Morning Headlines: Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Morning Headlines: Wednesday, November 11, 2015

6:11am Nov 11, 2015
Photo Credit: Creative Commons Wikimedia

Funeral Service Held For Former North Carolina US Rep. Coble

Politicians and congressional staffers were among those who turned out to say their final goodbyes to North Carolina U.S. Rep. Howard Coble.

Coble died last week at age 84. With 30 years on Capitol Hill, Coble was the longest-serving Republican U.S. House member in North Carolina history.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory spoke at the service, making note of Coble's sense of fashion and "genuine heart."

Coble's internment was a private ceremony at another church where he was a member for over 70 years.

Walnut Cove Approves Fracking Ban

The Walnut Cove Board of Commissioners has approved a three-year ban on fracking.

The move is in response to new legislation that limits the ability of local governments to delay or prevent fracking through local ordinances and moratoriums.

The unanimous vote came after several residents spoke out against having natural gas drilling in their community during a public hearing Tuesday night.  Many people in Stokes County say they’re concerned about the potential impact of fracking on drinking water, air pollution and noise.

Winston-Salem Works To Help Homeless Veterans

Winston-Salem joined two national efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015. Since then, the number of homeless vets here has dropped by about two thirds.

Mayor Allen Joines says the key has been collaboration among non-profits and veterans organizations. He says the city has adopted a housing-first policy, so that any veteran that comes in, "their homelessness will be brief, non-recurring, and we can get them into housing.” 

Prison Contract Meeting With McCrory Inspires Request For Donor Limits

Government reform advocates are recommending limiting how much state contract recipients can give to campaigns of North Carolina elected officials who make contract decisions.  They say that would diminish the perception that donors get special access and assistance.

Jane Pinsky is with the North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform. Pinsky urged lawmakers Tuesday to pass legislation next year that would cap donations to $500 per election for candidates for governor and the Council of State.

Pinsky talked about the legislation during a news conference touching on a meeting that Gov. Pat McCrory held with a campaign donor who was seeking to extend a prison maintenance contract.

Such donor giving restrictions were debated but negotiated out of a 2010 ethics law. The House passed a similar provision in 2011, but it died in the Senate.

SBI Investigating Sweepstakes Donations To NC Politicians

North Carolina investigators are probing allegations that sweepstakes gaming industry businessmen funneled money to politicians to get them to legalize their business.

State Bureau of Investigation spokesman Shannon O'Toole said Tuesday the state's top detective agency launched its probe at Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's request.

Freeman's office in the state capital commonly prosecutes criminal cases involving state government or officials. She asked the SBI to start probing the industry last month, a step that was first reported by The News & Observer of Raleigh.

Freeman asked the SBI for a deeper look after the State of Board of Elections said in July it could find no state campaign finance law violations involving more than $270,000 in questionable donations. Elections officials said they lacked power to interview unwilling players.

McCrory: FEMA Denies Disaster Regulation For 8 Counties

Gov. Pat McCrory says he will appeal the federal government's decision refusing aid for eight coastal North Carolina counties for damage caused by heavy rains and flooding in late September and early October.

McCrory said Tuesday that FEMA denied his request for a disaster declaration for Brunswick, Carteret, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties.

According to McCrory's office, the letter late last week from FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said damage could be handled by state and local governments. But a McCrory news release says survey teams estimated damages, debris removal and emergency protective measures totaling $31 million — above the required federal threshold.

A federal agricultural disaster was declared last month to help farmers in 19 counties get emergency loans to deal with losses.

Rev. Barber To Receive $100K Prize For Creative Citizenship

The president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP will receive a $100,000 prize for creative citizenship.

The Nation Institute said Tuesday the Rev. William Barber will receive the annual Puffin/Nation Prize, which honors people who challenge the status quo. The prize is intended to encourage recipients to continue their work and to inspire others.

Barber is the minister at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, and he built the Forward Together Moral Monday movement that supports issues such as voting, immigrant and labor rights.

He will write an annual report for The Nation magazine, with the first essay appearing in January. The magazine published similar essays by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1961 to 1966.

The award will be presented Dec. 8 in New York City.







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