VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina prisons get first wave of COVID vaccine doses
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety has received about 1,000 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for inmates and prison staff. An additional 300 doses allocated for the prison system are expected to arrive this week. The limited supply will go to prison healthcare staff administering the vaccine, staff working with infected inmates or in housing units where offenders have tested positive for the virus and inmates 75 years or older. Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee worries about vaccine hesitancy among some staff members and inmates. Vaccination is currently voluntary for the roughly 14,000 workers and 29,000 inmates in the state’s prison system.
HAIR DISCRIMINATION BAN
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 Rev. Barber holds major role at inauguration service
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina minister and civil rights leader holds a major role in the traditional prayer service held in conjunction with the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro will deliver the homily at Thursday’s interfaith Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service. The event is hosted by Washington National Cathedral, but it will be largely virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Barber is a minister at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign and president of the Repairers of the Breach. He was once president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Ex-Rep. Hayes pardoned by Trump for role in bribery scandal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina congressman and state Republican Party leader who lied to FBI agents about a bribery scandal received a pardon from outgoing President Donald Trump. Federal authorities said ex-Rep. Robin Hayes participated in a scheme while GOP state chairman in which a wealthy insurance company magnate attempted to bribe the state insurance commissioner with campaign funds. Hayes accepted a plea agreement in 2019 while three others indicted went to trial. Hayes got one year of probation. Hayes was among over 140 people receiving clemency from Trump during his final hours in office.
AP-NC-FURNITURE STORE SHOOTING
Marshals offer $5K reward for arrests in fatal shooting
HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of two suspects accused of fatally shooting a North Carolina woman last week. Marshals and the Hickory Police Department are searching for 49-year-old Tangela Parker and 61-year-old Eric Parker, who are both wanted in the death of 51-year-old Phelifia Michele Marlow. Police say Marlow was fatally shot in the head on Jan. 13 inside a furniture store. Additional details on the shooting weren’t immediately released. Police say Tangela Parker is wanted for first-degree murder and Eric Parker is wanted for accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Police consider the pair armed and dangerous.
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 utility drops late fees due to delayed bills
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina utility has temporarily canceled late fees after finding that its customers were experiencing delays in getting their bills in the mail. The Daily Reflector of Greenville reports Greenville Utilities says it’s received reports of customers getting their bills several days after they were due. Interim director of customer relations Scott Mullis says a check confirmed that some batches of bills have been delayed in the mail. The utility says it is adjusting its billing software so customers who are about to be charged late fees in the next few weeks will not be charged those fees.
AP-NC-CAPITOL BREACH-ARRESTS-NORTH CAROLINA
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.
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