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Thursday News: More of this, please...


WAKE COUNTY TO PAY BUS DRIVERS AND TA'S $17 PER HOUR: The Wake County school system will provide pay raises for all employees this school year — as much as 43% for its lowest paid workers. The Wake school board unanimously approved Tuesday a plan that raises the minimum salary for school support staff to $15 an hour, with higher rates for positions such as instructional assistants and bus drivers. All support staff employees will get at least a 5.3% raise, with the biggest raises of more than 40% going to the lowest-paid workers. Teachers will also get raises in the plan. The money for the raises is being paid for locally this school year from available funds and savings. District leaders say they will need to come up with additional local funds to keep them past this school year. And therein lies one of the biggest problems, rich county vs. poor county. But they are setting a great example with this.

Wednesday News: Judicial elections matter


REPUBLICAN MAJORITY ON (FULL) COURT OF APPEALS HEARTS GERRYMANDERING: As with most cases at the 15-member Court of Appeals, the case was originally heard by a panel of three judges. They voted Monday morning to delay filing for elections just for U.S. House, state Senate and state House seats — as federal, state and local candidates across North Carolina were set to declare their intentions to run starting at noon Monday. But then Monday evening, the full court voted and overruled the original panel, allowing candidate filing to begin after all for candidates in those races. A majority of the 15 judges said they want to all hear the case together — what’s known as “en banc” — instead of leaving it to a panel. That will happen soon, they said, but did not set a date. Did you say, "In the bank"? Yes, you did.

Monday News: Bootlicker


MARK WALKER OOZES TO MAR-A-LAGO TO BEG TRUMP FOR ENDORSEMENT: Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker is currently at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump discussing Trump’s possible endorsement for a campaign to return to the House, said Jack Minor, Walker’s former chief of staff. Walker has spent nearly two years campaigning for an open U.S. Senate seat, after Sen. Richard Burr announced his retirement. But Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd for the seat, and Walker has trailed both Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory in the polls. And some Budd supporters worry that if Walker stays in the race he could take votes from Budd, pushing McCrory ahead. Rumors of Walker’s switch to a congressional run surfaced shortly after the N.C. General Assembly approved a new congressional district map on Nov. 4. Because Walker knows he can't win except in a gerrymandered district. Loser.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


APPEALS COURT ORDER IN PUBLIC EDUCATION EQUITY CASE NEEDS TO BE CHALLENGED: Earlier this week, a three-judge Court of Appeals panel said that a judge didn’t have the authority to direct other state officials to spend state dollars to finally fix the inequity. But one of the Appeals Court judges, John Arrowood, dissented saying his two colleagues went beyond the issues they were asked to resolve. Further, they violated the state Rules of Appellate Procedure. It was essentially an invitation from one judge to the parties in the case to complain to the state’s Judicial Standards Commission that they were denied their right to respond to the petition that was at issue. “Shortening the time for a response was a mechanism to permit the majority to hastily decide this matter on the merits, with only one day for a response, without a full briefing schedule, no public calendaring of the case, and no opportunity for arguments and on the last day this panel is constituted,” Arrowood wrote in his dissent. “This is a classic case of deciding a matter on the merits using a shadow docket of the courts.” Judicial elections matter. These two Republican judges proved they can't be trusted to limit their actions to what they are asked to do (temporary stay), and the irony of them "overreaching" to combat what they claim is judicial overreach is GOP to its core.

Saturday News: Inclusion


UNC RENAMING BUILDINGS AFTER PEOPLE OF COLOR: UNC-Chapel Hill officially renamed a residence hall and the Student Affairs office building that have for decades honored individuals tied to white supremacy and racism. The two buildings will honor Hortense McClinton, a Black professor, and Henry Owl, an American Indian student, whose legacies at the university will now be physically established on campus. Aycock Residence Hall will now be known as McClinton Residence Hall. Carr Building, which houses the UNC-CH Student Affairs office, will now be the Henry Owl Building. “Hortense McClinton and Henry Owl were trailblazing pioneers who left an indelible legacy at Carolina,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement. “They embody the values that define our University, and naming these buildings after them marks an important step in building a campus community where everyone feels that they belong and can thrive.” Good job.

