REVEREND BARBER TAKES MORAL MONDAY MOVEMENT NATIONWIDE: A national “Moral Revival” effort that has echoes of North Carolina’s “Moral Monday” protests will be launched next spring by the Rev. William Barber II and his co-chair at the Poor People’s Campaign. “We must transform the moral narrative in this country,” Barber, who led N.C.’s Moral Monday efforts, said in a statement announcing the plan ahead of a Monday news conference. “We went through the most expensive presidential campaign in U.S. history in 2016 without a single serious discussion of poverty and systemic racism. Now we are witnessing an emboldened attack on the poor and an exacerbation of systemic racism that demands a response." Barber served as leader of the N.C. conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 2005 until he stepped down in October.
GENX COMPOUND DETECTED IN BEE'S HONEY DOWNSTREAM FROM CHEMOURS PLANT: The unregulated compound found in more than 80 wells near a chemical company's manufacturing facility in North Carolina has been found in a food product for the first time. The StarNews of Wilmington reports that honey collected by a Robeson County farmer has tested for levels of the potentially harmful GenX compound nearly 15 times higher than the health goal set by state officials. The farm is southwest of the Chemours Co. plant. The director of the state Department of Environmental Quality's division of waste management, Michael Scott, told the state Secretaries' Science Advisory Board on Monday that the farmer doesn't sell the honey. Officials are unsure if the viscosity of honey could have affected the test results, and have asked the Environmental Protection Agency for guidance.
ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN IN NC BRACE FOR IMPACT FROM TAX CUT BILL: Advocates for low-income children looked to a grim future following the U.S. Senate’s approval of a tax-cut bill last week, one in which more kids are hungry, go without medical care, and have a harder time getting help dealing with disabilities before they start school. “You can really see how this tax plan is not just a tax plan; it’s the backbone and the impetus for really serious spending cuts going forward that are going to undermine children’s health and well-being and has us pretty scared,” said Rob Thompson, senior policy and communications adviser at the advocacy group NC Child. NC Child sponsored a forum Monday on the potential effects of federal budget cuts.
IN TRUMP COUNTRY, KEEPING UP WITH THE NEWS IS NOT A PREREQUISITE: Horace Locklear hasn't had a television in his house in 40 years. "I live like the old-timers," he says. He spends his days playing with his chickens and dogs, and toiling in his garden where he grows turnips, peas and collard greens. He talks to his wife of 53 years, whom he buried last year; he looks at her picture on the wall to discuss the day's plans. He still has the flowers from her funeral laid out of her bed, and hasn't yet brought himself to sit in her favorite chair. Locklear prays, too, and he says a prayer every night and every morning for his country and for the president he helped put in office. Without a television or the internet, it's hard to keep up sometimes with the rat-a-tat pace of the news. "I hear this and I hear that, what he's up to, but I don't know." So Locklear figures President Donald Trump is doing the best he can. (OMFG)
NC COUNTIES FACING OPIOID CRISES ARE TAKING BIG PHARMA TO COURT: A North Carolina county is suing drug manufacturers and distributors it says caused the local opioid crisis, while another county may pursue legal action, as well. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Yadkin County filed a lawsuit naming 24 defendants in U.S. District Court on Dec. 1. Officials are requesting a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages to cover the medical care of patients suffering opioid-related addiction. The StarNews of Wilmington reports that Brunswick County Commissioners declared the opioid crisis a public nuisance on Monday, authorizing county staff to pursue any necessary measure to abate the nuisance, including retaining legal counsel. Local and state governments across the country have filed litigation amid the opioid crisis, including North Carolina’s Buncombe County in November.