Week in review: Sessions, Cooper, nursing shortage, and water contaminant

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Here are some of the top stories from the past week.

It was another difficult week for President Donald Trump in office. After addressing Congress Tuesday, Trump had to deal with controversy over his Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

After initially saying he hadn’t met with Russian officials, Sessions admitted he had, and recused himself from the election investigation into whether Russia played a part in Trump being elected.

“Those recommendations are right and just,” Sessions said.

However, Democrats have continued to call for his resignation.

Across the country, nursing shortages are impacting a lot of hospitals. At Vidant Medical Center, they’re around 200 nurses short, forcing them to turn away 730 patients in 2016.

Despite ECU pumping out more nursing students than any other school in the state, officials say they can’t increase enrollment to battle the problem.

“They’re really reaching their capacity with the number of students they can take,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, Dean of ECU’s College of Nursing.

Governor Roy Cooper revealed his early budget proposal, which in part called on increasing early education enrollment from 22 percent to 55 percent, and raising teacher pay by 10 percent over the next two years.

“We’re at a critical junction in North Carolina,” Cooper said. “We can invest now, or we can continue with the corporate tax cuts and giveaways for the wealthiest.”

An ECU researcher was one of four scientists in the world to weigh in on a possible water contaminant that is very present in North Carolina waters.

North Carolina ranks 3rd in the country for levels of highly fluorinated chemicals, which have been linked to cancer. Industrial work and military operations are two explanations why the chemical is so widespread in the East.

Those worried about water quality say this chemical is particularly troublesome because of how strong its bond is.

“Once they’re in the water, in the environment, they’re in there for thousands of years,” said Waterkeeper Heather Deck.

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