AP-NC Newswatch

Financial News
February 19, 2021
AP Scorecard
February 19, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch



Latest North Carolina News:



Lights come back on in Texas as water woes rise in the South
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Many Texans finally have electricity back after a deadly blast of winter this week overwhelmed the electrical grid and left millions shivering in the cold for days. But the crisis is far from over, with 7 million in the state ordered to boil their water before consuming it. And in Jackson, Mississippi, nearly everyone in the city of about 180,000 lost water service. About 325,000 homes and businesses in Texas still had no electricity on Thursday, down from about 3 million a day earlier. Utility officials say there could be more limited rolling blackouts. The extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of at least 56 people.



The Latest: Most of a Mississippi city is without water
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says almost all of Jackson, a city of around 150,000 people, is now without water. Lumumba says public works crews are working to pump as much water as they can to refill the city’s tanks. He notes that the city is approaching a critical shortage in chemicals used to treat the city’s water. Road closures are making it difficult for distributors to make needed deliveries. Linda Weathersby, an administrative assistant for the mayor’s office in Jackson, lives in an apartment building for seniors in the city. She says there are 85 seniors who have been living in her building without water since Monday.



Audit: NC Medicaid failed to confirm provider qualifications
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s state auditor says the state’s Medicaid agency fell short on ensuring doctors and other medical providers met licensing and ownership qualifications to serve patients in the program. Thursday’s report from State Auditor Beth Wood’s office examined samples from among the state’s 90,000 Medicaid providers. The performance audit found the state Medicaid office often failed to identify and remove those whose professional licenses has been suspended or terminated. A contractor performs those duties. There are over $13 million in potential overpayments in the samples alone. Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen agrees with the audit findings and says changes already are implemented.



North Carolina faces COVID vaccine delays amid poor weather
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina public health officials say they’re experiencing shipping delays that could cause providers to have to reschedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The Department of Health and Human Services says few Pfizer doses have shipped this week. Doses of the Moderna vaccine have yet to arrive. The inclement weather is causing delays across the country as states work to vaccinate people. North Carolina was expected to receive over 163,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and nearly 127,000 does from Pfizer. People living in rural communities are more likely to get Moderna shots because of shipping and packaging constraints.



NC judge keeps in place Medicaid managed care awards
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A trial court judge says he’ll leave in place another judge’s decision that rejected arguments from an unsuccessful bidder for North Carolina’s upcoming managed-care initiative for Medicaid. The Wake Superior Court judge said late Thursday he would uphold an administrative law judge’s previous decision affirming how the Department of Health and Human Services conducted the process that led to contract awards in 2019. Four conventional insurers and one physician partnership received the awards. But a group that missed out and called “My Health by Health Providers” says the process was flawed and biased. The managed-care program is supposed to go live in July.



Feds add charges for men accused of in 9-year-old’s death
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say two North Carolina men accused in the shooting death of a 9-year-old boy now face federal racketeering charges, specifically committing violent crimes to aid their Durham gang operation. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports an Oct. 27 indictment sealed until Friday says Antonio “Lil Tony” Davenport and Dival “Paco” Nygee Magwood and the Eight Trey Gangster Crips sold drugs, committed fraud, and engaged in other illegal activity and violent crimes to enrich the gang’s members. In August 2019, 9-year-old Z’Yon Person was shot in the head as he rode in an SUV.



North Carolina man accused in dog’s fatal stabbing
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been arrested on a charge of animal cruelty after a sheriff’s office says he stabbed a dog to death. News outlets report a spokesperson for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were alerted to the dog’s possible killing on Feb. 5 and went to 29-year-old John Ryan Stout’s home, where he said the dog died of natural causes and was buried in the backyard. According to the sheriff’s office, a 911 caller told authorities several days later they found a dead dog inside a trash bag. A necropsy showed the dog had been stabbed to death.



Cooper seeking improved warning system after deadly tornado
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the state must learn from the surprise tornado that struck the community of Ocean Isle Beach with little or no warning, leaving three people dead and 10 injured. The Democratic governor toured the damages Wednesday and promised to rush state resources to help people rebuild. He said officials must study how to give more warning time in future storms. Residents told the governor they had to scramble quickly to hide in closets and bathrooms as the tornado struck late Monday night. Many are now working to recover anything salvageable from their shattered homes and businesses. And they worry about how they’ll rebuild.



AP-WF-02-19-21 1120GMT