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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NC LEADERS SHOULD BE MODELS OF PUBLIC TRUST, NOT RULE DODGERS: It is past time that North Carolina move away from the notion that government service was an opportunity, with access to insider information, to exploit it for personal and partisan gain. Lewis said he wanted to “put an unfortunate chapter behind me.” He apologized for his mistakes. But his statement didn’t apologize for abusing the privileged role he’d been granted by voters for the more than 17 years he served in the legislature. He should apologize to those voters for failing the trust they placed in him and for abusing his office and campaign to help himself. The General Assembly in particular and more broadly state government, needs a thorough examination of ethics standards for legislators, all other elected and appointed state and local officials. Citizens must be assured that the only interest of public officials is the betterment of the state and its people NOT their personal political and economic enrichment.

Saturday News: Immoral majority

RICK GUNN FACES ALIENATION OF AFFECTION LAWSUIT OVER AFFAIR WITH EMPLOYEE: A lawsuit accuses a North Carolina state senator of breaking up a marriage by having an affair with his legislative assistant. Arthur Johns’ lawsuit accuses Sen. Rick Gunn of having an affair with Johns’ wife, Karen, leading to their divorce. The five-term senator, a Burlington Republican, is not seeking re-election. He announced that decision in November 2019, four months after the Johnses divorced. The lawsuit says Gunn employed Karen Johns until recently. She has worked in the legislature as a legislative assistant since 2011, according to her LinkedIn profile. As Gunn’s legislative assistant, she was encouraged to spend time with the senator outside his working hours, respond to his constant communication immediately and travel alone with him, the lawsuit alleges.

Friday News: Free at last

RONNIE LONG RELEASED AFTER BEING WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR 44 YEARS: In the mid-1970s, Long was a 20-year-old Black man living in Concord when he was accused of raping a white woman. He was convicted in 1976 by an all-white jury that included members who had connections to the victim — the 54-year-old widow of a former textile executive at Cannon Mills, the town’s biggest employer. Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison. His release comes as the country — and Long’s home state — find themselves engaged in a renewed debate over how Black men and women are treated by police and the courts. Long’s attorneys have said that more than 40 fingerprints collected from the rape scene were never shared and did not match Long’s. Semen samples also were never disclosed to the defense. They later disappeared.

Thursday News: Short-term solutions


$300 BOOST TO UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS WILL ONLY LAST 3 WEEKS: Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that he expects North Carolinians on unemployment will see the $300 federal boost in their checks next week. "We're hoping that's when that's going to happen," Cooper said Wednesday afternoon, during a news conference on his new budget proposal. That money won't last long. So far, the federal government has approved only enough money to cover three weeks of payments, all of which have already passed. The benefits will be paid retroactively. Congress may eventually approve more funding, and it's possible that the North Carolina General Assembly will increase state-funded benefits when they gather for another legislative session next week. A $600-a-week unemployment boost, also funded by the federal government, ran out in late July.

Wednesday News: Cut from the team


TILLIS NOT INVITED TO SPEAK AT RNC, SAYS CRAZY GUN COUPLE "EVERYDAY PEOPLE": Some of his fellow senators are speaking, portions of the convention were held not far from Tillis’ home in the Charlotte suburb of Cornelius, and he’s facing a close re-election campaign this fall against Democratic former state legislator Cal Cunningham. But Tillis said he has no hard feelings over not being given time to address an audience of conservatives around the country. He referenced some of the non-politicians who are speaking, like the St. Louis couple who made national news for drawing guns on protesters who came into their neighborhood, and said he’s glad the RNC is putting “everyday people” on screen and “not just a stream of politicians with all these prepared statements.”

Tuesday News: "I don't know."

