Trying something new this morning, posting this email from Capital Broadcasting Company, without including all the links (which is a major amount of work). After doing BlueNC off and on for 16 years, I confess I've gotten lazy. But I figure it's better for you to see this digest from CBC and find the links yourself, than to not see the stories at all.
Monday, Aug. 1, 2022
BUSINESS LEADERS: Court must order state to fulfill Constitution's promise to NC children
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following are highlights from the friend of the court (amici curiae) brief signed in support of implementation and funding of The Comprehensive Remedial Plan in the Leandro cases to assure that North Carolina meets its constitutional obligation to provide every child with access to a quality education. It was signed by 54 of the state’s top business leaders including the current chair of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and three former chairs. The complete list of signers follows is at the conclusion of these highlights. You can read the full text of the brief, prepared by counsel for the business leaders Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, here.
“The right to education is unique among the rights guaranteed by the North Carolina Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. Unlike other provisions in the Declaration, Article I, Section 15 does not content itself with declaring the right—it expressly imposes a duty on the State to protect it. (‘The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right.’ (emphasis added). That is exactly what the Court should do here, building on its earlier decisions in Leandro v. State (1997 -- ‘Leandro 1’) and Hoke County Bd. of Educ. v. State (2004 -- ‘Leandro II’). The Constitution imposes the duty to guard the right to education on ‘the State,’ and it is ultimately this Court’s responsibility to enforce that guarantee. …
“The benefits that flow from a sound basic education are legion. A quality education provides each student with essential skills and experiences needed for gainful employment, personal independence, strong citizenship, and financial stability. Knowledge, which comes from quality education, is ‘the handmaid of virtue’ and essential for individual happiness. …
“Providing quality schools and instruction inures to the benefit of all North Carolinians. … This Court has also been specific in recognizing additional general benefits that flow from quality education: improving voter engagement, fostering scientific and artistic innovation, and combating crime. …
“Improving education in the state is essential to create an inviting environment for businesses considering relocating here, and it is vital for those who … seek to start and grow their businesses in North Carolina. Business leaders depend on an educated workforce prepared to contribute to a modern economy, and ensuring an educated and well prepared work force is vital for the future of their businesses and many others across the state. …
“As North Carolina evolved over the 150 years following the 1868 revisions to its organic law, our state’s attention to the economic benefits of education has never wavered. …
“The North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868 … made extensive changes to strengthen public education and insulate it from the whims and indifference of the General Assembly. …
“It is evident that the people of North Carolina secured a constitutional right to sound public education to prevent the evils that befell the state in its infancy— and to safeguard the economic prosperity that comes from strong public education. …
“This Court provided the trial court with the framework to determine whether the State is meeting its constitutional duty to provide North Carolina children with this fundamental right. The evidence developed over more than twenty years demonstrated conclusively that it has not.
“Our state government institutions and governmental leaders agree on this point: education is good for students, good for business, and good for the North Carolina economy. …
“There is unanimity among key stakeholders regarding the economic benefits that our state will realize from implementing the Comprehensive Remedial Plan. All three branches of government understand, and research confirms, that we must improve education to improve our economic situation. The trial court’s remedy is the first, critical step in making those improvements a reality. …
“The Comprehensive Remedial Plan is a remarkable accomplishment, the most thorough plan ever developed in North Carolina, and possibly in any state, to assure full opportunity for all children. The State must not be deterred from this path to success and must never return to half-measures that fail countless children. …
“In blunt and purely economic terms, (business leaders) understand that our children and their educational attainment will determine North Carolina’s economic future. We fail to prepare them fully at our peril. …
“If the State continues to delay and defer the funding necessary to bring its educational efforts in compliance with what the Constitution demands, the strength of the North Carolina economy will recede along with the financial condition of its citizens. …
“The Comprehensive Remedial Plan represents the trial court’s effort to comply with the constitutional command that the State must guard and maintain the right to education by preparing a plan that would satisfy the State’s obligation to ensure that every child in North Carolina receives a sound basic education. … Providing a quality education, including implementing the actions in the Comprehensive Remedial Plan, will fulfill a promise that has been deferred far too long. …
“Children born in 2004, the year that this Court decided Leandro II, graduated from high school this year. Because the State has failed to take the steps necessary to provide a sound basic education, many of these graduates face the same challenge as their parents. Eighteen years later, too many still lack the skills necessary to join “contemporary society’s gainful employment ranks.” As business leaders in the state, amici need to ensure an educated and skilled work force to support the continued growth and success of their businesses. They refuse to accept that another generation of students should be denied the opportunity for a sound basic education. …
“In light of the untenable delay our students have endured, the remedy set forth in the trial court’s November 10, 2021 order is the practical and constitutionally appropriate means of carrying out that duty. …
“This Court should affirm the portion of the November 10, 2021 Order directing the appropriate state officials to transfer funds necessary to implement years 2 and 3 of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan. The Court should also affirm the trial court’s determination, in the April 26, 2022 Order, of the appropriate amount of funds necessary to implement these phases of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan.”