Friday News: It's not Constitutional


GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES REPUBLICAN VOTER SUPPRESSION BILL: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a Republican-backed bill Thursday that would force elections officials not to count any mail-in ballots that arrive after polls close. “The legislature ironically named this bill ‘The Election Day Integrity Act’ when it actually does the opposite,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Election integrity means counting every legal vote, but this bill virtually guarantees that some will go uncounted.” One of the GOP sponsors of the bill, Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County, said in a press release that he believes moving up the deadline would improve voters’ confidence in elections. And again, the only reason voters' confidence was shaken is because Trump and his enablers spread outright lies about his election loss. That grace period was in place even before DeJoy intentionally disrupted mail delivery, forcing an extension of said period, so all of this can be dumped right in their laps.

Thursday News: It's not enough

$6 MILLION AWARDED TO WRONGFULLY-CONVICTED DURHAM MAN: A federal jury awarded a North Carolina man who spent more than 20 years in prison $6 million Wednesday, after finding a detective fabricated evidence and performed an inadequate investigation that led to double murder and arson convictions. The jury found former Durham police detective Darryl Dowdy made up evidence in the case and trial that resulted in Darryl Howard being convicted in 1995 of killing Doris Washington, 29, and her 13-year-old daughter Nishonda in 1991. Howard’s attorneys had sought $48 million in damages: $2 million for each year of the 21 1/2 years he spent in prison and $5 million for the impact on his life after he was released. “It’s a huge number,” Emma Freudenberger, one of Howard’s attorneys, told the jury. “And you know what? It is not nearly enough.” How many times has this happened? How many times has a black man been railroaded into a long prison term, based on manufactured evidence? Way too many times, is the correct answer.

Wednesday News: It's not okay


UNC SCHOOL OF THE ARTS FACES LAWSUIT OVER WIDESPREAD SEXUAL ABUSE: More alumni of North Carolina’s most celebrated arts school have filed a lawsuit saying they were sexually abused while enrolled, with 39 former students now accusing the university of negligence. Newly accused University of North Carolina School of the Arts faculty members include a violinist who recently agreed to plead guilty to federal trafficking charges, a professor who publicly criticized the school’s handling of previous abuse cases, and one of the nation’s most famed ballerinas. An original seven plaintiffs filed a joint complaint earlier this year, accusing school leadership of ignoring evidence that former staff members were sexually abusing students in the 1980s. They described decades of emotional turmoil in the years since, eliciting an apology from current school leaders. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and this fire needs to be put out.

Monday News: Eighteen thousand, six hundred seventy six


OVER 1 1/2 MILLION NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENTS HAVE CONTRACTED CORONAVIRUS: At least 1,524,078 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 18,676 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, Nov. 24, reported 2,318 new COVID-19 cases, up from 1,289 on Tuesday. The state won’t update its case count later this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. At least 1,113 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Nov. 24, including 260 adults being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. As of Nov. 22, the latest date with available information, 5.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 72% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 68% have been fully vaccinated.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NEW STATE BUDGET IS JUST A START. PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS NEED MUCH MORE: Prior to the Thanksgiving break, North Carolina’s leaders enacted a new state budget for the first time in 3.5 years — at a time when the needs of our state’s 1.5 million public school students are greater than ever. Teacher vacancies and the myriad challenges educators and staff face are significant. Students’ academic, social, and emotional needs are enormous, given a global pandemic that has upended our world order. In spite of these challenges, we continue to have amazing and effective educators, administrators, and staff who give their all every day for students to give them access to a high quality and equitable education. However, we are in the middle of a teacher shortage with a dramatically reduced pipeline; the teaching profession overall has been attacked, and the working conditions of teachers are challenging and dire for many. The serious drop in performance by students due to pandemic measures should have been a wake-up call. Parents are simply not equipped to deal with the challenge, and textbooks and online programs fall short as well. The missing element was the teacher her (or him) self, for which there really is no effective substitute.


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