VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOMES
Ghost towns: Nursing home staffing falls amid pandemic
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Even before the pandemic bared the truth of a profit-driven nursing home industry with too few caring for society’s most vulnerable, thin staffing was a hallmark of facilities around the country. Now, an Associated Press analysis of federal data finds that staffing is even thinner, with about one-third of U.S. nursing homes reporting lower levels of nurses and aides than before COVID-19 began ravaging their facilities. The American Health Care Association, which lobbies for care facilities, says 99% of nursing homes and 96% of assisted living facilities are reporting staffing shortages. The organization called for additional federal funding, changes to Medicaid and government programs to bolster caregiver hiring and development.
Charlotte to require new hires to get vaccinated
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte officials say all new city hires must get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Charlotte Observer reports that officials told employees in an email Wednesday that the vaccines aren’t required for existing employees, but all employees must be vaccinated to be eligible for a wellness incentive program. The city says the program provides a financial reward to eligible employees and spouses through an annual medical premium savings or city contribution. As of Wednesday, about 70% of the city’s more than 7,700 government workers are at least partially vaccinated.
Alabama swamped, child died in floods from slow-moving front
PELHAM, Ala. (AP) — Parts of Alabama remain under a flash flood watch after a day of high water across the state, with as much as 6 inches of rain covering roads and trapping people. One death has been blamed on the slow-moving low-pressure system: The Marshall County coroner’s office says a child died in the floods in Arab in northeast Alabama. A flood watch remained in effect Thursday for parts of metro Birmingham, and most of the state is under a flood warning. Three feet of water filled a Piggly Wiggly near the Florida line, and some 250,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed from sewage systems in Baldwin County.
N. Carolina charter school under fire for teacher’s comments
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A teacher has resigned from a North Carolina charter school after telling Black students in her class that they would be her “field slaves” if not for the Constitution. One parent says that comment was one of many such incidents at the school. Winterville Charter Academy sent a memo which also referred to “racially insensitive words” being used by children in the class without any action from the teacher. WITN reports that school officials said the teacher “will not be returning.” A statement from the school says it is working to address the ongoing concerns of parents.
JURY DUTY-VOTER ROLLS
2019 vetoed bill over NC jurors and voting back up in House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — House Republicans have resurrected a proposal to keep more non-U.S. citizens off North Carolina’s voter rolls through juror information. The House Elections and Campaign Finance Committee voted along party lines Wednesday for the bill. It tells North Carolina courts to send information about potential jurors being disqualified because they aren’t citizens to election officials. Election workers would then figure out whether they are registered voters and prepare to remove them from the rolls. The voter could formally challenge such action. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a 2019 bill that contained the same language. The bill’s next stop is the full House.
NC greenhouse gas bill nears final approval with Senate vote
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An energy bill negotiated by legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper that aims to meet his greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for North Carolina is now one vote away from reaching Cooper’s desk. The Senate voted Wednesday for the measure, and it could be acted on Thursday by the House. The bills tells state regulators to develop a plan to reduce energy producers’ carbon dioxide output 70% by 2030, and achieve zero-net CO2 emissions by 2050. The bill also gives Duke Energy the ability to seek multiyear rate increases. Several business groups back the measure, but many advocates for the environment and the poor say it falls short.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL VISITATION
Another NC health care visitation measure headed to governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hospitals, nursing homes and adult care and hospice care facilities in North Carolina would be required to allow patient visits in a measure given final legislative approval. The bill heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk following a Senate vote on Wednesday is another piece of legislation responding to constituent complaints last year about family members being unable to visit loved ones in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill says visitations must be allowed to the extent that federal law permits, and that hospitals can be fined for violations. Another recently signed law directs hospitals to let a clergy member visit a patient.
NORTH CAROLINA-LYNCHING APOLOGY
North Carolina: Apology for the 1921 lynching of Black teen
RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A local governing board in North Carolina has formally apologized for the mob lynching of a Black boy unlawfully taken from a jail in 1921. Now a century later, the Board of Commissioners in Chatham County, North Carolina, issued its apology Tuesday, calling it a step toward community healing. It said evidence suggested some prominent county officials allowed the mob killing to occur. According to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, no investigation was ever conduct to find those responsible for Eugene Daniel’s lynching. Mary Nettles, president of the Chatham Community Branch of the NAACP, said she was pleased that an apology was issued.
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