NC Politics in the News - August 2020 #1

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Agriculture

SPECTRUM NEWS: North Carolina State Fair Canceled Due to Coronavirus
The North Carolina State Fair is the latest event to succumb to coronavirus concerns. North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced Wednesday that the State Fair will be canceled this year for the first time World War II.

ABC 11: Did you receive seeds in the mail? Don't plant them, North Carolina Department of Agriculture says
If you received seed shipments that you did not order from China or other foreign sources, you should not plant them, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says. The department has been recently contacted by people who have received the seeds, which officials say are likely the product of an international internet scam known as "brushing."


Economic Development

WRAL TECH WIRE: NC ranks No. 4 in biotech strength, No. 5 in business climate: Report
North Carolina’s strength in the life sciences and its appealing overall business climate have landed it, again, among the nation’s best on Business Facilities Magazine’s 16th Annual Rankings Report for 2020. The state ranked No.4 in Biotechnology Strength and No.5 in Best Business Climate.

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Records reveal how Charlotte wooed and landed $1 billion corporate expansion over SC
Newly released records show how Charlotte and state officials pitched the city to a health insurance giant to land one of the largest economic development projects in recent state history. In early July, St. Louis-based Centene Corp. announced it would spend $1 billion to establish an East Coast headquarters in Charlotte’s University area, bringing at least 3,237 jobs in the coming years. The CEO has said the move could eventually create as many as 6,000 jobs.


Education

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: No tuition refunds, contingency budget cuts: UNC schools ready for reopening challenges
With students, faculty and staff preparing to return to North Carolina universities over the next few weeks as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, UNC System leaders on Thursday discussed how they will handle the inevitable financial, educational and public safety challenges ahead.

EDNC: Former Gov. Bev Perdue calls on Congress to expand internet infrastructure
Former Gov. Bev Perdue said that its incumbent on the federal government to fund internet infrastructure in its upcoming COVID-19 stimulus bill. She said that during the last recession in 2009, North Carolina worked with the federal government to get stimulus money to expand the state’s internet infrastructure and connectivity. In the wake of a school year that was nearly half online, she said it’s clear the federal government needs to do that again.


Environment

WBTV: Isaias expected to strengthen to hurricane by landfall
Tropical Storm Isaias is now due south of Myrtle Beach and moving north at about 13 mph. The storm is expected to pick up forward speed today and make landfall very near the SC-NC beach border late tonight. The big change this morning is that the storm is also forecast to strengthen a bit today, regaining hurricane status and holding as a category one hurricane all the way through landfall. 


Health

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Coronavirus live updates: Here's what to know in North Carolina on Aug. 3
At least 125,219 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 1,969 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported an additional 1,341 cases of the virus, down from 1,730 on Saturday and 1,954 on Friday. 

ABC 11: Fayetteville healthcare worker participates in Modern COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
The Carolina Institute for Clinical Research has partnered with Moderna use cutting edge technology to conduct COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials in Fayetteville. Ginny Capiot is one of many who have volunteered to participate in the Moderna Phase 3 clinical trial. Friday was her first appointment where doctors injected her with either the COVID-19 vaccine or a placebo.

US NEWS: Navigating the Virtual Future of Health Care
Some Americans stopped going to doctor when the pandemic hit the United States – or at least, they stopped going in person. Although the coronavirus has in many ways ravaged the nation's health care system, experts say that the use of virtual care and remote monitoring have made notable strides in transforming the landscape in light of the current environment.


Government

THE CENTER SQUARE: North Carolina disburses $150M in COVID-19 relief funds to local counties
North Carolina released $150 million in coronavirus relief aid to 97 local counties this week, Gov. Roy Cooper said. It is the second half of federal assistance allocated to smaller local governments provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The funds must be used to cover expenses related to government’s response to the pandemic. 

PORT CITY DAILY: Government-owned utilities can begin carrying out disconnections this month
This month, many government-owned utilities in North Carolina will begin carrying out utility disconnections after a four-month freeze. The resumption of some disconnections comes at the same time many other government interventions designed to lessen the financial impact of the coronavirus are expiring.

SPECTRUM NEWS: Can North Carolina Handle Record Numbers of Absentee Ballots?
Brunswick County, along the coast in the southeast corner of North Carolina, has seen more than double the number of absentee ballot requests so far this year compared to 2016, elections officials said. Brunswick elections director Sara Knott said they’ve received about 3,500 applications for absentee ballots so far. In 2016 the county had a total of 2,500 absentee ballots cast in the presidential election.


Politics

US NEWS: Departing N.C. Rep. McGrady Is Transportation Board Choice 
Another North Carolina legislator is resigning before the two-year General Assembly term ends. Republican Rep. Chuck McGrady of Henderson County is one of House Speaker Tim Moore's appointments to a reconfigured state Board of Transportation.

CNN: GOP convention in Charlotte closed to press, portions will be livestreamed
The dramatically scaled-down Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be closed to the press, a convention spokesperson and Republican official familiar with the plans tell CNN. Reporters will not be allowed on site as RNC delegates vote to formally nominate President Donald Trump as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee, but the vote will be livestreamed, the Republican official said.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Without Senate hearing, ex-Wake County schools boss Tony Tata placed in Pentagon post
Just days after a Senate committee canceled his nomination hearing, former North Carolina state official Tony Tata has been placed in a top Department of Defense position. Tata, a former Wake County schools superintendent and NC Department of Transportation chief, had been nominated by President Donald Trump for the No. 3 post in Defense.


Technology

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Cooper and Forest pitch their agendas to NC's tech industry at virtual summit
Gov. Roy Cooper and his challenger in the November election, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, addressed North Carolina’s tech industry on Thursday, appearing virtually at an annual conference to highlight how their agendas mesh with the state’s growing tech economy. The event, hosted by the North Carolina Technology Association, gave each candidate a few minutes to speak via video, and both focused heavily on education.


Transportation

NORTH STATE JOURNAL: NC Chamber launches transportation initiative to address aging infrastructure
Since winning the White House in 2016, President Trump has called on Congress to pass a major infrastructure package aimed at improving the nation’s roads, ports, bridges and railway system. While negotiations to pass such a bill have repeatedly faltered, the effort has taken on new urgency as lawmakers point to it as a way to help the economy at least partially recover from the current coronavirus-induced recession.

SPECTRUM NEWS: North Carolina Declares State of Emergency in Preparation for Hurricane Isaias
The governor and emergency management leaders are urging residents to track the storm and prepare for wind and rain. Under the state of emergency, Cooper has issued transportation waivers that will allow trucks and supplies to move quickly to areas where help is needed. Officials say the state Emergency Operations Center as well as state and local response teams are active and ready.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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