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North Carolina News – December 22

North Carolina News – December 22

APPEALS COURT-CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER

Court upholds civil rights leader’s trespassing conviction

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court says a civil rights leader received a fair trial in 2019 and his conviction on trespassing charges at the North Carolina General Assembly stands. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled the free speech rights of the Rev. William Barber II weren’t violated by his arrest. Jurors found Barber guilty after he led a call-and-response chant with roughly 50 people outside state Sen. Phil Berger’s office, protesting poor health care spending.

DROUGHT CONDITIONS-NORTH CAROLINA

Drought conditions plaguing much of North Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The combination of an extended period of abnormally dry weather and above-normal temperatures has plunged much of North Carolina into drought, and projections for 2022 suggest conditions won’t improve. The Fayetteville Observer reports that in the latest drought map, a belt of “severe drought” extends from roughly Statesville through Charlotte and the Fayetteville area into northeastern North Carolina. The U.S. Drought Monitor says severe drought means water users should eliminate nonessential uses of water and prepare for possible mandatory water restrictions. Early projections tied to a La Nina weather system in the equatorial Pacific show it could continue into 2022.

HOUSE FIRE-MAN KILLED

North Carolina man’s body found in house fire; cause unknown

VALE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man has died in a house fire, and investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blaze. The Hickory Daily Record reports investigators identified the man as 63-year-old Robin Greeson Martin of Vale. Capt. Aaron Turk of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said the medical examiner is still working to determine a cause of death. Catawba County Deputy Fire Marshal Jennifer Lowrance said Monday’s fire started in the interior bedroom of the home. Lowrance said while investigators know where the fire started, they don’t know what started it.

FATAL WRONG-WAY CRASH

North Carolina man killed by wrong-way driver on I-85

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says a man was killed when the car he was driving on Interstate 85 was hit by another car headed in the wrong direction. News outlets report 37-year-old Noah Cameron, was heading home from his job when a wrong-way driver ran into his Chevrolet early Sunday. A family member told WSOC that he was driving home from his job in Matthews. Officials said Cameron died at the scene of the crash, near Moose Road and the town of Landis in Rowan County. The other driver was hospitalized with serious injuries,

COOPER-PARDON

North Carolina governor grants pardon to man freed in 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has pardoned a man who had spent nearly 24 years in prison after allegations he sexually assaulted his 9-year-old daughter. The man, Howard Dudley, was freed in 2016 after his daughter recanted her testimony. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the governor’s pardon makes Dudley eligible to file a claim for compensation under state laws for people wrongly convicted of felonies. Dudley maintained his innocence from the start. He was convicted in 1992 of first-degree sexual offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor. A judge in 2016 vacated Dudley’s convictions and ordered his release, calling the daughter’s recantation credible and believable. 

I-40-STUNT DRIVING

Four charged after I-40 blocked by drivers doing stunts

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says charges have been filed against three adults and a teenager in connection with car stunts that shut down a portion of Interstate 40. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports patrol spokesperson Sgt. Christopher Knox said troopers responded to reports of vehicles blocking all eastbound lanes of I-40 near Aviation Parkway, close to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday. The newspaper reported video posted on Instagram showed at least two cars spinning in circles in the middle of the highway, while a small crowd of people stood nearby cheering them on.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA

Cooper pushes for COVID boosters, won’t reimpose mandates

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and top state health officials are making a push ahead of the holidays to expand free at-home testing and encourage vaccinated individuals to get a booster. But they declined to reimpose statewide mandates — even as they warned on Monday of a huge COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant. Over two-thirds of North Carolina adults have received at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine. But Cooper said 62% of vaccinated people have not yet received boosters. Early studies suggest the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing an omicron infection. 

CHILD SEX ABUSE LAW-JUDGES

Judges deem law addressing child sex abuse unconstitutional

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Judges have ruled that a North Carolina law cannot temporarily lift the statute of limitations to allow people who were sexually abused as children decades ago to be able to sue in civil court. The measure had passed the state legislature unanimously in 2019. But a three-judge panel ruled Monday that the state constitution bars the legislature from reopening the statute of limitations. The judges stressed that they felt bound by precedent and suggested that the issue may be better suited for the North Carolina Supreme Court to consider instead of the panel. It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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