Under the Dome

Dome: Art Pope approves $90 million worth of state repairs, renovations

From staff reportsOctober 7, 2013 

State budget director Art Pope is recommending $90 million in repair and renovation projects in state government, including new roofs, new elevators and paint jobs.

The funds were part of $150 million appropriated by the legislature, with $60 million going to the UNC system and $90 million going to other state agencies across the state.

In a memo to legislative leaders, Pope said the agencies had requested $554.4 million for 545 renovation and repair projects, and the budget office had pared it to $90 million for 191 projects.

Gov. Pat McCrory had said he would put a particular emphasis on fixing broken systems, particularly projects that had been put off because of the recession.

The projects topping $1 million include $2.6 million for a lighting retrofit in several state government buildings, $1.8 million to replace the roof of the Administration Building, $1.3 million to renovate the gift shop and install a new fire suppression system at the N.C. Museum of Art, $4.7 million for new heating plant at the O’Berry Neuro Medical Center in Goldsboro, $1.8 million to upgrade SBI crime labs, $1.4 million for renovations to the SBI building, and $2.9 million to renovate the gym at the Western School for the Deaf.

Duke grad may lead Air Force

Deborah Lee James, President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next secretary of the Air Force, is a Duke University graduate. James majored in comparative studies and graduated in 1979.

If she’s confirmed by the Senate, James will be responsible for 330,000 active-duty men and women in the Air Force, 176,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members, and about 186,000 civilian defense workers. She’ll also oversee a budget of more than $110 billion.

But it’s not clear when the Senate will vote on her nomination even after the shutdown ends and senators can focus on anything else. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., put a hold on James’ confirmation before the shutdown began. Ayotte said she’d maintain the block until the Air Force told her whether it has decided to eliminate the A-10 military attack aircraft.

James is president of the technology and engineering sector at Science Applications International Corp. She has a long career related to military affairs, all as a civilian. She told senators at her confirmation hearing in September that she’s served 17 years in government and 15 years in the private sector, mostly at SAIC. Her government service included a decade on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee and five years as the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. She’s now a member the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, an advisory group that reports to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

James also earned a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is married to Frank Beatty, and they have four children.

Biden visits to help Hagan

Vice President Joe Biden will visit North Carolina on Oct. 21 to help Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan raise cash for her re-election bid in 2014. Biden will speak at a luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Dome.

The top ticket costs $10,000 and includes a photo and special host reception. The lowest-priced ticket is $500 for the reception. The money will go to Hagan’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has higher donation limits.

A day earlier, Hagan will hold another fundraiser in Durham at the Deer Chase Gardens hosted by Marcia Angle and Mark Trustin, the property’s owners. More than two dozen hosts for the reception are paying $1,000 each. The top ticket is the maximum federal contribution to a candidate, $2,600. The host list includes big local Democratic donors, such as John Replogle, John Sall and Amy Tiemann. The minimum ticket costs $150.

Staff writers Rob Christensen and John Frank, and Renee Schoof of the McClatchy Washington Bureau

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service