Archive

Insider for September 27, 2022

YOU DON’T SAY

“I don’t know if there’s underlying reasons or not.”

Sen. Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck, on Senate leadership declining to consider his bi-partisan safe gun storage bill. (WRAL NEWS, 9/26/22)



Supreme Court Case

Will Doran, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/26/22

A North Carolina lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court could undermine democracy as we know it, by allowing state legislators to override popular opinion in elections for Congress and possibly even the presidency, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters. “That potential result, I think, should keep every American up at night,” Holder said in a Q&A session last week.

The main focus is on gerrymandering. If North Carolina lawmakers win the case, states would have free rein to draw congressional district maps that artificially inflate the power of whichever political party controls the state legislature.

Many states, both blue and red, have done that for decades. But in recent years a growing number of state supreme courts — including North Carolina’s, earlier this year — have started cracking down on partisan gerrymandering. This case seeks to put a stop to that, by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to ban state courts from ruling on anything related to federal elections. In addition to gerrymandering, that could also affect issues like voter ID, felon voting rights or the rules for early voting, mail-in voting and more.

The Supreme Court has shot down similar arguments multiple times, in cases dating back over a century. However, earlier this summer the court’s most conservative justices agreed they should take another look at it. The court will likely hear the arguments later this year, and then issue a ruling next year, in time for the 2024 elections.

The case may go beyond gerrymandering, too. Some are concerned the Supreme Court could hand so much unchecked power to state legislatures that they’d even be able to override their state’s popular vote in presidential elections — and hand their Electoral College votes to whoever the legislature wants to win, regardless of who the people voted for. “The stakes are higher now than they were even three, four years ago, given the number of election deniers who are running for state legislative seats, secretaries of state, governors,” said Holder, a Democrat who led the U.S. Department of Justice during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Legislative leaders, however, deny that they’d get the final say over who gets North Carolina’s votes in future presidential races, even if they do win this case. The case, called Moore v. Harper, “is about who has the constitutional authority to draw federal election maps and has nothing to do with presidential electors,” said Lauren Horsch, a spokeswoman for N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger.

In seven swing states that voted for Joe Biden in 2020, Republicans tried creating fake slates of electors that would’ve given their states’ votes to Donald Trump instead. All of those attempts failed, and some of those involved are now under investigation. But in 2024 and beyond, Holder said, that strategy could become a real threat if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the North Carolina legislature in this case.

“State legislatures could, at least theoretically, decide which electors ultimately go to the Electoral College,” he said, adding: “On the basis of what they’ve said about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, you have to genuinely be concerned about what would these people do.” The News & Observer has previously reported that experts disagree on this point. Some agree with Holder. Others say legislatures still couldn’t directly override the popular vote and reassign their state’s electoral votes, but that legislatures might have an easier time conducting politically motivated audits that could undo legitimate results.

While there are differing views on what the case might mean for presidential elections, no one disagrees that a ruling for North Carolina would give states more power to draw maps without state court oversight. The only disagreement there is whether it’s good or bad. Republicans control most state legislatures nationwide. So a number of national GOP groups are formally supporting the North Carolina case by downplaying the concerns voiced by Democratic politicians, voting rights advocates, election law experts and others. [Source]



Gun Safety

Laura Leslie, WRAL NEWS, 9/26/22

Child safety leaders in North Carolina said they’ll try again next year to convince lawmakers to approve a statewide education campaign on safe gun storage. There were 116 children who died in 2021 from gunshot wounds, which included homicide, suicide and unintentional shootings. Firearm deaths were the leading cause of injury death in 2021 for children in North Carolina.

According to state data, as of 2020, more children are now killed by guns in North Carolina than by motor vehicle accidents. And the use of guns in suicides by minors has also risen sharply. Gun sales spiked in North Carolina in 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic, and many of those guns aren’t being stored safely.

