Daily Journal

4.23.14
Putting NC Growth in Context

If you account for people dropping out of the labor force, North Carolina’s labor market has improved faster than those of most other states.

CJ Ticker

  • N.C. official unemployment rate drops to 6.3%. JLF president says underlying data bolster fiscally conservative approach.
  • JLF president finds academic research backs fiscal conservative approach to policies promoting economic growth.
  • JLF president notes newly revised N.C. employment data contradict popular liberal talking points.
  • JLF report calls for repeal or major revision of North Carolina's Map Act.
  • JLF report recommends new permanent commissions to study changing, replacing Common Core public school standards.
  • JLF's City and County Issue Guide 2014 urges local governments to pursue policies that promote freedom.
  • JLF's president says new employment data poke holes in dubious claims about N.C. employment.
  • N.C. unemployment rate drops to 6.9 percent as jobs report shows signs of strong growth.

Other Opinions

4.23.14
Tillis’ fight

Scott Mooneyham says that Thom Tillis is having to fend off both his primary opponents and Sen. Kay Hagan before he can ever get to a general election campaign.


4.23.14
GOP Senate debate

The first televised debate Tuesday night reflected both a high-stakes Senate GOP primary race that is fluid and a party that is struggling to define itself says Rob Christensen.


4.23.14
Unemployment rate

It has been a long climb, and there are still potential pitfalls ahead, but the days of double-digit unemployment statewide appear to be history for now. The Wilmington Star-News will take that.


4.22.14
The great debate

Tom Campbell doesn’t blame Thom Tillis for refusing to attend one of the three televised GOP Senate primary debates. The only mystery is why he (or any candidate) is bothering with any of them.


4.22.14
Charter pay

The Charlotte Observer finds it disappointing that officials of some N.C. charter schools are trying to evade full disclosure of who gets paid what at the schools.


3.31.14
Grim Tale of Life In Infamous Hanoi Hilton Tour Yields Leadership Lessons
Lee Ellis' memoir of life as a POW in Vietnam provides stories of great courage from the survivors.

Media Mangle

9.06.12
How to downplay an embarrassing story

The N&O buries the one moment of real drama at the Democratic National Convention.


3.21.12
Death of a narrative

The world's media found the neo-Nazi meme in stories about the school shooting in France just too enticing.


1.16.12
Anatomy of a Newspaper Hit Piece

In a Sunday piece, The Charlotte Observer employs all the steps used by the mainstream media to mislead readers.

Carolina Beat

4.17.14
The Vanishing Obamacare Mandate

Lead Story

Crowded Field Seeks To Succeed Rep. Alma Adams in HD 58

April 23, 2014, By Sam A. Hieb

photo-fpo-leadGREENSBORO — There are no Republicans running for the District 58 seat, making the May 6 Democratic primary most likely a winner-take-all event. The candidates largely hold similar views on the issues confronting the state. For the most part, they disagree with many of the policies enacted by the Republican-controlled legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory.

04.22.14 - Former State Rep. Jones Wants To Rejoin the Legislature

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Democrat Earl Jones wants to win back the North Carolina House District 60 seat he lost four years ago, but will have to defeat Cecil Brockman, a campaign strategist who helped to oust him from the General Assembly, and David Small, a youthful small business owner. Barring a write-in or unaffiliated general election challenge, the winner of the May 6 primary will win the seat.

04.21.14 - Expert: Renewables Add Billions to N.C. Energy Costs

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — James Taylor, senior fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of the monthly publication Environment & Climate News, said the limited potential for a North Carolina commercial wind and solar industry does not justify the exorbitant costs of renewable subsidies.

Editorial Cartoon

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Headlines

4.23.14 - Brannon targets Tillis in first GOP Senate debate

DAVIDSON — Greg Brannon repeatedly challenged House Speaker Thom Tillis’ conservative credentials Tuesday while Tillis saved his punches for Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in the first debate of the Republican U.S. Senate primary. The two Republicans dominated the debate with their back-and-forth as Mark Harris and Heather Grant sought to remain largely above the fray.


Related NC Delegation Articles:
Tillis takes little fire in GOP debate
Hotly contested 6th Congressional races to replace Coble
Candidates for 12th Congressional District agree on one thing: I’m more qualified
Little separates GOP candidates for U.S. Senate at debate
4 long-shot candidates for GOP Senate primary making their voices heard
Undecided GOP voters looking for answers in first debate

4.23.14 - Hotly contested 6th Congressional races to replace Coble

GREENSBORO — If it doesn’t set a record, it probably comes close. Nine Republican candidates are vying for the 6th District seat held for 29 years by Congressman Howard Coble, who announced his retirement in November. Add the two Democratic candidates, and you’ve got enough players to field a football team.


