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December 30, 2020
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December 30, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



Restoring longleaf pines, keystone of once vast ecosystems
DESOTO NATIONAL FOREST, Miss. (AP) – Three centuries ago, much of what is now the southern United States was covered with fire-dependent savannas anchored by lofty pines. By the 1900s, less than 3% of America’s longleaf pine forests remained. Logging, clear-cutting for farms and development and fire suppression had all but eliminated the trees and the grasslands beneath where hundreds of plant and animal species flourished. Now, landowners, nonprofits and government agencies are working in nine coastal states from Virginia to Texas to bring back longleaf pines. The trees are named for the footlong needles prized by Native Americans for weaving baskets.



North Carolina Court of Appeals gets new leader
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Judge Donna Stroud will be the next leader of the 15-member North Carolina Court of Appeals. Outgoing Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley formally appointed Stroud to the post of chief judge, effective Friday. Stroud succeeds Linda McGee, who didn’t seek reelection this year and is leaving the court. So is Judge Wanda Bryant, who held the most seniority after McGee and also didn’t run. Stroud has been on the court since 2007 and was once a Wake County District Court judge. The intermediate-level Court of Appeals usually meets in three-judge panels to hear cases.



Ex-Cabinet member, NC governor nominee Flaherty dies at 92
CARY, N.C. (AP) – David Flaherty, a former cabinet secretary for Republican North Carolina governors and former GOP gubernatorial nominee himself, has died at the age of 92. A funeral home confirmed on Tuesday that Flaherty died áfrom natural causes on Dec. 20 at his home in Cary. Flaherty was a state senator who later served as state human resources secretary for Govs. Jim Holshouser and Jim Martin. He won the 1976 GOP nomination for governor but was handily defeated that November by Democrat Jim Hunt. áFlaherty was a Boston native who moved to North Carolina in the 1950s while employed by Broyhill Industries.



Marc Basnight, longest serving NC Senate leader, dies at 73
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – One of North Carolina’s most powerful contemporary political leaders has died. Former state Sen. Marc Basnight served a record 18 years as Senate leader. A family spokesperson said the Democrat died Monday afternoon at his home near the North Carolina barrier islands called the Outer Banks. He had been ill for years with what was later diagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His nine terms as Senate president pro tempore through 2010 made him the longest-serving head of a legislative body in North Carolina history. Gov. Roy Cooper served with Basnight in the Senate. Cooper called him a “giant” in North Carolina.



Body found near where kayaker went missing in North Carolina
MANNS HARBOR, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say that a body has been found on the shores of the Croatan Sound in an area where a kayaker went missing. The Charlotte Observer reports that the discovery was made around 3 p.m. Monday. The sound runs between the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Roanoke Island, which is near the Outer Banks. John Beardsley of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said that a duck hunter discovered the body. Beardsley said the body was being moved to a state Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville. Officials said that Kayaker Alexander Rush of Kill Devil Hills went missing in early December. Rush’s overturned kayak was later found in the Croatan Sound.



Laid-off preschool teacher buys $250,000 lottery ticket
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A laid-off preschool teacher in North Carolina has won a $250,000 prize from a scratch-off lotto ticket. WBTV reported Sunday that Joe Camp had been a preschool teacher in Charlotte for 20 years before he was laid off in September. He was able to find a job at a car dealership. He also bought two Gold Rush scratch-off tickets at a gas station in Charlotte. Camp said he fell to his knees at the gas pump after seeing the winnings. áAfter taxes, Camp claimed $176,876. Camp said he plans to use his winnings to save for his daughter’s future and buy a home.



ATF: Potentially live grenade was sold at antique mall
OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking for a hand grenade that was sold a North Carolina antique mall. The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that the device may actually be live and ready to explode. The agency said that the grenade was purchased June 13 from the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Ocean Isle Beach. Workers had thought they sold something that was little more than a harmless paperweight. The ATF wants the public’s help in locating the grenade and the person who bought it. It wouldn’t be the first time a potentially harmful grenade was sold. A live grenade was found last year at a thrift store in Durham inside a dresser that someone had donated.



A divided nation asks: What’s holding our country together?
After a highly contentious, seemingly never-ending election season in 2020, many feel a sense of loss. For some folks, it’s that their candidate didn’t prevail. For others, the losses are more intangible, and heartbreakingly profound: A sense of dignity and respect for each other has waned over the past four years. And for still others, it’s the visceral realization that the very foundations of America have been shaken – not only by Washington-led rancor and partisanship, but by the deadly coronavirus pandemic, as well. If elections are meant to be a way to solve disputes and conflict, November didn’t deliver on that promise.



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