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WALTER JONES JR
Congressman Walter Jones Jr. of North Carolina dies at 76
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina, a once-fervent supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq who later became an equally outspoken Republican critic of the war, died Sunday, his 76th birthday.
The congressman’s office confirmed his death in a statement, saying Jones died in Greenville, North Carolina. His health declining in recent months, Jones entered hospice care in January after breaking his hip. He had been granted a leave of absence from Congress in late 2018.
Jones was a political maverick unafraid to buck his own party. He was one of the first Republicans to reverse direction on the war in Iraq, even as his North Carolina district included the sprawling Marine installation Camp Lejeune.
His ultimate opposition to the Iraq war came with the irony that he instigated a symbolic slap against the French when their country early on opposed U.S. military action in Iraq. Jones was among the House members who led a campaign that resulted in the chamber’s cafeteria offering “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” in 2003 – instead of French fries and French toast.
Jones said he introduced legislation that would have required President George W. Bush’s administration to begin withdrawing troops in 2006 because the reason given for invading Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, had proved false.
“If I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have supported the resolution” to go to war, Jones said in 2005.
Jones, who had served in Congress since 1995, had already announced his 2018 campaign would be his last. His death means Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would schedule a special election for someone to complete Jones’ two-year term in the coastal 3rd Congressional District.
In the House, Jones was a relentless advocate for campaign finance reform and controlling the national debt.
Representing a district that includes Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, Jones lamented the military’s lengthy presence in Iraq.
Jones took heat for becoming one of the first Republicans to reverse direction on the war in Iraq, expressing regret for his 2002 ‘yes; vote. He ultimately signed well over 11,000 letters to the families of dead troops, describing that as a penance of sorts.
“For me, it’s a sacred responsibility that I have to communicate my condolences to a family,” Jones said in a 2017 interview with The Associated Press. “And it’s very special to me because it goes back to my regretting that I voted to go into the Iraq war.”
The fiscal and social conservative won unopposed in last November’s general election after fending off Republican primary challengers stoked partly by Jones’ willingness to dissent from the Washington leaders of his party. For example, he voted against the tax overhaul promoted by President Donald Trump and a “repeal and replace” plan for President Barack Obama’s health care law.
In a 2018 AP interview, Jones said that he wasn’t afraid to oppose GOP leaders “when I don’t think they’re right.”
“It’s absolutely about principle,” he said. “When I leave Congress, I would rather have one thing said about me: ‘I will never question Walter Jones’ integrity.'”
Either Jones or his father, Walter Jones Sr., represented eastern North Carolina in Congress for five decades. The elder Jones, a Democrat, represented the region from 1966 until his death in 1992. Walter Jones Jr., then also a Democrat, lost the party primary to succeed him. He became a Republican and was sent to Washington two years later.
Walter Beamon Jones Jr. was born in Farmville in 1943. He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia during high school and then graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Atlantic Christian College – now known as Barton College – in 1966.
He served in the North Carolina state House from 1982 through 1992, where he often clashed with Democratic leaders. He and current Gov. Roy Cooper were among 20 House Democrats who joined Republicans in toppling Democratic Speaker Liston Ramsey from power in 1989.
Survivors include his wife, Joe Anne, and a daughter, Ashley.
Associated Press writers Jonathan Drew and Martha Waggoner contributed to this report.
NC teacher’s album about Mississippi voices gets Grammy nod
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – A professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is nominated for a Grammy Award for best historical album.
History professor and folklorist William Ferris is nominated for “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris.” The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the four-disc box set has discs devoted to blues, gospel and storytelling, as well as a DVD of some of Ferris’ films.
The 76-year-old Ferris grew up on a farm in Mississippi. Long before he became a professor, he was photographing and recording vernacular artists. Ferris says he did so “for no reason other than love.”
He says he believes the artists were significant and deserved to be heard and seen.
The Grammy Awards show air Sunday on CBS.
Bankrupt South Texas beef processor sold
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) – A South Texas beef processor has been sold to a North Carolina real estate developer at a court-approved bankruptcy auction.
