Latest North Carolina News:
At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox were killed during a routine welfare check last week. On Thursday, family members and those who worked with them remembered them as heroes who dedicated their lives to serving North Carolina’s Watauga County community. A funeral service was held in their honor and attracted many visitors both in-person and online. The deputies’ fathers praised law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line every day, as their sons did. They asked the public to appreciate the sacrifices officers makes and show them that they care.
Appeals judges skeptical about reinstating NC abortion ban
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal judges have expressed skepticism about reinstating North Carolina’s ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday heard oral arguments from attorneys for abortion providers who sued to challenge the ban and local prosecutors and state officials who are trying to restore it. The law contains an exception for medical emergencies. A trial judge declared the ban unconstitutional in 2019. The U.S. Supreme Court has protected abortion as a constitutional right until a fetus develops enough to live outside the womb, generally between 24 and 28 weeks.
NC House votes to bar abortions based on race, Down syndrome
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina House has approved legislation barring abortion providers from performing the procedure if a woman’s decision centered on the unborn child’s race or a Down syndrome diagnosis. Thursday’s vote came after nearly after an hour of impassioned debate. Abortion rights groups and their allies on the House floor agreed the measure is another method to meddle in the deeply personal decisions of a woman. Six Democrats joined the Republicans in voting for measure, which now goes to the Senate. The bill is likely to receive the veto stamp of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper if it should reach his desk.
NORTH CAROLINA-DEPUTY SHOOTING
Elizabeth City curfews lifted 2 weeks after deputy shooting
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County have lifted curfews that were implemented after county sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a Black man in the city. Websites for the city and county stated that the 8 p.m. curfews were lifted on Thursday. The curfews were implemented April 26 in the wake of protests against the shooting death of Andrew Brown Jr. outside his Elizabeth City home on April 21. Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies were serving drug-related search and arrest warrants when Brown was shot. Brown, who was Black, was behind the wheel of his car. An independent autopsy commissioned by the family said that he was shot five times, including in the back of the head.
Higher penalties for rioting advance in N. Carolina House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Punishments for rioting in North Carolina would be increased and new criminal counts created for mayhem resulting in death in legislation approved by a House committee. The measure was pushed personally on Thursday by House Speaker Tim Moore. He cited both the destruction of property in cities linked to some demonstrations following the May 2020 death of George Floyd and the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as reasons for the bill. Critics call the measure unnecessary and harsh and suggest this bill and others like it elsewhere are designed to quiet people seeking racial equity.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Most North Carolina adults have now gotten a COVID-19 shot
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Most North Carolina adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot. The state Department of Health and Human Services revealed the updated figures on Thursday. Elderly residents have overwhelmingly gotten the vaccine, with nearly three in four adults 65 years or older now fully vaccinated. Participation among younger residents, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24, is lagging behind. Those under 50 are also underrepresented in vaccine adoption rates. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials hope a message of a return to summer and easing of mask mandates as more people get vaccinated will provide a strong incentive for residents to come in for their shot.
STREET RACING CRACKDOWN
Dozens charged, vehicles seized in street racing crackdown
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina have charged more than 50 people and seized 60 vehicles as part of a crackdown on illegal street racing. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said the charges and seizures were made Thursday in a multiagency effort that included the North Carolina Highway Patrol and municipal and county law enforcement agencies throughout the Charlotte area. The crackdown was launched last year after Charlotte-Mecklenburg police received several complaints in October about aggressive driving and street racing. A multi-agency enforcement effort over six months resulted in more than 2,500 traffic stops and nearly 3,500 violations.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL VISITS
NC bills seeking to preserve patient visitation advance
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislators are pressing to ensure patients at North Carolina health care facilities can count on receiving visitors and clergy, especially during future emergencies. The state Senate and House approved separate measures Wednesday designed to address situations where patients lacked access to a minister or visits from family during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions and later died. The Senate’s “No Patient Left Behind” bill directs regulators to fine hospitals and other facilities at least $500 per day if they don’t comply with federal visitation rules. The House measure tells state-licensed hospitals to allow a clergy member to visit any patient requesting one.