Recent “Hometown Debates” sponsored by the Institute of Political Leadership in Rocky Mount, Burlington, and Newton highlighted key points of debate involving N.C. public education. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s vice president for research, served as a panelist in each debate. He summarizes his arguments related to the state’s role in local school construction, school choice accountability, and teacher pay. The 17th-century English philosopher John Locke is known for his influence on the American Founders’ political principles. Duke University professor Michael Munger says Locke also could be dubbed the first “modern” economist. Munger points to a little-known 1695 Locke essay, Venditio, that points to some of the same economic concepts that Adam Smith popularized nearly 100 years later. Munger explains how Locke’s ideas help make sense of the problems associated today with laws targeting “price gouging.” As residents of southeastern North Carolina continue to worry about the long-term impacts of a chemical known as Gen X, which has been dumped into the Cape Fear River for decades, a new state legislative committee is studying broader issues linked to N.C. river water quality. You’ll hear what the group’s leaders hope to accomplish. You can’t get much further east in the United States than North Carolina. That’s not stopping online Western Governors University from setting up shop in the Tar Heel State. State officials and university leaders recently unveiled WGU North Carolina during a ceremony at the State Capitol. You’ll hear highlights from the event, including remarks from new Chancellor Catherine Truitt. Regulations are creating obstacles to innovation in the funeral industry. It’s the subject of Carolina Journal’s latest cover story. Editor-in-Chief Rick Henderson explains how government rules are blocking practitioners from meeting people’s changing needs.