How big a burden is registering to vote?

The left has been howling about how the new voter reform law will discriminate against minority and young voters. Being a politically active college student myself, I decided to find out how hard it is to register to vote. Dreading what I had come to believe was the horrible strain of registering, I decided to go ahead and register to vote in the county where my school is located. I went online to the State Board of Elections site and went to its voter registration page. On that page, I found the Board keeps the voter registration form readily available along with steps of how to submit it. Keep in mind, due to all the horror stories on the news I was expecting a 20-page document that made me detail every inch of my life. But that’s not what I encountered. Instead, I found a one-page document that required the most minimal information: my name, my address, my birthday, my signature, and my driver’s license number or last four digits of my Social Security number – and actually both numbers are optional.

What is the white fluffy stuff on my shrubs?

I get lots of gardening questions from visitors when I am working in my pollinator garden at Chatham Mills. Several people have asked me what is the white fluffy stuff they are seeing on the stems of shrubs. I have also seen quite a bit of this “problem” at the pollinator garden. At first I thought they were mealybugs but upon closer inspection I discovered they were nymphs of the flatid planthopper.

Chatham leads way by getting out of way

As our local government budget sessions ended, there was a lot of hand wringing in Orange County and Chapel Hill about our fiscal future. Savings are being depleted. Education needs more funding. Capital improvements to government buildings and schools are being deferred. Property taxes are being increased with the prospect of higher rates to come. It’s beginning to look like past policies put us on an unsustainable path. We need more revenues. To that end Orange County is finally adding infrastructure to some of its economic development districts and Chapel Hill has approved redevelopment plans for Glen Lennox and the commercial areas around Eastgate.

Toyota, Ford, Honda & Chevrolet dominate Consumer Reports 2014 car-brand perception survey

Consumers continue to distinguish Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet as the leading brands overall, but several others, including Tesla and Subaru, are moving up the rankings, according to Consumer Reports’ annual Car-Brand Perception Survey. Toyota has a 25-point advantage over second-place Ford, reflecting a five-point gain over the year prior for Toyota and a three-point improvement for Ford. It could be interpreted that the safety concerns that saw the Toyota score stumble a few years ago have faded, returning the brand to its position as the perceived industry leader.

Central Carolina Community College Chatham Provost Allen retires

Central Carolina Community College in Chatham County has changed a lot since Dr. Karen Allen was hired in 1988 — and she was instrumental in bringing about those changes. Twenty-six years later, she has bid farewell to the college, retiring as of June 30. The college hired Allen in 1988 as its continuing education coordinator in Chatham County. In 1996, the Chatham resident became the college’s provost for the county with the responsibility to lead and grow the college as it served Chatham’s growing population and need for vocational, continuing, and university transfer education.

What newspapers won’t say about anti-election reform lawyers

Much has been written about the attorneys the Governor and the legislative leaders have hired to defend the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) against lawsuits brought by the NC-NAACP, the ACLU and the U.S. Justice Department. In contrast, to date, there have been no stories spotlighting the army of attorneys involved for the plaintiffs. Many of the attorneys are associated with the groups suing North Carolina, such as the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, League of Women Voters, ACLU, NAACP, Common Cause, and Unifour Onestop Collaborative, not to mention Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.

I-77 HOT lanes: A bargain or a $400M gamble?

A new “public-private partnership” in North Carolina appears to put hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at risk while guaranteeing profit for a company that has run into trouble in other states. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced in April that it had selected a contractor to take on the task of widening the congested 26-mile corridor of I-77 north of Charlotte. The project calls for the addition of a high-occupancy/toll (HOT) lane and the conversion of the existing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane into another HOT lane. Cintra Infraestructures, a Spanish company, was selected to design, build, and maintain the improved roadway – and collect the tolls. The term of the contract is 50 years.

Music, murder and more for your summer reading

Have you made a list of books to read on your summer vacation? Here are some North Carolina books for that list. UNC-Wilmington’s Clyde Edgerton’s “Night Train” came out three years ago and remains a favorite because it takes me back to my growing up years. Two friends, both teenaged boys, live in Starke, a fictional eastern North Carolina town, in the early 1960s. One, Larry Lime Nolan, is black, and he wants to play jazz like Thelonious Monk. The other, Dwayne Hallston, is white, and he wants to be another James Brown. They have much in common, but rules of the segregated South put roadblocks in the way of their friendship.

Related:
NC Book Watch