NOTE: Among the signers is James F. Goodmon, chair and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company.
Below, in alphabetical order, are the business leaders who submit the brief:
Adam Abram: Chairman, James River Group Holdings, Ltd.
Sepi Asefnia: President & CEO, Sepi Engineering, Inc. and Chair, NC Chamber
James Babb: Former President & CEO, Jefferson Pilot Communications
Rye Barcott: Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Double Time Capital
Ronald J. Bernstein: Retired CEO, Liggett Vector Brands
Crandall Bowles: Former Chair & CEO, Springs Industries
Erskine Bowles: Co-Founder, Carousel Capital and President Emeritus, UNC System
Thomas W. Bradshaw, Jr.: Retired Managing Director, Citigroup; Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber); Former Chair, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; Former Chair, Public School Forum of NC
John R. Bratton: Director, Wake Stone Corporation
Samuel T. Bratton: CEO and President, Wake Stone Corporation
Theodore D. Bratton: Chairman, Wake Stone Corporation
Jack Clayton: President of Business Strategy, TowneBank
Sue W. Cole: Managing Partner, Sage Leadership & Strategy, LLC; Former Mid-Atlantic CEO, U.S. Trust Company
Sandra Wilcox Conway: Former Manager, Excellence in Education, The First Union Foundation
Peter Conway: Founder (Retired), Trinity Partners
John Cooper: Chair, Mast General Store
Don Curtis: Founder & CEO, Curtis Media Group
Richard L. “Dick” Daugherty: Former Vice President & Senior N.C. Executive, IBM; Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber); Emeritus Board of Directors, Research Triangle Park; Charter Board of Directors, Public School Forum of N.C.
Bert Davis: President, 95 Impact Capital, Inc.
James M. Deal, Jr.: Former Chair, Watauga County Board of Education; Former Chair, Watauga Board of County Commissioners; Former Chair, Board of Trustees, Appalachian State University
Clay Dunnagan: Founder and Manager, Anchor Capital
John Ellison, Jr.: President, The Ellison Company
Frank E. Emory Jr.: EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Novant Health
Ken Eudy: Founder and Former CEO, Capstrat
Jim Fain: Retired Bank Executive; Former Secretary, North Carolina Department of Commerce
Anthony Foxx: Former Mayor of Charlotte; Former US Transportation Secretary
Paul Fulton: Former President, Sara Lee Corporation; Former Dean, Kenan-Flagler Business School; Chairman Emeritus, Bassett Furniture Industries; Founder and Chair, Higher Education Works
Hannah Gage: Former Owner, Cape Fear Broadcasting Company; Former Chair, UNC Board of Governors
Alston Gardner: Managing Director, DGI Capital, LLC
Patti Gillenwater: President and CEO, Elinvar Leadership Solutions
James F. Goodmon: Chair & CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company
James and Ann Goodnight: SAS Institute
Greg Hatem: Founder & CEO, Empire Properties and Empire Eats
Barnes Hauptfuhrer: Former CEO, Chapter IV Investors, LLC; Former Co-Head, Corporate & Investment Banking, Wachovia Corp.
