North Carolina News – February 15

North Carolina News – February 15


Missing Virginia girl found, Texas man in custody

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Authorities say a  Texas man has been taken into custody after the reported abduction of a 12-year-old Virginia girl. Authorities say 21-year-old Kaleb Christopher Merritt was captured in Henderson, North Carolina, on Saturday. The girl was reported missing from her home in Bassett, Virginia on Friday afternoon. Police say she and Merritt connected in December on Instagram and communicated through social media until Merritt traveled to Virginia this month to meet her. Investigators say Merritt set up a camp in a wooded area behind the girl’s home and met with her several times before convincing her to leave with him.


‘I put my life on hold:’ Disability groups plead for vaccine

Though many people with disabilities are more vulnerable to COVID-19, in some U.S. states they’re being left behind in a massive effort to get limited vaccines into the arms of those who need them most. People with disabilities have been pushed down the priority list in places like North Carolina and California, where the state reversed course after days of public pressure. In Minnesota, parents are begging unsuccessfully to give their vaccination spots to their children whose Down syndrome makes them up to 10 times more likely to die if they catch the virus. A trade group for disability service providers found 20 states haven’t explicitly placed people with disabilities on their priority lists.


NC GOP to vote on censuring Burr after impeachment vote

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Republican Party is expected to vote Monday on whether to censure Sen. Richard Burr over his vote to convict former President Donald Trump during Trump’s second impeachment trial. Party spokesman Tim Wigginton told multiple news outlets Sunday that the group’s central committee would meet for the vote Monday night. Burr is one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump of “incitement of insurrection” on Saturday. Trump was acquitted because the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for conviction. Burr said in a statement after the trial that Trump “bears responsibility” for the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.


7 Republicans vote to convict Trump in impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven Republicans have voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his Senate trial. That is easily the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. The Senate voted 57-43 to find Trump guilty, meaning the evenly divided Senate fell well short of the two-thirds majority required to convict an impeached president. But by joining all 50 Democrats who voted against Trump, the seven GOP senators created a clear majority against him and provided a bipartisan chorus of condemnation of the former president.


Ice storm leaves thousands without power in mid-Atlantic

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A winter storm moving through the mid-Atlantic region brought down ice-coated trees and power lines and left hundreds of thousands of people without power Saturday. Dominion Energy reported some 130,000 customer outages in Virginia. The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative reported more than 8,200 customer outages. North Carolina authorities reported more than 176,000 utility customers without power, mostly in the central part of the state. The National Weather Service said an ice storm warning for much of Maryland and Virginia would remain in effect until 7 a.m. Sunday.


Police say home intruder fatally shot by 12-year-old

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina authorities say a man who forced his way into an apartment was fatally shot by a 12-year-old inside the home. Goldsboro police say the incident happened about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when two masked people forced their way into the residence. They demanded money and shot a 73-year-old woman. Investigators say a 12-year-old who was inside the residence shot at the intruders, causing them to flee.  Police found 19-year-old Khalil Herring of Goldsboro at a nearby intersection suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital. No charges are expected against the 12-year-old.


Union says meatpacking workers should be vaccinated sooner

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Hundreds of meatpacking workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus but the union that represents many of them says several hundred thousand more have not, despite the risks they continue to face. The United Food and Commercial Workers International union is lobbying for workers to be moved up vaccination priority lists, and major meat companies have launched campaigns to educate employees and dispel rumors about the vaccines. But in most states, meatpacking workers are still waiting for their turn to be vaccinated and are ranked behind health care workers, residents of long-term care centers and people aged 65 and older.


North Carolina in better financial shape than anticipated

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is in a stronger financial position than budget analysts anticipated last year at the start of the pandemic. A group of economists at the Office of State Budget and Management and the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division now project the state to have $4.1 billion more in revenue this fiscal year than expected. The report notes that a small share of the population will remain unemployed or underemployed as long as the coronavirus is prevalent. The extra revenue primarily came from higher income and sales tax collections and strong business tax collections. The projections assume COVID-19 cases will decrease as more people get vaccinated and that Congress will pass another stimulus bill.

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