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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

An abandoned vessel that ran aground on a North Carolina beach over a year ago will finally be removed. WRAL-TV reports that the removal process will start just in time for Halloween. Initially, most of the former scallop boat was visible along the shoreline. But it has been slowly sinking in sand along the beach south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Oregon Inlet Campground. Now, more than half of it is buried. The removal project is expected to cost around $295,000. It is expected to begin on October 25 and take roughly a month to complete.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate has now declined every month for the past year. The state Commerce Department announced Friday that September's seasonally adjusted rate was 4.2% compared to 4.3% in August. The number of additional employed workers again outpaced the additional number of people entering the state’s labor force. The last time North Carolina’s rate increased was in September 2020. A 12-month streak of lower rates began the following month. The rate exceeded 13% during COVID-19 lockdowns and commerce restrictions in spring 2020. The national rate last month was 4.8%.

Officials say two people were killed and two people were injured after a small plane crashed in North Carolina. The identities of the victims weren’t released. News outlets report Onslow County emergency management said the plane went down between Holly Ridge and Surf City. The crash site was located around 6:30 p.m. The Federal Aviation Administration said in an email that a single-engine Mooney M20J crashed after departing from Holly Ridge-Topsail Island Airport around 5 p.m. The email said both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

The leader of the North Carolina House says the latest budget offer that Republicans sent to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t expand Medicaid broadly as Cooper wants. But Speaker Tim Moore says it does sweeten a previous proposal on worker pay raises. The legislative and executive branches are trying to hammer out a budget that Cooper would be willing to sign. The alternative would be for lawmakers to approve their own plan and try to override what would likely be a Cooper veto.

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation says it has set an annual record for the amount of trash collected along state roads and highways — and the year isn’t over yet. The News & Observer reported Wednesday that more than 11 million pounds of litter have been picked up as of Jan. 1. The previous record was 10.5 million in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic led volunteer cleanup efforts to be canceled in 2020. Financial issues also caused the department to reduce roadside maintenance efforts.


Another effort by North Carolina Republicans to check the governor’s broad powers during a pandemic or other emergency has cleared the General Assembly. The House voted Wednesday to accept the Senate’s version of legislation that would require governors to get specific support from other statewide elected leaders to secure a long-term emergency declaration. As with a similar measure last year, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto is likely. GOP lawmakers and many constituents have criticized Cooper’s extended coronavirus emergency declarations.

North Carolina senators have presented some proposals to the public on how they could redraw boundary lines for congressional and state Senate districts. The Senate Redistricting Committee posted several maps online this week that Republicans or Democrats have produced at computer terminals in the committee room in recent weeks. The House Redistricting Committee is expected to keep its computers open the rest of the week. The public has been able to watch online the committee room and activity on computer screens where drawing happens. Legislators want to approve General Assembly and U.S.

Offenders at North Carolina’s 55 state prisons won’t get cards, photos or handwritten letters anymore. Instead, officials said they will receive printed-out versions of digital scans. WNCN-TV reports that the Department of Public Safety piloted the program in four women’s prisons starting last year and says disciplinary infractions for drug possessions dropped 50 percent. The rule change went into effect at men’s prisons on Monday. The department says the program will make prisons safer, but advocates are concerned that it will hurt social connections for people behind bars.


Republican legislative leaders have sent another budget-bargaining offer to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The offices of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said the joint proposal was taken to Cooper’s office Tuesday. It arrived two weeks after Cooper provided his counteroffer to the initial pitch from GOP lawmakers. A state budget was supposed to be in place July 1, but slow work at the Legislative Building combined with still-significant differences with Cooper have extended talks from the summer into the fall.

