Local Issues

Lake Junaluska annexation

What the bill says: Lake Junaluska would become part of the town of Waynesville pending approval by voters of both Lake Junaluska and the town.

coverState lawmakers unleashed a torrent of proposed bills in the halls of the General Assembly this year — more than 1,650 bills in all, from possum drops and bobcat mascots to abortion restrictions and coal ash rules.

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• Sales tax shuffle

Most of the bills are doomed from the start, with fewer than 100 likely to make it to the finish line. To help winnow the list and weed out the losers, a bill must prove its merit by making cross-over — the bill has to pass the Senate or the House and “cross-over” to the other  chamber by the end of April to stay alive, with a few exceptions for certain types of bills.

fr frackingA section of legislation giving the Mining and Energy Commission the authority to decide which local ordinances are OK and which are not when it comes to fracking could be struck down, if a state court sides with a lawsuit recently filed by Clean Water for North Carolina.

out frSolar power is on the rise across the U.S., and a campaign recently launched in Western North Carolina is urging mountain folk to join the trend. 

“You can only do what you can afford to do, and now that it’s affordable, people are taking advantage of it and getting involved,” said Avram Friedman, executive director of The Canary Coalition, one of the two groups collaborating on the Solarize WNC campaign. “I think we’ve sort of reached that critical mass when things are turning around.”

op frNothing would reflect better on this country than to have a rational, reasoned debate on gun violence and what steps could be taken to curb it while still adhering to the Second Amendment. One look at the statistics shows how badly this needs to take place. 

But we aren’t getting close. In face, a recent law introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly would be a step in the wrong direction.

For the third year in a row, opossums are making their way to the political scene in the N.C. General Assembly. 

The bill — of which Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, is a primary sponsor — would suspend all state wildlife laws related to possums between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2 each year. It’s currently awaiting hearing in the House Committee on Wildlife Resources.

The way is now open for oil and gas companies to start drilling in North Carolina, but no wells are going to pop up any time soon. Besides the time lag automatically built into the permitting process, low natural gas prices will likely discourage development and a pending lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of the very commission that wrote the rules could invalidate them.

out frThe plans are set: Waynesville’s getting invaded this fall, and the army will be 1,000 strong. 

Semi trucks will haul luggage and portable showers, tents will dominate the lawn of the Waynesville Recreation Center and, most importantly, the soldiers, adventurous souls who have signed up to pedal nearly 500 miles across the state in Cycle North Carolina’s Mountains to Coast Tour, will show up with two-wheeled mounts in tow.

op frGoogle is a wonderful thing, but it sometimes makes things harder for journalists. That’s why a new emphasis on transparency among newspapers and news sites may be one of the measures that helps save real journalism and differentiates it from all that other stuff out there on the web.

“In the digital world, where information is infinite and infinitely replicable, being transparent … helps distinguish journalism from other content on the web,” writes Martin Moore, the executive director of the Media Standards Trust, in a blog post that listed the arguments in favor of transparency.

fr lakejThe Lake Junaluska community will make a renewed bid to merge with the town of Waynesville this year, this time with the added measure of a formal vote.

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