PROUD BOY NABBED WHILE VISITING HIS NORTH CAROLINA BUDDIES: A man charged with joining alleged members of the Proud Boys in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was arrested in Fayetteville last Thursday. Edward George Jr., 33, of Clearwater, Fla., was visiting North Carolina last week when he was taken into custody, Bill Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told The News & Observer Tuesday. George was named in a nine-count indictment dated July 7, alongside four other defendants: Kevin A. Tuck, Nathaniel Tuck, Arthur Jackman and Paul Rae. Jackman and Rae were originally charged in late March, and identified themselves as members of the Proud Boys, according to court records.
BIG SURPRISE, UNC BOARD OF GOVERNORS MAKES POWER MOVE ON SYSTEM TRUSTEES: The UNC Board of Governors on Thursday ordered trustees at the public universities across the system to list all the duties they have delegated to others over the years — so it’s clear who’s responsible for decisions on each campus. Schools have until Nov. 1 to send a report to UNC President Peter Hans under the directive issued during the Board of Governors’ July meeting in Chapel Hill. The order came out of the board’s Committee on University Governance, which discussed it Wednesday as a way to bring clarity to the patchwork of decision-making processes that exist from one campus to the next. Committee Chair David Powers said knowing who decides what, and when, at each school “is just good governance,” and that trustees, chancellors, employees and students should be glad to have the information. This is for your own good? Really?
THE UNEMPLOYED APPARENTLY OWE THE STATE $350 MILLION OVER A TECHNICALITY: The state unemployment office has flagged $350 million in overpaid unemployment, to 117,000 people, since the pandemic began, Division of Employment Security officials said this week. That's a little less than 3 percent of the $12.6 billion in claims the state paid over that period. Most of the overpayments – about $258 million – were identified this year. About half of those went to people that the state says failed to submit documentation the federal government requires to get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This PUA program is one of several boosts Congress added during the pandemic to increase payouts across the country. It helped people who ordinarily wouldn't qualify for unemployment benefits, including the self-employed and independent contractors. But PUA recipients who got overpayment letters in recent months told WRAL News they believe they sent the state everything asked for to prove eligibility. Now, they're facing four- and five-figure collection demands from the state. The state needs to proceed very carefully, or it will put thousands of families on the street.
OREGON'S WILDFIRES ARE MAKING NC'S AIR UNHEALTHY TO BREATHE: Air quality across much of North Carolina is expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups Thursday due to smoke from wildfires in the western United States. In all except a few eastern counties, the North Carolina Air Quality Forecast Center designated air as code orange Thursday, which means it's unhealthy for sensitive groups. In the Piedmont Triad area, a burning ban is currently in effect. Smoke from wildfires in the northwestern United States and central Canada is expected to remain over the majority of the state Thursday, causing the code orange readings. Areas on the North Carolina coast are experiencing a code yellow, or moderate air quality, because of "sea breeze effects and attendant isolated shower or thunderstorm activity," according to the N.C. Division of Air Quality. The N.C. Air Quality Forecast Center's Facebook page explained how the smoke travels across the country. Fires burning for long periods of time produce massive amounts of smoke and heat. Warm air rises, and the heat allows the smoke to lift higher and away from the surface. Upper-level winds and the jet stream can then carry this smoke across the country.
PRESIDENT BIDEN LAYS SANCTIONS ON CUBA OVER ATTACKS ON PROTESTERS: The Biden administration on Thursday levied sanctions against Cuba’s defense minister and a special forces unit of the Interior Ministry it said were directly involved in human rights abuses during a government crackdown on widespread protests on the island earlier this month. President Biden said in a statement that the measures were “just the beginning” of efforts to sanction “individuals responsible for the oppression of the Cuban people.” The measures come as Biden faces increasing pressure from Congress, activist groups and Cuban Americans to take decisive action in support of the protesters. The administration had been slowly exploring new policies toward Cuba that would reverse many of the actions taken by President Donald Trump to restrict travel, trade and other forms of outreach. The Obama administration had expanded contacts when it reestablished diplomatic relations with Havana in 2015. But the ongoing upheaval in Cuba, including simultaneous, unprecedented demonstrations in a number of cities and towns that resulted in hundreds of arrests, attacks against anti-government protesters and attempts to shut down the Internet communications that enabled demonstrations to be organized, have set the Biden administration on a new timetable and pushed it away from anything that could be seen as a concession to the communist regime.