North Carolina News – July 7

North Carolina News – July 7


Judge jails editor over reporter’s use of recorder in court

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge sent a small-town newspaper editor to jail after one of his reporters brought an audio recorder to court. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell charged a Richmond County Daily Journal news editor and a staff writer with criminal contempt of court. The judge sentenced editor Gavin Stone to five days in jail and fined reporter Matthew Sasser $500. The newspaper and media rights groups believe the punishment is excessive and threatens free speech. The court has previously warned the news organization about bringing electronic devices into the courtroom. The judge did not respond to a request for comment.


Philanthropies eagerly back journalist Hannah-Jones

NEW YORK (AP) — Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is using major philanthropic donors to build her future as a tenured professor at Howard University, just as other major donors sought to stymie the Pulitzer Prize-winning Black investigative reporter at the University of North Carolina. Hannah-Jones announced Tuesday that she will establish the Center for Journalism and Democracy at Howard to increase diversity in journalism. The $20 million in contributions point to a growing philanthropic effort to diversify news organizations and strengthen journalistic standards. The donations, including $5 million each from the MacArthur, Knight and Ford foundations and an anonymous donor, will also bring award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates to Howard, a historically black school that’s also his alma mater.


Technology firm Epsilon to create 145 jobs in South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Executives with an information technology firm say they plan to expand operations to the Upstate region of South Carolina. The Greenville News reports that Epsilon Inc. plans to invest $2.6 million to open a new base of operations in Greenville. Company officials say that will create 145 new jobs. Epsilon was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in North Carolina with another location in Virginia. The company offers I.T. services, consulting and planning, cloud hosting, network infrastructure, cybersecurity and call center support services.


Body of last missing tuber found after deadly dam accident

EDEN, N.C. (AP) — The body of the last person missing from a North Carolina river accident that killed five people has been found, weeks after a family rode inflatable tubes over a relatively small but dangerous Duke Energy dam. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a news release Monday that crews recovered the body of 35-year-old Teresa Villano in the Dan River near the Draper Boat Landing. She was the last person missing after the June 16 accident. Four others in the group survived after floating over the dam on inflatable tubes. Boating experts say these dams are notorious for trapping people in powerful currents.


Tenure struggle ends with Hannah-Jones charting new course

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones says she will not teach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill following an extended fight over tenure. Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her ground-breaking work on the bitter legacy of slavery in the U.S., announced her decision on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday. She said she would instead take up the tenured Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, a historically Black school in Washington, D.C. Last week, trustees at UNC-Chapel Hill, which is predominantly white, finally approved tenure for Hannah-Jones, who is Black, capping weeks of tension that began when a board member halted the process over questions about her teaching credentials.


Baby boom forecast busts in North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Predictions of a baby boom during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown have gone bust in North Carolina. Data compiled by Carolina Demography showed that birth rates in North Carolina fell by 3.1% from 2019 to 2020, in line with a national decline of 3.8% over the same period. Carolina Demography is located within the Carolina Population Center at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Boone Turchi, an associate professor of economics at UNC, told the News & Observer that the skyrocketing unemployment rates during the pandemic likely prompted many people to wait to have children.


Murder suspect shot, killed by North Carolina deputy

LENOIR, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man suspected in a woman’s death was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy hours after the victim’s body was found. News outlets report the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says deputies went looking for Thomas Billings on Friday to serve him with a domestic violence order filed by a woman he had been living with. Authorities say the woman went to the home and was on the phone with a relative when that relative heard a commotion and the phone went dead. Deputies spotted Billings’ car and a confrontation followed. According to the sheriff’s office, Billings was armed when he was shot by the deputy.


North Carolina officer on leave after gun goes off, hits man

TARBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina police officer is on administrative leave after his gun went off and wounded a motorist who drove off from a traffic checkpoint and led the officer on a foot chase. Tarboro police said in a news release that the motorist drove off on Sunday after the officer smelled alcohol and marijuana in the car . The news release says that during the ensuing chase, the man hit another car, then got out and ran. When the officer caught him and tried to take him into custody, his gun went off. Police filed multiple charges against the driver, and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.

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