Researchers and local leaders held a conference Tuesday to discuss the Zika virus, which brought together some on the front lines on the fight against the virus.
The conference was organized by the Research Triangle Institute and US Congressman David Price, who represents North Carolina’s Fourth district.
“There is just no mistaking the urgency of what we are talking about here today and the importance,” said Price.
Zika symptoms can include fever, rash and joint pain. While the virus causes mild symptoms in most people, pregnant women with the virus can give birth to babies with microcephaly, a serious birth defect that affects development.
According to the Center for Disease Control, over 600 cases in the United States have been reported, including 12 in North Carolina. All of those cases are travel related and were not acquired by mosquitoes at home.
Tuesday’s conference featured two panels, one with doctors and researchers working on different aspects of the virus. The other featured representatives from agencies working to fight Zika, like the Center for Disease Control.
Those panels explained how the scientific and logistical problems of dealing with Zika are multifaceted; especially considering the development of a Zika vaccine is still some time off.
Rep. Price said Congress hasn’t properly responded to the Zika virus.
“Of all the emergencies and potential emergencies this congress has been slow to address in recent months from the Flint water crisis to the opioid epidemic, I think the Zika case, our inability to respond in a timely, serious and sustained way, that’s the most baffling one,” said Price.
Michael Reiskind, a professor at NC State, said most transmissions of Zika occur from mosquitoes. But it can also spread through sexual contact, a way many of the cases in the US originated.
“Because most cases are going to be transmitted by mosquitoes, at least in the developing world, understanding the ecology of the mosquitoes provides an assessment of risk and also our most fruitful avenue for prevention of disease,” said Reiskind.
Reiskind said there are two kinds of mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus, one of which is prevalent in North Carolina. The mosquitoes bred in damp places, like buckets of standing water and small ponds and bite during the day.
Michael Beach from the CDC said there are measures you can take in your home to prevent the mosquitoes from breeding.
“Look for those areas that are accumulating water, tires, buckets, planters you know how we have things laying around outside the house and that sort of thing, birth baths, flower pots,” said Beach. “Anything that has water in it could potentially be used as an egg laying site.”
The current Zika outbreak originated in Brazil; where the Olympics games are going to be held this August.
Beach said the CDC is only discouraging pregnant women from going to the games.
“At this point in time 40 million travel by air through the Americas and back, so it’s not looking that we are going to be able to stop travel,” said Beach.
The virus was first discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in the late 1940s. The current outbreak started in South America in early 2015 but the first case in the United States wasn’t reported until this year.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/local-zika-conference
U.S. Representative David Price of North Carolina’s District 4 stopped by WCHL this past Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, including domestic energy policy.
One listener on Facebook wanted to know what could be done to get the nation and North Carolina on a safe, sustainable energy path that mitigates climate change.
Price answered that a comprehensive approach is needed. He reminded listeners that during the early days of President Obama’s first term, the Democrat-controlled House passed a cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse gases.
“That didn’t make it through the Senate,” said Price. “And then, of course, with the political change in 2010, we had divided government, with the Republicans pretty much saying they weren’t going to take any kind of comprehensive approach.”
He said that since then, the government has made “piecemeal” progress on energy issues.
“By piecemeal, I mean things like a research agenda for the smart grid; research agenda for more alternative fuels; more efficiency; just a whole, clean energy, energy efficiency research agenda,” said Price.
Price added that an array of tax incentives won broad congressional support to promote conservation practices and the use of renewables.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/rep-price-piecemeal-progress-made-energy-policy
Pictured: Aleppo, Syria; courtesy AP Photo/Narciso Contreras
CARRBORO – Led by Mayor Mark Chilton, the Carrboro Board of Aldermen approved a letter to Congress taking a stance against U.S. military action in Syria.
Chilton explained that the letter will be directed to North Carolina’s federal elected officials, including Congressman David Price (D-NC 4th District), as well as President Barack Obama.
Price said over the weekend that a “targeted, limited response” was merited, but he was not advocating entering into a war. Senator Kay Hagan said that the U.S. should find ways to prevent “atrocities” from happening again without putting Americans into ground combat.
“Different people on the Board have perhaps slightly different views on the situation in Syria and how to respond, but I think all of us are feeling that missile strikes or bombings would definitely be premature and not a good way to respond to this situation,” Chilton said.
