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June, 2015

Opinion: Duke’s track record doesn’t inspire confidence
By Therese Vick

Ever since Duke Energy first foisted its coal ash storage plan on Lee and Chatham counties, its repeated assurances of environmental responsibility have rung hollow.

And now, before an ounce of ash has arrived here, Duke’s affiliates already have racked up two infractions for activities at the Chatham County site. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a violation notice for lack of a storm water permit, needed when a construction project disturbs at least one acre of land, and a deficiency notice for other improper activities, including clearing trees before addressing erosion control.

If Duke intends to be a good steward of its earmarked sites in central Carolina, its track record indicates otherwise. Last month, the utility conglomerate pleaded guilty to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act — four from a major February 2014 spill at the Dan River Steam Station in Eden — and was sanctioned with $102 million in fines. Media outlets from the state level to the New York Times reported on the company’s failure to properly maintain equipment at a number of its North Carolina power plants.

Just last week, a number of homeowners who live near a retired Duke Energy power plant near Goldsboro were warned not to drink well water after testing showed that chemicals from coal ash pits had seeped into groundwater.

Read more...

NC cites proposed coal ash dump site with permit violations

State officials today took enforcement action in response to environmental permit violations at an open-pit clay mine in Chatham County that is being prepared to hold coal ash.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Green Meadow LLC and Moncure Holdings LLC for failure to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination, or NPDES, construction stormwater permit for land-disturbing activities the companies have been conducting near the Brickhaven No. 2 Mine Tract “A” in Chatham County. A NPDES construction stormwater permit is required when a construction project disturbs at least one acre of land.

DENR also issued a notice of deficiency to Green Meadow LLC for activities that violated mining permit conditions at the site. The notice cites clearing and grading that took place prior to the installation of required sediment and erosion control devices, such as sediment basins and adequate silt fencing.

“As Governor McCrory’s coal ash clean-up initiative moves forward, our department will continue to provide leadership, technical guidance and regulatory oversight,” said Tom Reeder, DENR’s assistant secretary for the Environment. “We will ensure that these projects are done the right way to protect the environment and public health.”

Read more...



NC WARN Again Urges Feds to Investigate Southeastern Oversupply of Electricity

Duke Energy and other monopoly utilities keep building power plants and raising rates instead of sharing regional supply

May 28, 2015 – NC WARN has called on federal regulators to reconsider their decision not to investigate the costs and benefits of a regional strategy to share electricity supply.

On April 30th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a December 2014 request for an investigation into Duke Energy’s pattern of building more and more power plants across the southeast and simultaneously raising electricity rates for consumers. NC WARN’s position is that this building program is unnecessary because the region already has a “gross overcapacity.” Read more...



A Medium’s Visions
Tania Thomas – Author, Spiritual Medium,
Motivational Speaker, and Sometimes Comedian


TaniaThomas Question: I had a question earlier from Renee regarding spells or curses. Whether they are real and can someone truly put one on you. Of course anyone can "put" one on you.

Answer: It's quite easy really. "I curse you to the fleas of a thousand camels". Everyone has done that in some manner at some point. The question is ... do you put your good energy into believing it? Read more




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LATEST BRIEF

Western Swing at Temple Theatre

When it comes to Western swing music, it doesn't get any better than Carolyn Martin. The west Texas native has been recognized as one of the top artists performing the genre. She will be in Sanford for one night only on Jun 19, 2015, at the Temple Theatre. The show starts at 8 p.m. Reserved seating is $15. You can purchase tickets now through the Temple Box Office at 919.774.4155, or online at www.templeshows.com.

Martin doesn't differentiate between swing music and Western swing, although the two are distinct versions. She grew up listening to her father's records of Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson, two of his favorite artists. When she was in junior high school, Martin said, she was a big fan of Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, who inspired her to start taking guitar lessons. "My parents didn't think I'd stick with it," she said. "I'd already been through some piano lessons." But she did stick with it, and the world is gifted because she did.

When she grew older and was able to go out to clubs, she discovered Western swing at the Ponderosa Ballroom in Abilene, which offered swing and ballroom dancing and music seven nights a week. The house band was L.C. & the Dixie Playboys. "That's the first time I heard classic Western swing," she said. The music is a mixture of rural, cowboy, polka, folk, and Dixieland jazz blended with swing. Originally popularized by Bob Wills and Milton Brown, Western swing is now kept alive by Martin and artists like Asleep at the Wheel.

In recent years, Martin has made quite a name for herself. Her 2009 project, Swing, was wildly successful. The follow-up, Cookin' with Carolyn, was the 2011 Western Swing Album of the Year. She has been recognized as Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Western Artists, and in 2011, she was inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. In 2013, she appeared for a three-week engagement at the Temple Theatre as part of Jason Petty's Swingin' Cowboys.


BRIEFS

Jordan-Matthews students named JMArts Summer Scholars

SILER CITY, N.C. — Attending summer camp can be a life-changing experience for any student, but especially for those whose passion is the visual or performing arts. For five Jordan-Matthews High School students, that life-changing experience is just around the corner.

Orlando Benitez, Jasmine Brower, Allie Hayhurst, Michael Vasquez and Konner Williams have been named Summer Scholars by JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, each receiving a scholarship to study choral music, band or visual art. A sixth student, Jordan Dwyer, also was selected, but was not able to accept the award due to job demands.

“This is the fourth year we have been able to help students have arts-intensive summer experiences,” said JMArts president Rose Pate. “Because of the generosity of our donors, we are thrilled to continue to provide this opportunity for the JM family.”

Three of the scholarships will go to rising sophomores, two to visual artists and one to a vocalist.

“Allie and Michael will be attending the Summer Studio at The Art Institute of Raleigh/Durham,” said Pate. “Allie has a passion for photography and will enroll in the Digital Photography Workshop, while Michael will explore the possibilities of animation in the Media Arts and Animation Workshop.”

Williams, another rising sophomore, will develop her vocal music skills at the UNC High School Music Camp in Chapel Hill. “Konner has been active in both our school musical and our chorus class,” said Pate. “We look forward to hearing her share what she learns at the UNC camp.”

Brower, a rising junior, will attend the ECU Summer Vocal Music Intensive Camp. “Jasmine has been very committed to our chorus and musical theater programs,” said Pate. “She’s hoping to explore the possibility of studying music at the college level during this camp at East Carolina.”

Benitez is the lone instrumentalist. The rising senior and trumpet player will attend the UNCG Summer Music Camp. “Orlando is a veteran of the UNCG camp and knows how it will challenge him,” said Pate. “He is looking forward to that challenge and to becoming a better musician.”

Since being launched, the JMArts’ Summer Scholar program has awarded 27 scholarships to 20 students, with some receiving awards to study over more than one summer. It was designed to help young artists develop their talent, explore artistic options before making college decisions and bring what they learn back to share with other Jordan-Matthews students.

Pate said the foundation couldn’t be happier with the students’ success. “Living and working with other students who share their passions brings a whole new dimension to our students’ artistic and musical development,” she said. “Also, it helps them step up and become leaders in our arts programs during the school year.”

For more information about JMArts, including details about the camps students will attend, visit jmarts.org or contact Rose Pate, President, JMArts at 919-742-2916 or at rpate@chatham.k12.nc.us.

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