Teacher Advisory Committee Presents Testing Recommendations to Governor McCrory

PatMcCrory1RALEIGH, N.C. — Members of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee presented nine major recommendations on testing standards and assessments to Governor Pat McCrory today at a meeting at the Executive Mansion.

“Since I took office, superintendents, principals and teachers have told me that the testing burden in our classrooms threatens to turn our teachers into proctors,” Governor McCrory said.“Burdensome testing deprives our students of the talent and creativity our teachers have spent their careers to develop. Just as they did on teacher pay, members of the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Committee looked at the issue of testing and have produced some innovative recommendations and I look forward to studying them in depth. Long lasting and meaningful education reform will not come from politicians in Raleigh, but from the teachers in our classrooms .”

Berger Responds to Trial Court’s Injunction Against Opportunity Scholarship Program

PhilBergerRALEIGH, N.C. – Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) responded Thursday to a Wake County trial court’s permanent injunction against the opportunity scholarship program, issuing the following statement:

“Today’s ruling by a single trial court judge advances a clear political agenda ahead of the needs of thousands of North Carolina children. We are committed to providing students a sound, basic education – and that’s the very reason we don’t want to trap disabled and underprivileged children in low-performing schools that are failing to deliver on that responsibility. This ruling yet again frustrates parents who desperately want to provide what’s best for their kids, and I hope we will move swiftly to appeal.”

State Urges Families to Update Emergency Plans as Part of Back-to-School Preparations

Public SafetyRALEIGH, N.C. — As summer winds down and back-to-school preparations gear up, state emergency management officials are reminding families that now is a good time to update their emergency plans.

North Carolina Emergency Management asks parents, teachers and students who are returning to school this month to make a plan, get prepared and stay informed so they are ready for any type of emergency.

“Emergencies can occur any time, any day, any place – even at school,” said North Carolina Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “Be sure your family has discussed what you need to do during all types of emergencies and how to stay in touch. And if you haven’t already, create or update your emergency supplies kit.”

Governor McCrory, North Carolina Selected for Workforce Academy

PatMcCrory1RALEIGH, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory and the state of North Carolina have been selected for a nationally recognized program that will support its efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce.

“In North Carolina, we have recognized the importance of collaboration between technical training, our public schools, our community colleges, our universities and our Department of Commerce because they all play a vital role in providing skilled labor to businesses across the state,” said Governor McCrory. “Preparing our workforce at the highest of levels not only strengthens our economy, but also puts states at a competitive advantage here at home and internationally. Workforce development is something all governors are focused on, and I look forward to working with other states to provide a high-quality workforce throughout North Carolina and our nation,” the governor continued.

Legislature Passes Coal Ash Cleanup, Adjourns Quietly

BarrySmithby Barry Smith

RALEIGH — For all the drama in the days leading up to the adjournment of the 2014 “short session” of the General Assembly, the final day proved anticlimactic. While Tuesday saw the House defeating an economic incentives plan pushed by House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, Wednesday saw a more subdued House approving a bipartisan coal ash cleanup bill, adopting a scaled down economic incentives bill to help a mountain paper mill plant convert its energy source to natural gas, and agreeing to leave for good — or at least until January 2015.

Greenville Driver License Office Changes Schedule Due to ECU Football Games

ECUPirateGREENVILLE, N.C. — College football is altering the schedule at the Greenville driver license office.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has announced that it will not conduct road testing at its Greenville office on the days that coincide with East Carolina University home football games.  A press release says “this is due in part to traffic and parking near the office location coupled with its proximity to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.”  Our thought:  only in part??

Located at 703 Southeast Greenville Boulevard, Suite 12, the office hours of operation on each Saturday are from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. On Thursday, December 4, the office will offer road testing from 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

What’s Happening This Weekend Across North Carolina

Demonstrations of Civil War camp life in Four Oaks, a closer look at genealogy in Raleigh and a jazz festival on the Trent River in New Bern are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend kicks off Thursday evening when the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will screen the 1960 family favorite Swiss Family Robinson.

Friday, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will invite visitors to wander through its galleries after dark with the down-home bluegrass sounds of The Hey Brothers as a backdrop before showing the popular comedy Nebraska under the stars.

John Locke Foundation: New N.C. budget sets better course for future spending plans

JohnLockeFoundationRALEIGH, N.C. — Legislators have raised teacher pay, set aside money for potential Medicaid cost overruns, and made a major positive change in the state budget process. A new John Locke Foundation Spotlight report points to all three accomplishments in the 2014-15 state spending plan signed into law this month.

“The large teacher pay raise and the increased Medicaid funding attracted the most attention, but changing the budget process itself might lead to the most positive long-term benefits for North Carolina taxpayers,” said report co-author Sarah Curry, JLF Director of Fiscal Policy Studies. “By discarding a series of estimates known as the ‘continuation budget’ and using the more realistic ‘base budget,’ future budget discussions should feature more accuracy and less confusion.”

Aviation Development Task Force Members Announced

RALEIGH, N.C. — In May, Governor Pat McCrory signed an Executive Order establishing an Aviation Development Task Force for the state.

The aviation industry, both commercial and general, is directly responsible for over 100,000 jobs in North Carolina, and the industry’s impact exceeds $25 billion in North Carolina annually.

The Task Force’s role is to submit a comprehensive report and recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation for the enhancement of the state’s aviation programs. There can be up to 21 members of the Task Force and all are appointed by the governor. Governor McCrory announced the following appointments today:

Opinion: Certificate of Need: An Outdated Law In Need of Repeal

KatherineRestrepoby Katherine Restrepo

The Triangle Business Journal recently published an article on the increasing number of surgeries in the local area, due in large part due to the aging Baby Boom generation. To meet increased demand, more procedures are being performed in outpatient settings, such as Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs), also known as same-day surgery centers.

Outpatient care facilities bring many benefits to the table. Not only do they operate more efficiently (as surgeries performed in smaller settings result in less turnaround time than in full-service hospitals), but they can also reduce health care costs.  ASCs at least partially owned by physicians typically have operating costs 45-60% lower than hospitals for similar procedures.