Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama administration seeks to keep NC teachers working

From the White House:
Obama Administration Presses to Keep North Carolina Teachers Working

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With state and local budget shortfalls threatening the jobs of hundreds of thousands of educators in North Carolina and across the country, the Obama Administration is pressing Congress to approve emergency funding to keep them on the job.

“It is crucial that we keep our teachers in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.  “Our teachers are vital to our students’ success, our economy’s success, and our nation’s success.  We must act now to prevent teachers from being laid off and ensure that America’s students have the knowledge and skills to succeed in the 21st century.”

The economic downturn has placed massive strain on state and local budgets.  As education makes up one of the largest single items in state budgets, schools, classrooms, and teacher jobs have been targeted for significant cuts.  Such a massive loss of jobs will impact students through reductions in core class time, overcrowded classrooms, shortened school calendars, cuts to afterschool programming, fewer early childhood opportunities, and reduced access to college counselors and school nurses.

In response, the Obama Administration is pressing Congress to approve $23 billion in emergency support to preserve education jobs across the country.  This funding will keep teachers in the classroom at all levels, including post-secondary, while helping to sustain meaningful and necessary reforms underway in public education.  The President also is urging Congress to approve $1 billion to preserve early childhood education jobs to ensure that young children do not lose services critical to their learning and well-being.

According to provisional estimates by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, this funding will support the jobs of approximately 300,000 educators, including approximately 10,340 in North Carolina.

“As state lawmakers and school districts across the country are finalizing their budgets for the coming year, we must act quickly and responsibly to offer the assistance they need – to keep our teachers teaching, keep our students learning, and keep our economy growing.  Investing in education now will help tens of millions of students become more productive citizens and positively affect America’s long-term fiscal health,” Secretary Duncan said.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

26 May paper

What a week! We've got some great content, including:
  • RESIDENTS SPEAK ON BUDGET. County commissioners held the first of two budget public hearings last Thursday. Many of those present spoke about K-12 education. There will also be a public hearing June 1 to give residents a chance to comment on a potential 1/4-cent sales tax increase that could be on the ballot in November.
  • BOARD TO MAKE ALCOHOL DECISION. The Hillsborough Town Council held a public meeting to allow residents the chance to make their voices heard on wheter to allow a beer garden at Hog Day.
  • NINTH ANNUAL RELAY FOR LIFE. We've got a few pictures on the Relay for Life event held last weekend.
  • MOTHER KILLED IN WRECK. Ann Thrash of Rougemont was killed last Wednesday in a car accident on Guess Road.
  • TWO JAILED ON FELONY DRUG CHARGES. Jonathan Beamon and Marquise Kingsbury were charged with felony drug charges after more than 16 grams of heroin were found in their vehicle.
  • Plus, Orange High School wrestling coach Bobby Shriner inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame, a local teacher donates a kidney to her husband, Cedar Ridge students plan to bury a time capsule and more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12 May paper

What a week! Even with the primary in the past, there is still plenty going on in Orange County. Here's a taste of what we have in the paper this week:
  • Town budget presented. Town manager Eric Peterson gave town council members and the public a look at what the proposed Hillsborough budget is for next fiscal year, FY2011. Of note, Peterson asked department heads to come up with a list of priorities, which were compiled into a top 10. Seven of the 10 were funded, at least partially.
  • Election results all in. Provisional, one-stop and absentee ballots have all been tallied, but no candidate got enough to overturn previous Election Day results. As an aside, Cal Cunningham has called a run-off against N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate a face Sen. Richard Burr in the fall. Locally, school board chair Anne Medenblik did not get the number of votes she needed and could potentially face Central PTSA president and OCS Parent Council president Laura Nicholson should Nicholson decide to call a run-off. She has until Thursday to decide.
  • Season 'came in fast and furious.' Local farmers are saying the strawberry season, which can be harmed by cold weather or spurred on by warm weather, is going well so far. This season may be shorter than normal, though. 
  • Board to study sewer rates. Community activist group Justice United and Efland residents asked county commissioners to rethink the sewer rate increase that, if implemented, could leave residents with a bill that is 300 percent higher than what they're paying now.
We've also got tons of pictures from Carillon's version of the Kentucky Derby, a Cub Scout visit to our office, a county building getting a facelift, the Future Problem Solvers at Grady A. Brown Green Living Fair and an introduction to Grady Brown's new principal, among other things.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

fire hazard

The National Weather Service issued a fire warning early this morning. Dry ground conditions combined with low humidity and wind result in increased fire danger today, according to the NWS; if a fire does start, it could spread very rapidly. The area includes Orange, Durham, Alamance and Person counties, among many others.

So, be careful out there today if you're going to burn something.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

UPDATE: Blue Bayou

Here's a link to the Blue Bayou's newsletter, which provides and update on what's happening with them. The short of it is they raised enough money to stay open through June 30, but they're looking for buyers to take over the club. Here's a link to the venue's blog that gives more information about the sale.

air quality could be dangerous today

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (based in Raleigh) issued a code Orange air quality alert today. It will be in effect until 9 p.m.

"An air quality action day means that ground level ozone concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards," according to a release from DENR.

The alert includes Orange, Alamance, Chatham, Person, Durham and Johnston counties, among others.

For additional information, visit the North Carolina division of air quality website at www.Ncair.Org/airaware/forecast/.