(Asheville Citizen-Times) As a rookie teacher, Rick Spurling remembers his principal encouraging him to paddle students to get his classroom under control. Thirty years later, as superintendent of Mitchell County Schools, Spurling says, “I can’t imagine encouraging somebody to paddle a kid.” As attitudes have shifted, more and more North Carolina school systems have banned corporal punishing — a trend that has escalated in the past few years. Fewer than 10 school systems out of 115 in the state used corporal punishment during the 2012-13 school year, and those systems were using it far less than just a few years ago. Nationwide, 19 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, according to the Center for Effective Discipline. In North Carolina, the state lets each school district decide whether to use it. And some WNC school systems still do. Numbers from the state show that Graham County used it 31 times in 2012-13, Macon used it 15 times and Swain County used it nine times.
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(Asheville Citizen-Times) While other states are relaxing fireworks regulations, no such change is imminent in North Carolina, officials say. The State Fire Marshal’s Office, a section of the N.C. Department of Insurance that oversees the licensing and training of professional pyrotechnics operators, discourages people from using any consumer fireworks, even items that are legal in North Carolina, because of fire hazards and the possibility of personal injury. “We really encourage people to not use consumer fireworks and instead go to a public show that is put on by experts,” Department of Insurance spokeswoman Marni Schribman said. “You still get to see the pretty lights, but you’re at a safe distance.” Even sparklers can be dangerous, she said, especially in the hands of children. Glass melts at 900 degrees, Schribman said, but sparklers can reach temperatures up to 1,200 degrees. “People don’t have any idea how dangerous these things are,” she said.
Read the full story and the economic impact of NC’s policies HERE>
(Asheville Citizen-Times) WNC for Public Education, a group made up of parents and some retired educators, has been looking into the idea of a special tax to boost per pupil funding in county schools and bring it up to the state average. The discussion about the supplemental tax has emerged amid shrinking state budgets and debate over how to fund public education. But it’s not a new idea. Over the years, school supporters tried unsuccessfully several times to convince Buncombe County voters to approve a [new, supplemental] school tax.
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(1350 WZGM Staff Reports) The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority has been awarded a $6.5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation for use towards its upcoming airfield redevelopment project. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will distribute the funding, which will be used for the first phase of a four-year project that will result in the construction of a new runway and a west-side taxiway. “I am very happy that Asheville Regional received this grant. This will make it possible for the airport to upgrade its runway and continue to serve the citizens of Western North Carolina,” Congressman Meadows (R-NC) said. “Having a modernized transportation hub that supports our business community is critical for economic growth in the area,” Meadows added.
The current runway is more than 50 years old. Over the years, the pavement has had to be resurfaced numerous times. The FAA has prioritized the construction of a new runway – to bring the airfield at AVL up to the most current construction standards. “We are very pleased to be receiving these funds for the upcoming project,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport. “This project will be the biggest in the airport’s history since the airport was built, and is a big part of the future of our region’s airport.” The total cost of the project during its four-year duration will be $64 million, with 100 percent of the costs to be covered by FAA, NCDOT and airport funds intended for airport infrastructure improvement.
An official groundbreaking is slated for August 8th, at which time more detailed information about the project will be available.
(Mountain XPress) What is the draw of the garden, the chicken coop, the pasture? For many it’s a connection that can offer unseen spiritual, mental and emotional yields. “Just being connected with nature is spiritual,” says Debbie O’Neil, managing director of at the Montford campus of CooperRiis Healing Community, a holisitc mental health program with a second location on a 97-acre farm in Mill Spring. Many of the residents at CooperRiis are dealing with feelings of isolation, O’Neil explains, in large part due to the stigma that surrounds mental disorders. CooperRiis’ approach to healing brings residents into the surrounding community — through projects such as maintaining beehives at an off-campus location or helping the Odyssey School maintain its trails.
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(Asheville Citizen-Times) City Councilman Cecil Bothwell was charged with driving while impaired after he was pulled over by a state trooper on Interstate 240 Thursday night. Bothwell’s blood-alcohol content was 0.10 percent, according to a citation filed at the Buncombe County Magistrate’s Office. The legal limit for driving in North Carolina is 0.08 percent. The vehicle he was driving, a 2009 Toyota station wagon, did not have a license plate, according to the citation. “I was returning from a friend’s celebration in Black Mountain,” Bothwell said. “There was no accident. There was no speeding.” He said his last driving infraction was a speeding ticket about 30 years ago. He declined further comment.
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(WLOS News 13) A mountain soldier returns home to his family after his second year-long tour of duty in Kuwait. CPT Jonathan Manley arrived at the Asheville Regional Airport Monday night. CPT Manley had been in Kuwait for a year with the Military Police Corp. Last night, that tour of duty ended with a big welcome home at the Asheville Regional Airport. CPT Manley said he is very happy to be home after a long year away from his family.
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(Asheville Citizen-Times) A judge on Monday struck down as unconstitutional the 2013 law that would transfer control of the city water system to the Metropolitan Sewerage District. Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. found that the law violates a prohibition in the state constitution against “local” laws on certain subjects, “lacks a rational basis” and calls for an “unlawful taking.” Even if the law passed the constitutional hurdles, the city would be owed compensation for the water system, Manning wrote, something the law does not provide for. Both sides have predicted that whatever decision Manning made would be appealed, and Manning himself said the same thing in his nine-page decision.
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(Asheville Citizen-Times) Residents and activists who have fought for 15 years for a cleanup of the CTS site say a Supreme Court ruling issued Monday morning is a “devastating” development that favors corporations to the detriment of residents and homeowners. “It’s unbelievable,” said Dot Rice, who lives a few hundreds yards from the former factory on Mills Gap Road. “With everything else going on right now, this is just another slap in the face.” The Supreme Court said a group of Asheville-area homeowners can’t sue the company that contaminated their drinking water, CTS Corp., because a state deadline has lapsed. The case centered around a state law that established a “period of repose” for pursuing legal action in a pollution case.
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(Mountain XPress) WLOS reported earlier tonight, June 6, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state officials evacuated three families who live near the CTS superfund site on Mills Gap Road in South Asheville. A few weeks ago, local citizens groups and EPA officials announced that a “significant amount of trichloroethylene (TCE) is dissolved in a mass of petroleum that is floating on shallow groundwater beneath the CTS of Asheville site. ” The contamination was first discovered in the late 1980s, when a resident called to report a large chemical pond on the site. WLOS attributed the June 6 evacuations to highly elevated toxins in recent air samples.
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