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GASTON SOURCE
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GASTON SOURCE

BY JOE DEPRIEST, ALICE GREGORY

A chance to take a hand in Mount Holly's future PLANNING The first round of community forums about planning Mount Holly's future begins Monday. Charlotte architect and developer Ron Morgan will lead the sessions, to be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays this month. In November, Morgan led a city-sponsored forum to discuss ways of enhancing the city's image, which is expected to be affected by a new section of Interstate 485. Morgan will guide three committees through a four-meeting process to produce recommendations for a possible referendum June 3. The committees will focus on parks, greenways and riverfront; downtown and center city; and restaurants and entertainment. Meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. as follows: Parks/greenway committee - Jan. 6, 13, 20 and 27, at the First Presbyterian Church, 133 South Main St. Downtown/center city - Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28, at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters, 433 Killian Ave. Restaurants and entertainment - Jan. 9, 16, 23 and 30, also at the Mount Holly Fire and Rescue headquarters. To join a committee, come to its first meeting or call City Hall at (704) 827-3931. Committee, delegate nominations on tab GOVERNMENT The Belmont City Council on Monday will consider committee and delegate appointments. Also on the agenda is consideration of a recommendation from the Belmont-Mount Holly Soil Erosion Ordinance Committee. The council will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 115 N. Main St. Lincoln health board will elect officers ELECTION The Lincoln County Board of Health will elect new officers at its meeting Tuesday. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Lincoln County Health Department, 151 Sigmon Road, Lincolnton. Property-tax penalty kicks in on Tuesday TAXES Monday is the last day Gaston County residents can pay their property taxes without being penalized. Payments postmarked after Jan. 6 are subject to a 2 percent interest fee. Beginning Feb. 1, .75 percent is added each month until the account is paid. The county can collect delinquent taxes by garnishing wages or foreclosing on the property. To pay with a credit card online, visit: www.co.gaston.nc.us/TaxDept/index.HTM. Or, mail payments to: Gaston County Tax Department, P.O. Box 580326, Charlotte, N.C. 28258-0326. The tax office, at 212 W. Main St. in Gastonia, also accepts hand-delivered payments. Citizen panel asks no-tax-hike pledge TAXES The Lincoln County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy is asking county commissioners to promise not to raise taxes. The organization wants at least three commissioners to sign a "no tax" pledge to prevent a tax increase in fiscal year 2003-04. The pledges will be mailed to commissioners and are due by Feb. 10. In 2001, commissioners raised the tax rate by 22 percent, to 62 cents per $100 of valuation. Last year, commissioners voted to keep the same tax rate. But commissioners are now saying they may have to raise taxes to pay for an additional $1.1 million in needed school improvements. Applications invited for food, shelter aid GRANT Local nonprofit or community organizations may be eligible for federal money for emergency food and shelter programs. Gaston County received more than $165,000 from a national board headed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A local board made up of volunteers will determine how the money is distributed in Gaston County. Applicants must be private nonprofit organizations or government agencies, have an accounting system, be capable of providing emergency food or shelter, and have a board if they are a volunteer group. The deadline to apply is Jan. 17. Call Mary Ann Walker at the United Way of Gaston County at (704) 864-4554 ext. 14 or e-mail mwalkeruw14@hotmail. com.

01/05/2003
Lawyers Criticize Doctors' Walkout
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Press Release

Lawyers Criticize Doctors' Walkout

From the Charleston Daily Mail January 4, 2003, Saturday Copyright 2003 Charleston Newspapers WHEELING - After surgeons here made a national media splash by refusing to perform operations until the state addresses the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance, the area's lawyers went on the offensive. Calling the surgeons' actions "despicable" and a violation of their professional duties, Northern Panhandle plaintiffs' attorneys joined forces to condemn the doctors in the walkout as "outlaws."

01/04/2003
Action Alert: Support President Bush’s Healthy Forest Initiative
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Press Release

Action Alert: Support President Bush’s Healthy Forest Initiative

In response to the threat of wildfires and the declining health of the nation’s forests, President Bush has announced a new initiative to develop a common sense approach to forest management. Currently, over 190 million acres of national forests alone are under threat of wildfire or blight. The Healthy Forests Initiative seeks to promote healthy forests through better oversight and management practices. The administration’s Healthy Forests Initiative takes a much more sensible approach to forest management, based on principles supported by science and forestry. The plan would streamline administrative processes that have paralyzed forest management in the United States. A series of regulations to implement the needed reforms have been released for comment. The deadline for comments on this particular proposal is February 18, 2003, so please send your comments by e-mail as soon as possible. Please show your support for the Healthy Forests Initiative by forwarding your comments to the Forest Service at 215appeals@fs.fed.us.