Related NC Delegation Articles:
Tillis takes little fire in GOP debate
Candidates for 12th Congressional District agree on one thing: I’m more qualified
Little separates GOP candidates for U.S. Senate at debate
Brannon targets Tillis in first GOP Senate debate
4 long-shot candidates for GOP Senate primary making their voices heard
Undecided GOP voters looking for answers in first debate

4.23.14 - Duke Energy coal ash removal could cost $10 billion

RALEIGH — Duke Energy’s top North Carolina executive told state lawmakers Tuesday that digging up coal ash from disposal sites across the state and trucking the industrial waste to modern landfills, as critics are demanding, could cost as much as $10 billion. A cheaper option, which leaves the coal ash in place at most sites, would cost at least $2 billion.


Related Energy Articles:
Pipe section found in river may aid coal ash spill inquiry
Coal ash unmonitored in fill sites across N.C.
JLF: How energy subsidy comparisons should be calculated but aren't
Cooper appeals Duke Energy rate increase for second time
McCrory irks legislators in coal ash pond announcement
Legislation proposed for closing Asheville ash ponds

4.23.14 - Pipe section found in river may aid coal ash spill inquiry

GREENSBORO — Duke Energy has found, submerged in the Dan River, what might be an important clue to explaining how and why a massive coal ash spill occurred two months ago at a retired Eden power plant. Utility workers recently recovered from the river a piece of metal pipe that apparently was part of the drainage line that failed on Feb. 2, gushing as much as 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the river, according to Duke estimates.


Related Energy Articles:
Duke Energy coal ash removal could cost $10 billion
Coal ash unmonitored in fill sites across N.C.
JLF: How energy subsidy comparisons should be calculated but aren't
Cooper appeals Duke Energy rate increase for second time
McCrory irks legislators in coal ash pond announcement
Legislation proposed for closing Asheville ash ponds

4.23.14 - SEANC report harshly criticizes NC Treasurer Janet Cowell

RALEIGH — A blistering report on the management of the state’s $87 billion pension fund commissioned by the State Employees Association of North Carolina reinforces and significantly expands the group’s long-standing criticisms of state Treasurer Janet Cowell. The 147-page report takes a shotgun approach, leveling numerous accusations and complaints steeped in inflammatory language.


Related State Government Articles:
Lawmakers find ‘food deserts’ difficult to fix
NC employee union takes pension complaints to feds
Environmental issues a sticking point in Dix talks
Raleigh residents could vote on Dix purchase in November
State Fair’s Vortex incident becomes high-profile lawsuit
State wants to keep a portion of Dorothea Dix property

4.23.14 - DHHS requests extra $12M from feds

WINSTON-SALEM — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Monday the state has requested an additional $12 million in federal funding to pay for county cost overruns for its beleaguered food-stamp program. Counties are reimbursed for 50 percent of their expenditures by the U.S. Agriculture Department, the agency from which DHHS has made the funding request.


Related Social Services Articles:
WNC counties focus on truancy
USDA says N.C. met food stamp deadline
Some NC farmers markets struggle to accept food stamps
Guilford, state await ruling from USDA over food stamps
Guilford officials: State sending mixed messages on food stamp deadline
DHHS says food stamp deadline met

4.23.14 - Lawmakers find ‘food deserts’ difficult to fix

RALEIGH — A legislative panel offered few solutions Monday to getting fresh produce and other healthy food into communities that lack grocery stores. Lawmakers created the House Committee on Food Desert Zones after Kroger closed two stores in southeast Raleigh last year.


Related State Government Articles:
NC employee union takes pension complaints to feds
SEANC report harshly criticizes NC Treasurer Janet Cowell
Environmental issues a sticking point in Dix talks
Raleigh residents could vote on Dix purchase in November
State Fair’s Vortex incident becomes high-profile lawsuit
State wants to keep a portion of Dorothea Dix property

4.23.14 - Wake school board includes teacher raises in $1.3B budget

CARY — Calling it a test of the community’s political will, the Wake County school board unanimously approved a budget proposal Tuesday that asks for a $39.3 million increase in local funding to support pay raises for teachers. Also on Tuesday, the board received news that repair work on the Beltline will not result, as originally feared, in changes in school times for multiple schools this fall.


Related Education Articles:
JLF: Rethinking Common Core state standards
Long waiting list prompts bilingual school to grow
Some charter school leaders resist salary disclosure
Union County recall plan has ‘50-50 chance’
Wake sees ‘alarming’ increase in teacher resignations
Do Guilford schools have standing in tenure lawsuit?

