CRASH-4 TEENS DEAD
Troopers: 4 teens killed in crash with truck
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Four teens are dead after a box truck crossed a median and hit their vehicle head-on.News outlets report the crash happened Thursday west of Greenville when the truck struck the car with five teens inside.Officials say three teens died at the scene and a fourth died at the hospital. A fifth teen and the truck driver had minor injuries. The Highway Patrol identified the teens who died as 18-year-old Abby Foster, 17-year-old John Winstead, 15-year-old Devin Wilson and 18-year-old Madison Wilson, 18. The surviving teen is 16-year-old Dakota Wilson. Troopers say truck driver Alberto Pedraza III said he lost control of the truck while going too fast in the rain. He has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
AP-NC-ASHEVILLE POLICE-SUSPENDED RESPONSE
North Carolina police department suspends some responses
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina police department says it’s suspending responses to a list of crimes after losing 84 officers since the start of 2020. The Asheville Police Department says in a news release that it’s making the changes in order to improve response times for emergency calls made to 911. Asheville police say they’ll no longer respond to 10 kinds of calls, including theft under $1,000 and theft from a vehicle when there is no suspect information in either instance. The department also says noise complaints during normal business hours and after-hours may have a significant delay in response.
BC-NC-CHILD SEX ASSAULT CASES
Spike in child sex assault cases concerns N Carolina police
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The police department in North Carolina’s largest city has expressed concern over what it says is a 210% increase in sexual assault cases involving children this year. A news release from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says detectives in its Crimes Against Children Unit had observed small changes in the number of cases year to year. But the department says those detectives have reported 31 sexual assault cases in 2021, compared to 10 during the same time frame in 2020. Detective Jessica Hall says the increase may be the result of a delay in reporting because the child remains with their abuser or feeling unsafe to tell anyone.
House OKs allowing right-to-carry in more NC churches
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House has again approved legislation that would allow members or visitors at churches that meet on private school campuses to carry concealed handguns. The bill is another attempt by gun-rights advocates to put these religious venues on par with standalone places of worship. Critics of the bill approved Thursday say that more gun access doesn’t help prevent violence. The measure now returns to the Senate, which passed a version of the bill in March. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a gun bill containing these church changes in 2020. Lawmakers lacked the votes for an override.
NC House votes to do away with extra jobless benefits early
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina House has OK’d legislation to do away with the $300-per-week supplemental benefits for the unemployed provided by the federal government during the pandemic. The Republican measure approved on Thursday would take away the additional payments to roughly 245,000 people in North Carolina. The program is set to expire nationwide in early September, but about two dozen states already have decided to cut off the supplement early. GOP legislators say the additional aid is a disincentive for working, making it tough for employers to fill vacancies. Democrats say eliminating the benefits would harm people still struggling to cover their expenses.
NC Republicans threaten different avenues on framing budget
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina House and Senate Republicans still unable to settle on a dollar figure for spending are threatening to go their separate ways on how to develop a state government budget. GOP leaders in the two chambers remain well apart on a spending limit for the next fiscal year that begins July 1. Senate leader Phil Berger said Thursday that his chamber will substitute passing a comprehensive budget bill with smaller measures if they can’t soon reach a spending number with the House. But House leaders say they won’t wait much longer on the Senate before passing a full budget plan on their own.
NC Senate nixes environment chief, but Cooper rehires her
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Senate has formally rejected Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice to lead his environment department. But Cooper quickly rehired Dionne Delli-Gatti after Thursday’s party-line vote to be his point person on clean energy. Still, the refusal marks the first time a Cabinet appointment by a North Carolina governor has received a no-confirmation result since the advice-and-consent law for the Senate began as Cooper took office in 2017. Senate Republicans said that Delli-Gatti’s lack of insight on the governor’s natural gas policy and permitting for a proposed pipeline disqualified her. Cooper and Senate Democrats argued her dismissal was based on politics, not merit.
GEORGE FLOYD-MOCKING VIDEO
School system apologizes for video mocking George Floyd
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) — Officials with a North Carolina school system are apologizing for a video in which students are reenacting the murder of George Floyd. News outlets report officials with Rowan-Salisbury Schools says it learned about the video featuring students from Erwin Middle School on Monday. The video is only a few seconds long, but shows one student on the floor in a classroom while another kneels on the other student’s neck. The student on the floor says “I can’t breathe” while the kneeling student gives a thumbs up to the camera and smiles. The school system says it’s investigating the incident.
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