Academic Standards Review Commission Modifies Common Core Standards

RALEIGH — The Academic Standards Review Commission has started the process of modifying the state’s Common Core Standards.

On Monday the group looked at the English Language Arts standards and will analyze the math standards at their next meeting.

The group said they share the same goal of wanting to enhance education for students across the state.

“We don’t need them being discouraged by school, discouraged by education, but we need them to know that there is a tremendous opportunity, but they need to be prepared to have that opportunity,” said Commission Co-Chair Andre Peek.

Over the next 10 months, the commission will work on a proposal that will be given to the State Board of Education.

- Amy Elliott

Early Voting Gets Underway Thursday For The November Election

WINSTON-SALEM– Ashley Wooten’s taking her first class in working at the polls.

“I just wanted to be involved in voting, its something I’ve never done and I’m very excited about it,” said Wooten.

The 25 year old is among around 70 people training this week to work the precincts during early voting.

“We try to give an overview of the positions, what we expect the workers to to do when it comes to process voters what they have to do for paperwork purposes, that sort of thing,” said Steve Hines, Forsyth County’s Elections Director.

The change to early voting was one of the issues challenged in court this year. The period’s been shortened, but the hours will remain the same as the 2010 election.

“We basically wait for the state board to tell us the rules and regulations that we have to follow for the procedures, whatever it may be,” said Hines.

Elections officials say they look for registered voters, folks who are interested in the elections process and want to get further involved.

“We like to see poll workers who come in who have that civic-mindedness in their nature, obviously the people who are being trained are the ones who want to do this job,” said Hines.

Which starts with three days of training, and long hours at the polls.

It’s something Wooten is anticipating.

“I was getting people registered to vote and they actually referred me to the polls, they thought I was a great candidate for it,’’ said Wooten. “I’m looking forward to it, I’m very excited about it.”

Hours for early voting can vary at precincts across the state.

To find out where early voting sites are in your county click on the story links.

- Bob Costner

Kay Hagan’s Press Secretary Opens Up About Disability

CHARLOTTE—The race between incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis is one of the most closely watched in the nation.

But the people behind-the-scenes of those campaigns are rarely seen.

Hagan’s 26-year-old press secretary has a disability he said gives him a unique perspective on the job.

“I think my brain works a little differently because I have to probem-solve a little differently than everyone else does,” said Chris Hayden.

Hayden was born without a right arm and with a truncated left arm.

“Growing up, my parents were very realistic about what I could do. They said, ‘You know Chris, I don’t think manual labor is really in your future, so the education you get is really important.’ And that’s what’s prepared me to do the job,” he said.

Sen. Hagan said his age wasn’t a factor in hiring him.

“He was highly intelligent, he was motivated, he was smart. He understood the issues,” she said.

Hayden played soccer in high school and did rowing in high school and college. And though the political campaign is focused on other issues, Hayden said it’s his responsibility to share his own.

“There are a lot of disabilities you can’t see and, since mine is one you can see, I think it’s important to talk about it and answer questions and be there as a resource for other people,” he said.

Hagan was in Charlotte as part of her North Carolina First tour to talk about education. Next Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will join her for another campaign stop in Charlotte.

- Jenna Barnes

Hearing Held on Proposed Homeowners Insurance Rate Hike

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s insurance commissioner is holding a hearing Monday on a request from companies that want to increase homeowner insurance prices by an average of more than 25 percent in January.

However for some communities on the coast and in the Triangle, the increase could top more than 30 percent.

The NC Rate Bureau will argue on behalf of the insurance companies and the department of insurance will argue on behalf of the public for and against the increase. State insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin will serve as the hearing officer and determine what, if any, rate adjustments are warranted.

Under the proposal:

• The majority of beach communities face a 35 percent increase
• Wake and Durham counties would see a 32 percent hike.
• Alamance, Forsyth and Guilford counties could see a 14 percent hike
• Mecklenburg County would see a 23 percent increase

The rate bureau claims the need to raise rates is greatly due to winter weather damage last season and the possibility for weather and hurricane damage in the future.

