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Former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was the top overall fundraiser in her bid to fill an open U.S. Senate seat in 2022. Ex-Gov. Pat McCrory was close behind and brought in the most money among the three main Republican primary candidates in the latest reporting period. State Sen. Jeff Jackson is Beasley's top Democratic rival and remains competitive. Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd got former President Donald Trump's endorsement last month but hasn't gotten as much a financial boost from it as some may have expected.

NCDHHS

North Carolina health officials have unveiled the state’s latest recipients of a $1 million cash prize and $125,000 college scholarship for getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Natalie Everett of Pineville won the $1 million before taxes. High school student and Greensboro resident Jessica Klima earned the $125,000 scholarship. The winners were selected on Thursday. Two more contests will be held on July 21 and Aug. 4. The winners will be announced the week after the drawings. North Carolina's latest winners were chosen at a time when fewer residents are getting vaccinated.

American Red Cross

Leaders of the agencies that provide blood to some North Carolina hospitals say the easing of the coronavirus pandemic has created potentially dangerous shortages. As people get out and about more, injuries from car crashes and other traumas are increasing, and the backlog of surgical procedures delayed by the pandemic have driven up demand for blood and platelets.  The News & Observer of Raleigh also reports that fewer organizations are hosting blood drives and fewer individuals are coming in to donation centers.

The North Carolina House gave its final approval to wide-ranging energy legislation during an unusual overnight session. The chamber met briefly early Thursday after midnight for the second of two required votes on the measure, which now heads to the Senate. The first vote happened early Wednesday evening, but Democrats unhappy with the legislation blocked an immediate second vote. House Republican leaders are pushing the bill that would retire early several Duke Energy power plants fueled by coal and expand solar production. Democratic Gov.

A federal freeze on most evictions enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, was the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and had fallen months behind on their rent.

"Coal power plant" by peggydavis66 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Legislation that could shape North Carolina electricity production for decades has received initial approval by the House. Republicans pushing the bill say it promotes an all-of-the-above energy strategy while reducing carbon emissions and keeping power reliable and affordable. The anchor of the legislation is the early retirement of coal-fired power plants at five Duke Energy locations. Opponents said Wednesday the measure relies too much on natural gas, could cause soaring customer rates and would take authority from the Utilities Commission.

Some fishermen are being credited with saving a newborn horse from drowning in a canal on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The Corolla Wild Horse fund says on its Facebook page that a foal born on Saturday was struggling in a canal on Monday. According to the post, three nearby fishermen rescued the foal, named Beatrice, from the water. Owen Carson also posted to Facebook that as he and his buddies were heading out to fish, they saw the foal with its frantic parents looking on. Carson said he and his friends circled back, and he waded into the water to guide the foal to safety.

Wikipedia

A wide-ranging criminal justice measure focused on weeding out problem law enforcement officers in North Carolina and giving mental health aid to others has cleared a House committee. The measure received broad support Wednesday only after proposed changes to how certain officer body camera footage can be viewed by family members were deleted. Civil rights groups and Democrats criticized those changes because they had been altered from what was included in the measure when the Senate approved the legislation unanimously in May.

Wikimedia Commons

North Carolina Republicans are moving forward with a bill that defines what teachers can and can't say about race and racism in classrooms. State Senate leader Phil Berger teachers would be prohibited from compelling students to personally adopt a list of 13 beliefs. Republicans haven't identified a single case of this happening, and Berger says teachers therefore have nothing to worry about. But Democrats, education groups and racial justice advocates fear the measure will stifle conversations on race in schools and have a chilling effect on teachers.

CNN

The family of an unarmed Black man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina has filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit. Wednesday's filing in federal court says Andrew Brown Jr. died because of the deputies’ “reckless disregard of his life.” Brown was killed April 21 by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies who were serving drug-related warrants at his Elizabeth City home. The deputies surrounded Brown's BMW before his car backed up and moved forward. The deputies then fired at his vehicle. A local prosecutor said the shooting was justified.

Authorities in North Carolina have arrested a man who they believe vandalized a Black Lives Matter street mural painted to honor a man shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies. News outlets report Elizabeth City police say 32-year-old Jeremy Wayne Maggard was arrested Tuesday and charged with injury to real property and reckless driving. Maggard is free on a $500 bond. Artist Michael Little painted the mural in honor of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot and killed by a Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputy on April 21. It was unveiled on Saturday and defaced the next day.

Emergency workers on the North Carolina Outer Banks say a boy from Ohio died after he became trapped between and elevator car and the elevator shaft inside a vacation rental home. News outlets report Currituck Fire-EMS Chief Ralph Melton says emergency workers were sent to a home in Corolla Sunday evening and arrived to find a 7-year-old boy without a pulse and trapped by the elevator. Melton says rescuers were able to quickly free the child but were unable to resuscitate him. Melton would only say the boy was from Canton, Ohio, but he provided no additional details.

"Coal power plant" by peggydavis66 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

State regulators will develop rules for North Carolina to meet targets for reducing power plant pollution. The Environmental Management Commission voted 9-3 on Tuesday to carry out a petition from environmental groups. They want a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 when compared to 2005. The directive also prepares North Carolina for joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. It's a cap-and-trade program for power plant emissions in 11 mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states. Many steps lay ahead, but this puts the commission on track to meet Gov.

The national governing body for high school athletics has changed its softball rules after a Black player in North Carolina was forced to cut her hair because of the beads she was wearing. The Charlotte Observer reports the National Federation of High Schools removed language from one rule which had previously prohibited hard items to control the hair, including hair beads. Also head coverings worn for religious reasons will no longer require approval from state associations.