01/04/2003
Garner ponders payment
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Garner ponders payment

BY Lorenzo Perez, Anne Blythe

The education task force that Garner Mayor Sam Bridges assembled with Cary Mayor Glen Lang picked a consultant Thursday night. Garner's aldermen still haven't decided, however, whether they want to help pay the consultant's $ 60,000 fee. The McKenzie Group, a Washington, D.C. firm, was selected to help craft a reform plan for Wake County Schools' student assignment policies. The elected officials, along with parents' groups, are taking a closer look at the school system's reassignment policies, including student diversity. The Cary Town Council has already agreed to use public money to help pay the consultant's fee, but the same request got a chillier response in Garner. Bridges says he plans on making another pitch to his board at its Jan. 21 meeting. Armed with more specifics about the consultant's plans, Bridges said, he hopes to get a more favorable response. "Mayor Lang and I talked about that briefly last night," Bridges said Friday. "And neither of us want the Town of Cary to have to pay for the consultant on its own. So I'm going to really work as hard as I can to persuade our board." After attending Thursday's task force meeting, Garner alderman Graham Singleton said his position has shifted on using town money for the consultant. "I'm much more open to it now than I was before," he said. NATIONAL NOTORIETY: ABC News crews were in Carrboro the week before Christmas asking a lot of questions of the mayor and several aldermen. The news team was preparing a segment on the federal Patriot Act and the strong stand the seven-member Board of Aldermen took last June. At a time when towns and cities across the country were passing resolutions "urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism," the Carrboro aldermen went a step further. They directed the town police department to continue to preserve residents' civil rights even if federal law enforcement officers, acting under the Patriot Act, authorized or requested such an infringement. The news crews asked Carrboro officials whether their action was merely a symbolic gesture. "They were just asking: 'Why Carrboro? What is it about this town? Does it really make a difference?'" said Alderman Mark Dorosin. On Dec. 23, several days after the TV news crews were in town, The New York Times published a story about the issue and gave Carrboro a prominent mention. The TV segment has not aired yet. One of the aldermen received an e-mail from a producer saying the news crews had not yet been able to interview Justice Department officials. Stay tuned. POLITICAL TRAIL - RALEIGH MAYOR CHARLES MEEKER will hold his monthly run with constituents at 8 a.m. today at Shelley Lake in Raleigh. - THE WAKE COUNTY CHAPTER OF N.C. CITIZENS FOR A SOUND ECONOMY will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center and hear from new Wake County commissioners about plans for the coming year and the county budget.

01/04/2003
Nation Watches Doctor Walkout
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Press Release

Nation Watches Doctor Walkout

From the Charleston Daily Mail January 3, 2003, Friday Copyright 2003 Charleston Newspapers WHEELING - The operating rooms in the Northern Panhandle may be quiet, but the halls of the hospitals here still are buzzing as the nation turns its attention to the region and the walkout its surgeons are staging.

01/03/2003
Don't Feel Sorry For States
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Press Release

Don't Feel Sorry For States

This op-ed originally appeared in Investor's Business Daily on January 3, 2003 State budgets have rarely, if ever, been in worse condition than they are today. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, the total deficit for state budgets nationwide stands at $40 billion in this fiscal year, with another $40 billion shortfall expected for 2003. Such a glaring disparity between revenues and outlays has led legislatures and governors across the nation to retrench and meet for special sessions to address the problem.

01/03/2003
OFF TARGET
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OFF TARGET

BY PEGGY S. BOOSE

I believe the author of the Dec. 16 editorial about Citizens for a Sound Economy is not informed about the focus of the group. CSE is a group of thousands of people all over this nation. It crosses social, economic, political, age and racial lines with the belief that spending needs to be cut instead of taxes being raised. Our method of doing this must be through federal and state legislatures and locally elected officials, since they are the ones raising taxes at an alarming rate. Most people live within a budget. State tax structures should be in accordance with the citizens' level of income. If frugal habits were applied to all government spending, there should be more than enough money to take care of the needs mentioned in the editorial. The problem comes from legislators who spend money for self-serving projects. Working citizens today work approximately from Jan. 1 through June 1 just to pay all the taxes that have been levied. I do not think this is what we elected legislators to do. I am in the accounting industry and see people every day who feel the same way but fear to speak out because they operate a small business or their income is tied to the government. Before you accuse anyone of being a bully, look at yourself. The media is the most feared segment of our society. You have the power to destroy or make people and companies, and the liberty of confidential sources. PEGGY S. BOOSE

01/03/2003
Rowland Isn't Being Tough Enough On Unions
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Press Release

Rowland Isn't Being Tough Enough On Unions

This op-ed was originally published in the Hartford-Courant on December 19, 2002 When Connecticut's tax receipts were booming, it was easy to ignore the stranglehold that state employee unions have on the state budget process. Now that revenues have fallen dramatically, this is no longer the case. Given the state's $1.5 billion shortfall next fiscal year, the legislature can no longer shirk its responsibility to address out-of-control spending, particularly on government salaries, health care and pensions.

01/02/2003
New force in the fray on state's textbooks
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New force in the fray on state's textbooks

BY Melissa Ludwig

As summer activities chase flagella and mitochondria from the minds of Texas schoolchildren, parents and interest groups are preparing to battle over biology textbooks. Today brings the State Board of Education's first public hearing on the new books, continuing a decades-long battle over how Texas public school children are taught about the science of life on Earth.

01/01/2003
Senate Slices Reconciliation Figure to $350 Billion
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Senate Slices Reconciliation Figure to $350 Billion

BY Warren Rojas

Weeks of Republican budget solidarity began to unravel March 25 as Senate centrists capped the reconciliation growth package at $350 billion and siphoned another $137 billion away from President Bush's $630 billion tax cut permanency allocation.

01/01/2003

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