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Saturday News: So much for philanthropy

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NEW TAX LAW COULD DEAL DEATH BLOW TO CHARITIES AND NON-PROFITS: Taxpayers claim charitable contributions, along with mortgage interest, property taxes and some other expenses, as deductions from their taxable income if they itemize and the total exceeds the standard deduction. For some people – particularly those with higher incomes – the deduction for charitable gifts has served as an important incentive for giving because it helps reduce taxes owed. Operators of some nonprofits are hopeful Congress may still act. If not, and if charitable giving drops $13 billion nationally as one economist has predicted, North Carolina charities could be expected to take a big hit. So could the people who depend on them. In the state, Heinen said, nonprofits collect and spend roughly $42.5 billion a year and employ about 10 percent of the workforce. In the Triangle, they include Duke University Medical Center and WakeMed hospitals.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article192195079.html

Friday News: Death sentence

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NC PRISON GUARDS FREQUENTLY SKIP INSPECTION ROUNDS LEADING TO UNNECESSARY INJURIES AND DEATHS: Early one winter morning in 2012, officers at an eastern North Carolina prison found inmate Willis Gravley hanging from a bed sheet. He’d been dead for hours. His death raised a question: Why didn’t officers at Bertie Correctional Institution stop Gravley from killing himself – or why, at least, didn’t they find his body earlier? Prison investigators later found that officers in Gravley’s unit had been skipping a crucial part of their job for years: doing the required 30-minute security checks. Instead, officers falsified prison records to indicate they had made their rounds, according to dismissal letters issued to some officers involved. In some of North Carolina’s most dangerous prisons, officers routinely fail to make their rounds, a Charlotte Observer investigation found.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article192023889.html

Thursday News: Sore loser

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ROY MOORE TRIES TO STOP ALABAMA FROM CERTIFYING DOUG JONES: Republican Roy Moore filed a lawsuit to try to stop Alabama from certifying Democrat Doug Jones as the winner of the U.S. Senate race.The court filing occurred about 14 hours ahead of Thursday's meeting of a state canvassing board to officially declare Jones the winner of the Dec. 12 special election. Jones defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes. Moore's attorney wrote in the complaint filed late Wednesday that he believed there were irregularities during the election and said there should be a fraud investigation and eventually a new election. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told The Associated Press Wednesday evening that he has no intention of delaying the canvassing board meeting. "It is not going to delay certification and Doug Jones will be certified (Thursday) at 1 p.m. and he will be sworn in by Vice President Pence on the third of January," Merrill said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article191907459.html

Wednesday News: "White" Christmas?

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KKK LEFT RECRUITING FLYERS IN HILLANDALE NEIGHBORHOOD ON CHRISTMAS EVE: A Triangle community is expressing concern after discovering KKK fliers in their driveways on Christmas Eve. The notes, meant to recruit members, were placed in plastic bags, along with rocks and a few KKK business cards, and distributed throughout the Hillandale neighborhood in Wake County. "And, for whatever reason, they put peppermints in there," resident Mike Chandler said. Chandler found the bag in his driveway on the morning of Dec. 24. He said his wife drove around the neighborhood and found many other homes with the bags in their driveways. "It's a little bit disconcerting. I've been here 33, going on 34, years, never had anything like this come here before," he said. Among other things, the flier says “white pride doesn’t mean hate,” but many residents said they believe the KKK stands for hate.
http://www.wral.com/triangle-resident-says-neighborhood-received-christmas-eve-message-from-kkk/1721...

Tuesday News: Trumplethinskin

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2017 LEFT WORLD LEADERS STUNNED BY TRUMP'S LACK OF DIPLOMACY: “The change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” Donald Tusk, president of European Union, in a Jan. 31 letter raising concerns about Trump’s “worrying declarations.” “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel to an election rally in Munich May 28, alluding to difficulties with Trump after meetings on NATO and the G7 summit. “Make our planet great again,” French President Emmanuel Macron statement June 1 on the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article191239079.html

