Eight charged after North Carolina couple kidnapped
HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says eight people face charges after a North Carolina couple was kidnapped and assaulted. The Hickory Daily Record reports the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that deputies responded to a call from a local hospital after a 24-year-old man was dropped off at the emergency room after being shot twice in the torso. The man told the deputies he and his girlfriend were tied up, blindfolded and taken to a spot where the assailants shot at them. The woman was not hit. The sheriff’s office says four of the eight people arrested were charged with attempted murder.
Cooper still hopeful on budget deal with NC Republicans
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he’s still hopeful that he and Republican lawmakers can hammer out a state budget that he can sign into law. The Democratic governor made the comments Wednesday during a COVID-19 news conference. Budget negotiations began a month ago when House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger sent Cooper their first offer on a two-year spending plan. The fiscal year began July 1. The governor declined to put a timetable on completing negotiations. Moore suggested they could end next week, with or without a deal. That would raise the possibility of a Cooper veto and override attempt.
FORMER SHERIFF INDICTED
Former North Carolina sheriff indicted on additional charges
OXFORD, N.C. (AP) — Court records show a former North Carolina sheriff who was previously accused of threatening to kill a deputy has been indicted on charges of falsifying law enforcement training records. A grand jury said former Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins used deception to retain his law enforcement certification for annual training and firearm qualifications between 2012 and 2018. News outlets reported the indictment Wednesday. Wilkins was previously indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice in September 2019 involving an alleged threat against a former deputy. That case is still pending. It wasn’t immediately known Wednesday afternoon whether Wilkins had an attorney who could comment for him.
She asked to bring oxygen to work — they fired her instead
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A woman who was fired after asking to bring an oxygen tank to work to help her breathe will get $25,000 in a federal settlement. TriMark Foodcraft also agreed to train its staff on what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Jean S. Perry worked as an accounting clerk for the kitchen equipment maker in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was fired after trying to return to work following a hospital stay for breathing problems related to a disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s settlement also requires TriMark to clearly inform employees about their rights.
Report: NC nonprofit hospitals falling short on charity care
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State Treasurer Dale Folwell says many North Carolina nonprofit hospitals are falling short in treating the poor for free or reduced rates to validate their tax-exempt status. Folwell made the comments Wednesday while discussing a report that Johns Hopkins University developed with help from the State Health Plan. The report found that in a recent year a majority of the state’s largest nonprofit hospital systems failed to generate charity care spending that exceeded 60% of the value of each system’s tax breaks. An association representing North Carolina hospitals says the report leaves out many other benefits they provide to their communities.
North Carolina woman trying to cross road hit by car, dies
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) — The N.C. State Highway Patrol says a woman attempting to cross a five-lane highway was killed when she was struck by a car whose driver didn’t stop. The patrol told news outlets that 43-year-old Amy Jo Tyndall and a second person were trying to cross N.C. Highway 11 near Ashland Drive just outside of Kinston in Lenoir County around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. The patrol says the highway has four travel lanes, a center turn lane and was not lighted. Tyndall was in the roadway when a vehicle traveling north hit her and kept going. Tyndall died at the scene. The second pedestrian wasn’t hurt.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
COVID spread plummeting in North Carolina, state data shows
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The spread of COVID-19 has dropped substantially in North Carolina in recent weeks. The latest statistics released by state health officials on Tuesday show cases and hospitalizations at their lowest levels in about three months. The share of tests coming back positive have also declined noticeably. The development comes as the state struggles to convince more unvaccinated residents to come in for a shot. Meanwhile, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 boosters are now available to more North Carolinians who have already been vaccinated. Residents are more than four times as likely get the virus and nearly 20 times likelier to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people.
REVERSE DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT
Former hospital executive wins $10M in discrimination case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A former top executive in a North Carolina-based health care system who claimed in a lawsuit that he lost his job because he is a white male has been awarded $10 million by a federal jury. In his 2019 lawsuit, David Duvall said he lost his job as senior vice president of marketing and communication at Novant Health due to its effort to diversify its top leadership. News outlets report the jury said Novant Health failed to prove it would have dismissed Duvall regardless of his race. A Novant Health spokesperson said the Winston-Salem-based company would issue a comment later Tuesday about the jury decision.
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