Cooper to talk masks as more NC schools remove mandate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wants to talk about the state’s mask policies as COVID-19 case totals and hospitalizations have fallen in recent weeks. Cooper scheduled a news conference for Thursday to discuss guidance for mask-wearing, which largely centers around schools. State health officials have strongly urged students and staff in K-12 schools to wear masks indoors, but it’s been left up to school boards to make mask-wearing required or optional. About half of the boards have now agreed to mask-optional policies. Republican legislators want to let parents opt out of local school board mandates. A bill permitting such will be considered Thursday morning.
PLANE CRASH-INTERSTATE 85
Plane crashes into tractor-trailer on North Carolina highway
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Officials say the pilot of an airplane was killed when it crashed into a tractor-trailer on a North Carolina highway, sparking a small fire. The N.C. State Highway Patrol confirmed that the pilot was killed in Wednesday’s crash. The Federal Aviation Administration said a twin-engine Beechcraft Barron crashed into the tractor-trailer on Interstate 85 South near the Davidson County Airport in Lexington at around 5:35 p.m. Video footage from the scene showed firefighters spraying water as flames burned the ground next to I-85 with some debris scattered on the road. The FAA said it would investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board, but provided no additional details.
DOWNED AIRCRAFT SEARCH
Divers recover more remains from crashed plane off NC coast
BEAUFORT, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say that more human remains have recovered from a crashed plane that was carrying eight people, including four teenagers. The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office said in statement Wednesday that the search for more remains has been suspended. Two passengers had been positively identified by Wednesday afternoon. The single-engine plane was flying from Hyde County to Carteret County on Sunday afternoon when it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The plane’s passengers were returning from a charity hunting event. The plane was found in about 55 feet of water a few miles off shore. The plane’s flight data recorder will be turned over to federal investigators.
North Carolina GOP’s latest map proposals are less lopsided
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators have unveiled replacement redistricting maps that would appear to improve Democratic chances to gain seats in Congress and possibly win General Assembly majorities in a very strong year. Republicans who run the legislature unveiled on Wednesday new congressional and legislative plans that will be approved in some form by a Friday deadline set by the state Supreme Court. Justices this month struck down maps enacted in November, declaring them partisan gerrymanders that violated the state constitution. Analyses of recent election results still give the edge to Republicans with these maps, but Democrats likely would fare better.
‘The brand is so toxic’: Dems fear extinction in rural US
SMETHPORT, Pa. (AP) — The Democratic Party’s brand is so toxic in some parts of rural America that liberals are removing bumper stickers and refusing to acknowledge their party affiliation publicly. The political climate is symptomatic of a larger problem threatening the Democratic Party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats have been effectively ostracized from many parts of rural America, leaving party leaders with few options to reverse a cultural trend that is redefining the nation’s political landscape. That presents acute challenges for Democratic candidates across Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — states that will help decide the Senate majority in November, and the White House two years after that.
Walter Dellinger, influential scholar and lawyer, dies at 80
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Walter E. Dellinger has died. The constitutional scholar argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court, served in top positions in the Justice Department and taught for decades at Duke University. His son Hampton Dellinger says he died Wednesday morning at the age of 80 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Dellinger led the influential Office of Legal Counsel that advises the attorney general on often sensitive legal and policy issues and served as the acting Solicitor General, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer. He also joined a legal team assembled by Democrats to take on election-related court cases last year.
Police: 2 killed when crash sends truck onto sidewalk
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say two women were killed when a crash sent a truck up onto a sidewalk where they were walking. WSOC-TV reports that police say officers were called to the scene of a two-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon on East W.T. Harris Boulevard that also involved two pedestrians. Police say a Honda Civic hit a Dodge Ram pickup truck, which hit the curb and flipped along the sidewalk where it hit two women. Police say both women died. Police say neither driver was hurt. Police charged the driver of the Honda, James Payne, with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, DWI, reckless driving and misdemeanor child abuse. It’s not known whether Payne has an attorney.
North Carolina teen dies after drive-by shooting;
CAMERON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man has been charged in a drive-by shooting in which his brother died of a a gunshot wound to the head. News outlets report the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office said a woman who lives on N.C. Highway 27 west in Cameron reported that her house was shot at from a passing car at around 1 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies responding to a car fire a short time later found 17-year-old Isiah Keion Chestnutt had been shot in the head by someone inside the car. He died at a hospital in Chapel Hill on Wednesday. His brother, 18-year-old Jaquon Ray Chestnutt is facing multiple charges in both incidents.
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