According to a state survey last year:

  • 42% of North Carolina adults said they have a firearm at home
  • 45% said they store it loaded
  • 53% of those gun owners say they don’t lock it up

Even before the pandemic, the Child Fatality Task Force advocated for a statewide educational campaign about safe gun storage, including free gun locks. Task force member Alan Dellapenna said it’s also a school safety issue, since most guns used in school shootings are brought from home. “The issue is not going away, we know that,” Dellapenna said. “We would like to mitigate the problem in the state and begin the work.”

In 2021, the state House passed a bill to fund the program and put it in the budget. However, the state Senate refused to consider it. Bill sponsor and Sen. Bobby Hanig, R- Currituck, said Senate leaders wouldn’t tell him why. “We’re not going to take up any gun bills this year,” Hanig said. “That’s pretty much all I got. I don’t know if there’s underlying reasons or not.”

Hanig, who previously served in the state House, is now in the Senate. He said he plans to try again for the program next year. Hanig said it’s not a partisan issue and it’s not anti-gun. “I’m a big Second Amendment person, 100%,” Hanig said. “And this, this has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. This is just common sense. And, it’s education. And, it’s voluntary. Nothing mandatory about it. Nothing says you have to do this.”

WRAL News has asked state Senate leaders why the safe gun storage bill didn’t advance. They have not responded. [Source]



Ballot Fraud

Gary D. Robertson, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/26/22

Four people pleaded guilty on Monday to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. The convictions stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway accepted the plea agreements in Wake County court, which resulted in no active prison or jail time. Cases against six other defendants remained pending, with hearings scheduled through the end of next month, Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.

All 10 defendants, according to indictments handed up in 2019, had a common involvement with Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a longtime political operative in rural Bladen County. Dowless also was indicted on more than a dozen state charges, with his case scheduled last year to go to trial last month. He rejected a plea agreement and looked forward to his day in court, according to a friend. But he died in April after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Freeman said at the time that the prosecution of the other cases would continue. Dowless worked in the 2018 congressional race for then-Republican candidate Mark Harris, who appeared to have received the most votes in the general election for the 9th District seat in south-central North Carolina. But allegations against Dowless surfaced, and testimony and other information revealed at a State Board of Elections hearing described him running an illegal “ballot harvesting” operation for the 2018 general election in Bladen County. In it, according to testimony, Dowless and his helpers gathered up hundreds of absentee ballots from voters by offering to put them in the mail.

Some of workers said they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates. It is generally against the law in North Carolina for anyone other than the voter or a family member to handle someone’s completed ballot. The election board voted unanimously to order a new 9th District election. No charges were filed against Harris, who didn’t run in the subsequent election won in September 2019 by Republican Dan Bishop. The state investigation also led to charges of similar absentee ballot activities in Bladen for the 2016 general election and 2018 primary.

Those in court on Monday — Rebecca D. Thompson; Tonia Marie Gordon; Ginger Shae Eason; and Kelly Hendrix — all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess absentee ballots. They all received suspended jail sentences, probation and 100 hours of community service. Each of the four originally had been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit felony obstruction of justice and possessing illegally an absentee ballot that belonged to someone else.

Freeman described the plea agreements as appropriate, identifying the defendants as local residents who met Dowless and agreed to help him out. Hendrix, who was indicted for both the 2016 and 2018 elections, met Dowless while she worked at a Hardee’s in Bladen County, according to Freeman. “Mr. Dowless really was the ringleader in organizing all of this,” Freeman told the judge. “The individuals involved in these cases often were doing it out of some affiliation or feeling loyalty to him — maybe a little bit of money here and there.” Most elections-related prosecutions are handled by Freeman, as the DA of the county containing Raleigh, the state capital.

The district attorney said Gordon, who was indicted in relation to the 2016 general election, told investigators that Dowless paid her $100 for every 20 completed absentee ballot request forms and $5 for every completed absentee ballot she collected. Collecting the request forms isn’t necessarily unlawful.

