Below the belt: Vulgarity, divisiveness push NC political discourse to a new low

North Carolina’s known as a purple state where fierce partisan divide is the norm, but after two high-profile politicians — one a former NC-11 candidate and the other the current lieutenant governor — prompted outrage with recent vulgarities, their respective parties are stuck in a tough spot and facing difficult decisions over how to respond. 

Medical cannabis advancing through General Assembly

Now that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has decided to move forward with a medical cannabis initiative, the rest of North Carolina looks to the General Assembly to see if it will follow suit. 

Local school boards now responsible for mask mandate

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced new health guidelines for North Carolina public schools on Wednesday. School districts should require masks indoors for all students and staff in grades K-8. In grades 9-12, students and staff who have not been vaccinated should also be required to wear masks indoors. 

Beasley makes campaign stop in Asheville

Cheri Beasley, former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice, announced her campaign for United States Senate in April. On Friday, Beasley visited several small businesses in downtown Asheville to speak with business owners about how they fared during the pandemic and hear what they would have liked state representatives to have done differently. 

Open up the records of public employees

Last July, The Smoky Mountain News produced a series of stories looking into police reform following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and other incidents of violence by law enforcement officers. One of the takeaways from that reporting was that good law enforcement officers are, perhaps, more critical of bad cops than the general public.

Mask mandates lifted amid plummeting COVID-19 numbers

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling toward the lowest levels seen since the pandemic took root. 

Funding coming for telepsychiatry in schools — if N.C. budget passes

conversation between Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D-Rocky Mount, seems to indicate that Cooper will likely abandon his hard stance on Medicaid expansion and pass a budget this year. 

North Carolina ‘driving’ toward more diverse corps of educators

North Carolina’s population is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse every day, but according to a report issued by Gov. Roy Cooper’s DRIVE Task Force, its educators don’t nearly reflect that diversity. 

The DRIVE report , which stands for “Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education,” was issued this past Jan. 1 after Cooper called for a task force  that was eventually convened in May 2020. 

Increased benefits for pregnant women focus of Sen. Corbin bill

When Republican Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, announced  during a March 25 listening session at Southwestern Community College that he intended to file a bill addressing the health care coverage gap, he also said he hadn’t quite formulated the particulars of it because he wanted to introduce something that would pass the Republican-controlled legislature. 

Kings Mountain gaming to start this summer

A federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Interior’s decision to allow the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation  to build a casino in Cleveland County is far from resolution, but the tribe is proceeding with plans to begin gaming on the site — though at a slower pace than originally intended. 

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