North Carolina News – June 22

North Carolina News – June 22


Youth home exec says ‘words cannot explain’ Alabama crash

CAMP HILL, Ala. (AP) — The chief executive of a Christian youth home in rural Alabama says the community is working toward healing after eight of its children were killed in a fiery crash during the rains of Tropical Storm Claudette. Michael Smith said Monday that the Gulf Coast trip bad been a highlight for the girls in otherwise tough times. Two of the ranch director’s children, four residents and two guests were among the dead in the Saturday crash that killed 10 people on Saturday. Federal investigators are probing the crash. A total of 14 deaths have been blamed on the storm, which headed out to sea Monday.


Senate budget uses NC revenue boon on more tax cuts, capital

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Senate Republicans have unveiled a two-year state budget proposal that sticks to earlier spending limits even with recent news of a massive revenue windfall. The Senate will vote on the spending plan this week. The measure revealed Monday sticks to spending caps agreed to with House counterparts. Those were set before economists announced the state would take in $6.5 billion more than expected. The bill puts much of that extra money in a savings reserve and an infrastructure construction fund, and makes deeper tax cuts than Republicans originally pitched. State employee and teacher raises fall short of what Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper proposes.


North Carolina ballot probe figure pleads to benefit fraud

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A key figure in a North Carolina investigation into ballot fraud in a congressional race has pleaded guilty to federal charges involving Social Security benefits. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh said Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. entered the plea Monday in Greenville federal court. Prosecutors had accused Dowless of receiving benefits unlawfully by concealing money he earned working on state and federal campaigns. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 15 years. Dowless still faces state charges involving the 2016 and 2018 elections. He is accused of directing people to collect incomplete absentee ballots in a congressional race and making it appear that the voters had finished them.


DISPATCH: In tornado’s wake, navigating a reluctant town

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — With the pandemic in full swing, one journalist traveled to an area that had experienced a natural disaster. Few residents wore masks or adhered to federal COVID-19 safety recommendations. Many were deeply skeptical of the media. The journalist overcame hurdles with access limitations and spoke to people who described a tornado striking their homes with no advance warning. The twister that hit Ocean Isle Beach in February killed three people and injured 10 others. The story garnered national attention as readers looked for information about the twister and broader issues of hazardous weather across the United States.


Task force aims to save Outer Banks highway from flooding

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) — A task force force has been formed with the aim of saving the main highway on North Carolina’s Outer Banks from storms and sea level rise. The Virginian-Pilot reported last week that the task force will focus on protecting seven vulnerable spots along 67 miles of the narrow highway. It runs from Oregon Inlet to Hatteras Village and continues after a ferry ride to Ocracoke. The group is made up of federal, state and local agencies. The highway constantly floods with ocean water or after heavy rains and high tides inundate the road. Tourists can sometimes be stranded, while emergency crews can be stymied. Officials have so far had mixed success building bridges and bigger dunes.


Fire destroys $5M, 18-bedroom North Carolina beachfront home

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say a fire destroyed an 18-bedroom oceanfront rental home valued at nearly $5 million, forcing evacuations of nearby residences. News outlets report Kill Devil Hills Fire Department personnel were called to the home early Sunday in response to a report of flames at the front entrance. No one was injured in the fire, which also damaged multiple vehicles in the driveway of the home. The fire spread to homes on both sides as well as a motel pool. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


North Carolina woman among four charged in mother’s death

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office has made four arrests in the shooting death of a young mother, including a woman who investigators say was involved in disposing of evidence. In January, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office filed multiple charges against Tyquavious Cummings, including first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. On Monday, the sheriff’s office announced Mackenzie Andrews with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder. Authorities say Marshayla Pasley was killed when her mobile home was riddled with gunfire back on Jan. 13. Pasley’s 3-year-old son was wounded and the child’s father escaped without injury.


Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina river

EDEN, N.C. (AP) — Local officials in North Carolina say the body of a fourth tuber has been found in a river following a deadly accident in which a family on a recreational float went over a dam. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a news release Sunday that 7-year-old Isiah Crawford was the person who was found in the Dan River. The search continued for the last remaining tuber, 35-year-old Teresa Villano. The accident occurred Wednesday night when a group of nine people floated down the river on inflatable tubes and went over a dam. Four people were rescued Thursday, while three tubers’ bodies were found that day. Experts say that low-head dams are known for trapping people in a powerful current.

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