North Carolina News – February 18

North Carolina News – February 18


NC 2nd-chance redistricting finalized; maps now go to court

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina legislature has finished new redistricting plans that Republicans contend will meet fairness directives of state justices who struck down previously approved maps as illegal gerrymanders. Legislators completed votes Thursday on new district boundaries for the U.S. House delegation and the state House and Senate. The state Supreme Court told the General Assembly to draw new boundaries by Friday. A trial judge panel will now decide whether they can be used for the May primary. Election data shows four of the 14 new U.S. House districts will be very politically competitive.                                        


Raleigh police to conduct probe of officer handling of melee

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Videos posted to social media show a North Carolina police officer briefly putting his knee on the neck of a Black man before he was arrested in connection with a melee at a fast-food restaurant. The man denied being in the restaurant at the time of the melee. WRAL reports Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson said Thursday that the department would be conducting an internal affairs investigation into what happened. Kerwin Pittman of the nonprofit group EmancipateNC said he found the video on social media to be “very concerning and unsettling.” 


Former North Carolina police officer resentenced to prison

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — A former North Carolina police officer convicted of throwing a woman to the pavement was resentenced to federal prison on Thursday after a ruling that said his previous sentence was too light. The Hickory Daily Record reports 49-year-old Robert George was sentenced to three years in prison in federal court in Charlotte. George was convicted in January 2019 of unreasonably using force in connection with a November 2013 assault in which he tossed a woman from the back of a patrol car behind the Hickory Police Department. In October 2019, a judge sentenced George to four years of probation and ordered him to pay $20,000 in restitution.


Wolfdogs leave North Carolina animal shelter for new homes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — An animal services official says the last three of eight wolf-dog hybrids have left the North Carolina animal shelter where they’ve stayed since last summer. Animal Services spokesperson Tenille Fox tells The News & Observer that the three wolfdogs left the Orange County shelter late Wednesday to head to an undisclosed nonprofit. The county previously said it might have to euthanize the canines that it couldn’t place. Three of the animals moved Friday to a Wisconsin sanctuary. Two others that were littermates were transferred to a Colorado refuge last month. The eight wolfdogs, which are illegal to own in Orange County, got loose in July and August.


Pharmaceutical company to add 400 jobs in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Officials say an over-the-counter pharmaceutical company is expanding its facilities in North Carolina and adding nearly 400 jobs. News outlets report BestCo LLC is investing another $177 million in expanding its Mooresville facilities, according to an announcement from the Iredell County Economic Development Corporation and state officials. BestCo, based in Mooresville, develops and manufactures over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements. The company is moving into an existing 215,000 square foot manufacturing building north of Charlotte and building a new facility on the same site. The Mooresville project will add production and packaging capacity to its current operations, with a focus on its gummy line of products.


NC lawmakers OK bill giving student opt-out to mask mandates

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) —  A bill headed to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk would let North Carolina parents allow their K-12 students to opt out of mask mandates set by local education boards. The General Assembly wrapped up voting on the measure Thursday as Cooper held a news conference to announce he was encouraging local governments to end broad mask requirements. He didn’t say what he’d do with the bill but said he’s got “concerns that it’s unwise and irresponsible.” School districts set their own mask policies, and over half of the state’s 115 districts have now agreed to make masks optional as COVID-19 transmission rates are falling.  


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. 


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.

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