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Berger’s Common Core appointees lacking

Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) is the first to publicly announce his appointments to a legislative commission that will review and make recommendations for modifying the Common Core State Standards. Berger’s appointments include a retired math professor recommended by the John Locke Foundation and a Winston-Salem/Forsyth school board member who has a “self-guided education in curriculum standards.”House Speaker Thom Tillis, Gov. Pat McCrory, State Board ...

3 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Tour highlights local economies

Wow. I cannot believe how fast time flies. As we head into Labor Day, I hate to see summer end, but I’m exciting to think about back to school, football season gearing up and a little break from the heat.I just wrapped up a great week traveling the district and meeting with folks to hear their concerns and discuss ways to help revitalize our local communities. Weeks like this are the favorite parts of my job because I enjoy spending time in our communities hearing directly fr...

3 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Rigging NC’s judicial laws

The N.C. General Assembly during its 2014 session – a session so rife with disputes among the majority Republicans that it smoldered on and on – has left many sour tastes in many mouths.There was, of course, the updated and unpalatable state budget, short of revenue because of rash tax-cutting. In order to give public school teachers a long-overdue raise, education programs across the board had to be cannibalized. For that matter, veteran teachers whose “raises...

4 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

N.C. candidates at starting line

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has been running hard for reelection for more than a year. Republican nominee Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House, has been campaigning against Hagan for nearly as long. Republicans, Democrats, and independent-expenditure groups have already begun their battle over control of the state legislature.So far, there isn’t much evidence that any of these actions and expenditures have made much of an impression on the intende...

4 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Vouchers not about helping poor kids

After Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood understandably ruled last week that the sketchy, unaccountable private school voucher scheme created by the 2013 General Assembly was unconstitutional, voucher supporters responded almost in unison with a single talking point, that somehow the judge had “trapped underprivileged children in failing schools.”The claim may be offensive and disingenuous but it’s not new. It’s been a common refrain among school privatizat...

5 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

County sees success on jobs front

A little over a week ago, Scotland County was able to announce another new industry which will bring new jobs and investment. Cascades announced a new investment of $62 million with over 67 new jobs and the transfer of another 60 jobs from its Richmond County location. The company has purchased the entire WestPoint Home property and plans to revitalize and renovate the buildings to meet their needs. This is truly wonderful news for the citizens of Scotland County as Cascades will have much hi...

5 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

A boat made for the Pee Dee

For some reason or other I’ve always loved being around water. Why when I retired I held a State Water and Wastewater License.My first recollection of liking water was when I was 5 years old. Every evening I would follow my Grandma down in the cow pasture to head the cows up to the barn for milking. I’d carry a short cane pole and a worm or two and fish in the spring while Ma was getting in the cows. She’d always come by the spring and say, “Boy, you caught ...

6 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s workforce

Happy “Back to School” week! Since I do not have children, this week is just another work week for me, but I know for so many of you, this is the week to go back to the hustle and bustle of getting the kids out of bed in time for everyone to get ready, eat breakfast and get out of the house and to school on time, while you try to make sure you get to your job on time as well. It takes a while to get back into the groove and make sure the timing works and no one is tardy for their ...

6 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Identity thieves target kids, adults

I’m sorry to report that child identity fraud is alive and well in 2014. If anything, the problem may be worsening as identity thieves devise new methods to steal — and use — children’s personal information. Most commonly, they’ll harvest kids’ dormant Social Security numbers and use them to illegally obtain jobs or open fraudulent bank and credit accounts, mortgages or car loans.Many victims don’t realize there’s a problem until they...

7 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

What are the gains, gaps in our economy?

Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort, and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.Any economic forecast must begin with the national economy for the simple reason that, regardless of where you live in the country, roughly two-thirds of what happens to commerce is determined by the ups and downs of the national economy. H...

7 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

A non-lawyer on the Supreme Court?

President Obama plans to appoint National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg to the United States Supreme Court.Not really, of course.Totenberg may know more than most lawyers about the Supreme Court from her experience as an award-winning legal affairs correspondent for NPR.But she is not a lawyer, and you have to be a lawyer to be on the court.Don’t you?No. The Constitution sets forth no such requirement. Article Two provides sim...

7 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

Foolish choice on Medicaid expansion

When you consider all the bad choices made by the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory in the last two years — and there have been too many to mention — the one that may make the least sense was the decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and therefore provide health coverage for more than 400,000 low income adults who are currently uninsured.That point was reinforced dramatically recently by a national report that quantified how much federal ...

10 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

World ignored signs of ISIS power

Winston Churchill once said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Over the past several months, the world has watched with great concern the events unfolding around the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The escalating tensions stemming from these events threaten to destabilize the world at large and serve as a chilling reminder that evil does indeed exist.

10 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

School prep should include immunizations

Back-to-School season is here. It’s time for parents to gather supplies and back packs. It’s also the perfect time to make sure your kids are up to date on their vaccines.“Getting children all of the vaccines recommended by CDC’s immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children’s health — and that of classmates and the community,” said Alisa Freeman, RN, BSN, Family Planning and Immunization...

10 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

NC doesn’t need gimmicks to attract jobs

Gov. Pat McCrory and some Republican lawmakers in the General Assembly say they need more “tools” for economic development in North Carolina — by which they mean targeted tax breaks and corporate subsidies. They often point to South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and other states in our neighborhood that, they say, are more aggressive in using economic incentives to recruit or retain businesses.I disagree with incentive advocates on policy grounds. Govern...

11 days 12 hours ago | | | Email

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