REP. ALMA ADAMS GRILLS LOUIS DEJOY OVER POSTAL SERVICE SHENANIGANS: "The recurring theme I kept hearing from Postmaster General DeJoy was 'I don't know'," said Congresswoman Adams. He doesn't know how many blue boxes were taken. He doesn't know why our Veterans are getting their medications late, or why goods that our small businesses rely on are arriving spoiled. He doesn't know the cost of Priority Mail or the kind of stamp he needs to mail a postcard. He doesn't know if his own mail is coming. The fact is: he just don’t know. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Postmaster General, not knowing is not good enough." "What I know is that our most vulnerable neighbors are relying on institutions like the US Postal Service for critical deliveries. Our courageous postal workers and letter carriers have been essential in keeping our country on track during this pandemic. Meanwhile, our Postmaster General has been getting in their way. He doesn't know if he's talked to the Trump Administration, but he's made quite the mess out of something that he's inherited. If I asked him if that sounds like our President, I already know what the answer would be: 'I don't know'," concluded Adams.

Monday News: Two thousand, five hundred thirty one


NC'S COVID 19 CASE COUNT PASSES 155,000, HOSPITALIZATIONS DOWN: At least 155,113 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,531 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,472 new cases of COVID-19, down from 1,729 the day before. Officials on Sunday reported 10 additional deaths, down from 27 the day before. Reported coronavirus-related deaths in the state reached a single-day high last Tuesday with 48. The rate of positive test results was 7% on Saturday, the latest date available. State health officials have said that rate should be 5% or lower. On Sunday, health officials reported a total of 898 coronavirus-related hospitalizations in North Carolina — the lowest they’ve been since July 1 and down from 996 Saturday.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LEGISLATIVE BLUSTER DOESN'T HELP UNEMPLOYED MAKE ENDS MEET: It wasn’t Roy Cooper who enacted the stingiest unemployment benefits in the nation. Phil Berger and his allies in the General Assembly did and it was signed into law by former Gov. Pat McCrory. Roy Cooper didn’t enact the shortest duration of unemployment benefit payments in the nation. Phil Berger and his followers in the General Assembly did -- with the giddy backing of the state Chamber of Commerce. Instead of issuing ultimatums to the governor, Berger should be apologizing to the 854,000 workers who are out of jobs, have been receiving unemployment benefits and are desperate to figure out how to keep a roof over their families’ heads and struggling to put food on the dinner table. Instead of pointless political posturing, he should be pledging to reform the unemployment system he created to provide benefits that at least match the national average.

Saturday News: A short reprieve


NC'S UNEMPLOYED WILL RECEIVE ADDITIONAL $300 THROUGH FEMA PROGRAM: The $300 supplemental payment is less than the $600 a week that expired at the end of July after Congress couldn’t reach a deal to extend benefits. It’s also less than the $400 that President Donald Trump announced he would authorize by redirecting FEMA disaster relief money. The state DES said it applied for the $300-per-person funding after it learned that money from the state unemployment insurance trust fund, which normally funds unemployment benefits, may not be used to pay what it called “optional additional $100 supplement match funds.” “The best way to do this would be for Congress and the president to agree on funding the program that already exists instead of this new program in a different agency that’s going to have to be administered in a different way,” Cooper said in another news conference Tuesday. “However, if that’s the only option for North Carolina, we want to take it,” Cooper said.

Friday News: Corruption, Inc.


DAVID LEWIS TAKES PLEA DEAL IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE SCHEME: One of the most powerful Republicans in the state legislature was charged with federal financial crimes Thursday, in what prosecutors say was a scheme to take money from his political donors for personal use. Harnett County Rep. David Lewis has been a state lawmaker since 2003 and for the last several years has been chairman of the influential House Rules Committee. Thursday afternoon, he suddenly announced he was resigning from the state legislature, effective immediately. He reported that his campaign was sending money to the North Carolina Republican Party but in reality, the court document says, he was writing checks to a bank account he controlled. He put the account in the name of a company — which federal prosecutors say never existed — that he called “NC GOP, Inc.” to disguise what was going on.


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