Latest North Carolina News:
Police: 4 found fatally shot after fire, possible explosion
LENOIR, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say a man shot his father and two sisters before setting the home they were in on fire and turning the gun on himself. The Lenoir Police Department says 29-year-old Ronald James Ward shot 15-year-old Emily Grace Ward, 18-year-old Katlyn Nichole Ward and 58-year-old Ronald Albert Ward, before he set the house on fire and shot himself. Lenoir fire and police officials and the State Bureau of Investigations continue to investigate the incident. Police say all four bodies have been taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine the exact cause of death.
Temporary Catawba casino opens in North Carolina
KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – The South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation has opened a temporary version of its proposed casino just across the border in North Carolina. Local and state officials joined tribal leaders Thursday for a ribbon-cutting at the modular facility with 500 slot machines in Kings Mountain. It’s a key step in creating the $273 million Catawba Two Kings Casino with plans for 2,600 permanent jobs and revenues for the tribe. After South Carolina spurned Catawba members’ efforts to offer gambling other than bingo in their home state, they sought to build a North Carolina casino. They cited what they call historical and ancestral ties to land there. Construction on an introductory phase is expected to begin by year’s end.
CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE
Ex-environment secretary now top NC administrative judge
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former state environmental secretary under then-Gov. Pat McCrory is the next leader of North Carolina’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Newby swore in Donald van der Vaart on Thursday to become the state’s chief administrative law judge, which also makes him OAH director. Van der Vaart succeeds Julian Mann III, who had served in the positions since 1989. The Office of Administrative Hearings is a quasi-judicial agency in which special judges review challenged state agency decisions and investigators examine discrimination allegations made by state and local government workers.
SNAKE ON THE LOOSE
Venomous snake captured in North Carolina capital
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A venomous snake has been captured two days after it was spotted on the loose in a neighborhood of North Carolina’s capital. The Raleigh Police Department sent out a notice late Wednesday announcing that the zebra cobra was found and safely removed from a northwest Raleigh neighborhood. Police didn’t give more details. Police say an animal control officer was called Monday to a home where a snake was spotted on a porch. But by the time the officer arrived, it had slithered away. Then they learned that a zebra cobra was missing from a home in the area. Officials warned anyone who saw the snake to call 911, saying it could spit and bite.
Costs watched as Medicaid managed care begins in N. Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Most of North Carolina’s Medicaid recipients have now moved over to managed care. Starting Thursday five statewide or regional health plans are handling care for roughly 1.6 million consumers covered by government health programs for poor children, older adults and others. Other patients will join next year. The managed care developers are hopeful it will mean improved health outcomes and cost controls. A 2015 state law put the wheels in motion for managed care. It was supposed to begin in 2019 but got delayed by a state budget impasse. North Carolina has been the largest state yet to switch to managed care.
ECU to use emergency funds to clear student debt from 2020
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – East Carolina University says it is using a portion of the money from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to wipe out nearly $1 million in student debt. A news release from the school says Stephanie Coleman, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance, said the debt forgiveness is intended to provide relief for students facing hardships due to the pandemic and will affect about 625 students. The funds will help pay outstanding student balances from summer and fall of 2020. ECU is expected to get $53.1 million in funding, and that includes $27.3 million for student aid and $25.8 million in institutional aid.
AP-NC-FATAL SHOOTING-TWO CHARGED
Juvenile among two charged in fatal North Carolina shooting
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Two people, one of them a teenager, are charged in connection with a fatal shooting in northwest Charlotte. A news release from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police says officers responded to reports on Tuesday of a shooting victim. When they arrived, officers found a man with an apparent gunshot wound. The man, identified as 20-year-old Joshua Hollingsworth, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police charged 24-year-old Jamal Harris with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. áA 17-year-old is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
UNC trustees OK tenure for journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have approved tenure for Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Wednesday’s 9-4 vote capped weeks of tension that began when a board member halted the process over questions about her teaching credentials. The board voted to accept the tenure application at a special meeting that included a closed-door session. The university announced in April that Hannah-Jones would be joining the journalism school faculty in July. But her lawyers announced last week she wouldn’t report for work without tenure. She had won a Pulitzer for her work on the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project focusing on America’s history of slavery.