North Carolina News – March 16, 2022

North Carolina News – March 16, 2022


North Carolina wildlife officials confirm avian flu cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Wildlife experts in North Carolina have confirmed that birds in four separate counties have died from the avian flu. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said in a news release on Wednesday that a snow goose in Hyde County, a redhead duck in Carteret County, a red-shouldered hawk in Wake County, and a bald eagle in Dare County, have all died from the flu. According to the news release, both the snow goose and redhead duck were observed with neurological signs consistent with avian flu prior to being euthanized. The hawk and eagle were found dead, Avian flu has been reported in 357 birds in 20 states this year.


Labor officials cite NC plant where 2 workers died

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina labor officials have cited an animal byproduct rendering plant for alleged safety violations after a September accident that killed two employees. The Fayetteville Observer reports the N.C. Department of Labor cited Valley Proteins last week for five violations with total penalties of $13,750. Bradley Zipp and Kevin Paul Hoeft were found dead at the Fayetteville facility Sept. 12 of asphyxiation from hydrogen sulfide inside a pet food pit basement. The citations state the men freed a jammed auger, but were exposed to fatal levels of hydrogen sulfide. The medical examiner’s report states other employees told investigators the ventilation fan wasn’t running. The company can request an informal conference, file a notice of contest or pay the penalty.


NC court: Officer not grossly negligent in pedestrian death

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court has halted a lawsuit filed against a Fayetteville policeman who fatally struck a pedestrian while responding to a call. Two of three judges on a state Court of Appeals panel ruled on Tuesday that there’s no evidence Officer Ashton Lambert was grossly negligent in the events leading to the death of Gregory Graham in July 2018. The officer was responding to a report of domestic violence when he hit Graham with his cruiser as Graham walked across the seven-lane road late at night. A dissenting appeals judge wrote that the lawsuit should be allowed to continue.


Officials: Driver who struck NC deputies’ vehicles shot

MONROE, N.C. (AP) — Officials in North Carolina say a driver was shot as he tried to flee a traffic stop, striking sheriff’s deputies’ vehicles. The Union County Sheriff’s Office says as a deputy initiated a stop Tuesday evening in the Sunny Food Mart parking lot in Monroe, the driver tried to flee, hitting at least three deputy vehicles. Officials say a deputy fired, striking the driver. The driver was taken to a hospital. No details were released about his condition. No deputies were injured. Officials say the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting and the deputies involved will be placed on administrative leave.


Grant aimed at reducing racial disparity in lung cancer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A $1 million grant has been awarded to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center to study ways to reduce the disparity in lung cancer that affects Black residents. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the grant is part of a total $3 million donation to establish the Southeastern Consortium for Lung Cancer Health Equity. Investigators at Massey will collaborate with the cancer centers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina. The money was donated by Stand Up to Cancer and pharmaceutical giant Bristol Myers Squibb. Through research, the centers hope to develop better methods for identifying those at the highest risk for lung cancer and to increase cancer screenings.


Red-light camera program in eastern NC city struck down

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s intermediate-level appeals court has struck down the city of Greenville’s red-light camera program. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals ruled it unconstitutional because too little of the money generated ends up supporting the local school system. The state constitution directs the “clear proceeds” of all fines to be “used exclusively for maintaining free public schools.” A state law says that means at least 90%, but Pitt County schools got only 72% during a two-year period. The Arizona-based camera operating company ended up with most of the rest. Two motorists who were cited initiated the lawsuit.


NC superintendent apologizes after mock slave auction

PITTSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina schools superintendent apologized Monday for a mock “slave auction” in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their Black classmates. The school board also is reviewing the student code of conduct and discipline policies dealing with acts of racism. News outlets report that Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson apologized and said what happened at the J.S. Waters School in Goldston will not be tolerated. According to a Chatham racial equity group, the mock auction involving middle school students happened in the presence of staff and faculty and was recorded on video. Several students received a one-day suspension.


Ex-Ohio Gov. Kasich urges compassion in Medicaid pitch to NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina legislators weighing whether to expand Medicaid heard from former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other speakers about the experiences of states that already have. Kasich and presenters on programs in Montana, Indiana and Michigan described Tuesday to a General Assembly study committee expansion successes and challenges. They spoke about how expansion was fiscally responsible, improved health outcomes and reduced the amount of services for which hospitals wouldn’t otherwise be reimbursed. Kasich also urged lawmakers to “open our hearts” to people in need and who are seeking a better life. The four states are either Republican-leaning or purple politically.