Johnston County Hams, a Smithfield, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The ready-to-eat deli-loaf ham items were produced from April 3, 2017 to Oct. 2, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: • Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “JOHNSTON COUNTY HAMS, INC. COUNTRY STYLE FULLY COOKED BONELESS DELI HAM.” • Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 toRead More →

The Center for Environmental Health, The NC Conservation Network, Cape Fear River Watch, Working Films, and a coalition of environmental groups throughout North Carolina are holding  a statewide screening tour  of The DevilWe Know . A screening in New Bern is at 6:30 p.m. today. In this new documentary film by Stephanie Soechtig, citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical — now found in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans — into the local drinking water supply. New Bern screening is at 6:30 p.m. today (Wednesday) at The Harrison Center, 311 Middle St. It is hosted by The CarolinaRead More →

Due to the increased populations of mosquitoes caused by flooding from Hurricane Florence, Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday ordered $4 million to fund mosquito control efforts in counties currently under a major disaster declaration. Those counties include: Bladen, Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne, and Wilson. “To help local communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I’ve directed state funds for mosquito control efforts to protect people who live in hard-hit areas.” Gov. Cooper said. Funding will allow control efforts to begin as soon asRead More →

NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS | Farmer markets around the state will have another month in the busy summer growing season to figure out how to keep accepting food assistance benefits electronically at their stands. The National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Programs (NAFMNP) announced Thursday it will send a month’s worth of  operating funds to technology company Nova Dia Group to keep its MarketLink software running until the end of August, according to a news release sent out Thursday. The move came just two weeks before 1,700 farmers markets around the county, including 45 in North Carolina, would have to stop accepting the  Electronic Benefit Cards (EBT)Read More →

A bill seeks to address the problem of people languishing in hospital EDs, waiting for a psychiatric bed, but mental health advocates decried the process. North Carolina Health News In the waning days of this year’s legislative work session, lawmakers abruptly revived and passed a bill aimed at revising North Carolina’s laws to address the flood of people with mental health crises in hospital emergency departments. Officials from the state’s hospital association had convened administrators, advocacy organizations, academics, mental health professionals and others over several years to examine some legislative fixes. Those leading that effort say they’ve come up with a bill that will improveRead More →

NC Civitas | The state budget for FY 2018-19 contains nearly 170 line items totaling $30 million that are highly inappropriate or outright pork. Appropriations directing funding to local pet projects include items such as walking trails, playgrounds, county fairs and highway signs. Moreover, dozens of nonprofit organizations receive direct appropriations in the budget. Make no mistake, these nonprofits perform admirable work. However, it is highly inappropriate – and unfair favoritism – to single out nonprofits for specific appropriations of state tax dollars, instead of having them go through the appropriate grant process. There is little doubt that a large percentage, if not all, of theseRead More →

Republican’s school safety plan makes some temporary changes, while giving lawmakers time to assess what else might be needed. Education NC |  Republican lawmakers announced at a press conference last month $35 million in school safety grants that made their way into the revised 2018-19 budget. The one-time money is meant to temporarily address school safety needs while the state gathers more information on what districts and schools require to protect students. “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” said Rep. David Lewis (R-Dunn). “I think this is an ongoing process.” Image courtesy: NCGA Republicans The school safety plan stems fromRead More →

Longleaf Politics |  The latest major court ruling stemming from the General Assembly’s infamous 2016 “power grab”1came on Friday, as the N.C. Supreme Court settled a battle between the state Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education over direct control of the public school system. Both the state superintendent and the Board of Education declared victory after the decision. But the ruling is very clearly in favor of the General Assembly and the elected superintendent. As it turns out, sometimes even a power grab results in clearer public policy. What was the lawsuit about? Let’s start all the way at the beginning: the state constitution. It sets up twoRead More →

Longleaf Politics | A recent memo sent by the N.C. Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association to its members this week provides us a revealing glimpse of how politics works in real life. The new deal with state lawmakers that the memo discloses is a little in the weeds. The bill in question is House Bill 500, currently under consideration. It’s an omnibus ABC bill, meaning that it makes a lot of little adjustments to the state’s alcohol laws. It passed the House last April and is now in Senate committees. The bill got a few new amendments in a Senate committee. One enables wholesale business owners to transferRead More →

Longleaf Politics | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on October 9, 2016. A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June. Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild. The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters. Why is recovery taking so long? It mostly has to do with the processes setRead More →