North Carolina News – January 20

North Carolina News – January 20


North Carolina cities OK ban on hairstyle discrimination

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Two city councils in North Carolina have unanimously passed ordinances protecting against discrimination for wearing hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks or afros. News outlets report the Durham City Council and The Greensboro City Council on Tuesday voted to ban employers from discriminating based on hairstyles. It’s an issue that Black people, especially women, say they’ve faced in their careers. The ordinances also protects residents from discrimination based on gender identity, sexuality and military status. Orange County, just northwest of Durham, also passed an anti-discrimination measure, but its ordinance did not address hairstyles.


NC, local gov’t offices in Raleigh closed on US inauguration

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Government offices are being shuttered in North Carolina’s capital as precautions against potential mayhem as Joe Biden takes his presidential oath in Washington. Municipal offices in downtown Raleigh will be closed to the public on Wednesday. Some state government and Wake County offices downtown were already closed Tuesday and will remain so Wednesday. An increased police presence is also likely around high-profile state buildings Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper last week mobilized hundreds of National Guard members for duty in North Carolina and Washington to address security concerns following the Jan. 6 mob attack at the U.S. Capitol.


North Carolina man arrested, charged in U.S. Capitol siege

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The FBI says it has arrested a North Carolina man for storming the U.S. Capitol during a siege by supporters of President Donald Trump. Authorities say 40-year-old Christopher Raphael Spencer of Pilot Mountain was taken into custody in Kernersville without incident. The FBI says Spencer made his initial court appearance on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Greensboro. According to investigators, an informant told authorities that Spencer had livestreamed videos to Facebook from inside the U.S. Capitol. The FBI’s statement did not say if he had an attorney who could comment.


2 NC lawmakers who contract COVID were on same hunting trip

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two North Carolina state lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19. Senate Rules Committee Chairman Bill Rabon of Brunswick County announced Tuesday the results of a coronavirus test he took on Monday after experiencing mild cold-like symptoms. State Rep. Brian Turner of Buncombe County announced Monday he had tested positive. They participated in the same duck hunting trip last Friday attended by other elected officials. It’s unclear whether the virus was contracted on the trip. Rabon attended last week’s opening day of the General Assembly session, but Turner didn’t attend. The legislature resumes its two-year session Jan. 27.


County website for coronavirus vaccine waitlist has crashed

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A website that allows seniors to join a waitlist for getting the coronavirus vaccine has crashed in North Carolina’s Wake County. Wake County spokeswoman Stacy Beard told WRAL on Tuesday that hundreds of thousands of people visited the website within seconds of each other. She said the sheer volume is immense. County officials had created the waitlist system so people wouldn’t have to wait in lines to get a vaccine. The website is designed to allow Wake County residents who are 65 years old and older to join a waitlist. After signing up online or by phone, they will get a call when a vaccine appointment is available.


Justice Dept. won’t charge Sen. Burr over stock sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Richard Burr says the Justice Department has told him it will not prosecute him over stock sales made during the coronavirus pandemic, ending an insider trading investigation that led him to at least temporarily step aside from a powerful committee chairmanship last year. Prosecutors had investigated for months whether the North Carolina Republican and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee had exploited advance information when he unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus caused markets to plummet. Burr says “The case is now closed.” A Justice Department spokesman confirmed it would not bring charges but declined further comment.


Overdose deaths prompt warning from North Carolina police

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in a North Carolina city have issued a warning for a dangerous batch of what’s believed to be fentanyl after five suspected overdose deaths in a 48-hour period. A statement from the Asheville Police Department says it’s seeking information from the public in connection with the five people who died between Jan. 14 and Jan. 16. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever, approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the CDC.


Lawsuit says North Carolina teenager beaten at hospital

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman has filed a lawsuit alleging her 16-year-old son was hit with a stun gun, beaten and body slammed by hospital staff and sheriff’s deputies. Citing the lawsuit, The Charlotte Observer reports Jessica Long took her son to a hospital in Lincolnton in December 2019 and asked security officers to help get him inside. The lawsuit names Atrium Health, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, two Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies and Sheriff Bill Beam. In comments to the newspaper last year, Beam and the health system defended their actions, saying their actions were appropriate given the teenager’s behavior.

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