Today's daily clips from the NCDP
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Hurricane Michael 

Hurricane Michael is now category 2, on path to hit Carolinas after Florida landfall
N&O // Aaron Moody & Mark Price // October 9, 2018

Summary: Hurricane Michael became a Category 2 hurricane early Tuesday and should reach Category 3 by the time it makes landfall Wednesday and begins a predicted trek toward the Carolinas, says the National Hurricane Center. Category 3 hurricanes are considered “major” and have winds in the 111 to 129 mph range. The storm, which now has 100 mph winds, is expected to hit Florida somewhere between Panama City and Tallahassee, reports CNN. It will bring life-threatening flash flooding to the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend region of the state, says the hurricane center. Winds of 50 to 70 mph will be felt in parts of the Carolinas as early as 8 p.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center says.

Death Toll

Who decides that a death was caused by Hurricane Florence? And why does it matter?
Charlotte Observer // Richard Stradling // October 8, 2018

Summary: Both men died when they fell — one from a ladder, the other from a roof — while they were cleaning up after Hurricane Florence even as the storm was still causing rivers to rise in Eastern North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper announced last Tuesday that they were the 38th and 39th people in North Carolina to lose their lives as a result of the storm. It had taken 10 days for the two men to officially be added to the storm’s death toll. The lag time illustrates how difficult it can be to fully account for the number of deaths caused by a natural disaster as large and widespread as a hurricane. That they were added to the list at all shows how important that full accounting is. The death toll is an important way of measuring the magnitude of a storm like Florence; at each one of his daily briefings after the hurricane, Cooper always provided the latest number. But emergency managers say the most meaningful information is how those people died.

Nearly Half of Tar Heels Killed by Hurricane Florence Were 70 or Older
NC Health News // Thomas Goldsmith // October 8, 2018

Summary: Hurricane Florence hit older Tar Heels harder. That’s the takeaway from a state-compiled list of the adults who died as a result of the catastrophic storm. It shows that two out of three North Carolinians who died during or as a result of Florence were 60 or older, and nearly half were 70 or older. The median age of adults who died during or as a result of the storm was 67, while the statewide median age is 38.3.

He died Sept. 20. Hurricane Florence is now being blamed.
N&O // Richard Stradling // October 8, 2018

Summary: More than three weeks after Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, state officials have attributed another death to the storm. A 68-year-old man in Onslow County died of “natural disease exacerbated by storm cleanup,” according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which determines whether a death is related to the storm. The addition brings the official death toll from Florence in North Carolina to 40. The man died on Sept. 20, according to the medical examiner’s records. He was added to the list of 39 other storm-related deaths on Monday, a sign of how slow and difficult it can be to get a full accounting of a storm’s death toll.

Housing Impact

Hundreds In Shelters 3 Weeks After Florence Reached Land
WFAE // AP // October 6, 2018

Summary: Hundreds of displaced residents remained in eastern North Carolina shelters three weeks after Hurricane Florence's eye reached the Atlantic coast. The state emergency management office says 11 shelters counted 625 people early Friday, compared with the 22,000 people in over 100 shelters when the storm arrived. Emergency management office spokesman Keith Acree said 1,000 other people are benefiting from a government program that provides temporary housing such as hotel rooms while more permanent housing is located.Rescue/Recovery

Agricultural Impact

WWAY // AP // October 8, 2018

Summary: North Carolina’s agriculture agency asked state legislators Monday for over $300 million to address cleanup and recovery after Hurricane Florence, with most going toward direct payments to farmers who lost crops and livestock to help them stay in business. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the impassioned pitch to a General Assembly committee a week before the legislature reconvenes to take its second step in addressing last month’s massive rains and historic flooding. “This is an unprecedented crisis for North Carolina agriculture. Florence was an unprecedented storm that could not have come at a worse time for agriculture,” Troxler told the agriculture oversight panel. Some key legislators, however, wanted more information before endorsing the payment program. Troxler said without substantial state assistance, some agriculture communities won’t survive.