Melody Riley Johnson: Director, Strategic Accounts, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices
Steven J. Levitas: Senior Vice President, Pinegate Renewables
Elizabeth Martin: Producer, Wild Violet Media, LLC
Easter A. Maynard: Board Chair, Golden Corral Corporation
James H. Maynard: Board Chair/Founder, Investors Management Corporation; Founder, Golden Corral Corporation
Hugh L. McColl, Jr.: Former Chair & CEO, Bank of America
Dr. Bill McNeal: Author (with Tom Oxholm): A School District’s Journey to Excellence: Lessons From Business and Education; Former Superintendent, Wake County Schools; National Superintendent of the Year
Carlton Midyette: Venture Capital Investor
Thomas B. Oxholm: Executive Vice President, Wake Stone Corporation; Former member, Wake County Board of Education; Author (with Dr. Bill McNeal): A School District’s Journey to Excellence: Lessons From Business and Education
Roger Perry: Chairman, East West Partners Club Management
Orage Quarles, III: Former President & Publisher, The News & Observer; Co-Founder, Journalism Funding Project
Thomas W. Ross: Chairman of the Board, Bausch & Lomb Company; Director, Bausch Health Companies; President Emeritus, UNC System; Retired Superior Court Judge
Thomas R. Sloan: Founder, Sloan Capital Company
Gordon Smith III: Retired Investment Advisor; Founder and CEO, Wood Pile LLC
Sherwood Smith: Former Chair, NC Citizens for Business & Industry (now NC Chamber); Former Chair, Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies, RTP; Charter Board Member, Public School Forum of N.C.
Norris Tolson: Retired Business Executive; CEO & President, Carolinas Gateway Partnership; Former CEO, North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Former Secretary, NC Departments of Commerce, Revenue, and Transportation
Richard Urquhart: Retired Vice President, Investors Management Corporation
J. Bradley Wilson: President & CEO Emeritus, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of N.C.; Former Chair, UNC Board of Governors
David Woronoff: President, The (Southern Pines) Pilot and Business North Carolina Magazine
Smedes York: Chair, York Properties; Former Mayor, City of Raleigh
Monday, Aug. 1, 2022 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis.
For questions about the status of the round up of opinion, commentary and analysis please contact email@example.com
GENERAL ASSEMBLY 2022
NC Lt. Gov. Robinson finally pays delinquent vehicle tax bills (AP) -- Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson said several unpaid vehicle tax bills in his home county -- some from well over a decade ago -- were a surprise to him.
Slice of Profits From North Carolina Casino Goes to Relatives of Politicians (Wall Street Journal) -- A company profiting from a new North Carolina tribal casino gave shares to politicians’ family members and high-profile political figures as the casino’s backers were seeking federal approval for the project, according to interviews and documents. One of the stakes is held by John B. Clyburn, a brother of Rep. James Clyburn, the powerful South Carolina Democratic congressman who introduced a bill in Congress last year that smoothed the way for the new Catawba Two Kings Casino. Other stakes went to Michael Haley, husband of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served in the Trump administration as ambassador to the United Nations; Butch Bowers, a lawyer who has represented both Ms. Haley and former President Donald Trump; and Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic political operative who helped manage campaigns in 2008 for Hillary Clinton and then-vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, according to the documents. The stakes, held indirectly through another entity, gave each of the recipients a slice of a slot-machine leasing company called Kings Mountain Equipment Supply LLC, whose major shareholders include financial backers of the casino or their associates, according to the documents. The company gets 20 cents of every $1 in profits the casino generates from hundreds of slot machines. … Others with stakes in Kings Mountain Equipment Supply, the documents reviewed by the Journal show, include several former local North Carolina politicians who supported the casino while in office or their relatives. One said his wife invested, while another said he was given the shares. They denied any impropriety. The Catawba tribe had long wanted to open a casino, but a 1993 law exempted it from the National Indian Gaming Act, which allows tribes to open casinos in states like South Carolina that don’t normally allow gambling. The plan to open a casino in North Carolina, which would require the federal government to take 17 acres of land into trust for the tribe, was hatched around 2013.
