Friday News: Keep your fingers crossed


TRUMP ADMIN HAS "INDEFINITELY DELAYED" EXPANSION OF OFFSHORE DRILLING: Gov. Roy Cooper opposed plans to open waters along the North Carolina coast to drilling. Most governors along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts opposed the Trump administration plan. Some elected officials in coastal communities and business owners in those areas also fought drilling. The Journal reported Thursday that U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in an interview that the plan was on hold while a federal judge’s decision upholding an Obama-era drilling ban in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean is appealed. “I certainly hope that ‘indefinitely delayed’ is Washington-speak for ‘never,’” Southern Environmental Law Center senior attorney Sierra Weaver said in a statement. “Whatever the reason for this delay, more than 230 communities have spoken out against seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic, and those hundreds of thousands of coastal residents and businesses welcome any development that makes risking their coast less likely.”

HERE WE GO AGAIN, HOUSE BUDGET REMOVES FILM INCENTIVE FUNDING: A House budget proposal released Thursday would drop $31 million out of the state's film incentive grants program, zeroing out the initiative's new funding for the coming year. That could change as the General Assembly hammers out a $24 billion budget. House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday afternoon that the issue is "in flux." Rep. Ted Davis, R-New Hanover, whose Wilmington district is a hub for movie and television work, said he expects the money to be back into the budget before all is said and done. Guy Gaster, director of the North Carolina Film Office, was out of the office Thursday. But his office email bounce-back tells prospective filmmakers that the program has more than $20 million available. It also says the program "will have an additional $31M added as part of our new fiscal year in July."

UNC EMPLOYEE ARRESTED AFTER INTERVENING IN POLICE LIVE-SHOOTER DRILL: Randy Young, spokesman for UNC Police, confirmed the charges against Mathwig. He said the training was valuable and did not involve live weapons. Mathwig, of Carrboro, said she has worked at UNC for four years. Her office, within the university’s Department of Student Affairs, helps UNC’s 250 to 300 student veterans transition to college life, navigate their federal benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and provides them a space on campus to meet with one another. Mathwig said there were people in the building where she works, that there are often children in that building with their parents, and that pedestrians come and go through the area frequently. Police were firing simulated rounds, which are bullet-shaped projectiles that while not lethal can cause bruising “and can break windows,” she said. Mathwig said police suspended the exercise and officers came over to tell her to leave. When she refused, she was arrested.

QUARANTINES AT LA UNIVERSITIES SHOW DISTURBING LACK OF RECORDS FOR MEASLES VACCINES: Measles in the United States has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. Roughly three-quarters of this year’s illnesses have been in New York state. A UCLA student who was diagnosed with measles possibly exposed 500 people on campus to measles in early April, according to a statement from the school. Of those people, 119 students and eight faculty members had not provided medical records by Wednesday showing that they were immune. By Thursday afternoon, 43 of them had been released after proving they had been vaccinated. Meanwhile at Cal State, a person infected with measles visited a library and possibly encountered hundreds of employees, some of whom were students. One hundred ninety-eight of them could not provide their immunization records, according to a statement from the Cal State.

BIDEN'S EFFORTS TO SMOOTH OVER ANITA HILL FALL FLAT: Joe Biden knew Anita Hill was going to be an issue for him. So a few weeks ago, as he prepared for his presidential announcement, he reached out to her through an intermediary and arranged a telephone call, hoping to assuage her. But Ms. Hill says the call from Mr. Biden left her feeling deeply unsatisfied. In a lengthy telephone interview on Wednesday, she declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s words to her as an apology and said she was not convinced that he has taken full responsibility for his conduct at the hearings — or for the harm he caused other victims of sexual harassment and gender violence. She said she views Mr. Biden as having “set the stage” for last year’s confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who, like Justice Thomas, was elevated to the court despite accusations against him that he had acted inappropriately toward women. Ms. Hill, a deeply private woman who does not often speak publicly about her experience, said she does not find Mr. Biden’s conduct disqualifying. “I’m really open to people changing,” she said. But, she added, she cannot support Mr. Biden for president until he takes full responsibility for his conduct, including his failure to call as corroborating witnesses other women who were willing to testify before the Judiciary Committee. By leaving them out, she said, he created a “he said, she said” situation that did not have to exist.