The motion was proposed by Alderman Sammy Slade at Tuesday’s board meeting. Similar resolutions have been made by the Board of Alderman before, including a letter petitioning the U.S. entry into the Iraq War and another calling for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On Saturday, about a dozen protesters gathered at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, calling for the U.S. to avoid military action against Syria.
A Senate panel voted Wednesday to give Obama the authority to use military force against Syria in response to apparent use of chemical weapons. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.
The resolution would permit Obama to order a limited, 90 day maximum military mission against Syria, prohibiting the use of American troops on the ground for combat operations.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/carrboro-aldermen-to-write-letter-petitioning-us-action-in-syria
RALEIGH: The North Carolina NAACP’s Moral Monday protests began with just 17 arrests in the first rally in late April. Now nearly 600 have been arrested speaking out against the right-leaning NC General Assembly. New and seasoned protesters are preparing to converge in Raleigh once again for this week’s “Mass” Moral Monday. It’s the ninth protest so far taking place at 5 p.m. across from the General Assembly.
WCHL compiled a timeline of events since the first Moral Monday Movement to document the details of each week:
April 22: The Beginning of the “Civil Disobedience”
April 29: Week One
– 17 arrested
May 6: Week Two
– 30 arrested
– Running Total: 47
May 13: Week Three
– 49 arrested
– Running Total: 96
Chapel Hillians of faith from the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, Binkley Baptist Church, and the United Church of Chapel Hill made the trek to Raleigh. This was when the name “Moral Monday” was introduced.
May 20: Week Four
– 57 arrested
– Running Total: 153
May 29: NAACP Rally Tour comes to Chapel Hill
May 27: The NAACP took a pause for Memorial Day
June 2: The 100th anniversary of the controversial confederate monument known as “Silent Sam”
June 3: Week Five
– 151 arrested; *most arrested in a single Moral Monday
– Running Total: 304
June 7: Sen. Thom Goolsby, R- New Hanover, wrote an op-ed published in the Chatham Journal titled, “Moron Monday shows radical Left just doesn’t get it”
June 8: The Civitas Institute published a database of all those arrested during Moral Mondays
June 10: Week Six
– 84 arrests
– Running Total: 388
June 10: Reports surfaced of NC Lawmakers calling the Moral Monday protesters “outsiders”
June 12: First Witness Wednesday
June 17: Week Seven
– 84 arrested
– Running Total: 472
June 24: Arrestees from first Moral Monday on April 29 appear in court
June 24: Week Eight
– 120 Arrested
– Running Total: 592
How are the North Carolina Democratic Party and the National Republican Party alike?
That is easy. Both lost elections this fall and do not know what to do about it.
It is particularly humiliating for North Carolina Democrats. They have to face a legislature totally dominated by Republicans, who have gerrymandered so effectively that it is hard to see how Democrats could regain control in the foreseeable future.
Thus, they are scratching their heads when they hear and read about how the Republicans lost their way and the Democrats won a great victory in November. Or, when they hear that North Carolina demographic trends favor Democrats in the long term.
So, what should the North Carolina Democrats do now?
One party activist told me they should follow the example of national Republicans and “and get some new leadership at the state and district level willing to critically evaluate our mistakes.”
He read that the Republican National Committee has a plan to review the 2012 elections to determine what worked and what did not. Their Growth and Opportunity project will address issues like “campaign mechanics and ground game, messaging, fundraising, demographic partners and allies, third-party groups, campaign finance issues, presidential primaries, lessons learned from Democratic campaign tactics.”
Assuming North Carolina Democrats are willing to follow the lead of the national Republicans, what should they be doing? Before they can follow anybody’s lead, they have to find a leader or a leadership group.
For the first time in 20 years, the Democrats do not have a governor who could claim responsibility to recruit party leadership. Nor are there senior legislative leaders up to the task.
That leaves statewide elected political leaders such as Council of State members Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, Treasurer Janet Cowell, Auditor Beth Wood, and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson. None of them, of course, has the clout of a governor. But all have statewide contacts and supporters. Marshall and Cooper have high-profile positions and have earned widespread respect. Goodwin and Cowell have built good networks and are potential candidates for higher office.
