Elizabeth City State leader resigns unexpectedly

December 22, 2015

Stacey Franklin Jones resigned as Elizabeth City State University's chancellor, a post she had held since October 2014. A release from UNC System spokeswoman Joni Worthington did not given any reasons for the resignation. Elizabeth City State has suffered a 50% decline in enrollment over the past five years, sparking talk of a possible closing. Thomas Conway, vice chancellor and chief of staff at Fayetteville State University, will take over as interim chancellor on Jan. 1, Worthington said.

Asheville plans to improve greenway system

December 22, 2015

Asheville plans to build more greenways in the next four years than it has in the past 30 years, city officials say. The expansion involves a $17 million plan for expanded greenways, including federal and state spending. Plans call for an unbroken connection from Beaucatcher Mountain to the Asheville Botanical Gardens and the French Broad River.

Bank of America employees, families giving big to politicians

December 22, 2015

Individuals connected to Bank of America have been among the top contributors to presidential candidates through Sept. 30, with employees and immediate family members giving $242,575 to the candidates’ campaign committees. That’s the third-highest among all U.S. companies and organizations, according to the most recent federal data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations from individuals tied to New York-based investment bank Goldman Sachs rank first at $401,109, while Florida-based personal injury firm Morgan & Morgan gave $280,326. In the 2012 presidential election, when people associated with Bank of America ranked second for donations, trailing only employees for the University of California system and their families.

Read more here:

New unit to crack down on cheating businesses

December 21, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Gov. Pat McCrory ordered the state Industrial Commission to establish a new unit to investigate complaints of employee misclassification. When companies illegally treat employees as contractors, it costs the state millions in taxes. A News & Observer investigation last year found that the practice in the construction industry cost millions in lost state and federal revenue. 

Commission to vote Friday on changes to Common Core

December 18, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The 11-member Academic Standards Review Commission is expected to vote Friday on recommended changes to the state's curriculum for K-12 schools. Suggestions include replacing Common Core standards in K-8 math classes with Minnesota's standards.

Minutes reveal little about UNC chancellor pay raises

December 17, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Minutes from a controversial UNC Board of Governors meeting were released Wednesday, though they offer little insight into the reasoning behind the group's decision to give raises to a dozen UNC System chancellors.

Mecklenburg GOP chairman resigns

December 16, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Curtis Watkins abruptly resigned Tuesday, two days after N.C. Sen. Bob Rucho asked Republican Party officials to investigate him for allegedly trying to recruit someone to run against Rep. Mike Hager of Rutherford County. Hager is one of the largest opponents of the state's renewable-energy mandate. Watkins is the founder of SparkTank Advisors, an energy consulting company.

McCrory calls for vote on I-77 toll lanes

December 15, 2015

(The Charlotte Observer)

Gov. Pat McCrory asked the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization to decide whether it supports the I-77 toll project, which is already under construction, or to develop a new regional transportation plan. While some smaller towns in the I-77 corridor north of Charlotte are strongly opposed to the tolls, the city of Charlotte's vote counts for 31 of 68 votes. The state could have to pay a penalty of up to $100 million if its cancels the project.

Legislative staff calls for end to economic tier program

December 15, 2015

(Winston-Salem Journal)

North Carolina's economic tiers program has "outlived its original purpose," legislative staff members said at a meeting on Monday. The group recommends ending the program, which it says is ineffective in aiding the state's poorest counties, by July 1, 2018.

25 investment workers in state treasurer's office get raises

December 14, 2015

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

The raises, which took effect in June and averaged more than $49,000, were designed to align wages with salaries at other public pension funds. The employees receiving the raises, which total $1.2 million, are investment professionals for the state's $90 billion pension fund.