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Wednesday News: Deadly negligence


CHERIE BERRY'S LONG HISTORY OF IGNORING WORKPLACE HAZARDS: The North Carolina Justice Center, in a report to be released in coming days, has now traced how rarely Berry’s OSH has hit its business partners, even after fatalities, with its stiffest penalty – for those that willfully, or knowingly, put workers in harm’s way. OSH inspections after the deaths led to 13 citations for willful violations against nine employers, each carrying a maximum penalty of $70,000, said the report made available to McClatchy. But nine of the citations against five companies were later dropped. In other words, only four employers faced the harshest penalty out of more than 240 firms with fatalities, the group said. In separate studies, the AFL-CIO found that the average fatality-related fines assessed to North Carolina employers in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 were 25.3% and 38.4% of the national average. McClatchy gathered details about some of these incidents as part of a six-month investigation into the ways the state enforces laws designed to safeguard about 4 million workers. Even in some of the state’s deadliest workplace disasters — incidents that could have been averted with modest corrective actions — employers have been spared severe financial penalties, interviews and documents show.

Tuesday News: Bully in a uniform

VANCE COUNTY SHERIFF FIRES DEPUTY WHO BODY-SLAMMED 11 YEAR-OLD: A North Carolina sheriff said Monday that he has fired a school resource officer seen on surveillance video violently slamming a middle school student to the ground twice and then dragging the boy off camera. Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame issued a statement Monday that the deputy is no longer employed by his office. The deputy hasn't been named. It wasn't clear if the deputy would face charges. The district attorney didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. “Law enforcement officers are frequently brought in to schools to handle routine school discipline and this far too often is the result—an outrageously excessive use of force on young children. This must end. Our children deserve better," said Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim CEO and president of SPLC.

Monday News: Here comes Mike...


BLOOMBERG OPENS CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS IN CHARLOTTE: “It’s one of those states that nobody else goes to,” he said of North Carolina. Other candidates, he added, “are all focused on the early four (states) . . . You’re going to have to win the whole country to get the opportunity to take on Donald Trump.” A CBS News poll Sunday showed Bloomberg in fifth place among Democratic candidates behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The former New York mayor drew nearly 200 people to the opening on North Tryon Street. The crowd included U.S. Rep. Alma Adams as well as as state lawmakers, members of Charlotte’s city council and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, a national co-chair of the presidential campaign. Bloomberg was welcomed by council member James Mitchell, his North Carolina campaign director, and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


A UNIVERSITY'S BETRAYAL OF HISTORICAL TRUTH: On the eve of Thanksgiving, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) over a Confederate monument that had stood for more than a century on the university’s flagship campus, in Chapel Hill, before demonstrators toppled it in August 2018. The settlement, though, establishes a de facto financial partnership between the university system and the SCV to preserve the monument. The SCV is free to use Silent Sam and this generous subsidy to continue its long-standing misinformation campaign about the history and legacy of the Civil War, with an endowment that rivals that of the university’s history department. But the cost to the university can’t be fully tallied in dollars and cents. A great public university should stand for the pursuit of truth, not the promotion of historical distortions and falsehoods.

Saturday News: Not in our name


UNC STUDENTS STEP FORWARD IN SILENT SHAM LAWSUIT: “The Board of Governors’ secret negotiations, lack of transparency and false statements to the court, UNC students and the public is unacceptable,” De’Ivyion Drew, a sophomore at UNC-CH and one of the interveners, said in a statement. “These actions violate the Board of Governor’s duties to me as a student of this university and undermine UNC’s mission. The University’s agreement to give $2.5 million to the Sons of Confederate Veterans will help that group and other neo-Confederates continue to perpetuate the ahistorical and dangerous “Lost Cause” ideology. That ideology is a major obstacle to racial equity and reparative measures in our country.”

Friday News: It's Primary time


HOLDING'S NOW BLUE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT HAS DEMS LINING UP: Deborah Ross, a former state director of the ACLU and former state legislator, has filed to run for the seat. Ross, who lost the 2016 Senate race to incumbent Republican Richard Burr, represented parts of Wake County in the statehouse from 2003-13. Andrew Terrell, a former Obama administration official who led a UK trade office in Raleigh, has also filed to run in the race. Terrell, 32, would be the state’s first openly LGBT member of Congress. Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and a member of the Wake County Board of Education, has filed. Unlike Ross and Terrell, Johnson-Hostler was running before the map was redrawn. Retired Marine Scott Cooper, who raised more than $450,000 for a challenge to Holding, said the new map placed his home in the 4th district, represented by Democrat David Price.

Thursday News: One-Term Pat


MCCRORY VS, FOREST IN GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY A POSSIBILITY: With a poll showing him with a double-digit lead in a Republican primary, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory suggested Wednesday that he’s keeping the door open to running for his old seat. “This is a decision for me and my family,” he told listeners of his morning radio show. McCrory was reacting to a new Civitas Poll that showed him leading Lt. Gov. Dan Forest 42% to 31% among likely GOP primary voters. State Rep. Holly Grange had 3% and 25% were undecided. Forest had $1 million on hand at the end of June, according to a report filed with the State Board of Elections. McCrory’s campaign account showed $69,000. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who narrowly defeated McCrory in 2016, had $5.6 million on hand.

Wednesday News: Failing Leandro


LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO SPEND ANOTHER BILLION PER YEAR ON SCHOOLS: Twenty-five years after school districts first took the case to court, an independent consultant says North Carolina needs to sharply increase school funding — $8 billion more over the next 8 years — to help provide students a sound basic education. The report from WestEd, a nonprofit research group, says that state funding has not kept up with needs, leaving North Carolina near the bottom in the nation in spending on education. The result, the report says, is that academic performance has lagged in the state’s public schools. “The state is further away from meeting its constitutional obligation to provide every child with the opportunity for a sound basic education than it was when the Supreme Court of North Carolina issued the Leandro decision more than 20 years ago,” the WestEd report says.

Tuesday News: Major demographic shift


AS NC RURAL POPULATIONS DWINDLE, CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING WILL RADICALLY CHANGE: But as the biggest cities boom, 43 counties — mostly in rural areas — actually shrank between 2010 and 2018, according to census data. Many mid-sized cities are also struggling. The Rocky Mount area has been hardest-hit, losing several thousand people. And the home counties of places like Goldsboro, Wilson, Asheboro, Shelby, Wilkesboro and Morganton have experienced below-average population growth. But all of those population changes of the last decade — the urban booms and the rural losses — have been ignored when lawmakers have redrawn the political maps after the lawsuits in recent years. The law required that even the new congressional maps drawn just last month had to use population data from 2010. So the maps drawn in 2021 with new data could represent a sudden political jolt, in places large and small.

Monday News: Code Yellow


THREATS MADE TO FAYETTEVILLE HIGH SCHOOL OVER THE WEEKEND: Terry Sanford High School Principal Thomas Hatch informed parents and students of the threat in an automated message sent Sunday, according to The Fayetteville Observer. ″Law enforcement has been notified and is investigating the situation,” Hatch said. School officials are cooperating with law enforcement officials, Cumberland County Schools spokesman Lindsay Whitley said Sunday night. “We take any threat very seriously,” Whitley said. “School officials learned of the threat earlier (Sunday) evening and notified law enforcement immediately.” Whitley said, depending on the investigation, Terry Sanford High School could operate under a “code yellow,” status Monday morning, meaning there would be additional investigation and security at the school.


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