‘More protection for the unborn.’ What NC GOP abortion bills might look like in 2023 (N.C. McClatchy) -- Abortion is legal, with some regulations, in North Carolina. But reproductive law in the state could change if the makeup of the legislature changes this fall. The governor is a Democrat, and the General Assembly is controlled by Republicans. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters earlier this year that Republicans don’t plan to take up any legislation about abortion this year because they don’t have a supermajority and Gov. Roy Cooper will veto whatever they pass. On Tuesday, Moore was asked what legislation might look like next year, and what he thinks about abortion. “Not certain at this point,” he said. “I do think you would see more protection for the unborn. “Here’s what happens: you get the two extremes out there talking, right: You got some folks who think abortion ought to be legal up until five minutes before a baby’s born. That’s the most extreme, crazy position. Then you’ve got those who feel like the most extreme from the very beginning, that you know, if you’re even thinking about having sex you can’t have an abortion. There’s all these extremes.”
Medicaid expansion breakthrough within reach in N.C.? (AP) -- After a decade of vigorous opposition, most North Carolina Republicans have now embraced the idea of expanding the state's Medicaid program to cover hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults. Legislative approval finally appears within reach.
New NC laws are taking effect. Here’s what they’ll change. (N.C. McClatchy) -- A handful of laws that the NC legislature passed take effect Monday. Here are highlights of some of these laws, including one that pauses the automatic removal of charges from people’s criminal records.
PAUL SPECHT: Threats, intimidation and legal action. Skeptics strain NC election workers (WRAL-TV) -- Over the past two years, election officials in North Carolina have faced an onslaught of complaints, records requests, intimidation and aggression from election skeptics, including many peddling disproven election conspiracies. The activity has stretched already-thin county and state election staffs, taking time away from their efforts to mind the very issues these doubters are raising. In at least one North Carolina county, threats have sucked resources from local law enforcement. The scenario, which is being played out in counties across the country, has in part contributed to higher-than-usual turnover among election workers and fears that the challenges will deter strong applicants to replace them. IKn the past three years, 43 of the state’s 100 county election directors have resigned or retired, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
NC Supreme Court OKs speeding up redistricting arguments (AP) -- In another remapping decision along partisan leanings, the North Carolina Supreme Court has agreed to speed up arguments on further challenges to the boundaries for the state's legislative seats and congressional districts.
Judicial Elections Draw Attention Amid Battles Over Abortion, Voting Rules (Wall Street Journal) -- Down-ballot races could prove pivotal in states including North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio. In total, more than 80 state supreme court seats are on the ballot, along with far more races for lower courts.
Kansas Abortion Vote Tests Political Energy in Post-Roe America (New York Times) -- Kansans will decide whether to pass a constitutional amendment that could lead to far-reaching abortion restrictions or an outright ban on the procedure.
Protest challenges Greensboro City Council member's use of 're-elect' wording in campaign (Greensboro News & Record) -- Guilford County election officials have received a formal protest accusing Councilman Hugh Holston of misleading voters by using the wording “re-elect” in campaign materials. … Holston was appointed by the council in September 2021 to fill a seat vacated when at-large Councilwoman Michelle Kennedy resigned that August. … The protest was filed Wednesday by Salvatore Leone of Greensboro, who signed documentation that he was not asked by anyone or any organization to do so. In alleging that some residents likely thought they were casting their vote for an incumbent, Leone said he believes the “re-elect” message on Holston’s campaign website and signage was misleading and “intent to defraud was clear,” according to the protest.
