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Wednesday News: Antebellum blues


MECK ENDS CONTRACT WITH LATTA PLANTATION OVERSEERS: Mecklenburg County is not renewing its contract with the nonprofit that manages Historic Latta Plantation, after a controversial Juneteenth program planned for the Huntersville site sparked a social media uproar last week. Lee Jones, Mecklenburg’s Park and Recreation director, told county commissioners Tuesday evening the annual agreement will end June 30. But the future use of the site remains unclear, and the county is still urging the plantation to rethink upcoming summer programming for children about training to be like young Confederate soldiers and southern belles, Jones said. “The outrage in the community is real,” said County Commissioner Mark Jerrell, who called the possibility of confederate camps a “trauma-causing event.”

Tuesday News: Racist bandwagon


TILLIS PUSHES BILL TO DEFUND TEACHING THE 1619 PROJECT: “The 1619 Project is a racially divisive and revisionist account of history that threatens the integrity of the Union by denying the true principles on which it was founded,” the legislation says. The legislation would prohibit federal funds from being used by any elementary or secondary school to teach the project. It calls for reducing federal funds to schools that do teach it by the costs associated with teaching the 1619 Project, including planning time and teaching time. “Americans do not want their tax dollars going towards promoting radical ideologies meant to divide us instead of being used to promote the principles that unite our nation,” Tillis said in a statement. The 1619 Project has been lumped together with Critical Race Theory as Republican lawmakers object to new ways of teaching American history.

Monday News: Thirteen thousand, two hundred sixty five


POSITIVE TEST RATE DROPS DOWN TO 1.6% IN NORTH CAROLINA: At least 1,007,698 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 13,265 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 425 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, down from 464 reported the day before. At least 535 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday. As of Friday, 1.6% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 54% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and about 50% were fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, the latest date for which data is available.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


DON'T TELL WOMEN WHAT THEY CAN DO WITH THEIR BODIES, FUND THE SERVICES THEY NEED: So when we talk about why, why a prenatal diagnosis of down syndrome can be so frightening for a family. I think it is important that we consider, maybe it’s because we have not provided adequate supports for these families and for their children. We must work towards reducing stigma and providing supports. We know how to do that. We know that early childhood intervention services can change the trajectory for a child with down syndrome. Yet these services are woefully underfunded. We know that as these children grow some will need community living supports, and yet, these services are not readily available to those who have the greatest need. Colleagues, if we want to get serious about walking with women through their journey of a prenatal diagnosis, the prescription is not to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. The prescription is funding for services, information for families, and comfort for families in knowing that their child will have access to education, therapies and the medical supports that they need.

Saturday News: Word on the street

DURHAM WILL REMOVE BIG YELLOW "DEFUND" PAINTED IN FRONT OF POLICE STATION: The Durham City Council and Mayor Steve Schewel unanimously agreed Thursday to remove the “Defund” sign painted in big yellow letters on the street outside the police department. A coalition of activists painted the word “Defund” on East Main Street, with an arrow pointing toward the Durham Police Department headquarters, about three weeks after George Floyd’s murder last year, The N&O reported. They also painted the word “Fund” in front of the Durham County Health and Human Services building. Schewel directed city staff to remove both signs within a month after June 25. “In the months following, many community members and City employees have asked for the removal of the “Defund” street art as a matter of staff morale,” he said.

Friday News: Leandro Rules


JUDGE WARNS LEGISLATURE TO PROPERLY FUND NC SCHOOLS: A state judge is warning that he may force lawmakers to act if they don’t begin funding a multi-billion dollar plan to provide every North Carolina student with a sound basic education. This week, state Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a court order approving a plan from the State Board of Education and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding through 2028. Lee said in the order that “time is of the essence” because so many children aren’t getting what they need educationally. “If the State fails to implement the actions described in the Comprehensive Remedial Plan … ’it will then be the duty of this Court to enter a judgment granting declaratory relief and such other relief as needed to correct the wrong,’” Lee wrote in the order. In a January 2020 court order, Lee said the state is further behind than it was in the 1990s in terms of providing students with a sound basic education.

Thursday News: The answer, my friend


GOVERNOR COOPER SETS OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY GOALS FOR NC: N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has announced the state’s first-ever targets for offshore wind energy development as part of an executive order, the latest in a series of steps to move the still-fledgling industry forward. North Carolina’s newly announced targets are 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Meeting the goal of 8 gigawatts by 2040 would power about 2.3 million homes with offshore wind, according to a press release from Cooper’s office. In addition to setting offshore wind goals, the executive order establishes the NC Task Force for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies, or NC TOWERS, an effort led by the state Department of Commerce to boost offshore wind economic development efforts.

Wednesday News: One-trick elephant


GOP BUDGET PACKAGE INCLUDES MASSIVE TAX CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS: North Carolina's top Republican lawmakers say they'll include tax cuts in a budget they plan to pass later this summer. Leaders in the House and the Senate released a statement Tuesday saying that, while they don't yet have a budget deal, they've agreed to include no more than $25.7 billion in the spending plan for the two-year period that starts in July. That would amount to a 3.45% increase in spending. It's significantly less than the $27.3 billion Gov. Roy Cooper proposed in his own budget plan. The legislative proposal also doesn't include Medicaid expansion, a top priority for the governor. Their announcement didn't provide details of the tax cuts, but Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, a House budget writer, said it will likely be similar to a package backed last month by the Senate that cuts both corporate and personal income tax rates.

Tuesday News: Tip of the iceberg?


NC CHARTER SCHOOL UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR FRAUD: One of North Carolina’s oldest charter schools is closing amid a criminal investigation into whether state funding was fraudulently received. “In March of 2021, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into allegations that Bridges Academy charter school fraudulently obtained excess funding from the state of North Carolina,” Anjanette Grube, a SBI spokeswoman, said in an email Monday. “The investigation remains ongoing. No additional information is available at this time.” Charter schools are taxpayer funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules that traditional public schools must follow. There are 200 charter schools open statewide this year.

Monday News: Thirteen thousand, one hundred fifty one


POSITIVE TESTS FOR CORONAVIRUS IN NC ARE DOWN TO 2.5%: At least 1,004,669 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 13,151 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 680 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 481 cases on Thursday. At least 613 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, the same count as the day before. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 2.5% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 54% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and about 50% are fully vaccinated, according to the state health department.


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