FUGITIVE SEX OFFENDER
Fugitive sex offender sentenced for not registering
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a New Jersey man who was a fugitive for nearly two years and who was captured in North Carolina has been sentenced to more than three years in prison for failure to register as a sex offender. Court documents say 49-year-old Gregory Dennis Dayton pleaded guilty to charges in August. In 1998, Dayton was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey. He was required to register as a sex offender, but after he last registered in New Jersey in September 2018, he fled the area, leading to an arrest warrant being issued in May 2019.
MISSING WOMAN-MURDER CHARGE
North Carolina man charged after girlfriend’s body found
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say a man whose girlfriend was missing for a week has been charged in her death. The Charlotte Observer reports 21-year-old Denee Rawls left her home in north Charlotte on Nov. 22 and did not return. Police say two days later, her family reported her missing. On Monday, police found Rawls’ body on a street in east Charlotte. Homicide detectives identified her boyfriend, 21-year-old Nicholas Davis, as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. Police found Davis and arrested him on Tuesday morning. Police data shows Rawls is the city’s 90th homicide victim in 2021.
Judge won’t order restart on NC legislative redistricting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has declined to essentially force state lawmakers to start over on this year’s redistricting of General Assembly districts, saying he can’t turn back the clock on the process that led to new seat boundaries. Wake County Judge Graham Shirley on Tuesday denied motions in litigation from advocacy groups and voters complaining about how the Republican-controlled legislature ignored race-based voter data as part of its process. Shirley says he’s not passing judgment on actual lawfulness of the enacted maps. Other lawsuits challenging the actual boundaries approved in early November will be heard later this week. Republicans have defended their lines as lawful.
North Carolina court stops order to spend $1.7B on education
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court has blocked enforcement of parts of a trial judge’s order that demanded $1.7 billion be spent by state agencies to address public education inequities. The majority on a three-judge panel hearing a request by the state controller agreed Tuesday that Superior Court Judge David Lee crossed the line by appropriating money. The ruling could be appealed. Lee has said he believed he had the authority from the state constitution and the Supreme Court to act. This is the latest chapter in longstanding school funding litigation known as “Leandro.”
NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH SECRETARY
Head of North Carolina health department stepping down
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The head of North Carolina’s health department and face of regular updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state for two years is stepping down from her post. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Cohen as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in January 2017. Cohen is to be replaced by Kody Kinsley, the current chief deputy secretary for health at the department and lead for COVID-19 operations. A news release from Cooper’s office says Kinsley would be the first openly gay Cabinet member in state government history.
Wildfire continues to burn at a North Carolina state park
PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a wildfire at Pilot Mountain State Park in North Carolina has grown to more than 1,000 acres — twice its size of a day earlier. News outlets report that officials said Tuesday that the blaze on Pilot Mountain is about 20% contained and is burning only inside the park. The park is northwest of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is known for its iconic knob that rises above the surrounding terrain. North Carolina Forestry Service officials say the fire started Saturday near a trail and was human-caused. Law enforcement officers are investigating to determine just how the blaze was begun. The park remains closed.
Former US Senate candidate Smith endorses Beasley in race
GASTON, N.C. (AP) — Former 2022 U.S. Senate candidate Erica Smith has thrown her support in the Senate Democratic primary to ex-Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. Smith was in the Senate race until about 10 days ago, when she revealed she would instead seek to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield next year. Smith said Tuesday that Beasley has “always worked to move North Carolina in the direction of fairness and progress.” Beasley and state Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte are leading candidates in the Democratic race. Smith is a former state senator who finished second in the 2020 Democratic U.S. Senate primary to Cal Cunningham.
North Carolina girl credited with saving family from fire
TABOR CITY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina fire marshal is crediting a 9-year-old girl with saving her family after their home was engulfed in flames sparked by a space heater. News outlets report Columbus County Fire Marshal Shannon Blackman says the girl was sleeping in her home in Tabor City on Sunday night and awakened to discover a space heater on fire in her bedroom. She then woke up her younger sister and alerted the rest of the family to get out of the house. The girls’ father, a firefighter, suffered third-degree burns on his back and is hospitalized in Georgia.
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