North Carolina

Protect local control of our environment

H671/S631 grants the NC Department of Agriculture sole authority for banning plants and seeds within North Carolina. The intent of this law appears to be preventing cities and counties from using their zoning authority to restrict the use of genetically modified plants and seeds within their jurisdiction. However, there may be equally unattractive unintended consequences. For example, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County (possibly Hillsborough too), currently restrict the types of plants used in landscaping new development. By using their zoning authority in this way, they protect our native species from the most egregious invasives such as bamboo, english ivy, etc. Native species are of critical importance in protecting our riparian systems as well as our local wildlife.

Umstead Act Should Not be Weakened

Well, the go-go-growth crowd is not as monolithic as I recently suggested. Sometimes competition can split even the most steadfast of allies. The Herald today reported that a

113-6 vote in the House endorsed an amendment to the state Umstead Act to allow the UNC system's 16 campuses to sell goods and services in competition with the private sector when doing so would further the teaching, research and service mission of the university.

Hackney and Insko voted in favor. Bill Faison voted against thereby joining the "anti-university" crowd that for the moment also includes Aaron Nelson. From the Herald report:

Staying Alive?

The Terri Schiavo case is a bit far afield for this blog but it's worth reminding people that in North Carolina it is possible to record both a living will and a health care power of attorney. There are many attorneys in the area who do this work, and who can make sure that the language of each accords with North Carolina law.

I found a good overview of these items including links to pdf files for the necessary forms at the New Hanover Health Network.

Rally for the Troops in Fayetteville

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday, March 19, 2005
[modified slightly from published version to reflect that the event is now past]

Last Saturday's March and Rally to Bring the Troops Home Now in Fayetteville was not your typical peace rally. The location was chosen to focus on support for the troops.

Among the main sponsors were Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out.

Fayetteville, of course, is the home of Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the country. Twenty percent of those serving in Iraq hail from North Carolina.

The event promised a supportive environment for soldiers and military families concerned about the Iraq war. It allowed them to speak out and to raise their questions about Bush administration policy while still having their patriotism honored.

See you in Fayetteville

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And there will be a second annual demonstration in Fayetteville to oppose the war. This is not your typical Chapel Hill gathering of peaceniks and hippies making each other feel better. This event is being organized by veterans and military families (see below) who are most directly feeling the costs of this war.

Make no mistake, we all pay for it: in our ballooning federal deficit, in our decreased security, in the repression of the media, and so many more ways. But military families have the most to lose, and a lot to say.

Please join people from all across the South for this historic event.



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