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October 4, 2019
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October 4, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


Report: Hot tub displays likely caused Legionnaires’ cases
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials say hot tub displays inside a building at a fair are likely to blame for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease last month.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said on its webpage Thursday that early findings show that people diagnosed with the disease likely visited the Davis Event Center at the Mountain State Fair last month and walked by the hot tub displays.
According to the department, early results from laboratory testing of environmental samples identified Legionella bacteria in one water sample taken from the event center. Results are still pending from other samples taken in the investigation.
The department says 124 cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever had been reported as of Wednesday.


North Carolina fair takes precautions against Legionnaires’
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina fair is moving to guard against an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease similar to one that occurred at another fair last month.
A spokeswoman for the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem says officials have banned the use of mist fans and are telling fairgoers they cannot bring hand-held mist fans. The fair opens on Friday.
Spokeswoman Siobhan Olson says the fair is following guidelines established by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. Olson also says the fair’s lone water ride will be disinfected daily, and drinking fountains will be available for fairgoers inside a building adjacent to the fairgrounds.
State health officials say more than 120 people have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease after attending the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher last month.


NC State Bar says it was target of ransomware attack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina State Bar says it was the target of a ransomware attack this week.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the organization says the attack late Monday infiltrated the network through a server and began encrypting the system, server by server. A rapid response team stopped the attack from spreading, but the system has to be restored and repaired using backup data.
The organization says there is no indication that any State Bar data, including personally identifiable information, was taken, but access to the State Bar website and membership/continuing legal education portal is currently unavailable.
The State Bar also said no ransom has been paid.


North Carolina man found guilty of killing 2, gets life
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina jury has convicted a man of first-degree murder in the deaths of his mother and his girlfriend in 2015, and the judge in the case sentenced him to life in prison without parole.
News outlets report Brandon Lee was sentenced after the jury returned its verdict on Thursday.
WRAL-TV reports that Lee confessed to a 911 operator, in a police interview and when he testified this week to killing his mother and his ex-girlfriend in their Cray apartments.
Defense attorneys argued that Lee didn’t premeditate the crimes, but instead snapped after his mother yelled at him and threatened him with a knife. They asked the jury to consider second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter, which would bring lesser sentences.


2nd swimmer dies in rough surf on North Carolina coast
KURE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a coastal North Carolina town are warning beachgoers to be especially cautious after two swimmers died on the same day.
Police in Kure Beach told news sources that the first swimmer was found unresponsive in the water just after 10 a.m. Wednesday near a beach access. Authorities say the second swimmer was found unresponsive in the ocean a few hours later at a different beach access.
Strong swells from the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo in the eastern Atlantic Ocean created rough surf along the coast. The National Weather Service in Wilmington on Thursday issued a rip current warning for all east-facing beaches in New Hanover and Pender counties. Forecasters said conditions are expected to begin improving on Friday.


Police: Mother sold child to couple in exchange for car
(Information from: The Dispatch, http://www.the-dispatch.com)
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A grand jury in North Carolina has indicted three people after police say a mother sold her 2-year-old child to a couple for a car.
The Dispatch of Lexington reports the Thomasville Police Department says detectives began an investigation in July after a hospital report of a 2-year-old child with bruises.
Investigators said 47-year-old Tina Marie Chavis told hospital workers that she was the child’s mother. Chavis then claimed to have adopted the child, but couldn’t produce documentation. Investigators later learned that 45-year-old Alice Leann Todd gave the child to Chavis and 53-year-old Vicenio Mendoza in exchange for a car last year.
All three are now charged with unlawful sale, surrender or purchase of a minor and jailed under a $50,000 bond apiece. It’s not known if they have attorneys.


Woman pleads guilty in killing fellow university student
SYLVA, N.C. (AP) – A former Western Carolina University student has pleaded guilty in the killing a fellow student in a botched drug deal.
News outlets report 21-year-old Aja Makalo and co-defendant 19-year-old Zavion Southerland were accused of fatally shooting Jacob Ray in 2017 after arranging to buy marijuana from him. Ray was found near a university welcome sign.
Makalo previously argued she’d acted in self-defense, but abandoned the claim Wednesday. Superior Court Judge Brad Letts accepted a plea agreement and sentenced her to up to 25 years for second-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery.
Makalo has said Ray pulled a gun and tried to rob her and Southerland, causing Southerland to shoot Ray. But prosecutors say the two held Ray against his will and shot him during a struggle.
Southerland’s case is ongoing.


NC State suspends professor accused of calling women useless
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina State University officials say they’ve suspended a professor and launched an investigation into reports he called women useless during a lecture.
WRAL reports university spokeswoman Lauren Leslie Barker didn’t confirm the identity of the professor at the center of the Tuesday incident but said the school is taking immediate action.
Junior Maira Haque told WRAL the professor called on two female students and when they didn’t have answers to questions about an assignment, he was “condescending” toward them and said “women are useless.”
In a tweeted video , the professor can be heard saying “It’s a joke!” Haque says the professor added “women are obviously useful because we need them for a species to reproduce.”