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Fundraiser for education honors Friday

Nearly a year after the death of former UNC President William Friday, a gala in his honor Friday night will raise money for a cause near to his heart -- access to education.

The $250 per person event will feature cocktails and dancing to an orchestra at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. About a 100 people are expected to attend.

Proceeds will benefit free and low-cost educational opportunities at the continuing education center, which recently established the Friday Adult Learner Scholarship for part-time students at the university.

The event is sponsored by the Friday Center and co-chaired by philanthropist Ann Goodnight and former state Sen. Howard Lee.

-- Jane Stancill

Goodnight bemoans state budget

Back in October, state Sen. Phil Berger raised more than $300,000 at a fundraiser at the Cary home of Jim and Ann Goodnight of SAS. Dome is thinking that Ann Goodnight, at least, may be regretting that decision.

In a letter to the editor in Tuesday's N&O, she laments the legislature's "glaring lack of support for education."

She calls the state budget "an embarrassment in its lack of investment in the skills and competititiveness of its people. This is a grievous mistake."

Berger rakes in $$$ at Goodnights'

Senate leader Phil Berger pulled in more than $300,000 at a fundraiser at the Cary home of Jim and Ann Goodnight of SAS on Tuesday, the state Senate Republican caucus reports. 

Berger, a Republican from Eden, had received close to $1 million in campaign contributions at the end of June, the latest reporting period. A little more than one-third of that amount came from political action committees.

Who will lead the UNC Board of Governors?

The election of UNC Board of Governors officers is usually a noncontroversial, consensus-style, nonpartisan event.

Not this time, apparently. Next week, the board will choose officers for the first time since Republicans held a majority of seats on the policy-setting board for the UNC system. And it's looking like the election will be a contested one, with two candidates vying for both the chair and vice chair spots.

In the running for chairman are the current vice chairman Peter Hans of Raleigh, a senior policy adviser with a law firm, and Paul Fulton, a Winston-Salem businessman who is a former UNC-Chapel Hill business dean and trustee. Both are Republicans.

For the vice chair role, the names being floated are Frank Grainger, a Cary businessman, and James Deal Jr., a Boone attorney. Grainger is a Republican; Deal is a Democrat.

Rove raises $400,000 for Burr

Former White House advisor Karl Rove helped raise about $400,000 Thursday night in Raleigh for the re-election campaign of GOP Sen. Richard Burr, according to the event's organizers.

The event at the Angus Barn restaurant, one of the larger fund raiser for Burr, featured Rove, who the chief political strategist for former President George W. Bush.

The event's general chairman was Greensboro business executive Louis DeJoy, the spouse of Aldona Wos, a former U.S. ambassador Estonia. The event's chairman was Raleigh attorney Jim Cain and his Helen. Cain is a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark. Both DeJoy and Cain are veteran GOP fund raisers.

Among the events co-chairs were Ann and Jim Goodnight, the founder of SAS,  the Cary software company;builder Jeff Ammons and his wife Beth, North Hills developer John Kane and his wife Willa, former Raleigh City Councilman Kieran Shanahan and his wife Tina;  Golden Corral executive Ted Fowler and his wife Glenda Fowler.

The event was closed to the news media which drew some criticism from the Democrats.

"Burr either doesn't want a picture taken with his old buddy or he doesn't want North Carolina voters to be reminded of his dismal record of rubber stamping the policies that wrecked the North Carolina economy in the first place," said Deirdre Murphy, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

SAS has no inside track

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan specifically mentioned Cary-based SAS as a company that could provide the federal government with software designed to prevent health care fraud.

Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, said the company doesn't have an inside track on getting a federal contract. She said she was using the company as an example.

"I only say SAS because they happened to share some of this information with me. Obviously being from North Carolina I had an opportunity to discuss this with them," Hagan told reporters in a conference call Wednesday. "This is not something in particular that we're doing on their behalf."

SAS has been the go-to reference for N.C. politicians pitching anti-fraud software. In 2003, Republican Sen. Robert Pittenger mentioned the company by name in a bill that sought to purchase software for the state.

As we've previously noted, Hagan received $4,000 in contributions from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight and his wife Ann Goodnight.

Stam pitched anti-fraud software

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says the nation needs software to prevent health care fraud.

The pitch by Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, is probably going to make state Rep. Paul Stam mutter something about already telling us so.

Stam, an Apex Republican and House minority leader, filed a bill last session that would, you guessed it, require the state to implement software meant to catch Medicaid fraud.

Stam told reporters in March that $100 million worth of software could save $100 million in fraud every year. Stam's bill, which was co-sponsored by 10 House Republicans, stalled in the Democratic-controlled appropriations committee.

Stam's bill doesn't specifically mention SAS, which Hagan says has created suitable.

A quick check of campaign finance records shows that Stam has not received any contributions from SAS CEO Jim Goodnight or his wife, Ann Goodnight. Hagan received $4,000 from the pair in her campaign for her Senate seat, according to federal election records.

Update: Stam's proposal was included in the state budget.  

Cooper raised $2.8m in AG run

Attorney General Roy Cooper raised $2.8 million in his successful re-election campaign.

Cooper, a Democrat, reported raising $282,193 from Oct. 19 to the end of the year, according to campaign finance disclosures.

Cooper's largest contributors for the quarter included Charles Barker, chief executive of Concord-based ACN, Inc., a telecommunications company; Thomas Belk, chief executive of the Belk department store, Jim and Ann Goodnight; and Michael DeMayo, a Charlotte lawyer.

Cooper also received significant contributions from committees affiliated with Citigroup, GlaxoSmithKline and Smithfield Foods.

Cooper spent $2.5 million on his run for Attorney General. He has $367,000 left in his campaign account.

Easleys hand out state honors

Gov. Mike Easley and First Lady Mary Easley handed out the annual North Carolina Awards Monday evening to leaders in public service, science, fine arts and literature.

Author Charles Frazier, philanthropist Ann Goodnight, former Gov. Jim Martin and former UNC mens basketball coach Dean Smith are among the recipients.

The awards recognize leaders in the state in each of those fields, and this year is the 45th presentation of the gold medalion suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon. The state legislature created the awards in 1961, and the first set was handed out in 1964.

Past recipients include poet Maya Angelou and singer/songwriter James Taylor.

Below, a complete list of winners and their achievements.


Roundtrips to China

Three members of the State Board of Education are in line to travel to China in November, if a few companies open their checkbooks.

Board members Wayne McDevitt, Patricia N. Willoughby and  Melissa Bartlett are invited to a conference of “education ministers” as part of the board's exchange program with China’s Jiangsu Province.

Board chairman Howard Lee said he was looking to raise up to $20,000 for their trip from GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, and Jim and Ann Goodnight. Jim Goodnight is the SAS Institute CEO.

The state board and the provincial education department formally agreed this year to collaborate on classroom and student projects, hold joint conference and host exchanges for students and teachers.

Teachers from China visited North Carolina last spring. The N.C. Center for International Understanding sent 23 teachers and principals to China last year. No state money was used for their travel.

This November's conference registration fee includes sightseeing on the final two days, including a visit to the Great Wall, the Olympic stadium and Tiananmen Square.

McDevitt said board members may not be able to stay for the days that include trips to tourist attractions because they want to visit partnership schools.

The partnership aims to give North Carolina students the chance to work on projects with students from other countries, learn other languages and engage in other activities they’ll need for the workplace, said Stephanie Caplan, the center’s spokeswoman.

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