Your weekly North Carolina political news report.

Agriculture

THE COURIER-TRIBUNE: UMO event highlights agriculture and college life in annual event

The University of Mount Olive hosted its Sixth Annual AgFest event to promote and celebrate awareness of agriculture and other academic opportunities at UMO. The event was attended by more than 1,600 visitors from 63 schools from across North Carolina and two schools in South Carolina, including FFA students from Eastern Randolph High School and Providence Grove High School in Randolph County.

Environment

PUBLIC RADIO EAST: State-Federal Partnership Monitoring Seagrass Habitats Along NC Coast

A recently published map gives scientists a better understanding of the density of submerged seagrass habitats along North Carolina's coast as well as a baseline for measuring changes in the ecosystem. “We’re trying to figure out how this environment is doing in North Carolina,” said Bill Crowell, the director of the Albemarle Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP), a cooperative program hosted by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

Economic Development

AREA DEVELOPMENT: Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing Expands Butner, North Carolina, Manufacturing Facility

Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc., a global aerospace company, will invest $2.7 million to expand their facility in Butner, North Carolina. The company plans to create 126 jobs in Granville County.

CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL: Conference provides insight on how rural communities across Carolinas can recruit business

Cleveland County and other rural areas looking to fill open manufacturing jobs are pointing out that there will be much more left over from workers’ paychecks if they live and work in a rural area because of the lower cost of living.

Education

THE LAURINBURG EXCHANGE: NC gets millions to expand charter options for disadvantaged students

The U.S. Department of Education awarded North Carolina $10 million to bring more educationally disadvantaged students to charter schools, but state constraints on charters may make spending that money a challenge. Joseph Maimone, a member of the Charter School Advisory Board, said some charter schools may find it difficult to take full advantage of the grants.

Government

WUNC 91.5: Court Battles Continue Over NC Political Maps Amid Independent Redistricting Trend

In a time-crunched, court-ordered process, the North Carolina General Assembly recently redrew the state's legislative district maps to be used in next year's elections. A Wake County Superior Court had found the Republican-controlled legislature had gerrymandered dozens of House and Senate districts for extreme partisan advantage. The redrawn maps are now under court review.

Healthcare

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: Federal Medicaid work requirement report has implications for North Carolina bill

A federal oversight agency cautioned last week that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services may not be properly monitoring administrative expenses related to its work requirement exemption for Medicaid expansion states. The Government Accountability Office report, released Thursday, measures the estimated expenses in five of the nine states that have received Trump administration CMS approval for a work requirement of between 80 to 100 hours monthly.

Politics

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Mary-Ann Baldwin is Raleigh's next mayor after Francis decides against runoff

Former City Council member Mary-Ann Baldwin will be Raleigh’s next mayor, after attorney Charles Francis said Friday he will not seek a runoff. “It’s going to be exciting. I can’t wait,” Baldwin said in an interview Friday, after Francis announced his decision in a news release.

Transportation

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Report faults NCDOT overspending amid layoff threats, stopped road projects

Natural disasters and legal expenses related to an overturned state law aren’t the only reasons the N.C. Department of Transportation is short on funds, according to a review from an outside consultant hired by the agency. An eight-page report from the firm McKinsey titled “Shaping the NCDOT of the future” was posted on NCDOT’s website in the last month. The funding shortfall has prompted DOT leaders to consider hundreds of layoffs of temporary employees and suspend work on numerous road projects.

REFLECTOR: Commissioners to vote on road improvements, body cameras

The Pitt County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to vote on road improvements and body cameras for law enforcement officers, among other items at tonight's 6 p.m. meeting. The North Carolina Department of Transportation staff will present proposed plans for improvements to N.C. 43 South, from just south of Fire Tower Road to just south of Worthington Road/Mills Road according to agenda materials for the meeting.