Skip to Main Content

 In the News: Archive 

Note: Due to space constraints, archives go back just six months.

January 3, 2012

ANNEXATION

Sen. Berger tells Mayor Saffo to back off fighting annexation law, or else. North Carolina State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger has informed the mayors of several cities and the North Carolina League of Municipalities that should the cities continue to fight this new law in court, the General Assembly – which holds the sole Constitutional Authority over municipal boundaries – will simply create permanent municipal lines to stop these cities from imposing forced annexation.

City council votes against annexation. The Burlington city council decided on Tuesday not to annex three properties outside city limits whose owners had petitioned for water or sewer services in November.

Editorial: Lawsuits over annexation waste taxpayer money. The Rocky Mount city council will spend tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps even a hundred thousand dollars, of taxpayer’s money in its lawsuit against the state. I for one think it is shameful and disrespectful.

Lexington annexation fight heating up. An annexation battle is being waged on several fronts in Lexington, but the N.C. General Assembly has the biggest guns — if it chooses to fire.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION

Dean drops election appeal. Gladys Dean has withdrawn her request for a hearing to appeal the election results in which she lost her race for mayor of Maxton.

Thomasville election results certified; city files annexation review protest. The Davidson County Board of Elections on Wednesday officially certified the Nov. 8 Thomasville municipal election results following the repeal of an election protest filed by Thomasville mayoral candidate Earl Harrison last week. Harrison filed the protest Nov. 17 after losing to incumbent Chair city mayor Joe Bennett.

Push to alter city elections under way. One of the first orders of business in the new year for one Mount Airy official will be pushing for a change in city election procedure — even it if means shortening his own term.

GAS TAX

Just why is the state adding to gasoline tax? What we would like to hear is more detail about why the tax is going up nearly 4 cents to the highest gas tax rate in the state’s history and how this particular rate hike is being computed.

GENERAL

Mayor, Police Chief urge community to join Citizen's Police Academy. As crime concerns continue to plague areas of the east, local law enforcement and city officials are exploring ways to strengthen their fight against crime.

Cities prepare for 2012 revaluation. Official property tax values for all homes and other real estate in Cabarrus County will likely decrease in early 2012 as the county completes the final portion of its 2012 Revaluation and begins alerting property owners to the changes.

January 8, 2012

ANNEXATION

City council unanimously approves annexation, needs second vote. Wilmington City Council unanimously approved a request for voluntary annexation Tuesday night, but the vote to bypass a second reading of the issue did not pass unanimously.

Opinion: Berger’s threat on annexation suits no ‘compromise.’ State Senate leader Phil Berger would do well to remember that these days, as one of two heads of what is still the most powerful branch of government in North Carolina, he totes the proverbial gun.

Davidson elections board sets date for de-annexation hearing. The Davidson County Board of Elections will hear an annexation challenge from Lexington city officials on Jan. 27 —– the same week that a court in Raleigh hears motions in the city's suit that's seeking to overturn the state's new annexation law.

GENERAL

Can Ballantyne become its own town? Should Ballantyne break with Charlotte to be its own town?

Opinion: In the 2011 legislature, words didn't mean much. With a new year beginning, here’s some advice for the Democrats of the N.C. House: Go study your N.C. Senate counterparts. And here’s some advice for Republicans of the House: Go study your Senate counterparts.

Saffo: "Bridge to nowhere is no more." Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo says the city has secured an easement in front of the Autumn Hall housing development, which will allow the Gary Shell Cross-City Trail to be connected from Halyburton to the Wrightsville Beach bridge.

Town redesigns website, becomes ‘townofdavidson.org.’ The town of Davidson has a new look and a new name on the web.

January 10, 2012

FRACKING

N.C. cities move to ban fracking. Some North Carolina municipalities are taking action against a controversial method of natural gas drilling while state environmental officials study the impact of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

ANNEXATION

City and county elected officials respond to ballpark talks ending. A day after the city of Wilmington approved the annexation request of a developer, the county announced it will postpone talks regarding the building of a minor league baseball stadium.

Editorial: Lexington can still change course on annexation. City of Lexington officials would argue that it's wrong for the Legislature to retroactively apply that law to an annexation already upheld by the courts as legal under the previous law.

