Carolina Journal Weekly Report

December 11, 2009

Carolina Journal Weekly Report

For the week of December 11, 2009 -

Reaction of the Week

RALEIGH — A military-aid initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reimbursed one of its employees at least $27,000 to commute between North Carolina and her home in Virginia, even as questions about the program’s effectiveness and use of resources lingered, reports David N. Bass for Carolina Journal.

Public documents and information obtained by Carolina Journal show that Susan Kerner-Hoeg, director of military relations for the Citizen-Soldier Support Program, booked $22,181 in commercial airline flights to the Triangle over the last three years and charged about $5,400 for mileage between 2007 and 2009.

Receipts also show that she spent nearly $25,000 on rental cars and lodging while in the Chapel Hill area on business. Since her employment began in October 2006, the university has repaid her a total of $76,558. Kerner-Hoeg is the second-highest-paid employee in the program, with an annual salary of $129,600.

Her reimbursements have come under scrutiny in recent months after an internal UNC-Chapel Hill review, released in June, found evidence of waste and abuse in the program.

UNC-Chapel Hill announced Nov. 13 that it was trimming back the program, reorienting funding, and shifting leadership responsibilities. Kerner-Hoeg’s role is also changing — she won’t have a management function or travel to Chapel Hill as much.

News Features

CJ: Judge orders former Easley staffers deposed
RALEIGH — Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning declined to dismiss a public-records lawsuit brought by several media outlets, including Carolina Journal, until four former staffers of Gov. Mike Easley have been deposed in the matter. “I’m going to allow discovery in this case,” Manning told Hugh Stevens, lawyer for the media group, and Alec Peters, representing the Attorney General’s Office, “and hold the motion to dismiss in abeyance pending the deposition of those four people.”

CJ: As cities step up annexation efforts, citizens rebel
KINSTON — North Carolina is one of about a half-dozen states with involuntary annexation laws heavily favoring municipalities. Several bills to modify existing statutes are making their way now through the General Assembly. Most are opposed by the powerful N.C. League of Municipalities.

CJ: Buncombe Early College faces challenges
ASHEVILLE — Five years ago, Buncombe County Early College became a trailblazer in education in North Carolina, opening an innovative high school on the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College campus.

N.C. court rules for developers in Union
CHARLOTTE — The N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that Union County can’t require developers to pay for new schools, making Union the second county to unsuccessfully fend off developers who say they shouldn’t have to pay such fees. Homebuilders had sued Union County over its adequate public facilities ordinance, which requires developers to decrease the size of projects, delay construction or help pay for new school construction.

Grand jury recommends indictment for Sen. Soles
WILMINGTON — After hearing evidence from the State Bureau of Investigation, a Columbus County grand jury on Thursday found probable cause to consider indicting state Sen. R.C. Soles in an Aug. 23 shooting at his Tabor City home. Instead of an indictment, the grand jury returned something called a presentment stating that 12 jurors found probable cause to believe Soles, a 74-year-old Democrat, “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously” shot Thomas Kyle Blackburn and inflicted serious injury.

Upcoming Events

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 12:00 PM, Noon
A meeting of the Shaftesbury Society
with our special guest Representative Dale R. Folwell (Rep)
North Carolina's Unfunded Health Care Liability- The Plague on its Financial Future

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:30 p.m.
20th Anniversary Event
with our special guest Newt Gingrich
The Future of America

John Locke Foundation Carolina Journal Online
The Locker Room Carolina Journal Radio

Capital Quotes

I’m really not sure.
— Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, telling the Raleigh News & Observer how long he’d served as chairman of Law Enforcement Associates Inc. The company that has sold nearly $200,000 in equipment to the state agencies in recent years, including some under no-bid contracts.

Those factories have to go out and bring back some laid-off workers. In five years, however, those same workers may be back out the door.
— N.C. State University economist Mike Walden, talking to the Associated Press about a recent uptick in manufacturing employment in North Carolina.

What realistically can you do for ($25 million)?
John Muth, interim chief executive of Charlotte Area Transit System, talking to the Charlotte Observer about a new federal program to help cities build streetcar lines. The maximum award though is only $25 million; CATS wants to build a $450 million, 10-mile streetcar line through Charlotte.

If you are an educator, should you not be educational-minded and want to teach the ones who are most unteachable?
— Cumberland County school board member Carrie Sutton, as quoted by the Fayetteville Observer, arguing against bonus pay for National Board Certified teachers to work at three predominantly black, low-performing school.

On The Air This Week…

Carolina Journal Radio

This week on C J Radio…
JLF’s Joe Coletti discusses feedback from local officialsto JLF’s transparency push; Steve Forbes explains why capitalism is the best path to prosperity; retired BB&T CEO John Allison explains his view of the financial crisis; Leigh Bortins of Classical Conversations discusses how the company helps parents with home-centered education; and JLF’s Terry Stoops provides results of his parent-friendly schools assessment. 

NC Spin

This week on NC Spin…
Join moderator Tom Campbell for another week of political discussion and debate on the most intelligent television talk show in the state. Topics this week: Large debts from unemployment payments; a new program to invest in North Carolina businesses; changes in our two largest school boards; and new charges relating to Senator Tony Rand. This week’s panelists: John Hood and Becki Gray from the John Locke Foundation; Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch; and former House Speaker Joe Mavretic.


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