AP-NC Newswatch

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November 14, 2019
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November 14, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch




Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST



Virginia police hunt Marine deserter wanted in murder case
ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – Authorities have closed all the city schools in Roanoke, Virginia, and warned people to lock their doors after spotting a vehicle linked to a Marine deserter who is wanted for questioning in a murder case.
Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones said at a news conference Thursday morning that officers got a call about a suspicious person near Patrick Henry High School. The chief said a recreational vehicle Michael Alexander Brown had been driving was found nearby.
Jones said Brown is considered armed and dangerous. He may be looking for another mode of transportation or could be walking around in the area.
Brown is wanted for questioning in the death of his mother’s boyfriend, 54-year-old Rodney Brown.
Authorities say the Marine deserted his post last month at Camp Lejeune.



2 additional NC health systems join Blue Cross partnership
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Two additional North Carolina health care providers are joining five other state health systems and an insurer in a deal designed to help lower medical costs.
The Charlotte Observer reports national insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield will soon be working with seven of North Carolina’s largest health systems in a finance-sharing program called Blue Premier. Novant and Atrium health systems will join the deal Jan. 1. The others joined last year.
Mark Gwynne, president of the UNC Health Alliance, previously told the newspaper Blue Premier helps hospital systems compare prices and boost value. Under the deal, systems share cost savings or losses based on if they improve patient health outcomes. Blue Cross says it’s designed to incentivize providers to cut costs and hold them financially accountable for inefficiencies.



Duke University struggles to catch opossum lording over dorm
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – An opossum has illegally taken up residence in the ceiling of a Duke University dorm, where students have been complaining about being bitten by fleas.
The school’s assistant vice president of student affairs, Joe Gonzalez, told reporters on Wednesday that the school has yet to catch the elusive opossum that students first complained about in October. He says the creature has escaped custody partly because it appears to be splitting its time between the Few Quad dorm and somewhere else.
Reports of fleas also began to surface last month, prompting the school to put students up in another dorm while they fumigated the place. Gonzalez says the opossum may have brought the fleas, but that’s unconfirmed. Irritated students are questioning why they’re dealing with such conditions at a $78,608-per-year school.



Debate, votes expected on Congress remap in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some Republicans are ready to advance a new map for North Carolina’s congressional districts next year.
The House planned to debate and vote on proposed boundaries Thursday that would replace the lines for the state’s 13 U.S. House seats. It’s happening because state judges blocked the current map’s use for the 2020 elections, saying it was likely an illegal partisan gerrymander favoring the GOP.
Republicans hold 10 of the state’s 13 congressional seats. Any replacement likely would make Democratic candidates more competitive.
A map would have to be approved to by both the Senate and House, both of which are run by Republicans. Unlike other legislation, redistricting bills aren’t subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto.
Approving new boundaries soon could allow congressional primaries to occur as scheduled March 3.



Coast Guard halts search for third boater; 2 others rescued
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) – The Coast Guard has called off a search for a missing yachter who went into the water more than 500 miles (805 km) off Virginia Beach.
The Coast Guard’s 5th District Command in Portsmouth said it spent the better part of Wednesday searching for the man after receiving a report at 4 a.m. that he was missing.
The sailing vessel In Tune sent out a mayday message after three boaters went overboard.
A tanker, the Stena Progress, responded to the call and rescued two of the yachters before the Coast Guard arrived.
The Coast Guard used a cutter and two helicopters launched from North Carolina and Massachusetts to search more than 1,000 nautical miles (3,430 square km) before calling off the search.



Cows cast away by Dorian found alive on N Carolina island
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. (AP) – A trio of castaway cows has been discovered on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where they apparently washed up after swimming for miles to escape Hurricane Dorian ‘s storm surge.
Cape Lookout National Seashore officials think the stranded cows swam up to 5 miles (8 kilometers) during the September storm before being found near Cape Lookout this month. The cows belong to a herd that roams freely on Cedar Island, across the sound. When Dorian generated an 8-foot (2-meter) “mini tsunami,” it washed them and dozens of other animals away, including 28 wild horses that died.
Seashore spokesman B.G. Horvat told McClatchy news group the cows are grazing peacefully after a harrowing feat of survival, but they need to go home. He thinks they’ll have to be sedated for the boat trip.



North Carolina mayor-elect wants televised council meetings
(Information from: Rocky Mount Telegram, http://www.rockymounttelegram.com)
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – The incoming mayor of a North Carolina city is pushing the idea of televised city council meetings.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reports Mayor-elect Sandy Roberson is also looking into televising meetings of the city’s boards and commissions. Roberson bases his idea on the fact that there are people who keep track of city government but can’t attend the meetings.
A local television station broadcasts delayed video of council meetings and a local resident uses a cellphone while seated in the audience to show the meetings in real time on her Facebook page.
Ward 5 Councilman-elect Lige Daughtridge says he believes that complete transparency is vital to ensure the public trust and that local residents and the news media have access to all public information.



Police: North Carolina man stabbed grandmother to death
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A 25-year-old North Carolina man has been charged with stabbing his grandmother to death.
The Burlington Police Department said in a news release that authorities came Monday to the Burlington home of 71-year-old Cynthia Ziller and found her body. They say they determined she had been slain by stabbing.
Early Wednesday, police say they arrested her grandson, 25-year-old Nathan Jeremiah Ziller, who lives in nearby Graham.
Police say that he has been charged with first-degree murder. The motive for the killing wasn’t immediately clear.
Ziller was being held without bond. Lt. Nick Wright said police didn’t know if he had an attorney.



AP-WF-11-14-19 1620GMT