Vulgar message ‘F*** JOE BIDEN,’ - ‘VOTE TRUMP 2024,’ flashed on NC DOT road sign. How it happened? (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A vulgar message flashed on a mobile message board stationed near Linville Road on Salem Parkway on Thursday before workers with the N.C. Department of Transportation were able to shut down the sign. According to a man who contacted the Journal, the sign alternated between the statements, “F*** JOE BIDEN,” and “VOTE TRUMP 2024.” Pat Ivey, the division engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, on Friday confirmed the content of the messages. Ivey said the sign is owned by Stay Alert Safety Services LLC in Kernersville, which is investigating how the message ended up on the sign and will report its findings back to the state.
Justice Dept. investigating Trump’s actions in Jan. 6 criminal probe (Washington Post) -- People familiar with the probe said investigators are examining the former president’s conversations and have seized phone records of top aides
MASS SHOOTING – CONTINUING COVERAGE
Gunmaker’s Super Bowl stunt sheds light on marketing of ‘America’s rifle’ (Washington Post) -- A rapidly growing manufacturer of AR-15-style rifles tried to run an ad during the Super Bowl in 2014, knowing that the NFL typically does not allow gun commercials during its marquee event. But Daniel Defense — the maker of the semiautomatic rifle used in the Uvalde school shooting — privately had in place a plan to generate publicity whether the ad aired or not, according to previously unreported court documents that shed light on the gunmaker’s marketing strategies. If it aired, Daniel Defense’s top marketing executive planned to have people across the country complain about the company’s own ad to left-leaning media organizations, stirring controversy and generating coverage. If the ad was rejected, records show, the executive had arranged for a prominent National Rifle Association commentator to release a prerecorded online video accusing the National Football League of censorship and hypocrisy.
NC congressional delegation divided as House passes semiautomatic weapon ban (U.S. House of Representatives roll call vote) -- The U.S. House narrowly passed a semi-automatic weapons ban bill Friday afternoon. The ban on assault weapons was introduced in 2021 by Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and was co-sponsored by all five of North Carolina’s Democrats in the U.S. House. The 217-213 vote saw seven members cross party lines, but Democrats still overcame objections from Republicans, who argued it infringes on Second Amendment rights. Five Democrats voted against the bill, and two Republicans voted for it. The Democrats who voted against the bill were Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Jared Golden of Maine and Ron Kind of Wisconsin. Republicans who voted for the measure were Reps. Chris Jacobs of New York and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania. All the Republicans in North Carolina’s congressional delegation – Dan Bishop, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Mark Hudson, Patrick McHenry and David Rouzer voted against the bill. Democrats Alma Adams, J.K. Butterfield, Kathy Manning, David Price and Deborah Ross, voted for it.
Trained, Armed and Ready. To Teach Kindergarten. (New York Times) -- More school employees are carrying guns to defend against school shootings. In Ohio, a contentious new law requires no more than 24 hours of training. Studies on school employees carrying guns have been limited, and research so far has found little evidence that it is effective.
BLM counterprotester, ex-KKK member plead guilty to gun charges from Asheville rally (Asheville Citizen-Times) – Two right-wing activists pleaded guilty to gun charges, saying they brought military-grade weapons to a 2020 Asheville anti-police violence protest.
POLICY & POLITICS
Some Republicans fear party is too extreme on abortion and gay rights (Washington Post) -- Following the end of Roe v. Wade, many in the GOP have embraced uncompromising positions and loaded rhetoric out of step with mainstream public opinion
How a Rare Bit of Bipartisanship Secured Millions for Affordable Housing in NC (Cardinal & Pine) -- A bill introduced by Rep. Alma Adams, Democrat, and Rep. David Rouzer, prompted US officials to remove restrictions on federal economic relief aid. Hundreds of thousands in NC could benefit.
Corporate landlords used ‘abusive tactics’ to evict tenants despite pandemic eviction ban (Charlotte Observer) -- A congressional investigation discovered that corporate landlords filed thousands of evictions across the country during the eviction moratorium. State records reveal hundreds in North Carolina.
'You only need one ticket to win': Mega Millions drawing leads to more money for NC education (WRAL-TV) -- Last year, the lottery's $3.8 billion in sales raised $936 million for education. However, that is only a fraction of the $11 billion in North Carolina's education budget.
