News briefs, 11-5-20
NAACP sets procedures for branch vote
The Chatham Community NAACP Branch #5377 has announced its voting procedures for this year’s office re-election. The voting format …
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NAACP sets procedures for branch vote
The Chatham Community NAACP Branch #5377 has announced its voting procedures for this year’s office re-election. The voting format has been modified to address concerns about the transmission of COVID-19. Members will submit their ballots electronically during a Zoom meeting schedule for 6 p.m. on Nov. 16.
Members will receive a link to this branch meeting. For members without internet access, two members of the Election Supervisory Committee will accept ballots over the phone between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Nov. 23. For information about casting ballots that way, call committee member Adele Kelly at (919) 533-6064 or Deborah Turrentine at (919) 542-3802.
Groups challenge Trump Administration rule allowing more toxic wastewater from coal plants
CHAPEL HILL — Representing groups from communities near and downstream of coal plants in the Carolinas, the Southern Environmental Law Center has challenged the Trump administration’s rewrite of a rule — known as the Effluent Limitation Guidelines or ELG Rule for power plants — that allows coal plants to dump more toxic pollution into rivers and lakes.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the Stokes County Branch of the NAACP, WinyahRivers Alliance, Appalachian Voices, and Good Stewards of Rockingham.
“This illegal rollback of clean water protections by the Trump administration allows dirty coal-burning plants to dump more toxic substances into our rivers, lakes, and drinking water reservoirs and exposes our communities to more cancer-causing pollution,” said Frank Holleman, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center. “The technology to prevent and treat toxic water pollution from these plants is widely available. Instead of protecting people, this administration made it easier for the most polluting and worst run coal-fired plants to dump poisons into the waterways our communities depend upon.”
At least 30% of all toxic water pollution from all industries in America comes from coal-fired plants, according to EPA. In the Southeast, the percentage is likely even higher because of the prevalence of polluting coal-fired power plants. By rewriting this rule at industry’s request, EPA allows polluters to dump more arsenic, mercury, and selenium into lakes and rivers — even though available technologies to control this pollution are working at coal-fired plants across the South and the nation.
At Belews Creek and other plants in North Carolina, Duke Energy already installed the technology needed to limit toxic wastewater pollution to the levels required by a 2015 EPA rule. But the administration’s rewrite now lets them pollute more instead of polluting less.
EPA’s rollback also fails to take action against bromide pollution from power plants. Communities in North Carolina, including those downstream of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek facility, experienced spikes of cancer-causing byproducts in their treated drinking water because of bromide pollution from upstream coal-fired power plants.
In South Carolina, Santee Cooper’s Winyah Plant, which is set to decommission all its coal-fired units by 2027, may not even be required to implement pollution controls or meet even the new rule’s weakened limits under a special carveout in the new rule.
“Seven more years of dumping toxic pollutants into our local waterways is unacceptable to us and our communities,” said Christine Ellis with Winyah Rivers Alliance.
NCDOT outlines winter weather preparation
Now that it is fall, the NCDOT’s maintenance divisions are preparing for the winter. Counties are inspecting equipment — such as plows, spreaders, brine tanks and snow blowers — to help keep roads open and safe during inclement weather.
Just before winter weather is expected to arrive in an area, NCDOT will treat roads based on priority. Interstates and four-lane highways and other primary routes are first, followed by secondary roads.
For the most up-to-date traffic information go to drivenc.gov.
— CN + R staff reports
Artist Maggie Thornton wins JM contest; work selected for JMArts holiday cards
SILER CITY — Maggie Thornton, a sophomore at Jordan-Matthews High School, was named winner of the school’s second annual holiday card art contest during an announcement made on JMArts social media.
Her painting, “Winter Solace,” will appear on holiday cards sold by JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, to raise money for JM artists. Thornton received an award certificate and $100 for the rights to reproduce her work.
Holiday cards feature the painting on the front with a blank area inside for personal messages. The back lists the name of the artist and her work, along with a very short artist statement about the painting.