Hendrix attorney Pete Wood told Ridgeway the plea agreement was a “good outcome” for his client: “Why did she do what she did? Because she was friends with Mr. Dowless ... that doesn’t excuse it.”

The legal cases for the defendants were delayed in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which slowed court proceedings. Freeman also waited while a federal case against Dowless was resolved. Dowless pleaded guilty in June 2021 to obtaining illegal Social Security benefits while concealing payments for political work he performed. He had worked for Harris’ campaign during some of the time scrutinized by federal prosecutors. He received a six-month prison sentence that he never served when his health deteriorated. [Source]



Child Welfare

Kate Martin, CAROLINA PUBLIC PRESS, 9/26/22

The state’s child welfare system “is in crisis,” and “at any point there could be a massive class-action lawsuit,” the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services told county directors of social services departments during a presentation earlier this month. The speaker, Susan Osborne, said she was referring to local DSS offices boarding children in their offices or leaving children with emotional and behavioral health needs in emergency rooms after hospitals have released them because there was nowhere else to place them. Osborne is the assistant secretary for county operations at NCDHHS.

“We average about 50 children in emergency rooms on any given day, who have been discharged, but their appropriate level of placement has not been located,” Osborne said in an interview with Carolina Public Press.

However, Corye Dunn, director of public policy for Disability Rights North Carolina, said the state cannot “foster its way out of this crisis.”

“Children don’t need to be put somewhere, they need to be parented and cared for and in many cases, to receive clinical treatment,” Dunn said. “The very least we can do is give kids better outcomes if we are going to disrupt their families and their lives.”

In an interview with CPP, Osborne said the state is concerned about the lack of qualified beds for children in psychiatric residential treatment facilities and reiterated North Carolina’s last-place rank among seven states in the Southeast in per-child investment in child welfare. “At this point, every year since I’ve been here, which is four years, we’ve asked for additional funding to support more child welfare workers in counties,” Osborne said. “We haven’t been successful.”

Osborne gave the presentation to DSS directors around the state at the behest of county DSS directors who asked about the state’s takeover of Bertie County’s child welfare office. The state took over Bertie County DSS child welfare office earlier this year, and the state found that the former DSS director acted unlawfully. The Bertie County office takeover by the state was the second time the state had taken over a child welfare office since the state legislature granted that ability in 2017 with the passage of Rylan’s Law.

Directors around the state had questions about what the state had done and why, Osborne said. Osborne said that the state would not take over a DSS agency over one case where policies weren’t followed. But she did plead with agency directors to work with the state. “We need each and every director’s partnership, cooperation and willingness to critically look at feedback and engage in improvement as identified,” Osborne’s presentation notes said. “We have learned that this level of engagement of a director is a main predictor of avoiding intensive corrective action and leads to improving outcomes for children and families … At the end of the day, any failure is ultimately on the state.” [Source]



Lejeune Water

Jay Price, NORTH CAROLINA PUBLIC RADIO, 9/26/22

It’s been more than a month since President Joe Biden signed a bill that makes it easier for people to sue the government for illnesses from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the military training facility in Jacksonville, N.C. By some estimates, more than 1 million veterans, family members and civilian workers may have been exposed to the dangerous chemicals that leaked into the ground from sources on and off the base.

Details are still unclear about how the government will handle what could be one of the largest mass civil cases in history. But personal injury attorneys aren’t waiting. The new law triggered an instant wave of advertisements aimed at steering potential claimants to lawyers.

“We expected that to happen, but we did not expect it to be a full court press the day of signing,” said Pat Murray, the national legislative director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Potential claimants have until August 2024 to file. But Murray said neither that deadline nor the urgent-sounding ads are a reason to rush to sign an attorney. He said for now, the VFW is advising veterans to consult an accredited veteran service officer at a group like his or a state veterans affairs office. Those advocates are trained to navigate the sometimes confusing bureaucracy of benefits.

