FBI campaign to raise hate crime awareness in North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte division of the FBI says it is launching a campaign across North Carolina to raise awareness about federal hate crimes and to encourage people to report them. A news release from the agency says its campaign is part of a nationwide effort coordinated through FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. The national campaign includes billboards, social media, gas station pump ads, and radio, television, and bus advertisements. Robert Wells, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Charlotte Division, says no one should fear being targeted for violence because of their look, where they are from or any portion of their identity.
Veteran Democratic state lawmaker Insko won’t run again
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Rep. Verla Insko says she won’t seek reelection next year. The 13-term Orange County Democrat made the announcement on Wednesday. She is the longest-serving House Democrat currently in the chamber. The 85-year-old Insko joined the state House in 1997 and became a consistent, liberal voice on expanding health care access and mental health service reforms. She also was a top budget-writer on health issues when Democrats controlled the House in the 2000s. She’ll serve out the remainder of her term through the end of 2022. Her announcement comes weeks before the GOP-controlled legislature draws General Assembly districts for the next decade.
Audit: NC DOT spent less than planned, but risks remain
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state performance audit says North Carolina’s Department of Transportation spents less than anticipated during the second half of 2020. But State Auditor Beth Wood’s office says DOT hadn’t carried out key recommendations from last year’s audit, which found several hundred million dollars in overspending. So in their latest review, the auditors say it “was largely due to chance” that DOT didn’t overspend last year, and that as a result, it remains at risk for future overages. DOT Secretary Eric Boyette agreed with this week’s audit findings, and says his department is now applying the previous recommendations.
PLANT EMPLOYEES DEAD
Company probes whether procedures were followed after deaths
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — An eastern North Carolina industrial operation says it’s investigating whether safety procedures were followed after an accident that killed two workers over the weekend. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said two Valley Proteins workers were found unresponsive Sunday at the Fayetteville plant and the building was evacuated. According to its website, Valley Proteins collects, renders and recycles fat and bone trimmings, meat waste and used cooking oil. WTVD-TV reports that the company said Monday that one maintenance worker had worked there for 13 years and the other had been employed for less than one month. The company says the “accident may have occurred by lack of following company safety procedures which both employees have been trained in.”
MURDER TRIAL-PLEA DEAL
North Carolina man pleads guilty in 2018 shooting death
WINSTON -SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a fatal shooting in 2018 that authorities say resulted from an argument over a drug deal. The Winston-Salem Journal reports 23-year-old Charlie Andrew Goldsmith pleaded guilty on Monday to second-degree murder in the 2018 death of 21-year-old Jordan Anthony Gabriel. Goldsmith had been facing a first-degree murder charge, but as part of a plea arrangement, he was allowed to enter a guilty plea to second-degree murder. A judge sentenced Goldsmith to between 18 years and 22 years in prison.
NC man dies after crashing into county welcome sign in SC
RICHBURG, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a Charlotte, North Carolina, man died after his van ran off Interstate 77 in South Carolina and hit a brick welcome sign for Chester County. The Coroner’s Office says 70-year-old Gregory Morris Hill died at the scene of the crash Monday afternoon. Troopers say Hill’s van was heading south on I-77 when it ran off the right side of the highway and into the “Welcome to Chester County” sign placed several years ago at Exit 65.
Thrown brick at N. Carolina protest results in 1-year term
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who threw a brick through a courthouse window during a protest related to George Floyd’s death has been sentenced to more than a year in prison. Alexander Pridgen of Greenville was sentenced to 15 months at a hearing Monday in federal court in New Bern. He pleaded guilty to destruction of government property and possessing a firearm while under indictment. Prosecutors say Pridgen participated in a May 2020 protest in Greenville related to the death of Floyd, a Black man whose killing at the hands of a Minnesota police officer prompted nationwide protests over racial injustice.
Worker advocates seek more NC aid as federal benefits expire
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Advocates for North Carolina workers say the unemployed need higher and longer jobless benefits from the state more than ever now that additional federal benefits created for the COVID-19 pandemic have expired. Well over 100,000 displaced workers in the state can no longer receive federal benefits that ended this month, including an additional $300 per week. On Monday, Democratic Sen. Wiley Nickel urged Republican colleagues to pass legislation to raise maximum state benefits from $350 to $500 a week. GOP lawmakers have been cool to similar proposals in the past. Other speakers at a news conference say child care and job training are issues.
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