First Drip (7/18/2014): New poet laureate resigns, Senate delays sales tax vote, more

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There's plenty of finger-pointing going on as investigators look into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was "blown out of the sky" yesterday, killing 298 people on board. Russia and Ukraine are trading accusations while U.S. intelligence points to pro-Russia separatists inside eastern Ukraine as the perpetrators.

Valerie Macon, the controversial North Carolina poet laureate who was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory last week has resigned. “I do not want the negative attention that this appointment has generated to discourage or distract attention from the Office of the Poet Laureate,” she wrote in a statement. McCrory had appointed Macon without going through the typical process of recommendation and appointment.

A planned vote by the North Carolina Senate on a bill which would raise the sales tax to help pay Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees was delayed on Thursday when Senate Republicans could not agree on the bill's wording. The current legislative session ends in one week.

Environmental groups are disputing Duke Energy's claims that they have finished their cleanup of the Dan River. Three thousand tons of coal ash were removed by Duke Energy, which spilled an estimated 39,000 tons into the waterway in February. A Duke spokesman says the cleanup required by the Environmental Protection Agency has been completed and that there aren't any more large concentrations of coal ash to be removed.

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