Under the Dome

Dome: Appellate court dominos begin to fall

From Staff ReportsMay 27, 2013 

Appeals Court Judge R.N. “Bob” Hunter Jr. says he will run next year for the state Supreme Court seat held by Justice Mark Martin.

Martin announced last week that he is running to replace Chief Justice Sarah Parker, who reaches mandatory retirement age next year and is not eligible to run.

Hunter was elected to the appeals court in 2008. Hunter used to practice law in Greensboro but now lives in Morehead City.

This Bob Hunter, a Republican, is not to be mistaken for the other Appeals Court Judge Bob Hunter, who is a Democrat.

Brannon takes party on road

Republican Greg Brannon will hold a series of house parties this summer as he cranks up his campaign to challenge U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in 2014.

“We are taking this campaign directly to living rooms and backyards across our beautiful state where I can hear exactly what is on people’s minds and talk to them about my vision for our state and our country,” he said in a statement.

Brannon, a Cary physician, is the lone announced Republican candidate trying to oust the Democratic incumbent – though others are expected to join him. (Looking at you, Thom Tillis.)

Brannon, who has aligned himself with the tea party, started his house party tour in Winston-Salem last week and comes to Raleigh on Friday for an event at the home of Rick Gardner. In June, he will hold two more events in Raleigh and another in Cary.

Forestry museum still in limbo

The proposed Senate budget has created a quandary for the city of Whiteville.

The Senate would like to sell the city the North Carolina Museum of Forestry for the grand total of $1.

The city would like to the local attraction, but they’d also have to take over its operations, which the state reckons would cost another $300,000 a year.

The Faytteville Observer reported last week that the neither the city nor Columbus County can afford the upkeep, but they don’t like the idea of closing the museum, either, which is the other option offered by the state.

The museum, by the way, underwent a $2 million renovation in the fall of 2011.

Friends of the museum have created a Facebook page to encourage people to help save it.

It points out that closing the museum would affect: a contract to bring a traveling exhibit from the Franklin Institute, a grant for its Teen Science Cafe that is contracted through the 2014 school year, various other grants bhat are being used to develop an Urban Forest on museum grounds.

Realtors’ ads fight tax plan

The N.C. Realtors Association is preparing to launch a second, big-dollar campaign to challenge the N.C. Senate’s tax overhaul efforts in coming days.

The new TV ad campaign says the Senate tax plan to repeal the state deduction for mortgage interest will hurt middle-class families. The group’s strategist Chris Sinclair said the TV buy is in the “hundreds of thousands” and will run for three weeks.

The group began the campaign a month ago with TV and online ads and the total cost is likely to approach $1 million, he said.

“The Realtors believe this is a watershed moment for homeowners,” Sinclair said.

Price to join gun violence talk

Rep. David Price will join a town meeting on gun violence in America that will be held Tuesday at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh.

Price, who is vice chair of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, will be joined by Dr. Assad Meymandi, a psychiatrist, and TV anchor David Crabtree.

The event, called “Gun Violence in America: What can be or should be done in media, politics and mental health?”

Staff writers Rob Christensen, John Frank and Mary Cornatzer

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