Latest North Carolina News:
Wet and unwelcome, Fred spawns twisters and flooding in US
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Tropical Depression Fred has weakened to a depression and spawned several apparent tornadoes in Georgia as it dumps heavy rains into the Appalachian mountains. It’s on a path that could cause flash floods into upstate New York. Thousands were without power in the Florida Panhandle, where it came ashore as a tropical storm on Monday afternoon. The National Weather Service spotted three likely twisters, and said severe thunderstorms could unleash mudslides in mountainous areas of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Grace has moved west of Haiti and could become a hurricane as it moves through the Caribbean toward Mexico.
Formal NC budget negotiations to start after Senate vote
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The state Senate has rejected the House’s version of its two-year North Carolina government budget. Tuesday’s action kicks off formal talks between the two chambers on forming a final spending plan. The House gave its final approval to a budget bill last week. The Senate passed its version in late June. Any deal likely will take weeks to hammer out. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also wants to participate in negotiations in hopes of being able to sign a bill that he can accept. Cooper and GOP leaders entered a budget stalemate in 2019 that it never fully resolved after a Cooper veto.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI FIELD HOSPITAL
‘Heartbreaking’: Mississippi gets 2nd field hospital in days
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Missisippi, one of the nation’s least vaccinated states, has opened its second field hospital in days to treat a surge of coronavirus patients. The Christian charity relief group Samaritan’s Purse arrived in Mississippi has brought in more than 50 medical professionals and set up tents with 32 beds in a garage at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Days ago another emergency field hospital with federal backing was set up elsewhere on the medical center campus. Health officials say the surging delta variant of the virus has hit Mississippi like a a “tsunami,” overwhelming the state’s hospital system. Only 34% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated.
CHILD MARRIAGE-NORTH CAROLINA
Proposal to raise North Carolina marriage age to 16 gets OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina lawmakers have finalized legislation to raise the minimum age to get married in the state from 14 or 16. The Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept House changes to the measure, which now goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his expected signature. Children who are 16 or 17 would still be required to receive formal legal permission to marry. The age difference between the youth and their spouse could be no more than four years. North Carolina had recently become a destination for out-of-state couples that included youths, as surrounding states had raised their minimum ages and made it tougher to wed.
UNC journalism school dean announces she is stepping down
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The dean of the school of journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the effort to bring award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones to her faculty, says she’s stepping down. Susan King issued a statement to the faculty of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media on Tuesday. King led the effort to bring award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones to the journalism school, but her tenure application went without consideration from the board of trustees, who later accepted the application. Hannah-Jones chose instead to take a position at Howard University.
North Carolina state Rep. Kidwell recovering from COVID-19
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state legislator is recovering at home after he tested positive for COVID-19 recently and was hospitalized. The director of the House Republican Caucus said Tuesday that Rep. Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County and his wife both were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Kidwell said by social media that he returned home from Vidant Beaufort Hospital over the weekend. His wife is back home now, too. Kidwell is an income tax return preparer now in his second House term. He’s chairman of the House Freedom Caucus at the General Assembly.
Cooper’s new environment pick gets positive hearing response
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest pick for environment secretary had a largely favorable visit before senators weighing her confirmation. Elizabeth Biser took questions Tuesday from a Senate committee. Senate Republicans declined in June to confirm Dionne Delli-Gatti for the post, saying her response on natural gas issues were lacking. It marked the first time a Cabinet appointment had received a no-confirmation result since the Senate began confirmations in 2017. Biser said she aligns herself with Cooper’s energy strategy to locate a mix of fuel sources and that her agency would treat a natural gas pipeline permit like any other project.
LAWMAKER CHARGED-NORTH CAROLINA
Ex-NC lawmaker gets probation for campaign money scheme
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina state lawmaker has received probation and a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty a year ago to an unlawful scheme to siphon campaign dollars to his family farm. Former Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County was sentenced Tuesday in Charlotte federal court. Lewis was chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee and author of Republican redistricting plans during the 2010s. He resigned from the legislature in August 2020 as the plea agreement became public. Prosecutors recommended that he receive no prison time. The scheme involved moving campaign money for business and personal use.