A North Carolina judge has signaled he’s ready to formally demand legislators carry out a funding recipe to reduce public education inequities — whether or not a state budget is in place. Superior Court Judge David Lee told lawyers on Monday to draft a proposed order shortly that demands compliance with a remedial spending plan he endorsed this year. The plan calls for least $5.6 billion in new funding by 2028. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget proposal contains $1.7 billion through mid-2023. Republican budget proposals fell well short of that total.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

The wild horses on North Carolina's Outer Banks are in the midst of a feeding frenzy, and observers say persimmons are their overwhelming food of choice. The Corolla Wild Horse Fund says on social media that the America]n persimmon is a fruit-bearing tree native to the coast and can be found growing throughout where the horses roam. According to the organization, the fruit becomes ripe and sweet in the fall and becomes a source of food for the horses.


The Biden administration is launching a wide-ranging strategy to regulate toxic industrial compounds used in products including cookware, carpets and firefighting foams. Environmental Protection Agency head Michael Regan says his agency is taking a series of actions to limit pollution from a cluster of long-lasting chemicals known as PFAS that are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells and even food. The chemicals are associated with serious health conditions, including cancer.

A North Carolina judge wants an update on why a funding roadmap designed to reduce public education inequities among students hasn’t been carried out so far. Superior Court Judge David Lee scheduled a court hearing for Monday in the long-running “Leandro” school funding case. He's said that the legislature and Gov. Roy Cooper should fully fund the remedial spending plan, in particular by earmarking $1.7 billion through mid-2023. Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor are still in state budget talks that include K-12 spending.


North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says it would be “appropriate” if Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson resigned for comments he made about sex education in public schools that critics say plainly disparaged LGBTQ people. Cooper spoke on Wednesday at a bill-signing ceremony. Robinson has taken heat since last week when a video from a church appearance in June surfaced. Many Democrats called on Robinson to resign. Robinson hasn't apologized and says his comments were critical of books found in some public schools.

"Wind turbine blades" by vaxomatic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says the Biden administration will hold lease sales for up to seven offshore wind farms on the East and West coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico in the next four years. The projects are part of the administration's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030,  generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes. Haaland says her department hopes to hold lease sales by 2025 off the coasts of Maine, New York and the mid-Atlantic, as well as the Carolinas, California, Oregon and the Gulf of Mexico.

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A milestone energy bill that targets sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions from North Carolina power plants has become law. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed the legislation on Wednesday. The directive aims to reduce carbon dioxide output of North Carolina energy producers 70 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. North Carolina and Virginia are now the only Southeastern states that have passed legislation establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements.


North Carolina Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has again declined to apologize for remarks he made in June criticizing sexual education in public schools and likening gay and transgender people to “filth.” The Republican Party’s highest executive officeholder in the state was responding Tuesday to criticism from three LGBTQ lawmakers. Some Democrats and LGBT advocacy groups have called for Robinson's resignation but no major Republican officials have condemned him. The lieutenant governor insists that he can separate his personal views about homosexuality from his day-to-day job.

A state agency has cited a North Carolina company after a worker was electrocuted and two others injured back in April. WITN reports the N.C. Department of Labor says it found two serious violations against Caldwell & Jones near Mount Olive and fined the company $9,000. Cashwell & Jones and its parent company, Harvey Fertilizer and Gas, have 15 days to pay the fine, request an informal conference with the labor department, or appeal the fine. The worker was killed as they were installing a flagpole in front of the business in April.


The N.C. Department of Transportation has signed a $432 million contract this month to rebuild eight miles of Interstate 95 through one county with an eye on eliminating a recurring flooding problem. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports flooding resulting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 closed the highway in Robeson County for several days. Starting next year, contractors will begin work on widening I-95 from four lanes to eight and replace bridges at three interchanges.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is facing calls to resign after a June video surfaced showing him likening some sexual orientations to “filth.” The state's highest Republican executive officeholder has a long history of espousing views many consider discriminatory. His latest remarks are being condemned by the White House, Human Rights Campaign, Equality North Carolina and Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Jackson. Top GOP officials aren't commenting. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hasn't weighed in on whether the independently elected Robinson should resign.

