North Carolina News – March 11

North Carolina News – March 11


Ex-Army officer guilty in ‘Fatal Vision’ case seeks release

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former Army captain serving life prison sentences for the 1970 murders of his pregnant wife and two young children at a North Carolina base wants to leave federal prison due to deteriorating health during the coronavirus pandemic. Lawyers for Jeffrey MacDonald are expected to make their case Thursday before a judge in Raleigh. The ex-physician was convicted in 1979. He’s now 77 years old and serving time in Maryland. The federal government’s lawyers oppose his release. MacDonald maintains he was wrongly convicted in the killings at his family’s house on Fort Bragg.


Former NASA astronaut eyes US Senate, advocacy group says

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina could soon see another Democrat enter the U.S. Senate race. Joan Higginbotham is a retired NASA astronaut and was the third Black woman to go into space. The nonprofit PAC 314 Action wants Higginbotham to run and says she is seriously considering doing so. The group would spend millions on her behalf and aim to give her a boost in the Democratic primary. The group plans to spend $50 million all together to help Democratic STEM professionals running for public office in the 2022 midterms. Higginbotham’s husband has been heavily involved in local politics.


NC bill to return more students to classrooms gets final OK

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Compromise legislation that directs how North Carolina’s K-12 schools must offer in-person instruction this spring to all students is now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. The House vote unanimously on Thursday for the measure, which came about through negotiations between legislative Republicans and Cooper. The Senate already passed it Wednesday. The bill untangles a stalemate surrounding a previous school-reopening measure that Cooper vetoed almost two weeks ago. The measure directs elementary schools to provide full-time classroom instruction to all students and gives that option to districts for their middle and high schools.


2 men charged in North Carolina woman’s death

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina have arrested two men in connection with the shooting death of a woman in December. The Winston-Salem Journal reports 26-year-old David Mejia Luna and 38-year-old Andres Mejia Arellanes have each been charged with murder in the death of 28-year-old Maria Del Carmen Cedillo Figueroa. Winston-Salem police say the woman died of multiple gunshot wounds on Dec. 7. According to police, Luna and Figueroa had been dating. Police also say Luna and Arellanes are cousins. Additional details on the case weren’t immediately released. Arellanes is jailed without bond, but a status for Luna wasn’t available online Wednesday. It’s unclear whether either man has an attorney.


A price tag on trauma? College town weighs Black reparations

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A New England college town is among hundreds of communities nationwide weighing how to provide reparations to Black residents for slavery and systemic racism. The town council in Amherst, Massachusetts, recently passed a resolution committing the town to the effort amid the country’s latest and ongoing racial reckoning. Edwin Driver was the first Black professor at the University of Massachusetts. Now 96, he says reparations should compensate him for years of being underpaid. Kathleen Anderson, a former president of Amherst’s NAACP chapter, says reparations should address public school disparities. Amilcar Shabazz, a UMass professor, said it should recognize local Black contributions. Other locations look to use marijuana tax revenues to fund similar efforts.


Cooper, legislative leaders announce deal on K-12 schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican legislative leaders have announced compromise legislation that will mean more K-12 students in North Carolina will return to daily in-person instruction. Wednesday’s agreement comes nearly two weeks after Cooper vetoed a GOP bill that would have mandated all districts reopen with at least partial in-person instruction. The compromise bill will require all K-5 schools to hold  in-person classes with no need for physical social distancing. Middle and high schools will have that option, too. Cooper is prepared to sign the bill, which was approved Wednesday by the Senate. A House vote is expected Thursday.


Flights halted at North Carolina airport after drone sighted

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A drone disrupted flights from a North Carolina airport, prompting an investigation from the Federal Aviation Administration and local law enforcement. News sources report the FAA says a drone was seen flying over and around Piedmont Triad International Airport between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Tuesday. Air traffic controllers remained in constant communication with local officials as they searched for the drone operator, the FAA said. Controllers switched runways and periodically suspended flights while the drone was in the area. Flights were also held on the ground and one flight headed to Greensboro was diverted to another airport.


Suspended basketball player says she was called racial slurs

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina women’s college basketball team forfeited a chance at its conference championship to stand in solidarity with a teammate who was disciplined for her part in an incident during which she said she was the target of racial slurs. The North State Journal reports William Peace University junior Lauryn Cross was disciplined for the incident following Peace’s win last Wednesday against Raleigh rival Meredith College in the semifinals of the USA South Conference tournament. Because of Cross’ suspension, the team decided to forfeit the conference championship game, with a team captain saying the situation was bigger than basketball and the problem needed to be solved.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.