The ads have helped spread word about the new law, but at least a few have been misleading, mistaken or even predatory. Murray said one company was seeking a $5,000 fee. “If you’re denied, they’ll return 50% of that fee, but the veteran who sent it to us was not even on the list that was even eligible, so he would have just wasted $2,500,” Murray said. “We just don’t want people throwing money down the drain with false hopes.”

The law allows compensation for a long list of illnesses if the claimant lived on Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987. The estimated total payout could reach nearly $7 billion over the next 10 years. [Source]

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STEAM Programs

Paul Garber, WFDD RADIO, 9/26/22

Toyota is donating $1 million for local science and technology education programs as the company makes plans for its electric vehicle battery plant in Randolph County. Half of the grant will assist with a Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM Lab in the College of Education at North Carolina A&T State University. The other half will assist a support program for K through 12 students in Randolph County. Sean Suggs, president of the Toyota plant at the Greensboro-Randolph megasite, says it’s critical that its 2,000-plus workforce knows how to build things.

“We need members that are going to come on the team that have the skill — not necessarily and engineering degree per se — but also the ability to think about things and problem solve.” The donation announcement was made during a ceremony in Liberty Saturday. Production at the facility is scheduled to begin in 2025. [Source]



Monument Resolution

Dean-Paul Stephens, THE (Asheboro) COURIER-TRIBUNE, 9/25/22

A Confederate monument stands erect in one of Randolph County’s most visible locations, in front of the historic courthouse at the heart of Asheboro, the county seat. In this regard, Randolph County was identical to the dozens of other counties holding fast to their respective monuments until an Asheboro resolution changed things.

“The city council of Asheboro North Carolina desires that the Confederate statue located on Randolph County courthouse property in the city of Asheboro be relocated to some other respectable placement as soon as possible,” reads a resolution the city passed earlier in September. It’s a decision that, according to Asheboro Councilmember Eddie Burkes, is as significant as it is insignificant. “As the city, we can’t tell the county what to do with their property,” Burkes said.

Asheboro’s authority to remove the monument is best described as limited. While the ground the monument is located on is owned by the county, the monument itself is either under the purview of the county or Daughters of the Confederacy, the organization behind the dedication of monuments in Randolph County and several others. Councilmembers maintain that the order to relocate the monument will, ultimately, have to come from a higher authority. “Which is the state,” Burkes said. “Part of our thing was to have them to talk to state legislators.”

In spite of this, Asheboro officials have aided the local NAACP in their effort to relocate the monument, according to Chapter President Clyde Foust. “These guys have been helping us...quietly,” Foust said. “We need for the county to see it’s not just one small group of people who want to see that monument moved.” Foust said he believes councilmembers are aware of the impact the monument has on the city, despite having no ownership stake in the monument itself.

“We met with each of the council members at least once,” Foust said, adding that Asheboro has the potential to become a hotspot if Randolph is one of the last holdouts in the state. “You have people that are passionate on both sides,” Foust said. “We don’t want to be the place that has the last monument standing because we get the whole state of people in both sides.”

City officials believe that their legal hands are tied until state lawmakers alter the 2015 law protecting Confederate monuments. While Foust is willing to meet with state lawmakers about the issue, he isn’t convinced the 2015 law is as iron-clad as people believe. He points to the dozens of communities across the state that have opted to relocate or remove their monuments, since the mass protest movement in 2020. [Source]



Hurricane Ian

WTVD NEWS, 9/26/22

Ian is now a Category 1 hurricane as it moves closer to the United States. Impacts from the storm could be seen in North Carolina starting Friday with increased rain totals. Monday morning, the storm system was moving toward Cuba and forecasters expect it to rapidly strengthen to major hurricane status by the time it reaches the western part of the country. It has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour and it was moving northwest at 13 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Ian is expected to weaken slightly before making a landfall somewhere along the Gulf Coast side of Florida. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Grand Cayman and some Cuban provinces. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for lower Florida Keys. One model suggests it will bring heavy rain and wind to the Carolinas sometime around Friday and Saturday. Right now, that heavy rain would likely dump between 2-4 inches in most places in central North Carolina. [Source]



