SAMPSON COUNTY DEPUTY SHOOTS, KILLS ARMED PICKUP TRUCK DRIVER: In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office said the deputy stopped a pickup truck on Laurel Lake Road at the intersection of Lakewood School Road around 1:09 p.m. The release doesn’t say why the deputy stopped the vehicle. The person inside the truck was armed when the deputy approached the vehicle, the news release said. That’s when the officer fired his gun, fatally injuring the person the news release described as an “armed suspect.” “Life saving measures” were performed unsuccessfully, the release says, and the person died at the scene. The NC State Bureau of Investigation is investigating, which the sheriff’s office said is protocol in North Carolina when a deputy is involved in a shooting.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL DELETE LAWMAKERS' EMAILS AFTER 3 YEARS: The General Assembly is changing its email retention policies and planning to delete most correspondence after three years, raising questions about public access and access to documents often sought in lawsuits. The change is part of a move to cloud computing and a desire not to pay for too much storage space, according to Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble, who oversees day-to-day logistics at the General Assembly. Lawmakers can pick certain emails to archive for up to 10 years, Coble said, but standard practice will be deletion after three. "We don't want to pay to hold everyone's email for eternity in the cloud," Coble said in an email Thursday. Coble didn't respond Thursday or Friday to requests for written copies of the new and old policies, nor did he respond to other follow up questions on the new policy. But Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's office, after initially referring questions to Coble, said late Friday afternoon that the General Assembly hasn't had an email retention policy before now.
RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL EYES ALLOWING DUPLEXES AND CONDOS IN SINGLE-FAMILY ZONES: The Raleigh City Council will consider a change on Tuesday that will allow duplexes, townhomes and other housing types by-right in mostly single-family neighborhoods. This will help address housing affordability and increase “missing middle” housing — two issues the majority of the Raleigh City Council campaigned on in 2019, said Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. “We empathized there would have to be some change to zoning to allow for more housing choice, especially what I call gentle density,” she said. “This is what I call gentle density, and it will allow for more homes to be built in our city. It’s a positive thing.” Missing middle housing covers a gamut of housing types that fit between apartments and single-family homes. Normally it includes duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, backyard cottages (also called accessory dwelling units) and cottage court housing. Council member David Cox posted on Facebook the change would “end single family zoning.” His constituents don’t support the change and don’t want increased density in the least dense neighborhoods, he said.
HOURLY WAGES ARE RISING AT A RECORD-BREAKING PACE: In the past three months, rank-and-file employees have seen some of the fastest wage growth since the early 1980s, as employers desperate to get workers back into restaurants, ballparks and plants are offering perks such as more time off, free food and higher pay to entice them to return. The pay hikes are reflected in the latest jobs report, which showed that the U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June, the strongest gain since last summer. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.9 percent. Much of the hiring occurred in the restaurant, hotel and entertainment sectors that have seen the fastest wage gains. Average pay in the restaurant industry is now above $15 an hour for the first time. In many ways, this is a story of basic supply-and-demand forces playing out in the economy. There’s a lot of demand for workers right now, and not a large supply of people ready to go back to work. Many of the unemployed are still dealing with health issues or child-care problems, or want to reinvent themselves with a career change as the pandemic wanes. Plus, ample government aid has given many workers enough of a savings cushion to remain jobless a little longer to see how their situation pans out, a labor force luxury that Republicans have roundly criticized. What is clear from the June jobs report is that firms that are raising pay are largely seeing the benefits. Businesses advertising $15 or more an hour are luring more applicants, and the pay hikes in the hospitality sector appear to be forcing other industries to increase wages as well, to stay above retail and restaurants. After companies like Chipotle said they would go to $15 an hour and Bank of America said it would go to $25 an hour by 2025, searches for jobs at those firms jumped, according to Indeed.com.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN FLORIDA HAVE NOT BEEN ENFORCING BUILDING CODES: Florida’s high-rise building regulations have long been among the strictest in the nation. But after parts of Champlain Towers South tumbled down on June 24, killing at least 24 people and leaving 121 unaccounted for, evidence has mounted that those rules have been enforced unevenly by local governments, and sometimes not at all. Miami-Dade County officials said last week that they were prioritizing reviews of 24 multistory buildings that either had failed major structural or electrical inspections required after 40 years or had not submitted the reports in the first place. But the county’s own records show that 17 of those cases had been open for a year or more. Two cases were against properties owned by the county itself. The oldest case had sat unresolved since 2008. In the tiny town of Bay Harbor Islands, two teardrops of land in Biscayne Bay that lie just north and west of Surfside, more than a dozen multistory structures or large commercial buildings that had been scheduled to turn in inspection reports had not submitted them as of last week, records show. One property appeared to be more than seven years late in filing. The city of North Miami Beach had tried and failed for years to bring a 10-story condo building within its borders, Crestview Towers, into compliance with the 40-year recertification requirements. When the building’s condo association finally submitted the required paperwork last week, about nine years late, it documented critical safety concerns, a city spokesman said. Officials evacuated the building on Friday. Meanwhile, the same local governments were pursuing a haphazard approach to identifying other potentially unsafe buildings across the region, with the age and height criteria that would prompt added scrutiny varying from one place to the next. At least one local government, the village of Key Biscayne, was opting to conduct no extra inspections at all, an official there said.