STATE EMPLOYEES-PERSONAL INFORMATION
NC employee’s personal info uploaded to internal website
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina officials say personal information for nearly 85,000 state employees was mistakenly uploaded to an internal portal. Department of Information Technology and Office of State Human Resources announced in a news release last week that a file containing the names, Social Security numbers and employment information of 84,860 employees was uploaded to an internal website. Officials say the file was discovered July 30 and immediately removed. The News & Observer reports that a letter to affected employees states that the file had been accessible since May 2020. Officials say there’s no evidence that it was improperly accessed, but they can’t rule it out. Affected employees will be given free identity theft resolution services for two years.
CHILD MARRIAGE-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina is child bride destination; bill could end it
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has recently developed a dubious reputation: as a regional destination for adults who want to marry children. State lawmakers are nearing passage of a bill that could dampen the state’s appeal as the go-to place to bring child brides. The proposed legislation would raise the minimum marriage age from 14 to 16 and limit the age difference between a 16-year-old and their spouse to four years. A study by the International Center for Research on Women estimates that nearly 8,800 minors were listed on marriage licenses in North Carolina from 2000-2015. That places the state among the top five with child marriages during that period. Of the state’s child marriages through 2019, 93% involved adult spouses.
Rural population losses add to farm and ranch labor shortage
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Rural America lost more population in the latest census. The trend highlighted an already severe worker shortage in the nation’s farming and ranching regions and drew calls from those industries for immigration reform to help ease the problem. The census data released last week showed that population gains in many rural areas were driven by increases in Hispanic and Latino residents. Many of them come as immigrants to work on farms or in meatpacking plants or to start their own businesses. John Hansen is president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. He wants to see a common-sense approach and says vilifying immigrants just makes that harder to achieve.
Firefighter: 1 dead, 3 injured when tree falls in NC forest
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say one motorist died and three others were critically injured when a large oak tree in a national forest in western North Carolina fell into a road and onto their vehicle. Brevard Fire Chief Bobby Cooper says the tree fell Saturday on two cars traveling on U.S. Highway 276 in the Pisgah National Forest. The fatality and injuries occurred in one car. The U.S. Forest Service plans to perform an assessment to determine why the tree fell. Cooper says he believes the 24-inch diameter tree fell due to rotting at its base. No storm was going on at the time.
North Carolina Zoo announces deaths of ostrich, harbor seal
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — Two longtime residents at the North Carolina Zoo — an ostrich and a harbor seal — have died. The N.C. Zoo announced this weekend that the 19-year-old ostrich named Pearl was euthanized on Wednesday. A few days earlier the zoo said that the seal named Paco had died. Pearl had lived nearly all of her life at the Asheboro zoo, while Paco lived there for 13 years. The zoo says veterinarians learned that Pearl had a severe reproductive disease that would kill her. Paco’s cause of death hadn’t yet been determined, but he had a large mass on his lung.
Raleigh mandates masks; vaccinated city workers to get $250
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Those who visit indoor spaces within the city of Raleigh must now wear a face mask to limit the spread of COVID-19. The mayor of North Carolina’s second-largest city made the announcement hours before the mandate was set to take effect. Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, also said on Friday that city employees who are already fully vaccinated or get fully vaccinated by Sept. 17 will receive a $250 reward and two days of bonus leave. The city of Charlotte may also soon reimpose its mask mandate. Renewed masking requirements and further financial rewards for vaccinations are coming as the more contagious delta variant sweeps across the state.
MOUNTAIN VALLEY PIPELINE
Judge says she can’t halt Virginia mountain pipeline blasts
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has declined to block the blasting of bedrock on a Virginia mountain where a natural gas pipeline is supposed to be laid. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Dillon says she lacks authority to step in to a dispute over the Mountain Valley Pipeline because a Bent Mountain landowner already had sought action from federal regulators. The property owner says the blasting could contaminate well water. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and pipeline officials have said they’ve not seen evidence of the potential harm described by the owner. The 303-mile (488-kilometer) pipeline will come through West Virginia and Virginia.
2 NC men get long sentences for 2017 murders outside pub
NEWTON, N.C. (AP) — Two men who pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and to assault for shootings outside a Hickory restaurant four years ago have been sentenced to at least 64 years in prison. The Hickory Daily Record reported that Greydon Hansen and Dontray Tyrell Cumberlander entered their pleas in Catawba County court on Thursday. The victims were shot outside J. McCroskey’s Irish Pub and Grill in April 2017. An attorney told the judge that Cumberlander said that before the shooting he was disrespected by the victims and heard them make a racial slur.
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