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February 21, 2020
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February 21, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



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



Snow falls across coastal North Carolina, Virginia
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Snow has been falling across North Carolina and Virginia, including in coastal areas that rarely see snow. Gov. Roy Cooper said Thursday that parts of northeastern North Carolina will see the most precipitation in the state, with as much as 3-6 inches. He issued a statement warning that whiteout conditions could occur along the coast. In Virginia, the National Weather Service reported that snow was sticking in places like Suffolk near the coast. The weather service said in tweets that southeast Virginia looks like a “winter wonderland” but also cautioned that driving could be dangerous.



North Carolina schools chief: People want Common Core gone
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s schools superintendent says survey results show people in the state want the public education standards known as “Common Core” eliminated. Mark Johnson announced this week the results of online surveys. Johnson received criticism for the survey because he accessed a state database to send text messages and email messages to parents and teachers seeking input. Ethics complaints have been filed against Johnson, accusing him of seeking political benefit using state resources because he’s on the primary ballot for lieutenant governor. Johnson has defended the communications method. The State Board of Education would have to approve any changes to standards.



NC soldiers return home from sudden Middle East deployment
Nearly two months after a U.S. Army rapid-response force was activated amid tensions with Iran, deploying 3,000 soldiers to the Middle East, some are returning home. By the end of the weekend, nearly 800 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force are slated to have returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On Thursday morning, eager family members waited in the base’s iconic Green Ramp to greet their loved ones. Roughly 2,000 members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team are still deployed to the region for “any missions deemed necessary.” It’s not clear when the remainder will return.



Wake Forest apologizes for slavery in university’s past
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The president of Wake Forest University has issued a public apology for the role of slavery in the school’s past. President Nathan Hatch’s apology during a speech to the campus community comes after a series of events that stirred up racial tension on the campus. They included anonymous, racist emails sent to faculty members last year. Schools around the South and beyond have been grappling in recent years with what to do about past ties to slavery and white supremacy. Hatch said an apology on behalf of the university was important and overdue. He didn’t mention the recent racial tension on campus.



Good Samaritan survives 75-foot fall off highway bridge
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – A FedEx driver who stopped to help a stranded driver on a North Carolina highway fell 75 feet from a bridge and survived. Jeremiah Cribb was driving early Wednesday on Interstate 85 when he stopped to help a driver stranded in the fast lane. Cribb says a tractor-trailer came toward the stranded car, so he jumped out of the way. He thought he was jumping onto a median but instead jumped off the bridge onto a sandbar below. Firefighters who arrived thought Cribb was paralyzed but he was able to stand and they pulled him to safety. Cribb has three fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.



North Carolina health officials report 15 new flu deaths
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina health officials say 11 more people died of complications from the flu last week, including a victim between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. Combined with four additional deaths from previous weeks, the death toll for the 2019-2020 season has reached 90. That compared with 85 deaths for the same period in the 2018-2019 season. Of the 90 deaths, 54 were aged 65 or older, 22 were ages 50 to 64, 11 were ages 25 to 49, two were between ages 5 to 17, and one death involved someone no older than 4.



Hundreds of dams lack emergency plans in rain-soaked South
Heavy rains and recent flooding across the Southeastern U.S. have highlighted a potential public safety concern for some dams. An Associated Press review has identified hundreds of high-hazard dams in the South that lack formal emergency action plans. Such plans typically include maps showing which areas could flood if a dam fails, as well as phone numbers for emergency personnel and addresses of homes that might need to be evacuated. The plans are required by most states for high-hazard dams whose failure could result in the loss of human life, but many dam owners still haven’t completed them.



45,000 gallons of raw sewage spills near creek
CLEVELAND, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say that corrosion in a pipeline led to 45,000 gallons of raw sewage spilling near a creek. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that the sewage spilled on Tuesday into a low-lying area near Swift Creek in Johnston County. The creek eventually runs into the Neuse River. A press release from Johnston County said the cause of the spill was a “pipeline material failure.” The county recovered about 180,000 gallons of combined sewage and rainwater and pumped into the county’s wastewater treatment process. Officials said the cause of the corrosion hasn’t been determined. The iron pipe will be replaced with PVC pipe.