The Coast Guard searched in the vicinity of Portsmouth Island in Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina on Sunday for a 27-year-old woman who is missing after a canoe capsized. The search began after a 911 call was received about 4:15 p.m. on Saturday of a capsized canoe with two people aboard. Watchstanders subsequently lost communication with the reporting source, who was a member of the same group. An aircrew located a conscious male survivor alongside a green canoe at about 9:54 a.m. on Sunday. He was transported to Carteret Hospital in Morehead City.

Far fewer North Carolina third-graders in public schools have demonstrated reading proficiency, compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. State educators say the finding is troubling and needs to be urgently addressed. A report presented this week to the State Board of Education showed 31% of third-graders had not met promotion standards. That means these students are either repeating third grade this fall or receiving specific kinds of fourth-grade class instruction. The past school year was marked by limited in-person instruction due to the pandemic.

 A new organized effort to boost North Carolina minority voter turnout during the 2022 elections and beyond is underway. The New North Carolina Project is modeled after a similar initiative in Georgia founded by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The North Carolina organization aims to register over 100,000 voting-age adults and increase early-voting turnout dramatically next year. The group's leader is former Democratic state House candidate Aimy Steele.

Child care providers in North Carolina can begin applying next week for grants coming from an $805 million pool for the state through a COVID-19 relief law approved by Congress. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the start of North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants while visiting a Carrboro school on Thursday. All private, licensed early care and learning programs can apply starting Monday. Grants will range from $3,000 to $60,000. The grants can be used for things like payroll, capital improvements and training. Grants will be awarded starting in November for 18 months.

"greenhouse gas" by Gerald Simmons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

A landmark energy measure for North Carolina that aims to dramatically reduce power plant greenhouse gas emissions has received final legislative approval and now heads to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk for his expected signature. The House voted on Thursday for the consensus legislation, which passed the Senate on Wednesday. The negotiated agreement instructs the North Carolina Utilities Commission to draw up a plan by the end of next year to meet carbon dioxide reduction goals that Cooper has championed.

Republican legislative leaders will soon draw up another budget offer for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper after he presented a counterproposal this week. House Speaker Tim Moore confirmed on Thursday that Cooper sent a counteroffer to him and Senate leader Phil Berger earlier this week. The two GOP leaders last week finalized internal negotiations on a state government budget and presented that plan for Cooper to consider. Differences are likely around tax cuts, teacher pay raises and education spending.

House Republicans have resurrected a proposal to keep more non-U.S. citizens off North Carolina’s voter rolls through juror information.  The House Elections and Campaign Finance Committee voted along party lines Wednesday for the bill. It tells North Carolina courts to send information about potential jurors being disqualified because they aren’t citizens to election officials. Election workers would then figure out whether they are registered voters and prepare to remove them from the rolls. The voter could formally challenge such action. Democratic Gov.

A teacher has resigned from a North Carolina charter school after telling Black students in her class that they would be her “field slaves” if not for the Constitution. One parent says that comment was one of many such incidents at the school. Winterville Charter Academy sent a memo which also referred to “racially insensitive words” being used by children in the class without any action from the teacher. WITN reports that school officials said the teacher “will not be returning.” A statement from the school says it is working to address the ongoing concerns of parents.

"greenhouse gas" by Gerald Simmons is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

An energy bill negotiated by legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper that aims to meet his greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for North Carolina is now one vote away from reaching Cooper's desk. The Senate voted Wednesday for the measure, and it could be acted on Thursday by the House. The bills tells state regulators to develop a plan to reduce energy producers’ carbon dioxide output 70% by 2030, and achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The bill also gives Duke Energy the ability to seek multiyear rate increases.


Hospitals, nursing homes and adult care and hospice care facilities in North Carolina would be required to allow patient visits in a measure given final legislative approval. The bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk following a Senate vote on Wednesday is another piece of legislation responding to constituent complaints last year about family members being unable to visit loved ones in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill says visitations must be allowed to the extent that federal law permits, and that hospitals can be fined for violations.