Lawmakers leery of handing money out to farmers after Florence
WRAL // Matthew Burns // October 8, 2018

Summary: State agriculture officials pressed lawmakers Monday for financial assistance to North Carolina farmers reeling after Hurricane Florence, but some members of an oversight committee expressed reservations about handing money directly over to farmers. Florence caused an estimated $1.1 billion in agricultural losses, which Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said was more than double the damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew two years ago. The storm hit right at the beginning of the fall harvest, so crops still in the fields were a total loss, he said. "This is an unprecedented crisis for North Carolina agriculture," Troxler told members of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources. "Without substantial state assistance, our agriculture community is simply not going to survive."

Environmental Impact

Over Flo: Florence caused slew of sewage spills
Star News // Adam Wagner // October 8, 2018
Summary: More than 23 million gallons of sewage were spilled in Brunswick and New Hanover counties as Hurricane Florence affected the area, including a Carolina Beach spill that is North Carolina’s fourth-largest since 2000. “Some of them were areas that were just completely inundated, and they were conditions that the systems were never designed for. Some of them were loss of power,” said Jim Flechtner, the executive director for Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA), which reported 21 spills resulting from Florence. N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff are reviewing each reported spill to determine how much sewage was actually spilled and if the facility could have done anything differently to avoid sending sewage into public waterways, said Michael Regan, DEQ’s secretary. “If they have done anything that has contributed to the exacerbation of exposure to pollution, we will hold them accountable,” he said. “If they have found themselves in a situation that this is purely an act of nature that is unavoidable, then we’re going to begin to engage with them in conversations about what we need to do to strengthen those facilities.”
‘Explosively breeding’ toads are literally dropping from above in NC, experts say
N&O // Mark Price // October 8, 2018

Summary: A population explosion of tens of thousands of frogs and toads has emerged on North Carolina’s coastal plain, leading to social media reports of frogs found hopping on kitchen counters, crawling in beds and even falling on people as they step outside. “They’re all over my windows...I had one jump on my face laying in bed,” one unhappy Manteo resident told the Outer Banks Voice last week. “And I had another in the kitchen on the cutting board. (They’re) everywhere!” Blaming Hurricane Florence’s record-setting floods for this Biblical-style plague is justified but not entirely accurate, experts told the Charlotte Observer. What’s happened, says state biologist Jeff Hall, is a convergence of two types of frog and toad population explosions along the coast.

Coal ash flooding didn’t harm Cape Fear River, NC regulators say
N&O // John Murawski // October 4, 2018

Summary: Flooding from Hurricane Florence that submerged a Duke Energy coal ash storage area in Wilmington did not contaminate the Cape Fear River, according to North Carolina’s environmental agency. “Test results show all metals below state water quality standards with the exception of dissolved copper,” the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement. The laboratory results from the agency contradict warnings issued Wednesday by the Waterkeeper Alliance and Earthjustice that coal ash contamination in Sutton Lake, at the Cape Fear River, was “insanely toxic” with coal ash, and that arsenic levels there were 71 times higher than the state safety standard for water quality.

Future Planning 

Seize the moment: A checklist for rebuilding eastern NC after Hurricane Florence
NC Policy Watch // Alexandra Forter Sirota // October 8, 2018

Summary: The damage to communities and the lives of thousands of people in eastern North Carolina from Hurricane Florence is clear. The recovery process presents tremendous opportunities for North Carolina to rebuild with an eye towards a future where communities are resilient, local economies are inclusive and institutions—public and private—are committed to serving the community. To do so, state policymakers must make critical investments and ensure that those dollars are not displacing other investments. 
Taking Back North Carolina
American Prospect // Kirk Ross // October 8, 2018

Summary: By Labor Day, the traditional start of campaign season, Marcus Bass had already logged thousands of miles crisscrossing the state working on turnout in the 2018 election. Bass is Deputy Director of the North Carolina Black Alliance, and like thousands of his fellow organizers and activists, he’s driven this year by the sense that there’s a lot more on the line in the ninth-largest state than voters may realize. It’s frustrating, he says, that deeply purple North Carolina is too often cast as another Deep South story. The lurch right by the legislature over the past decade cloaks a long history of social justice organizing that has given progressives the means to push back against the right’s agenda. “We’re not an Alabama,” he says. “North Carolina has consistently given the national audience an understanding of what the threats are and what the fight back is.” 

