Commerce shift to NC nonprofit OK'd by House panel
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A bill that lays the groundwork for a private nonprofit corporation to take over many economic development duties of North Carolina's Commerce Department has cleared a hurdle at the legislature.
The House Commerce Committee voted Wednesday for the legislation sought by Gov. Pat McCrory.
His administration wants to shift department responsibilities for travel and tourism, international trade and economic recruitment to a yet-created corporation overseen by Cabinet secretaries and appointees of elected officials with business expertise.
Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker told the committee the change will make the state more nimble and focused on the needs of local communities to attract business and create jobs. The bill would abolish current regional economic development commissions in January.
The state would still make final decisions on awarding economic incentives.
NC Senate delays vote on energy code rollback
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A vote on a bill rolling back energy-efficiency standards for commercial builders has been delayed in the North Carolina Senate.
The Senate on Wednesday moved the vote on a bill repealing 2012 standards until next week. Rules Chairman Sen. Tom Apodaca of Hendersonville gave no reason on the floor for his motion.
Supporters say moving to 2009's standards will help boost construction and jobs by reducing the added expenses needed to comply with tougher rules. Those standards raise efficiency by 30%.
Critics argue the bill would jeopardize long-term energy savings for limited gains and harm producers of efficient building materials. Legislative staff members say an Appalachian State University study shows more than twice the level of energy savings than added construction costs from the newer standards over 30 years.
Landfill rule changes OK'd by NC Senate panel
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina waste disposal companies could have more room to build landfills in legislation that changes a 2007 law designed to discourage out-of-state trash from being shipped Down East.
The Senate Finance Committee voted Wednesday for legislation sought by the waste industry. The bill's next stop is the full Senate.
Buffer lengths between a landfill and state parks and gamelands approved in 2007 would be reduced. Buffers for a national wildlife refuge would be lowered from 5 miles to 1,500 feet.
Bill sponsor Sen. Trudy Wade says the legislation will help the state handle landfill capacity issues in the future. Environmental groups say the proposal will bring mega-landfills to the state.
A state environmental regulator told the committee his agency doesn't believe its regulatory authority is diminished under the bill.
Divers recover body of missing NC teen from lake
TUXEDO, N.C. (AP) - Divers have recovered the body of a Hendersonville teenager who was presumed drowned in Lake Summit in Henderson County.
Sheriff's Maj. Frank Stout says in a statement that divers recovered the body of 19-year-old Traverious "Tre" Carter from Lake Summit around 2:35 p.m. Wednesday.
Stout said divers from the Charlotte Fire Department used advanced sonar technology and found Carter's body in approximately 80 feet of water.
Carter was swimming Monday evening near a railroad bridge where teens often jump into the water when he started shouting for help. Investigators say his friends could not get to him before he went under.
Intermittent heavy rain slowed the search for Carter. Darkness forced suspension of the search on Tuesday before divers continued their search on Wednesday morning.
NRC proposing $70K fine against TVA for violations
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing a $70,000 fine against the Tennessee Valley Authority for violations related to 1 of its East Tennessee nuclear plants.
According to a NRC news release on Wednesday, the violations have to do with the commercial grade dedication program during the construction of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant Unit 2.
The NRC requires certain components in a nuclear plant to meet strict nuclear quality assurance standards. Commercial grade dedication is a process that provides reasonable assurance that components purchased from a commercial supplier are equivalent to nuclear grade items.
NRC inspectors found a breakdown in the program resulting in construction of unknown quality, a failure to report that breakdown and a failure to identify that issue as a significant condition affecting quality.
A TVA spokeswoman did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press for comment.
New commander for SC Army Recruiting Battalion
FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) - Lt. Col. Michael Standish is taking over Army recruiting operations in South Carolina, western North Carolina and eastern Georgia.
The 44-year-old Army officer says his unit has to combat apathy among teens as well as a lack of knowledge about benefits the military can provide.
Last year, the battalion at Fort Jackson recruited more than 3,000 active duty soldiers and about 500 members of the Army Reserve.
In a ceremony Wednesday, the battalion bid farewell to commander Lt. Col. Christopher Forsythe, who leaves for the National Defense University in the District of Columbia.
Standish has served 21 years in the Army, during which he was deployed with I Corps in Iraq and held various posts as a chemical officer in a number of units.
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