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Weekend reads: Guskiewicz departs UNC, filing season in full swing, and Black, Latino voters sue

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Weekend reads: Guskiewicz departs UNC, filing season in full swing, and Black, Latino voters sue

Dec 10, 2023 | 9:14 am ET
By Clayton Henkel
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Weekend reads: Guskiewicz departs UNC, filling season in full swing, and Black, Latino voters sue
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(Aerial over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by Ryan Herron/Getty Images)

UNC Chancellor announced as next president of Michigan State University

Michigan State University announced UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will become its next president
Michigan State University announced UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will become its next president. (Source: MSU)

By Joe Killian

Michigan State University announced UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz will become its next president during a Friday morning meeting of that university’s board of trustees. The board unanimously approved Guskiewicz’s hire with a starting date of March 4.

His last day at UNC-Chapel Hill will be January 12.

Trustees at Michigan State praised Guskiewicz’s leadership at UNC-Chapel Hill and said they have high hopes for him as their university’s 22nd president. [Read more…]

Bonus read: Trust, rumors and tough decisions as UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor weighs MSU presidency

‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’ Opponents of LNG plant outraged after Person County approval

This is a photo of Vonda Frantz is one of hundreds of opponents of Dominion Energy's proposed LNG plant who attended the Person County Commissioners meeting Monday. She has white hair, wears glasses and appears to be in her 70s. She's wearing a purple jacket. The people seated behind her are holding yellow signs that read "No MEC" -- No Moriah Energy Complex.
Vonda Frantz is one of hundreds of opponents of Dominion Energy’s proposed LNG plant who attended the Person County Commissioners meeting Monday. They voted 5-0 to approve the project, over strenuous public objections. (Screenshot: Person County YouTube channel)

By Lisa Sorg

County commissioners vote 5-0 in favor, after several months of secret meetings with utility

It took nearly two hours for dozens of opponents of a proposed liquified natural gas plant in Person County to explain how the project – aspects of which have been crafted in secret – would harm them, the environment and the planet.

The county commissioners took less than 20 seconds to approve it.[Read more...]

Contaminated groundwater at Weaver Fertilizer property “likely” moving off the site

This is a photo of lean-to shed where Weaver Fertilizer once stored chemicals. It is about the size of a house, has a roof and back wall but no door. There are about a half dozen black 55-gallon barrels.
Weaver Fertilizer stored tons of chemicals in this lean-to shed at 4020 Brownsboro Road. The groundwater beneath the property is contaminated. (Photo: Lisa Sorg)

By Lisa Sorg

Nearly two years after a catastrophic fire at the Weaver Fertilizer plant in Winston-Salem, contaminated groundwater at the site has “likely migrated offsite to the west and north,” state records show, and “more groundwater investigation is necessary.”

The groundwater beneath the property at 4440 N. Cherry St., contains high levels of at least 15 contaminants, including arsenic, ammonia, xylene and nitrate.

Groundwater at a second property on Brownsboro Road, where the company stored chemicals used in making fertilizer, is also heavily contaminated. [Read more...]

Black and Latino voters sue over new North Carolina congressional districts

congressional map
The new NC congressional map creates 10 Republican districts, 3 Democratic districts and a district that is trending Republican (Source: NCGA)

By Lynn Bonner 

A group of Black and Latino voters in North Carolina say in a lawsuit that four of the state’s new congressional districts are racial gerrymanders. They are asking a panel of federal judges to declare it unconstitutional.

The lawsuit filed Monday focuses on Districts 1, 6, 12, and 14. These districts are unconstitutional because they intentionally weaken minority voting power, the lawsuit says. [Read more…]

Voting rights groups find new photo ID law caused trouble for voters and county officials

the entrance to a voting precinct
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

By Lynn Bonner

Judith Nash’s shaky handwriting on a voter ID exception form she filled out in Guilford County on Election Day is a sign of lost muscle control that comes with Huntington’s disease.

A few days after she and her husband voted, Nash received an email from the Guilford elections office saying, essentially, they thought she was lying on the form, and questioning why she was well enough to vote but not able to get an ID. [Read more…]

Prominent candidates for Governor, Congress, Council of State join the fray

NC House Speaker Tim Moore prepares to file paperwork for congressional run.
NC House Speaker Tim Moore arrives at the State Fairgrounds to file paperwork to run for Congress in the 14th District. (Photo: Lynn Bonner)

By Staff

Major news on the filing front Tuesday is that Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10) is not running for reelection.

McHenry announced he will retire after 10 terms that included three weeks earlier this year as temporary House Speaker after Rep. Kevin McCarthy was kicked out of the job.

“There is a season for everything and — for me — this season has come to an end.”

That leaves an open seat likely to elect a Republican. [Read more]

From COVID to climate change, Republicans question CDC’s role in keeping public safe

Dr. Mandy Cohen
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Mandy Cohen testifies before the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee November 30, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

By Clayton Henkel

Former NC HHS Secretary Mandy Cohen stresses data, partnerships, resources in new chapter with CDC

It’s been more than two and a half years since Alabama dropped its mask mandate as part of its COVID-19 safety guidance. But last week, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R – Alabama) was fixated on whether the Centers for Disease Control would reimpose such a requirement.

“It’s good that we’re in a different place and we’re able to turn a chapter forward,” answered Dr. Mandy Cohen, the CDC’s new director. “We have a lot of different tools to protect our children now, vaccines, and treatment. Masks continue to be one tool amongst many that we can use.”

“So, you would continue to require masking for two-year-old kids?” interrupted Palmer. [Read more.…]

Vigil challenges governor, North Carolinians to reimagine criminal justice system

Protest sign outside the governor's mansion in Raleigh.
For the fourth year in a row, criminal justice reformers are calling on Gov. Roy Cooper to use his clemency powers to reduce the number of people, and address racial disparities, in state prisons. But the vigil also challenges state residents and officials to reimagine the criminal justice system and the many ways it can harm North Carolinians. Photo: Jaymond Bryant-Herron, of the Decarcerate Now! Coalition

By Kelan Lyons  

Toia Potts’s son was so young when he visited her in jail that he couldn’t understand why he could see and hear his mother through the glass in the visitation room, but wasn’t allowed to touch her.

Potts did not struggle with drugs or alcohol, but she enrolled in a substance abuse rehabilitative program because those who successfully completed it were allowed to invite their family members to a pizza party. [Read more...]

As the 2024 campaign gets underway in NC, a shadow looms  (commentary)

Donald Trump points to his read hat which reads "make American great again"
Former President Donald Trump threatens to alter the basics of American constitutional government if he is elected in 2024. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

By Rob Schofield

Threat of autocracy makes the upcoming election year among the most important in US history

American history has been marked by more than a few momentous elections that dramatically altered national and world history.

One shudders to think, for instance, what might have happened to the nation had Abraham Lincoln not somehow prevailed over three opponents in 1860 and George McLellan in 1864, or if Franklin Roosevelt had somehow lost to an isolationist adversary in 1940. [Read more...]

State Board of Education appeals panel recommends closing all-boys charter school

young students in a classroom at desks with laptops
School of the Arts for Boys Academy students. (Photo via SABA website.)

By Greg Childress

A State Board of Education appeals panel will recommend against allowing School of the Arts for Boys Academy (SABA) to continue to operate in Chatham County.

The state’s Charter Schools Review Board ordered the school to close Dec. 30, citing its low enrollment. SABA leaders appealed the review board’s decision to the state board. [Read more…]