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Storms precede season’s first freeze across South
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Storms raked across the central United States from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes ahead of an arctic blast that forecasters say could bring record cold to the South.
Temperatures were predicted to drop as much as 30 degrees in a few hours on Thursday. Forecasters said severe storms were possible from Alabama to New England. Winds were gusting above 30 mph (48 kph) in some areas, but no damage was reported immediately.
A freeze warning reached across more than dozen states, from southwestern Texas into the South and Midwest.
The storms provided another round of drought relief across the Southeast after weeks of dry weather endangered crops and increased fire risks. But a new federal report showed much of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina are still too dry.
FATAL PRISON STABBING
North Carolina prisoner stabbed to death with homemade blade
TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a prisoner stabbed another prisoner to death with a homemade blade at a western North Carolina prison.
A North Carolina Department of Public Safety news release said the stabbing happened during an altercation Wednesday night at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville.
The release said 33-year-old Christopher Parker was stabbed in a housing unit and transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Online state prison records show he was serving approximately 18 years for offenses including kidnapping after being convicted in 2010 in Sampson County.
The attacker’s identity wasn’t included in the release. Department of Public Safety spokesman John Bull referred questions about the attacker to local law enforcement.
District Attorney Sarah Kirkman said in an email that more information would be released later, pending an investigation.
Police: Pot-laced candy was likely bound for college parties
(Information from: The Daily Reflector, http://www.reflector.com)
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they’ve seized about 200 pot-laced pieces of candy.
Greenville police said the candy was likely intended to be sold at college parties and not handed out to children.
The Greenville Daily Reflector reported Thursday that police had seized a bunch of Nerds Rope. The gummy candy had been infused with THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
Greenville police said they arrested a South Carolina man after getting a tip. Police said that 21-year-old Owen Lee McKinney faces charges of possession with intent to sell and carrying a concealed weapon.
It’s unclear if he has hired a lawyer. No one answered at a phone that was listed for McKinney on Thursday.
CORRECTIONS OFFICER-DRUG CHARGE
NC prison officer charged with smuggling drugs to inmate
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors say a North Carolina corrections officer has been charged with smuggling a narcotic substance into a state prison for an inmate who bribed him.
A statement Wednesday from the Charlotte-based U.S. Attorney’s office said 46-year-old Erice Lemond Blyther of Hoffman accepted a bribe from a prisoner to bring a controlled substance into Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Polkton in 2018. Court documents say the substance included the opioid buprenorphine.
Prosecutors say his duties included supervising inmates at what has since been renamed Anson Correctional Institution. Prosecutors also say he’s charged with using an interstate facility to facilitate bribery, extortion under color of official right and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
An attorney for Blyther didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.
State of Virginia sues Teva Pharmaceuticals over opioids
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia’s attorney general has filed a new lawsuit over the opioid crisis, even as the top lawyers in some states are pushing to settle claims over powerful prescription painkillers.
Mark Herring filed a lawsuit Thursday against Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, saying it and a company that it bought misrepresented the benefits and risks of products that include fentanyl.
A company spokeswoman did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Some 2,700 lawsuits have been filed nationwide against the drug industry over the toll of opioids, including at least one from nearly every state. Herring’s is the first one filed by a state since a group of attorneys general announced a plan to settle suits nationally with five companies, including Teva. Few states have endorsed the $48 billion proposal so far.
Wildlife officials: Bear found dead, bound in North Carolina
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Wildlife officials in North Carolina are investigating what happened to a black bear that was found dead and bound with a rope around its neck.
Aaron Stronach with the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission says it doesn’t appear the bear had any significant injuries. He didn’t detect gunshot wounds or the hide removed from the animal when he inspected it in a mountainous area near the Mills River, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Asheville.
Stronach told McCatchy news group that a rope had been looped around the bear’s neck and attached to its hind leg. He added that it’s unusual to find an animal’s body tied that way, even if it has been dumped after hunting.
Stronach said the body weighed 125 to 140 pounds (57 to 64 kilograms.)
Freedom Park to honor African Americans closer to reality
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A 48-foot-tall gleaming abstract sculpture that’s lit from within will be the centerpiece of a new park honoring the contributions of African Americans to North Carolina that’s been in the planning stages for about a decade.
A state commission approved the new design proposal for Freedom Park on Wednesday. The park will be located on a one-acre site between the state legislature and the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh.
Quotes from famous African Americans from North Carolina will be engraved on walls along walkways that lead to the Beacon of Freedom.
A groundbreaking for the park is planned for December. The proposed state budget includes $1.5 million for the park provided another $1.7 million is raised from private donors. Park supporters say they’ve exceeded that goal.
NC Republicans offer educator pay carrots for veto override
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators are offering new carrots for Democrats to join them in overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s state budget veto through even higher raises for educators and staff.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger announced on Wednesday a bill would emerge for Thursday votes that would increase average teacher pay 3.9% through mid-2021 – the same as in the vetoed budget. But raises would reach 4.4% should that two-year budget separately become law over Cooper’s objections.
The House already overrode the budget veto, but Senate Republicans need at least one Democrat joining them to complete the override.
If there’s an override, the emerging bill also would prompt even higher pay for school janitors and secretaries, and for University of North Carolina and community college system employees.