Associated Press

Cooper Names 8 to North Carolina Elections and Ethics Board

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has made his initial choices for a new state board that administers both elections and ethics laws, even while he keeps challenging in court the law creating the combined panel. Cooper announced his eight appointments Friday. Four are Democrats and four Republicans, as the law requires. Cooper received six nominees apiece from the chairman of each party. Those eight members will then present to Cooper two choices from which he must appoint a ninth member. The two must be unaffiliated or Libertarian. Cooper’s office said earlier this week he would appoint board members even...

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Democratic Legislators Seek Money for Pipeline Attachments

North Carolina Democratic legislators want Republican colleagues to locate funds to help businesses attach to an expected natural gas pipeline in eastern counties. The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed a law taking effect Friday that intercepts $58 million anticipated from an agreement between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s office and utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Those funds will now go to school districts along the pipeline route. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson told reporters Thursday by overriding the agreement Republicans prevented money from aiding economic development projects for local companies to tap into cheaper energy, creating jobs. Jackson criticized GOP...

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Report: ESPN President Resigned Over Cocaine Extortion Plot

The former president of ESPN says he resigned from the sports network after an extortion plot by his cocaine dealer. John Skipper, a UNC alumnus, told the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday that “they threatened me.” Skipper says he understood the threat put himself, his family and his professional life at risk. He says he discussed the situation with Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger on Dec. 15, 2017, and they agreed Skipper “had placed the company in an untenable position.” He resigned on Dec. 18 after leading ESPN since 2012, citing “a substance addiction.” Skipper says he used drugs recreationally and...

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Some North Carolina Hospitals End Flu Visitor Restrictions

Some of the largest hospitals are ending the child visitor restrictions put in place to try to reduce the number of flu cases in North Carolina. A number of hospital systems have announced that restrictions will end Friday morning after being implemented Jan. 12. Those include Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System), Cone Health, High Point Regional, Novant Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. State health officials reported 29 more flu deaths in North Carolina, bringing the season total to 305. Officials say it’s been the deadliest flu season in at least 10 years. Both the 2016-17 flue...

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Anti-Harassment Training Provided to General Assembly, Staff

North Carolina state lawmakers are getting opportunities to learn more about what constitutes workplace harassment so as to prevent it within the legislative branch. The General Assembly’s chief administrator announced Wednesday training will be offered to all 170 legislators through an online video provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Permanent and temporary employees at the legislature also will receive mandatory in-person training sessions during April, offered by an employer trade group. Legislative Services Officer Paul Coble said last month efforts were underway to address further workplace harassment and sexual harassment in light of recent news reports nationwide...

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Cooper to Appoint North Carolina Elections Board This Week

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper will appoint members to a combined state elections and ethics board this week, even while he continues to fight in court over the legality of the board’s latest iteration. Cooper’s office announced the decision Wednesday, two days before a new law approved by Republicans last month creating a nine-member panel is supposed to take effect. The Democratic governor has sued GOP legislative leaders three times — the latest lawsuit coming Tuesday — over legislation creating different versions of the joint board. The first lawsuit was filed in December 2016, just before Cooper got sworn...

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Cooper Sues Again While Court Rejects Elections Board Motion

The legal fight over running North Carolina’s elections didn’t end Tuesday when the state Supreme Court refused Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to throw out the entire law creating a combined elections and ethics board. Cooper separately filed another lawsuit Tuesday against Republican legislative leaders challenging the latest version of the combined board — marking his third lawsuit on the topic in 15 months. Cooper’s private lawyers wrote that the entire law is still unconstitutional, even after the GOP-controlled General Assembly last month approved legislation tweaking the board’s composition to add a ninth member to the four Democrats and...

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Documents Reveal Immense Outreach on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Civic leaders in town after town along the 600-mile (966-kilometer) route of a proposed natural gas project have posed for similar photographs, smiling and accepting poster-sized checks from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy says it’s being a good neighbor by handing out $2 million in grants of around $5,000 to $10,000 in communities affected by its joint venture with fellow energy giants Duke Energy and Southern Co. But critics say Dominion is buying support on the cheap to outflank opponents of the project, which would carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia, North Carolina, and potentially...

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North Carolina Reports 12 More Flu Deaths; Death Toll at 276

State health officials said Thursday that 12 people died from the flu in North Carolina last week, pushing the record death toll in 2017-18 to 276. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports there was one pediatric death among those reported in the week ending March 3. The total includes another 11 people whose deaths in previous weeks were flu-related. Last season, 218 people died from the flu in North Carolina, matching the total in 2014-15. The department said 199 of the deaths reported in the state during this flu season have involved people age 65 and...

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