Archive for May, 2013

NC Senate proposes defunding Rural Economic Development Center

By John Murawski — jmurawski@newsobserver.com

In their quest to dismantle commissions and organizations created by Democrats in past years, N.C. Senate Republicans are taking aim at the granddaddy of them all: the state’s Rural Economic Development Center.

The proposed Senate budget defunds the Rural Center, which received about $16.6 million in the state budget last year. It also creates a new division with the Department of Commerce to oversee rural economic development.

The fight is over money, who gets to spend it, and who gets credit for spending it.

The Rural Center commands considerable power, doling out grants in 85 counties it classifies as rural, almost a third of which are no longer considered rural by the federal census authorities.

It has paid out more than $600 million in aid for sewer, water, building rehab and other infrastructure projects, and estimates it has created 33,000 jobs since 1987. The center says that its efforts have led to an additional $2 billion in investment in rural counties.

But Senate Republicans complain the legislature hands the Rural Center money year after year, but has no say in how it is spent. Critics say the Rural Center, whose board of directors has swelled to 50 members, has become bloated and inefficient.

“My concern is how we get these dollars in rural North Carolina in a quicker way,” said Sen. Harry Brown, of Jones and Onslow counties, and a co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “There is a need to change how it’s set up, to streamline the process.”

But the Rural Center, which makes sure to invite lawmakers to make rural grant announcements in their districts, has become too powerful to simply erase out of existence. It has made itself essential to many economic development officials and elected officials.

In his proposed budget, for example, Gov. Pat McCrory recommended reducing the Rural Center’s funding by $6.5 million rather than pulling the plug altogether. And the Center is counting on its considerable support in the House, which also must approve the budget, to bury the Senate’s defunding effort.

Center officials say the Senate’s plan would cripple rural economic development.

“Those are the only venture capital funds that rural North Carolina has,” said Rural Center board member Larry Wooten, president of the N.C. Farm Bureau. “Why would you want to defund it and do away with it? I’m afraid the special needs of rural North Carolina will get lost in that reorganization.”

Proponents say their plan would increase rural aid funding.

The Rural Center was the result of a study by the N.C. Commission on Jobs and Economic Growth, inaugurated 26 years ago with the installation of UNC President Emeritus William Friday as board chairman and Democratic party stalwart Billy Ray Hall as director.

Before he joined the Rural Center, Hall was a deputy secretary, assistant director and chief economist for several state agencies under Democratic administrations. Hall remains at the helm of the Rural Center, and is paid $214,008 a year running in the 43-employee organization that spends more than $2.8 million a year on employee salaries.

Three of Hall’s deputies make more than $100,000 a year, and 23 more make more than $50,000 a year, according to information the center provided to the legislature last month. Two-thirds of the payroll comes from the state budget.

Hall issued a statement Monday saying he was shocked by the Senate defunding proposal and looks to House Speaker Thom Tillis to reinstate the center’s funding. Tillis’ spokesman, Jordan Shaw, could not be reached for comment.

 

 

Does Sludge Spreading Cause Illness?

Sludge spreading can be related to illness.

Read on:

 

http://compassnews360.com/node/2013/03/14/sludge-spreading-causes-illness-says-study-2/

Sewage Sludge Spreading

WOW! Say that 5 times fast: Sewage Sludge Spreading, Sewage Sludge Spreading, Sewage Sludge Spreading, Sewage Sludge Spreading, Sewage Sludge Spreading.

 

The city of Burlington is starting to be address this issue publicly

 

http://www.thetimesnews.com/news/top-news/burlington-takes-action-on-sludge-spreading-1.139130?ot=hmg.PrintPageLayout.ot

Rare Form of Cancer

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of a cancer. In fact so rare that only about 250 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with it each year. Keeping that in mind, what is the reason that 3 teens living in the same city have been diagnosed with it? Is the environment to blame for them contracting this rare form of cancer? Could the water supply be responsible for this rare form of cancer?

 

Read on:

http://www.wral.com/three-wake-students-battle-rare-cancer-cluster-or-coincidence-/12389860/

Rising Sea Levels or Sinking Shorelines?

Rising sea levels is what everyone is screaming! Well, almost everyone. There are some of us who are screaming SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! And perhaps if we scream it enough others will join in and more research will be done:

SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE! SINKING SHORELINES! SUBSIDENCE!

Read on for more information:

http://www.livescience.com/24647-east-coast-sea-level-rise-accelerating.html

Culture of Corruption – Michelle Malkin

Culture of Corruption author Michelle Malkin on ABC’s The View

 

GAO High Risk List for 2013

Every two years at the start of a new Congress, GAO calls attention to agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation. This site presents GAO’s current High Risk List, explains what has changed since the last update, and provides background information and related multimedia.

 

View the list: http://www.gao.gov/highrisk

View the full report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-283

High Risk: Climate Change

http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/video/#video_id=652143

As part of GAO’s High-Risk series, Alfredo Gomez, a Director in GAO’s Natural Resources and Environment team, describes why GAO put the fiscal exposure of climate change on its list of programs at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement.

Transcript:

From the U.S. Government Accountability Office, www.gao.gov

Transcript for: High Risk: Climate Change

Description: As part of GAO's High-Risk series, Alfredo Gomez, a
director in GAO's Natural Resources and Environment team, describes why
GAO put the fiscal exposure of climate change on its list of programs
at high risk for waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement.

Released: February 2013

[Music]

[First Screen]

GAO's 2013 High Risk List
Climate Change
U.S. Government Accountability Office

>>I'm Alfredo Gomez, director with GAO's Natural Resources and
Environment team. Climate change poses threats to both environmental
and economic systems, including agriculture, infrastructure, and human
health. It also creates significant financial risks for the federal
government, which owns extensive infrastructure, such as defense
installations; insures property through the National Flood Insurance
Program; and provides emergency aid in response to natural disasters.
Changes in our climate, such as increases in the frequency and
intensity of extreme weather events, create significant financial
risks. For example, the administration requested $60.4 billion for
Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts. Federal exposure could grow if what
are considered rare events like Sandy become more common as projected
by some experts.

Currently, the federal government is not well positioned to address the
fiscal exposure presented by climate change partly because of the
complex nature of the issue. Given these challenges and the nation's
precarious fiscal condition, GAO has added limiting the federal
government's fiscal exposure to climate change to its 2013 list of
high-risk areas.

[Last Screen]

GAO
Accountability * Integrity * Reliability
www.gao.gov