Sen. Thom Tillis says he’ll have surgery for prostate cancer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Sen. Thomas Tillis says he’s got prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next week in North Carolina to treat it. The Republican said he expects to make a full recovery, in part because the cancer was detected relatively early. His statement says he “can’t emphasize enough how important routine screenings are, regardless of how healthy you think you are.” Tillis said he had no symptoms and that the cancer was discovered by a PSA test as part of his annual physical. He says the test led to a biopsy that found the cancer.
NC Senate leader again seeks retooling of reading program
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s most powerful state senator is trying again to retool a student reading comprehension program that he’s championed for years but which hasn’t met performance goals. Senate leader Phil Berger scheduled a Monday news conference with other Republicans to unveil the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021. It was Berger who in 2013 helped pass the “Read to Achieve” program, which seeks to ensure students are reading-proficient before they complete third grade. A university study found no benefit from the program on reading scores. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed Berger’s 2019 bill that was designed to make program changes.
Census data delay scrambles plans for state redistricting
A delay in census data is scrambling plans in some states to redraw districts for the U.S. House and state legislatures. The Census Bureau has said redistricting data that was supposed to be provided to states by the end of March won’t be ready until August or September. That’s after the deadline to finish redistricting in some states. As a result, states such as Oklahoma and Oregon are considering ways to use other population estimates to begin redistricting state House and Senate seats. Officials in other states, including North Carolina and Texas, have proposed delaying their 2022 primary elections.
Prosecutors ask court to jail Proud Boys leader before trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors are urging a judge to order a North Carolina man jailed while awaiting trial on charges he plotted with other members of the far-right Proud Boys group to storm the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Justice Department prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that 33-year-old Charles Donohoe played a key role in organizing a violent assault on the Capitol and celebrated online after the attack. The Marine Corps veteran was arrested on March 17 in North Carolina after he and three other alleged Proud Boys leaders were indicted on conspiracy charges.
Cape Lookout Lighthouse closed for two years to do repairs
HARKERS ISLAND, N.C. (AP) — The Cape Lookout Lighthouse in North Carolina will be closed for two years while repairs are made to the iconic structure. The National Park Service announced the closing Friday. The 163-foot tall lighthouse at Cape Lookout National Seashore was built between 1857 and 1859. It has undergone numerous repairs and upgrades over the years. During an inspection in February, engineers discovered serious safety concerns. A major renovation is scheduled to begin this fall or winter to address the safety issues and other needed repairs The renovations are expected to take two years.
NC jobless rate falls in February for 5th straight month
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell for the fifth consecutive month in February. The state Commerce Department announced on Friday that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 5.7% last month, compared to 5.9% in January. The U.S. rate in February was 6.2%. The state rate hit 13.5% last spring when severe business restrictions kicked in at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic a year ago. The number of employed workers last month rose by 4,800 compared to January, while unemployment totals fell by close to 11,000 people. The state rate still has a way to go down to meet pre-pandemic levels.
Alabama, Georgia pick up the pieces after deadly tornadoes
NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) — Stunned residents are picking through rubble and communities are banding together to rebuild after tornadoes tore a swath of destruction across the Deep South. At least five people were killed in Thursday’s violent weather. Meteorologists say an estimated eight tornadoes swept through Alabama and two hit Georgia on Thursday. They blame “supercell” thunderstorms. The bad weather continued in other parts of the South. On Friday, officials warned of flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky and the Carolinas. Some school districts canceled or delayed Friday’s classes in the storms’ wake.
Shots in little arms: COVID-19 vaccine testing turns to kids
COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out to adults who are most at risk from the coronavirus, but ending the pandemic will require vaccinating children too. Researchers are beginning to test younger and younger kids to make sure the shots are safe and work for each age. Pfizer and Moderna expect to release results soon showing how their two-dose vaccines performed in people ages 12 and older. The companies recently launched studies involving younger ages. In Britain, AstraZeneca began a study among 6- to 17-year-olds. And Sinovac recently announced it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as 3.
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