The Morning Roundup: New Republican Leadership, a Big Tropical Storm, and Creepy Clowns Lurking in the Woods | News
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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Morning Roundup: New Republican Leadership, a Big Tropical Storm, and Creepy Clowns Lurking in the Woods

Posted by on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 8:04 AM

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Hello, everyone. Your Wednesday news: 

1. N.C. House Republicans select new majority leader, whip. Representative Mike Hager's surprise resignation earlier this month opened up the spot of majority leader in the N.C. House of Representatives. It has officially been filled as of yesterday. Representative John Bell, of Goldsboro, will replace Hager in the position. Bell was previously the majority whip, a role that Representative Dean Arp, of Monroe, will now take on. From the News & Observer:  
Republicans currently hold 75 seats in the 120-member House, but Democrats hope to cut into that margin in November and eliminate the GOP supermajority in that chamber.

Bell and Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern ran for the majority leader position, and Bell was chosen in a caucus vote. The results of the vote weren't released.

...The new leaders will serve only through early December, when the caucus is expected to select leaders for the 2017-18 legislative session. Bell and Arp didn't comment Tuesday when asked if they wanted to continue in their positions for the next two years, but Bell had previously expressed his interest in remaining in that role.
Bell faces Democrat Evelyn Paul in November's election. 

2. Death of Durham toddler being investigated. A three-year-old girl was found dead in a van Monday night on the 1100 block of Hearthside Street near Sargent Place. She has been identified as Leslie Ramirez, and her death is being investigated as suspicious. TWC News has more
Neighbors say there’s no word on how long she was inside the van before she was discovered missing. They added that they tried to rescue her after they realized she was inside the vehicle, but it was too late.

“Everybody wonders how a child got stuck out here. The kids were out of school and no one realized she was in the vehicle. It’s pretty sad,” said Javier Alvarez, a neighbor who lives across the street. 
An autopsy will be performed. No charges have yet been filed.  

3. Needle exchange program opening in Raleigh.
A safe-syringe program will open in Raleigh next week, with plans to roll out a similar one in Durham soon, the N&O reports
Advocates have pushed for such programs to be legalized in North Carolina as a way to reduce the risks of spreading HIV and hepatitis and to help drug users get treatment. Last month, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law laying out guidelines for such programs.

Before then, churches, former drug users and public health advocates in North Carolina ran “underground syringe exchange programs” for years, said Robert Childs, director of the N.C. Harm Reduction Coalition.

“People were risking incarceration to decrease the risk of infections and provide life-saving resources,” Childs said.

...In Wake County, the coalition is partnering with Sigma Health Services to open an exchange program in the parking lot of 2321 Crabtree Blvd., off Capital Boulevard, from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. The site will open Sept. 6.

“It’s a lot more than just distributing needles,” said coordinator Hyun Namkoong. The coalition will also distribute overdose rescue kits and provide referral and other services.
The coalition is still looking for a location and a partnering agency in Durham County, which ranked fifth in North Carolina for new cases of HIV between 2013 and 2015. 

4. Big-ass tropical storm headed for the coast.
A storm called Tropical Depression 8 was supposed to hit the Carolina coast Tuesday, but it swerved and only resulted in a few showers in the Outer Banks. Brace y'allselves for Tropical Depression 9, though. Per WRAL
“Tropical depression nine looks more formidable tonight and it may be more formidable for North Carolina,” Maze said. “The American model and the European model now track the storm closer to the North Carolina coast.”

It is likely that tropical depression will strengthen into a tropical storm Wednesday and Maze said he wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to intensify.

“We could be even talking about the potential for a hurricane watch issued for the southeast coast which could include North Carolina,” he said.
Bright side: WRAL's meteorologist still expect sunny skies for your Labor Day weekend.

5. Have a good rest of your Wednes—THERE ARE TERRIFYING CLOWNS LURKING IN THE WOODS OF SOUTH CAROLINA. Holy shit, from NYT
At the edge of dark, dark woods in South Carolina, children have been telling adults that a group of clowns have been trying to lure them into the cluster of trees. They say the clowns live deep in the woods, near a house by a pond.

This tale sounds like a mishmash of newspaper clippings and pages ripped from Stephen King novels, but these are actually details taken from a report filed by the sheriff’s office in Greenville County, S.C., last week, after several residents at an apartment complex there said that people in clown makeup had been terrorizing both children and adults.

Several children said that clowns were offering them money to follow them into the woods, close to the house by the pond. (The police say they have found no evidence of clown paraphernalia at the house.)

A woman walking home late one night said she had seen a “large-figured” clown waving at her from under a streetlight, the police said. (She waved back.) And another woman said her son had heard clanging chains and a banging noise at his front door.
BRB, forgot something at home. Also, probably gonna work from home today and also for the foreseeable future until visual proof emerges that these clowns are dead. OK, bye! 

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