AP-NC Newswatch

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December 31, 2020
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December 31, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment



More than 10,000 North Carolina students unaccounted for
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – At least 10,000 North Carolina public school students are unaccounted for amid the coronavirus pandemic. A recent report from the state’s Department of Public Instruction estimates the whereabouts of less than 1% of the roughly 1.5 million students in the state system is unknown. The pandemic has upended the way students learn. Parents across the state having the option to have their kids learn remotely. Most students are taking at least part of their classes in person. Social workers, truancy officers and counselors are working to track down every student whose whereabouts are still unknown.



Replacement plan for NC license plates begins with new year
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Millions of North Carolina motor vehicles will soon be getting a freshen-up when it comes to their license plates. Starting in 2021, any regular plate that’s at least seven years old on the vehicle’s registration renewal date will be replaced. Similarly aged specialty and vanity plates will be changed out starting in 2022. The schedule is designed to carry out a law creating a replacement mandate. Plates faded by time and the elements are difficult for police and machines to read. The replacement won’t cost car and truck owners anything, and there’s a method to let them keep their current plate number.



N.C. revises vaccine distribution plan, halts evictions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has revised its vaccine distribution to more closely align its plan with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state expects most health care providers to make vaccines available to adults aged 75 or older by the middle of January. North Carolina is seeing a slowdown in the number of vaccines it is receiving from the federal government. About 60,000 doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected to be provided each week through the end of January. Gov. Roy Cooper has also set a one-month moratorium on evictions in the state.



Raleigh police chief announces retirement
RALIEGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s capital city is set to get a new chief of police. Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown said in a statement Wednesday that she plans to retire at the start of April. She is the first African-American woman to ever lead the department. Deck-Brown joined the department in 1987. She rose through the ranks and was promoted to deputy chief in June 2011. She was picked to be the chief in 2013, winning the job over two other candidates.



2 leaders at North Carolina prison struggling with virus die
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two leaders at the North Carolina state prison that has recorded the most COVID-19 cases among offenders have died. A state prison official confirmed Wednesday that the warden at Tabor Correctional Institution died Dec. 15 and an associate warden died Dec. 24. The official says the department can’t disclose medical details of employees. The son of the associate warden told The Charlotte Observer that his father died from coronavirus complications. Tabor has recorded 560 cases among offenders during the pandemic, although only a few cases are active. Dozens of Tabor staff members who have tested positive are still off the job this week.



Departing NC chief justice unveils panel to examine bias
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Outgoing North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley has detailed a commission that will recommend how to combat unfair treatment in the judicial system based on race, gender or other factors. The Chief Justice’s Commission on Fairness and Equity was actually created by a Supreme Court order in October. The membership wasn’t released until Wednesday. Beasley is giving way this week to Paul Newby, who narrowly defeated her in the November election for chief justice. Associate Justice Michael Morgan and Court of Appeals Judge Valerie Zachary will lead the commission. The commission already has a two-year work plan.



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.



NC Sen. Sam Searcy to leave as second term begins
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state senator plans to resign as his second General Assembly term is about to begin. Wake County Democrat Sam Searcy won reelection in November, but he said in a statement on Wednesday he’s stepping aside in part due to the potential “to serve the people of North Carolina in a different capacity.” He didn’t provide details. The next two-year session begins Jan. 13. After he resigns, Wake County Democratic activists would choose someone to fill his term through 2022. Searcy joined the Senate after defeating then-Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer in 2018.



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