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Fayetteville City Council may dump primary to cut election costs. The city council last week unanimously voted to consider election changes.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Opinion: Late-night veto override maneuver risky for N.C. GOP. GOP leaders will learn whether the election-year move is worth the anger from the opposing party and laments from good-government advocates, with both groups accusing them of secret maneuvering.

GAS TAX

Opinion: Another perspective on gas tax. While no one wants to pay higher taxes, remember that North Carolina’s gas tax builds and maintains a lot of roads and bridges which we desperately need; and for a reasonable cost, given our state’s size, vitality and tradition of keeping local governments out of transportation funding.

REDISTRICTING

Opponents of redistricting map want N.C. primary delay. Dozens of Democrats and advocacy groups challenging the new Republican-drawn maps for North Carolina's legislative and congressional districts want judges to delay the state's May 8 primary by two months while their lawsuits wind through the courts.

 

January 12, 2012

REDISTRICTING

N.C. lawyers want redistricting challenges dismissed. The legal fight over North Carolina's new boundaries for General Assembly and congressional districts returns to court as attorneys for the state attempt to persuade judges that challenges to the maps should be thrown out.

GENERAL

Concord Airport gets grant. The N.C. Division of Aviation awarded a $5.46 million federal block grant to Concord Regional Airport for capital improvement projects.

Leland mayor sets office hours. Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman will offer open office hours starting Tuesday – an unusual move for a mayor.

N.C. lawmakers listening to cities' power debt woes. The head of a trade association managing an electric power agency serving eastern North Carolina says selling shares in power plants the agency owns is still being considered if it means getting rid of debt towns and cities must repay.

January 17, 2012

REDISTRICTING

Column: Lawsuits over redistricting maps raise election uncertainty. Next month, politicians and politician-wannabes will be making official their hopes for higher office as filing for elected offices in North Carolina begins. Or, maybe they won’t.

New district maps prompt caution from N.C. election officials. Election officials in North Carolina are convinced that the state's new redistricting plan will add layers of confusion for voters to this year's presidential election.

GENERAL

NCDOT seeks League member input. The NCDOT wants to hear from League members on how transportation dollars should be invested. They are reaching out through a series of meetings being held across the state, all organized by DOT funding regions. Click here to learn more.

Town of Ballantyne concept faces hurdles. Though the fervor for a town of Ballantyne was in full force at last Wednesday's meeting of south Mecklenburg County residents, the level of organization needed to pursue deannexation is lacking.

Eastern N.C. to pitch repair depots to D.O.D. With the thousands of military vehicles used in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan scheduled to make their way through East Coast ports in the coming years, Eastern North Carolina’s local and regional leaders are hoping to convince U.S. Defense Department officials to establish vehicle maintenance and repair depots in the region.

January 19, 2012

ANNEXATION

City leaders vote yes to Market Street annexation. Tuesday night, Wilmington city council members passed the rezoning for a portion of land along Market Street near Marsh Oaks to be annexed into the city.

GAS TAX

$4 gas? North Carolina drivers take stoic view. Here in North Carolina, drivers are noticing the effect of higher gas taxes. The state tacked an extra 3.9 cents onto each gallon on January 1. Republicans who control the state legislature opted in November not to block the increase.

Municipal Election

Wake election officials to look at Morrisville ballots dispute. Wake County elections officials will hold a hearing Wednesday to determine whether to count eight absentee ballots in a tight race for Morrisville Town Council.

GENERAL

DOT awards $3.6M to resurface roads in Asheville area. The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to resurface almost 20 miles of roads in Buncombe County.

Small community on the Outer Banks deals with proposed toll increase. Getting on the ferry from Ocracoke Island to Cedar Island is now $15, but not for long.

 

January 24, 2012

WATER SYSTEMS

Committee to look at fate of Asheville water system. A state legislative committee will consider stripping the city’s control of its water system, raising concerns over water costs and quality.

Editorial: Our better angels need to guide the water issue. It is important to remember that there is nothing new under the sun. In that spirit, a new way to look at our water issue may be helpful.

REDISTRICTING

Texas case could impact N.C. redistricting. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Friday in a redistricting case from Texas could have a ripple effect as the court system considers a challenge to proposed congressional and state legislative district boundaries in North Carolina.

North Carolina's primary will not be delayed. A three-judge panel decided Friday not to delay North Carolina's May 8 primary as legal challenges continue to the redistricting of state legislative and congressional maps.  

