NCGA REPUBLICANS SEND NASTY LETTER TO NCAA OVER BASEBALL DECISION: "The decision to disqualify the NC State baseball team came at the recommendation of the Championship Medical Team and the Douglas County Health Department. Their recommendation was not a requirement," the letter reads "The NCAA, in turn, treated this recommendation as a directive and eliminated the NC State baseball team from further participation." The 65 House and Senate signatories, mostly but not all Republicans, also complain that the NCAA had announced that it would test only unvaccinated players. "[T]he infected members with COVID-19 were in contact with Vanderbilt’s team. Yet, they were allowed to continue forward in the series. If the NCAA’s goal is to follow the science behind the COVID-19 virus, Vanderbilt’s baseball team should have also been eliminated," the letter reads. That makes no sense whatsoever.
PROTESTERS CLASH WITH UNC BOARD OF TRUSTEES IN TENURE MEETING: UNC-Chapel Hill students protesting the lack of tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones yelled at UNC-CH trustees Wednesday afternoon and had to be pushed out by police after refusing to leave a meeting of the board. About 75 students, organized by the campus Black Student Movement, had gathered outside before the meeting started, then were allowed into a ballroom of the Carolina Inn as the meeting began. But once the board voted to go into closed session to discuss the tenure issue, the students refused to leave the room. Law enforcement was brought in to make them leave. Lamar Richards, UNC’s student body president and a member of the Board of Trustees, then called one of the protesters. The protester held up the cell phone so that others could hear Richards. He explained that the tenure discussion would not be in public to protect Hannah-Jones. At that point, the students stopped yelling and chanting. Richards tweeted shortly after the phone call that he wants to be clear it is legal and standard procedure to discuss tenure and personnel matters in closed session.
PAUL NEWBY NAMES DONALD VAN DER VAART AS TOP ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE: Donald van der Vaart, a state environmental secretary for then-Gov. Pat McCrory, engineer and attorney, was named on Thursday to lead North Carolina's Office of Administrative Hearings. Van der Vaart, who is now the state's chief administrative law judge in addition to OAH director, was sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby, who appointed him. Van der Vaart succeeds Julian Mann III, who had served in the positions since 1989. Mann had been reappointed several times to four-year terms by previous chief justices. Van der Vaart was a longtime regulator within the Department of Environmental Quality or its predecessor agency before McCrory named him department secretary in early 2015. He later was appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board. He's been serving on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission. And he believes that fossil fuels are actually renewable energy sources.
MANHATTAN DA LOWERS THE BOOM ON TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year "scheme to defraud" the government and its chief financial officer with grand larceny and tax fraud in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday, describing what they said was a wide-ranging effort to hide income from tax authorities. In charging papers, prosecutors alleged that Allen Weisselberg, former president Donald Trump's longtime CFO, had avoided more than $900,000 in taxes by concealing the value of benefits he got from Trump's company — including a free apartment, free Mercedes-Benz cars, new furniture and tuition payments for his relatives. The indictment said that other, unnamed Trump Organization executives were given similar benefits. It also said that Weisselberg had orchestrated the scheme along with "others" at the company but did not name any of the others. Weisselberg was the only executive charged on Thursday. Weisselberg, who has worked for the Trump Organization since the 1970s, pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment hearing that began about 2:20 p.m. He walked into the courtroom in a dark suit, surrounded by detectives and court officers. He did not respond to questions from reporters in the hallway outside. Weisselberg, 73, had surrendered at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office early Thursday, the morning after a grand jury filed indictments against him and the Trump Organization. He was released after the hearing, but he was required to surrender his passport after prosecutors said he was a "flight risk."
CLIMATE-RELATED HEATWAVE IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST KILLED HUNDREDS: The heat took Sebastian Francisco Perez, 38, as the Guatemalan-born farmworker moved irrigation lines in a field in Marion County, Ore., on Saturday in record temperatures that soared to 104 degrees. Debra Moore, 68 and recovering from chemotherapy, was found on Monday on the blistering sidewalk in a community at the base of Mount Rainier, hours after she collapsed just steps from the house she was visiting, the police said. Dorothy Galliano, 85, died from hyperthermia sometime over the weekend in Seattle’s Seward Park neighborhood where she was a vibrant fixture. Emergency medical workers found her on Tuesday in her home, which had no air-conditioning. “The temperature outside was so high, you could only stand it a minute,” said Ms. Galliano’s friend Ann Pinsky, who lives three blocks away and who has wished all week that she or some other neighbors had checked to see if the older woman, who lived alone, was safe from the record heat wave. Hundreds of heat-related deaths have been confirmed in ordinarily cool Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The casualties — in overheated cars, stifling apartments, older homes, workplaces, homeless encampments — reflect the particular dangers of extreme heat and the potential for devastation as climate change dramatically amplifies normal temperature fluctuations. In Washington and Oregon alone, authorities have attributed at least 90 deaths to the sustained spike in temperatures. The chief coroner of British Columbia said at least 486 sudden deaths were reported in the province from Friday to Wednesday afternoon, a five-day period in which 165 such deaths are typically reported.