The state of North Carolina water

Two weeks after Duke Energy spilled coal ash into the Dan River north of Greensboro, it’s still unclear the actual extent of the damage. Add to that troubling accident, the Town of Burlington’s spill of 3.5 million gallons of wastewater into the Haw Riverand cuts to the state agency in charge of monitoring water qualityand there is good reason to be concerned about our environment and public health.

The Headwaters Group of the N.C. Sierra Club will host a public forum about the state of North Carolina water on Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., at the South Regional Library, 4505 S. Alston Ave., Durham. Several former employees of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will participate in a panel discussion:

Amy Adams, a former Regional Office Supervisor for Surface Water Protection Section left DENR in 2013 in response to a shift in priorities by the agency and severe cuts in water quality staff. In December 2013, she wrote an op-ed ( explaining why she felt compelled to leave the agency despite her passion for the work. She now is the North Carolina campaign coordinator for the Boone-based Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit.

George Matthis: A 33-year veteran of DENR, he served as executive director for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation before co-founding the River Guardian Foundation.

John Dorney: Dorney, who retired from DENR in 2011, has won national awards for his work in preserving wetlands. At DENR, he served as director of the Program Development Unit, funded by EPA grants intended to integrate updated science into regulatory programs. He now works for a private engineering/environmental firm in Raleigh.

The panel will be moderated by Kenneth Reckhow, professor emeritus at Duke University in the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Darwin Day

Creationists, wring your hands, it’s Charles Darwin’s 205th birthday. To celebrate the contributions of the British naturalist, the Department of Biological Sciences is hosting a party with educational activities, photo opportunities with extinct organisms a silent auction and an edible evolutionary timeline.

Paleontologist Mary Schweitzer and Darwin historian Will Kimler will speak at the event.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 3:30–5 p.m. in the lobby of the David Clark labs, Hillsborough and Dan Allen streets, N.C. State University.

Info: Jennifer Landin, Darwin Day coordinator, 919-513-0241,

Run for office

Candidate filing began MONDAY, FEB. 10, AT NOON and ends FRIDAY, FEB. 28, AT NOON. Offices to be elected this year include U.S. House and Senate, some state legislative seats; district attorney and local and state-level judges. Some jurisdictions are electing school board members; others, county commissioners.

The primary is May 6.

Check your local board of elections for details. And if you don’t know what that is, you probably shouldn’t run.