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N.C. Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina health officials say six people died from complications of the flu last week, helping to raise the death toll for the 2019-20 season to 41. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the death toll includes two deaths from previous weeks. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cautions the weekly report count does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state because many go undiagnosed or unreported.

North Carolina judges have told the state to pay $102,000 to the winning side in a recent legislative redistricting case and the outside expert who helped analyze redrawn district lines. A three-judge panel directed the bill on Wednesday to Republican legislative leaders who were sued by Common Cause and Democrats. The court in September threw out dozens of state House and Senate districts drawn in 2017, saying Republicans fashioned them with extreme partisan bias designed to keep the GOP in power.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore - Facebook

The National Park Service says more than 100 sea turtles stunned by recent cold temperatures have washed up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The agency said on its Facebook page on Wednesday that approximately 95 green and Kemp's ridley turtles washed ashore on Tuesday on the south side of Hatteras Island. In addition, the park service says another 10 turtles were found on Wednesday morning at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The turtles were taken to the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island for rehabilitation.   

Jared Brumbaugh

North Carolina's Office of Recovery and Resiliency is one step closer to securing $542 million to help people affected by Hurricane Florence.  

Legal arguments to North Carolina's voter photo identification law are still being heard in state courts even after a federal judge blocked the mandate for the March primary. Lawyers for voters who sued over the ID mandate and for Republican legislative leaders who helped enact the 2018 law argued Wednesday at the state Court of Appeals. A trial court last summer denied the voters' request to block voter ID. The voters appealed that decision.

Bald Head Island Facebook

FEMA and the state of North Carolina have approved $2.9 million in funding to reimburse Bald Head Island for repairs made after Hurricane Florence.  The funds will be used to pay back the village for a renourishment project that will replenish the community's beach with more than 215,000 cubic yards of sand.  Since the 2018 storm, more than $109 million has been approved to restore North Carolina beaches.  The coastal towns of Emerald Isle, Holden Beach, Indian Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, and Topsail Beach have also received beach restoration funding. 

North Carolina’s online archival military collection now includes installation camp newsletters and newspapers that contain little-known information about life in the state during World War II. The collection is available as part of a two-year digitization project that the State Archives of North Carolina began in 2018 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of WWII. The project includes newsletter issues from installations such as Camp Lejeune, Camp Davis, Morris Field, and Elizabeth City Naval Air Station.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

The Senate is holding a trial on the impeachment of President Trump, who is accused by the U.S. House of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.At the conclusion of the trial, senators are expected to vote on whether Trump should be removed from office. Proceedings are expected to begin each day at 1:00 pm through Saturdya. You can watch the proceedings here throughout the trial.

"Dental Operatory 1" by RiverEdge Dental is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A State Commission has approved a rule change that would allow more children in North Carolina to receive preventive dental care. 

Lisa Parker/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers will award $281 million to a North Carolina city and county heavily impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

In conjuction with National Radon Action Month, a state agency is encouraging homeowners to test this month for radon gas.

 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is offering a limited number of free radon test kits. Three-thousand residential radon testing kits will be available at no charge through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ state Radon Program. The kits are available through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

 

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

A group that manages herds of wild horses in coastal North Carolina is warning drivers to watch out for the animals taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather by sleeping on the sand at night. 

City of Jacksonville

About 2,000 gallons of untreated wastewater has spilled into Thompson School Creek in Jacksonville.  According to a news release, a contractor was removing culverts Tuesday afternoon when a nearby undocumented line off a wastewater main broke.  The City’s environmental team responded to the spill, installing a boom, which contained about a thousand gallons of wastewater. The incident remains under investigation and review is expected by the State.  The work to remove the culverts is part of a project to restore Thompson School Creek, which is a tributary of Wilson Bay.

"Administering Flu Vaccine" by Government of Prince Edward Island is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Influenza cases are increasing and the virus is widespread across North Carolina. That has some local hospitals implementing safeguards to protect their patients. 

The state Board of Elections is beginning to inform voters that the photo ID requirement for the March primary will NOT be enforced. The state Board of Elections Monday released a video with the Board’s executive director Karen Brinson Bell stating that photo ID will NOT be required for in-person voting during the March primary. The requirement was due to start in March but a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction blocking the requirement in response to a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP.

A gas leak at a student center prompted officials to issue a warning to stay away from East Carolina University. WITN reports that housekeepers went into Mendenhall Student Center on Monday and noticed the leak. ECU police say the housekeepers called police, who then called emergency personnel and the local utility. Authorities say the leak, which originated in an area undergoing renovations, was brought under control. Officials say no injuries were reported.

City of Jacksonville

A five month bridge improvement and pipe replacement project that begins January 6 will benefit an environmentally sensitive tributary of Wilson Bay.

