North Carolina News – July 21

North Carolina News – July 21


North Carolina county to pay $1.25M to crash victim’s family

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) — The family of a North Carolina woman killed in a crash with a sheriff’s deputy will receive $1.25 million in a settlement agreement. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports 63-year-old Shirley Ann James was killed in a January crash with a Johnston County Sheriff’s Office patrol car driven by 24-year-old Deputy Quinton Rhue. According to reports, Rhue had been driving with his lights and siren on when he began to pass traffic on U.S. Highway 301. James was traveling in the same direction and was turning when she was struck by Rhue’s patrol car.


Major NC high school athletics oversight overhaul proposed

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican senators are proposing a major change in the oversight of North Carolina interscholastic sports. They unveiled a bill Tuesday that would essentially remove the North Carolina High School Athletic Association as the organization that carries out rules set by the State Board of Education. The association would be replaced in the 2022-23 school year by a North Carolina Interscholastic Athletic Commission. Commission members would be picked by the governor and legislative leaders. The measure surfaced after lawmakers have questioned publicly the nonprofit’s authority and its large financial assets. The athletic association’s executive director says the proposal would inject politics into high school athletics.


Helicopter reported missing on North Carolina coast

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says a search is underway on the North Carolina coast for a helicopter with two people on board that disappeared during a flight from Virginia. A news release says the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina command center was notified by a concerned friend that they had lost communication with the Robinson R44 helicopter at around 6:40 p.m. on Monday. According to the Coast Guard, the two men had left from Mecklenburg Brunswick Regional Airport and were heading for the Dare County Regional Airport. An aircrew found helicopter debris in Albemarle Sound about nine miles north of the Alligator River Bridge.


Lawsuit: Black couple alleges discrimination by Tyson Farms

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A Black couple in North Carolina says in a lawsuit that a supervisor at a Tyson Farms plant targeted them with a barrage of racial slurs and that the company did nothing to address the issue, ultimately firing the woman and forcing her husband to quit. Michelle and Adrian Switzer, who are Muslims, filed the lawsuit in Forsyth County Superior Court in April. According to the document, their team leader showed a disdain for Blacks and often used slurs to describe them, and also showed a dislike for Muslims. Arkansas-based Tyson Farms said its response could be expected within five business days.


NC court: Official can be sued over misdirected commitment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court says a man who was shot and paralyzed by his adult nephew with a crossbow can sue a magistrate over allegations that misdirected paperwork delayed a psychiatric commitment. A Court of Appeals panel upheld Tuesday a trial court ruling that found Paul Steven Wynn could seek damages against the Orange County magistrate who sent the commitment order to a hospital, rather than the sheriff’s office. The judges rejected the magistrate’s argument that he was legally immune from liability. The judges ruled magistrates are subject to such claims because they are bonded through insurance paid for by the state.


Police: Man charged in teacher’s killing in cartel shootout

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Authorities have arrested and charged a man wanted for months in a shootout that left a popular North Carolina teacher and another man dead. The Alamance County sheriff’s office says the U.S. Marshal Service arrested Gar-yon-ded-weh Stepney on Monday. News outlets report Stepney is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Barney Dale Harris and Alonso Beltran Lara on April 8. Harris taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School. He was found dead in a mobile home authorities called a drug “stash house.” Sheriff Terry Johnson says Harris and his brother-in-law entered the mobile home to rob a cartel member. At some point, there was a shootout leading to the deaths of Harris and Lara.


Conservative media offers mixed messages on COVID-19 vaccine

NEW YORK (AP) — Skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccination is a common theme in media appealing to conservatives, despite assurances from doctors and scientists that the vaccine is safe and effective. Some medical experts worry that conflicting takes and outright distrust of the vaccine shown by influential media personalities contribute to a failure to meet inoculation goals aimed at arresting the pandemic. One host playing into that is Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity. On Monday, he said: “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science.” Yet he followed up his statement by interviewing a woman protesting her college’s requirement that students be vaccinated, a segment appealing to people skeptical of the immunization push.


Hull repairs done, cofferdam refilled at USS North Carolina

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A nearly four-year project to repair the hull of the USS North Carolina battleship is complete. News outlets report the cofferdam surrounding the battleship was flooded with water from the Cape Fear River on Tuesday to mark completion of the repairs. A Wilmington-based company cut and replaced steel on the bow and also repainted affected areas of the hull. The battleship arrived in Wilmington in 1961 after serving in World War II. It’s suffered over 50 years of corrosion from the Cape Fear River and plans to repair the ship’s hull have been on the table since at least 2010.

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