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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Cooper Makes a Splash

Posted by on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 8:30 AM

Good morning. Here's what you missed this weekend.

1. It snowed.

Alright, so the only way you missed this is if you haven't looked outside in the past two days.

Wake Tech Community College and N.C. State, as well as public school systems in the Triangle, canceled classes Monday.

The weather service released snowfall totals for Jan. 6-7 for North Carolina on Sunday.

Oak Ridge led the Tar Heel state with 11 inches of snow. High Point and Lenoir got 10. Greensboro measured 8 inches. North Durham received 7 inches. Wake Forest got a little more than 3 inches. Cary saw 2 inches accumulate, as did south Durham. The Raleigh area measured about half an inch, though some areas of the Triangle saw more.

[...]

For Monday’s commute, N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott said major roads should be in good condition, but secondary roads will still be hazardous.

“The primary roads should be in pretty good shape after we work through today, thanks to temps getting high enough that salt works on ice, allowing our trucks to push it off the roadways,” he said. “And we expect to get to some of the busier secondary roads ... Snow and ice-covered secondary and neighborhood roads will still be covered, many into Tuesday.”

Be safe out there.

2. Governor Roy Cooper formally begins process to expand Medicaid.

Cooper's office said he sent a letter to federal regulators altering them of his intentions to seek changes that could provide health care to more than 500,000 people starting in January 2018. He had announced earlier this week his pursuit of Medicaid expansion, which runs against the rising tide on Capitol Hill to get rid of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

[...]

Cooper is acting even though a 2013 state law prevents him from seeking expanded coverage without the legislature's formal support. Those legislators say his request is therefore illegal, but Cooper's office said in a Friday news release that law "doesn't apply to his draft plan." The release doesn't explain why.

This is the most shrewd thing Governor Cooper could have done to start his tenure. By picking a big, common-sense fight like expanding Medicaid and forcing the legislature to actually defend not giving Medicaid expansion to 500,000 North Carolinians, he's kicking off his administration in a huge way and showing he's not afraid to use the bully pulpit. It also doesn't hurt to give Democrats a big campaign issue going into the 2017 special elections, should they happen.

You can also read the new governor's inaugural address here.

3. Airport shooting kills five at Florida airport.

The Broward Sheriff's Office has confirmed five people are dead in a shooting in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

An additional eight people were injured and have been taken to the hospital, according to BSO. Several victims are being treated at Broward Health Medical Center, a spokeswoman confirms to New Times.

The gunman was identified as 26-year old Esteban Santiago, an Army veteran with recent mental health issues and a history of domestic violence.

4. Trump cabinet hearings begin tomorrow.
Advisers to President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team, facing complaints from Democrats that they are trying to jam nominees through confirmation hearings, said on Sunday they were confident all the appointees would be approved by the Senate, perhaps even with Democratic support.

Being the minority party, the Democrats would face long odds in trying to derail any of the nominations. They are, however, seeking to delay Republicans’ plans to open hearings on Tuesday until the nominees have completed F.B.I. background checks.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, signaled on Sunday that he was unwilling to reschedule any confirmation hearings, which are set to begin with sessions for John F. Kelly, Mr. Trump’s choice to be the secretary of Homeland Security, and for Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the nominee to be attorney general. Five more hearings are scheduled for Wednesday.
Reminder that Jeff Sessions was once considered too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge in the 1980s, and also that this is a website where you can find the numbers for Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and contact them.

5. The Triangle is getting a women's professional soccer team again.

WRAL's (and frequent INDY contributor) Neil Morris with the story:

North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik has acquired the Western New York Flash of the National Women’s Soccer League and will relocate the reigning NWSL champions to the Triangle for the upcoming 2017 NWSL season.

The sale, first reported by FourFourTwo.com, has been corroborated by club officials.

Malik and NCFC will hold a press conference Monday at Noon to formally announce the sale and relocation. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is scheduled to appear at the press conference, which will be held at WakeMed Soccer Park. The event will stream live on WRALSportsFan.com.

[...]

No information is yet available about the name of the new Triangle-based club. Last September, Malik filed to register the trademarks for “North Carolina Courage” and “NC Courage”, the same day he filed “North Carolina FC,” the eventual new brand for the Carolina RailHawks men’s soccer team Malik owns. The Carolina Courage played from 2001-03 as part of the former Women’s United Soccer Association. Like the erstwhile Courage, it’s expected that the rebranded Flash will play at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

6. UNC beats NC State 107-56.

It all added up to the most points UNC has scored in the history of the rivalry, which goes back to 1913, and the second-most lopsided loss to the Tar Heels ever.

The only loss that was worse? A 62-10 decision in UNC’s Bynum Gym in February 1921.

There is no wonder then when Gottfried was asked if he liked anything about his team’s performance, he said: “Nope. Nope. We were bad. We were really, really bad.”

That's all for today. Stay safe out there.

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