Jail Treatment

Rachel Crumpler, NC HEALTH NEWS, 9/27/22

Elijah Bazemore believes there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way detention facilities — jails and prisons — are managed. “What we’re doing is putting a person back into the community the same way they came in — broken and torn up,” said Bazemore, who recently retired as a major from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office after more than 30 years in administration. “We should be in a position to try to help that person be a better person when they are released out of the facility. That’s going to reduce recidivism,” he said. “We should be working to eliminate our jobs by helping people.” Establishing programs that provide medications for opioid use disorder in jails is part of that paradigm shift, he said.

Momentum is building for this type of treatment in jails due to recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice that states it is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act if correctional facilities do not continue an individual on the medications they were receiving to treat their addiction in the community prior to incarceration. There are three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid use disorder — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone — that are often paired with counseling. Treatment that includes these medications is considered best practice for people with opioid use disorder. They suppress withdrawal symptoms, reduce drug cravings, and decrease the risk of overdose death.

Approximately three-fourths of jails in North Carolina are not yet providing this gold standard treatment and now need to consider how to put the logistics in place to provide the treatment to incarcerated folks. Failure to do so could open a jail to liability and lawsuits for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To get the buy-in needed to launch a program, Bazemore, who is now a consultant with Vital Strategies specializing in jail-based opioid use disorder treatment, suggests assembling a group of all relevant parties, including detention staff, medical staff, county commissioners, community treatment centers and peer support specialists. These discussions can help identify motivations as well as points of resistance that need to be overcome in order to form an implementation plan that works best for each county jail. [Source]



Ecusta Land

Christian Smith, ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES, 9/25/22

The federal government has agreed to pay approximately 200 residents in Henderson and Transylvania counties for land it seized to build the Ecusta Trail, according to attorney Lindsay Brinton with Lewis Rice law firm. Binton, one of the two Lewis Rice attorneys representing the residents over two cases, said the federal government agreed to its liability, or agreed it is obligated on July 1 in the Austin v. United States case and on Sept. 15 in the Burgess v. United States case.

The land was taken from landowners by the federal government in 2021 when it used the National Trails System Act, which authorizes abandoned railroad lines to be converted to public parks, to take land formerly owned by the residents but used by railroad companies for the Ecusta Trail project, a 19.4-mile greenway planned along the unused rail line connecting Hendersonville and Brevard. “It’s a very good update and good for these landowners that the government has agreed to the taking and has agreed that they’re going to pay these owners. So we’re pleased with that,” Brinton said.

Taking legal action is the only way these residents could be compensated for seized land, and the lawsuits only target the federal government, not local government or organizations, and seek only repayment, not to halt the creation of the Trail, according to past Hendersonville Times-News reporting. Landowners who sold their property along the tracks to the railroad company do not have a claim, but if the company had an easement instead of complete ownership, the landowner may have had a case.

Both the law firm and the federal government will have the seized land appraised and, if both appraisals are similar or if the two can reach an agreement, it will go through a six-month approval process with the Department of Justice. Appraisals are expected to be finished and submitted in early 2023, and, if both sides reach an agreement, payments should go out next year, Brinton said. If the two cannot agree, it will go to a valuation trial, likely in Asheville. [Source]



School Schedules

T. Keung Hui, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/26/22

Wake County could swap high school and elementary school start times beginning in the 2024-25 school year to give teens more time to sleep. Wake County school administrators said Monday they want the public’s feedback on potentially swapping current school bell schedules so that elementary schools start earlier at 7:30 a.m. and high schools begin later at 9:15 a.m. Edward McFarland, Wake’s chief academic advancement officer, said it’s not yet an official recommendation to have elementary schools run from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and high schools from 9:15 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. But he said the example will help the community see what a new schedule could look like.