Ex-Attorney General Holder visiting North Carolina for Democrats
Fayetteville Observer // AP // October 8, 2018
Summary: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has gotten involved in North Carolina politics as head of a Democratic group, so he’ll visit the state this week to support a Supreme Court candidate and legislative hopefuls. Holder planned to attend a Charlotte news conference Monday with Democrat Anita Earls, who is trying to unseat Justice Barbara Jackson next month. He’ll visit Democratic campaign offices in Huntersville later Monday and Greensboro on Tuesday. Workers there are trying to end Republican veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate.

EXCLUSIVE POLL: NC Weighs in on 2018 Elections, Cooper, Trump
Spectrum News // Staff // October 8, 2018

Summary: Spectrum News, in association with SurveyUSA, has conducted an exclusive survey of 1,032 registered voters in North Carolina to probe their opinions on topics such as the 2018 November elections, approval ratings for President Donald Trump, and Governor Roy Cooper. 

In North Carolina, President Trump Antagonizes More Voters Than He Energizes; Democrats Have Slight Advantage 
Survey USA // Survey USA // October 8, 2018

Summary: A polarized North Carolina electorate has 4 weeks to return a ballot in what may be the most contentious midterm election ever, according to SurveyUSA research conducted for Spectrum News North Carolina. When likely voters are asked how they will vote in their local contest for NC general assembly, 47% say they will vote for the Democratic candidate, 42% say they will vote for the Republican candidate. When likely voters are asked how they will vote in their local contest for U.S. House of Representative, 48% say they will vote for the Democratic candidate, 43% say they will vote for the Republican candidate. In both cases, moderates break decisively for the Democrat.  President Donald Trump's Net Job Approval in North Carolina is Minus 8: 42% of registered voters statewide approve of the job that Trump is doing as President, 50% disapprove. Among likely voters, 46% say that Trump makes them more likely to vote Democratic, 33% say that Trump makes them more likely to vote Republican. 21% --- disproportionately independents --- say Trump has no impact on how they will vote in 2018.  In the election for North Carolina Supreme Court, Anita Earls at 43% is comfortably ahead of 2 Republican challengers, Chris Anglin at 22% and Barbara Jackson at 15%. Earls leads narrowly among white voters, where she gets 30% of the vote, but leads overwhelmingly among African American voters, where she gets 80% of the vote. 

Survey of battleground House districts shows Democrats with narrow edge
WAPO // Scott Clement, Dan Balz // October 8, 2018

Summary: Likely voters who live in 69 battleground House districts across the country narrowly prefer Democratic candidates, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School survey, a potentially worrying sign for Republicans given that the overwhelming percentage of these districts are currently in GOP hands. With just a month to the midterm elections and with early voting set to begin in many states, the new poll highlights the challenge for Republicans as they seek to maintain their House majority at a time when President Trump’s approval rating remains below 50 percent despite sustained economic growth, low unemployment and a rising stock market.

Early Voting

Some Counties Cut Early Voting Sites Because Of New Requirements
WFAE // Alex Olgin // October 8, 2018

Summary: All early voting locations across North Carolina will now have to be open the same weekday hours — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Lawmakers changed this over the summer after county budgets were already set, causing local elections directors to scramble. In some counties, it means fewer places for people to vote early. Gaston County Elections Director Adam Ragan had planned on having five early voting locations spread out throughout the county. But now, he can only afford to have three.


Editorial: Demand legislative candidates pledge to end partisan gerrymandering
WRAL // CBC Opinion // October 9, 2018

Summary: Two years ago 53 percent of North Carolina voters picked Republicans to represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. But Republicans occupy 77 percent (10) of the state’s 13 seats in the U.S. House. In that same election, 55 percent of North Carolina voters picked Republicans to represent them in the state Senate. But Republicans hold 70 percent (35) of the 50 Senate seats. In the election for the 120 members of the state House of Representatives, 52 percent of North Carolina voters picked Republicans. Yet, Republicans are sitting in 62 percent (64) of the state House seats. How can that be? Gerrymandering. Is it fair or legal? No – as courts have repeatedly ruled.


