Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
NC deploys National Guard for security in DC, Raleigh
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has mobilized 550 members of the National Guard in light of concerns over security in Washington and state capitals. He says 200 guardsmen will help before and during President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. North Carolina is one of dozens of states sending personnel to Washington. Cooper says the other 350 other guardsmen will remain for duty in North Carolina. The Democratic governor says they will be deployed for about 7 to 8 days because of “threats of significant large-scale protests in D.C.”
NC legislature opens session subdued amid virus, DC unrest
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has officially begun its two-year session with much of the usual pomp subdued in the name of safety due to COVID-19. The gavels went down Wednesday on a House and Senate that remained in Republican hands after the November elections. Sen. Phil Berger of Eden was elected to a sixth term as Senate leader, while Rep. Tim Moore of Kings Mountain won a fourth term as House speaker. Coronavirus concerns prevented families from joining elected lawmakers on the chamber floors for their swearings-in. The session reconvenes Jan. 27 after Wednesday’s one-day session.
One dead, several hurt after retaining wall collapses
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina city say one person is dead and at least four people were injured after a retaining wall fell on construction workers. The City of Hendersonville says in a news release that the accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at a site adjacent to the parking lot of a local business. According to the city, two people were taken by helicopter and one was taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals, while a fourth person was treated at the scene. The name of the victim hasn’t been released as officials work to notify relatives.
BC-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-UNC
UNC sees COVID-19 cluster in students who stayed on campus
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is reporting a COVID-19 cluster that it says involved students who stayed on the campus during winter break. The school said on its website that the cases were found through evaluation testing of students who lived at Carmichael Residence Hall over the break. According to the school, more than a thousand students stayed on campus throughout the fall semester, including athletes, international students and those facing financial hardships. Hundreds also stayed over winter break because of the coronavirus pandemic.
AP-NC-VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA-TRAFFIC DEATHS
Despite pandemic, North Carolina traffic deaths hit 1,500
Traffic deaths in North Carolina last year surpassed 1,500 for the first time in 13 years despite a pandemic during which motorists logged fewer miles statewide. The Charlotte Observer reports N.C. Department of Transportation data shows the number of miles driven dropped 19% last year, but the number of fatal crashes rose 8% over the previous year. Mark Ezzell, director of the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program, says with COVID-19, people are concentrating on their health and their financial futures and not focusing on driving. Ezzell says the rise in traffic deaths is a public health crisis.
RIGHT WHALES-SPEED LIMITS
Lawsuit seeks more protection for endangered right whales
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Conservation groups are suing the federal government, saying it has taken too long act on proposals to expand protections for critically endangered right whales. The lawsuit filed Wednesday says the National Marine Fisheries Service has long ignored conservationists’ petitions to broaden speed limit restrictions on ships in U.S. waters where the rare whales feed and give birth. Collisions with ships are one of the top killers of right whales. Scientists estimate fewer than 370 of the rare whales remain alive. The lawsuits asks a federal judge to force the government agency to make a decision on the proposed protections the groups requested in 2012 and 2020.
AP-NC-RARE TURTLE FOUND DEAD
Rare sea turtle found dead on North Carolina’s Outer Banks
FRSICO, N.C. (AP) – A species of sea turtle that is rarely seen on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has been found dead in a Frisco marsh near the Pamlico Sound. The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday that biologists have so far been unable to find a cause of death of the leatherback sea turtle. The creature weighed upwards of 500 pounds. And biologists solicited the help áof a construction company’s crane to lift the dead animal onto a barge. Biologists with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Park Service found no obvious cause of death. The investigation revealed no physical injuries, plastics in the intestines or major parasites. But the animal’s organs suggested the animal was under physiological stress.
Ex-general is Cooper’s choice for military affairs secretary
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A retired three-star Marine Corps general is Gov. Roy Cooper’s choice as North Carolina’s next military and veterans affairs secretary. Walter Gaskin retired from active duty in 2013 as a lieutenant general. Cooper announced on Wednesday that he’ll join Cooper’s Cabinet. Gaskin will succeed former state Rep. Larry Hall, who served as secretary during Cooper’s first term. Gaskin’s last duty station was in Belgium as a military adviser for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He also served at Camp Lejeune and most recently joined the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission. Gaskin is subject to state Senate confirmation.