Associated Press

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.

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.

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.

East Carolina University

East Carolina University says it is using a portion of the money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to wipe out nearly $1 million in student debt. A news release from the school says Stephanie Coleman, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance, said the debt forgiveness is intended to provide relief for students facing hardships due to the pandemic and will affect about 625 students. The funds will help pay outstanding student balances from summer and fall of 2020.

A former state environmental secretary under then-Gov. Pat McCrory is the next leader of North Carolina’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby swore in Donald van der Vaart on Thursday to become the state’s chief administrative law judge, which also makes him OAH director. Van der Vaart succeeds Julian Mann III, who had served in the positions since 1989.

Wikipedia

A proposed medical marijuana law for North Carolina has cleared its first significant legislative hurdle. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Wednesday for the measure, which creates a patient, manufacturing, licensing and sales structure. The bill still has to pass through three committees before reaching the Senate floor. But the vote offers evidence that support is growing at the General Assembly for legalizing some marijuana. Patients could obtain an ID card to purchase and possess marijuana if a doctor declares they have one of several illnesses and could benefit from it.

A North Carolina House committee has approved a bill to raise the minimum age at which children have to appear before a judge from six to 10. The move to advance the measure on Wednesday ends a three-month period in which the idea stalled within the legislature. But the bill is now larger in size and scope. It now advances to another committee. Over three years, more than 200 kids under 10 were brought before a judge. The 6-year-old minimum for prosecution in the North Carolina juvenile court system is the lowest age set by law in the country.

nps.gov

A new report has found that about 1 in 2,800 K-12 students who attended classes under the loosest reopening guidelines became infected with COVID-19 due to in-school transmission. The findings from Duke University and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine were released Wednesday. They show that mask wearing is the best way to reduce COVID-19 transmission. The report says state education leaders should consider eliminating quarantining youth who are properly masked and vaccinated.

The North Carolina General Assembly’s annual farm bill has received final legislative approval. The Senate voted on Tuesday for House changes to the measure and sent the bill on to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. The most contentious provision left in the final measure directs state environmental regulators to develop a “general permit” for animal farm operations that want to collect methane gas from waste ponds for energy. The permit would created a streamlined process for such systems. Environmental groups and some residents in hog-intensive areas oppose the provision.

NCDPS

Many North Carolinians facing the threat of eviction can still remain in their homes through July 31. This comes despite state leaders voting on Tuesday to let a statewide eviction moratorium directive lapse at the end of June. Eligible renters can fill out a form from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and give it to their landlord if they face eviction because they are unable to pay their rent. The expiration of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's moratorium is unlikely to cause mass eviction but could lead to some people being kicked out of their homes prematurely.

A University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor who posted a Facebook status that said “Blow up Republicans” has resigned from the board of a nonprofit he founded. Wilmington StarNews reports that Dr. Dan Johnson left Accessible Coastal Carolina Events, Sports and Services of Wilmington on Monday. Johnson is an associate professor of recreation therapy. His university biography says he was a liaison between the university and the nonprofit.

Southeastern North Carolina is about to get a new area code in response to the growth in the number of new residents, businesses and cell phones. News outlets report the North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved a new overlay area code for the existing 910 area code. The new area code of 472 will cover areas including Onslow and Duplin counties. Before that happens, all calls within the existing 910 area code will transition to 10-digit dialing. Calls within the 910 area code will require that the caller dial the full number, including area code.

North Carolina textile executives and advocates for the environment and the poor are urging state legislators to reject a major energy bill pushed by several House Republicans. The coalition held a news conference Monday to criticize the wide-ranging proposal. It would retire early several coal-fired plants operated by Duke Energy subsidiaries, expand solar production and allow the electric utility to seek multi-year rate increases. Textile companies are worried that the full costs of the proposal upon Duke Energy ratepayers would harm their plants and chances for in-state expansion.

North Carolina sets the lowest minimum age in the country by law for a child to be prosecuted, allowing 6-year-olds to be tried in juvenile court. Now, the state is looking to raise the age to ensure children under 10 don't have to appear before a judge. Many of the more than 2,000 reported complaints in recent years emerged in schools and were disproportionately made against Black boys. Racial justice advocates support the bill but want to see more systemic changes to the state's juvenile justice system.

Electronic cigarette giant Juul Labs Inc. will pay $40 million to North Carolina and take more action to prevent underage use and sales. That's according to a landmark legal settlement announced on Monday after years of accusations that the company had fueled an explosion in teen vaping. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein had accused Juul of unfair and deceptive marketing practices targeting young people to use it vaping products, which delivers addictive nicotine.

NCDPS

North Carolina announced on Monday the winners of its first COVID-19 vaccine lottery drawing. Winston-Salem resident and teacher Shelly Wyramon won the state’s first of four drawings for a $1 million cash prize, while 14-year-old Vania Martinez won a $125,000 college scholarship. The state will pick the remaining three cash and scholarship winners on July 7, July 21 and Aug. 4. Few residents have come in for a COVID-19 shot since the lottery was announced. Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials hope more people will get their shot after news of winners being selected.

N.C. Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is ending the requirement for visitors to make reservations. A statement from the zoo says reservations will no longer be required beginning July 1. The zoo will still require visitors who ae not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings and to practice social distancing. When the zoo reopened in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, reservations were required to limit the number of visitors to the zoo, which is outside of Asheboro. In recent months, the zoo has welcomed an elephant, a polar bear and 12 red wolf pups.

Less than half of North Carolinians eligible for a COVID-19 shot are fully vaccinated even though there are more than 2.1 million doses waiting on shelves for residents to take. Less than 118,000 residents came in for a first dose in the two weeks since the state announced four $1 million prizes would be given out to vaccinated adult. North Carolina ranks 12th-worst in the nation in vaccines administered per capita. It is second-worst among states with a Democratic governor.

A two-year North Carolina government budget that spends, saves and cuts taxes thanks to a state revenue boon and billions more federal COVID-19 relief funds cleared the Senate. Four Democrats joined all Republicans in voting Friday for the spending proposal — just like Thursday when the chamber completed the first of two required votes. The budget bill now goes to the House, where Republicans will fashion a competing plan by next month. The two chambers then will hammer out a compromise to present to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Federal tenant protections are scheduled to expire on July 31. That has raised concerns that tens of thousands of North Carolina residents will be unable to afford their monthly rent and could face eviction. The state has set aside nearly $1.3 billion to help with outstanding rent and utility payments. North Carolinians who are evicted will be left to find a new home in a state where rental costs have risen in recent years. Realtors are seeing demand for apartments greatly outpace supply.

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