Editorial: Legislative candidates - Answer 'yes' when asked to expand Medicaid
WRAL // CBC Opinion // October 6, 2018

Summary: Among the critical issues before candidates for the North Carolina General Assembly, there is one more than any other that commands a simple and direct response. Will you vote to abolish the prohibition and expand Medicaid health coverage to the more than 625,000 North Carolinians who don’t get it now even though they are eligible under current federal law? Since 2013, the majority in the legislature has not simply blocked expansion, it has explicitly forbidden it. There are 71 Republicans on the November ballot who voted for the prohibition. Their names, and the counties they represent, are listed below. We hope they’ve seen the error of their ways and changed their minds. Given past behavior, we aren’t optimistic but still are hopeful. Medicaid expansion isn’t some wild, radical notion. There are 34 states including Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, that have done it.

Water Quality 

‘Unhealthy levels’ of chemicals likely in thousands of Wake County wells
N&O // Anna Johnson // October 8, 2018

Summary: Thousands of people in eastern Wake County are likely drinking water with “unhealthy levels” of radiological chemicals. After testing hundreds of wells, Wake County estimates about one in five wells in eastern Wake County exceed the safe drinking-water standards for uranium and radium. Some test results show levels 10 to 20 times higher than the standard.


Veterans are running as Democrats, and the GOP is scrambling to respond
McClatchy // Katie Gleuck // September 24, 2018

Summary: One Republican ad questioned a combat soldier’s commitment to helping other veterans. Another struck a sinister tone in referencing a veteran’s Marine Corps t-shirt. And in yet another congressional district, the GOP candidate implied that ideas don’t matter in the military, prompting backlash from a major veterans-related group. In the homestretch of a brutal 2018 congressional campaign season, some Republicans — long accustomed to the support of national security-focused voters — are struggling to respond to the unusually large number of military veterans running as Democrats in districts from Kentucky to Maine. They are grasping for ways to talk about those contenders without appearing dismissive of their service — and without opening up more avenues for their opponents to highlight personal stories of heroism, a challenging balance in some of the most high-profile House races in the country.

Supreme Court

Former US attorney general backs Earls for NC Supreme Court
Eric Holder supports former Justice Dept. colleague

The Charlotte Post // Herbert L. White // October 8, 2018

Summary: Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is backing Anita Earls' campaign for a seat on the N.C. Supreme Court. Holder, who was the nation’s top law enforcement official from 2009-15, was in Charlotte Monday to stump for Earls, a Democrat who has made a name for herself as a litigator against gerrymandered voting districts. “I am here in North Carolina to make very clear I support 100 percent the candidacy of Anita Earls to be on the North Carolina Supreme Court,” Holder said. “…We worked in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., and I know her record. She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s independent and she will be fair. She will be a great candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court.”

SD19/HD43/HD5 Forum 

Schools, taxes, pollution among NC House, Senate candidate forum issues
Fayetteville Observer // Rodger Mullen // October 7, 2018
Summary: With election day less than a month away, candidates for N.C. House and Senate gathered for a forum at the Headquarters Cumberland County Public Library Sunday afternoon. Senate District 19 candidates Kirk deViere and Wesley Meredith, House District 44 candidates Billy Richardson and Linda Devore, House District 43 candidates Elmer Floyd and John Czajkowski and House District 45 candidate John Szoka participated in the forum, which was hosted by the Fayetteville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Meredith is a Republican and incumbent, DeViere is a Democrat. Richardson is a Democrat and incumbent, Devore is a Republican. Floyd is a Democrat and incumbent, Czajkowski is a Republican. Szoka is a Republican and incumbent. The questions, which came from both the NAACP and members of the audience, touched on proposed state constitutional amendments, GenX and other pollutants, education funding and the expansion of the Medicaid program.


Faircloth challenger objects to state GOP mailer implying she's New Yorker when she's not
HP Enterprise // Paul B. Johnson // October 9, 2018

Summary: The mailer proclaims that she is a 'New York liberal,' 'not one of us' and features a backdrop of the New York City skyline.


