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Thursday News: Sorry, NC farmers


REPUBLICANS SCREW UP NC MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL: Pat Oglesby, a former business and law professor at UNC who has worked on medical marijuana issues in other states, told lawmakers Tuesday that they should reconsider the part of the bill related to who can get a license to grow medical marijuana in North Carolina. The current version would require a grower to previously have had “at least five years of experience in cultivation, production, extraction, product development, quality control, and inventory management of medical cannabis in a state-licensed medical or adult use cannabis operation.” Oglesby said this isn’t about something like building a nuclear power plant; it’s about growing a plant, and North Carolinians can do that. But there’s probably almost no one in North Carolina who would technically qualify under those rules, Oglesby said. I wonder if they even asked Steve Troxler about this?

Wednesday News: Tarheel Taliban


MARK ROBINSON TAKES HIS "TEACHER INDOCTRINATION" CRUSADE TO THE NEXT STEP: Some North Carolina teachers are misusing their position to indoctrinate and influence students, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson claimed in a report he released Tuesday. The “Indoctrination in North Carolina Public Education Report” comes as Robinson and other state Republican leaders are trying to pass legislation that would put new rules on how schools teach about race and racism. GOP leaders say the report, which they insisted is not meant to be a teacher witch hunt, shows that there’s a need to pass legislation regulating what’s taught in schools. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg teacher Justin Parmenter says the complaints he got from the task force as part of a public records request were “dominated by white racial resentment.” I don't believe a damn word coming out of Robinson's mouth. Trump 2.0.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


PISTOL PURCHASE PERMIT REPEAL ENDANGERS LIVES, MUST BE VETOED: The federal system only involves gun purchases from a “Federal Firearms Licensee.” There are NO checks for guns purchased from individuals or at gun shows. The system also only tracks and accounts criminal convictions – NOT recent arrests, pending charges that might have been dropped or if someone’s in the midst of a legal proceeding concerning a domestic abuse or violence restraint order. Current law requires sheriffs to both check the national system as well as criminal history from the state Administrative Office of the Courts. State Sen. Natasha Marcus, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, says in the last fiscal year more than 2,300 Mecklenburg County permit applicants passed the “National Instant Criminal Background Check System” but not the local background review. And that's why they want it repealed, so they can game the system.

Saturday News: Get. Your. Shot.

RALEIGH'S HOPSCOTCH MUSIC FESTIVAL WILL REQUIRE VACCINE CARD: In order to gain entry, attendees will need to show their vaccination card, a photocopy of it, or photograph of it on their phone, or they’ll need to show negative test result for the virus obtained within 72 hours “for each day that you attend the festival,” organizers said in an announcement on the festival’s website. Attendees must also bring photo ID. The festival is also strongly encouraging attendees to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status or seating location. And while the festival will be held at outdoor stages in Downtown Raleigh, event organizers reminded patrons that masks will be required at all indoor spaces, per the city’s recently adopted mask mandate.

Friday News: God bless Canton


FLOODING IN NC MOUNTAIN AREAS CAUSED BY FRED IS HORRIFIC: The water that tore through Pressley’s home on Tuesday, caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred, killed at least two people and has left 20 more missing as of Thursday, according to officials with Haywood County Emergency Services. The identities of the deceased have not yet been released. Emergency crews from around the state are on the ground to assist local personnel from the small towns that make up this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains region. The area is popular with tourists, campers and hikers, known for its scenic mountain views and beautiful rivers. But on Thursday, crews were searching for people who went missing shortly after the Pigeon River had crested its banks. Haywood County Emergency Services director Travis Donaldson said a search mission is underway by close to 200 personnel, along 47 miles of riverbank.

Thursday News: Reckless endangerment


ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT ON BILL THAT WOULD GET RID OF PISTOL PERMITS: Under state law, handgun buyers must obtain a permit from a local sheriff and undergo a background check. But House Bill 398, which is currently in the Senate, would repeal the permit requirement. On Wednesday, Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, called the permit law the “backbone of public safety in North Carolina.” Gerald Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, said the issue should not be partisan. “This issue is not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans,” he said. “It’s about us doing the work that we can to prevent homicides as well as suicides.” On Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, called the permit law “one of our most effective tools to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, felons and other dangerous people.” Bolding mine, because those are not random potential victims, they are specific targets for abusive husbands and boyfriends. We need to watch more closely, not back off.

Wednesday News: Losing the best and brightest

SUSAN KING, UNC'S DEAN OF JOURNALISM, IS STEPPING DOWN: Susan King announced that this will be her last year as dean in her weekly email newsletter to journalism faculty. “I believe after 10 years a new dean will bring fresh eyes, additional perspective and new energy to our school,” King wrote. The news comes on the heels of journalist Nikole-Hannah Jones’s tenure controversy that placed the UNC-CH journalism school in the national spotlight earlier this summer. King, 74, said she never intended to stay on as dean for more than a decade, but plans to return as a tenured faculty member after a leave. “Media — journalism, public relations and advertising — are in a state of great change,” she wrote, noting that it is not the same world or business that it was in 2012 when she arrived on campus. Can't say I blame her, but damn.

Monday News: Preventable problems


NC HAS A CRITICAL TEACHER SHORTAGE: A spokeswoman for the State Department of Public Instruction said the state's overall vacancy rate has actually held stable despite the pandemic, and it's expected to improve by the end of September. But the N.C. Association of Educators says statewide numbers don't tell the whole story. They say teachers are leaving the state or the profession due to low pay and lack of respect. The group held a news conference Friday with teachers, parents and students to discuss the chronic shortage of licensed, permanent teachers in classrooms. Phillip Gillis, a teacher and vice chair of the Person County School Board, said his county's vacancy rate is over 13%, which he called "alarming." When his district gets extra money from the county or state, it has to be spent on fixing crumbling buildings, not on teacher supplements, Gillis said. "We do all we can," he explained. "We work with our county commissioners, we work with our local government. We do what we can in Person County. We cannot compete with the tax base of larger counties and larger cities."

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


AS DEADLY VIRUS SPREADS, LEGISLATORS FIDDLE WITH PARTISAN VACCINE POLITICS: In their letter these legislators say they are worried about the “valid concerns” of workers. They “strongly encourage” employers get “greater input from employees” as well as “include feedback and consideration of employees and staff.” These legislators aren’t fooling these hospital executives nor anyone else. Their main concern isn’t workers’ rights, or more tragically the good health of North Carolinians. The only thing they care about is appealing to a narrow political base to promote a divisive issue embedded in their baseless and dangerous anti-vaccination ideology. Clearly in this very real life-and-death situation nothing is gets in the way of their obsessive quest for a political wedge and a campaign edge. It is unfortunate they don’t have the same devotion to helping stop the spread of the virus and avoid the skyrocketing number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Saturday News: The high cost of ignorance


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC ARE CLOSE TO 2,500: With over 6,600 new COVID cases on Friday, North Carolina has averaged 5,182 new cases per day over the past week, the highest rate since early February when the pandemic was just coming down from its winter peak. At the beginning of July, the seven-day average was below 300. As of Friday, 2,483 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, the 34th consecutive day that number has increased. A quarter of those patients, 635, are being treated in intensive care units. A week ago there were 424 adult COVID patients statewide in ICU, a number that has since grown by nearly 50%. Among the tests reported Wednesday, the latest data available, 11.6% returned positive. The rate has been over 10% for 12 straight days.


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