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NCDHHS: Rare Brain Infection,Cumberland County Lake Death

Public health officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Cumberland County Department of Public Health are reporting that an individual died after developing an illness caused by an amoeba that is naturally present in warm freshwater during the summer. The individual became ill after swimming in Fantasy Lake Water Park in Cumberland County on July 12, 2019.

Infrastructure Projects Funded at 12 NC Airports

RALEIGH– In its July meeting, the N.C. Board of Transportation approved state and federal grants for various infrastructure improvement projects at 12 North Carolina airports. 

Nearly $7 million in state and federal funding has been awarded for projects that improve runway lighting, establish new fueling areas, expand taxiways and otherwise help these airports grow.

At Avery County Airport, the money will be used to construct a new partial-length parallel taxiway and to finish the expansion of the aircraft parking apron.

“This will definitely benefit us big time," said Sam Calvert, Chairman of the Avery County Airport Authority. “Safety is the most important thing here- right now, planes go directly on to the runway to take off. The taxiway eliminates that. 

“It also opens up new areas of our airport for hangars, which will help bring development and tax revenue to the area," Calvert added.

The grants the N.C. Board of Transportation approved provide:

$171,180 in additional funds to replace the existing fueling system and install a new fence around the terminal area at Ashe County Airport;
$220,500 to clear obstructions from the runway protection zones at Ashe County Airport;
$3 million to complete the expansion of the apron and installation of a partial-length parallel taxiway at Avery County Airport;
$278,100 inadditional Economic Development Funds to expand city sewer access to new hangar developments at Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport;
$1.4 million to reimburse land acquisition costs at Cape Fear Regional Jetport in Southport;
$75,000 to repair drainage areas at Halifax-Northampton Regional Airport;
$200,000 to conduct a geotechnical investigation ahead of the installation of a new haul/access road at Jackson County Airport;
$234,000 to conduct an environmental assessment for planned development at Johnston Regional Airport;
$191,196 to update the airport layout plan at Montgomery County Airport;
$54,000 in additional funding to complete the construction and activation of a new self-service fueling area at Montgomery County Airport;
$463,500 in additional funds for the design/bid of a new LED airfield lighting system at Moore County Airport;
$315,000 in additional funding to expand the scope of the design/bid of the runway safety area widening project to also include the runway and other paved areas at Person County Airport;
$117,000 to clear obstructing trees from the approaches at Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford; and
$225,000 to update the airport layout plan at Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport.
North Carolina's 72 public airports serve as a vital economic engine connecting people and business enterprises with the world and are among the primary economic drivers in their communities. Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $52 billion to North Carolina's economy each year, according to the 2019 State of Aviation report. They support 307,000 jobs, generate more than $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue and provide more than $12.6 billion in personal income. 

The funds awarded do not necessarily represent the total cost of the project. 



NC Gov Cooper Signs One Bill, Vetoes a Separate Bill

Raleigh -- Press Release- Governor Roy Cooper took action on two pieces of legislation today. He signed Regulatory Reform, SB 290 ABC Regulatory Reform Bill and vetoed SB 392 Various Charter School Changes. 

This bill allows distilleries the same serving privileges as wineries and craft breweries and reduces regulation on out-of-state sales.

“Distilleries are expanding North Carolina’s reputation for craftsmanship and drawing visitors to cities and towns across our state,” said Governor Cooper. “This bill will help small businesses continue to thrive.”
 SB 392 Various Charter School Changes

“Current law already allows the State Board of Education to lift the enrollment cap on virtual charter schools.  Both schools have been low performing, raising concern about the effectiveness of this pilot. Decisions on adding more students should remain with the Board so it can measure progress and make decisions that will provide the best education for students.”

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NC Gov Cooper Hears Stories about the Healthcare Coverage Gap

Raleigh -- Press Release - Governor Roy Cooper met with people from across the Piedmont and western regions of the state to hear firsthand the choices that they are forced to make because they cannot access affordable, quality health insurance. Participants came to Greensboro from as far as Jackson County and included more than a dozen people from Burlington, Charlotte, Greensboro, Pinehurst, Reidsville, and Winston-Salem. Senator Michael Garrett and Senator Gladys Robinson also participated in the discussion.

July 30. 2019 

Thousands of North Carolinians fall into a health care “coverage gap.” They do not qualify for Medicaid today but earn too much to qualify for subsidies on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would provide an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians with access to affordable health care. It would also boost North Carolina’s economy by $4 billion and create an estimated 40,000 jobs.

 “North Carolinians are making impossible choices every day between basic necessities and life-saving health care, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Governor Cooper. “If we say yes to expanding Medicaid, we can improve people’s well-being and bring substantial benefits to North Carolina without costing state taxpayers.”

 “I make so little that having to pay anything for medical care monthly often causes me to have to decide between eating or paying my bills. These types of decisions only worsen my already full plate of health issues,” said Fanta Turay of Greensboro.

Deanna Dawkins shared that she qualified for Medicaid when she became pregnant. After suffering the devastating experience of giving birth to a stillborn baby, she lost her Medicaid coverage two-months post-delivery per federal policy. While still grieving the loss of her son, she was diagnosed with stage IV cervical cancer. She does not qualify for Medicaid nor can she afford health insurance.

 “Having Medicaid saved my life because I was able get treatment. I want the people with addiction that I work with to have that same chance,” said Debbie Smith of Burlington.

 Only eight states are ranked worse than North Carolina for the percent of population that is uninsured. Those without insurance often receive health care in the most expensive way possible – in the costly aftermath of a health crisis in hospital emergency rooms rather than through regular preventative care. On average, those in Medicaid expansion states see health insurance premiums that are 7-11% lower than in non-expansion states.

 Governor Cooper has been traveling the state hearing from North Carolinians about the urgency to expand Medicaid. In addition, he and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen have hosted numerous roundtables on the health coverage gap. Rural hospital CEOs, childcare directors and teachers, mental health providers, obstetricians and pediatricians, and families impacted by the opioid epidemic have all traveled to Raleigh from across North Carolina to urge lawmakers to close the health coverage gap.

 Closing the health insurance coverage gap for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid remains a top priority for Gov. Cooper. Currently, a family of four with working parents must earn less than $9,000 to qualify for Medicaid. The same family’s income would have to exceed $25,000 to qualify for a federal subsidy to purchase health insurance. That leaves many families who earn too much for Medicaid and too little for a subsidy without health insurance. Since 2014, 37 states under bipartisan leadership, including the District of Columbia, have helped close the gap by expanding Medicaid so more people can get coverage.

 Roundtable participants included Rev. Angela Brown (Winston-Salem), Lyn Carver (Cullowhee), Deanna Dawkins (Forsyth County), Roxanne Griffin (Rockingham County), Stephanie Hoover (Pinehurst), Marian Johnson (Greensboro), Christine Lloyd-Marshall (Greensboro), Tango Barham Moore (Reidsville), J. Donte Prayer (Charlotte), Debbie Smith (Burlington), Fanta Turay (Greensboro), and Kimberly Wall (Guilford County) and Dominique Spence (Rockingham County).

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