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North Carolina News – May 23, 2022

North Carolina News – May 23, 2022

NC Medicaid expansion gets serious attention from Senate GOP

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Senate Republicans are strongly considering legislation that would expand Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults. The idea is contained in a summary of a wide-ranging health care access measure being discussed by state senators. The Associated Press obtained the summary. Such legislation would mark an extraordinary turnabout by Senate Republicans set against expansion for a decade. Senate leader Phil Berger said last year he was now open to expansion, which is a top priority for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. House Speaker Tim Moore said last week he’d be surprised if expansion could be approved before the legislative session ends around July 1.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PRICE

US Rep. David Price recovering after COVID-19 positive test

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — The longest-serving member of North Carolina’s current congressional delegation is recovering following a coronavirus diagnosis over the weekend. U.S. Rep. David Price of Chapel Hill wrote in a tweet that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and that he was “experiencing mild cold-like symptoms.” The 81-year-old Price says he was vaccinated and boosted and would follow quarantining guidelines. Price has served in Congress almost continuously since 1987. He is not seeking reelection this fall for his Triangle-area 4th Congressional District. Other political notables in North Carolina testing positive recently include Attorney General Josh Stein and former Gov. Pat McCrory.

WATERFALL-DROWNING

Swimmer drowns at popular waterfall in North Carolina

LINVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A 53-year-old man has died after drowning at a popular waterfall in western North Carolina. The Linville Volunteer Fire Department said it received a call late Friday morning about a missing swimmer at Elk River Falls. WJHL-TV reported that the victim was 53-year-old Philip D. Williams. Elk River Falls, in the Pisgah National Forest, has been the scene of multiple drownings in recent years. During the rescue and recovery efforts Friday, a diver with the fire department suffered a medical emergency and was taken by helicopter to the hospital. The diver is expected to make a full recovery.

MOTHER AND SON KILLED

N. Carolina man charged with murder in deaths of mother, son

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (AP) — A 68-year-old man has been charged with murder in the deaths in a mother and son from North Carolina who were found dead in the grass behind their apartment building. Police in Hope Mills, just south of Fayetteville, announced Saturday that Rodney William McCrary has been charged with two counts each first-degree murder and kidnapping. Police say he lived in the same apartment building as 48-year-old Julie Camacho Smith and her 25-year-old son, Desmond Miles Brewington. They were found dead Wednesday morning. McCrary was being held without bond. Hope Mills Police Chief Stephen Dollinger told The Fayetteville Observer that a motive was not immediately known.

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER-DWI CHARGE

Police charge North Carolina school bus driver with DWI

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina school bus driver is charged with driving while impaired after an accident in which a construction worker was hit. News outlets report Raleigh police responded to a report late Friday morning of an accident west of downtown. There were no children on the bus, but police said the bus hit a construction worker, who suffered injuries to his legs. Officers charged the bus driver with operating a school bus after consuming alcohol and impaired driving in a commercial vehicle. The driver has been removed from driving duties for the Wake County Public School System and is suspended pending an investigation.

REDISTRICTING-NORTH CAROLINA

NC groups, voters urge justices to avoid redistricting case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina advocacy groups and voters have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid hearing arguments on the role of state courts in reviewing congressional redistricting maps created by state legislatures. Their attorneys and those representing North Carolina government filed legal briefs Friday in a case involving the U.S. House map that was just used in the state for primary elections this week. The Supreme Court in March refused to block the map’s use this year, but some justices signaled they were interested in formally discussing the broader questions of a clause in the Constitution. Republican legislative leaders already petitioned the court to take the case.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

NC jobless rate falls to 3.4%, dropping toward 1990s levels

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s unemployment rate for April fell further below pre-pandemic levels and could be the lowest since the late 1990s. The state Commerce Department announced Friday that April’s rate is 3.4% compared to 3.5% in March. Department historical data shows it’s the lowest since the jobless rate reached 3.3% in June 1999. Current rates are subject to future alterations. A General Assembly staff economist wrote last week that state employment had returned to pre-pandemic levels last summer and had exceeded them. The Commerce Department reported 30,260 more people were employed in April compared to March, while the number of unemployed fell by over 3,900.

PONZI SCHEME-CHARGES

SEC accuses North Carolina man of operating Ponzi scheme

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities have accused a North Carolina man of operating a $7 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded at least 75 investors and using the money he gained to make mortgage payments and pay for private schools for his children. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a news release that it filed an emergency action Thursday in U.S. District Court. The complaint charges Wynn Charlebois of Charlotte and his company, WC Private, with violating antifraud provisions. According to the SEC’s complaint, Charlebois defrauded the investors since 2019 using multiple bogus investment opportunities. Most of the victims live in the Charlotte area.

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