GENERAL

Mayor reopens trash debate. The Orange County commissioners closed the discussion on a possible Orange County solid-waste transfer station two years ago. Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton wants to reopen it.

Supreme Court could decide Kannapolis rezoning fight. In the weeks ahead, the N.C. Supreme Court will issue a decision in a precedent-setting case with ramifications for zoning and annexation decisions statewide.

TRANSPORTATION

I-40 to remain two lanes at Clayton bypass. The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced a plan Thursday that would permanently narrow I-40, where drivers are entering from the Clayton Bypass.

Letter to state: Railroad has major concerns on proposed Red Line. The proposed Red Line commuter rail corridor may have hit another snag on Friday.

 

January 26, 2012

ANNEXATION

More property owners join annexation lawsuit. Several property owners in proposed annexation areas near Wilmington and other N.C. cities have been added as defendants to a lawsuit challenging new annexation statutes approved by the General Assembly in 2011.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION

Schlink wins Morrisville Council seat by 3 votes. The two-month battle over the rightful winner of a Morrisville Town Council seat ended Wednesday with challenger Michael Schlink emerging as the victor.

City elections top council's agenda. The future of city elections will be the first topic up for discussion Friday at the Morganton City Council’s annual January workshop.

GENERAL

Cabarrus cities look to Albemarle for future water needs. Albemarle could sell Concord and Kannapolis up to 5 million gallons of water per day as soon as 2013, according to a $21 million plan to construct an 84,000-foot water line to the Stanly County city, which has water intakes on the Yadkin River.

Topsail residents question benefits of multimillion dollar project. A new $7.5 million inlet realignment project at the north end of north Topsail Beach calls for the town to contribute around $2.5 million. 

BILLBOARDS

Editorial: Roadside trees will be lost to billboards. Not only will billboard companies be able to cut down many more trees than they could before a new law loosened restrictions, under newly approved rules taking effect in March they won't have to replace them, either.

TRANSPORTATION

Norfolk Southern says Red Line may not be feasible on its track. The Red Line Regional Rail Project is facing another major roadblock this week: Norfolk Southern Corp., which owns the tracks it would run on, is balking at the idea of commuter and freight rail operating on the same line.

 

January 31, 2012

GENERAL

Beaufort still in the running to win ‘Coolest Small Town’ title. It's still a close race to be crowned the "Coolest Small Town in America." And Beaufort is currently in first place. Last chance to vote is today.

Gastonia, Gaston County make controversial swap. Gastonia leaders have resolved a $200,000 debt to Gaston County by relinquishing control they long held over land just outside the city limits.

Town looks to enhance signage, public art. New public art, streetscapes and additional “wayfinding” systems will enhance Mooresville’s image if a national arts grant comes through.

Hendersonville, four businesses make efficiency upgrades with stimulus funds. Thirty-two light fixtures on Main Street were replaced with LED light fixtures, leaving the city with an annual savings of $11,500.

Concord, Kannapolis mayors receive highest civilian honor in N.C. Kannapolis Mayor Robert S. Misenheimer and Concord Mayor J. Scott Padgett have joined the long list of distinguished North Carolinians to receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

TRANSPORTATION

I-85 project breeds concern in Kannapolis. Kannapolis City Council members say they are frustrated they cannot change plans included in the $125 million Interstate 85 widening project that they believe will negatively impact traffic coming from Trinity Church Road onto N.C. 73.

North Carolina shoaling prompts calls for dredging. North Carolina ferry captains say shoaling between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands has created some of the worst conditions they've seen.

Butterfield announces $2.8 million in grants to upgrade district airports. Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) awarding of $2.8 million in grants to seven airports throughout eastern North Carolina.

BROADBAND

North Carolina launches FCC-approved TV white space network in Wilmington. With the TVWS network up and running, Wilmingtonians will have internet access in public parks, while authorities will be able to use part of Spectrum Bridge's broadband for video surveillance.

 

December 1, 2011

REDISTRICTING

North Carolina Republicans “re-districting” women out of office. In addition to clustering black voters and reducing their impact both in Congress and in the state’s legislature, the new maps eliminate the districts of 40% of the women currently serving in the state’s legislature.

GENERAL

N.C. economist: State government revenue projections remain $115M above budgeted levels. North Carolina's revenue collections are still ahead of projections set when legislators drew up the state government budget this year.

