PILOT LIGHT: Democrats Ready To Succeed Black
The beleaguered Black is likely to win re-election in November, but his return to the speakership is in question. Controversy surrounding campaign finance practices and lobbying connections have plagued the Mecklenburg Democrat all year.
Identified as prospective speakers for the 2007 legislative session are Rep. Bill Faison of Orange County and Rep. Jim Crawford of Granville County. Their names were mentioned prominently in the Under the Dome column in the Friday edition of The News & Observer of Raleigh.
Black's latest problem is the sticky situation involving former state Rep. Michael Decker of Forsyth County, who recently pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges.
Decker said he agreed to switch party affiliation from Republican to Democrat three years ago, a change that enabled Black to retain the speakership, a position he shared with Moore County Republican Rep. Richard Mor-gan.
Decker says he agreed to the switch in exchange for cash and a legislative job for his son. Black says he never offered Decker anything. Decker later switched back to the Republican Party but was defeated in the 2004 primary election.
PLANNING -- The Moore County Planning Department is saying a sad farewell to a college intern who has helped out for three months this summer.
Planning Director Andrea Surratt paid tribute to Theresa O'Brien during the Thursday night meeting of the Planning Board.
"We worked her so hard, it seemed like four months," Surratt said.
Surratt said O'Brien had "done a great job" working with the planning staff on multiple projects, including the four preliminary community meetings held in preparation for the Area A small area planning process.
The board applauded.
O'Brien is returning to Appalachian State University to complete work toward a degree in planning. Surratt said O'Brien may return in January to work part time before entering graduate school.
EDWARDS -- Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards was in Iowa this past week to launch a campaign in preparation for a possible 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Edwards, a former Moore County resident, did not make it as the party's presidential nominee but was tapped by Sen. John Kerry as his running mate in 2004.
The Associated Press reported that Edwards began three days of campaigning in Iowa Thursday. He was raising money for county-level political organizations and with local candidates not usually in the political limelight.
Iowa is among the key states when it comes to presidential campaign strategy.
SHERIFF -- The Moore County Board of Commissioners on Aug. 7 approved a resolution authorizing the Sheriff's Department to accept $3,200 in driver checkpoint equipment from the Governor's Highway Safety Program.
Sheriff Lane Carter told the board that the equipment will include two sets of DWI checkpoint signs and stands, 15 ANSI Class I traffic vests and one video digital camera with stand.
The department has borrowed equipment from other agencies when needed.
Carter told the board that the additional equipment would allow the department to conduct intersection-type DWI checkpoints more readily.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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