Monday News: Christmas edition

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HOSPITAL-BOUND PATIENTS GIVEN TEDDY BEARS AS LITTLE FURRY COMPANIONS: Had she her druthers, Wynell Richardson would be spending Christmas at home with her husband of 63 years. But the eighth floor of Rex Hospital grew two shades brighter Sunday morning when a pair of children laid a teddy bear on her lap. A heart patient from Nashville, Richardson will pass her holiday in a telemetry bed, watching Raleigh’s holiday lights twinkle out her window. But when Chase and John Pittman brought her gift, she found new comfort to recuperate by. “I’m a whole lot better now,” said Richardson, 83. “They can keep me here until they get me right.” As the hours until Christmas ticked nearer, the volunteer Rex Guild brought presents to nearly every patient in the hospital, a tradition that dates to 1936. Before bears, the gift of choice for 20-plus years, they brought poinsettias.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article191520219.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHY CAN'T LEGISLATIVE LEADERS STOP LYING ABOUT THEIR UNFUNDED CLASS-SIZE MANDATE? A group of parents rallied at the North Carolina Legislative Building to demand the General Assembly’s leadership repeal, or responsibly fund, the unfunded class-size mandate due to go into effect in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The rally drew a troubling response from Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the state Senate: “Even though some local school leaders decided to use the extra state funding to benefit their own spending priorities instead of to reduce class sizes, those reductions have already been fully funded,” he said. About three weeks later, Speaker of the House Tim Moore was asked to weigh in on the class-size issue. He, too, gave a worrisome response: “We have funded the positions.” Why are these responses so troubling? They are wholly untrue, indicating that the two most powerful men in state government either fail to understand the biggest issue facing North Carolina’s public schools, or are purposefully lying about the issue.
http://www.wral.com/kris-nordstrom-why-can-t-general-assembly-leadership-stop-lying-about-their-unfu...

Saturday News: Can you say "Death Tax"?

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DALE FOLWELL NOW WANTS TO COLLECT OVERPAYMENTS FROM ESTATES OF DEAD STATE EMPLOYEES: Families of some dead state employees may be getting a letter from the state Treasurer. The message: Pay up. Treasurer Dale Folwell’s office has already been recovering disability overpayments from former employees who are still alive. Now, according to agency emails, it has broadened the effort to the estates of former workers who have died. Last summer, the agency began notifying people who receive payments from a state program called the transitional disability income plan that since 2006 they had been getting too much money and the office was going to start taking it back. In winter and spring of this year, managers in Folwell’s office developed plans to get money back from 61 people who owed $871,892. Three others had died after January 2017 and owed $64,220.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article191241699.html

Friday News: YOYO

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IN ABSENCE OF FEDERAL AID, TEXAS HURRICANE VICTIMS FORCED TO RELY HEAVILY ON CHARITIES: The groups helping to rebuild on the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey have collected close to $1 billion in donations, according to an Associated Press tally of major national and local organizations. Much of that money is already being put to work after Harvey, which ravaged cities in Southeast Texas in August with high winds before dumping record amounts of rain on the rest of the coast, including Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city. Of the $928 million raised by major groups involved in the recovery, the most money has been collected by the Red Cross, which said this month that it's raised $493 million for Harvey relief. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is operating the relief fund endorsed by Houston's top elected leaders, has raised more than $108 million. The Rebuild Texas Fund, administered by the family foundation of computer magnate Michael Dell, has raised more than $89 million. The evangelical group Samaritan's Purse has also raised $86 million. United Way has raised more than $54 million.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article191182979.html

Thursday News: Deplorables

"SPORTSWRITER" WHO POSTED RACIST AND SEXIST TWEETS DURING DUKE GAME HAD EXPIRED CREDENTIALS: Jeffery D. Ugino, an attorney representing College Insider, said in an email Wednesday that Stansberry was last paid by the publication in March 2014. “College Insider has had no contact with Ms. Stansberry in years,” Ugino wrote. “His tweets are deplorable and reprehensible. He should never be credentialed by any school again. College Insider stands with the Duke community in condemning Mr. Stansberry's actions. There is no place for this type of behavior at Duke, college basketball or any place else.” One tweet read, “The Asian chick Cameron Crazies behind me are openly swooning over Grayson Allen the way their moms swooned over Cheap Trick.” he other tweet was a photo of Chen and her friends accompanied by the text, “I haven’t been this scrunched up with Asian chicks since I came out of my Korean mother’s womb.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/duke/article190923764.html

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