Satisfying two masters proves challenging. Wendell's planning staff will have to walk a tightrope to rezone land in the town's newly-expanded extraterritorial jurisdiction to commissioners' liking while staying on the right side of the law.

ANNEXATION

Monkey Junction residents fight annexation. Tuesday was the deadline for residents in the Monkey Junction area of New Hanover County to fight annexation.

 

December 6, 2011

ANNEXATION

N.C. Judge: Counting annexation petitions can go on. The process by which landowners can block a few North Carolina towns and cities from scooping up their land can continue while municipalities and their citizens challenge new laws that overhaul the state's involuntary annexation rules.

Southport not fighting annexation. Unlike five other cities that have been stuck in annexation battles, Southport decided not to fight it.

 City vs. Monkey Junction - annexation battle continues. Residents of that area first heard of Wilmington's plans to pull them into the city about five years ago. Since then, it's been a long rollercoaster ride, and it may not end soon. 

No involuntary annexation in Kinston. There will not be an involuntary annexation in Kinston.

GENERAL

National municipal policy adopted at congress of cities. In addition to electing new officers last month at the NLC Congress of Cities and Exhibition, nearly 700 delegates from cities and towns across the country approved additions and changes to the National Municipal Policy (NMP) for the coming year. The NMP consists of policy statements that guide NLC’s federal advocacy efforts on a wide range of issues impacting municipalities, including transportation, federal funding, sustainability and tax reform.

Holcombe to lead Wake mayors' group. Pushing the legislature to continue to allow cities and towns to retain local control is among Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe's goals for the next year.

Roanoke Rapids mayor says selling theater is best. Roanoke Rapids' mayor says a decision to sell the troubled Roanoke Rapids Theatre is a good deal for the city, even though it's being sold for a third of what the city borrowed to pay for it.

TRANSPORTATION

N.C.D.O.T. to host three public meetings for the North Carolina maritime strategy. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will hold three public meetings for the North Carolina Maritime Strategy during December in St. James, Wilmington and Morehead City.

N.C. wants permanent solution for Hwy. 12. North Carolina Transportation officials want residents to weigh in on how to permanently fix breaches in the road left by Hurricane Irene.

 

December 8, 2011

ANNEXATION

Neighbors win annexation fight into the Village of Marvin. On Tuesday the Union County Board of Elections certified the results, which weren’t close.

Wilmington City Council approves public meeting for voluntary annexation. Wilmington city council members voted in favor of holding a public meeting on the proposed voluntary annexation of a vacant plot near Market Street and Marsh Oaks Drive in Porters Neck.

GENERAL

Mayor Foxx renews call to merge city, county governments. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx said he will ask the City Council within a week to launch a study of how to fully merge city and county governments - an issue that the mayor doggedly pursued in his first term.

Valdese to condemn old high school again. The Valdese Town Council is pursuing the condemnation of Francis Garrou High School for a second time.

N.C. to see modest growth in 2012, UNC Charlotte economist says. North Carolina’s economy will grow 1.7 percent in 2012 from a gain of 1.3 percent this year, according to UNC Charlotte economist John Connaughton.

Chatham County to begin property tax collection for Siler City in 2012. The Siler City Town Board of Commissioners agreed to contract with Chatham County for tax collection services.

Morganton council authorizes property sale. The Morganton City Council on Monday voted unanimously to authorize the Morganton Redevelopment Commission to sell a property on East Union Street, where a developer hopes to build a senior housing complex.

BLOG: Ask Roanoke Rapids about snake oil. Perhaps asking North Carolina voters to undo an egregious wrong that they did to the state constitution just seven years later is seen by legislative leaders as distasteful.

 

December 13, 2011

INTERNET TAX

Legislation may help tax online purchases. As appealing as it may seem to be able to make online purchases free from sales tax payment, there is still a legal obligation to remit these unpaid taxes to the Department of Revenue.

TRANSPORTATION

N.C. Maritime Strategy subject of public meetings. Public meetings will be held this week in St. James, Wilmington and Morehead City about the state's $2 million examination of North Carolina's maritime industry.

REDISTRICTING

Editorial: No time to waste. Not many people care about redistricting. That could change if legal challenges to new districts foul up North Carolina’s 2012 election schedule.

GENERAL

BLOG: N.C. lawmakers to tackle redistricting, veto overrides in February. Maybe. When the next legislative session of the N.C. General Assembly convenes, on Feb. 16, lawmakers will focus on the redistricting controversy and the possibility of overriding earlier vetoes issued by Gov. Bev Perdue.