Meet the candidates of the NC 63rd House District
WXII // Bill O'Neil // October 5, 2018

Summary: Meet the candidates running to represent the NC 63rd House District in the November election.


Candidate profile: Chuck McGrady, NC House District 117 race
BlueRidgeNow // Staff // October 7, 2018
Summary: Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. I’m running for re-election to complete my work on a wide range of issues — issues which I’m proud to say I’ve already made tremendous progress on. And as a budget chair, I’m in a unique position to secure funding for projects here in Henderson County and across all of Western North Carolina. Some of the projects I’ve already worked on here locally and in some cases secured major funding for will continue to have my attention. These include: the WNC Medical School, upgrading the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center, improvements to DuPont State Recreational Forest (which, along with Headwaters State Forest, I helped make a reality), continued Hemlock restoration efforts, increasing inpatient behavior health beds at Mission, Asheville Regional Airport, Hendersonville’s Downtown Revitalization Grant, Pisgah Legal Services, Muddy Sneakers and the Hickory Nut Gorge Trail.


NC Senate 27th district Guilford County... Trudy Wade vs. Michael Garrett.
WXII // Bill Oneil // October 8, 2018
Summary: NC Senate 27th district Guilford County... Trudy Wade vs. Michael Garrett.


Sen. Krawiec says racist meme on FB page escaped her notice
Triad City Beat // Jordan Green // October 8, 2018

Summary: For almost four weeks state Sen. Joyce Krawiec’s personal Facebook page displayed a racist meme depicting Barack Obama with racially caricatured protruding lips and the text, “Me, me, me… yes, me” — an apparent attempt to portray the former president as a childish narcissist. If the meme itself is only mildly racist, the personalized text in the post is overtly so. A woman named Joan Fleming shared the post to Krawiec’s page, writing, “This is for Krissi…she’s always like this monkey!!”

NC- 9

In a close NC congressional race, VP’s wife makes a pitch for the women’s vote
N&O // Jim Morrill // October 8, 2018

Summary: With two high-profile events, supporters of Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris are taking aim for what’s likely to be the largest group of voters in next month’s elections: Women. Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Mike Pence, headlined a Monday rally in Charlotte and kicked off a bus tour for a group called Women for Harris. On Tuesday Fox News contributor Kimberly Guilfoyle will appear at another Charlotte rally. Pence underscored the importance of the 9th District contest. “This race could be the one it comes down to to keeping Republicans in the majority in the House,” she said. Her appearance came the day a new poll showed women driving a slight Democratic advantage in 69 House battlegrounds across the country, including North Carolina’s 9th District. The Washington Post-Schar School survey of 2,672 likely voters showed women back Democrats by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent.
Prosecutor asks SBI to review allegations raised about House speaker Moore
N&O // Dan Kane // October 8, 2018
Summary: Two years after then-House Rules Chairman Tim Moore’s legislation rescued a controversial south Durham mixed-use land project and boosted a high-end residential community next door, one of the developers took him on as his lawyer. And two years after that, the same developer, Neal Hunter, gave Moore a legal services contract for a Durham-based pharmaceutical company Hunter had recently co-founded, paying him $40,000 for four months of work largely related to how federal tax law treated such startups. Moore, a Cleveland County Republican who became House speaker in 2015, disclosed those details in an interview Friday about his private legal work. He was adamant he never mixed that work with his legislative duties. But a state prosecutor told The News & Observer she has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into concerns about Moore’s work for Hunter and a separate case where Moore’s private legal work preceded controversial state legislation involving bail agents. “Certainly, the allegations in both of these (cases), if they bear out to be true, seem to suggest a pattern of the use of public position for personal gain,” Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said. She said her inquiry is not a criminal investigation.

