South emerges as flashpoint of brewing redistricting battle
States across the South are the center of the upcoming, once-a-decade redistricting battle. The region is the fastest growing in the country and as a result will be adding an estimated half-a-dozen House seats. That population growth has also made it a political battleground as an influx from more liberal Northern states threatens Republicans’ control in the region. Finally, most Southern states will no longer need to run their redrawn legislative districts past the Justice Department to confirm they don’t discriminate against minorities. Civil rights group fear the loss of that safeguard could lead back to racial gerrymandering.
POLICE CAR FIRE-SENTENCE
Feds: Man sentenced for attempting to set police car on fire
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has been sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for attempting to set fire to a marked police car in Raleigh after a protest against the death of George Floyd. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a news release on Monday that Jabari Devon Davis got a prison sentence of 30 months. Federal authorities said the vehicle was set ablaze in the early morning hours of May 31. Investigators found a charred sock and a bottle with the odor of gasoline on the sidewalk nearby. Authorities said that a fingerprint lifted from the bottle belonged to Davis.
Coastal Virginia and North Carolina prepare for tourists
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Business owners in Virginia Beach and North Carolina’s Outer Banks are looking forward to a tourist season that is expected to rebound from the losses suffered during the pandemic last year. The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that hoteliers are on a hiring blitz and preparing for more tourists as more people get vaccinated. Vacation homes are also a large part of the tourist economy. They were a big draw on the Outer Banks last year because of natural social distance that they provide. They are expected to have the same popularity this year. And many homes are already booked for the peak summer months.
SUSPECTED INCENDIARY DEVICES
North Carolina police find suspicious devices near church
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina evacuated local businesses after they found several suspected incendiary devices near a Baptist church and a county building. Police in Brevard said they received a call at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday for a report of the suspected devices in the area of East Morgan street and Gaston streets. Officers found several small devices that had not detonated after responding to the call near the First Baptist Church of Brevard and the Transylvania County Community Services Building. Police said they cordoned off the area and evacuated local establishments as a precaution. There were no injuries.
US female firefighters fight discrimination with lawsuits
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Two women in North Carolina have joined a growing number of U.S. female firefighters who are filing lawsuits alleging discrimination. Joy Ponder was the highest ranking female firefighter in Asheville, North Carolina. She held the post for six years until resigning in September. Susanna Schmitt Williams was the first female chief of a municipal fire department, in the town of Carrboro. She was fired in July 2019 after four years on the job. Ponder says she fought back against her superiors while battling breast cancer. Williams says she was so distressed by the sexual harassment she experienced that she briefly pondered suicide.
RACIST HASHTAGS-SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT
North Carolina school system apologizes for racist hashtags
WAXHAW, N.C. (AP) — School officials in North Carolina have apologized after racist hashtags were displayed on a classroom Twitter wall as part of a Civil War assignment for fourth graders. Kimberly Morrison-Hansley is a member of the Union County NAACP chapter. She told The Charlotte Observer that the students at the Waxhaw Elementary School were assigned to write tweets and hashtags that people living in North Carolina during the Civil War might have written. Students came up with hashtags such as “Slavery for Life.” In a statement, the Union County Schools said the assignment was unacceptable. Officials said the school system is developing training sessions for all employees to address diversity, equity and inclusion.
Georgia technical college leader to chair accrediting agency
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — The president of a Georgia technical college has been elected to chair a college accrediting agency. Central Georgia Technical College President Ivan H. Allen was elected to chair the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Allen has been a SACS trustee since 2017 and has been vice chair of the group’s executive council since 2019. He has led Central Georgia Technical College since the combined institution was created by a merger of Middle Georgia Technical College and the former Central Georgia Technical College in 2013. The Macon native became president of Middle Georgia Tech in 2005.
Duke orders undergrads to quarantine due to virus outbreak
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke University says it has issued a quarantine order for all of its undergraduates effective Saturday night due to a coronavirus outbreak caused by students who attended recruitment parties. The university said in a statement that all undergraduate students will be forced to stay-in-place until at least March 21. Suspension or dismissal from the school are potential punishments for “flagrant or repeat violators.” Over the past week, the school has reported more than 180 positive coronavirus cases among students. There are an additional 200 students who may have been exposed and have been ordered to quarantine.
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