Local

Sunday headlines
10:33 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Lawmakers report deal on NC budget

Nearly a month after the start of the new fiscal year, North Carolina legislative leaders say they’ve finally agreed on the outline of a state budget.

Both House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius and Senate leader Phil Berger of Rockingham issued messages on Twitter this weekend announcing the deal, and said details will come this week.  

The House and Senate have been caught in an impasse as they try to adjust spending in the second year of the two-year budget approved last summer. Sticking points include teacher pay raises, the future of teachers’ assistants and Medicaid.

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WFAE Talks
4:42 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

WFAE Talks: Dark Days Looming For Solar? Teacher Recruitment, Sales Tax Debate

The solar industry has been booming in North Carolina, but that boom could be coming to an end, as Ben Bradford reported this week. Ben Bradford provides analysis of what's going on.

Greg, Lisa and Ben also discuss the Houston school system's recruitment of North Carolina teachers, and the legislative debate over capping county sales taxes. Plus, the MeghaMeter returns.

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Charlotte Observer
11:10 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Cotham: New Senate Bill Shields Salaries Of For-profit Charter School Staff

Cotham
Credit N.C. General Assembly

Conflict over disclosure of charter-school salaries flared anew Thursday as House Democrats said a Senate-approved bill shields for-profit management companies from revealing who they hire and how much they pay.

In a Thursday evening news conference, Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, led the call for the public and Gov. Pat McCrory to fight a move that she says blocks accountability and transparency at charter schools, which are run by nonprofit boards and funded with public money.

“It’s a simple principle: The public should know where public money is going,” she said.

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Local News
4:44 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

NC Senate Tentatively Passes Medicaid Overhaul

Credit NC General Assembly

The North Carolina Senate tentatively passed an overhaul of the state's Medicaid program Thursday afternoon. It includes major differences from what Governor Pat McCrory and the House are pushing for.  


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Local News
12:20 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Sales Tax Cap Debate Proves Contentious But Passes NC Senate

Credit 401(K) 2013 / Flickr

On Wednesday, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill capping county sales tax rates at 2.5 percent.

The vote was 33 to 16.   

The final tally came after more than an hour of contentious debate.

North Carolina’s urban vs. rural divide was front and center throughout the debate.  

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Local News
11:52 am
Thu July 24, 2014

NC Solar Industry In Jeopardy If Utilities Get Their Way

Sheep graze at Ararat Solar Farm in Mount Airy.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

In the span of five years, the solar industry in North Carolina has grown from nearly non-existent to fourth-largest in the nation, behind California, Arizona, and New Jersey. The pace is accelerating, with solar capacity set to more than double in the state, at least this year. The state’s powerful electric utilities are pushing changes that could blot out the industry in North Carolina.


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Local News
11:15 am
Thu July 24, 2014

NCDOT Defends I-77 Toll Lanes, But Key Questions Remain Unanswered

A graphic from a 2012 study commissioned by NCDOT shows congestion during the morning hours between WT Harris Boulevard and Gilead Road. NCDOT is proposing toll lanes between Charlotte and Mooresville.
Credit Stantec/NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is hoping to relieve congestion on I-77 by adding two toll lanes. NCDOT officials came to the Charlotte Chamber Wednesday to talk up the project, but as WFAE’s Nick de la Canal reports, there are still basic questions that haven’t been answered.

  DOT officials made a hard sell to the Regional Transportation Committee Wednesday for adding toll lanes between Charlotte and Mooresville on I-77.

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Charlotte Observer
10:06 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Levine Museum Makes History With LGBT Exhibit

Barbara Lau, foreground, curator of the Pauli Murray exhibit, along with Rebekah Miel, designer of the Pauli Murray exhibit, arrange placards that date the life of Pauli Murray, a North Carolina gay activist who was the nation’s first female African-American Episcopal priest. Levine Museum of the New South’s staff and exhibitors are preparing items for the “LGBTQ Perspectives on Equality” exhibit that opens to the public July 25.
Credit T. Ortega Gains / Charlotte Observer

The Levine Museum of the New South is unveiling a historical exhibit Friday that is in itself historic.

Called “LGBTQ Perspectives on Equality,” the show is a combination of exhibits that tell the history of Charlotte’s gay and transgender community, including the largely forgotten stories of average Charlotteans who made that history happen. The show then puts their stories in context of the national gay civil rights movement.

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Local News
9:35 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Sealed Air Corporation Bringing 1,262 Jobs (And Bubble Wrap) To Charlotte

Governor Pat McCrory shares a laugh with Sealed Air CEO Jerome Peribere.
Credit Michael Tomsic

The company behind Bubble Wrap is popping in nearly 1,300 jobs in Charlotte. Sealed Air Corporation announced Wednesday it's moving its headquarters here from New Jersey. The Fortune 500 company could eventually get more than $41 million in state and local incentives.

Before the announcement, Charlotte Chamber employees put strips of Bubble Wrap under everyone's seats.

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Arts & Life
6:03 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Jerry McJunkins: Charlotte's Courtroom Sketch Artist

Jerry McJunkins at his studio in Plaza Midwood.
Tasnim Shamma

For nearly three decades, Jerry McJunkins has been sitting inside courtrooms in Charlotte, moving his hands quickly over a large white posterboard with his colored pencils and pastels.

He's a professional courtroom sketch artist – perhaps the only one in Charlotte.


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