Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
Court upholds hog verdict; Smithfield announces settlement
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal appeals court has upheld a 2018 jury verdict that led to monetary awards for neighbors of an eastern North Carolina industrial hog operation for its smells and noise. Thursday’s ruling by a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected calls for a new trial by Smithfield Foods. It’s a parent company of the firm sued by Bladen County residents living next to one of its previous contract farmers. Judges did rule in favor of Smithfield’s subsidiary on the issue of punitive damages. Smithfield announced later it had reached a settlement with plaintiffs involved in this and other hog nuisance litigation.
DEPUTY SHOT-BARRICADED MAN
Deputy shot during domestic call; suspect barricaded in home
LA GRANGE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a deputy was shot in the neck while responding to a domestic call. A news release says Lenoir County Deputy Steven Key was shot Thursday night outside a home in La Grange. The statement says the shooter was standing in the yard of the home with his back facing the road when Key arrived. The shooter then turned around and fired on the deputy, striking him in the neck. Key called for backup and was later hospitalized and released. The sheriff’s office says the shooter has barricaded himself in the home early Friday and is still inside.
HOUSE-CHIEF OF STAFF
N.C. House speaker’s chief of staff going to UNC system
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – State House Speaker Tim Moore’s chief of staff is leaving the post for a job within the University of North Carolina system. Moore announced on Wednesday that Bart Goodson will become senior vice president for government affairs at the system. He’s been chief of staff since 2017 and previously served as Moore’s general counsel. Goodson will be replaced by current general counsel Neal Inman. The changes were announced two days after Republicans who won House seats on Election Day agreed that they’ll back Moore for a fourth term as speaker. The next two-year session begins Jan. 13.
SENATE-CHIEF OF STAFF
Berger chief of staff Tripp leaving for UNC post
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The chief of staff for North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger is stepping down to take a position within the University of North Carolina system. Thursday’s announcement that Andrew Tripp will become the system’s general counsel and a senior vice president comes a day after House Speaker Tim Moore announced his chief of staff was leaving for another job within UNC’s general administration. Tripp has worked under Berger or former top lieutenant Tom Apodaca since Republicans took over the Senate following the 2010 elections. Tripp’s successor will be announced inn the coming days.
AP-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-CHURCH
3 more dead from COVID-19 outbreak linked to NC church
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Officials say three more people have died of coronavirus-complications linked to convocation events at a North Carolina church. The Charlotte Observer reports 12 people have died from the outbreak linked to the gathering last month at the United House of Prayer for All People. Health officials said Thursday that 10 residents of Mecklenburg County have died, and two Gaston County residents died from the virus. Inside a nearby nursing home, the Mecklenburg County Health Department said there has been a related outbreak where two residents have died and 19 cases have been discovered.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NURSING HOME NEGLECT
Not just COVID: Nursing home neglect deaths surge in shadows
As more than 90,000 of America’s long-term care residents have died in the coronavirus pandemic, advocates for the elderly say a tandem wave of death separate from the virus has quietly claimed tens of thousands more, often because overburdened workers haven’t been able to give them the care they need. Care home watchdogs say they are being flooded with reports of residents withering away in starvation or thirst. An expert who conducted an analysis of nursing home deaths for The Associated Press believes that non-COVID excess deaths, beyond what is normal, could total 40,000 this year.