News

Jared Brumbaugh

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has certified results for the 2020 general election. The state Supreme Court chief justice race between Republican Paul Newby and Democrat Cheri Beasley is still going through a recount process. President Donald Trump defeated Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 1.3 percentage points. Sen. Thom Tillis defeated Democrat Cal Cunningham by a wider margin. The state saw a record number of registered voters and mail-in votes. Over 5.5 million of the more than 7.3 million registered voters cast ballots in this year's election.

Some North Carolina colleges plan to require students to show a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to campus after their winter break. At the University of North Carolina System Board of Governors meeting last week, President Peter Hans said schools will do re-entry testing or require students to show a negative test before they can return for the spring semester. The News & Observer reports that Hans also sent a letter to chancellors on Nov. 2 suggesting strategies for the end of the fall semester and spring.

NCDOT

North Carolina transportation officials say they’re temporarily halting much construction work along interstates and other major routes to ease congestion for holiday travelers. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a news release that it was shutting down work along interstates, U.S. routes and key state routes from Tuesday through next Monday. In certain exceptions, work that doesn’t impact travel lanes and certain projects that would make it unsafe to open all travel lanes will continue.

Risks are rising faster than predicted for coastal residents from Long Island, New York, to the Gulf Coast as saltwater invades from above and below ground. Reporting from the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism shows ghe salting of the coast threatens drinking water, crops, property and our ability to mitigate the carbon releases driving global warming. That means higher utility bills, increased property damage and a resculpting of the coastline as forests and marshes disappear. Agriculture in California’s Central Valley also is at risk.

NC DPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued a new directive to boost mask wearing and tighten business restrictions amid rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Occupancy and mass gathering limits remain unchanged in Monday's executive order. The state's top public health official, Dr. Mandy Cohen, warns that North Carolina is "on very shaky ground" heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. Cooper's executive order goes into effect Wednesday and expires Dec. 11. Businesses and individuals will be subject to fines for refusing to follow the statewide mask mandate, first issued in June.

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2018 jury verdict that led to monetary awards for neighbors of an eastern North Carolina industrial hog operation for its smells and noise. Thursday's ruling by a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected calls for a new trial by Smithfield Foods. It's a parent company of the firm sued by Bladen County residents living next to one of its previous contract farmers. Judges did rule in favor of Smithfield's subsidiary on the issue of punitive damages.

Home sales on North Carolina’s Outer Banks are booming in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and low interest rates. The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that homes and lot sales from Corolla to Ocracoke reached $1.18 billion through October. That’s the most since the all-time record of $1.5 billion set in 2005. Dan Sutherland, director of multiple listing services for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, said that sales will likely pass $1.6 billion and set a new record. Tourists have flocked to the Outer Banks for its lack of density and open spaces.

NCDPS

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is warning counties they may face extra coronavirus restrictions if they do not follow public health guidelines. Cooper and health officials unveiled Tuesday a new alert system to encourage counties with high levels of virus transmission to more aggressively enforce statewide health guidelines. Counties will be marked different colors based on cases, hospitalizations and the percentage of tests coming back positive. The state health department has labeled 10 largely rural counties “red” because of critical community spread.

N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

The skeletons of two dinosaurs that appear to have died fighting each other have been donated to a North Carolina museum. The nonprofit organization Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said in a statement Tuesday that it acquired the fossilized animals with private funds. The Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus are known as the dueling dinosaurs. They were buried together 67 million years ago and are intertwined in what looks like a final death match.

The extremely close race for North Carolina Supreme Court chief justice will have a recount. Democratic incumbent Cheri Beasley on Tuesday formally asked for one while Republican challenger Paul Newby holds a narrow lead after nearly 5.4 million ballots have been counted. State election officials say counties must complete the recount by Nov. 25. Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein also declared victory Tuesday for a second four-year term after totals showed his lead outside the 10,000-vote margin in which Republican Jim O'Neill could seek a recount.

Click here to download a printable version of PRE's holiday specials.