 

December 15, 2011

ANNEXATION

Kinston and other cities remove motion, annexation suit still on. Three North Carolina municipalities have cancelled their request for a judge to block local elections boards from reviewing petitions filed to block involuntary annexations, but their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of this year's new annexation laws continues.

Council approves annexation line change. After more than two years of discussion, Jamestown and Greensboro have swapped land, primarily at the High Point Road/ Guilford College Road/Jamestown Bypass intersection.

GENERAL

Foxx to request $150,000 for consolidation study. Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is asking the council to approve a $150,000 study on the idea of consolidating city and county governments.

State to create database to track motor fleet. North Carolina's government watchdog agency says it's impossible to evaluate whether state government's motor vehicle fleet is used efficiently because there's no standard way to keep track of its use.

Raleigh now the 43rd largest city in U.S. Believe it or not, Raleigh has more people than Miami.

 

December 20, 2011

ANNEXATION

Asheville's annexation of Biltmore Lake is dead. A more than four-year effort by the city to annex a subdivision on its western border has died following a petition drive certified this week.

Voluntary annexation moves forward, commissioners voice frustrations. Leaders in New Hanover County voiced their frustrations with the city of Wilmington's attempt to move forward with a voluntary annexation during their meeting Monday morning.

REDISTRICTING

N.C. Redistricting Opponents: "Lawmakers Can't Pick Voters." Today, the waiting game begins to see whether lawsuits filed against new redistricting lines drawn by the North Carolina State Assembly will be resolved before candidates' 2012 filing deadline at the end of February.

Blog: N. C. Redistricting lawsuit might force a later primary, and later petition deadlines for independent candidates. Last month, some Democratic Party activists and their allies filed two lawsuits against the new district boundaries for North Carolina U.S. House seats and legislative seats.

Editorial: Slowly - Redistricting appeals promise chaos. We're accustomed to seeing the wheels of justice turning slowly - too slowly, in most cases.  

TRANSPORTATION

Group narrows options to fix N.C. 12 on Pea Island. According to a N.C. Department of Transportation news release, the group known as the Merger Team, reached a general consensus to narrow down the options at Pea Island Inlet and the Mirlo Beach area north of Rodanthe.

GENERAL

Eastern N.C. cities lead charge against Duke, Progress merger. Federal regulators have dashed any hopes Duke and Progress Energy had of getting their merger approved by the end of this year.

Spencer seeks state, federal money for cleanup effort at Color-Tex property. Spencer leaders and historic preservationists hope a new state commission will lead a cleanup effort at the former Color-Tex property. 

 

December 22, 2011

REDISTRICTING

Redistricting abuses... again. A legal challenge to the redistricting plan approved by the Republican-dominated General Assembly made its first halting crawl through the courts last week, and a three-judge panel has set a date for a hearing next month.

GENERAL

Sunset Beach town council to hold special meeting Wednesday regarding mayor. There's a new mayor in the town of Sunset Beach in Brunswick County, but after just one meeting, the town council has called for a special meeting regarding the rules set for elected officials.

Cary to return money to developers. The town of Cary will refund more than $800,000 to developers and builders months after the N.C. Supreme Court left standing a ruling that the town overstepped its authority by collecting development fees meant to fund new schools.

EDITORIAL: Strong leadership now on display in Pilot Mountain. The residents of Pilot Mountain should take comfort in the fact that, in sharp contrast to the previous leadership regime, the town manager is exhibiting strong leadership in the face of difficult circumstances, and is putting himself on the same level as all town employees in sharing the pain.

GAS TAX

N.C. gasoline tax to rise almost 4 cents in January. As expected, North Carolina’s gasoline tax is going up by almost four cents a gallon starting with the new year.

November 1, 2011

MUNICIPAL ELECTION

Gray's Creek residents vocal against water bond issue. Opponents of next month's $21 million bond referendum seem as upset about where their water would come from as they are at the prospect of paying a fee even if they don't use it.

Village defends budgeting practices. One mayoral candidate’s allegations that the village of Pinehurst is in poor financial position have his opponents and others questioning his numbers. 

GENERAL

N.C. county allows guns in parks after new state law. Gaston County is allowing people with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns to public parks, but leaders say the state law that prompted the change will likely end up in court.

