Latest North Carolina News:
XGR-BAR BILL RELIEF
Bar owners to postpone ABC fees under new law OK’d by Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill on Thursday allowing bar owners whose businesses were limited or shut down by his COVID-19 restrictions to defer permitting fees to the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission until they are allowed to fully resume operations. The new law that was introduced by House Republicans and unanimously approved by state lawmakers also allows ABC permittees whose operations were limited by Cooper’s executive orders to request a refund for any fees they paid during the 2020-2021 permit year. Payment deferrals on registrations and renewals will remain in place until Cooper’s directives limiting operations expire or are rescinded.
OBIT-DUKE BELL MUSICIAN
Man who played Duke Chapel bells for 50 years dies
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke University says a musician who played the bells at its iconic chapel at the end of each academic day for over five decades has died. A university news release said J. Samuel Hammond began playing the 50-bell carillon his freshman year at Duke in the 1960s. Hammond retired as university carillonneur in 2018. The bells at the Gothic chapel are played by striking wooden keys by hand and pressing foot pedals, similar to a piano. The keys and pedals control cables that cause hammers to strike the bells, which range in size from 10 pounds to more than 5 tons.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-INMATE RELEASE
Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina civil rights groups reached a deal with prison officials to offer an early release of at least 3,500 people in state custody. The state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and American Civil Liberties Union argued that conditions at state prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic were unconstitutional. If the settlement is approved, the state will have three months to release 1,500 inmates and three more months to release an additional 2,000. At least 47 inmates have died of COVID-19. State data shows nearly 10,000 prisoners have tested positive for the virus to date.
Police: Man faces charges from 1990 Fayetteville rape case
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, say a prison inmate has been charged in a cold case rape from more than three decades ago. The Fayetteville Observer reported Wednesday that Timothy Kurt Ragler faces charges including first-degree rape and and kidnapping. Authorities say the assault occurred in 1990. Police said the victim was walking to her vehicle after leaving work when Ragler attacked. The initial investigation was stymied because of the limitations at the time in DNA technology. Police said that recently tested DNA identified him as the assailant. Court records show that he is already serving life imprisonment for unrelated sexual assault crimes in Cumberland County. It’s unclear if he has hired an attorney.
FORCED ENTRY SHOOTING-DEPUTY
Release: Man shot after forcibly entering deputy’s home
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina man chasing a family member, forcibly entered the home of an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, who shot and wounded the man. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation says the incident happened Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington. A news release says 40-year-old Bart Anthony Coniglio initially forced his way into a family member’s home. The release says the relative and a friend left the home and ran to the nearby house of a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The release says Coniglio chased the pair into the deputy’s home and was subsequently shot. Coniglio was hospitalized. It’s unclear whether any charges will be filed.
Two charged in fatal North Carolina shooting that injured 3
CARY, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have arrested two men in a shooting in which one person was killed and three others were wounded. WNCN reports Cary police announced Thursday that 24-year-old Giovanni Ramirez of Durham is charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury after the shooting on Feb. 13. Police also arrested 21-year-old Juan Manuel Calvo-Hernandez of Cary was arrested on Feb. 17 and charged with murder. Officers responding to a call found 22-year-old Eric Hernan Salas-Nepomuceno of Durham in the parking lot of a bar with a gunshot wound. Police said he died at the scene.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Cooper lifts curfew, eases gathering and occupancy limits
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced bars can reopen with indoor service for the first time since in nearly a year. He also eased gathering indoor gathering limits and occupancy limits for many businesses starting Friday. His new executive order paves the way for large sports and entertainment venue to allow fans back. If health guidelines are followed, facilities with over 5,000 seats can operate at 15% capacity. Smaller sports facilities, bars and movie theaters can operate at 30% capacity up to 250 people. Restaurants, retailers and many other businesses can admit customers up to 50% of capacity. Cooper also lifted the state’s 10 p.m. curfew.