4.23.14 - Long waiting list prompts bilingual school to grow

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte has the one of the largest populations of foreign-born citizens in the state, yet it lacks one of the most basic services needed for such families to succeed: an organized way for preschoolers to learn English before starting kindergarten. Currently, the city has one small nonprofit bilingual preschool and two others affiliated with Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.


Related Education Articles:
JLF: Rethinking Common Core state standards
Wake school board includes teacher raises in $1.3B budget
Some charter school leaders resist salary disclosure
Union County recall plan has ‘50-50 chance’
Wake sees ‘alarming’ increase in teacher resignations
Do Guilford schools have standing in tenure lawsuit?

4.23.14 - William Peace University president under fire

RALEIGH — Debra Townsley, the president of William Peace University, is facing intense criticism from students and faculty, who describe a deteriorating academic environment and a fear of retaliation on the downtown Raleigh campus. Five students who recently circulated a student petition were informed by the university this week that they face disciplinary proceedings for disorderly conduct and violations of Peace’s visitation and solicitation policies.


Related Higher Education Articles:
UNC-CH whistle-blower resigns
N.C. A&T's nursing program scrutinized
McCrory asks for in-state community college tuition for vets
Deborah Crowder’s story could bring NCAA investigators
Pope Foundation gives $1.3M to cancer research at UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC-CH: Student-athlete literacy claims lack valid data

4.23.14 - Mortgage originators accused of fraud remain in business

CHARLOTTE — Adam Goulet, Joshua Hankins and Roger Moore were dealt what looked like professional setbacks when they lost their licenses to originate mortgages for homebuyers in North Carolina. In separate cases, federal authorities said all three gave false information to lenders when they bought investment properties in Charlotte. But all three remain in the mortgage business because of settlements with the N.C. banking commissioner.


Related NC Courts & Justice Articles:
Tillis accuses Democrats of ‘meddling’ in GOP primary
Cooper settles libel suit from 2000 election
Cooper, other lawyers resolve defamation case
Cooper ends 14-year feud with apology
NC Supreme Court races draw political interest
JLF: Improving juvenile justice

4.23.14 - State board says Ledford can run for sheriff

RALEIGH — The state Board of Elections on Tuesday upheld a decision by the Madison County Board of Elections allowing John Ledford to run for sheriff. “I’m very happy with today’s decision,” Ledford said by phone. “I look forward to letting the people of Madison County decide who they want to be their sheriff as opposed to somebody deciding on some type of technicality. I think that’s the way it should always be. It should be decided by an election.”


Related Police/Public Safety Articles:
Asheville council approves anti-graffiti plan
Kansas shooting suspect has ties to Greensboro
State apologizes after exposing crime victims’ personal info
Fayetteville City Council OKs red-light camera plan
Buyer beware: NC’s top consumer gripes and scams
Heroin use, and deaths, on the rise in North Carolina

4.23.14 - New fees, layoffs may close Greensboro budget gap

GREENSBORO — The city is looking at new fees and a handful of employee layoffs to help close a projected $5 million budget gap without raising property taxes next year. City Manager Jim Westmoreland told City Council members Tuesday that the city also needs millions of dollars worth of building and road repairs.


Related Local Government Articles:
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
Tax question for new high school on ballot in Davidson
Stand pat Asheville budget expected, staff says
Asheville council to weigh in on tax, legal notices
Bladen County seeks sales tax to fund work at schools
Raleigh City Council debates renovation of Moore Square

4.23.14 - Tax question for new high school on ballot in Davidson

WINSTON-SALEM — Davidson County voters will choose in the May 6 primary whether to pay an extra fourth of a cent in sales tax to pay for the construction of a new high school in the northern part of the county. Advocates say the sales tax addition would raise about $2.3 million annually and allow the county to finance the construction of a high school to relieve overcrowding at North Davidson and Ledford high schools.


Related Local Government Articles:
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
New fees, layoffs may close Greensboro budget gap
Stand pat Asheville budget expected, staff says
Asheville council to weigh in on tax, legal notices
Bladen County seeks sales tax to fund work at schools
Raleigh City Council debates renovation of Moore Square

4.23.14 - Beach towns weigh options for nourishment projects

WILMINGTON — Beach town officials will meet next week to continue discussing a host of funding options for beach nourishment projects, in addition to a request for more authority over the allocation of room occupancy tax dollars. “We keep going to meetings and talking to people about beach renourishment,” said Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilcox.


Related Coastal Issues Articles:
NC fish houses navigate variety of issues
Beach towns weigh tax hike for beach nourishment
Formulating management plan for NC inlets will be difficult
NC ocean research lab on White House chopping block
Sell or self-insure a question in NC beach town
JLF: Catch shares could help fight problem of declining N.C. fish stocks
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