State Bill undercuts local move to temporarily halt fracking

(Winston-Salem Journal) The effects of Senate Bill 119 are becoming clearer now that the public has had time to review it — and it does not bode well for local governments that want to implement their own land-use regulations in the face of possible shale-gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A provision in the bill aims to pre-empt local governments from implementing regulations that go beyond state regulations. Meaning: If a County needs time to review state regulations to come up with its own land-use regulations, but such local land-use regulations are confined to state regulations, then there is no need for those local land-use regulations. “In general, I think the legislature has made it very clear that it intends to have only state-level regulation of oil and gas, and I think a court faced with a case challenging a local moratorium or anti-fracking ordinance will almost certainly find there is no more local power to focus particularly on those operations,” Richard Whisnant, a professor of public law and policy at the UNC School of Government said.

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Waking Life sold to Izzy’s Coffee Den owners

(Asheville Citizen-Times) A West Asheville coffee shop that has been the source of controversy and protests in recent weeks was quietly handed over Monday afternoon to new owners, who already run a successful downtown coffee house. Kristin and Ross Britton, owners for five years of Izzy’s Coffee Den on North Lexington, acquired the equipment and lease for Waking Life Espresso. “We have been looking for a location for a long time, and we have been interested in West Asheville for a long time,” Kristin Britton said Monday as a locksmith was changing locks on the former Waking Life business. “We envision a sweet neighborhood shop that reflects this neighborhood and that will be fun to come to every day.” Waking Life had been a source of fierce controversy after former owners Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens were connected to misogynistic Internet posts that came to light last month.

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Lawyer Gives Full Backpacks To Every Elementary School Kid in Detroit

(Good News Network) Many of the students in Detroit, Michigan’s schools show up to class with used or secondhand school supplies, making it harder for them to concentrate on learning. One lawyer decided to change the game for every elementary public school student in the city. The Mike Morse Law Firm decided to invest a quarter million dollars to buy 23,000 backpacks filled with school supplies like markers, erasers, folders, pencils, notebooks, and other educational goodies for each student in grades K through 5. Needless to say, the new gifts brought excited back-to-school smiles to children’s faces in 65 Detroit schools. “I think it teaches them that there are people out there in the community that care about them,” Mike Morse said in a video highlighting the firm’s efforts. “They want them to succeed, that want them to win at life.” A few days after the video was shot, filmmaker Sean O’Grady spoke with a family who just moved to the city under some tough circumstances and couldn’t afford to buy any uniforms or supplies for their twin fifth graders. “As a result of the donation, they now have all the supplies they need to start the year. The entire family of 5 was incredibly grateful and it was really moving,” O’Grady told the Good News Network. “They heard nothing but bad things about Detroit before moving there, but this helped them realize that there are generous people everywhere.”

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Freedom From Religion Foundation calls In God We Trust decals “inappropriate”

(WRDW News) A motto that is being brought to focus in a different light. “I mean it’s senseless. I mean to take a motto that’s been around forever and to turn it into a big issue is just, I mean it’s senseless,” said Dedric Smith, Chief Investigator at the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.  A small decal on the back of some Burke County patrol went unnoticed until the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Sheriff Greg Coursey urging him to remove the decal. “Many citizens are offended and imagine if you were in a rural community and you had an Atheist bumper sticker on your car and you’re pulled over by a sheriff who’s got an “In God We Trust” decal on his car. It’s unseeingly, it’s just inappropriate,” said Freedom From Religion Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Sheriff Coursey has already told News 12 he will not remove the decals, but Gaylor says they are still waiting for the right person to complain before they can move forward with any legal action. “We are like I said we’re trying to and persuade and we are waiting for the right set of circumstances to sue,” said Gaylor.

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NC legislation takes aim at sanctuary cities

(WRAL News) North Carolina cities and counties would no longer be able to adopt “sanctuary” ordinances and policies that give limited safe harbor to undocumented immigrants if a bill reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday becomes law. House Bill 318 already carried a provision that would prohibit anyone from using a consular card for identification in any public business. Such cards are issued by foreign governments to identify their citizens living in the United States.  “Anyone who needs a matricula consular card is not in the country legally,” said Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, the bill’s lead author. Language added to the measure Wednesday would prohibit cities and counties from adopting “sanctuary” rules for undocumented immigrants, either by local law or policy. Such rules limit when police and sheriffs’ deputies can enforce federal immigration law. They also tend to curb the collection of information about a person’s immigration status and limit when information about an undocumented person can be transmitted to the federal government. Cities such as Asheville have adopted such rules because proponents there say it frees up police to concentrate on more troublesome, violent crimes. Advocates say it also helps law enforcement to establish better ties in immigrant communities.

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Moving Company Helps Women Leave Abusive Homes At No Cost

(Good News Network) Getting out of an abusive relationship isn’t easy—but actually packing up and moving is even more daunting. Hundreds of women have Aaron and Evan Steed to thank for coming to the rescue. These owners of a California moving company have volunteered to make the move for them, free of charge. When they first started their business, Meathead Movers in 1997, the high school athletes were simply looking for a way to earn some extra cash. Back then, their fee was usually $20 and a pizza. As their business grew, the Steeds started getting occasional, frantic phone calls from women with little or no money who wanted to quickly move out before their abusers returned home.

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Providing 'Fair Witness' On Daily Life


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