(Photo courtesy of StarNews)
Readers here knew there would be an RC Soles update at some point in time. We’ll have to update the Ola Lewis file soon as well, but for now, let’s stick with RC.
(WWAY) Earlier this week a judge gave B.J. Wright a nearly $4 million bond. On his way out of the courtroom Wright reportedly told a bailiff, “I’ll be home by Christmas.” But today he found out he won’t be going home any time soon.
After years of gaining notoriety for his run-ins with the law, Wright is on the fast track to prison. Thursday, he pleaded guilty to crimes including cocaine possession, running from police, harassment of a juror and obstruction of justice. District Attorney Jon David says Wright was sentenced to between 12.5 and more than 17 years behind bars.
BJ was one of the small group of young men with close ties to former Senator RC Soles. While Soles claims to have had mentoring relationships with many of these folks, the preponderance of them ended up being involved in drugs, property crimes, assaults and a number of other tragic life decisions. The former senator was not present at the sentencing and was unable to influence this outcome. One has to wonder if BJ will ever want to talk in greater detail about Soles.
Additional stories on Allen Strickland, Kyle Blackburne, and Stacey Scott will appear at some point in the future.
This isn’t a post about how horrid solar power is mainly because it isn’t horrible or bad. It’s interesting, but still VERY expensive and worth noting how badly public policy misses that point.
America spent $72 billion on alternative energy in the last four years, a 14,000% increase, and all we got to show for it was bankruptcies and new tariffs on China – and China was the only part of the solar equation that made economic sense, so why Energy Secretary Stephen Chu declared we were in a ‘race’ with them over cheap solar panels is a mystery.
Rather than spend money making older buildings more energy efficient, which has a guaranteed benefit in both emissions and money, California has instead given rebates and subsidies for businesses and homeowners and the state forces utilities to buy the electricity at full price.
Christopher Martin and Mark Chediak at the San Francisco Chronicle note that San Diego Gas&Electric will be shifting about $200 million in annual costs to customers without panels. Solar customers “avoid charges, not just for energy, but also the costs of the transmission and distribution system. That’s why we say it is not sustainable,” Dan Skopec, vice president of regulatory affairs for San Diego’s Sempra Energy, the utility’s owner, told them.
Martin and Chediak say Pacific Gas & Electric will pass on about $700 million in annual costs to people without solar systems while Southern California Edison will hit people with about $400 million annually – $1.3 billion from just three utilities.
SOooo. . the cost of solar is really hurting people who can least afford it. But it just feels good to say you support it and feeling good is apparently better than actually being good.
The town of Leland has decided against allowing a developer to build apartments within walking distance of a supermarket after residents (whose neighborhoods could also have been protested prior to development) protested:
About 100 residents of Magnolia Greens and Waterford packed Leland’s Town Hall to oppose the amendment, which could have led to an apartment development near the Harris Teeter and Goodwill store on Olde Regent Way.
Did the developer meet city planning and zoning regulations? Yes! Did they spend lots of invested resources getting to that point? Yes! Were the folks who invested their time and energy and money into this project told it was could be rejected just due to opionins? Maybe
Leland‘s Town Council unanimously rejected a controversial text amendment Monday evening that would have created a mutlifamily exceptional design district and let an apartment complex be built near Waterford.
“Exceptional design district” and they met the criteria to be there, but won’t be allowed to. The price of regulations in an uncertain market are already high, but the price of biased opinion is worse. Leland has a golden opportunity (along with Belville, Navassa and Sandy Creek) to become an economic powerhouse that would rival and might surpass Wilmington over the next two decades, but decisions like this make it unlikely. Instead of learning from Wilmington’s mistakes, they seem to be interested in simply repeating them.
Mike McIntyre loves being in office, but doesn’t particularly like answering questions about being in office. No doubt there are big issues looming and when asked repeatedly to do radio interviews, his office simply refuses or ignores the request. When asked by PortCityDaily.com to comment on the looming financial issues of the nation, Mike offered platitudes and has yet to suggest a single idea. Here’s what he told reporter Ben Brown when asked:
. . . he joined a number of colleagues recently in signing a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other leaders in the chamber “to urge them (to) include a long-term, comprehensive deficit reduction plan that also protects Medicare and social security, and to emphasize that savings from various areas of the national budget and real reform of our tax system will be necessary to stabilize our debt and assure America’s fiscal and economic well-being.
“Ensuring that each and every federal dollar is invested wisely should be at the core of these discussions,” McIntyre said.
In other words, he said nothing, continues to say nothing and is offering no leadership on the issue. Additional media haven’t even asked him sadly.
When the StarNews asked McIntyre to comment on the horrendous shooting in Newtown, McIntyre’s continued dodging has become embarrassing:
(The Starnews) emailed U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre’s chief of staff Dean Mitchell Monday morning to try to get the congressman on the phone for thoughts about the shootings in Newtown, Conn., on Friday, as well as his opinions on whether debates about gun control and violence in U.S. culture should happen as a result.