U.S. 264 is officially I-587, with new exit numbers to come (WRAL-TV) -- North Carolina has a new interstate, and those who drive east from Raleigh toward Interstate 95 may have to develop some new habits.
Women's conference brings thousands to PNC Arena for uplifting conversation around women's issues (TV) -- PNC Arena was rocking with music and excitement Saturday for the Women’s Empowerment Conference, the first in-person conference since the pandemic. There was a star-studded lineup aimed at celebrating and honoring the accomplishments of women. Each year the conference brings keynote speakers, guests and vendors from the Black community to PNC Arena for a day of music, celebration and motivation. This year's guest speaker is Sherri Shepherd, most known as former co-host of The View. WRAL anchor/reporter Renee Chou got a chance to sit down with Shepherd ahead of Saturday's event.
Former Monroe swimming pool receives historic marker after fight for racial integration (Charlotte Observer) -- The public swimming pool at the former Lake Lee Park was closed for 20 years and reopened in the Winchester neighborhood to all residents.
Serving NC across the ‘digital divide’ (Carolina Public Press) -- Carolina Public Press is researching the news gaps in North Carolina communities where high-speed internet is difficult to access, expensive or not available.
Can regional board restore Wilson’s NC employment office? (Wilson Times) -- The N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions closed the office on July 13. Wilson County is in the top 10% of North Carolina counties for high unemployment.
PAT BROTHWELL: Flamboyant cruelty is the current Republican ethos (Asheville Citizen-Times column) -- That’s exactly what that 10-year-old rape victim and North Carolina’s LGBTQ+ youth are to Cawthorn, Berger, Ballard, and Lee: toys whose lives don’t matter as much as virtue signaling to potential voters. … I’d ask you to examine the current Republican agenda and tell me how it isn’t flamboyantly cruel. I challenge you to explain how at its base, it isn’t about anything but inflicting pain and suffering.
SUSAN MUNTEAN & MILLIE GORDON: To restrict, criminalize abortion access violates women's human rights (Asheville Citizen-Times column) -- Restricting and criminalizing abortion access is a violation of the human rights of women. It does little to stop abortion and places the lives of too many in danger.
Locke Foundation and its ‘N.C. Institute For Constitutional Law’ promote Legislature’s GOP leadership with filing (N.C. Supreme Court filings) -- The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law and The John Locke Foundation move to file an amici curiae brief in support of Legislative Intervenor-Defendants and Petitioner. “The appeals here raise novel questions of state constitutional law that will potentially reshape educational funding, the separation of powers, and state budget and appropriations processes. The Court’s decision in this matter will have repercussions for years, even decades, to come, as to both legal and policy matters. The brief addresses the issue of whether the judicial branch may order a transfer of funds from the state treasury without an appropriation made by law and whether the remedies sought below are impracticable for judicial administration. Amici’s position is that the judiciary is without authority to order the transfer of funds from the state treasury or force other branches or officers to do so. Further, the remedy sought by Plaintiffs is not only unconstitutional but also impracticable because the judiciary is not equipped to stay current on the evolving circumstances of public education and the state budget.”
Parents want 'pornographic' books out of schools. New Hanover law enforcement is involved. (Wilmington Star-News) – Experts say books are often protected free speech. They also say paragraphs of books are often taken out of context.
Ninth Wonder to be ECSU artist-in-residence (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Patrick Douthit, a Grammy Award-winning hip hop producer known as 9th Wonder, has been named artist-in-residence at Elizabeth City State University.
Olympian, Cary native Claire Curzan named USA Today High School Girls Athlete of the Year (WRAL-TV) -- Olympic silver-medalist and Cary native Claire Curzan was awarded the title of USA Today High School Girls Athlete of the Year.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Made-in-Vietnam Electric Vehicles Are Heading to the U.S. Market (Wall Street Journal) -- VinFast is the latest startup to test American EV demand, and it brings a novel pricing strategy to keep consumer costs down.
