Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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Minority-owned Southern businesses get back on their feet post-pandemic with a fund's help; President Biden says don't panic over the new COVID variant; and eye doctors gauge the risk of dying from COVID.

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U.S. Senate is back in session with a long holiday to-do list that includes avoiding a government shutdown; negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal resume; and Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter.

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South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Scratch That Itch: How Climate Change is Bugging NC

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014   

RALEIGH, N.C. - This time of year, it's hard to step out into the yard without getting a bite from a mosquito, fire ant or tick. If you think these pests are becoming more common, it may not be your imagination, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.

In North Carolina, warmer temperatures, reduced rainfall and the introduction of non-native species such as fire ants all are affecting whether people can enjoy the outdoors, said report author Dr. Doug Inkley, a senior scientist for the federation.

"It's not our imagination," he said. "This is already happening. We must take action now, for our children's future, for our outdoor experience future. These things are happening now."

Inkley said deer ticks are another growing problem in North Carolina, and that warmer winters are allowing the population - known to carry Lyme disease - to spread quickly. The report recommends supporting limits on carbon pollution and alternative-energy sources to curtail climate change and thereby decrease the spread of problem pests.

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of establishing carbon pollution limits for existing power plants and is accepting public comment.

Morganton resident Richard Mode, an affiliate representative with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said increased outdoor pests and extreme weather are reminders of how the Tar Heel State is affected daily.

"These are things that impact people," he said. "It's not political. It's a real issue that impacts humans, wildlife, wildlife habitats, our outdoor experience and things that we love about living in North Carolina."

In addition to creating problems for humans, pests such as fire ants also are impacting the agricultural industry. Inkley said they damage at least 57 species of crops and other plants.

"Fire ants do eat, and are pests in, various agricultural crops," he said. "They're also a problem for our wildlife, because you know fire ants. You don't want to ever get messed up with fire ants."

Fire ants are believed to have been transported to the country by ship from South America in the 1930s and '40s. They bite with a venom that can cause burning and blistering, and can even be deadly to humans and animals.

The report, "Ticked Off: America's Outdoor Experience and Climate Change," is online at nwf.org.


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