 

 


North Carolina's attorney general says the state will appeal a federal judge's ruling that blocks a photo identification voting law. But Attorney General Josh Stein says in a statement released Thursday that his office won't seek a stay of the ruling before the March 3 primary because that would create too much confusion. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the photo identification requirement until a lawsuit filed by the state NAACP and others is heard. The judge ruled the ID mandate is tainted by bias that would deter black and Latino residents.

"A Day at the Beach" by Jackie*** is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

State officials has awarded more than $1 million to improve public beach and waterfront access.  The North Carolina Division of Coastal Management provided matching grants to eight local governments for access projects including parking area improvements, bathhouse upgrades, and walkway renovations.  The town of Atlantic Beach received $88,750 to replace approximately 430 feet of dune crossover at the Durham Avenue Public Beach Access.

Duke Energy

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has announced the excavation of nearly 80 million tons of coal ash at six facilities in North Carolina. The closure of all remaining coal ash basins in North Carolina ends the appeal litigation between Duke Energy and community and environmental groups.

Carteret County Emergency Services

CARTERET COUNTY – An investigation into a fire that destroyed the Spouter Inn and Restaurant location in Beaufort on Sunday, Dec. 22 currently shows no evidence of foul play. A press release from Carteret County Government described the building and businesses located at the Front Street address as total losses. In addition to the restaurant and two other businesses, the building contained six apartments that housed eight people. The press release says the area of the fire’s origin has been determined but did not disclose that information pending visits by insurance concerns.

Wolf Haven International

Wildlife advocates have returned to court to prod the federal government to jump-start its recovery efforts for the critically endangered red wolf. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has lent his voice to efforts to bring the animal back from the brink of extinction in the wild. Amid the pressure, federal biologists plan to promote wild breeding among several wolf pairs.

Facebook / NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island

Cold weather is causing a problem for some sea turtles off the North Carolina coast, and an aquarium has taken in dozens of them for treatment. TV station WVEC-TV reports 96 turtles were taken to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island after a drop in temperatures on Thursday and Friday. More are expected in the coming days. Dropping water temperatures can cause cold-stunning, a condition that makes turtles unable to swim properly. The recovery process involves gradually warming them up over a few days.

Will Stuart / Audubon NC

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count, which is in its 120th year, is the longest running wildlife census in the world.  More than 50 volunteer groups in North Carolina help count birds during the three week event.  North Carolina is one of the top performing states to take part in the annual count. 

 


North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Federal regulators have vastly scaled back a plan to make more shrimp nets include sea turtle escape hatches. A conservation group calls it "a dangerous departure." The proposed rule would have required about 5,800 inshore shrimp boats to use turtle excluder devices. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday made a rule public that applies to fewer than 1,100 boats. The new rule takes effect in April 2021. Officials expect it will save as many as 1,160 sea turtles a year. But that's about 1,300 fewer than the estimate was for the 2016 proposal. 

"Jet" by Todd Huffman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that 475 new aviation jobs are coming to the Global TransPark in Kinston. Aircraft Solutions USA Inc., which refurbishes and recycles commercial and military aircraft parts, will invest $99 million to establish an aircraft recycling center. Construction will begin on large hangar facility where workers will disassemble aircraft that have reached their end of life stage, recycling up to 96 percent of the parts and materials.

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Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he won't run for his old job in 2020. But he says he will consider a U.S. Senate bid for 2022.  The Republican announced his decision Thursday on his radio program in Charlotte, where he used to be mayor. The 2020 candidate filing deadline is Friday. Republicans Dan Forest and Holly Grange are already seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination to try to unseat Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The Senate seat will be open in 2022 because Republican Sen. Richard Burr is retiring.

NCDOT Suspends Road Work For Holiday Traffic

Dec 19, 2019
NCDOT

The state Department of Transportation says construction work requiring lane closures will be suspended beginning this Friday to accommodate holiday traffic. The suspension of lane closures will stay in effect through January 2. There will be exceptions for those construction sites where re-opening lanes would produce unsafe conditions. DOT expects the heaviest travel will occur over weekends before the holidays and on Christmas Eve. The state Highway Patrol will be conducting a Booze It and Lose It safety campaign during the travel period.

NCDPS

Bryan House of Johnston County has been named the director of the Alcohol Law Enforcement division. Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks made the announcement today. House has served as interim director of the division since October 1. House started working for the state as an ALE special agent in 1999. Since then he’s held posts in ALE including as a commander of the division’s special response team and overseeing ALE operations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from East Carolina University.

Seven Democratic presidential candidates are debating Thursday night at 8:00 pm, the smallest group yet. The December debate, hosted by Politico and PBS NewsHour, is taking place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. NPR reporters are providing live analysis of the candidates' remarks. You can also listen to the debate on PRE News & Ideas at 89.3 across eastern NC, in Greenville at 88.1 or here at publicradioeast.org.

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