The news about the state’s waterways is bad and getting worse, as we continue to learn more about the extent of contamination from Duke Energy coal ash ponds. Add to the troubling accident in the Dan River, the Town of Burlington spilled of 3.5 million gallons of sewage into the Haw River (see story, page 10)and DENR kept it quiet for more than two days. Cuts to the several key monitoring and oversight divisions have gutted the agency. So yes, there is good reason to be concerned about our ecosystems and public health.

The Headwaters Group of the N.C. Sierra Club will host a free public forum about the state of N.C. water on Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m., at the N.C. Central University School of Law, 640 Nelson St., Room 202, in 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 the agency in 2013 in response to a shift in priorities at DENR and deep cuts to the water quality staff. The Department of Justice has also subpoenaed Adams in connection with its investigaton into DENR. She is now the N.C. campaign coordinator for the Boone-based Appalachian Voices, an environmental nonprofit.

George Matthis is a 33-year veteran of DENR. He served as executive director of the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation before co-founding the River Guardian Foundation.

John 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, whose mission was to integrate the most recent science into regulatory programs. He works for a private engineering/environmental firm in Raleigh.

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

This event was rescheduled from Feb. 13.

Know your educational rights

A free class will train parents and students to become stronger advocates for themselves as well as how to prevent students from falling into the school-to-prison pipeline.

The training is Saturday, March 15, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

It is sponsored by by Advocates for Children’s Services (Legal Aid NC) with the sponsorship of Organizing Against Racism Alliance, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, Fund for Southern Communities, and the Justice In Action Committee. Free lunch provided. Child care available for kids 3–11. Spanish and Karen language interpretation provided. Register at Or contact Wanda Hunter at, 919-929-9655. Advanced registration recommended, but walk-ins welcome.

124 days

Since the INDY filed a public records request asking for the out-of-state travel records of Gov. Pat McCrory and of his traveling companions. “We’re working on it,” the governor’s spokespeople have repeatedly said.