FATAL DOG ATTACK-INFANT
Police: North Carolina infant killed in dog attack
KENLY, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say an infant has died after being attacked by a dog. News outlets report that Kenly Police Chief Josh Gibson says a pit bull attacked the infant Wednesday morning, news outlets reported. Police are investigating the infant’s death as an accident. Police said they weren’t releasing any information about what happened out of respect for the family. The dog is in Johnston County Animal Control custody. It is not known who the dog belonged to. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is also working on the case.
Gerrymandering surges as states redraw maps for House seats
Gerrymandering is surging in states where legislatures are in charge of redrawing voting districts used to elect members of Congress. A new map passed by North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature could net several new seats for the GOP — providing a big boost in the party’s quest to retake the U.S. House next year. But that could be canceled out in Illinois, where Democrats who control the legislature adopted a new map designed to elect as many Democrats as possible. Lawmakers in other states also have been using 2020 census data to draw districts beneficial to their own parties.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Few North Carolina children 5-11 vaccinated in early rollout
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Few North Carolina parents had their children vaccinated in the first days COVID-19 shots were available for kids age 5 to 11. State data shows more than 24,000 kids in the age group got the vaccine within the first five days it was administered. This represents less than 3% of the almost 900,000 children eligible in the age group. Dr. Mandy Cohen leads the state Department of Health and Human Services. She said she got her two daughters vaccinated once the kid-sized Pfizer shots became available. She recommends other parents do the same or contact their child’s pediatrician to share any questions or concerns they may have.
Cooper open to signing final NC budget expected next week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s extended budget negotiations will come to a head next week with the Republican-controlled House and Senate voting on a final spending plan. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has suggested he could sign it into law, even though he wouldn’t get everything he wants. Senate leader Phil Berger’s office and budget-writer Rep. Jason Saine confirmed Wednesday that votes are coming on a two-year government budget. A statement from Cooper’s office said the plan will contain a number of his priorities, including increased education funding. He said he’ll sign or veto the measure based on what is best for the people of North Carolina.
TOW TRUCK DRIVER KILLED
Troopers: Tow truck operator dies in hit-and-run on I-95
DILLON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina troopers are looking for the driver of a tractor trailer that struck and killed a tow truck operator from North Carolina on the side of Interstate 95. Troopers say 48-year-old Steven Bullard was hit near mile marker 195 on I-95 in Dillon County as he as loading a vehicle on his tow truck around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. The driver of the 18-wheeler did not stop. The Highway Patrol says the cab of the tractor trailer is a 2004-2007 white Volvo VNL that might have been painted green at one point. Troopers say the truck likely has damage to the right front and could be missing a headlight.
SCHOOLS REPORT-NORTH CAROLINA
Judge: N Carolina must spend $1.75B to narrow education gap
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina trial judge has ordered the state to pay out $1.75 billion to help narrow the state’s public education inequities. The move angered Republicans who said the directive usurps lawmakers’ constitutional authority over the state coffers. Superior Court Judge David Lee said Wednesday that the state has failed to act decisively since a 2004 court ruling declared the state has fallen short giving children the “opportunity to receive a sound basic education.” Republican legislators say Lee’s directive violates the state constitution. The order doesn’t take effect for 30 days, giving time for legal intervention.
Feds abandon plan to shrink habitat of rare red wolves
Federal wildlife officials overseeing the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves announced they are abandoning a 2018 plan to limit the animals’ territory and loosen protections for wolves that strayed from that area in eastern North Carolina. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement Wednesday as part of an ongoing federal court battle with conservation groups that argue the federal agency violated the Endangered Species Act by abandoning strategies that supported the wild population of wolves. Conservation groups welcomed the move but said more needs to be done to support a wild population of as few as 10 wolves.
Wildfire hits rugged, remote area of North Carolina
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Officials say state and local firefighters are trying to get control of a wildfire in a rugged and remote area of North Carolina. The Winston-Salem Journal reports Dakota Paris, a forester for the N.C. Forest Service, says the fire at the southern tip of Sauratown Mountain started sometime early Tuesday morning. It’s not clear what started the wildfire. Jimmy Holt, the Guilford Ranger with the N.C. Forest Service, says controlling the fire will be difficult because of warm, dry weather with low humidity. Holt says firefighters are using rocks and leaf blowers to create a fire line and keep flames from spreading.
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