NC Politics in the News - October 2020 #1

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Agriculture

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC agriculture commissioner race: Farming, marijuana, State Fair and the future
Jenna Wadsworth says she doesn’t look like a typical farmer. She’s a woman. She’s young. She’s LGBT. She wants North Carolina to legalize marijuana. She posts TikTok videos about it. She’s also the Democratic candidate for state agriculture commissioner. Wadsworth, who has been a Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor since 2010, is running against the incumbent, Republican Steve Troxler.


Economic Development

WWAY 3: NC launches program to help small businesses harmed by COVID-19
North Carolina minority and women-owned businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic will have access to guidance and $12 million in grants to help them weather the crisis, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The North Carolina Department of Administration has launched a new grant program, RETOOLNC, to help North Carolina Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms impacted by COVID-19.

NC COMMERCE: Adventure Gear Manufacturer To Invest $1 Million In Old Fort
Triple Aught Design, a US-based adventure gear company, will create 70 new jobs in McDowell County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The manufacturer will invest $1 million to build and operate a cutting-edge apparel and gear production facility and experience center in Old Fort.


Education

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Forest tries to get state Board of Education to vote on reopening all NC schools
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest tried Thursday to persuade the State Board of Education to give all North Carolina public schools the choice of fully reopening for in-person classes. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper allowed the state’s elementary schools to fully reopen, but he’s left in place restrictions at middle schools and high schools due to COVID-19.

NORTH STATE JOURNAL: U.S. Education Secretary DeVos attends roundtable in Raleigh
Parents, students, lawmakers and non-profit leaders came together to meet with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for a roundtable discussion of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program and the state’s other school choice options. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) oversees a number of grants, such as the Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), which provides $4,200 a year to eligible low-income students for tuition at the participating private school of their choice.

EDNC: BEST NC hosts debate for state superintendent candidates 
Toward the end of a debate hosted yesterday by BEST NC between the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, the moderator asked them a question he said they wouldn’t be prepared for. “In the interest of civil discourse, in the interest of bringing us together … what do you like about your opponent’s platform?” said Chris William, moderator and executive producer of Carolina Business Review.


Elections

THE WASHINGTON POST: A legal fight over how to fix ballot errors in North Carolina has left thousands of voters in limbo - nearly half people of color
A dispute over how North Carolina voters should correct problems with their mail ballots remains unresolved roughly three weeks before Election Day, leaving at least 6,800 votes — including more than 3,300 ballots from people of color — in limbo across a key presidential battleground state.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Trump to visit NC, less than two weeks after treatment for COVID-19
President Donald Trump will visit Eastern North Carolina on Thursday, less than two weeks after he was hospitalized with COVID-19. Trump’s campaign announced that he will visit Greenville, hosting a rally at Pitt-Greenville Airport beginning at 1 p.m.


Environment

ABC 13 NEWS: Local organization working to improve environment receives Duke Energy Foundation grant
The Duke Energy Foundation has announced its list of grant recipients to fund environmental projects creating access to nature and protecting species, habitats and water quality in North Carolina.

CAROLINA JOURNAL: Be Cautious, Take Action To Prevent Wildfires During Fall Wildfire Season In North Carolina
In North Carolina, the fall wildfire season typically lasts from mid-October until mid-December, the time of year when people do yard work that may include burning leaves and yard debris. The leading cause of wildfires in North Carolina is debris burning. When left unattended, debris fires can escape and start wildfires.


Health

WXII 12: Winston-Salem-based Wake Forest Baptist Health merges with Atrium Health
Wake Forest Baptist Health, based in Winston-Salem, announced Friday that it is merging with Charlotte-based Atrium Health. The Wake Forest School of Medicine is included in the merger.


Government

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Biden backs Lumbee tribe's push for federal recognition
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will back full federal recognition for the Lumbee tribe, the largest in North Carolina, his campaign said Thursday. The former vice president pledged to back a bill from U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield granting the Lumbee that status. The bill, introduced last year, has not passed the House.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Board of Elections has 2 new members, after allegations end earlier appointment
The N.C. Board of Elections swore-in two new members a day after the governor rescinded the appointment of a third man accused of being in an abusive relationship by his ex-girlfriend. Stacy “Four” Eggers IV and Tommy Tucker were sworn-in at the beginning of a regularly scheduled board meeting just 26 days before the general election.


Politics

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: 'I've said what I'm going to say.' Cunningham won't answer questions about scandal
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Cal Cunningham repeatedly declined to answer questions about his personal scandal, including whether more women would come forward with claims of extramarital affairs. “I have taken responsibility for the hurt that I have caused in my personal life. I’ve apologized for it and I know this campaign, our campaign, is about things that are much bigger or more important than just me,” Cunningham said during a press event Friday afternoon.


Technology

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Digital Divide Starts With a Laptop Shortage
When the Guilford County Schools in North Carolina spent more than $27 million to buy 66,000 computers and tablets for students over the summer, the district ran into a problem: There was a shortage of cheap laptops, and the devices wouldn’t arrive until late October or November. More than 4,000 students in the district had to start the school year without the computers they needed for remote learning.


Transportation

TRIAD BUSINESS JOURNAL: Eight Triad transportation projects to be funded by new Build NC bonds
The State and Local Finance Division of the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer has announced it is on track to issue $700 million in Build NC bonds by the end of October, which will in part fund eight transportation projects in the Triad. The bonds are part of a $3 billion transportation package approved by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2018.

TRANSPORTATION TODAY: North Carolina DOT approved to inspect bridges with drones
The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to use drones to inspect bridges beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). In partnership with Skydio, a leading U.S. drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight, NCDOT will inspect the state’s 13,500 bridges using Skydio Autonomy, an advanced AI-based autonomous flight engine that allows Skydio drones to navigate in any environment, including areas without GPS, using 360° obstacle avoidance.

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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