Prosecutor seeks review of legislative leader's legal work
WSOC // AP // October 8, 2018

Summary: A North Carolina prosecutor has asked investigators to look into concerns about legal work performed by one of the legislature's top leaders, but House Speaker Tim Moore says he has never mixed that work with his lawmaking duties.
The News & Observer reports that Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look into Moore's work for developer Neal Hunter's pharmaceutical company. Previously, Moore's legislation had rescued a Durham project involving Hunter. Freeman also asked the SBI to investigate Moore's private legal work preceding legislation involving bail agents. The inquiry isn't a criminal investigation, she said. "Certainly, the allegations in both of these (cases), if they bear out to be true, seem to suggest a pattern of the use of public position for personal gain," Freeman said.

Wake DA looks at House speaker's roles as private attorney, public legislator
WRAL // Travis Fain // October 8, 2018
Summary: The Wake County District Attorney's Office is probing some of House Speaker Tim Moore's legal dealings in what the chief prosecutor stressed Monday is "not at the level of a criminal investigation." District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has talked with the State Bureau of Investigation about the inquiry, though, which she said is not unusual "as part of a preliminary review." Freeman said she hasn't formally asked the SBI to get involved and that her office is reviewing allegations against the speaker to determine what next steps, if any, are appropriate. "All we're doing at this point is, we've
received some allegations," Freeman said. We're reviewing them, but there is no criminal investigation at this point." 

House Speaker's one-time fiancée only person considered for two state jobs
WRAL // Travis Fain // October 5, 2018

Summary: A woman who was, at one point, House Speaker Tim Moore's fiancée was the only person considered for a pair of state jobs after the speaker's office forwarded her resume – and only her resume – for consideration. The second job, her current one, was created by the General Assembly through a 2017 budget bill. Jennifer Gray spent about nine years with the Wake County District Attorney's Office before joining the state Department of Insurance, where she works with local prosecutors to shepherd fraud cases through the courts. These cases lingered in the past, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said, and last year, the General Assembly added about 30 positions at the department to investigate and help prosecute them. Gray was hired at the department before those jobs existed, as an attorney at an annual salary of $82,000. Department General Counsel John Hoomani said Gray was the only person considered for that job and that her resume came from Moore's office. It was the only resume the office forwarded for the job, Hoomani said.

New Questions Emerge As Officials Explain Job Given to Speaker Moore’s Girlfriend
Checks & Balances Project // Staff // October 5, 2018

Summary: The day after our story that asked about a newly created, high-paying job given to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore’s girlfriend, Jennifer Gray, was published, we received a call from an official at the Department of Insurance (DOI). “We can see how you were confused,” said Marla Sink, deputy commissioner for communications, who proposed a conference call to clear things up. Information previously provided by DOI officials was conflicting as to whether the job given to Ms. Gray was a political patronage position. And they had refused to explain themselves.On October 1, during our conference call, DOI General Counsel John Hoomani explained why no other candidates were considered for the job given to Ms. Gray. Paperwork had been properly filed, including a copy to Speaker Moore, to make the position “policy-making exempt.” Meaning, the requirements of regular state jobs — such as being selected from a pool of applicants with no political influence — did not have to be followed. To back up his claim, Hoomani provided documents.

High-Paying State Government Job Given to Speaker Tim Moore’s Girlfriend Raises Questions
Checks & Balances Project // Staff // September 27, 2018

Summary: Attorney Jennifer Gray was given the newly-created position of associate general counsel of the North Carolina Dept. of Insurance (DOI) on March 6, 2017. A month later, at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase, she was photographed standing next to powerful House Speaker Tim Moore. According to two sources, Speaker Moore and Ms. Gray are engaged to be married.

Governor redirects $25M to repair schools hit by Florence
WRAL // Staff // October 8, 2018
Summary: North Carolina's governor is taking hold of state lottery profits and sending $25 million to repair schools with immediate needs after damage caused by Hurricane Florence. Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday he's acting to speed up repairs, with priority in eight counties hit the hardest. Cooper's office says seven public school systems remain closed since last month's storm, keeping nearly 90,000 students out of classrooms in more than 130 schools.

