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Reporters and budget negotiations

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist As a reporter, covering state budget negotiations going on entirely behind closed doors between top House and Senate leaders is like trying to keep track of a NASCAR race on the radio. It can be an exercise in futility. Progress is slow, many legislators are reluctant…

Russia raises the stakes in Syria

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EMMA ASHFORD Guest Columnist What on earth is Russia doing in Syria? This question has no doubt crossed many minds in recent days, as Russia began to move substantial arms and troops into Syria. There are two possible scenarios: 1) with diplomatic ties at an all time low, and heavy…

Budget builds up savings

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist The North Carolina General Assembly seems poised to pass a budget for the 2015-17 biennium that spends some $22 billion a year on General Fund programs, appropriates more than $50 billion a year when all other funds are included, and makes hundreds of millions of dollars…

OUR VIEW — A community comes together to do good

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One of the surest signs of the strength of a community are the things its members can accomplish when they work together. On Saturday, scores of volunteers came to the Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton to build a playground, assembling the entire structure in less than a day. Now, when…

Another foreign policy crisis

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Another foreign policy crisis The United States of America is facing yet another foreign policy crisis. The president has painted phony red lines with watercolor paint, and then failed to enforce those red lines. The Iran deal is another stunning example of incompetence. Remember when Joe Biden said this about…

Fewer split the difference

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At this moment, strategists in both the North Carolina Democratic and Republican parties are concocting the same fantasy — that they’ll be able to wall off their state and local candidates from a potential disaster at the top of the ticket. While I think these politicos are mistaken, I don’t…

Budget: Not over until it’s over

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D.G. MARTIN Syndicated Columnist Are the legislators really going home soon? Finally. Over the weekend at the UNC-Chapel Hill vs. N.C. A&T football game, House Speaker Tim Moore was all smiles as he confirmed news reports that legislative leaders had struck a budget deal that could lead to passage of…

Five cringe-worthy quotes we’ll hear during the debate

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist If all goes as planned, the House and Senate will vote on a state budget this week, two and a half months after the fiscal year began. That means hours of floor debate by dozens of legislators. Here are five quotes we’ll probably hear, but hope…

OUR VIEW — A non-investigation

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An investigation of Lincolnton’s water treatment plant has found exactly what it was supposed to find — nothing. City officials called in the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources after this paper published a story detailing allegations that workers at the plant made a regular practice of dumping…

McCrory’s takes on barbecue and football

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist The most entertaining interview I’ve heard with Gov. Pat McCrory had nothing to do with state politics – or very little at least. It was mainly about barbecue and football. And it was bizarre, but rather funny at times. And refreshing, but bizarre still. The first-term…