STATE CONTROLLER GOES TO APPEALS COURT TO STOP LEANDRO FUNDING: State Controller Linda Combs is asking the North Carolina Court of Appeals to throw out a judge’s order requiring her to fund a $1.7 billion plan to fund public schools. In court documents filed Wednesday, Combs’ office argues that Lee lacks the constitutional authority to appropriate funds. She wants the Court of Appeals to vacate Lee’s order and to block it from being enforced while legal arguments are heard. “The plain language of the constitution is clear,” Robert N. Hunter Jr., Combs’ attorney, writes in his legal petition. “There was no reason for the trial court to interpret or find within the penumbra of other more general sections of the Constitution the power to appropriate money in the Judicial Branch.” For those who apparently still don't get it: the NC Supreme Court ruled the state was in violation of its Constitutional responsibility to provide a sound education for our children. Twice. Said Constitution is not partially occluded, it is straightforward, as is the CoA's duty to reject this argument.
CRABTREE VALLEY MALL DESERVES KUDOS OVER BATHROOM DECISION: "I neither see myself as male nor female. I see myself and my gender identity as non-binary ... so using a restroom that is private is preferred," said Devin Pearson. In August, Pearson, who goes by they/them pronouns, attempted to use what was labeled “the family restroom” at Crabtree Valley Mall. Pearson pushed the button to call security to unlock the door. "I wanted to use the restroom and was told I was not allowed to use the restroom as I did not have a child with me," recalled Pearson. "I said it was a private matter. I reiterated by sharing my gender identity and was still told no." "It was pretty shocking and a little bit humiliating at the same time," Pearson added. Pearson wrote to mall management sharing their concerns, and after several emails and a meeting, mall management changed the sign to "all gender restroom." "I just applaud them again for being willing to make a change and to provide access to anyone to use a restroom," said Pearson. "I just hope that it inspires other people; people that observe or see something that feels wrong to speak up and share what your feelings are." Hopefully this will be implemented everywhere, and soon.
10 YEAR-OLD IS AMONG THREE SHOT AT SOUTHPOINT MALL ON BLACK FRIDAY: Three people were shot at The Streets at Southpoint shopping center on Friday afternoon and one person as taken into custody, officials said. One of the people shot was a 10-year-old, who was hurt from a bullet ricochet. The child was taken to a local hospital with injuries not thought to be life-threatening. Durham police chief Patrice Andrews told local media that the shooting occurred between two groups of people who knew each other just before 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of the mall. Police did not give information on the extent of the injuries of the other two victims. Authorities are speaking with several witnesses. "The shootings in this city have got to stop," Andrews said. "We have worked with all of our federal partners to identify these individuals that are bent on coming to our community and wreaking havoc. We will be sending them to federal prison." An additional three people were injured during the evacuation. Andrews said the shooting was never an active shooter situation as the individuals involved fled immediately after the shooting. Sounds pretty "active" to me.
AND YET ANOTHER MALL SHOOTING IN NORTH CAROLINA: The man charged with killing someone in South Carolina this week had wounded the same victim in a shootout at a North Carolina mall earlier this year, investigators said. A 911 caller reported finding a man on the ground early Tuesday on a street in Rock Hill. police said. Kevion Harris, 32, died at the scene. Jamie Gavantay Williams, 25, is charged with murder, authorities said. Harris and Williams shot and wounded each other on May 1 inside the Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, North Carolina. according to an earlier news release. The mall had to be evacuated. Investigators didn't give a motive for the Tuesday shooting at Williams' bond hearing, according to The Herald of Rock Hill. I can't help but wonder if fulling funding Leandro twenty (or even ten) years ago might have prevented some of this gun violence among youth.
OMICRON VARIANT DRIVES COUNTRIES TO DENY TRAVEL TO/FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA: A new round of countries on Saturday rushed to cut off or restrict travel to the southern region of Africa, aiming to slow the spread of the just-discovered omicron variant, which has a high number of mutations and has raised fears about the global trajectory of the pandemic. Australia and Japan are among the latest nations to either halt flights to the region or announce mandatory quarantines and screenings. Thailand said it would bar entry from the same eight countries — Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa — that the United States had targeted with restrictions one day earlier. “It is quite different to previous variants we have been watching,” Australia’s chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said. He called his government’s approach “proportionate to the risk.” Many crucial aspects about the omicron variant remain unknown, including whether it can evade vaccines or results in a more severe form of the disease. But the variant has caused scientists to worry that a long-anticipated scenario could be playing out — with a more transmissible form of the virus emerging from a part of the world with low vaccine coverage, then causing havoc elsewhere. Maybe (just maybe) if Western nations hadn't hoarded vaccines to begin with, and then went on a booster frenzy, the vaccine rate in some of these countries wouldn't be so low. Just spitballing here.