President Obama engages with NLC. Last week, the National League of Cities (NLC) led a group of nearly 150 city leaders from across the country to a White House briefing with Cabinet and senior members of the President’s Administration followed by a meeting and reception with the President.

Editorial: N.C. voters don't like mix of death and taxes. Most North Carolina voters say they don't like the estate tax, according to a new poll.

Salisbury mayor appointed to gang task force. Mayor Susan Kluttz has been appointed to serve on the newly formed N.C. Governor’s Gang Task Force.

ANNEXATION

City limits?: The impact of annexation on the frequency of municipal incorporation in North Carolina. A new study examines the relationship between annexation and municipal incorporation in North Carolina at the county level.

 

November 3, 2011

REDISTRICTING

Feds approve N.C. voting maps. The U.S. Justice Department approved North Carolina's new voting maps Tuesday night, taking away a major roadblock to next year's elections but leaving open the door to new lawsuits.

Blog: Redistricting should include more stringent residency requirements. Our legislatures need to expand this safeguarding of the integrity of the electoral system by requiring and enforcing real residency requirements on politicians to guarantee that voters are casting ballots for candidates with true pedigree and concern for the welfare of their community.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Opinion: Community Advisory Board: Shaffer - Fracking isn't what it seems. Responses on the Observer's website suggest Tom Mullikin is a shill for an industry that has caused terrible pollution problems in Pennsylvania and other states, and warn that North Carolina citizens need to defend our state from a pending disaster.

GENERAL

N.C. cities face rising electrical costs. Some cities across the state continue to charge more for electricity to help offset debt, affecting residents — and local students.

75 jobs coming to Troy. N.C. Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco, along with other state and local leaders were in Troy yesterday for the announcement of a new industry planned for the Troy Business Center.

Group wants Chapel Hill out of Halloween business. A citizens group called Wednesday for the town to stop spending taxpayer money policing crowds on Halloween.

 

November 8, 2011

REDISTRICTING

Another N.C. redistricting lawsuit to be filed. Redistricting plans for North Carolina General Assembly and state congressional seats are being challenged in state court for the second time in less than 24 hours.

N.C. lawmakers return for redistricting patch-up. The North Carolina Legislature is returning to work to fix some mistakes in the laws they passed when they drew up new boundaries for themselves and the state's congressional delegation.

N.C. lawmakers OK redistricting patch-up.  The General Assembly on Monday quickly restored omitted sections of the state’s new redistricting laws that legislators say were caused by a computer code error when their staff translated maps and population data to text.

Will session be about more than redistricting? Much speculation surrounds this week's return legislative session. We know they're coming back to clean up redistricting maps. But do they plan anything else?

GENERAL

James Attaway, Stokesdale councilmember dies. The Guilford County community of Stokesdale is mourning the loss of a councilmember.

Property owners hit hard by Meck. County tax revaluation. More anger over property tax bills in Charlotte. But it's not coming from just homeowners, business owners getting hit hard by Mecklenburg County's revaluations.

N.C. police departments take steps to help officers with death notifications. Where officers have traditionally learned how to dispense unwelcome news to families by watching their superiors do it, more law enforcement academies are now reserving time to address the issue of death notification.

MUNICIPAL ELECTION

For or against incorporation in Castle Hayne? Residents in Castle Hayne will decide on Election Day whether or not to become a town. The area is flooded with signs both for and against incorporation.

Castle Hayne residents discuss incorporation. Residents in Castle Hayne have been discussing incorporation for years. Thursday voters came together one last time to talk about the issue.

N.C. councilman dies; name will remain on ballot. The name Stokesdale town councilman James Attaway will stay on the ballot despite his death earlier this week.

SWEEPSTAKES

City Council restricts Internet sweepstakes businesses. Businesses wishing to have Internet sweepstakes machines must be located in Hendersonville’s I-1 industrial zoning district and apply for a conditional use permit through the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, City Council members decided Thursday.

TRANSPORTATION

State official doubts port foes' theory of scaled-down project. Opponents of a proposed megaport near Southport have a theory: That the state plans to recommend construction of a smaller port in Brunswick County to pave the way for a much larger facility.

Working on the railroad. Though Raleigh has been talking rail for more than two decades, it seems as though plans to make the Capitol City a rail-friendly place are now chugging along.

