With the start of early voting just seven weeks away, Democrat Cheri Beasley continues to run stronger than pundits had projected.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the Pantone company chose “Very Peri,” a vibrant purple, as its 2022 color of the year, but it would be hard to find a better shade to describe North Carolina’s electorate. Both are trending this fall.
Last week, yet another poll showed the U.S. Senate race between Representative Ted Budd and former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley effectively tied, the fourth poll in a row to do so.
Early on, head to head polls showed Budd well in the lead. But the last time he was up beyond the margin of error was in mid-June. [Read more…]
It’s still unclear if the source of the arsenic is naturally occurring or a former lithium mine
Before Abby and Jason Hollis bought their 1,200-square-foot house on Laboratory Road in rural Lincolnton, the inspector required them to test their drinking water well, a routine step when purchasing a home.
Good news: Test results from 2007 showed no E. Coli or other bacteria that could send them retching to the emergency room.
Then Jason Hollis later heard about a co-worker in Hickory whose well contained arsenic. The Hollises decided to test their water for the contaminant, “on a whim,” Abby said.
Bad news: The results showed the Hollises unknowingly had been drinking poisoned water for three years.
Arsenic levels in their well have been as high as 328 parts per billion – more than 30 times the EPA regulatory standard of 10 ppb. However, no amount of arsenic is safe. Long-term exposure to arsenic through drinking or cooking has been linked to skin, bladder, lung and kidney cancer. It’s also been linked to neurological problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart and lung disease. [Read more...]
Questions about whether a controversial licensure and pay proposal for North Carolina’s teachers constitutes merit pay continue to bedevil state education leaders.
Members of the Professional Education Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) discussed the topic Thursday after it met to begin fine-tuning a draft of the new licensure and pay plan to send to the State Board of Education (SBE) for its approval.
“I think that is something that needs clarity,” said Commissioner Connie Locklear, director of the Indian Resource Center for the Public Schools of Robeson County. “I think that is a concern with a lot of individuals in the field that they’re considering this merit pay.” [Read more…]
There have been a lot of half-baked attacks on President Joe Biden’s recently announced initiative to forgive some of the crushing mountain of student loan debt that’s weighing down Americans of all ages.
There’s the claim that it will somehow worsen the inflation that’s been plaguing the global economy.
But as expert after expert has patiently explained, the program simply isn’t big enough to have such an impact. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman observed with respect to the U.S.: “We’re talking about tens of billions a year in a $25 trillion economy. That’s basically a rounding error.”
And then there’s the offensive allegation that many of the people who will benefit are undeserving. Always sure-to-offend Texas Sen. Ted “Cancun-is-the-place-to-be-during-a-paralyzing-ice-storm” Cruz, alleged that the plan is about aiding pot smoking “slacker barista(s) who wasted seven years in college.”[Read more...]
First Lady Jill Biden will accompany Sec. Miguel Cardona to NC next week as part of “Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour”
WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education SecretaryMiguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession.
Cardona also touted the Biden administration’s recent student debt relief announcement in late August. The White House said President Joe Biden will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers and up to $10,000 for all other borrowers with an income of less than $125,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a household.
But Cardona acknowledged that the one-time student loan cancellation policy did not address the root cause of the student loan crisis, and “that will not fix the long-term issues.”[Read more...]
Like many colleges and university systems across the country, UNC has long been embroiled in a debate about free speech on campuses. In a politically volatile era in which extremist views have gone mainstream, the extent of free speech disagreements at UNC campuses is unclear, as are potential solutions.
On Sept 13, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will hold the university’s first student-centered discussion on the issue. ”Can We Talk? Student Thoughts on Free Expression at UNC,” was sparked by a series of surveys about free speech — surveys that themselves have become controversial.
The panel will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Room 109 at Fetzer Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill and will be streamed online. Those interested can register here.
UNC-Chapel Hill professor Mark McNeilly, an outspoken conservative, will moderate the panel. McNeilly is on a team of researchers, including Timothy Ryan and Jennifer Larson, who launched a study at Chapel Hill that examined free speech issues on campus, Policy Watch has reported. [Read more...]
NC’s Tillis working to broker a deal, expresses optimism for a bipartisan agreement
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is on track to vote on a bill codifying marriage equality as soon as next week with negotiators increasingly confident it could become law.
Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said Wednesday they’re close to getting at least 10 Republicans to back the same-sex marriage measure, pushing it past the minimum number of senators required to clear the chamber’s legislative filibuster.
“I think the momentum is going in the right direction. And yeah, I think it’s gonna have good support,” Baldwin said. [Read more…]
Behind state efforts to prevent targeted mass shootings
After the massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger visited his alma mater, Carr Elementary, in Dallas, North Carolina. What had once seemed innocuous design choices looked to Cloning like security risks that could be exploited by a gunman: the knee-high windows, the door in the back of classrooms that led to a playground.
“It was built at a time when we didn’t worry about this,” Cloninger told members of the Governor’s Crime Commission last Thursday. “And the majority of our schools are that way still.”
Cloninger’s tour of Carr Elementary was part of his work as a co-chair of a special committee on school shootings. He talked last week about the report he helped put out in 2019, the recommendations he had made that were never acted upon.
There have been many school shootings since Parkland. Among the most horrifying was last May, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“I knew after Texas that someone would be saying, ‘We got to do a study, we got to do a study,’” Cloninger said. “We’ve done a study.” [Read more…]