A Black Lives Matter mural drawn in honor of a North Carolina man shot and killed by sheriff's deputies was damaged one day after it was unveiled. News outlets report a Facebook video posted Sunday showed that skid marks were left on the mural in Elizabeth City. Artist Michael Little painted the mural in honor of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot and killed by a Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputy on April 21. Elizabeth City police say they are investigating the damage to the mural and have reviewed surveillance video.

Duke University

Authorities say a bug zapper that had the wrong kind of light bulb has caused vision problems for five people at a veterans medical facility in North Carolina. The News & Observer reports that Durham VA Health Care System said the bulb emitted light that was too strong and impacted the vision of three employees, a resident and a contractor who had a meeting near the device. System spokesperson Yves-Marie Daley says the vision of those affected is improving. She didn’t specify the date of the incident or the severity of the vision loss. The center opened an internal investigation.

A North Carolina man who served 26 years in prison for a murder he said he didn’t commit is still seeking a pardon and compensation. Dontae Sharpe told The Raleigh News & Observer on Friday that he wants to be able to support a family that includes his daughter and two grandchildren. He said he also wants to help out his mother after she spent her savings sending him money in prison and trying to prove his innocence. North Carolina’s governor currently holds the power to trigger compensation by granting a pardon.

The Colonial Pipeline faces a fine of $200,000 a day if it fails to improve the way it detects leaks in its U.S. pipeline system. That's according to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Charlotte Observer reports that the warning of possible fines follows a massive gasoline leak in North Carolina. Colonial is under an order to find and use a better leak detection system across its entire network. There have been several newly disclosed leaks over the years.

NC Zoo

A grizzly bear identified as a nuisance at a national park before finding a new home at the North Carolina Zoo has died. Officials at the zoo say Tommo died this week at the age of 31. He lived at the zoo for 26 years. A news release on the zoo's website says Tommo arrived at the zoo in 1995 after being identified as a “nuisance bear” in Yellowstone National Park. The bear was relocated twice by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. The North Carolina Zoo gave him a home. According to officials, Tommo's quality of life quickly declined to the point where it was decided to euthanize him.

Jared Brumbaugh

It has been over a decade since the Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned the federal government to add the Carolina Madtom and the Neuse River Waterdog to the endangered species list. Effective today, both species are now federally protected. Ashlyn DeLoughy has this report.


APNEP

Coastal North Carolina is home to over 130,000 acres of submerged aquatic vegetation.  Some researchers say the coast might be in danger of losing up to half of that over the next decade. A decline in seagrass habitat affects more than the environment.   It also has lasting economic impacts, according to a new study.


Wikipedia

Republican North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Pat McCrory raised more than $1.2 million in his first fundraising haul between April and June. The former Charlotte mayor who lost a pair of general election gubernatorial bids in 2008 and 2016 but won in 2012 got support from 8,000 donors. McCrory is marketing himself as a “Washington outsider” and hopes his track record in North Carolina politics will set him apart from his two main GOP opponents. Both competitors have served in Congress. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd and former Rep. Mark Walker have not yet released their fundraising numbers.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley of North Carolina has raised nearly $1.3 million in little more than two months since entering the race in April. Her campaign announced the total Wednesday. The former state Supreme Court chief justice is gearing up to for an expensive bid to fill the seat that Republican Sen. Richard Burr is vacating in 2022. The possible pickup opportunity for Democrats could sway the balance of the Senate and determine whether Republicans can more easily stifle President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.

Black students and faculty at the University of North Carolina say the handling of the Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure case is yet another example of the institution’s failure to welcome and support scholars and students of color. Black students and faculty say that without meaningful self-examination and actionable change by the university, UNC risks its ability to recruit and retain students and faculty of color.

Investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says she will not teach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill following an extended fight over tenure. Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her ground-breaking work on the bitter legacy of slavery in the U.S., announced her decision on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday. She said she would instead take up the tenured Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, a historically Black school in Washington, D.C.

Predictions of a baby boom during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown have gone bust in North Carolina. Data compiled by Carolina Demography showed that birth rates in North Carolina fell by 3.1% from 2019 to 2020, in line with a national decline of 3.8% over the same period. Carolina Demography is located within the Carolina Population Center at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Boone Turchi, an associate professor of economics at UNC, told the News & Observer that the skyrocketing unemployment rates during the pandemic likely prompted many people to wait to have children.

A senior official in North Carolina’s emergency management department has been tapped to succeed his retiring director. Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks has appointed William Ray as the state’s new director of emergency management. Ray currently serves as the chief of staff, a leadership role, at North Carolina Emergency Management. Ray will succeed Director Mike Sprayberry, whose retirement was announced in April.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has issued an executive order allowing college athletes to earn money off the use of their names, images and likenesses. Cooper’s order was signed Friday. That's one day after an NCAA rule change went into effect allowing athletes to profit from their fame without endangering their eligibility. Cooper’s three-page order outlines guidelines that include permitting schools to restrict players from entering into agreements if those conflict with an institution’s contracts or “negatively impact” the school’s image.

NCDPS

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed legislation that would have ended additional federal benefits created during the pandemic for North Carolina’s unemployed before the program expires nationwide. His action Friday counters trends by Republican governors to no longer accept the supplemental payments. Cooper says he blocked the measure originating from the GOP-controlled legislature because rejecting these federal funds now hurts the state.

NCDPS

Most of North Carolina’s Medicaid recipients have now moved over to managed care. Starting Thursday five statewide or regional health plans are handling care for roughly 1.6 million consumers covered by government health programs for poor children, older adults and others. Other patients will join next year. The managed care developers are hopeful it will mean improved health outcomes and cost controls. A 2015 state law put the wheels in motion for managed care. It was supposed to begin in 2019 but got delayed by a state budget impasse.

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