 

November 10, 2011

GENERAL

Law professor: Greensboro’s RUCO ordinance can be enforced. The Greensboro City Council has drawn heat for opting to remain silent on the issue of Rental Unit Certificate of Occupation (RUCO) on the eve of a critical Senate vote. 

REDISTRICTING

U.S. Justice Department pre-approves N.C. redistricting maps. North Carolina Democrats cringed when the United States Justice Department preapproved the redistricting maps on November 1.

Blog: Is this the ugliest redistricting cycle ever? Redistricting is always messy and partisan. But this redistricting cycle, which won’t be finished until sometime next year, is particularly ugly and hypocritical.

ANNEXATION

Blog: Gates Four & other annexations soon TBD by the DOJ. The way I understand things (and I could be wrong) is that if the U.S. DOJ sides with the cities and village then the N.C. House and Senate bills will not take effect as currently written and an area like Gates Four will become part of Fayetteville.

TAXES

N.C. voters warm to local sales taxes in face of state budget cuts. The tide of anti-tax sentiment may finally be ebbing here in North Carolina.

November 15, 2011

REDISTRICTING

N.C.’s contested districts may delay primaries. The lawsuits pending against the state’s new district maps could delay the state’s political primaries and the decisions of candidates to run in contested races.

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Editorial: Newly-elected have new opportunities. North Carolina’s open government laws give elected officials cover to act outside the public eye in some instances, but the law does not require a cloak of secrecy. Officials can choose openness, including in personnel disciplinary matters.

ANNEXATION

Burlington council to hear water tap-on requests. For years, the decision to extend water or sewer lines to unincorporated areas — and add taps to them — was an administrative decision. It was also leverage for the city to get property owners to agree to forced annexation.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Opinion: Does N.C. need to have a full-time legislature? Do we really have a part-time legislature? Democratic legislators accuse the Republican leaders of turning the legislature into a full-time endeavor.

How this legislative session's length stacks up. Top Republican lawmakers are taking flak for their extended legislative term after adding three more special sessions through April.

Editorial: Legislative agenda limited but topics broad. When lawmakers reconvene in Raleigh just after Thanksgiving, their scope will be limited to almost a dozen possible topics. However, some of the topics are so broad that you could drive the proverbial dump truck through it.

GENERAL

Editorial: N. C. Supreme Court upholds COA's decision to outlaw "Impact fees" in land use cases. In a case that illustrates how important the election of appellant court judges is in this state, a severely divided N. C. Supreme Court last week let stand a 2010 Court of Appeals (COA) decision that outlawed real estate "impact fees" as a means of building schools.

Town receives $50,000 to help balance budget. Pilot Mountain formally announced Thursday it had recouped nearly half of the $102,000 it overspent during the most recent fiscal year as a result of a performance bond held on a former employee.

TRANSPORTATION

Consultants investigate 6 sites for N.C. port. The future of North Carolina's shipping industry could include a deep water port at one of six sites being investigated by consultants.

November 17, 2011

TRANSPORTATION

Charlotte looks to fund passenger rail with tax revenue. The Charlotte City Council, with the help of the N.C. Department of Transportation and a private consultant, has been discussing a variety of ways to overcome funding woes for rail projects.

Deal: Passenger rail valid use of taxpayer money. William Deal, executive director of the Davidson County Tourism Recreation Investment Partnership, discussed subsidies in other forms of public transportation as he focused on what he described as the real cost of bringing an Amtrak stop to Lexington by 2015.

New bike path plan to be developed. The public is invited to attend a kick-off event for the Regional Bicycle Plan on November 30th, from 1:00-2:30 PM at the Haywood Community College High Tech Center. The ultimate goal is to coordinate existing local bicycle plans while developing a Regional Bicycle Plan for seven counties: Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Swain and Transylvania. Development of a comprehensive action plan will guide future local and regional transportation planning and investment. 

ANNEXATION

U.S. Department of Justice doesn't object to state law affecting Gates Four annexation. The U.S. Department of Justice found no reason to object to North Carolina's new annexation law, which allows property owners to petition to prevent forced municipal annexations. The decision likely means that Gates Four will succeed in fending off annexation by Fayetteville unless another challenge is filed in court.

BROADBAND

It’s high time for high-speed internet access in rural North Carolina. “Increasing broadband access in rural North Carolina will create new jobs up front and provide a boost for local economies to create even more jobs and a better quality of life in the near future,” Gov. Bev Perdue says.

