Tony Rice, master bluegrass guitarist, dies at 69
Master bluegrass picker Tony Rice has died at age 69 after a career in which he drew fans worldwide for his quick, fluid playing. A spokesperson for the International Bluegrass Music Association says Rice died Friday at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina. He performed or recorded with musicians including Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton and Jerry Garcia. Skaggs calls Rice “the single most influential acoustic guitar player in the last 50 years.” A muscle disorder and tennis elbow limited Rice’s abilities. His last live guitar performance was in 2013. That’s when he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
AP-NC-CIRCUS TRAIN CARS-AUCTION
North Carolina puts Ringling Bros. train cars up for auction
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The state of North Carolina is selling nine railroad cars that once belonged to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus which they bought in hopes of refurbishing them for passenger service. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the N.C. Department of Transportation is also selling seven other old rail cars it says it no longer needs. The department paid $383,000 for the circus cars shortly after Ringling Bros. held its last performance in 2017. Since buying those cars, the state has received two federal grants which will allow the department to buy six new locomotives and 26 new passenger cars, meaning they won’t need the circus cars.
CAESARS CASINO-CHEROKEE SALE
Caesars to sell southern Indiana casino to Cherokee tribe
ELIZABETH, Ind. (AP) — Caesars Entertainment officials say the company has reached an agreement to sell a southern Indiana casino to the North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for $250 million. The News and Tribune reports that Caesars Entertainment officials announced the sale agreement for Caesars Southern Indiana on Thursday ahead of the company’s Dec. 31 deadline to divest from the casino operation. The casino is located in the Harrison County town of Elizabeth, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. The 20-year-old casino retired its three-floor riverboat in late 2019 and moved into a new, $85 million land-based building.
AMERICA DISRUPTED-NO WINNERS
A divided nation asks: What’s holding our country together?
After a highly contentious, seemingly never-ending election season in 2020, many feel a sense of loss. For some folks, it’s that their candidate didn’t prevail. For others, the losses are more intangible, and heartbreakingly profound: A sense of dignity and respect for each other has waned over the past four years. And for still others, it’s the visceral realization that the very foundations of America have been shaken — not only by Washington-led rancor and partisanship, but by the deadly coronavirus pandemic, as well. If elections are meant to be a way to solve disputes and conflict, November hasn’t deliver on that promise.
PIZZA DELIVERY ROBBERY
N Carolina man sentenced for robbing pizza delivery driver
ROCKY MONT, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in North Carolina say a man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for robbing a pizza delivery driver at gunpoint. Emmanuel Marquise Morris ordered the pizza from Domino’s in Rocky Mount in January of 2019, according to court documents. The news release said that when the driver arrived, Morris displayed a handgun and stole his cash, wallet and car. Authorities say that Morris was arrested three days later in Greensboro. He pleaded guilty to state and federal charges, according to the news release. A defense attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email Wednesday seeking.
GREAT DISMAL SWAMP
Bill seeks a new special designation for Great Dismal Swamp
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Virginia congressman has introduced a bill that would designate the Great Dismal Swamp a National Heritage Area, which could bring federal funding for historic preservation. The Virginian-Pilot reports U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin has filed the measure, which is backed by a collaborative that includes local Native American tribes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association for the Study of African American Life & History. The swamp in Virginia and North Carolina is already recognized as a National Wildlife Refuge. It served for centuries as a safe-haven for thousands of Native Americans and Black people escaping slavery.
2 prison inmates in North Carolina die on Christmas
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials in North Carolina say two prison inmates died on Christmas. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said inmate Corey Hudson, 25, died of an apparent suicide at the Marion Correctional Institution. Hudson was serving a four-year sentence after being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, officials said. An unnamed inmate at the Nash Correctional Institution died after testing positive for the coronavirus. Officials said the inmate, 81, had “extensive underlying medical issues” and tested positive for the virus earlier this month.
N. Carolina CEO sues over windows, doors in his $16M home
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The CEO of a marketing and technology company has gone to court over what he says are faulty custom-made steel-and-glass windows and doors in his $16 million Charlotte home. Elias, CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures, and his wife, Brenda, are suing the 24,500-square-foot house’s Charlotte architect and builder, along with the California-based manufacturer of the doors and windows. The Charlotte Observer reports they are seeking to cover the replacement cost. The doors and windows alone added $1.2 million to the construction price tag, according to the Eliases’ lawsuit, more than four times the cost of an average home in Charlotte.