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Oct 26, 2020

NC Politics in the News

Agriculture

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Finally, something goes right in 2020: A bumper crop of NC pecans for Thanksgiving
North Carolina farmers credit plentiful rain and sunshine for a bumper crop of pecans in 2020, state agriculture officials said this week. Families will find more than enough for their Thanksgiving pies, whether at their local store, farmer’s market or pecan farm, officials said.


Economic Development

HENDERSONVILLE LIGHTNING: Jet engine maker creating 800 jobs paying $68,000/year
Pratt & Whitney announced plans last week to invest $650 million through 2027 in a new manufacturing facility that will create 800 new jobs in Buncombe County. The milestone investment in new building, technology, machinery and equipment will bring career opportunities in engineering, technology, production and management.


Education

ABC 11: 8,000 students return to in-person learning in Wake County as experts see surge in COVID-19 numbers
The largest school district in North Carolina has welcomed students back to class for in-person education. Wake County Public School System welcomed back approximately 8,000 kindergarten through third-grade students on Monday morning.

GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD: Guilford, other public schools across NC see steep drop in students during pandemic
Wake County and Durham Public Schools have seen sharp drops in their student enrollment this school year, mirroring a statewide decline during the coronavirus pandemic. Newly released average daily membership figures for the first month of this school year show North Carolina school districts had 5.05% fewer students than in the first month of last school year, EducationNC reported.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Private schools see more and bigger COVID-19 clusters compared to public schools
Private schools from kindergarten to 12th grade across North Carolina have more COVID-19 clusters than public schools and have generally had more confirmed cases in those clusters. As of Friday, there were 14 active coronavirus clusters reported at private K-12 schools across the state with 138 confirmed cases, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services.


Elections

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Battle over North Carolina election rules taken to the U.S. Supreme Court
The legal battle over North Carolina’s election rules is not over. State legislative leaders Thursday morning filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court over the amount of time the N.C. Board of Elections can accept mailed-in ballots after Election Day, Nov. 3.

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES: Will North Carolina set a voting record in 2020? Track early voting totals here
Amid a pandemic that continues to plague North Carolina and the country, voters are submitting their ballots early to avoid indoor spaces like polling centers on Election Day. In 2020, more than 7 million North Carolina residents have registered to vote, including over 205,000 in Buncombe County. To defeat the state's voter turnout record of 70% set in 2008, more than 5.1 million of those registered voters must submit a ballot during this election.

ABC 11: Wake County voters leading charge in total ballots cast in North Carolina
Wake County voters have cast the most ballots out of any North Carolina county, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections. "We've never seen anything like this," said Wake County Board of Elections member Gerry Cohen.


Health

WCNC: Health leaders warn NC COVID-19 numbers are trending up in the Tar Heel state
COVID-19 trends in North Carolina are headed in the wrong direction. The state set a new record for daily cases on Friday with 2,716 cases. Sunday’s daily cases were down to 1,807 after three days straight of more than 2,400 cases. 

WLOS: North Carolina health officials unveil plan to deploy coronavirus vaccine
North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a plan Friday in which it described the residents it will prioritize when a coronavirus vaccine gets approved and becomes available. "We anticipate that populations of focus for initial COVID-19 vaccination will likely be the critical workforce that provides healthcare and maintains essential functions of society, staff and residents in long-term care facilities, and people with two or more co-morbidities that put them at high risk for complications from COVID-19," the department wrote.

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS: Dental deserts: Lack of adequate oral health care across North Carolina
The COVID-19 pandemic changed processes and protocols in the medical profession as exposure risk became a top priority for front-line health workers. For oral health care providers, the once routine act of peering into mouths became a dangerous and possibly even deadly work hazard.


Politics

WBTV: NC Democrats have a lead over Republicans in voter registration. But it's shrinking
To Republican consultant Dee Stewart, the best barometer of this year’s election outcomes is in the numbers — not in polls but in voter registrations. “Everyone knows the statewide elections in North Carolina will be decided by a razor thin margin,” Stewart said. “I believe the secret weapon of increased voter registration will provide the margin of victory for Republicans.”

SPECTRUM NEWS 1: Candidates in Battle for an Evolving N.C. Attorney General Position
Gina Esquivel had to get creative when she started volunteering to get people to complete the census because of COVID-19. While the census is key for some of our basic essentials provided by the government, it's also a point of controversy. This past summer North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, sued the Trump administration for what he says was attempting to illegally politicize the census and deny North Carolinians fair representation in Congress.

WFAE: NC Superintendent Candidates Talk About Reading, Teachers And COVID-19 Response
North Carolina will elect a new superintendent of public education next week, with Democrat Jen Mangrum and Republican Catherine Truitt vying for a post with no incumbent. It’s a job with limited power and a history of controversy.


Technology

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Tech job openings in NC still trail 2019 levels. But some skills are in high demand
With coronavirus cases once again increasing in North Carolina, the number of tech job openings in the state continue to trail 2019 levels, according to a new report from the N.C. Tech Association. In September, there were 26,305 tech job postings in the state, down 6% from the year prior.


Transportation

WAVY: U.S. Dept. of Transportation announces first Marine Highway Project designation for NC
The federal government wants to use waterways as an alternative to traditional transportation in our coastal communities, so it’s designated the North Carolina Ferry System as the state’s first Marine Highway Project. 

TRANSPORTATION TODAY: North Carolina mountain highway project completed
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) officials are espousing the benefits of a recently completed project widening eight miles of mountainous highway along U.S. 19E. The work targeted the highway’s intersection with N.C. 80 in Yancey County, spanning to the multi-lane highway section just west of Spruce Pine in Mitchell County.