$200 million in small business loans heading to NC targeting disadvantaged communities (WRAL-TV) -- More than $200 million in small business loans is coming to North Carolina as part of an ongoing federal program to help disadvantaged businesses.
How the Covid-19 Pandemic Changed Americans’ Health for the Worse (Wall Street Journal) -- Deaths from heart disease and stroke have risen sharply. Drug-overdose deaths hit a record. The gun-homicide rate jumped to the highest level in more than 25 years.
2 new Black-owned breweries in Charlotte aim to change industry (AP) -- As the craft beer industry expands in Charlotte, one untapped market is about to emerge.
Rural hospitals again face financial jeopardy (Axios Raleigh) -- Rural hospitals are facing a convergence of challenges that could leave many facilities deep in the red and at risk of closing. Hospitals have been operating on the edge for years, tending to older, sicker patients who often can't afford care. Closures could dramatically reduce access to care, forcing patients to travel longer distances for inpatient services, substance use treatment and other needs. 11 rural hospitals in N.C. have closed since 2005, according to the UNC Rural Health Research Program's tracker. Hospitals couldn't persuade Congress to delay a scheduled 2% cut in Medicare payments, then were frustrated by a Medicare payment proposal for 2023 they say ignores the effects of inflation, labor and supply cost pressures. Many facilities have burned through federal COVID provider relief funds and Paycheck Protection Program loans that helped them cope with staffing and supply shortages and lower demand as patients deferred care. Sympathy may be limited for an industry that recently received large sums of federal dollars to get through the pandemic. Though the legislature didn't pass Medicaid expansion this year, it could still happen later this year or next year Doing so could inject funds into rural areas to help retain health care providers and address the rural hospital closure crisis.
'I have never witnessed this degree of incivility:' Duke Health executive describes recent uptick in violence against healthcare workers (WRAL-TV) -- According to American Hospital Association: 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People living with elevated PFAS exposure should receive expanded testing, a new study finds (N.C. Health News) -- The report recommends that CDC adopt new clinical guidelines such as blood tests for those that meet the criteria.
States reach deal over marketing, safety of generic opioids (AP) -- A former opioid manufacturer has agreed in principle to pay up to $2.4 billion in a deal with a dozen states over its marketing and product safety practices, state attorneys general announced Friday.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Construction site trash saved from landfills with creative repurposing (WRAL-TV) -- A new partnership is turning miles and miles of construction trash into treasure. Many have seen countless building sites enclosed by large windscreens which are thrown away when the project ends.
Pamlico Sound oyster sanctuary network continues to grow (Coastal Review) -- With the current project to build an oyster sanctuary near Cedar Island, the Division of Marine Fisheries is getting closer to its goal of 500 acres of protected oyster reefs in Pamlico Sound by 2026.
Urban runoff threatens water quality. Infrastructure changes could help. (WUNC-FM) -- Slowing stormwater down could be crucial as rapid urbanization affects water supplies.
At rally and hearing, speakers challenge Duke carbon plan (WFAE-FM) -- North Carolina's debate over how to eliminate carbon emissions from energy production made its way to Charlotte Thursday, with a rally by climate activists uptown and a public hearing later before state regulators. Last year's energy reform law requires the North Carolina Utilities Commission to adopt a carbon reduction plan by year's end to reach the state's climate goals. These include cutting carbon emissions from energy plants by 70% from 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero carbon by 2050. About 75 climate activists gathered at Marshall Park uptown where speakers argued for the speedy elimination of fossil fuels and fair pricing for consumers. Some chanted slogans including "Make NC Fossil Free" and "What do we want? Renewables, When do we want 'em? Now."
Lonely wild horse wandered for weeks on Outer Banks. Now, Alma has finally found her harem. (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- By early July, Alma was still wandering alone, with seemingly no destination. But after a few weeks, she finally found her tribe, joining with a new group, including her grandmother, Shala, according to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.
