High-angle rescue performed after hiker falls in state park
DANBURY, N.C. (AP) — Fire crews preformed a “high angle rescue” of a hiker who fell at North Carolina’s Hanging Rock State Park. The Charlotte Observer reports that the incident occurred Sunday. The Stokes County Fire & Rescue Association said the fall occurred at the park’s Lower Cascades. The park is north of Winston-Salem and near the Virginia state line. WNCT reported that the male fell up to 40 feet and then “slid” another 70 feet. The station reported that he was hospitalized in “serious condition.” The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation says that Hanging Rock State Park has “20 miles of hiking trails that climb onto spectacular views.” The Lower Cascades Trail is listed among its “moderate” trails.
WAKE FOREST-STUDENT GROUP SUSPENDED
Wake Forest student group suspended after floor collapse
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest University has suspended a student organization after the floor partially collapsed during an off-campus gathering at a private residence. A statement from the university says the group is under an interim suspension while the incident from Saturday is investigated. No serious injuries were reported. The school is also investigating violations of the university’s COVID-19 protocols. The group wasn’t named. A fire official told the Winston-Salem Journal that part of the first floor collapsed into the basement, and the residence wasn’t a safe place for the renters to stay. The school says it will provide resources to those involved, including housing assistance.
Tensions over vaccine equity pit rural against urban America
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Questions about how a limited supply of vaccine should be distributed have now found a new focus in rural America. As the unprecedented campaign to inoculate the most vulnerable Americans continues, those in some rural areas say they are getting slighted in favor of urban centers. At the same time, city dwellers in some states are traveling hours to score the vaccine in tiny towns and remote villages, sparking conflicts that play on the existing partisan divides worsened by the pandemic.
FATAL HOUSE FIRE
Authorities: Fatal house fire was intentionally set
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Firefighters in North Carolina’s largest city say a fatal house fire was intentionally set. The fire began early Sunday in a home along a west Charlotte street near the intersection of Interstates 85 and 485. The Charlotte Fire Department says on social media that one person died from the fire. The victim’s name hasn’t been released. The department also hasn’t said what caused the fire, but police are now the lead agency in the case. A firefighter also was treated for injuries not considered life-threatening.
North Carolina-based mystery writer Maron dies at 82
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina-based mystery writer whose book series won her major awards and plaudits in the genre has died at age 82. The son of Margaret Maron said Sunday she died last Tuesday at a hospice in Raleigh from stroke-related complications. Maron is best known for the Sigrid Harald and Deborah Knott series of books. The first Knott books won the four major mystery-writing awards. Harald was a New York police lieutenant and Knott a North Carolina judge. She was born in North Carolina and returned to the state permanently in the 1970s.
Bobbie Richardson elected 1st Black NC Democratic chair
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The recent second-in-charge at the North Carolina Democratic Party has been elevated to party chair. Bobbi Richardson was elected on Saturday by the party’s State Executive Committee, making her the first Black leader to hold the post in the state. Richardson is a former state legislator from Franklin County and the outgoing first vice-chair. She succeeds Wayne Goodwin, a former state insurance commissioner who has been chair since 2017. He chose not to seek reelection. Richardson becomes the party’s top leader after mixed results for the Democrats during the November election.
Historic general store in northwest NC destroyed by fire
TODD, N.C. (AP) — A century-old general store in the northwest North Carolina mountains known as a gathering place for local commerce and memories has been destroyed by fire. Ashe County officials say the Todd General Store burned to the ground Thursday evening. The store began in 1914 and is identified in the National Register of Historic Places. County Fire Marshal Jonathan Stansberry says the fire’s cause hasn’t been determined. The property has changed hands several times. The historic landmark’s newest owners purchased the building in 2019 and reopened the store last summer.
CHESAPEAKE BAY PLUNGE-LAWSUIT
Judge dismisses suit over trucker’s death on bridge-tunnel
EASTVILLE, Va. (AP) — A Virginia judge has dismissed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by the widow of a trucker whose tractor-trailer plunged over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel four years ago. The wife of Joseph Chen of North Carolina alleged bridge-tunnel operators shouldn’t have allowed him to cross the span at the time because winds were too strong. A trial was held in December. The presiding judge ruled on Friday that the bridge-tunnel is protected by sovereign immunity as a political subdivision of Virginia. The widow’s attorney says an appeal is likely. The lawsuit sought $6 million in damages.
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