Wednesday News: Time to pay the piper


RICK GUNN SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER MARITAL AFFAIR: Former state Sen. Rick Gunn has settled a lawsuit filed by a man who accused him of a long-running affair with his wife, who was also the senator's legislative assistant. Arthur Johns says the affair destroyed his marriage and that he lost half his property in a divorce. He sued Gunn, an Alamance County Republican, for as much as $3 million. It was not immediately clear how much Johns would get in the settlement. His attorney confirmed the settlement to WRAL News but wouldn't provide details. In the lawsuit filed last summer, Johns alleges that his wife, Karen Johns, had an affair with Gunn for up to four years. General Assembly insiders told WRAL that their affair was a poorly kept secret. Arthur Johns said his wife began spending more and more time with Gunn over the years, going out for things that didn't sound like work. Eventually, the lawsuit states, she began treating Gunn more like a husband.

Tuesday News: More of the same

JOSH DOBSON'S LABOR DEPARTMENT GROSSLY UNDERCOUNTS WORK-RELATED COVID FATALITIES: Worker advocates say 26 COVID-19 deaths — out of a total of 91 reported workplace deaths — strikes them as low. “Twenty-six sounds like it’s a gross underestimate, just given how prevalent COVID has been, especially among essential workers,” said MaryBe McMillan, president of the North Carolina AFL-CIO. Hunter Ogletree, director of the Western North Carolina Workers Center, said the number appears especially low considering the labor department received 4,842 complaints from workers regarding COVID-19 in 2020. Labor advocates say that a system that relies on voluntary reporting from employers is inevitably going to result in under-reporting. “The good employers are going to cooperate, and there are plenty of others who either because they’re lazy or because of oversight or actually because of malicious reasons, are not going to show that information,” said Ripley.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Yep, next year's R Primary is going to be carnival show, but the D Primary might be pretty painful too...

Profit before patients: Staffing problems plagued nursing homes before COVID


It's all about the Benjamins:

The group has spent more than $30 million lobbying Congress and millions more through its state affiliates since 2010, according to a review of state and federal lobbying data by the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The long-term care industry has long used its political influence to push against reforms that would have increased staffing requirements, training, transparency and oversight. Now, the industry is pushing for — and in some states, successfully passing — legislation to shield nursing home owners from lawsuits during the pandemic.

In the early 2000's my father succumbed to the latter stages of Alzheimer's, and we had to put him in long-term care. Most of the staff we dealt with were really good people, dedicated to easing burdens for their patients. But there was never enough of them on duty, especially after normal "business hours." And 2 out of the 3 facilities he was placed in had corporate headquarters in another state, so straightening out billing problems became a constant nightmare. My mom provided adult diapers to save money, but every month she was charged $500-$600 erroneously, and I had to make several calls to the headquarters each month to get that fixed. Back to the staffing problems:

Monday News: Eleven thousand, five hundred two


NC'S POSITIVE TEST RATE FOR CORONAVIRUS DOWN TO 4.2%: At least 872,176 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11,502 have died since last March, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,027 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, down from 2,093 new cases reported the day before. At least 1,179 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Saturday, down from 1,226 reported the day before. As of Thursday, the latest day for which data are available, 4.2% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 1 million people in North Carolina have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine as of Thursday. A total of 2.7 million doses have been administered statewide.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


A QUALIFIED, WELL-PREPARED TEACHER IN EVERY CLASSROOM: We must increase educator compensation and create incentives to enable low-wealth districts to attract and retain qualified and well-prepared teachers. As a means toward lifting North Carolina’s teachers to at a minimum the national average, let’s raise pay for teachers and instructional support staff by at least 5% this year. We must also reinstate retiree health benefits for teachers and all state employees — new employees hired after January 1, 2021 won’t retire with state-subsidized health care; and we must work to regain that important benefit. We must also work harder to significantly increase the racial and ethnic diversity of North Carolina’s qualified and well-prepared teacher workforce. We must provide high-quality mentoring and induction support for beginning teachers for their first three years to increase both their effectiveness and their retention.


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