Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First Drip (12/31/14): Clodfelter signals run, Raleigh taxis to strike on NYE, more minimum wage (but not for N.C.)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Saying “one more term might be about right,” Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter on Tuesday formally signaled his plans to run for election next year. Clodfelter filed a preliminary document with the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections. Though filing for office doesn’t start until July, Tuesday’s document lays the legal groundwork for a campaign committee.

Hundreds of Raleigh taxi drivers are threatening to strike on New Year's Eve to protest what they see as unfair competition from ride-sharing services. Iyman Massoud, who says he represents about 650 taxi drivers for Raleigh's 1,200 or so licensed cabs, said Monday that he and his fellow drivers are tired of competing against services such as Uber and Lyft, which he said can charge lower rates because they don't have to meet the same licensing, registration and insurance requirements.

Speaker John Boehner’s decision to push out a congressman guilty of tax fraud but back Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who admits having spoken at a white supremacist group's rally, garners mixed reactions from his party.

As of Thursday, Jan. 1, 21 states and Washington, D.C. will raise their minimum wages above the federally mandated $7.25 an hour. Southern states participating in the hike include Maryland, Arkansas, Florida and West Virginia, but neither of the Carolinas will be following suit. The highest rate will be in Washington State, where the minimum wage will hit $9.47.

The United States has officially surpassed the "epidemic" threshold with this season's flu virus, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that nearly 7% of all deaths nationwide were due to pneumonia and influenza during the week ending December 20 -- the last week for which the agency has compiled figures on the outbreak. Influenza is now "widespread" in 36 states, the agency said Tuesday, and nationwide, 15 children have died so far this flu season. This year's flu strain has mutated in ways that make the vaccine less effective than experts initially hoped.

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