The proposal comes amid research showing that Wake’s current high school start time of 7:25 a.m. doesn’t meet students’ sleep needs. But some raised concerns Monday that starting high schools later could cause other problems such as childcare issues for parents and whether teens get after-school jobs or participate in sports. “We’re under no illusion that with any change there are going to be pain points,” McFarland told the board. “Research may say one thing is better for adolescents but the parents and the community may have different ideas and different choices that they would make.” [Source]



Gas Prices

WBTV NEWS, 9/26/22

The average price of a gallon of regular gas in Charlotte fell 3.3 cents over the last week, sitting at $3.34 as of Monday, officials said. That’s according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 665 stations. It represents the 154th straight week of declines. The price is 2 cents higher than the previous nine-year high of $3.32 a gallon on Sept. 26, 2013. The price of diesel has declined 5.1 cents nationally in the past week and stands at $4.88 per gallon, analysts said. The national average price of gasoline has risen 3.2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.67 a gallon as of Monday, according to GasBuddy. In North Carolina, the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.31, down 2.2 cents from last week’s $3.33 a gallon, according to GasBuddy. [Source]



First Responders

Neal Charnoff, WFDD RADIO, 9/26/22

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro will receive almost $2 million in federal funding to develop augmented reality, or “AR” programs, for first responders. The concept of AR technology is similar to that of virtual reality. The idea is to display AR information and images over a user’s real-world vision. Officials are envisioning a future in which real-time critical data can be relayed to public safety workers including EMS personnel, firefighters, and law enforcement officers. The funding to develop the AR interfaces comes from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology.

Regis Kopper is part of the team that will be working on advancing the technology at UNCG over the next three years. They will be collaborating with the Raleigh-based tech company NextGen Interactions, along with the state Department of Information and Technology and the Hillsborough Police Department. Kopper says in a news release that the goal is to decrease emergency response times, costs, and risks to both workers and the public. [Source]



Chatham Memorial

Colleen Hammond, THE NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/26/22

Chatham County is confronting horrific acts in its history with a new marker memorializing local victims of lynching. On Saturday, community members and officials gathered at the Chatham County government annex in Pittsboro to unveil a marker remembering several Black people who were lynched in Chatham County between 1885 and 1921. During this time, county officials said, white mobs terrorized and lynched at least six people in the county.

Their names — Jerry and Harriet Finch, John Pattishall, Lee Tyson, Henry Jones and Eugene Daniel — are all on the plaque, preserving their memory and acknowledging their brutal murders. The Equal Justice Initiative has helped place markers across North Carolina, while earlier this month, Orange County apologized for its past elected leaders’ role in perpetrating or condoning “criminal acts of racial terror lynching.” [Source]



Cannabis Corporation

Richard Craver, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 9/26/22

British American Tobacco Plc is expanding its fledgling presence in the cannabis industry by acquiring a minority stake in Sanity Group Gmbh. BAT joins rapper Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital, which is also an investor in the Berlin company. BAT’s U.S. subsidiary, Reynolds American Inc., is based in Winston-Salem and has about 2,500 employees in Forsyth County.

The company did not disclose Monday how much it paid or how big a stake it gained in Sanity Group, which was founded in 2018 by medical researchers. However, Bloomberg News is reporting that Sanity Group garnered $37.6 million in its latest round of funding. Bloomberg attributes the information to Sanity Group founder and chief executive Finn Age Hänsel. Sanity has raised more than $100 million after the most recent funding round, Bloomberg says. Other investors include musician Will.I.Am and actress Alyssa Milano. [Source]





Cable Manufacturer

Rebecca Walter, THE (Hendersonville) TIMES-NEWS, 9/26/22

Global manufacturer Emtelle is one of the newest companies to announce an expansion in Fletcher. This is will be the first North American location for Emtelle, a Scottish company producing pre-connectorized, blown fiber cable. Emtelle, which began operations in 1980, employs over 700 people across its seven worldwide manufacturing facilities, according to an announcement from the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development.

