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Wednesday News: Raleigh runoffs?

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INCUMBENTS CROWDER AND STEPHENSON TRAILING IN VOTES TO NEWCOMERS: Council members David Cox, Nicole Stewart and Corey Branch all won their races with more than 50% plus one of the votes cast, successfully avoiding a November run-off election. And newcomers Patrick Buffkin and David Knight will also be joining the board. That may not be the case for incumbents Russ Stephenson and Kay Crowder. The longtime council members trailed Jonathan Melton and Saige Martin, respectively, after all of Tuesday’s votes were counted, though neither of the challengers crossed the 50% threshold and Stephenson, at least, suggested that he would ask for a runoff. The power on the council shifted two years ago. The majority call themselves proponents of smart-growth, while critics say they are slow- or anti-growth. Only one in the current majority — Cox — won outright Tuesday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article235853772.html

Tuesday News: Investigate the parents

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WAKE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TAKE WHITE SUPREMACY TO SNAPCHAT: School administrators are investigating whether to punish students at two schools outside Raleigh, North Carolina, for exchanging racist messages online. Wake County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten said Monday the Snapchat discussions involved three students at East Wake High School in Wendell, and a larger number of students in nearby Johnston County, which Johnston schools' spokesman Nathanael Shelton confirmed. Both districts are investigating. WTVD reports the group chat was exposed by a 14-year-old black girl at East Wake, who posed with a white-face avatar to confirm what she'd heard about. The messages included "Pullin triggers and shootin n------"and "#bring slavery back." The girl's parents told WTVD that her principal told them there was little to be done because the threats weren't "specific" or "imminent."
https://www.wral.com/north-carolina-students-investigated-in-racist-online-chat/18683049/

Monday News: Stalking by proxy

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GREG LINDBERG HAD WOMEN HE WAS ATTRACTED TO FOLLOWED: The article, based on months of reporting, interviews with some of the women involved, interviews with security personnel and a review of internal reports and messages they provided, details Durham insurance magnate Greg Lindberg's approach to dating and to identifying potential egg donors to help him have a baby. The newspaper said Lindberg scoured social media, often keying on aspiring models, then had a surveillance team research each woman's habits and whether or not she had a boyfriend. At one point, they staked out a "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit model's apartment, The Journal said. Lindberg's team used GPS trackers and reported back if the women saw other men, the newspaper said. One investigator enrolled in a culinary school to keep watch, The Journal reported. In another case, staff rented an apartment across the hall and "chronicled her entrances and exits via camera," the newspaper said.
https://www.wral.com/wall-street-journal-indicted-nc-insurance-tycoon-spied-on-women-he-wanted-to-da...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NATION NEEDS BURR TO DELIVER NOW ON 2016 CAMPAIGN PROMISE: It was Burr himself who promised North Carolina’s voters, when he said he’d not seek re-election again, that he’d be an uncompromising presence -- withstanding and rising above partisanship when time and circumstance demanded it. North Carolinians cannot rely on Sen. Thom Tillis – who quakes at every Trump tweet and parrots whatever spin the White House sends out. This is a time when it appears the president is shaking down the leader of the Ukraine for campaign dirt on a potential opponent. He seeks to order border patrol agents to shoot migrants in the legs to slow them. This is not typical, normal or reasonable. The time is now for Burr to stand up. He needs to assure his constituents that his priority is the integrity of the presidency and the independence of the Senate and legislative branch of government.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-nation-needs-burr-to-deliver-now-on-2016-campaign-promise/18671224/

Saturday News: Appalachian injustice

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U.S. SUPREME COURT WILL DECIDE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE FATE: The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it would hear the appeal of Atlantic Coast Pipeline owners and the Trump administration over the rejection of a permit that would allow the natural gas line to cross the Appalachian Trail. A ruling for the pipeline will allow construction to resume by late summer next year and finish by late 2021, the email said. The Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented environmental groups in the case, said in a statement they will defend the Appeals Court decision. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a dangerous, costly and unnecessary project, and we won’t stand by while Duke and Dominion Energy try to force it on our public lands, threatening people’s health, endangered species, iconic landscapes and clean water along the way,” their statement said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235795832.html

Friday News: Trying to pass?

