North Carolina News – January 4

North Carolina News – January 4


Former state Supreme Court chief justice joins law firm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The first Black woman to serve as chief justice of North Carolina’s Supreme Court has become a partner in the law firm McGuireWoods. The firm said in a statement on Monday that Cheri Beasley will work in the firm’s Raleigh office in its litigation and appellate groups. Beasley recently stepped down from the court, which she joined in 2012 after serving on state trial and appellate benches. Last summer, she publicly called out racial disparities in the nation’s judicial system. McGuireWoods Managing Partner J. Tracy Walker IV said that Beasley “is a distinguished jurist who has dedicated her career to ensuring our justice system works for everyone.”


Off-duty firefighter dies following crash in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An off-duty firefighter has died due to injuries he sustained when his car overturned during a car crash in North Carolina. News outlets report multiple vehicles were involved in the traffic accident Sunday in Raleigh. Raleigh Fire Lt. Herman Gregory Ellis was the sole occupant in his car during the crash. He was taken to a hospital, where he died. The Raleigh Fire Fighters Professional Association said in a Facebook post that Ellis was a dedicated father and a friend to many. He had worked with the city’s fire department for more than a decade.


COVID-19 hospitalizations hit record high in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — COVID-19 hospitalizations and test positivity rates both are reaching record highs in North Carolina. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Sunday there were a record-high 3,576 people hospitalized with COVID-19. That’s according to data reported by 95% of the state’s hospitals. Two weeks ago, there were 2,783 people hospitalized with the virus. That’s a difference of 793 people. On Friday, the last day for which data is available, the state’s health department says 13.6% of COVID-19 tests came back positive. That brought the seven-day average of daily testing results to 14.2%, the highest rate since at least April.


North Carolina reports its highest daily cases of COVID-19

North Carolina has reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases so far during the pandemic. The state reported 9,527 confirmed cases New Year’s Day. That went over the state’s previous high by more than 1,000 cases. On Saturday, the state’s health department reported 9,356 cases. Cases for two days were released by the health department on Saturday. The last two days of reporting raised the number of cases in the state by a total of more than 18,800. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 558,437 cases during the pandemic.


Newby takes oath as 30th NC Supreme Court chief justice

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Paul Newby is now on the job as head of North Carolina’s judicial branch. Newby took the oath for chief justice of the state Supreme Court early Friday at a small ceremony at his home. Newby has been on the court since 2005 and most recently was senior associate justice. Newby was elevated to the top position after defeating Chief Justice Cheri Beasley by just 400 votes in the November election. Newby will participate in a public swearing-in ceremony next week. Two other new associate justices are joining the court following their election victories — Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr.


Humanitarian group to build field hospital in North Carolina

LENOIR, N.C. (AP) — A humanitarian group is building a 30-bed field hospital to help treat COVID-19 patients in western North Carolina. Samaritan’s Purse, which is led by the Rev. Franklin Graham, said construction on the field hospital will begin Friday in Lenoir. The Raleigh News & Observer reports that officials expect the hospital to take 48 hours to construct and will be ready to treat patients next week. The temporary facility will be used to treat patients from five health systems in the region, which has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.


Wilson picked as next NC natural, cultural resources chief

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The chief deputy at North Carolina’s department that operates parks, protects natural areas and preserves state history is being elevated to the agency’s top position. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that Reid Wilson will be secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources entering his second term. He’ll succed Susi Hamilton, who announced three weeks ago her departure. Wilson is subject to state Senate confirmation. He was executive director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina before taking the chief’s deputy post in 2017. Vacancies for at least four other Cabinet positions also must be filled by Cooper.


Court: NC domestic violence order rule harms LGBT people

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court says domestic violence protection orders issued by judges must be granted to someone trying to stay apart from a same-sex dating partner, just like in opposite-sex relationships. A divided Court of Appeals on Thursday declared as unconstitutional current law expressly limiting such restraining orders upon dating couples to those of the opposite sex. The ruling stemmed from a Wake County case in 2018 involving two women. A local judge said she couldn’t issue a domestic violence protection order, citing the law’s language. The ruling could be appealed. North Carolina appears to be the only state with such expressed limits.

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