Morning Headlines: Friday, November 13, 2015

Morning Headlines: Friday, November 13, 2015

6:29am Nov 13, 2015

2 More Fired, 3 Cleared In UNC Review After Cheating Scandal

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is firing two employees and barring a former associate dean from leadership positions after an investigation described their roles in the school's academic fraud scandal.

The school said Thursday three other UNC employees were cleared.

The moves came after personnel reviews considering whether the employees helped allow fake courses, directed students to them, or were in a position to know about the wrongdoing and failed to stop it.

A report last year by a former U.S. Justice Department official found a pattern of fake classes that allowed 3,100 athletes and other students to earn artificially high grades from 1993 to 2011. The sham courses were solely in the African studies department, but people around campus knew of them and said nothing.

State Restores Unemployment Trust

The state unemployment reserve has been restored to more than $1 billion. The McCrory administration announced they’ve accomplished this by curtailing benefits for the jobless and imposing an employer surcharge in order to repay a federal debt incurred to fund the program.

The News and Observer reports businesses will no longer have to pay a 20 percent state unemployment tax surcharge that has been in effect for 10 years.

The reserve money will be used to cover payouts in future economic downturns. There are no current plans to restore unemployment benefits to previous levels.

While McCrory hailed this development at Thursday’s announcement,  critics say the administration is too focused on helping businesses rather than those who need unemployment benefits.

Forsyth County Sees Backlog In Restaurant Inspections

Public health officials in Forsyth County say there’s a backlog of overdue restaurant inspections. The county is working on several steps to meet state compliance requirements.

More than half of the restaurants in Forsyth County are overdue on their inspections and some local restaurants have not been inspected in a year and a half.

Marlon Hunter, director of the Forsyth County Health Department, says some restaurants are required to be inspected four times per year, depending on how big the menu is or the population it serves. 

Hunter says there’s also a new FDA Food Code that was implemented in 2012, which was a huge revision for the state, taking more training for inspectors and time. At the same time, there’s been a lot of staff turnover

“Manpower and need staff are issues.  I’m five positions down. That’s the biggest hurdle we have; getting enough people to do the work,” says Edwin Stott, who manages environmental health inspections for the county.

There are more restaurants in the county than in previous years. But Hunter says it’s safe to dine out.

Agreement Reached In Hospital Retirement Lawsuit

 A Winston-Salem based hospital system has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit about its retirement plan.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Novant Health Inc. has agreed to pay $32 million to settle the lawsuit.

The suit was filed last year in U.S. District Court in Greensboro by six current and former employees.

The preliminary settlement was reached Monday.

The lawsuit accused the health system of causing those in the plan to pay millions of dollars in fees for excessive record keeping and administrative services to third-party providers.

Attorneys for those suing say there are about 25,000 affected Novant employees who had been automatically enrolled in the retirement plan since 2009.

The agreement must be approved by U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr.

WFU Summit Focuses On Issues Facing Black Women

The White House is teaming up with Wake Forest University for a daylong summit called Advancing Equity For Women and Girls Of Color.

The summit will focus on a range of issues including economic development, healthcare, criminal justice, and images of women in media.

Participants will include U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch,  and Valerie Jarrett of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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