Mitchell’s response: “Pat, he has some commitments today so he is not available.”
He subsequently added in a second email: “When I have the opportunity to talk to him, I will make sure he gets your message.”
Is this really the way a congressman should act in times of crisis? Is it acceptable to just not be heard from or ignore citizen concerns? Or is this simply a bit of cowardice?
It only took Mike McIntyre almost four days to finally issue a statement, still no interview though:
. . . the country needs to have a “national dialogue to discuss the culture of violence that has become so prevalent in our society and whether we are doing all we can to protect our citizens while also protecting our 2nd Amendment rights.”“However, now is the time for reflection, remembrance and recognition of the lives that were lost and the Newtown community that is grieving,” McIntyre said in the statement. “Let us join together in prayer for that this holiday season.”
Humility, compassion, always. . . but substance continually lacking from the Congressman. Where’s the leadership? If he wants to be a pastor, then he should be one. He’s on all sides of an issue without ever saying anything of substance. What does he stand for???????
Here’s an idea. . just pay me to stop speeding!
(StarNews) – A Myrtle Beach woman was arrested late Monday night after leading Brunswick County police on a high-speed chase in Supply, and calling 911 to demand $300,000 to stop her car. Jeniffer Melisa Herring, 37, of Misty Pine Drive in Myrtle Beach, is charged with driving while impaired, felony fleeing to elude arrest, driving while license revoked, careless and reckless driving, and driving left of center.
Yeah. . . we’re doing just fine in this country! No word on how much she wanted to not drive while impaired, drive with a license or avoid a felony.
But wait. . . she ended up on a dead end road. . . oh, I can’t stop laughing!
Hey StarNews, ever heard of Ethanol?
The StarNews, on the heels of running a horribly biased story on an anti-Titan economic study without telling the audience that it was an anti-Titan group that did the study, now has a story about massive new grain imports coming through the state port. The problem is, they made the story fit their bias on climate rather than including anything relevant to grain issues other than climate.
“. . . due to drought conditions here in the (Midwestern) states, customers have been importing more grain to the region, primarily to support local livestock needs.” said CSX Communications Director Carla Groleau.
Hmm. . . but there’s more!
Jay Boyette, commodity director for the N.C. Farm Bureau, said, “The single biggest thing you can point to is the severe drought this past summer in the corn-growing regions in the Midwest states. This is an event that is specific to this year’s crop.”
WOW! It’s all about the drought? To be sure, the drought affected grain prices, yields were down, prices went up, but the StarNews completely omitted another key fact that little more than a modicum of common sense would have required.
(Wikipedia) – The U.S. produced 13.9 billion U.S. liquid gallons(52.6 billion liters) of ethanol fuel in 2011, an increase from 13.2 billion U.S. liquid gallons (49.2 billion liters) in 2010, and up from 1.63 billion gallons in 2000.
Or this from the governor’s biofuel coaltion: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said ethanol production in 2012 should reach 15.2 billion gallons, an increase of about 1.25 billion gallons from this year.
To think that ANY increase in grain imports wasn’t affected at least by the fuel that probably runs through every reporter and editor’s car is just irresponsible reporting. We should expect better!
The U.S. produced 13.9 billion U.S. liquid gallons(52.6 billion liters) of ethanol fuel in 2011, an increase from 13.2 billion U.S. liquid gallons (49.2 billion liters) in 2010, and up from 1.63 billion gallons in 2000
Yes, again it is the season to expect higher energy costs during global cooling, but here in the South it may be a toss-up between air-conditioning vs. heating costs. Anyway, all will be higher than necessary in North Carolina thanks to “onerous regulations imposed on utility companies in 2007 by the state legislature.” So says Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation VP for research in the fall issue of “The Locke Letter.” (www.JohnLocke.org)
Dr. Cordato is a bit steamed over the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard—as should be all N. C. energy consumers.
The Dishonorables stuck us with higher energy bills by tithing our money to the worship of Gaea, the goddess of the earth. This false ideology demands that we all sacrifice for a questionable theory with unknown benefits. Manmade “global warming” created by government operatives, supported by pseudo-science and promoted by the media runs on faith, not reality.
Faithful followers mandated an energy “Standard” that requires electric utilities to allot 7.5 percent of their power sold to customers come from wind, solar and biomass sources. These nonbusiness industries must be heavily subsidized, but still cost three to four times more than natural gas or coal. And it gets worse.
I’ve noticed the increased pressure from our utility company to sign us up for programs that promote energy “efficiencies.” That’s because the law additionally mandates 5 percent reduced consumption “through forced energy-efficiency measures,” writes Dr. Cordato.
Cordato cites more disturbing statistics. Jobs will be lost, tax revenues will be reduced and we’ll be subsidizing new inefficient wind and solar facilities with tax credits. The ultimate insult from this punishing bill comes in a study by the Beacon Hill Institute; we energy customers will pay an extra $1.8 billion directly in utility bills by 2021—money for which we all have better use. This taxing law passed with no analysis of cost-benefit and no known environmental benefit.