 

November 25th   Every Good Thing - Wednesday 1pm-2pm

Host Andrea Blain and classical music fans from all around the country take some time to give thanks and celebrate one of life's most meaningful gifts: music. It's "Every Good Thing" — an hour of stories and music to celebrate Thanksgiving.

 

Candidates in North Carolina’s still-undecided races for Supreme Court chief justice and attorney general are awaiting final official results from just a few counties. Current Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and challenger Paul Newby remained in an extremely close election on Monday, and a statewide recount was likely as only hundreds of votes separated the candidates. State law gives the trailing candidate in the race until noon Tuesday to request a recount. In the race for attorney general, Democratic incumbent Josh Stein led Republican Jim O’Neill by a margin outside the recount window.

North Carolina House Republicans are backing Rep. Tim Moore as speaker again for the upcoming General Assembly session. The House GOP caucus met on Monday to choose their leaders for the session that begins in January. The House Republican Caucus agreed Moore would be its nominee for the speakership in January. Moore is a Kings Mountain attorney and speaker since 2015. His reelection to a record-tying fourth two-year term is expected because Republicans will hold a 69-51 seat advantage. The caucus also agreed to back Rep.

The election to lead North Carolina’s judicial branch faced a likely recount after county tallies showed an extremely close race between current state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and challenger Paul Newby. Canvassed results reported Friday from most of the counties show the Democrat Beasley and Republican Newby neck and neck after nearly 5.4 million votes cast in the race were counted. Recounts can occur if the trailing candidate is behind by 10,000 votes or less. The county results also confirmed victories for Republican Phil Berger Jr.

"Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

President Donald Trump has won the presidential battleground of North Carolina over Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump campaigned aggressively in North Carolina with in-person rallies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Biden frequently criticized Trump’s decision to hold those rallies and the president’s handling of the virus. Former President Barack Obama was the most recent Democrat to win North Carolina, in 2008. Biden’s campaign hoped the counting of as many as 116,000 mail-in absentee ballots in subsequent days would overwhelmingly swing in his favor, but he fell short.

NCDPS

Flooding caused by heavy rains across North Carolina prompted Gov. Roy Cooper to declare a state of emergency on the same day searchers resumed efforts to find a 1-year-old and an adult still missing after flood waters swept through a campground. County-level emergencies also have been declared in Burke, Catawba, Iredell, Yadkin and Alexander counties. Alexander is where flood waters from the South Yadkin River inundated a campground, killing three people. Emergency workers saved 31 others from their vehicles, some of them hanging onto their campers.

A search is continuing for two people who were believed to be on a recreational fishing boat that overturned off the North Carolina coast. The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement Thursday that it and its partner agencies are still looking for George Hamilton Andrews of Raleigh and William Watkins Merriman IV of Wilmington. Their boat was discovered near Beaufort Inlet off the southern Outer Banks Tuesday morning. The men were last seen departing from Atlantic Beach on Sunday for a fishing trip aboard a 35-foot boat named Strike Zone.

North Carolina’s depositories for old government and academic records, maps, books and genealogical materials are reopening to the public at reduced capacity after COVID-19 forced their closures for months. State Archives public research locations in Raleigh and Manteo and the State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh planned to welcome visitors by appointment starting Thursday. The Western Regional Archives in Asheville will follow starting Friday. Guests must set up formal appointments online and are required to wear face masks inside. Public computer terminals also will be closed.

North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis has won reelection to his Senate seat. Tillis' win means Democrats must now win both runoff races in Georgia in January if they are to seize Senate control from the GOP. Tillis earned a second term in the U.S. Senate by defeating Democrat Cal Cunningham. Tillis benefited from fallout over a Cunningham sex scandal in the campaign’s final month.

NOAA National Hurricane Center

A new study finds that hurricanes are staying stronger longer after striking land than they did decades ago, and that means more destruction inland. Wednesday's study blames man-made climate change for making ocean water warmer and increasing the staying power of storms. In the 1960s, a typical hurricane lost two-thirds of its power within 17 hours. Now it typically takes almost 33 hours for the storm to decay that much. It took nearly 50 hours for 2018's Florence to lose two-thirds of its power after landfall.

