At session start, NC legislators pitch consensus with Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly session begins in earnest Wednesday with the same divided government in place as in the previous two years. Republican legislative leaders and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper are aiming to avoid the same result from 2019. That’s when they dug in their heels, leading to a budget stalemate that never got fully resolved. While Cooper blocked the GOP’s favored legislation on hot-button issues, much of his agenda got sidelined as well. Lawmakers and Cooper will get an early chance to find consensus through distributing more COVID-19 federal relief money. Passing a budget and redistricting are other top tasks this year.
TERROR PLOT ARRESTS-TEXAS
Texas man pleads guilty in plot to attack Trump Tower
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded guilty to a terror charge after authorities accused him of plotting attacks on the White House and Trump Tower in New York City. Twenty-two-year-old Jaylyn Christopher Molina, of Cost, also pleaded guilty Monday to one count of receiving child pornography after authorities found images on his cellphone while executing a search warrant. Molina was accused of conspiring with a South Carolina man in attacks inspired by the Islamic State. Their plotting allegedly began in May 2019, when President Donald Trump was in office. Molina faces up to 40 years in prison when he’s sentenced in April.
DUCK HUNTER SHOT
Investigation underway after duck hunter shot in Hyde County
ENGELHARD, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says that a man has been shot and killed while duck hunting in coastal Hyde County. The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that the commission say that Brandon Marshall was shot by a member of his hunting party. The incident remains under investigation. Officials said that a 911 call was made and first responders had attempted life-saving measures. Marshall was from the Englehard, a coastal community on the Pamlico Sound. He was known as an advocate for hunting and hunting safety. A group called North Carolina Ducks Unlimited said in a statement that Marshall was a strong conservationist, pillar in the community and an amazing husband and father.
UNC building defaced by anti-Semitic, racist vandalism
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — A building at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill was vandalized with anti-Semitic symbols after someone unlawfully entered and defaced several offices. The university said Monday a racial epithet also was written on a whiteboard during the weekend break-in at Campus Y. That’s the building that serves as the school’s hub for social justice and innovation. Campus Y says other hateful messages were directed at women and people of color. Campus police have issued two warrants for a suspect’s arrest. They haven’t released the person’s identity. University officials say the vandalism was particularly egregious since it happened to a building that promotes equality.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Transition to mass vaccination sites irks NC health systems
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is giving more of its weekly allocation of the coronavirus vaccine to large vaccination sites such as such as the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is creating supply shortages in other areas of the state that has forced some health systems to cancel appointments or offer fewer than they’d expected. Officials in the state are working to improve their rocky rollout to administering the vaccines. North Carolina has been among the slower states in the nation to get vaccines into peoples’ arms. A COVID-19 variant linked to Britain was recently found in North Carolina, boosting the importance of getting vaccines administered faster.
DUKE ENERGY-COAL ASH
Duke Energy, NC officials announce coal ash expense deal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke Energy, North Carolina officials and a conservation group have reached an agreement on how the utility pays to get rid of coal ash stored in the state. The proposed settlement announced Monday would shift $1.1 billion in expenses away from customers over the next decade to the nation’s largest electric utility and its shareholders. The agreement came a month after the state Supreme Court ruled regulators should revisit an order that would have placed nearly all of the expense upon Duke’s electric customers in the state. Duke Energy is closing all of its coal ash pits or ponds in the state.
Sheriff: 2 NC children abandoned in Mississippi; 1 dies
FOREST, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi sheriff says a 2-year-old North Carolina girl has been found dead after she and her 7-year-old brother were abandoned in a pickup truck. Authorities were searching for her father, and have charged the mother with neglect. The boy is in protective custody. Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee tells WAPT-TV that James Harrison Jr. and Amy Harrison of Salisbury, North Carolina, were traveling through Mississippi with the children on Thursday when the couple argued near the town of Lake. Lee says the mother got out of their vehicle. The truck and the children were found later in a wooded area.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FIELD HOSPITAL
North Carolina field hospital helps fight coronavirus surge
LENOIR, N.C. (AP) — A temporary field hospital in North Carolina is easing the burden on medical facilities overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. The tents were erected earlier this month in the parking lot of Caldwell Memorial Hospital in the city of Lenoir. The 30-bed field hospital comprises four medical wards and a pharmacy for patients who have been discharged from the hospital’s intensive care unit and do not need ventilators. Four other hospitals besides Caldwell are sending patients here so they can use their regular beds for more serious cases. The tents and medical care givers have been provided by the international Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse, which is based in North Carolina.
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