Latest North Carolina News:
Police charge man with setting fire to occupied home
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police have charged a North Carolina man with intentionally setting fire to a home while a woman was inside. Gastonia police said 64-year-old Desmond Ray Hunter, of Bessemer City, used an accelerant to start the fire shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday. The Gaston Gazette reports that Hunter is accused of lighting the back of the house on fire. The blaze caused about $10,000 in damage to the rear porch, back door, and exterior wall and roof. Police charged Hunter with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree arson. He was booked in Gaston County Jail early Sunday. He’s being held without bond.
Rural South Carolina hospital loses $8 million in pandemic
ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) – A hospital that serves part of rural South Carolina said it lost more than $8 million last fiscal year in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg said that loss from July 2019 to June 2020 should be covered by COVID-19 aid expected to be doled out over the next several years. The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported that the pandemic hurt the hospital system’s finances both through fewer visits to clinics and specialists as patients worried about getting the virus and with extra costs in protecting people and workers from being infected and paying contract workers.
SC governor honors residents who share weather observations
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina’s governor is recognizing residents who help out forecasters by collecting and sharing weather data from across the state. Gov. Henry McMaster has declared the week starting Sunday as “South Carolina Citizen Weather Observer Week.” The South Carolina Climatology Office said residents can join the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, which is also called CoCoRaHS. The rainfall data have helped forecasts and emergency officials keep people safe during the 2015 floods as well as Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018. The observers also help with long-term weather trends like droughts and can eventually help determine how the state’s climate is changing over decades.
South emerges as flashpoint of brewing redistricting battle
States across the South are the center of the upcoming, once-a-decade redistricting battle. The region is the fastest-growing in the country and as a result will be adding an estimated half-a-dozen House seats. That population growth has also made it a political battleground as an influx from more liberal Northern states threatens Republicans’ control in the region. Finally, most Southern states will no longer need to run their redrawn legislative districts past the Justice Department to confirm they don’t discriminate against minorities. Civil rights group fear the loss of that safeguard could lead back to racial gerrymandering.
Georgia technical college leader to chair accrediting agency
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) – The president of a Georgia technical college has been elected to chair a college accrediting agency. Central Georgia Technical College President Ivan H. Allen was elected to chair the board of trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Allen has been a SACS trustee since 2017 and has been vice chair of the group’s executive council since 2019. He has led Central Georgia Technical College since the combined institution was created by a merger of Middle Georgia Technical College and the former Central Georgia Technical College in 2013. The Macon native became president of Middle Georgia Tech in 2005.
Folly Beach bans smoking to help eliminate cigarette litter
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (AP) – After more than a year of advocating to eliminate cigarette butt litter on Folly Beach, the city’s council has officially passed a smoking ban. The Post and Courier reports the ban targets smoking on the open beach and beach-access points. People who violate the ban face a first time fine of $25, $50 for a second offense within a year and $100 for any other violation within the same year. Surfrider Foundation Charleston launched a Hold On to Your Butt campaign at Folly Beach last summer, pushing for the ordinance in the process. Officials say the butts and filters can leach toxic chemicals into the water and soil, which could be lethal for small animals like shrimp and crabs.