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COVID-19 News Top Story

More than 100,000 N.C. children could be lifted out of poverty by federal stimulus bill

Expanded child tax credit is called a "game changer" The economic stimulus bill President Joe Biden signed Thursday includes provisions that will move millions of children out of poverty and will begin making direct payments to families by the middle of this year.

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News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

COVID infections and deaths shine a light of NC’s lax workplace safety oversight

When COVID-19 hit North Carolina in 2020, complaints about the safety of workers flooded the state agency charged with their protection. Yet, state Department of Labor officials didn’t have enforceable standards to widely issue citations and conduct inspections and then-Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry determined that no new standards for COVID were needed.

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Environment News Top Story

Federal lawsuits reveal corporate intrigue behind controversial Lumberton wood pellet plant

Active Energy left Utah to build a wood pellet plant in Lumberton. Court documents describe a Jenga tower of "alter egos" allegedly designed to shield the firm from responsibility. Philip Scalzo and Daniel McCarthy were living large, pulling down $12,000 to $15,000 a month, plus expenses and benefits as top-tier workers for Active Energy Group.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

Congress clears giant $1.9T emergency relief package for Biden’s signature

Nearly $9 billion in direct aid headed for North Carolina WASHINGTON — A sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is headed to President Joe Biden’s desk after the U.S. House passed the latest pandemic relief measure Wednesday on a party-line vote.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

Asian-American communities are experiencing unique challenges in pandemic vaccination

The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations has increased rapidly in North Carolina this month with the growth in vaccine supplies, the addition of new vaccination sites, and expanded eligibility. But the push to vaccinate millions of people continues to face challenges -- especially in historically underserved communities where strained relationships with the government and health care providers make some people resistant to accepting the shot.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: Offshore wind(fall) could create the clean jobs people are clamoring for

Tune in to nearly any public environmental meeting and you'll hear residents of environmental justice communities repeatedly clamor for clean jobs: not pipelines or wood pellet plants, but careers in industries that will break the cycle of generational poverty, while leaving the planet a more hospitable place for future generations.

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Education Top Story

Competing sides remain divided over details of school reopening

State Board of Ed weighs in as vetoed Senate bill remains in limbo As state Democrats and Republicans both push to reopen schools for in-person instruction, they appear as divided as ever over the common goal. The parties are in a fight over Senate Bill 37, which would require all districts to provide an in-person learning option. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, vetoed the bill on Feb. 26.

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COVID-19 News Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

North Carolina has a plan to get COVID-19 vaccines to migrant farmworkers. Its success will be crucial to protecting workers’ health. 

This month, thousands of migrant workers will begin the hard work of planting, tending and harvesting crops in North Carolina farm fields. The state Department of Health and Human Services, farmworker health groups, employers, and medical clinics plan to make COVID-19 vaccines available to workers whose close living conditions make for the easy spread of the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

GOP says ‘no’ to state and local aid as Senate heads toward vote on COVID bill

WASHINGTON — As Democrats seek to send President Joe Biden their latest $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, federal lawmakers remain deeply divided on the question of whether state and local governments need another infusion of federal aid. Supporters of the bill — including numerous Republican mayors — say the answer is a clear “yes.”

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Higher Ed News Top Story

UNC proposal would add funds for campus police, cut budgets for student groups

Student leaders at UNC System schools are opposing potential fee changes they say could cut funds for student groups and student government while expanding budgets for campus police. At the end of January, student leaders at UNC-Chapel Hill sent a letter to the Board of Governors and UNC System President Peter Hans to express concern over ongoing discussions of the Student Activity Fee.

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COVID-19 News Top Story

States fail to prioritize homeless people for vaccines

North Carolina is among several states facing criticism Frank Galloway falls into the most vulnerable categories for COVID-19: He is 87, he is Black, and he is experiencing homelessness. “It ain’t no joke,” Galloway said of the coronavirus, which has killed some of his friends in Greensboro, North Carolina. “I don't mind taking something that will help my life to keep going.”

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Environment Top Story

Hamlet residents: “We don’t want to be crash test dummies” for facility that would process creosote-treated railroad ties

Comment period ends March 3 for International Tie Disposal site, proposed for an environmental justice community Barbara Brealy has attended Marks Creek Presbyterian Church in Hamlet all of her 80 years. Since last May, Brealy and her fellow 92 congregants — a third of them older than 65 — have attended Sunday services outside, forced out of their pews by the pandemic. The notion that they and future generations of churchgoers could be subjected to more than 100 tons of pollution from a proposed nearby facility did not sit well with her.

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Environment Top Story

Monday numbers: A closer look at where hazardous waste sites in NC are located

There are more than 2,000 known hazardous waste sites in North Carolina, and more than 10% of them lie within a flood plain. These flood-prone waste sites presents particular threats to nearby residents and ecosystems because the rush of water can displace the contamination, sending it downstream, into flooded homes and neighborhoods, and even private drinking water wells.

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News Top Story

Transgender Health and Human Services nominee draws tirade from Republican senator at confirmation hearing

Sen. Richard Burr also criticizes Dr. Rachel Levine for slow vaccine rollout in her state of Pennsylvania WASHINGTON — Pennsylvania’s former top health official at her Senate confirmation hearing Thursday faced a tirade from a Republican senator about gender-affirmation surgery for minors, as well as criticism about the state’s response to the pandemic.

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News Top Story

Biden’s big infrastructure package gets favorable initial review by U.S. Senate panel

National transition to electric vehicles endorsed by Democrats and Republicans, but differences emerge over who should control transportation dollars WASHINGTON—Senators who could decide the fate of President Joe Biden’s push for a major new infrastructure package seemed open to his priorities at a hearing Wednesday, particularly Biden’s emphasis on replacing vehicles that run on gas and diesel with ones that use electric power.

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Higher Ed Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

PW special report: How did Darrell Allison cut in line to become the new chancellor at Fayetteville State? It’s a secret.

Allison's political connections and loyalty might have helped him get the job. Darrell Allison did not make the final cut in the search process for Fayetteville State University’s next chancellor, according to sources directly involved in the process. Instead, the former UNC Board of Governors member was added at the last-minute to the list of finalists submitted to the UNC System.

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