Daily dose

Thursday News: Reckless endangerment


ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT ON BILL THAT WOULD GET RID OF PISTOL PERMITS: Under state law, handgun buyers must obtain a permit from a local sheriff and undergo a background check. But House Bill 398, which is currently in the Senate, would repeal the permit requirement. On Wednesday, Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, called the permit law the “backbone of public safety in North Carolina.” Gerald Givens Jr., president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP, said the issue should not be partisan. “This issue is not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans,” he said. “It’s about us doing the work that we can to prevent homicides as well as suicides.” On Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, called the permit law “one of our most effective tools to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, felons and other dangerous people.” Bolding mine, because those are not random potential victims, they are specific targets for abusive husbands and boyfriends. We need to watch more closely, not back off.

Wednesday News: Losing the best and brightest

SUSAN KING, UNC'S DEAN OF JOURNALISM, IS STEPPING DOWN: Susan King announced that this will be her last year as dean in her weekly email newsletter to journalism faculty. “I believe after 10 years a new dean will bring fresh eyes, additional perspective and new energy to our school,” King wrote. The news comes on the heels of journalist Nikole-Hannah Jones’s tenure controversy that placed the UNC-CH journalism school in the national spotlight earlier this summer. King, 74, said she never intended to stay on as dean for more than a decade, but plans to return as a tenured faculty member after a leave. “Media — journalism, public relations and advertising — are in a state of great change,” she wrote, noting that it is not the same world or business that it was in 2012 when she arrived on campus. Can't say I blame her, but damn.

Monday News: Preventable problems


NC HAS A CRITICAL TEACHER SHORTAGE: A spokeswoman for the State Department of Public Instruction said the state's overall vacancy rate has actually held stable despite the pandemic, and it's expected to improve by the end of September. But the N.C. Association of Educators says statewide numbers don't tell the whole story. They say teachers are leaving the state or the profession due to low pay and lack of respect. The group held a news conference Friday with teachers, parents and students to discuss the chronic shortage of licensed, permanent teachers in classrooms. Phillip Gillis, a teacher and vice chair of the Person County School Board, said his county's vacancy rate is over 13%, which he called "alarming." When his district gets extra money from the county or state, it has to be spent on fixing crumbling buildings, not on teacher supplements, Gillis said. "We do all we can," he explained. "We work with our county commissioners, we work with our local government. We do what we can in Person County. We cannot compete with the tax base of larger counties and larger cities."

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


AS DEADLY VIRUS SPREADS, LEGISLATORS FIDDLE WITH PARTISAN VACCINE POLITICS: In their letter these legislators say they are worried about the “valid concerns” of workers. They “strongly encourage” employers get “greater input from employees” as well as “include feedback and consideration of employees and staff.” These legislators aren’t fooling these hospital executives nor anyone else. Their main concern isn’t workers’ rights, or more tragically the good health of North Carolinians. The only thing they care about is appealing to a narrow political base to promote a divisive issue embedded in their baseless and dangerous anti-vaccination ideology. Clearly in this very real life-and-death situation nothing is gets in the way of their obsessive quest for a political wedge and a campaign edge. It is unfortunate they don’t have the same devotion to helping stop the spread of the virus and avoid the skyrocketing number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Saturday News: The high cost of ignorance


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC ARE CLOSE TO 2,500: With over 6,600 new COVID cases on Friday, North Carolina has averaged 5,182 new cases per day over the past week, the highest rate since early February when the pandemic was just coming down from its winter peak. At the beginning of July, the seven-day average was below 300. As of Friday, 2,483 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, the 34th consecutive day that number has increased. A quarter of those patients, 635, are being treated in intensive care units. A week ago there were 424 adult COVID patients statewide in ICU, a number that has since grown by nearly 50%. Among the tests reported Wednesday, the latest data available, 11.6% returned positive. The rate has been over 10% for 12 straight days.

Friday News: Here we go again...


UNC CHAPEL HILL REPORTS FIRST COVID CLUSTER OF THE FALL SEMESTER: The six cases are related to an event in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The report comes the day before move-in starts Thursday for thousands of students and exactly a week before in-person classes are set to begin on campus. Responses to the news on Twitter echo the sentiments of several members of Wednesday’s Campus & Community Advisory Committee Meeting, who say the university should require COVID-19 vaccines for all students and employees. “If we’re not going to require the vaccine then we shouldn’t have a full reopening with dorms at maximum capacity and classes in-person,” professor Seth Noar said. He said that UNC-CH, as a leading public research university, isn’t following the science or the research on this issue. Aren't pharmacists trained to administer vaccines?

Thursday News: Sour Sixteen

NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY RAISES LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE TO 16: The NC House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would raise the legal age to marry from 14 to 16, moving the state a bit closer to banning child marriage altogether. But Wednesday’s vote seemed unlikely earlier this year. When lawmakers first proposed Senate Bill 35 the plan was to ban marriage under 18 outright. The child marriage bill stalled when it was sent to the Families, Children and Aging Policy committee led by Rep. Jerry Carter, a Rockingham County Republican. After Carter’s death last week, the bill moved out of his committee and into the Rules committee which sent the bill to the House floor. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, so I won't say anything.

Wednesday News: Love wins, eventually


CHARLOTTE PASSES NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE PROTECTING LGBTQ CITIZENS: The city’s new NDO is applicable to all employers, large and small — a point of uncertainty for city attorney Patrick Baker, who has expressed concern about Charlotte’s ability to handle a flood of discrimination complaints from large Charlotte-based employers. Baker had recommended the Council pursue an NDO for businesses with 14 or fewer workers, in order to close a gap in federal and state law. Customers and visitors cannot be discriminated against in places of public accommodation either, under Charlotte’s NDO. Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance now includes protections for gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and natural hairstyles.

Monday News: Taking responsibility


BOONE CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO REQUIRE MASKS INDOORS: Effective 5 p.m. Tuesday, ages 2 and older must mask up in all indoor public settings, according to Mayor Rennie Brantz’s declaration. The Town Council voted to reenact the state of emergency first imposed during the pandemic last year. “Watauga County’s and North Carolina’s daily case counts and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are quickly increasing due to the Delta Variant, which spreads at least twice as easily as previous variants,” according to the declaration. The council said on Facebook that the Boone Police Department “will continue to assist private businesses and private business owners if they choose to enforce social distancing standards and other more restrictive COVID-19 preventative measures.” Good, because there are bound to be some idiots ready to show their asses.


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