Latest North Carolina News:
VIRUS OUTBREAK-RELIEF BILL
NC Senate OK’s bill distributing federal COVID relief money
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state senators have approved a bill to give parents more time to apply for $335 checks to help offset childcare expenses and costs associated with having their kids learning remotely. The bill also distributes money the federal government sent to the state as part of its December stimulus package. Additional relief will go to help schools reopen, provide rent relief and help local officials more quickly vaccinate residents. The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives. It will then make its way to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper.
Sitting on billions, Catholic dioceses amassed taxpayer aid
An Associated Press investigation has found that scores of Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. had more than $10 billion in cash and other readily available funds when they received at least $1.5 billion from the federal government’s small business emergency relief program. The Paycheck Protection Program was intended for employers who were badly battered by coronavirus lock downs. Instead of suffering financially, however, many dioceses are reporting in audited financial statements that these assets ended up growing amid the economic downturn. Overall, Catholic Church recipients were perhaps the paycheck program’s biggest beneficiaries. Church officials say they needed government relief to pay staff because donations from the faithful slowed when churches were ordered to close.
Takeaways: AP investigation of Catholic Church and US aid
When the coronavirus pandemic sent the U.S. economy into freefall, the federal government hastily knit a safety net for small businesses called the Paycheck Protection Program. The idea was to keep Main Street alive – and workers paid – even as the public health emergency shuttered shops and offices. An Associated Press investigation found that the Roman Catholic Church was perhaps the program’s biggest beneficiary. Catholic dioceses, where bishops and cardinals govern, collectively had billions in cash and other readily available funds when they received at least $3 billion from the small business emergency relief program. And instead of suffering financially, many Catholic dioceses are reporting that their available assets ended up growing amid the broader economic downturn.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Police: Suspect wounded following officer-involved shooting
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say that a person has suffered a gunshot wound following a police-involved shooting in Rocky Mount. WNCT reports that the incident occurred Tuesday night during a traffic stop. Authorities say that Rocky Mount police had responded to help the North Carolina State Highway Patrol with the traffic stop. Authorities said the suspect had fled. Rocky Mount police said that officers arrived and encountered a person matching the suspect’s description. Police said that shots were fired as officers attempted to detain the person. Police said the suspect suffered a gunshot wound and was taken to a nearby hospital. The investigation remains under investigation. No officers were injured during the incident.
ODD-SNAKE IN DASHBOARD
Whoa! Boa constrictor stuck in car dashboard freed unharmed
ALBEMARLE, N.C. (AP) – A pet boa constrictor that became stuck behind the dashboard of car in North Carolina needed the help of animal control officers to wriggle free. The pet snake was ultimately released from its owner’s car unharmed, but not before some pieces of the dashboard were removed. The Charlotte Observer reports that officers with the Stanly County Animal Protective Services were dispatched Tuesday to free the snake. It’s not known how the snake became stuck in such a tight space. Authorities said the nonvenomous tropical snake is believed to have measured about 5 feet in length. Boa constrictors are a species of nonvenomous tropical snake capable of swallowing their prey whole.
AP-NC-BODY FOUND-SUBMERGED CAR
Body found in submerged car off I-95 in North Carolina
SELMA, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is looking into the discovery of a submerged car with a man’s body inside off Interstate 95. WRAL reports patrol investigators said skid marks suggest the driver ran off I-95 north of Selma and his car went into water near Campground Road. Early Wednesday, divers found the car and pulled it from the water and recovered the man’s body. According to the patrol, the unidentified man was the only person in the car. There were car seats in the backseat, but the patrol said the children weren’t with the man.
UNC Wilmington launches $100 million campaign
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington say the school has raised $86 million as part of a campaign to support students, faculty, programs and facilities. A news release from the school says UNCW began counting gifts toward the campaign’s goal of $100 million on July 1, 2015. Among the donors are David Congdon and his wife, who made a $10 million gift commitment to establish the David S. Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems. Among the newest programs already established at the school is the bachelor’s degree in coastal engineering, which the school says is the first of its kind in the nation.