NC DPS

As the holiday season approaches, state health officials have released guidance on celebrating with family and friends during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

"With Thanksgiving and other holidays fast approaching, many families are considering how they can celebrate safely," said Gov. Roy Cooper at a press briefing last week.  "I know it's difficult after months of having to be careful but don't let frustration and fatigue cloud your judgement when it comes to staying safe and protecting your loved ones."  

 

Democrat Cal Cunningham has conceded to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina. Cunningham said in a statement Tuesday that “the voters have spoken” and it was clear Tillis had won. Tillis leads Cunningham by 94,500 votes. The race is still too early to call, with votes still uncounted. With Cunningham’s concession, all eyes now turn to Georgia, where two U.S. Senate runoff races in January are likely to determine the balance of the upper chamber. Cunningham accepted defeat even after outraising Tillis during what became the most expensive U.S.

NCDPS

North Carolina will not reopen the economy further as coronavirus cases rise and a higher percentage of COVID tests are coming back positive. In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that indoor gathering limits will be tightened from 25 people to 10 people. Cooper also ruled out any consideration for a position in Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's administration. He praised state Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen amid speculation she could be a top contender for a cabinet-level position.

The association representing North Carolina’s 100 sheriffs is making policing recommendations developed in the months following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and widespread demonstrations against racial injustice. The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association released its professionalism report on Tuesday. It recommends expanded training and regular mental health screenings for deputies. The sheriffs also want to close loopholes that could make it difficult to move officers out of law enforcement after they commit misconduct. Panels created by Democratic Gov.

NCWRC Sea Turtle Project

A green sea turtle has laid eggs unseasonably late in the year on a beach in North Carolina’s Outer banks. The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that it marks the first time in more than two decades that a turtle has laid a nest this far past summer. The eggs were laid Halloween morning near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Female sea turtles typically lay nests during the warmer months. Nests laid after Aug. 20 are considered late. Meaghan Johnson of the National Park Service said that the baby turtles are unlikely to survive. But she said they could stand a chance if there’s a mild winter.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University has renamed two campus buildings in honor of former chancellors. The school announced Friday that the student recreation center is now the Richard R. and JoAnn M. Eakin Student Recreation Center. Gateway Hall is now Steve and Nancy Ballard Hall. The buildings are considered examples of their respective time at the school. Ballard was ECU’s sixth chancellor and 10th administrative officer beginning in 2004. Eakin was the school's fourth chancellor and eighth chief administrative officer, serving from 1987 through 2001. The naming ceremony was held on Thursday.

North Carolina Republicans are pressing state election officials to make public more information about the number of outstanding ballots from this week’s election that could be counted. Nearly a dozen Election Day races in North Carolina remain too early to call, including those for president and U.S. Senate. As many as 172,000 ballots have either yet to be counted or rejected, or could trickle in through the mail before a deadline next week. Republican lawmakers demanded tracking data from the State Board of Elections for ballot envelopes turned in at the post office.

NCDPS

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper acknowledged Republican victories in the state but believe his margin of victory in his reelection bid suggests voters want state lawmakers to expand Medicaid. Republican leaders Phil Berger and Tim Moore appear to disagree. They say Republican candidates won competitive legislative races where Democrats campaigned heavily on the issue of health care. Cooper defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by more than 4 percentage points.

State officials say an elderly North Carolina inmate with pre-existing conditions and a positive COVID-19 test has died. A news release from the N.C. Department of Public Safety says the unidentified inmate died at the Central Prison hospital on Tuesday. According to the news release, the inmate tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 14 and was in the hospital when his condition worsened. The department didn't specify what the pre-existing conditions were. The department reports the death was the third at the prison related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 21st in the state prison system.

North Carolina Republicans are celebrating the preservation of their majorities in both General Assembly chambers. Their victory allows them next year to redraw state and congressional districts based on the 2020 census. Those districts could be in place for a decade. Republicans withstood a massive effort by Democrats inside the state and nationally to wrest control of the chambers. Republicans took back several seats they gave up in 2018. But Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's reelection means he can keep using his veto stamp as a check on GOP legislative activities.

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