The Last Time Raleigh Saw Real Snow Was December 12, 2018

By Kimberly Lawson

February 21, 2020

Welcome to our weekly news digest, where we break down the latest news items, sharing what they mean for parents, families, and communities across the state. Have you signed up to receive our weekly newsletter? What are you waiting for?!

Happy Friday, North Carolina!

Brad Panovich is definitely one of North Carolina’s hardest working meteorologists. The head weather guy at WCNC in Charlotte has an at-home weather office adjacent to his master bedroom—complete with a super computer, cameras, and lighting—so he can quickly get online to update viewers. He covers 22 counties. If there aren’t any overnight weather happenings, he told CharlotteFive, he gets four hours sleep at night.

It’s good to have a guy like that in your social media feed this week: Winter decided to show up on Thursday, bringing a few inches of snow across parts of the state. (Fun fact: It’s been 436 days since folks in Raleigh saw measurable snow, and last night they saw just enough to be magical.)

The wintry weather has mostly moved on by now, but schools and businesses all over North Carolina are closed or operating on a delay. Why? Because we’re Southern and we don’t know how to drive on icy roads.

Stay warm, friends!

Here’s What Else You Need to Know This Week

We’re One (Tiny) Step Closer to Paid Family Leave in North Carolina

Here’s a horrifying stat for you: In North Carolina, the infant mortality rate in 2018 was 7.3 per 1,000 births, which is significantly higher than the national average of 5.8. If we’re ever going to reduce the rate of babies dying in the U.S., paid family leave will need to become a reality. Research shows that if the state were to approve a paid family and medical leave insurance program, 26 infant lives would be saved every year. Although it’s clear we still have a long way to go to address this crisis, the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force voted this week to endorse paid family and medical leave insurance. The task force studies the various causes of death among children and makes recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on how to better protect them. As the folks at Moms Rising point out: “This is a huge step forward.”

Voter ID Law Has Been Blocked, Um, Again

Early voting for the presidential primary on March 3 is in full swing—and you know you don’t have to bring your IDs with you, right? On Tuesday, a state Court of Appeals ruled that the way the state’s voter ID law was written suggested “an intention to target African American voters rather than a desire to comply with the newly created Amendment in a fair and balanced manner.” The panel of judges put the measure on hold while the lawsuit plays out in court—which means you may not be required to show your ID to vote in November either, who knows? This week’s ruling marks the second time a court has ruled against the state’s current voter ID law; on December 31, a federal judge temporarily blocked ID requirements too, citing—surprise, surprise—“discriminatory intent.”

The Return of Laughing Gas For Labor 

Recently, two hospitals in Charlotte—Atrium Health’s Charlotte Medical Center (CMC) and Novant Presbyterian Medical Center—began offering nitrous oxide as an option for pain relief during labor and delivery. They join a handful of hospitals in the state that do. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous was popular in the 1950s and 60s—before the epidural came along, of course—for women enduring the terrible pains of childbirth. “It doesn’t make you not feel the pain of the contraction, it just helps you to process it a little bit differently,” Dr. Leslie Hansen-Lindner, who spearheaded the effort to bring nitrous to CMC, told NC Health News. “Every time the contraction comes, [when] you start to feel like you’re losing your ability to cope, the nitrous helps you think ‘I can manage this.’”

North Carolina Mayors Endorse Bloomberg

The women leading North Carolina’s two largest cities have thrown their support behind former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president. Last week, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles—to the dismay of her adult daughter—said she supported Bloomberg because “the country needs a candidate in 2020 who cares for people and will work every day to ensure we will have a better tomorrow.” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin had a similar glowing endorsement, which she announced on Tuesday. “As a former mayor,” Baldwin said, “Mike knows the importance of making sure constituents feel heard and being the voice that brings their ideas forward. As president, his policies—from housing affordability to infrastructure and job creation—will address the needs of all kinds of people.”

In Other News

One Million North Carolinians Are Uninsured

The Last Time Raleigh Saw Real Snow Was December 12, 2018

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 13% of North Carolinians—or 1.08 million nonelderly people—lacked health insurance in 2018. A key driver of the uninsured rate, according to a policy advocate at the North Carolina Justice Center, is the state’s failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “If our General Assembly was to finally prioritize health care and the lives of people over hyper-partisan politics, then Medicaid expansion would more than halve our uninsured population as a state,” said Hyun Namkoong. “But unfortunately, year after year our state legislature continues to reject the federal government funding 90% of Medicaid expansion.”

Read the story here.

Stat of the Week

58%

A WRAL News survey out this week found that overall, more than half of the 2,760 people surveyed said they didn’t want to see Confederate statues across the state moved or taken down. When the survey authors looked at the data based on race, they found that nearly two-thirds of Blacks said the statues should be moved to Civil War cemeteries or battlegrounds or removed from public display altogether; 23% of white respondents said the same. As one African-American respondent told WRAL: “I feel like there are a lot of people who don’t understand the pain that comes with kind of the history of the past, and, you know, the Confederacy.”

Something You Can Do

Take No Bull Women’s Conference

For International Women’s Day, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce will host the 4th Annual Take No Bull Women’s Conference. The one-day conference includes several sessions that will cover leadership, becoming an entrepreneur, and breaking barriers in the workplace. The keynote speaker is Heather Pownall, the chief development officer at the Association for Women in Science.

When and where is it? Friday, March 6, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at Hilton Durham by Duke University, 3800 Hillsborough Road in Durham. Early bird pricing ends February 21. More info here.

Photo of the Week

Winter finally showed up in North Carolina, so, naturally, we’re thinking about a getaway to North Topsail Beach.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8znZtnBvJ_/

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CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY
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