trade secrets yesterday but were voted down, though they did manage to get in a provision that would require more frequent water testing. An amendment from Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake that would measure air pollution from fracking, was shut down today as well.
Also, the state would spend $500,000 as part of an “industry consortium to drill three vertical core holes” in the Sanford sub-basin. The drilling would provide information about the state’s energy potential and “serve as a mechanism to attract qualifiedcompanies interested in safely and responsibly exploring for natural gas in North Carolina’s Triassicbasins,” according to the budget.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, citizens can sue a polluter to enforce environmental law. Yet, before they do so, they must give 60 days' notice to the polluter to ostensibly give that polluter the opportunity clean up its act, explained Torrey. However, a state agency can file its own lawsuit, and if it does so on the exact same claims raised in the 60 day notice letter, then those groups cannot file own suit in federal court. "Each time we sent 60 day notice letters, on approximately the 59th day, the DENR would file its own enforcement action," said Torrey, explaining this effectively blocked the environmental suits. Emails between Duke Energy and state regulators — obtained through a public records request by the SELC — show that, behind the scenes, the DENR engaged in closed-door negotiations with Duke Energy and communicated with them before intervening in the legal actions of environmental groups. For example, when the DENR filed a suit to block the SELC suit over the Asheville site, an email from the DENR dated March 22 states, "All is well" and indicates that Duke's lawyer was present at DENR's office. Less than a week after they received a 60 day notice from SELC regarding the Riverbend plant, DENR began negotiating with Duke Energy on a settlement, an April 1 email shows.
What we do know is that private schools that participate in the program do not require students to take state proficiency exams, teachers to be licensed, or schools to issue report cards. We know that the private schools that will receive our tax dollars, unlike our public schools, are permitted to discriminate against students on the basis of race, gender, family income or wealth, disability, and religion. We also know the historical links between racism and private schools. In 1964, 83 private schools enrolled approximately 9,500 students in N.C. But from 1968 to 1972 – when advocates and the federal government began to enforce meaningful school desegregation – the state jumped from 174 private schools and 18,000 students, to 263 schools and over 50,000 students. Surging enrollment in non-public schools was often concentrated in areas with high concentrations of African-American students , and the segregative legacy of these private schools and academies continues to this day:
"The mutual mantra (the Inverse Golden Rule of Academia) is: I won't question how you teach and grade your courses, if you won't question mine."
Most of McCrory’s troubles stem, in his mind, not from his support of policies that a majority of North Carolinians disagree with but from a media that, through bias or incompetency, just can’t understand his greatness.
A few months ago, Jon Wurster drove from his home in Chapel Hill to downtown Durham for a haircut. As he settled into the stylist's chair, and his thick brown locks started to fall to the floor around him, a familiar sound wafted from the salon's sound system. "It was obviously a Superchunk song, but I had no memory of it at all," he says to Ballance, recalling the moment as he works his way through a stack of promotional posters in need of signing at the Merge offices one recent morning. "I kept listening and kept thinking, 'What is this?'""So you knew it was us?" she asks."It sounded like us," he continues. "But when the singing came in, I still didn't know what it was. So I Soundhounded it, and it turned out that it was the song 'Here Come the Strings.' I remember us having a record called that, but not a song. It wasn't on the record, right? It must have been a B-side.""I have no idea," she says. "That happens to me sometimes. But I expect that to happen to me, not to you. I mean, we've recorded so many songs, I've lost count.""It feels like we must have 700."
The upshot of all this is that 50% of voters in the state think the General Assembly is causing North Carolina national embarrassment to 34% who disagree with that sentiment. Only 35% approve of the job Republicans are doing overall of running state government to 56% who give them poor marks, and 51% in the state think Republican control has been a bad thing for North Carolina to just 38% that consider it a positive.
In 2002, the last year without public financing, 73 percent of campaign funds for judicial candidates came from attorneys and special interest groups. After public financing was introduced in 2004, that number dropped to 14 percent. Last year, every single candidate for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals opted to receive public financing.