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Caterpillar to expand Sanford operations, add 40 jobs

Construction-machinery manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. will expand its Sanford operations, adding 40 jobs over two years and investing $15 million. The company will receive $500,000 from the city to renovate an existing building on Boone Trail Road. The grant is contingent on the company adding the jobs with an average annual wage of at least $39,092, which is the county’s average.

Red Hat stock drops 7% after missing revenue expectations

Shares of Raleigh-based software company Red Hat Inc. fell nearly 7% Thursday after the company reported second-quarter revenue that was lower than Wall Street expectations. Red Hat reported quarterly revenue of $823 million, lower than analysts’ projections of $828 million. CFO Eric Shander says software subscription renewals dropped, competition from other companies revved up and the company recently lost business with the U.S. Army.

Court temporarily blocks anti-union law in N.C.

A federal judge temporarily blocked a law Thursday that made it illegal for farms and unions to negotiate settlements involving union contracts and for farm workers to directly transfer part of their paychecks for union dues. The N.C. Farm Bureau was a major supporter of the law. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee, North Carolina’s only union for farm workers, says more than 90% of N.C. farm workers are Hispanic and need a union to fight for better treatment.

300,000 gallons of raw sewage spills in Johnston County

Benson officials say their town’s water treatment system discharged an estimated 300,000 gallons of sewage into Driving Branch in the Neuse River Basin after overflowing with rain from Hurricane Florence. The spill took place from Sept. 13 to Sept. 18. The Benson Wastewater Treatment Plant was overwhelmed with 4 million gallons of water that entered the system during peak rainfall, more than twice the amount it is permitted to handle.

Judge halts construction on 214-unit Asheville apartment project

Superior Court Judge Marvin Pope upheld a Buncombe County board decision to prohibit developers Michael Posey and RAB Builders from starting construction on a proposed 214-unit Asheville apartment complex project. Several board members said the project didn’t meet county standards for issuing a conditional use permit and failed to prove the project wouldn’t be harmful to the neighborhood.

Boston agtech company raises $250M, expands RTP presence

Indigo Agriculture, a Boston agricultural technology company with an expanding Durham facility, raised $250 million to support a new online grain sales platform called MarketPlace. The company’s total financing now exceeds $650 million. About 15 of Indigo’s 350 employees work in Research Triangle Park space, where it is adding 24,000 square feet of greenhouses, labs and offices. Work is to be completed by November..

BioCryst lands $3.5 million in federal funds for yellow fever treatment

Durham-based BioCryst Pharmaceuticals was awarded $3.5 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases to support clinical trials for a drug to treat yellow fever. The new funding brings development contract funding to a total of $43 million. Galidesivir, the drug being tested, showed benefits against viruses such as Ebola, yellow fever and Zika during animal trials.

Number of hogs, poultry killed in Florence flooding double amount from Hurricane Matthew

Flooding from Hurricane Florence has killed 5,500 pigs and 3.4 million chickens and turkey, with the numbers still rising, according to the N.C. Department Agriculture and Consumer Services. About 1.8 million birds and 2,800 hogs died during Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. North Carolina is one of the nation’s biggest livestock producers, with 819 million birds and 9.3 million hogs.

Alamance County approves additional incentives for Belgian baker

Alamance County commissioners have approved another $262,000 in incentives for Belgium-based baker Lotus Bakeries if the company decides to expand its Mebane facility. Lotus, known for its Biscoff cookies served by airlines, expects to open a plant in Mebane in mid-2019. Original plans called for a $55 million investment and the creation of 60 jobs; the company is considering increasing its investment to $72.7 million. The county previously approved $2.9 million in incentives for the company.

Flooding from Florence causes hog lagoon to breach

The N.C. Pork Council said one small hog lagoon breached and four others flooded due to heavy rainfall this last week. Seven other lagoons are at capacity. Overall, the pork industry trade association does not believe the storm has caused significant damage at the state’s 3,000 lagoons. North Carolina is the second-largest pork producing state, mostly concentrated in the storm-plagued southeast section.

Feds says construction can resume on Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said construction can start again on the $6.5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The federal agency had issued an order to suspend the project Aug. 10 after an appeal court voided permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. Once completed, the pipeline will pump natural gas from West Virginia through Virginia and North Carolina.

BCBSNC, UNC Health Care offer free services, delayed bills to those impacted by Hurricane Florence

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and UNC Health Care, among other health care providers, are offering  free services to members impacted by Tropical Storm Florence. Blue Cross is allowing members to delay paying premiums for 30 days through Oct. 13. UNC Health Care waived fees for virtual care services through Sunday night.

Rainfall washes coal ash from Duke Energy’s Sutton plant landfill

An undetermined amount of coal ash from the landfill at Duke Energy’s Sutton Power Plant was released into Sutton Lake due to rains from Tropical Storm Florence. Officials at Duke Energy believe only a small amount of coal ash leaked, and none of the ash escaped from any of Duke’s inactive coal-ash points at the site. The plant is five miles north of downtown Wilmington.

 

Hickory’s Brock Long, head of FEMA, investigated for misusing resources

The Department of Homeland Security is investigating whether Brock Long, administrator of FEMA, misused government resources and personnel by driving back and forth from Washington, D.C. to his Hickory home, two officials told Politico. Long’s routine absences because of frequent six-hour drives between North Carolina and Washington prompted conflict with his boss, Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security.

 

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