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October 23, 2019
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October 23, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch




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



Trump claim brings new pain to relatives of lynching victims
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – President Donald Trump’s claim that the impeachment inquiry is a lynching has struck a painful chord for black people whose relatives died in racist lynchings.
Ohio resident Malinda Edwards says Trump is ignorant, insensitive or racist. The Ku Klux Klan lynched her father, a 24-year-old black man, Willie Edwards Jr. in Alabama in 1957. No one ever went to prison.
A cousin of Mississippi lynching victim Emmett Till, Deborah Watts, calls the president’s tweet “insensitive and offensive.”
Facing an impeachment inquiry that he and supporters claim is illegal, Trump tweeted Tuesday that the process is a lynching. Some Republicans agree, but the relatives of actual lynching victims don’t.
Janet Langhart Cohen says Trump knows how to hurt and divide. She says one of her distant cousins was lynched in Kentucky.



Prosecutors: Victims lost $1M in gold, romance scheme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a man from Ghana living in North Carolina pleaded guilty to a scam targeting elderly people with promises of romance and wealth.
The Charlotte-based U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release that Suleman Alhassan pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire and mail fraud conspiracy. No sentencing date was set.
The news release said he and others used online dating websites to target fraud victims and develop fake romantic relationships. They told victims they owned large amounts of gold and needed money to ship the gold from Africa to the U.S.
Prosecutors say the victims were promised a share of the profits from gold sales, but people lost more than $1 million through the scheme.
A defense attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.



Managed care shift uncertain for Medicaid in NC since veto
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A massive overhaul of how North Carolina government administers the state Medicaid program likely won’t take off soon unless legislators and Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration agree on final funding for those changes.
The House Health Committee meets Wednesday to get an update from state health officials and insurers awarded contracts to offer treatment through managed care.
The first batch of plan enrollees was supposed to benefit starting Nov. 1, but that isn’t happening after Cooper vetoed a measure in August that contained funds to cover the transition and language needed to set coverage rates. The veto is connected to the absence of expanding Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of additional adults. Republicans are largely opposed to such expansion.
Now managed care is set to go online in February.



‘Dawson’s Creek’ creator producing Russell Crowe horror film
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – The creator of the television series “Dawson’s Creek” is returning to North Carolina for a horror movie starring Oscar winner Russell Crowe.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports that Kevin Williamson confirmed his plans to produce the movie Tuesday on the EUE/Screen Gems Studios lot. The working title of the Miramax film is “The Georgetown Project.”
The project is scheduled to begin filming early next month in Wilmington.
Williamson is a North Carolina native known for the television series “The Vampire Diaries,” which aired on The CW for eight seasons. He’s also the creator of CBS All Access’ fairy tale horror anthology “Tell Me a Story.”
“Dawson’s Creek” aired on The WB from 1998 to 2003. Its stars included James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams and Joshua Jackson.



Great Smoky Mountains park ends backcountry campfire ban
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Great Smoky Mountains National Park has lifted a ban on backcountry campfires.
Parks officials say in a news release that they ended the ban Tuesday after it was put in place Sept. 26. Officials say that recent rain and cooler temperatures in the last couple of weeks have lowered drought risks and fire danger in the park.
Much of the park remains in the moderate drought category. Officials are reminding visitors to confine fires to designated campfire rings and grills and extinguish fires by mixing water with embers.
Officials also say many of the springs in higher elevations are running significantly slower than usual and several campsites are without water. Backpackers are encouraged to carry extra water for sites not along major water sources.



Police seek 2 accused of shooting at NC parole officers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are searching for two men accused of exchanging gunfire with two probation and parole officers.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department tells news outlets that the patrolling officers spotted an armed man near a southwest Charlotte intersection Monday night and attempted to stop him. A department statement says the men fled, and at least one of them shot at the officers.
The officers’ car was struck twice, and at least one of the officers returned fire. It’s unclear if the suspects were hit. Police dogs and a helicopter were used to help search for the men, which the statement says still were being sought as of that night.
The department is investigating the shooting, and the state Department of Public Safety Community Correction is conducting an internal investigation.



Report: Black infant mortality in NC double that of white
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A report by the state of North Carolina says black infants born in the state are more than twice as likely to die than white infants.
News outlets report Gov. Roy Cooper’s office released the 2018 North Carolina Infant Mortality Report on Monday. It says the state has achieved its lowest infant death rate in 31 years, but there remains a large disparity in the survival of black and white infants. Cooper says it shows the need to expand access to affordable health insurance.
For white babies, the rate has remained steady at 5 deaths for every 1,000 births. For black babies, the rate is 12.2 deaths per 1,000 births. Back in 1988, the rate for white babies was at 9.6, while black infants had a death rate of 19.8.



Federal judge says gerrymander case stays in NC state court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge has quickly dismissed an effort by Republican leaders at the North Carolina legislature to move a lawsuit challenging the congressional map they drew in 2016 from state court to federal court.
U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan ordered on Tuesday that the partisan gerrymandering case be returned to Wake County Superior Court, where the litigation was originally filed last month.
Flanagan rejected the arguments of the lawmakers who wrote last week the venue change was necessary because a new map would conflict state redistricting rules with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act. Flanagan called those arguments speculative. She also wrote a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion which found partisan gerrymandering matters beyond the reach of federal courts.
State judges already had a set a case hearing for Thursday.