North Carolina News – February 25

North Carolina News – February 25


Police: Man faces charges from 1990 Fayetteville rape case

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, say a prison inmate has been charged in a cold case rape from more than three decades ago. The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday that Timothy Kurt Ragler faces charges including first-degree rape and and kidnapping.  Authorities say the assault occurred in 1990. Police said the victim was walking to her vehicle after leaving work when Ragler attacked. The initial investigation was stymied because of the limitations at the time in DNA technology. Police said that recently tested DNA identified him as the assailant. Court records show that he is already serving life imprisonment for unrelated sexual assault crimes in Cumberland County. It’s unclear if he has hired an attorney.


Release: Man shot after forcibly entering deputy’s home

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina man chasing a family member, forcibly entered the home of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, who shot and wounded the man. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation says the incident happened Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington. A news release says 40-year-old Bart Anthony Coniglio initially forced his way into a family member’s home. The release says the relative and a friend left the home and ran to the nearby house of a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The release says Coniglio chased the pair into the deputy’s home and was subsequently shot. Coniglio was hospitalized. It’s unclear whether any charges will be filed.


Cooper lifts curfew, eases gathering and occupancy limits

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced bars can reopen with indoor service for the first time since in nearly a year. He also eased gathering indoor gathering limits and occupancy limits for many businesses starting Friday. His new executive order paves the way for large sports and entertainment venue to allow fans back. If health guidelines are followed, facilities with over 5,000 seats can operate at 15% capacity. Smaller sports facilities, bars and movie theaters can operate at 30% capacity up to 250 people. Restaurants, retailers and many other businesses can admit customers up to 50% of capacity. Cooper also lifted the state’s 10 p.m. curfew.


Summer school to counter COVID online learning OK’d by House

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina legislative chamber has approved legislation requiring school districts to offer in-person summer school that targets children at risk of academic failure due to poor virtual learning during the pandemic. The bipartisan measure envisions roughly six weeks of instructional time. Children wouldn’t be required to attend, but program supporters say it could help them them get promoted to the next grade. House Speaker Tim Moore is a primary sponsor of the measure that now heads to the Senate. He says some students have received only virtual learning for close to a year while school buildings have been closed or restricted.


States pass their own virus aid, not waiting on Washington

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — States are not willing to wait for more federal help and have been moving ahead with their own coronavirus relief packages. Maryland and California recently approved help for small businesses, the poor, the jobless and those needing child care. New Mexico and Pennsylvania are funneling grants directly to cash-starved businesses. The spending shows that many states have proved unexpectedly resilient during the pandemic. And it has provided fuel for critics who say they don’t need another massive infusion of cash from Congress. The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion relief plan would send hundreds of billions of dollars to state and local governments.


Release: NC woman went shopping with $150K virus relief loan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina woman lied to get nearly $150,000 in coronavirus relief that she later spent on shopping sprees. A U.S. Attorney’s Office press release says 24-year-old Jasmine Johnnae Clifton appeared in court Monday after being indicted last week on two fraud charges relating to disaster benefits. The release says Clifton applied for a relief loan meant to help existing small businesses harmed by pandemic shutdowns. It says she falsified documents for an online clothing business that had been defunct since 2019. The release says she spent the money at diamond stores and luxury clothing retailers. Her defender declined to comment.


Judge approves Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan for Belk chain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A judge has approved Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans for North Carolina-based department store chain Belk, creating a new infusion of capital and cutting its debt load. The Charlotte Observer reports the judge approved the plan Wednesday. The move provides the ailing department store chain financial breathing room as it grapples with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Financial Officer William Langley said in a filing accompanying the bankruptcy that the pandemic directly resulted in drastic declines in sales, revenue and liquidity. Belk furloughed workers in March as the pandemic hit and cut senior staff pay up to 50% as stores temporarily closed.


Felony charge dropped in indecent liberties case

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Felony charges have been dropped against a North Carolina man who was beaten and threatened at gunpoint after a younger man found him in a bedroom with the younger man’s two small children. The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg reports 61-year-old Mark Anthony Stanley pleaded guilty in Spotsylvania Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Oct. 28 of two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and received a suspended sentence. He had been charged with two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and assault. Stanley said he took the deal because he wanted to put the case behind him.

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