But we must sacrifice to appease the environmental gods and fund their earthly temples. The least our legislators should do is to allow us charitable deductions for this expense on our income tax returns.
The StarNews Titan story in an of itself isn’t bad, but not providing the entire truth is.
A study commissioned by the N.C. Coastal Federation suggests that the economic impacts of a proposed cement plant might differ greatly from what was originally suggested to New Hanover County officials. ”More than likely, based on averages, there will be fewer people hired than originally expected, and the average salary will be lower,” said Craig Galbraith, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington Cameron School of Business.
If you just read the entire story, you’d think the study was an objective third party view of the pending Titan Cement plant in Wilmington. At no point does the story mention that the Coastal Federation has been opposed to the Titan plan since day one. That doesn’t mean the study isn’t worthy of a story, but some degree of objectivity should be expected. A simple perusal of the Coastal Federation’s website shows a clear level of disdain for Titan.
The story says that the average salaries won’t be in the $75k range but rather in the $63k range and asserts that only 138, not 160 jobs would be created. At no point does anyone say that 138 jobs with a $63k average salary would be a good thing.
Again, the point isn’t that the Coastal Federation shouldn’t have done their study or that it wasn’t worthy of print, but that the StarNews should at least show some balance in their coverage and be honest with their readers about the biases of those doing the study.
They would be critical of a pro-oil study done by the Petroleum Institute, or admit that a Locke Foundation story has a conservative bias. But alas, integrity is fleeting in the local media. And you didn’t see this in the StarNews either because it would not fit the negative narrative:
Titan America And Wildlife Habitat Council
TROUTVILLE, Va., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – The Wildlife Habitat Council certified both of Titan America’s plants — Roanoke Cement Company near Roanoke, VA and the Pennsuco Complex in Medley, FL – for their “Wildlife At Work” programs last week at the Hilton Baltimore in Baltimore, MD. The prestigious distinction was awarded as a result of each plant’s demonstrated commitment towards long-term wildlife habitat enhancement efforts.
“Build it and they will come,” applies to private investment development, but not to government “economic” development projects. A case study supporting this truth showed up on a Wilmington StarNews front page article by Wayne Faulkner. He documents the success of the “New Downtown” Wilmington that many of us have enjoyed during the past decade. (link)
But it didn’t happen by chance, or because of political visionaries and their agencies. In fact, it could be argued that a New Downtown came about despite government imposed obstacles.
In my opinion, the big story here shows that private insight, planning and incentive for profit created Mayfaire Town Center, The Forum, Lumina Station and other nearby developing areas— testaments to the foresight, wisdom and creativity of private business people.
Demographics, proximity to primary roads and availability of buildable land were prime factors providing developers the opportunity, but much more was required to accomplish this amazing feat. Hansen Matthews, partner in a local commercial real estate company says that they brought a “complete span of uses—retail, restaurants, office, hospitality.” Mr. Faulkner also identifies financial services, real estate agencies and medical offices located at the new downtown. In addition residential areas and a large theatre are available, with plentiful free parking everywhere.
New Downtown Wilmington has it all, including Main Street; and a cross-street appropriately named “Inspiration Drive” in this well-planned functional city.
Meanwhile, Old Downtown remains uninspiring with a “large collection of boutiques, restaurants and bars”—encumbered by inconvenient, costly parking, bad streets and crime. A convention center, an out-of-place community college and an aging, noisy, steel drawbridge anchor all this; partly connected with an expensive public boardwalk.
The contrast is striking: private planning and funds built an attractive, highly desirable New Downtown; political interests using confiscated private wealth and government planners cobbled together Old Downtown’s mismatched, unproductive projects. Some of the waterfront is interesting and historic, but its quaint character is being smothered by unrelated government projects that can’t sustain a comprehensive economy.
If government planners (and anti-development groups) had prevailed with restrictive zoning schemes, Mayfaire Town Center would still be abandoned overgrown farmland. Government official’s vision for economic development would be limited to a public farmer’s market located along Military Cutoff Road—or maybe a taxpayer-funded baseball stadium.
Yep, you read that correctly, since a multi-billion Skyway bridge (est cost $1m a week for 40-years to taxpayers plus a toll) is probably off the table, the next great idea is a tunnel.
(WWAY) A tunnel built between Independence Boulevard in Wilmington and southern Brunswick County would cost $88 million more than a bridge while likely costing a similar amount to maintain, said Bobby Lewis, NC DOT’s chief of staff.
We have yet to see the full ramifications of expanding the causeway and the completion of the outer loop from I-140 over the Highway 17. Both of those projects will alleviate traffic congestion. We haven’t even seen Wilmington attempt a plan to re-route traffic to the Isabel Holmes bridge when the Memorial Bridge is closed due to an accident. Rerouting would continue traffic movement.
One can only hope that more salient thought will go into these matters before skyways and tunnels start getting built.