… AND MORE
YONAT SHIMRON: Eli Evans, chronicler of Southern Jewish life, laid to rest (Religion News Service) — Eli N. Evans, a noted chronicler of Jewish life in the South, was buried Friday (July 29) in his native Durham, North Carolina. The 85-year-old memoirist died July 26 at a hospital in New York City. He was 85. The cause was complications from COVID-19. Evans was born to a prominent Jewish family in Durham and wrote endearingly of his family’s minority status in the Christian-saturated South in his book, “The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South.” The book was published in 1973 and released again in 1997 and 2005. He followed that up with “The Lonely Days Were Sundays,” published in 1993.
MARK PINSKY: ‘The poet laureate of Southern Jewry’ has died. Here’s how I remember him (The Forward column) -- I first met Eli Evans, who died last week at 85, after reviewing his lyrical book, “The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South,” for Present Tense, a liberal Jewish magazine. That was the beginning of my nearly 50-year friendship with Eli, a pioneer in the field of Southern Jewish history. I didn’t always agree with his take on that history. But our debates over it have challenged my thinking and enriched my life. My 1973 review of his now classic book was favorable, but he had some bones to pick with my criticisms. So he called me. His amiability was infectious, if not always persuasive. I listened, and we soon became friends. I later assigned “The Provincials” in a course I taught at Rollins College in Orlando called “Kasha & Cornbread: The Jewish Experience in the American South.” When we disagreed in the decades that followed, always respectfully, it was most often over the degree to which Southern Jews confronted slavery, Jim Crow segregation and racism generally.
Eli Evans, poet and influential grant-maker, dies at 85 (Jerusalem Post) -- It was the landmark 1993 handshake between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israel prime minister Yitzchak Rabin that inspired Eli Evans to invest, for the third time, in “Sesame Street.” As an executive at the Carnegie Corporation in the 1960s, he had brokered the government support that helped launch the fixture of American educational television. Then, after becoming the first president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation in 1977, he supported the creation of an Israeli version, “Rechov Sumsum.” With peace in the air, Evans believed that an Israeli-Palestinian version was needed. He set out to convince other funders, Israeli and Palestinian government officials and noted artists to join the effort. Ultimately, dozens of episodes were made even as real-life prospects for peaceful coexistence were demolished — a testament to Evans’ unflinching optimism, forged during a childhood in the American South, in the power of partnership and creativity to create a more just society. Evans died on Tuesday, two days shy of his 86th birthday, of complications from COVID-19 in New York City.
Claude William “Bill” Allen (Obituary) -- Judge Claude William Allen Jr. "Bill", 93, of Oxford passed Wednesday, July 27, 2022 He graduated from Wilton High School, North Carolina State University with an Agriculture Degree and from the University of North Carolina Law School. Bill and his wife started the Double B Pine State Dairy Farm in 1954. He later became a lawyer, prosecutor and Chief District Court Judge until retirement
Two NC residents win $1 million prizes in Mega Millions drawing (WRAL-TV) -- Two North Carolinians won $1 million prizes from Friday's Mega Million drawing.
Two Charlotte-area Mega Millions tickets win $1 million in Friday’s drawing (WFAE-FM) -- The two $1 million tickets matched all five white balls in the drawing. One was sold in Charlotte at the Adam’s Mart on Elm Lane and the other in Mooresville at the Shop N Save on the Mecklenburg Highway. The $1 million wins in North Carolina were two of 26 nationally in the drawing.
Bluegrass and Moore County Icon Clyde Maness Has Died (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Moore County icon and bluegrass patriarch, Clyde Maness has died.For decades, every Tuesday evening, dozens of musicians gather at Maness Pottery and Music Barn in Carthage for a community jam session.
Sheriff: Fox 8 journalist attacked while covering story about kennel fined for animal mistreatment in Thomasville (Winston-Salem Journal) -- An owner of a Thomasville kennel and another man have been charged with attacking a WGHP photojournalist, possibly breaking his jaw. The photojournalist was working on a story about the kennel being fined $1,400 on allegations of mistreating dogs.