It is an issue that’s been stirring up heated debate since the beginning of the year and many city and town leaders have already voiced their opposition to the proposed rate hike.

“Retirees on permanent income that are accustomed to paying $1,000 or $2,000 a year insurance are now paying $10,000 or $15,000 and they’re moving out because they cannot pay it,” said Holden Beach mayor Alan Holden.

Last year, homeowners in North Carolina saw an average 7 percent increase but companies said they needed more due to damage and claims projections.

- Caroline Blair

Capital Tonight Oct. 17: Bow Tie Caucus

On Capital Tonight: The Bow Tie Caucus convenes to wrap up another busy week in North Carolina politics. Jenifer Daniels and Scott Huffmon join Loretta Boniti. Watch the program here.

NC Election Poll Survey Results: Sports

• Has the domestic abuse scandal in the NFL made you more likely to watch a game?
5% More Likely
21% Less Likely
72% No Impact
1% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• Which North Carolina team do you think has the best chance of winning the men’s NCAA basketball championship this season?

28% North Carolina
37% Duke
11% NC State
3% Wake Forest
22% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

Feds Work on Plan to Help Combat Spread of Ebola

CHARLOTTE – State and federal officials are taking action to help stop the spread of Ebola as anxiety grows over the deadly virus.

President Obama has signed an executive order allowing the Pentagon to call up reserve troops to combat the Ebola crisis in west Africa if needed. That doesn’t mean troops will be immediately deployed but it gives the military the option to do so.

The president met with members of his cabinet and administration Thursday to discuss the U.S. response to Ebola. He said he is considering appointing a so-called Ebola czar to focus exclusively on the virus, this as lawmakers grilled CDC Director Thomas Frieden and other health officials about their response to the outbreak.

At a House subcommittee hearing on the issue, Frieden told lawmakers the U.S. needs to help stop the spread of the virus.

“And I will tell you as the director of CDC, one of the things I fear about Ebola is that it could spread more widely in Africa. If this were to happen, it could be a threat to our health system and the healthcare we give for a long time to come,” he said.

Nina Pham, one of the two American nurses who contracted the disease after treating Thomas Duncan in Dallas is now being treated in Maryland. The other nurse diagnosed with Ebola, Amber Vinson, is being treated at Emory Medical Center in Atlanta.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety plans to address Ebola on Friday at its emergency response commission meeting. They’ll look at the state’s efforts to prevent the disease in North Carolina.

- Caroline Vandergriff

Capital Tonight Oct. 16: TWC News Poll results: Federal issues

On Capital Tonight: We review the results from our Time Warner Cable News Poll about federal issues. Chris William of Carolina Business Review and John Hudak of the Brookings Institution put the numbers into perspective. Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti speaks with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus about the party’s national strategy. Watch the program here.

NC Election Poll Survey Results: State of Economy, Affordable Care Act

• Do you think federal government gridlock will improve, get worse or remain unchanged if Republicans take control of the US Senate in November?
35% Improve
37% Get Worse
22% Remain Unchanged
6% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• Has your personal finance situation gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same since 2008?

23% Better
41% Worse
35% About the Same
2% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• How would you describe the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, up to now? Has it been…Very successful? Somewhat successful? Not very successful? Or not at all successful?
14% Very
29% Somewhat
19% Not Very
35% Not at All
4% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics


NC Election Poll Survey Results: McCrory Approval, NC Education

• Do you approve or disapprove of the job Pat McCrory is doing as Governor?
43% Approve
45% Disapprove
13% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• How would you characterize the state’s plan to clean up coal ash storage facilities in North Carolina?

5% Excellent
27% Good
39% Fair
22% Poor
7% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• What letter grade would you give North Carolina’s public schools?
7% A
28% B
38% C
16% D
9% F
2% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics

• What recognition should same-sex couples have in North Carolina?
31% No Legal Recognition
15% Domestic Partner Benefits
19% Civil Unions
29% Marriage

Click here for voting statistics

• Would you be in favor of using toll roads to accelerate transportation projects?
27% Yes
64% No
9% Not Sure

Click here for voting statistics