Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Shady loopholes written into the weak, just-introduced coal ash bill

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Sam Perkins sounds frustrated. A few hours before the Catawba Riverkeeper and I talk on the phone Wednesday, Sens. Phil Berger and Tom Apodaca had introduced the long-awaited coal ash bill, the legislation many in North Carolina hoped would lay out assertive steps to finally - after years of frustration, litigation and outcry - deal with the unlined coal ash basins that dot the state and contaminate our groundwater.

"The problem with [the bill] is that it, almost verbatim, is a revival of the proposed settlement that was not only rejected by 5,000 people in comments, it was withdrawn by the state because it was so inadequate," Perkins said.

Coal ash spills into the Dan River.
  • Waterkeeper Alliance Inc. (Flickr)
  • Coal ash spills into the Dan River.

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The Pull List (5/14/14): Doomsday Nears

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Get a sudden urge to don a flannel around your waist? YouTube a few Gin Blossoms songs? It's not just you; comics are also feeling '90s vibes lately. Case in point: the newest Superman event, featuring the return of the villain that defined 1992.


Doomsday is back. The crossover sees a new look and new powers for the rock-adorned foe. This week's slew of comics features three issues from the event, including Superman: Doomed #1, Action Comics #31 and Superman/Wonder Woman #8.

When the character was introduced, it brought one of the biggest moments in comic book history. The 1992 Death of Superman story made headlines across mediums, and across the world. Of course, it didn't last long (less than a year, actually), beating even Captain America's recent resurrection time.

Can we expect Superman to die with this arc? Maybe not. But perhaps another character will get the axe. With the billing DC is giving this thing, we must assume something drastic will take place.

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Phish releases new song, "Waiting All Night"

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Phish has released the first single from its upcoming album, Fuego, due out on June 24. The song, "Waiting All Night" is a slow-roller that reminds me a lot of the music I hear in elevators. I'm pretty sure it's the soundtrack to smoking too much pot. Enjoy and/or take a nap...

Phish will perform at ">PNC Music Pavilion on July 25.

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SNAP out of luck

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 12:56 PM

There's a gas station at the corner of South Tryon Street and Yorkmont Road, a nondescript, unremarkable row of pumps with a small convenience store. If you're one of the 1.7 million individuals in the state who rely on SNAP benefits - more colloquially known as food stamps - to buy food, you can purchase groceries there. Ready-to-eat prepared foods, meaning Circle K hot taquitos, for example, are off limits, but the Oreos are fair game. A mile up Yorkmont, at the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, over a hundred small farms offer locally grown produce. It's all fresh, it's all relatively cheap, it's all inarguably healthy - and none of it can be purchased with food stamps.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture's marketing department is fond of reminding us that "goodness grows in North Carolina." But if you rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, it probably doesn't grow for you.


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A few things to expect from the short session

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 10:52 AM

State legislators convene today for what is expected to be an action-packed short session. Short because they aren't allowed to raise money during the session but action packed because the issues they could take up include coal ash, teacher raises and fracking.


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First Drip (5/14/14): Short session kicks off, Panther arrested, more

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:56 AM

The short session begins today. N.C. lawmakers will take up unfinished business from the last full legislative session and then some. At this point it's a guessing game: Will lawmakers take up the expected, growing state budget shortfall? How will House Speaker Thom Tillis, who's running for U.S. Senate, try to out-conservative himself? Will lawmakers abolish Common Core or do anything about coal ash? Stay tuned.

Carolina Panther Greg Hardy was arrested Tuesday and charged with assault "on a female and communicating threats following an early-morning dispute with a 24-year-old woman at Hardy's uptown apartment." The woman, who told officers she and the defensive end had been in a relationship since September, suffered minor injuries.

A mine fire has killed 232 in Turkey and has the potential to top the country's worst such incident, a fire in 1960 that killed 260. About 200 miners are still trapped, though officials have little hope there will be any survivors as the fire is still burning.

The Defense Department is considering a request from the Army to transfer Private Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, who's serving 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, to a civilian prison so she can receive treatment for gender dysphoria. Manning has requested hormone therapy so she can live like a woman.

Michigan lawmakers are considering a partial ban of e-cig use indoors. "A committee bill reflects a compromise between the Senate and House and would ban use in state buildings and public schools. An earlier bill would have banned use in all public places and put e-cigarettes under the Clean Indoor Air Act. House members claim the partial ban proposal is necessary to get some sort of ban on the books."

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Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, May 14, 2014 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

* Flagship at Neighborhood Theatre


* ArtFusion: Modernism at Mint Museum Uptown

* The Big Lebowski at UpStage

* Zipline & Dine at U.S. National Whitewater Center

* Trivia & Karaoke at Tin Roof

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