AP-NC Newswatch

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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 11:20 a.m. EST



Confederate group has 45 days to return ‘Silent Sam’ to UNC
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge has imposed a 45-day deadline on the Sons of Confederate Veterans to return the Silent Sam statue to the University of North Carolina. Orange County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour’s written order Thursday also requires the group to hand over what’s left of a $2.5 million trust fund set up to preserve the statue. The judge ruled that the Confederate heritage group has no legal claim to the statue, which stood on campus for more than a century until protesters toppled it in August 2018. The ruling means the UNC system still owns Silent Sam and will need again to figure out what to do with it.



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.



North Carolina police charge mother in 1999 slaying of baby
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say they’ve solved a 20-year-old cold case by tracking down a woman accused of killing her newborn son and dumping his body in 1999. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that it charged 54-year-old Deborah Riddle O’Conner with first-degree murder Thursday. Investigators alleged she gave birth to the baby just one day before he was placed in a trash bag and tossed from a car south of Fayetteville. DNA was recently sent to a lab for testing, and detectives used the results to locate O’Conner. The sheriff said she admitted to being the boy’s mother. She was set to appear in court Friday.



Group of wild horses has been on the loose on Outer Banks
COROLLA, N.C. (AP) – Volunteers have been routinely rounding up a group of straying wild horses on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Virginian-Pilot reported Friday that a deteriorating fence in Currituck County has put the horses in danger of being struck by cars and has allowed them to get into garbage and come too close to people. They often roam into Corolla village. The horses also have been leaving behind generous amounts of droppings. Officials said that the county recently approved a $50,000 grant to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund to begin repairs on part of the fence.



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.



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.



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.” áIt’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.



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