TRUMP APPOINTEE FOR FEDERAL BENCH DOESN'T WANT TO ADMIT HE'S BLACK: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said during his introduction that Myers would be “the first African American on his court.” Asked if he considered himself African American, Myers said, “I consider myself human. I consider myself human. Jamaican American. For some folks, it’s a really important thing for them. For me, I would really like to be considered on my own merits every step of the way.” Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, whose district covers much of Eastern North Carolina and is a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said after President Donald Trump nominated Myers that he wished Trump had taken the opportunity to diversify the bench. “Every African American I know is proud to make that identification as African American,” Butterfield told McClatchy last month. “If he is indeed African American, I would expect that he would be proud of it and say so.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235460432.html

Thursday News: Privatization boondoggle

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TEST SCORES WORSEN AT FIRST SCHOOL TAKEN OVER BY CHARTER: More schools may be taken over by the state’s Innovative School District, even as a new report showed flat test scores and a variety of problems at the only school now in the controversial program. Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County ended the program’s first year with an “F” grade, not meeting academic growth and a drop in the percentage of students passing state exams. Some of the schools that fought to stay under local control have higher grades now than Southside, according to a report presented Wednesday to the State Board of Education. The Innovative School District was created by Republican state lawmakers in 2016 to take up to five low-performing elementary schools away from local school district control and turn them over to an outside group to run.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article235692682.html

Wednesday News: Cracks in the armor

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REPUBLICAN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUSH BERGER FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION: “We supported Medicaid expansion because our citizens need it. Did you know Senator that our poverty level is near 30%?” he continued. “Did you know that we have several hundred working adults with no means to have health care?” The decline of manufacturing left Graham County without a large private employer, Wiggins said. Given the dire circumstances, he said commissioners have to consider solutions that aren’t necessarily Republican ideas. “The reality is in places like Graham County,” Wiggins said, “a mom or dad working at McDonald’s or Wendy’s for just over minimum wage cannot afford $1,500 a month for insurance.” Wiggins concluded his letter by suggesting legislators don’t understand his county’s hardship. “You know Senator Berger,” he said. “for some people who have good paying jobs and good health insurance it is easy to say that those without health insurance just need to go to work, isn’t it?”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235677772.html

Monday News: Public corruption does not pay

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JUDGE ORDERS FORMER BUNCOMBE MANAGER TO START SERVING TIME: Multiple media organizations report that U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad on Friday denied a request by both prosecutors and lawyers to delay the sentence for former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene. Conrad says the 68-year-old Greene was at the heart of a corruption scheme by local officials dating back to 2007, and it's time for her to go to prison. Prosecutors said they wanted Greene nearby as she helps with the investigation and prosecution of other county officials and contractors. Three other county officials are charged with accepting gifts in exchange for awarding government contracts to a Georgia engineering contractor.
https://www.wral.com/us-judge-orders-former-nc-official-to-start-prison-term/18664206/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SPEAKER MOORE'S HALF-FILLED CHAMBER WIN IS EMPTY VICTORY: As state House Speaker Time Moore speaks more and more about his successful veto overrides, we become increasingly convinced he has abandoned all perspective. So determined to win is he, that he has lost sight of his chief leadership responsibility -- to operate an open and honest House that respects the value of all citizens’ votes. Everybody likes a real winner. But it is how you play and win that becomes the legacy. Moore’s fairness-be-damned approach will haunt him. There is no morality to a victory when the other side believed that there would be no game. House minority leader Darren Jackson believed that he had been told by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep David Lewis that there would be no votes in the morning session. Jackson then informed his caucus. So, did Lewis unintentionally mislead Jackson or was it a deliberate act to give out fake information and fool Democrats? It doesn’t matter.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-speaker-moore-s-half-filled-chamber-win-is-empty-victory/18659373/

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