Any of them who garnered enthusiastic support from the others would be a good candidate to take the lead in rebuilding the party.
The other major statewide elected official is U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. In recent years, North Carolina Democratic senators have not been active in state and local party matters. They have built their own organizations and fundraising efforts.
Hagan, too, has her own support group, and she is a successful fundraiser. Arguably, she should stay out of state party politics. But she has more to gain than any other statewide elected official from a strong active party. She is up for reelection in 2014 and her prospects would be improved by an enthusiastic, well-organized, and unified party.
Once Hagan or some other individual or small group takes responsibility, the first task will be to recruit and persuade the party organization to select a party chair and executive director who will bring unity and energy to the task. For an example, they could look back to the 1980s, which were also challenging times for North Carolina Democrats. People like current Congressman David Price, popular Raleigh lawyer Wade Smith, and current public relations executive Ken Eudy were recruited to party leadership positions where they helped strengthen the organization and prepared it for a string of successes.
For today’s North Carolina Democrats, time is wasting. The 2014 campaign begins in just a few days.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage. A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
This week’s (December 28, 30) guest is Kevin Duffus author of “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Bookwatch Classics (programs from earlier years) airs Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). Wednesday’s (January 2) past guest program features Lee Smith author of “The Last Girls.”
For a North Carolinian who is interested in World War II, here is a perfect suggestion: “War Zone—World War II off the North Carolina Coast.” Author Kevin Duffus reviews the first seven months of the war when German U-boats destroyed U.S. ships off the North Carolina coast at will. He also tells some of the human interest stories that accompanied military action in the North Carolina zone of that war. (Dec. 28, 30)
As we move into 2012, I’m betting that we will see several really significant examples of the old political truth, “elections have consequences.” Intuitively, we know that every election produces winners and losers, but it’s not the individual outcomes that I’m thinking about, but the cumulative impact of the elections. One example is when the elections produces such a significant change in the make-up of a legislative body that the ramifications a felt for years to come.
We had such an election in North Carolina in 2010 and we will soon feel a major impact of that election. When the Republican majority took control of the General Assembly in 2010, they gained the ability to redistrict North Carolina based on the 2010 U.S. Census data. As happens every 10 years after a census, those with the power to draw the new lines for federal and state districts try to ensure that the new lines provide a political advantage for their party, and that advantage can last for years.
Our community will certainly see the effects of the new lines in several major ways. First, if there is a successful legal challenge to the lines, then we might see the spring primary dates pushed back. The General Assembly voted to put the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the primary ballot. So whatever the date of the primary, we know a lot of energy and money will be behind both sides of the issue, trying to encourage people to vote in what is usually a low-turnout election. More or fewer primary voters can then possibly alter the outcome of the party primaries just because who decides to vote.
Second, if the lines are upheld by the court, we will see new congressional districts that may alter who runs in November in our 4th District. Under the proposed lines, the primary might see Rep. David Price, our current Congressman, facing Rep. Brad Miller who currently serves the 13th District. Of course, it’s no accident that the two Democrats were drawn into the same district. Some pundits believe that the new lines could shift the North Carolina delegation from the current 7-6 split favoring the Democrats to something much more favorable to the Republicans.
Third, new lines will also impact the state senate and house races because the way that they a currently drawn, “double bunking” of those currently serving means that those people are in a zero sum game; both cannot win the party primary. In the senate, there four intraparty cases, one being Democratic Sens. Ellie Kinnaird (D-Orange) and Bob Atwater (D-Chatham), and there are two interparty cases. As the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation notes, the situation in our state is complex:
When examining double-bunkings in the N.C. Senate, it’s important to note that just because two Republicans have been drawn together in one district, that does not necessarily mean the GOP is losing seats in the chamber. Redistricting is required to ensure North Carolina’s population has equal representation. As the demographics of the state shift, districts based in rural locations around the state are becoming geographically larger and those areas are losing relative representation. In some regions of the state, Republicans hold those rural districts, making it difficult to avoid double-bunking among the majority party. However, just as districts in some parts of the state are forced to expand in order to meet population requirements, other districts are being added in urban and suburban areas that don’t contain incumbent members of the General Assembly.
