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Archive for December, 2009

How happy is your state?

Friday, December 18th, 2009

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A new study has found which states are the happiest.

The results are based on an examination of two data sets, one that included personal reports of happiness for 1.3 million Americans and the other that included objective measures, such as how crowded that state is, air quality, home prices and other factors known to impact quality of life.

Louisiana was ranked first, followed by Hawaii, and Florida. North Carolina ranked 12th on the list, and New York came in last.

The list in order of their well-being:

1. Louisiana
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Arizona
6. Mississippi
7. Montana
8. South Carolina
9. Alabama
10. Maine
11. Alaska
12. North Carolina
13. Wyoming
14. Idaho
15. South Dakota
16. Texas
17. Arkansas
18. Vermont
19. Georgia
20. Oklahoma
21. Colorado
22. Delaware
23. Utah
24. New Mexico
25. North Dakota
26. Minnesota
27. New Hampshire
28. Virginia
29. Wisconsin
30. Oregon
31. Iowa
32. Kansas
33. Nebraska
34. West Virginia
35. Kentucky
36. Washington
37. District of Columbia
38. Missouri
39. Nevada
40. Maryland
41. Pennsylvania
42. Rhode Island
43. Massachusetts
44. Ohio
45. Illinois
46. California
47. Indiana
48. Michigan
49. New Jersey
50. Connecticut
51. New York

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Story summary

A new study has found which states are the happiest.

The results are based on an examination of two data sets, one that included personal reports of happiness for 1.3 million Americans…

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Stagnant economy, incentives driving CFCC enrollment explosion

Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Chelsea KellnerChelsea.Kellner@StarNewsOnline.com

After weeks of lines winding out the front doors, Cape Fear Community College’s financial aid office is now closed one day a week just to deal with the ballooning number of student applications.It’s “unprecedented” in financial aid director Jo-Ann Craig’s career.

More: continued here

Fox seeks 300 percent increase in programming fees from Time Warner Cable

Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Wayne FaulknerWayne.Faulkner@StarNewsOnline.com

Fox is seeking a 300 percent increase in programming fees from Time Warner Cable Inc., the cable company said Friday.

More: continued here

Staff reductions, furlough days have New Hanover County residents paying

Friday, December 18th, 2009

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To help meet a $21 million budget shortfall, New Hanover County offered employees early retirement, laid others off, and issued mandatory furlough days. While the cuts helped balance the budget, county residents might still end up ‘”paying”.

“On one hand you save money because people are not coming to work, but what you’ve done is you’ve reduced your workforce by 4 percent,” explained New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.

The New Hanover County government has seen significant staff reductions, in order to meet budget shortfalls. While the budget remains balanced, the cuts have placed added pressure on remaining employees.

Director of Development Services Tony Roberts said, “It raises stress levels a little bit, in trying to accomplish our goals.”

This year, the county required ten unpaid days off for each employee. To try and maintain services, the county combined several departments.

“911 services and emergency management services now work under one director, that’s been merged into a single department,” explained Director of Human Resources and Community Relations Dennis Inhat. “Planning and inspections are now under one department head.”

The economy eased the pressure on some of the mergers, but caused extra stress for other departments.

“The human needs or the human services portion of county government are hardest hit with demand from the public, but they have lost quite a few people working in their departments,” added Barfield.

For county residents, it can mean longer wait times for services they desperately need. Barfield said the county has trimmed all it’s fat, but will again face a shortfall in next year’s budget. “I don’t see any way around our next budget cycle not having some type of a tax increase one way or the other.” Leaving voters to decide whether to cut more services, or pay more for the ones they already have.

Barfield said the county will probably need both a sales tax increase and a property tax increase to avoid future service cuts or lay-offs, but voters would have to approve those increases first.

Commissioner Barfield spoke very candidly about the state of the county’s financial situation. You can view the unedited interview here.

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Story summary

videoTo help meet a $21 million budget shortfall, New Hanover County offered employees early retirement, laid others off, and issued mandatory furlough days. While the cuts helped balance the budget, county residents might still end up ‘”paying”.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Brunswick County developer sued for fraud

Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Shelby SebensShelby.Sebens@StarNewsOnline.com

Disgruntled property owners are accusing a major local developer of orchestrating a fraud scheme that netted him hundreds of millions of dollars and left them paying mortgages on unbuildable land.

More: continued here

 

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