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City & state briefs

Hurricane Katrina causes N.C. gas shortage

Gov. Mike Easley suspended all non-essential state government travel Wednesday in response to an impending gas shortage in the state.

He is also imploring state residents to conserve gas and refrain from panicking and rushing gas stations.

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast this week, it knocked out the power sources for major pipelines that supply 90 percent of North Carolina’s gas.

The supply shortage could send the price of a gallon of gas over $3.

With Labor Day weekend only days away, Easley is urging people to wait for more information before moving ahead with travel plans.


Zoning revisions face criticism

A coalition of neighborhood groups in Durham has asked the city council and county commissioners to offer more protection to homes under the “unified development ordinance”—the first complete rewrite of Durham’s zoning rules since the 1970s.

The coalition’s main objection to the ordinance is the provision that would allow triplexes and quadruplexes in their neighborhoods, which they fear would ruin the residential areas.

Fifty-one percent of property owners in a neighborhood would have to sign petitions asking for the overlay, which would allow them to customize zoning rules for their homes.


Two city creeks deemed polluted

A recent report found that South Ellerbe Creek and parts of Goose Creek failed to meet city water quality standards. The creeks had the highest levels of nitrogen and fecal coliform bacteria in the city.

Both creeks are located in old neighborhoods where aging infrastructure contributes to leaky sewers and faulty septic tanks. Chemicals seep into the ground, contaminating the creeks.

This year the city prepared the “State of Our Streams,” which was designed to inform residents who live near polluted creeks what they can do to prevent further pollution of the streams.


State SAT scores keep improving

North Carolina students improved their average SAT score this year by four points—to a total score of 1010— which was twice the gain in the nation’s average score, which also increased to 1028.

This is the 11th year in a row that North Carolina students have raised the state’s average score.

North Carolina ranks 13th Among 23 states where at least half of all high school seniors take the test.


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