Corpus Christi-based Sam Kane Beef Processors had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month . In a statement, JDH Capital Co. of Charlotte, North Carolina, said it intends to make “meaningful investments in the processing plant and will continue to operate the business as a going concern.
The slaughterhouse had agreed in a July federal court settlement to pay nearly $38 million over 18 months that it owed to livestock sellers. Federal law requires next-business-day payment for livestock purchases. That was after the company was accused of violating a January 2017 order by the U.S. Department of Agriculture requiring the slaughterhouse to make payments when due.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Sheriff: Deputies killed man who exited car with weapon
BAILEY, N.C. (AP) – A sheriff in North Carolina says body cameras worn by deputies should show what happened before they fatally shot a man.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone told WRAL-TV that the shooting occurred early Saturday after the man exited a car with a weapon that looked like an AR-15 rifle. Stone said they had received a call about a person with a weapon and a possible assault on a woman.
The unidentified man died at the scene in Bailey, which is east of Raleigh. The three deputies are now on administrative leave. The state is investigating, while the sheriff’s office conducts its own internal investigation.
The sheriff’s office said in an email that the man who died is Hispanic. It has not released the names or races of the deputies involved.
ICE agents in North Carolina arrest hundreds of immigrants
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal officials in North Carolina say they have arrested hundreds of immigrants in the U.S. illegally this week after some local law agencies stopped cooperating with immigration enforcement.
The Charlotte Observer reports Immigration and Customs Enforcement regional director Sean Gallagher said Friday the arrests resulted from what he termed “the dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE.” Gallagher said actions by local law enforcement forced his officers to conduct more enforcement.
ICE officers have detained 200 people in North Carolina this week. Another 25 were detained at an arms manufacturer in Sanford.
Since December, new sheriffs in Mecklenburg and Wake counties have reversed a policy that notifies ICE about the legal status of inmates in county jails. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office also ended the practice of honoring ICE detainers.
CIVIL RIGHTS RALLY
Scores attend annual “Moral March” in North Carolina
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Scores of people have attended an annual civil rights rally in North Carolina’s capital city.
WRAL reported that Saturday’s march focused on raising awareness about racial and social justice.
The 13th annual “Moral March on Raleigh ” was led by the state NAACP chapter. The rally has gained momentum over the years through former chapter president the Rev. William Barber. He is now a top leader in the national Poor People’s Campaign.
Moral March leaders promote health care for all, living wages, collective bargaining for public workers and ending the death penalty. Immigration and racial inequities also get attention.
Organizers hope to make an impression on lawmakers. More like-minded lawmakers are now in North Carolina’s General Assembly and in Congress following Democratic gains last November.
PRISON WARDEN SUED
N Carolina inmates who suffered prison violence win payouts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina taxpayers are paying three former inmates at one of the state’s most dangerous prisons $62,000 after lawsuits claimed supervisors and the former warden wouldn’t clamp down on murderous gangs.
They were among five inmates formerly held at Lanesboro Correctional Institution who sued after being stabbed by gang members who operated openly in a prison wing overseen by Jeffrey Wall. He was fired in 2013 and was specifically left out of the settlements finalized between December and Friday.
Wall’s attorney says he’s negotiated personal settlements with the inmates. Lawyer Joseph Ledford wouldn’t disclose how much Wall is paying.
Conditions inside the prison about 45 miles east of Charlotte were brutal for so long state officials are moving out all the men and converting Lanesboro into a women’s prison.
District Attorney O’Neill makes another AG run in 2020
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The chief prosecutor in a large North Carolina county is making another run for attorney general.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill announced Friday that he will seek the Republican nomination next year to become state government’s top lawyer.
O’Neill has been Forsyth County’s district attorney since 2009 and worked in the prosecutor’s office for more than 20 years following work at a private law firm. He lost to Buck Newton in the 2016 GOP primary for attorney general. Democrat Josh Stein narrowly defeated Newton in the general election. Campaign filing starts in December.
O’Neill says if elected he would work to clear untested sexual assault kits in local law enforcement custody, combat opioids, defend capital murder convictions and bring “a mission of safety, security and justice to the state.”