REPUBLICAN LANNY LANCASTER POSTS FAKE PICTURE OF CHRISTINE FORD: A Facebook post about Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault in the early 1980s, has triggered a war of words between a local Republican leader and a Democratic candidate for Congress. Lanny Lancaster, Cabarrus County GOP chairman, shared a photo allegedly of Ford that was originally posted by an account using the name Joseph Mannarino. Lancaster shared the photo, which shows a young woman wearing braces and large glasses, adding the comments: “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.” On Tuesday, Democratic congressional candidate Frank McNeill included the post in an email newsletter as an example of a Republican “assault on the safety and dignity of American women.” McNeill is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson in the 8th district, which runs from Fayetteville in southeastern North Carolina to the north Charlotte area.
NC ROADS SUSTAIN OVER A QUARTER-BILLION IN DAMAGE FROM FLORENCE: North Carolina transportation officials told lawmakers Wednesday that road damage from Hurricane Florence will cost at last $266 million to repair at thousands of sites statewide. That estimate is expected to rise, Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon said, as more information comes in. New technology, Trogdon said, gave the Department of Transportation more information earlier in the storm than ever before. However, it also posed dangers for drivers using apps or social media to look for open routes. At a meeting of a House transportation panel Wednesday morning, Trogdon showed photos and videos of some of the worst damage to roads. Repairs will be needed from Ocracoke Island on the coast to Watauga County in the mountains, he said. Florence dropped 8 trillion gallons of water on the state, he said, noting that's about 779,000 gallons for each North Carolina resident and enough to fill the Jordan Lake reservoir about 536 times.
MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF RAW SEWAGE MADE IT INTO HAW RIVER DURING FLORENCE FLOODING: The high water that washed through Alamance County via the Haw River carried a lot of local sewage downstream, which can be a risk to the health of people living downstream and the environment, but it can be hard to know what’s in it. More than 120,000 gallons of untreated sewage was reported spilled from waste-water systems in Alamance County. “That’s significant,” said Mark Sobsey, professor emeritus of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Typically, Sobsey said, water in rivers and lakes is tested for things like e. coli and fecal coliform bacteria, but there are viruses, bacteria and other contaminants that last longer than those and can do a lot more harm like norovirus or even Hepatitis A. Raw sewage in the river is a big deal, said Sutton, but there is also industrial waste with heavy metals and other contaminants to think about. “The heavy metals are a big concern, and, obviously, so are the bacteria and contaminates from the untreated sewage,” Sutton said.
AFTER WHAT SHOULD BE AN EMBARRASSINGLY BRIEF INVESTIGATION, FBI FILE ON KAVANAUGH GOES TO SENATE: The White House has sent the Senate a new FBI background file on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, giving senators a day to digest the confidential material and make a decision on the tottering nomination before a first vote on Friday. Even before the FBI delivered interview summaries on claims that Kavanaugh sexually abused women, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell set the first vote for his polarized chamber in an election-season battle over power and who to believe that has consumed the nation. A showdown roll call on confirmation seemed likely over the weekend. With Republicans clinging to a razor-thin 51-49 majority and five senators — including three Republicans — still vacillating, the conservative jurist’s prospects of Senate confirmation remained murky and dependent, in part, on the file’s contents, which are supposed to be kept secret. Kavanaugh staunchly denies the allegations.
TRUMP'S LONG HISTORY OF DODGING TAXES ABOUT TO CATCH UP WITH HIM: Though President Donald Trump insists he did nothing wrong on his taxes, experts say he could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in civil fines if state and federal authorities substantiate a New York Times report that found he and his family cheated the IRS for decades. The statute of limitations for bringing criminal charges has long run out, but civil cases have no such limits, and the financial penalties could be staggering. Civil fraud charges for intentionally underpaying taxes, as the Times alleged the Trump family did, could include a penalty of up to 75 percent of the unpaid federal taxes and double the unpaid state amount, experts said. The penalties "could be substantial, and if the allegations are proven in court, they should be levied," said Norman Eisen, chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and former chief ethics counsel in the Obama administration.