GENERAL

Organizers launching Wilmington arts council. It looks as if New Hanover County is getting a local arts council after all.

November 22, 2011

GENERAL

Raleigh wants a startup spark. As Durham gains national acclaim as a hotbed for start-up companies, Raleigh is quietly fostering its own entrepreneurial scene in fields ranging from graphic design to digital marketing.

City of Havelock stands firm on construction budget. Seven years of work came to fruition in October, and there was much celebration around the city receiving more than a million dollars in federal funds for a new city hall.

Reidsville business expansion to bring 64 new jobs. A Reidsville business announced an expansion on Thursday that is expected to bring 64 new jobs to Rockingham County.

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

Dobson supports changing elections to even years. Last night, the Dobson board of commissioners approved a resolution calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to move municipal elections to even-numbered years.

REDISTRICTING

Preapproval is given for redistricting maps. The U.S. Justice Department has preapproved the congressional redistricting maps for North Carolina.

ANNEXATION

Developer wants his land annexed into city. After hitting roadblocks with the county to build an apartment complex on Market Street, a development company is hoping it will have better luck in the city.

TRANSPORTATION

Ports, ports and megaports. The State of North Carolina initiated a maritime strategy study in September 2011that intends to identify the role that North Carolina ports play in the state’s economy.

GAS TAX

N.C. lawmakers take aim at gas tax. When state lawmakers return to Raleigh soon after Thanksgiving, state Rep. Carolyn Justice hopes capping the state gas tax is on their plates.

November 29, 2011

GAS TAX

BLOG: N.C. motor fuels tax is set to rise by nearly four cents in January. The North Carolina Motor Fuels Tax (the state gas tax) is expected to go from 35 cents per gallon to 38.9 cents per gallon at the beginning of 2012 if no action is taken by the General Assembly, according to staff at the legislature and the Department of Transportation.

BLOG: Capping the gas tax could put North Carolina in the slow lane. Despite the impact a gas tax cap could have on transportation revenues, there’s been little discussion of replacing any lost revenue from capping the gas tax.

BLOG: Is North Carolina’s gas tax really at a record high? There’s been much ado in recent months about North Carolina’s “record high” gas tax levels, but that claim is missing some important historical and economic context.

REDISTRICTING

Redistricting legal challenges could have ripple effect. The adage about the two things you shouldn’t watch being made – sausage and law – could come into play if legal challenges to redistricting plans in North Carolina disrupt the initial part of next year’s election schedule.

ANNEXATION

Some cities want to challenge change in annexation laws. Wilmington City Attorney Carolyn Johnson confirmed that some cities may consider challenging the state’s new annexation law.

GENERAL

State increasingly using eminent domain. Accelerating road construction due to stimulus spending and construction of the state’s first toll road have played a role in an increase in property seizures through eminent domain in North Carolina.

INTERNET SWEEPSTAKES

Still no ruling on video gaming in North Carolina. Both sides in the Internet Sweepstakes debate are waiting on the North Carolina Court of Appeals to make a ruling on recent appeals.

VOTER ID

Editorial: Weak case for voter I.D. As with any new government regulation, the burden should be on advocates to show why it’s necessary, cost effective and worth the inconvenience it may impose.  

October 2, 2011

ANNEXATION

Editorial: Water can assure municipal growth. Water is a necessary ingredient for growth. The city must continue to use water to secure a healthy future.

ENVIRONMENTAL

'Fracking' may be coming to Piedmont area. The state’s debate over whether it should tap into its reserve natural gas supply using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing will continue at an October 10 public meeting in Sanford.

TRANSPORTATION

State hosts meeting on maritime strategy. The state is holding public meetings to gather input on its wide-ranging, $1.7 million port study known as the North Carolina Maritime Strategy.

Editorial: Promise of high-speed rail. One way of breaking the nation’s reliance on foreign oil imports and avoiding the potential environmental calamities of offshore drilling is the development of viable transportation alternatives.

GENERAL

Charlotte, Chicago host infrastructure forums. In July, the National League of Cities (NLC) with sponsorship from Siemens, an NLC Corporate Partner, kicked off a nationwide tour, “Building Cities, Building Futures,” a series of forums that brought regional stakeholders together to discuss the impact of sustainable infrastructure on economic development. The series concluded this month with stops in Charlotte and Chicago.