JM art teacher Rahkie Mateen-Mason said “Winter Solace” was selected on the basis of artistic merit and its expression of the moment we are currently experiencing in a global pandemic. “The work expressed both the sense of isolation many of us feel right now and hope and comfort that the holidays will bring,” Mateen-Mason said in the award announcement.
Preorders for JMArts holiday cards will be accepted online at JMArtsHolidayCards.com starting November 1. Cards will be sold online in packets of 15 cards and 17 envelopes for $15, a price that also includes domestic shipping. The domain forwards to a Google form, where you can place your order and pay online with a credit card or through the mail by cash or check. Cards also will be on sale soon after that for $12 per packet, cash or check only, at the NC Arts Incubator in downtown Siler City.
More information about JMArts, including a schedule of upcoming arts events and information on membership, is available online at JMArts.org.
State treasurer announces bond sales
RALEIGH — State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, and the State and Local Government Finance Division (SLGFD) have announced the sale of $700 million of Build NC Bonds.
The bonds are part of a $3 billion transportation package approved by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2018. The SLGFD, a division of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer (DST), issued $300 million of Build NC Bonds (BNC) in June 2019.
The bonds are being purchased by a syndicate led by Bank of America Securities Inc. at a preliminary all-in total interest rate of approximately 1.54%. Other members of the syndicate are Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Loop Capital Markets and Wells Fargo Securities.
“I‘m very pleased at the low interest rate that we were able to get,” said Treasurer Folwell. “When we’re able to finance debt at such incredible rates it’s the taxpayer that wins because it will keep their taxes down while allowing more money to be available for schools, roads and other critical needs in the state.”
The BNC bonds are limited obligations payable from the state’s Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which is separate and distinct from the state’s general fund and is subject to annual appropriations by the NCGA. The bonds are being issued to finance a variety of transportation projects across the state. Revenue for the HTF comes primarily from a 3% highway use tax assessed on the retail value of motor vehicles at the time of sale and a portion of the state’s motor fuels tax revenue.
2020 ‘Reindeer Run’ to be done virtually
Because of COVID-19 and different restrictions on gathering, the 2020 Reindeer Run is switching to a virtual format.
Race organizers will be marking courses at multiple Chatham County Parks, as well as Central Carolina Community College. These locations will be available for runners for a 5-kilometer run using the running app Strava to record your time. Runners are also able to run at any place of their choosing but are asked to be sure to monitor their distance to make sure they do not finish short of a 5k or go over the required distance.
For more information, go to chathamkids.org/5k.
— CN + R staff reports
County to host free document shredding event
PITTSBORO — The Chatham County Solid Waste & Recycling division is holding a free document-shredding event for Chatham County residents.
The document shredding event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Solid Waste & Recycling Main Facility, located at 28 County Services Road, Pittsboro.
Chatham County residents can bring up to three boxes or bags of documents from their household for free shredding. This service provides an opportunity for residents to safely destroy and recycle old tax records, credit card statements, and other personal documents.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, staff will not be able to unload documents for you. You will need to unload your documents and put them into a cart. Face coverings are required.
Please remove papers from folders or files, as those items can go in your recycling bin and do not need to be shredded. Do not bring CDs, tapes, etc.; throw those items in the trash. Businesses are not allowed.
If you have any questions contact the main office from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at (919) 542-5516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voto Latino says Latino vote breaks records
According to new proprietary TargetSmart data provided exclusively to Voto Latino — the nation’s largest Latino voter registration and advocacy organization — early Latino voter turnout is breaking records across battleground states, particularly in North Carolina.
The Latino electorate in the state now makes up more of the early vote share than it did in 2016 and 2018, outpacing other key voting blocs.
Nearly 98,000 Latino voters cast their ballots early in North Carolina, compared to just 52,400 in 2016
The greatest turnout increase can be seen among young Latino voters aged 18-29, with more than double the number of voters turning out in 2020 (32,100) compared to 2016 (15,800) — highlighting the growing Latino population that has come of age in the state within the last four years.
A whopping 40% of Latinos in N.C. who did not vote in 2016, have voted in 2020, and an estimated 22,000 additional Latino voters were expected to vote this year, with most being millennial and Gen Z voters (ages 18-39).
— CN + R staff reports