In the N.C. House there are five double-bunkings involving just Republican incumbents, six with just Democratic incumbents, and three cases where a Republican and Democratic incumbent are drawn into the same district. Consequently, 15 Democrats and 13 Republicans have been combined in the same district lines as one of their House colleagues. The one that has a major impact on our community is District 56, where former Speaker Democrat Joe Hackney would face his party colleague Verla Insko in the primary if both ran for reelection in District 56.
So yes, elections have consequences and in our local community, we could see a major change in who represents us in Washington and Raleigh, not to mention a revised election calendar in the spring. Some be fine with this, but is this the fair way to operate? The courts will rule on the lines and that will answer that part of the question, and maybe the voters might shift the political alignment again in the next election.
But for all of those who stayed home in 2010, for all of those who believed that their vote didn’t matter, and for all of those who don’t think it’s worth their time to follow politics, you let others make the decisions. As the drama unfolds, remember, being a participant or not, elections do have consequences.http://chapelboro.com/columns/fred-said/elections-have-consequences
Until Carlo Robustelli made me aware of it, I did not realize that there was another big graduation held on the afternoon of Wednesday May18th. Carlo as you may know is the Director of Durham Technical Community College’s Orange County Operations in Hillsborough. This was the College’s 50th commencement and over 800 students received degrees, diplomas, and certificates during the ceremony at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The graduation speaker was our 4th District Congressman, The Honorable David Price, a man who truly values and fights for education funding. Congressman Price said it well when he asked, “Does education work? Here in this room is all the evidence we need.”
For those of us in “Chapelboro” land, we know how much we value education and the strong commitment we make. Thus, opening a Durham Tech campus in Orange County in 2008 was a big deal because it made it easier for local folks to take advantage of the opportunities to gain the education they needed to realize their dreams. For some that degree is an associate degree that will allow them to qualify for a particular job and for others, it is the opportunity to transfer to a four-year college or university.
Programs include more than the associate’s degree in arts and sciences. Some pursue degrees offered in business and public technologies, health technologies, industrial/engineering technologies, and information systems technologies. Others come to Durham Tech and earn diplomas by completing their GED or adult high school, and some earn certificates by completing continuing education programs. It’s impressive too that there are students who returned to school after a long absence, students who needed new skills that would allow them to work in new fields, and others who obtained additional skills.
Durham Tech President Bill Ingram said at the graduation that the diverse graduates “juggled work and family and other obligations and the requirements of life while they’ve learned about anatomy and physiology or the principles of accounting or English composition or network security.” Students also participated in Durham Tech’s 50th anniversary year of service program that offered the opportunity to engage with the community through service.
With students from 20 to over 60 years old and an average age around 30, men and women of different races and from different ethnic groups, and students from over 35 countries, the unique mission community colleges serve cannot be over-stated. What they also contribute to our state and our community is something that we should laude. Helping people prepare themselves to pursue their dreams and their careers makes it possible for them to help make this a better community. And note what this great resource can do for our economic development efforts and how it can help many local businesses.
Yes, this is a great time of year as we watch graduates from are local institutions honored for their achievements. Let’s never forget those from our great community college system and the leaders they produce; they deserve our attention too. After all, the more the merrier is so true!
PS: You can get more information at www.durhamtech.edu/orange/orange.htm
Now, those are my thoughts. What are yours? Comment below!http://chapelboro.com/columns/fred-said/the-more-the-merrier
“My mother was ambitious for us, but in ways that didn’t create a lot of anxiety or pressure and I’ve always been grateful for that. She always made it clear that she wanted me to do my best, but if my best was a B instead of an A, then the test was whether or not I did my best.
“She also had no career goals that were highly specific, unlike some of my friends whose mothers and fathers were quite sure they were destined to be lawyers or doctors or whatever. My mother & dad never put that kind of pressure on us and I’ve always been glad for that. We were told that doing well was your own reward.
“I had lots of friends that would get a quarter for every A they made and my mother said she would never do that, she would never pay me to make good grades. We might have a nice oyster supper but that’s as far as it was going to go.
“So looking back on all that, I think I had a lot of encouragement, a lot of support. There were some high expectations, but not the kind of anxiety creating pressure or making her children in her own image that I think some parents make the mistake of doing.”