WINTER WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Texas grid stabilizing, half-million powerless
Power outages in Texas have dropped to below a half million, but the state is still facing major problems with drinking water systems. The state’s power grid manager, the Electric Reliability of Council of Texas, says the remaining outages are largely weather-related and not ones that were forced to stabilize the state’s power grid. Texas officials have ordered 7 million people to boil tap water before drinking it following days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes. That’s one-quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state.
Texas outages below half-million but water crisis persists
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people in Texas are waking up to a fourth day without power. The power outages in Texas dropped to below 500,000 on Thursday morning, but a water crisis is also unfolding. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says 7 million people have been ordered to boil their water before consuming it, following days of record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and froze pipes. Meanwhile, heavy snow and ice are expected Thursday in the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania with the wintry weather headed to the Northeast U.S. by Thursday night.
Cooper seeking improved warning system after deadly tornado
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must learn from the surprise tornado that struck the community of Ocean Isle Beach with little or no warning, leaving three people dead and 10 injured. The Democratic governor toured the damages Wednesday and promised to rush state resources to help people rebuild. He said officials must study how to give more warning time in future storms. Residents told the governor they had to scramble quickly to hide in closets and bathrooms as the tornado struck late Monday night. Many are now working to recover anything salvageable from their shattered homes and businesses. And they worry about how they’ll rebuild.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOL REOPENING
N Carolina lawmakers finalize in-person instruction mandate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly has finalized a mandate for school districts to offer daily in-person instruction to K-12 students, some of whom have been kept out of classrooms for nearly a year due to the pandemic. The House’s vote on Wednesday approved the compromise measure with the Senate, which voted for the same bill Tuesday. The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been opposed to the mandate and has been trying to persuade schools to open at least some classes, rather than forcing them. Cooper can veto the bill or it could become law. Bill supporters want classrooms swiftly reopened, saying students are risking academic failure.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NATIVE AMERICANS
Native Americans embrace vaccine, virus containment measures
CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) — Native Americans are bucking a trend of minority populations who harbor doubts about the coronavirus vaccines. Tribes across the nation are embracing inoculations, and also have been among the first in the country to adopt coronavirus containment measures. There are two possible explanations: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19. And community before self has long been a core principle in Native American culture. Tribal leaders and health care providers say it is about preserving a fragile heritage that has been under threat for centuries.
Roush Fenway becomes 1st carbon neutral NASCAR team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Roush Fenway Racing has become the first NASCAR team to achieve carbon neutrality. The move to reduce its carbon footprint began with small environmentally conscious measures that eventually grew into a company-wide initiative. The team contractually agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offset the balance during negotiations with sponsor Castrol. The carbon neutral designation will be spotlighted at Daytona on Sunday with by a clean, minimalistic paint scheme on Ryan Newman’s car. Roush Fenway Racing hopes it can be an example to other teams and the racing industry to reduce its carbon footprint.
Washington state CIO taking similar job in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Roy Cooper has nearly filled out his second-term Cabinet by choosing Washington’s chief information officer to take a similar position in North Carolina. Cooper announced on Wednesday that Jim Weaver will be the next state CIO and secretary of the Department of Information Technology. Weaver will be subject to confirmation by the state Senate. Weaver previously worked as Pennsylvania’s chief technology officer. Cooper has named five replacements for his 10 Cabinet positions since winning reelection in November. A permanent replacement is still needed within the Department of Administration, where Secretary Machelle Sanders moved over recently to the Commerce Department.
Wait for young drivers reduced in NC Senate measure
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — New school-age drivers in North Carolina could receive a provisional license in half the time in legislation recommended by a state Senate committee. Current law requires young people with learner’s permits to hold them at least 12 months before seeking a license that lets them drive unsupervised. The bill would reduce that to six months. The drivers would still have to log 60 hours behind the wheel. The measure also would allow the Division of Motor Vehicles to contract out road tests. A bill sponsor said Wednesday the bill responds to constitutents whose children have been waiting for their licenses during the pandemic.
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