North Carolina News – March 31, 2022

North Carolina News – March 31, 2022

US judge won’t let 2nd group of voters fight Cawthorn suit

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has refused to allow a second group of voters seeking to challenge the candidacy of North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn through a section of the Constitution addressing insurrection from opposing him in court. U.S. District Judge Richard Myers denied on Wednesday the request of voters from 11th Congressional District to enter Cawthorn’s lawsuit against the State Board of Elections. This involves an effort to disqualify the first-term Republican from seeking reelection because of his involvement with the rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot in January 2021. Cawthorn has won in court so far and says he’s never participated in an insurrection.


NC officials won’t OK ex-offender voter applications for now

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina election officials won’t approve for now voter registration requests filed by those convicted of felonies who are still serving their probation or parole, even though a court ruling says they should be. That’s in part due to expected appeals of this week’s decision by a panel of trial judges who declared unconstitutional a 1973 law that prevented the restoration of voting rights for these ex-offenders until all of the formal monitoring is finished. Tens of thousands of offenders could be affected. Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday they would appeal the ruling and asked the trial panel to delay enforcement of its decision.


Avian flu in North Carolina commercial turkey operation

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A commercial turkey operation in North Carolina has tested positive for avian flu following a test by a veterinary lab, the first time the virus has been found in the state’s poultry industry. The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services said in a news release on Wednesday that the flock of 32,100 birds at the operation in Johnston County was killed and was being composted to guard against spread of the avian flu. State veterinarian Mike Martin, , said in the news release that the department will test other flocks within a 10-kilometer zone which includes Johnston County and portions of Sampson and Wayne counties.


Road closures in Great Smoky Mountains park due to high wind

Officials with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have closed multiple road on Wednesday in anticipation of high winds. A news release from the National Park Service said the National Weather Service updated a high wind warning for the mountains from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 6 a.m. on Thursday. Officials anticipate sustained winds between 40 to 50 mph with gusts up to 90 mph in the mountains. The possibility of hazardous conditions caused by fallen trees and the increased risk of fire danger led to the multiple road closures.


Wildfire near Smoky Mountains prompts mandatory evacuations

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A wildfire in an area of Tennessee near Great Smoky Mountains National Park has prompted mandatory evacuations. The Sevier County Emergency Management Agency said people were being evacuated Wednesday from the Hatcher Mountain area of Wears Valley and Walden’s Creek and the resorts of Shagbark, Little Valley and Black Bear. WVLT-TV quotes authorities as saying that the blaze started with a brush fire Wednesday morning. They say two structures and a vehicle were burned and one person was injured. The uncontained fire had spread to about 250 acres by late Wednesday afternoon. Officials say warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds have increased the risk of fire danger.


Vietnamese carmaker to build electric vehicles in N Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A Vietnamese automaker has announced plans to build a plant in North Carolina to manufacture electric vehicles, promising to bring 7,500 jobs. VinFast will build its first North American plant in Chatham County southwest of Raleigh, with production expected to start in 2024. It expects to employ 7,500 by 2027 with average salaries of $51,000. The company is building on a nearly 2,000-acre site that’s about a 30-minute drive southwest of Raleigh and is expected to invest $4 billion in the plant. The state agreed to hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives. Officials say the manufacturer considered sites in 12 states before narrowing its search to North Carolina and a site in Savannah, Georgia.


NC sheriff’s office: Boys, 15 and 10, fatally shot

SYLVA, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say two boys are dead after a shooting over the weekend. WLOS-TV reports that the Jackson County sheriff’s office said deputies responded to a report of a shooting off Ferguson Road in Sylva on Sunday and found two boys, ages 10 and 15, shot. Officials say the boys were taken to Harris Hospital, then flown to Mission Hospital in Asheville, where 15-year-old Noah Joseph Ensley succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. Jackson County Maj. Shannon Queen says 10-year-old Bridger Owen Ensley died Monday afternoon. A joint investigation is being conducted by the sheriff’s office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. No further details were released.


Inmate assaulted, killed at North Carolina prison

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Officials say an inmate at a North Carolina prison was assaulted by a group of inmates and killed. The Department of Public Safety says in a news release that 24-year-old Semajs Short was attacked on Tuesday in a housing area at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor. Prisons first responders performed life-saving measures until local paramedics arrived and also worked to resuscitate Short. He was pronounced dead by paramedics at around 2:30 p.m. Three other inmates were injured during the group assault and were taken to a hospital outside the prison for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.