AP-NC Newswatch

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January 8, 2020
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January 8, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch




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



Health center employee accused of raping disabled woman
GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man who worked at a behavioral health center has been accused by a sheriff’s office of raping a 19-year-old with disabilities. News outlets report 53-year-old Timothy Lynn Alford was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree forcible rape and misdemeanor sexual battery. Alamance County Sheriff’s Office says it was notified of the incident in August 2018, and the victim is a person with disabilities. Officials say an investigation led to a search warrant for Alford’s DNA. The name of the behavioral health center where Alford worked wasn’t immediately revealed. It’s unclear whether Alford has an attorney who can comment on his behalf.



Ex-substitute teacher denies making controversial comments
CARY, N.C. (AP) – A white North Carolina substitute teacher is denying allegations she told 10-year-old students they were marked for prison because they were wearing athletic clothing and that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. killed himself. Wake County schools officials previously confirmed to The News & Observer that Elizabeth Temple resigned amid an investigation into the reports. Temple attended a school board meeting Tuesday, nearly a year after the allegations surfaced, and said the accusations weren’t true.áThe allegations emerged in February when a parent accused Temple of becoming upset when students weren’t listening to her directions then making the comments to his son and others in the class.



US judge rules survivors can sue over deadly Tennessee fire
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – A federal judge has ruled that survivors of a historically deadly Tennessee wildfire can sue the National Park Service for failing to warn them of the danger. The fire began in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in November 2016. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports the park’s fire management officer allowed the fire to spread rather than actively quell it. The survivors’ attorney argues the agency didn’t notify those nearby about the blaze as mandated in its fire management plan. A judge agreed, ruling victims can sue on the grounds that the Park Service failed to warn them, though they can’t challenge the Park Service’s fire fighting decisions.



As violence soars, time runs out for Afghan interpreters
CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) – Interpreters in Afghanistan who served alongside U.S. service members during the war are considered traitors by some in their country. As such, they find their lives in danger. To thank them for their service, the U.S. has made 22,500 Special Immigrant Visas available for interpreters since 2014. Thus far, 13,000 of them have been awarded. More than 19,000 interpreters are still waiting, however. They hope to get out of the country before it’s too late.



Baylor’s Matt Rhule agrees to become Panthers’ next coach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Baylor’s Matt Rhule has agreed to become head coach of the Carolina Panthers. Owner David Tepper visited Rhule at his home in Waco, Texas, and decided he wanted him to succeed Ron Rivera, who was fired with four games remaining in the season. The 44-year-old Rhule will inherit a Panthers team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015. Rhule helped turn around programs at Temple and Baylor, leading the Bears to an 11-1 regular season record this past season before losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship and Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.



North Carolina man charged in 2-year-old’s death
KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man is accused by authorities of killing a 2-year-old boy. News sources report police in Kings Mountain arrested 21-year-old Taylon Armando Peeler and charged him with murder in the toddler’s death. Police said they received a call on Sunday from a local hospital that a 2-year-old was brought in with life-threatening injuries. The boy was take to a hospital in Charlotte, where he died the next day. Peeler is jailed without bond. 



Lease redo reduces money needed for N Carolina Freedom Park
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s top elected statewide leaders have agreed to rework lease terms on property being turned into a park honoring the contributions of African Americans to the state. The Council of State voted on Tuesday to amend the lease, which means less money will have to be raised than previously mandated for Freedom Park. A state commission recently approved the park design, which includes inspirational quotes engraved on walls along walkways that lead to a “Beacon of Freedom” sculpture. The amount of money required has been reduced from $5 million to just over $3 mllion.



Sen. McKissick resigns to take NC Utilities Commission post
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A veteran North Carolina legislator has resigned from the state Senate so he can join the Utilities Commission.áSen. Floyd McKissick Jr. of Durham tendered his Senate resignation effective Tuesday to fellow Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who had nominated McKissick to the powerful commission back in May. The legislature didn’t confirm that choice until late October, but McKissick delayed leaving until now. áNow local Democratic activists must choose someone to fill the remainder of McKissick’s term. The timing is important because the legislature reconvenes next week and Senate Republicans may try to override Cooper’s two-year budget veto.



AP-WF-01-08-20 1120GMT