Gov. Cooper sends $25 million in lottery funds to fix NC schools damaged by Florence
N&O // T. Keung Hui // October 8, 2018

Summary: Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday that he’s sending $25 million from the North Carolina Education Lottery Fund to speed up repairs to K-12 schools damaged by Hurricane Florence. Florence damaged schools across the state last month, with Cooper saying Monday that several school districts remain closed, keeping more than 130 schools serving nearly 90,000 out of class. Cooper said the lottery funds will help because affected school districts have used up most of their contingency funds and need immediate help to repair roofs, flooring and electrical wiring, to eradicate mold and mildew and to replace furniture to get schools reopened. “Students need to get back to learning and educators need to get back to teaching, but many school districts can’t afford the repairs schools need,” Cooper said in a news release. “The lives of thousands of students, teachers and families are on hold and they need our help to recover.”

Cooper swiftly reinstates boards, commissions to help hurricane recovery
Progressive Pulse // Melissa Boughton // October 9, 2018

Summary: Gov. Roy Cooper is reconstituting six state boards and commissions to ensure the continuity of effort related to Hurricane Florence recovery, his office reported Monday. A three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court in August declared unconstitutional the statutes which provided for the appointment of members to six state boards and commissions, leaving these boards unable to operate. Those boards are: Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees; Parks and Recreation Authority; Private Protective Services Board; State Building Commission; Child Care Commission; and Rural Infrastructure Authority. Cooper signed six executive orders — in accordance with state law and consistent with the court order — reestablishing the continued operation of those six boards and commissions that have final executive decision-making authority.

Cooper cites Florence, court order; re-establishes six state agencies
Carolina Journal // Dan Way // October 8, 2018

Summary: Gov. Roy Cooper says the urgency of dealing with Hurricane Florence recovery led him to sign executive orders re-establishing six state agencies tied up in litigation with the General Assembly. The Democratic governor’s office said in a written statement Monday his actions involve the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Board of Trustees; Parks and Recreation Authority; Private Protective Services Board; State Building Commission; Child Care Commission; and Rural Infrastructure Authority. The boards and commissions were part of a lawsuit Cooper brought in May 2017 against Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Speaker Moore, R-Cleveland. The governor contended the lawmakers violated separation of powers by radically changing the structure and composition of key boards and commissions. “Because, in part, of the widespread damage wrought by this storm, it is urgent that the Governor’s Office take swift action to reconstitute these boards and commissions so they can conduct the state’s business,” the release said. Several have meetings scheduled in the coming weeks that directly affect North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence.

Washington, N.C.-based Guard sergeant killed in Afghanistan
OuterBanks Voice // Staff // October 8, 2018
Summary: Gov. Roy Cooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff Tuesday in honor of North Carolina Army National Guard Sgt. James Allen Slape, 23, of Morehead City, who was killed in Afghanistan Oct. 4. Slape was promoted to the rank of sergeant posthumously, the Department of Defense said in a news release. He was killed by an improvised explosive device. Slape was assigned to state Army National Guard’s 60th Troop Command, 430th Explosive Ordnance Company, based in Washington, North Carolina. “We are deeply saddened by the news of Sgt. James Slape losing his life while serving our country,’ said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, the guard’s adjutant general. “We honor his courage, his selfless service and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends, and fellow soldiers as we hold them firmly in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time.” Slape’s unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Resolute Support, in April 2018. The unit is scheduled to return to the U.S. in the spring of 2019.

Flags to be lowered in fallen North Carolina soldier’s honor
Fayetteville Observer // AP // October 8, 2018
Summary: North Carolina’s governor has ordered flags lowered to half-staff in honor of a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered United States and North Carolina flags lowered on Tuesday in honor of 23-year-old Sgt. James Allen Slape of Morehead City. Slape died Thursday from wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. In a statement released Monday, Slape’s family says there are no words to express how much they already miss him. Slape’s wife, Shawn, says they always playfully argued about who loved the other more, but he loved her more “as he literally put his life on the line for myself and the rest of our country.” The explosive ordinance specialist joined up in 2013. He’s the 26th North Carolina Army National Guard soldier killed in action since 2001.

Flags in NC Lowered In Honor of Sgt. James Allen Slape; Family's Moving Messages
WFMY // WFMY Digital // October 8, 2018
Summary: Governor Roy Cooper has ordered all United States and North Carolina flags at state facilities to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, October 9. The reason for the flag lowering is to show honor to North Carolina Army National Guard Sergeant James Allen Slape of Morehead City.