Through existing regional partnerships, Emtelle hopes to provide its first fully “Made in the USA” range of microducts, conduits and eventually its full complement of product solutions for Fiber to the Home (FTTH) applications, according to HCPED. Emtelle will co-locate with sister corporation, Mainetti, at the 300,000-square-foot facility in Fletcher, according to a news release on Emtelle’s website. The company says it is “creating up to 200 jobs.” [Source]



Logo Challenge

Becky Johnson, THE (Waynesville) MOUNTAINEER, 9/26/22

Tuscola High School in Waynesville could soon have a new mascot logo due to a copyright challenge from Appalachian State University. App State claimed that Tuscola’s mascot logo — a folksy bearded mountaineer with steely eyes and a corn cob pipe — bore too much resemblance to its own logo. It didn’t help that the schools share the same black and gold colors.

Earlier this year, App State demanded that Tuscola quit using its mascot and logo. Tuscola wasn’t willing to give up its long-standing mascot, however, and instead set out to redesign the logo — a task taken on by Tuscola Senior Ava Kirkpatrick under the tutelage of teacher Kari Williams. The revised logo was shipped off to App State for review, but was summarily rejected. Abandoning the mountaineer mascot altogether may be the only way to satisfy App State.

“I don’t know we will ever get Appalachian’s approval,” said Pat Smathers, attorney for the Haywood County school board. App State may not like it, but as long as Tuscola’s logo is “sufficiently different” it should pass muster with copyright laws. Smathers recommended the school board send the logo to a copyright lawyer for an opinion. If the copyright lawyer believes it would hold up in court, then Tuscola will start using it. [Source]



House Calendar

THE INSIDER

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022

House Convenes at 12 p.m.



Senate Calendar

THE INSIDER

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022

Senate Convenes at 12 p.m.



N.C. Government Meetings and Hearings

Items in RED are new listings.

Thursday, Oct. 13

  • 2 p.m. | The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission meets via Zoom to discuss possible rule changes. Join.

Monday, Oct. 17

  • 2 p.m. | The N.C. Industrial Commission meets to discuss possible rule changes, Room 2115 , 2nd floor Dobbs Building, 430 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh.

Thursday, Nov. 3

Tuesday, Nov. 8

  • 2 p.m. | The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission meets via Zoom to discuss possible rule changes. Join.

Wednesday, Feb. 22

  • 10 a.m. | The state Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission meets to discuss possible rule changes, Wake Technical Community College, Public Safety Training Center, 321 Chapanoke Rd., Raleigh.


UNC Board of Governors

UNC Center for School Leadership Development, 140 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill.

Thursday, Oct. 20

  • 9 a.m. | The UNC Board of Governors, UNC System Office.

Thursday, Nov. 17

  • 9 a.m. | The UNC Board of Governors, East Carolina University.



Thursday, Dec. 15

  • 9 a.m. | The UNC Board of Governors, UNC System Office.


N.C. Utilities Commission Hearing Schedule

Dobbs Building, 430 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh.

Monday, Oct. 3

  • Staff Conference

Monday, Oct. 10

  • Staff Conference

Monday, Oct. 17

  • Staff Conference

Monday, Oct. 24

  • Staff Conference

Monday, Oct. 31

  • Staff Conference


Other Meetings and Events of Interest

Items in RED are new listings.

Tuesday, Sept. 27

  • 2:15 p.m. | Gov. Roy Cooper to highlight clean water infrastructure grant funding in Ivanhoe

    Judy Memorial Family Center, 2281 Ivanhoe Road, Ivanhoe.

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