AP-NC Newswatch

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March 16, 2022
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March 16, 2022
AP-NC Newswatch


Latest North Carolina News:


Grant aimed at reducing racial disparity in lung cancer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A $1 million grant has been awarded to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center to study ways to reduce the disparity in lung cancer that affects Black residents. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the grant is part of a total $3 million donation to establish the Southeastern Consortium for Lung Cancer Health Equity. Investigators at Massey will collaborate with the cancer centers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina. The money was donated by Stand Up to Cancer and pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb. Through research, the centers hope to develop better methods for identifying those at the highest risk for lung cancer and to increase cancer screenings.



Red-light camera program in eastern NC city struck down
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s intermediate-level appeals court has struck down the city of Greenville’s red-light camera program. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional because too little of the money generated ends up supporting the local school system. The state constitution directs the “clear proceeds” of all fines to be “used exclusively for maintaining free public schools.” A state law says that means at least 90%, but Pitt County schools got only 72% during a two-year period. The Arizona-based camera operating company ended up with most of the rest. Two motorists who were cited initiated the lawsuit.



NC superintendent apologizes after mock slave auction
PITTSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina schools superintendent apologized Monday for a mock “slave auction” in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their Black classmates. The school board also is reviewing the student code of conduct and discipline policies dealing with acts of racism. News outlets report that Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson apologized and said what happened at the J.S. Waters School in Goldston will not be tolerated. According to a Chatham racial equity group, the mock auction involving middle school students happened in the presence of staff and faculty and was recorded on video. Several students received a one-day suspension.



Ex-Ohio Gov. Kasich urges compassion in Medicaid pitch to NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators weighing whether to expand Medicaid heard from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other speakers about the experiences of states that already have. Kasich and presenters on programs in Montana, Indiana and Michigan described Tuesday to a General Assembly study committee expansion successes and challenges. They spoke about how expansion was fiscally responsible, improved health outcomes and reduced the amount of services for which hospitals wouldn’t otherwise be reimbursed. Kasich also urged lawmakers to “open our hearts” to people in need and who are seeking a better life. The four states are either Republican-leaning or purple politically.



Cooper, Regan celebrates electric school buses for Cherokees
CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and his former environmental secretary – now EPA Administrator Michael Regan – are celebrating the use of electricity to transport children to and from school and activities. Cooper and Regan were expected to join leaders of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in far western North Carolina on Tuesday to highlight what the tribe calls the first electric-vehicle school bus in the state. The Eastern Band ordered the school bus through a state grant. Regan also planned to announce an EPA grant to help fund four additional electric school buses for the tribe’s K-12 schools.



Hines gets Trump endorsement in open NC Congress seat
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Bo Hines for an open U.S. House seat in central North Carolina that’s expected to be highly competitive in November. Trump gave Hines his support for the 13th District seat in a news release on Tuesday. Hines is a former N.C. State football player who is one of eight candidates seeking the 13th District’s GOP nomination. The new 13th District includes southern Wake County and all or portions of Johnston, Harnett and Wayne counties. The Republican primary field includes former Rep. Renee Ellmers. Five Democrats are running for their party’s 13th District nomination.



North Carolina unemployment rate 3.9% for January
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s unemployment rate continued on a downward trek in January. The state Commerce Department announced on Monday the rate was 3.9%, compared to 4.1% in December. The December rate had been reported even lower earlier this year, but the department has since revised last year’s monthly totals, which is done annually. Regardless, North Carolina still hasn’t logged a month-over-month rising unemployment rate since September 2020. The department reported 25,100 additional people were employed in January, while the number of unemployed fell by 9,600. Another counting format saw employment growth in the construction and financial activities sectors, among others.



NC audit: $438M in benefits failed to reach workers quickly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina State Auditor Beth Wood has quantified the unemployment benefits that failed to reach displaced workers quickly during a period that included hard times for the economy during the COVID-19 recession. A performance audit released Monday says the Division of Employment Security failed to distribute $438 million in initial claims during 2020 and the first quarter in 2021 within a 14- or 21-day window considered to be timely. That equated to a 60% success rate for the 3.6 million claims filed during that period. The audit in part blamed the claims process and poor monitoring for the delays.