Charlotte Talks Midterm Election Special Oct. 23
WFAE // WFAE // October 8, 2018

Summary: With the midterm election only weeks away, Mike Collins will preview the races in WFAE's "Charlotte Talks Midterm Election Special," which will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Booth Playhouse. Robin Hayes, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, along with Wayne Goodwin, the chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, will join Catawba College political professor Michael Bitzer as panelists.

NC Education

CMS Will Boost Pay For School Bus Drivers In Effort To Attract, Retain More Drivers
WFAE // Gwendolyn Glenn // October 8, 2018

Summary: CMS officials have received lots of complaints from parents this year about buses being late. They blame it on a shortage of drivers. Today a pay raise for bus drivers was announced as a way to recruit and retain more drivers.  Effective this month, the starting pay for CMS bus drivers will go from $12.87 an hour to $15. School officials say about 700 drivers were making less than that amount. Long-time drivers who were paid $15 an hour or more will get a 50 cents an hour raise. Jemelia Bigby has been driving for CMS for 10 years. She’s one of about 300 veteran drivers who will receive the 50 cents pay boost.

CMS Wins Award For Report Highlighting Racial, Economic Disparities In District
WFAE // WFAE // October 8, 2018

Summary: The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board of education has received a national award for work highlighting student achievement gaps based on race and poverty. The district was recognized by the Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) and given the 2018 Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence for its “Breaking the Link” report. The CMS school board was also given $2,500 as part of the award. Board of Education Chair Mary McCray said board members are “very pleased” that the district’s report was given national recognition. “We are committed to equity and excellence, and ‘Breaking the Link’ is a critical first step to achieving both,” McCray said in a statement. “Breaking the Link,” which the district released in February, found that the academic performance of low-income students and students of color was consistently lower than that of their white, affluent peers. The report also found that economically disadvantaged and minority students were concentrated in about a third of the district’s schools.

Climate Change 

Climate change is real and it’s caused by humans, NC’s community leaders say
Charlotte Observer // John Murawski // October 8, 2018
Summary: While the nation is divided on the question of global warming, North Carolina’s business and cultural leaders overwhelmingly believe that climate change is real and that human activities are contributing to the problem. The angst is shared across the ideological spectrum, though finding a consensus on solutions is another matter. Many also voiced frustration that the state legislature barred the use of scientific climate projections to guide growth planning policy. But that frustration is balanced by an acknowledgment that some of the most widely publicized environmental risks — such as coal ash basins and hog waste lagoons — are tied to industries that anchor the economy, employing thousands of people and serving millions of customers. The state’s leaders in business, politics and culture offered their thoughts on climate change, sea level rise and sustainable development as part of the NC Influencers series for The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and The Herald-Sun. Their solutions ranged from minimalist strategies in a bid to protect local economies from costly regulation, to ambitious goals that would tame the waters on a scale suggesting the canals of Venice or the locks of Holland.

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
NY Times // Coral Davenport // October 7, 2018

Summary: A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.” The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

Atlantic Coast Pipeline 

‘Mitigation’ money from Atlantic Coast Pipeline nowhere in sight
Independent Tribune // Dan Way // October 8, 2018

Summary: Eight North Carolina school districts tapped to split $57.8 million from Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers aren’t likely to see that money anytime soon. Pipeline partners haven’t paid the state because a memorandum of understanding negotiated with Gov. Roy Cooper includes conditions that haven’t been satisfied. Court challenges against pipeline construction filed by environmental groups threaten to prolong the wait. “At this time, no funds have been paid to the state,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Tammie McGee told Carolina Journal by email. The first installment was due July 24. “We remain committed to fulfilling our obligations under the mitigation agreement,” McGee said, once the terms are met. McGee said the agreement among Cooper and pipeline partners called for half of the $57.8 million to be paid to the state when construction authority was granted for the entire pipeline, and construction was not tied up by a court order or “a reasonable risk” of being halted by court order.
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