North Carolina News – January 27

North Carolina News – January 27


Walker to say whether he’ll stay in N. Carolina Senate race

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A candidate seeking North Carolina’s Republican U.S. Senate nomination for over a year says he’ll now reveal whether he’ll stay in the race. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker scheduled a Thursday evening announcement in Greensboro, which he represented in Congress for six years through 2020. Walker fell behind nomination rivals Rep. Ted Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory in campaign fundraising in 2021. And Budd received President Donald Trump’s endorsement in June. The primary is this spring. Walker’s campaign says he was offered the ex-president’s endorsement if he ran instead for a House seat in central North Carolina. 


Sheriff: Man stealing catalytic converter fatally crushed

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man trying to steal a catalytic converter from a disabled car was killed when the jack he used to get under the vehicle failed and pinned him underneath. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responding to a call on Monday morning found the body of a man under a car. The victim was identified as 50-year-old Joshua Larry Diehl. Investigators said Diehl was attempting to steal the catalytic converter when the jack he was using failed. It’s not known how long Diehl may have been under the vehicle before his body was discovered. 


North Carolina chosen for supersonic passenger jet plant

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A Colorado-based aviation company has chosen North Carolina as the location for a new plant that will manufacture next-generation supersonic passenger jets. Boom Supersonic announced on Wednesday that Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro will be the home for its first full-scale manufacturing facility. The company says it will create over 1,750 jobs by 2030, with a goal of reaching more than 2,400 jobs by 2032. Local and state boards approved hefty financial incentives for Boom Supersonic just before the announcement. Boom is one of several companies trying to revive supersonic passenger travel. The company says its Overture plane will be rolled out in 2025 and will travel at twice the speed of today’s passenger jets. 


NC treasurer’s report critical of how hospitals bill poor

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A report on North Carolina’s nonprofit hospitals is critical of how they bill the poor for medical care. Wednesday’s report from the State Health Plan and the National Academy of State Health Policy says that too often the poor are billed when those hospitals should write the expenses off. State Treasurer Dale Folwell and a bipartisan group of lawmakers want reforms. Calculations on fewer than 20% of the nonprofit hospitals in 2019 found $149 million in billings to patients who should have qualified for charity care. The state’s lobbying group for hospitals defended their charity care spending and community investment activity as “transparent and accountable.” 


Man pleads guilty to trying to defraud Medicaid program

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A federal prosecutor says a North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role in a scheme to defraud North Carolina’s Medicaid program of more than $14 million. Dena J. King, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, says Richard Graves of Greensboro pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering. Court documents show that from January 2016 to July 2020, Graves and his co-conspirators planned to defraud the Medicaid program by paying illegal kickbacks to co-conspirators in exchange for urine samples from people who were recruited.


North Carolina AG sues company over scam phone calls

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in a lawsuit filed against a Texas company which claims it helped scammers place robocalls inundating phones. According to The News & Observer of Raleigh, the lawsuit says Texas-based telecommunications business Articul8 helped facilitate scam calls across the country, including tens of millions of calls to North Carolinians, even though the company either knew or should’ve known that it was helping criminals try to defraud people. Articul8 didn’t respond to the newspaper’s email request for comment.


Motorist charged after car crashes into school playground

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say three children were injured when an SUV crashed into a playground at a North Carolina elementary school. News outlets report police in Chapel Hill said 40-year-old Fiona Evans was charged with a safe-movement violation. According to police, Evans was parking her SUV in a lot next to the playground at Northside Elementary School on Tuesday when she hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. The vehicle crashed through a fence, striking playground equipment. School officials said about 20 children were on the playground for the Community Schools afterschool program. 


QAnon follower who attacked police at Capitol gets prison

A man who identified himself as a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory has been sentenced to three years and eight months in prison for assaulting police officers at the Capitol during last year’s riot. Nicholas Languerand called himself a patriot, but the judge who sentenced him on Wednesday said the rioters who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, don’t deserve that description. Federal authorities explicitly have linked more than 30 riot defendants to QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory. Languerand is the fourth rioter to be sentenced for assaulting police. 

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