Obama sets rule change to expand overtime nationwide

(The State Newspaper) President Barack Obama announced Monday night a rule change that would make millions more Americans eligible for overtime pay. The rule would raise the salary threshold below which hourly workers automatically qualify for time-and-a-half overtime wages to $50,440 a year from $23,660, according to an op-ed by the president in The Huffington Post. “Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve,” the president wrote. The administration has the power to issue the regulation, which would restore the overtime salary threshold to roughly where it stood in 1975 in terms of purchasing power, without congressional approval.

Advocates for the change immediately hailed the decision. “The president said he wanted to go big here and he did,” said Jared Bernstein, a former White House economist who co-wrote an influential report on the benefits of expanding overtime pay after leaving the administration in 2011. “I can’t think of any other rule change or executive order that would lift more middle-class workers.”

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NC shark attacks: Why so many this Summer?

Photo courtesy of WKRG.

(Hickory Record) Shark experts have a not-so-reassuring explanation for a recent spate of attacks along on the coast of the Carolinas: It’s mainly because so many people are getting in the water. Six shark attacks were recorded in June in North Carolina waters, and the two most recent victims had to be flown to a hospital in Virginia for treatment. That’s more than North Carolina has recorded in any single year dating to 2000. But it’s all a matter of perspective, said George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research. “We’re basically flooding them out of their own home. It’s a function of how many people we’ve got,” Burgess said. “You get this unholy mix of bait fish, sharks and humans together. When you have that, you’re going to have some bites.”

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Park service removes Confederate flags from Fort Sumter

(WCSC News 5) The Confederate flag is no longer flying over Fort Sumter. The National Park Service said the flag, along with other historic replicas, was taken down last week in the wake of the Charleston church shooting when Gov. Nikki Haley ordered the American flag lowered to half-staff. Officials with Fort Sumter say the flag will not be going back up. They also say they have decided to remove Confederate flag items from the fort’s gift shop.

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Clemson’s Clements wants Confederate flag to come down

(Greenville News) Jim Clements has joined the call to removed the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse grounds. Just after Gov. Nikki Haley held a press conference to call for the flag’s removal, Clements sent a tweet that read “I join Gov. Haley and other South Carolina leaders in calling for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds.” He joined University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, who earlier Monday called for the flag to be taken down.

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Schools, Buncombe County work on housing for teachers

(Asheville Citizen-Times) Buncombe County is working with city and county schools on a project to provide affordable housing for teachers. “As we all know, Asheville is a very expensive place to live especially for beginning teachers,” said Asheville City Schools Superintendent Pamela Baldwin. Baldwin said one of things school officials hear most often from new teachers is “We aren’t able to find housing we can afford.” This project involves apartments to be built on county-owned land in the Erwin community near West Buncombe Elementary School, according to Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene. The county and the two school systems plan to partner with Eblen Charities.

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