Many more millions of gallons of sewage might have flowed into the French Broad River on April 30, but the Metropolitan Sewerage District’s “code red” team — staffers Mark Ferris, Mike Ball, Bob Triplett, Grady Brooks — had not voluntarily plunged into the pool of raw sewage surrounding the pumps to find the missing closure plate and shut off the culprit valve. (Photos by Max Cooper)
Selling North Carolina? Substance may earn more than brand, particularly concerning the plan to do away with the regional and state economic development agencies such as Advantage West in favor of a new, private nonprofit called the N.C. Economic Development Partnership.
A notice of violation has been issued to the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County by the N.C. Division of Water Quality, pertaining to the April 30 spill of raw sewerage into the French Broad River. The overflow of almost 6 million gallons was the result of a pump accident during a construction operation at the plant, resulting in the shutdown of its main pumps.
The Opportunity Scholarship Act (House Bill 944) was approved by the N.C. House Committee on Education today on a 27-21 vote, and moves on to the House Committee on Appropriations. The bill would give taxpayer money for scholarships to assist low-income students in attending private or religious schools. Ten million dollars is earmarked for the […]
A series of questionable circumstances may leave too much to be explained by Randy Voller, chair of the N.C. Democratic Party. The questions involve personal and professional judgment and practice, the latest having to do with a trip to Las Vegas.
The North Carolina General Assembly has begun its end-of-session wrestling to reconcile Gov. Pat McCrory’s $20.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 and the Senate’s own $20.58 plan and priorities. Meanwhile, some of the nearly 600 bills still alive after crossover are filtering through Statehouse committees.
Passing a new budget resolution and agreeing to hire additional legal counsel were the two top items at the May 15 meeting of the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. The preliminary budget for the public agency, totaling roughly $40 million, includes a 2.5 percent rate increase for domestic users, a $16.7 […]
Passing a new budget resolution and agreeing to hire additional legal counsel were the two top items at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County. The $40-million budget reflects a $16.7 million capital improvement investment and a 2.5 percent rate increase for domestic users.
Rich Ducker calls Senate Bill 612 “a real Christmas tree of a bill – all sorts of things hung on it.” But the biggest issue, says the public law and government specialist, may be a “sleeper issue to some people.” And that’s language that could prevent local environmental ordinances that are any more stringent than state law—something that would likely do away with Buncombe County’s steep-slope ordinance and other regionally specific rules.
Monday protests at the N.C. Legislature, organized by the state NAACP president, Rev. William Barber, under the label of “Moral Mondays,” have grown over the course of three weeks to nearly 200 protestors yesterday with 49 arrests. The April 29 demonstration saw 17 arrested; on May 6, 30 were arrested. Yesterday’s round-up included Ashevillean Leslie […]
A legislative bill that establishes a North Carolina Public Charter School Board, removing most charter-school oversight from the State Board of Education, could have a negative impact on both the original intent for charter schools in this state and the funding of conventional public schools. Opposed by Bill Cobey, the current administration’s board of education […]
Both North Carolina and Georgia are seeing local governance erode in the face of legislative mandates — with the Asheville water system being just one of several major examples. N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho, Republican from Mecklenburg County, claims it’s “just local politics that we’ve always seen.” Mike Berlon, Georgia Democratic Party Chair, says the two […]
Economic and fiscal policy expert Jared Bernstein was a guest at yesterday’s Financing the Future debate on state tax reform for North Carolina, held at N.C. State University in Raleigh. He came away with some specific opinions on this state’s new tax proposals, shared in his On the Economy blog. The Raleigh forum was sponsored […]
WNC Rep. Michele Presnell is a primary sponsor of the Protect/Promote NC Lumber bill moving in the N.C. House, joined by Buncombe County’s Nathan Ramsey as co-sponsor. The bill (HB 628), just passed in the Agriculture Committee, promotes the use of North Carolina timber in state construction and renovation of state buildings. According to an […]
The mayor of Hendersonville, just 29 miles down Interstate 26 from any-way-you-like-it Asheville, describes her city as a “sophisticated small town,” enjoying itself and its more leisurely pace while sharing a lot of the same regional amenities. And right now Barbara Volk is keenly aware that her town, population 13,277, is also sharing some of […]
The N.C. Senate Finance Committee passed by voice vote today a bill that would effectively end the state’s 6-year-old renewable energy program. Called the Affordable and Reliable Energy Act (SB 365). The bill removes the graduated increases in the amount electric public utilities must invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, holding the investment at […]
They had to keep rolling out chairs April 23 for what was billed as a “Conversation about Public Education in North Carolina,” held at the Asheville City Schools board room on Mountain Street. A larger-than-anticipated audience of 60 people — educators, elected officials, parents, advocates — came to talk about the status of public education, and to offer some opinions.
With two weeks left before the North Carolina General Assembly’s May 16 crossover deadline, Asheville-specific legislation remains in focus among the more than 1,700 bills and resolutions entered in the 2013 session. And everything must now compete for time with the nearly $50 billion budget recently proposed by Gov. Pat McCrory.
Seventeen protestors, including N.C. NAACP’s president, William Barber, were arrested this evening just before the N.C. Senate’s 7 p.m. session convened. The protestors were shouting “We fight” in an act of civil disobedience that Barber said was aimed at a legislative agenda that is “hurting poor and minorities.” Barber, in an interview on national television […]
They had to keep rolling out chairs Tuesday night for what was billed as a “Conversation about Public Education in North Carolina,” held at the Asheville City Schools board room on Mountain Street. A larger-than-anticipated audience of 60 people — educators, elected officials, parents, advocates — came to talk about the status of public education, and to offer some opinions. And in a nutshell, the program message was that the status of public education in the state — which has been quantifiably climbing for years — is about to take a drastic plunge. (photos by Max Cooper)
By a surprising margin, the House Committee on Public Utilities and Energy turned down House Bill 298, which sought an end to state subsidies for renewable energy production, such as solar farms. The bill was sponsored by Rutherford County Republican Mike Hagar, who is chair of the Public Utilities Committee and a former engineer for […]