AP-NC Newswatch

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December 18, 2020
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December 18, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



Feds: North Carolina frat members were part of drug ring
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say fraternity members at North Carolina’s flagship school were part of a drug trafficking ring that funneled huge quantities of drugs into three college campuses. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Greensboro announced Thursday that 21 people have been charged in connection to the ring. Investigators say the drug ring funneled more than a half-ton of marijuana, several hundred kilograms of cocaine and significant quantities of other drugs into UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University and Appalachian State University. The majority of the suspects are in their mid-twenties. It’s unclear how many are students or were students at any of those three schools.



Biden picks Regan for EPA nominee, Haaland for interior head
President-elect Joe Biden says he has chosen North Carolina regulator Michael S. Regan as his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary. Biden said Thursday that the selections round out what he said would be an experienced climate team ready from their first day in office to tackle the “undeniable, accelerating, punishing reality of climate change.” The picks also help Biden fulfill his promise to put together a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of America. Regan is Black, while Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet member in U.S. history.



Appeals court rejects bid to return Confederate statue
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Court of Appeals has rejected a bid by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to force the city of Winston-Salem to return a statue of a Confederate soldier to its former downtown location. The appeals court ruled 2-1 on Monday that a Superior Judge did not make a mistake in May 2019 when he dismissed a lawsuit over the statue brought by the state and local chapters of the UDC. The dissenting judge said the city broke state and federal laws in removing the statue without giving notice and going through other procedures.



North Carolina officer fatally shot outside restaurant
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police officer and an armed suspect have been killed outside a fast food restaurant after a shootout that also left another officer wounded. The shooting happened late Wednesday night in Concord, which is just northeast of Charlotte. Authorities identified the slain officer as Officer Jason Shuping, who joined the force last year. Police Chief Gary J. Gacek says two officers encountered a carjacking suspect at a Sonic Drive-in and were shot. He says another two officers then arrived and fatally shot the suspect. The fatal shooting marks the second time since last week that a police officer was killed near the Charlotte area.



Gov. Cooper issues pardons of innocence to 5 inmates
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has issued five pardons of innocence to people he believes are not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. Cooper’s pardons open the door for the ex-convicts to receive $50,000 from the state for each year they were wrongly imprisoned. They can secure a maximum of $750,000. Among the inmates pardoned is Ronnie Long. Long spent 44 years in prison for a rape he says he didn’t commit. Cooper also pardoned Teddy Isbell, Sr., Kenneth Kagonyera, Damian Mills and Larry Williams, Jr.



Police: Man rejected by Army shot at recruitment center
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina man shot at an Army recruiting station after being rejected from joining the Armed Forces branch. James Alexander Cooper faces several charges, including six counts of assault. An Army spokeswoman told The News & Observer that no one was wounded during the shooting, though the gunfire damaged the building’s entrance. Greensboro police say 36-year-old Cooper was arrested at the scene Monday and also had “several orders for arrest related to previous charges.” Army officials say Cooper had applied to join the Army but was disqualified. It’s unclear why he was rejected. It’s also unclear whether Cooper has an attorney.



GM is renovating NC facility to build US Army troop carrier
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – General Motors says it’s renovating a GM building in North Carolina to support production a military trooper carrier. The announcement was made Thursday GM Defense LLC, which is a subsidiary of General Motors. The facility is located in Concord, which is out Charlotte. The troop carrier that is going to be built is called an Infantry Squad Vehicle. The company says it’s a light and agile all-terrain carrier that can transport a nine-soldier infantry squad. The carriers are based off the architecture of the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck. The vehicle will be light enough to be sling loaded from a Blackhawk helicopter and compact enough to fit inside a Chinook helicopter.



‘If not one thing, it’s another’: Storm rolls into Northeast
NEW YORK (AP) – A major snowstorm has rolled into the Northeast at a key moment in the coronavirus pandemic. It’s coming days into the beginning of a massive vaccination campaign and in the thick of a virus surge that has throngs of people seeking tests per day. The storm is poised to drop as much as 2 feet of snow in some places by Thursday, and the pandemic is adding new complexities to officials’ preparations, from deciding whether to close testing sites to figuring out how to handle plowing amid outdoor dining platforms in New York City streets. Still, officials say they don’t expect the winter blast to disrupt vaccine distribution.



AP-WF-12-18-20 1120GMT