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Friday Forward News Roundup

North Carolina Gubernatorial Primary Debate 2024

You are hearing it first! The North Carolina Forward Party, in collaboration with the Camino Research Institute, announces the North Carolina Gubernatorial Primary Debate 2024 in Charlotte on February 5. Hosted by Barbara Gaskins, the debate will feature prominent candidates from various parties, including Mike Morgan, Wayne Turner, Dan Folwell, Mike Ross, and Shannon Bray, offering voters a chance to explore diverse perspectives on state issues.

If interested, please RSVP here to claim your seat. Admissions is free, but space is limited. 

Biden Announces $82 Million Investment to Expand High-Speed Internet in North Carolina

President Joe Biden visited Abbott Elementary in Raleigh to highlight his administration's investment in high-speed internet for underserved areas. The American Rescue Plan allocated $82 million to Governor Roy Cooper's Stop-Gap Solutions Program, connecting around 16,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina. The initiative aims to bridge the digital divide exacerbated by the pandemic, where 12% of North Carolinians lack internet service, 8% lack access to a home computer, and approximately a third don't have broadband internet. By the end of 2026, Biden aims to connect over 300,000 homes and businesses in the state, funded by $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan. (Newsline)

Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards $250 Million for Healthcare High Schools in Durham and Charlotte

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $250 million grant to establish specialized healthcare high schools in 10 communities across the United States, with Durham Public Schools and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools among the recipients. The partnership between Duke Health, Durham Technical Community College, and Durham Public Schools will receive $29.5 million to create a high school program focusing on healthcare careers, offering students an immediate pathway to jobs in the healthcare sector. The program, set to begin in fall 2025, aims to address the need for more healthcare workers and contribute to the growth of the middle class. (News & Observer)

North Carolina Faces Proposed 42.2% Increase in Homeowners' Insurance Premiums Amid Rising Costs and Climate-Related Risks

The N.C. Rate Bureau, representing insurance companies in North Carolina, has requested an average 42.2% increase in homeowners' insurance premiums, citing rising construction and labor costs, weather-related losses, and reinsurance market challenges. Coastal regions may face a 99.4% hike, while inland areas like Haywood, Madison, Swain, and Transylvania counties could see a 4.3% increase. The proposal is attributed to worsened economic conditions, increased reinsurance costs due to climate change, and higher wind and hail losses from past storms. The state's commissioner of insurance has 50 days to respond, and a public comment period is open until Feb. 2. (News & Observer)

UNC Pembroke Athletics Anticipates Financial Boost from Sports Betting as College Landscape Evolves

UNC Pembroke's director of athletics, Dick Christy, discusses the impact of legalized sports betting in North Carolina, highlighting the potential financial benefits for smaller schools like UNC Pembroke. The legislation allows 10 UNC System schools to receive a share of tax revenue, estimated to be at least $300,000 annually per school, offering a significant financial boost for athletic programs facing funding challenges. (WUNC)

HUD Bars Millennia Companies Over Financial Mismanagement Amidst Ongoing Tenant Complaints

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has barred Millennia Companies, owners of JFK Towers in North Durham, for consistent financial mismanagement. The elderly living, low-income facility has faced ongoing complaints about unsafe living conditions, including sewage issues, broken amenities, and fire hazards. The HUD action prevents Millennia from entering new contracts with government agencies, but concerns remain for current tenants living in deplorable conditions. (Indy Week)

Investigation into North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls Dropped Without Discipline Recommendation

The judicial ethics panel investigating North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls has decided to drop the investigation without recommending any discipline. Earls, who had accused the commission of violating her First Amendment rights, also withdrew her federal lawsuit against the commission. The investigation stemmed from media interviews in which Earls spoke about biases at the Supreme Court. (WRAL)

Legal Battle Ends as Critics Withdraw Appeal in North Carolina GOP Leadership Election Case

Critics who challenged the North Carolina Republican Party's June leadership vote have withdrawn their appeal, ending the legal battle. The lawsuit questioned the election process, alleging violations of party rules, use of an internet-based voting app, and failure to ensure election integrity. (Carolina Journal)

UNC Greensboro Considers Program Cuts Amidst Declining Enrollment and Revenue

UNC Greensboro is considering eliminating 19 programs, majors, and minors as part of an ongoing academic program review due to declining enrollment and revenue. The programs recommended for elimination, including anthropology and physics, have become "cost-prohibitive" and cutting them is expected to save the university revenue in the seven figures. Chancellor Franklin Gilliam will make the final decision on the cuts, with the announcement scheduled for February 1, and a "teach-out policy" will be implemented to support current students and faculty affected by the changes. (WUNC)

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