AP-NC Newswatch

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October 5, 2021
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October 5, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch


Latest North Carolina News:


North Carolina COVID trends improve despite low vaccinations
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics are improving even as fewer and fewer people are receiving a vaccine. State health department data released Monday showed unvaccinated residents are far likelier to contract the virus, become hospitalized and die. State health officials warn of a decreased effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing infection from the more contagious delta variant. But the approved COVID-19 shots remains the best prevention measure. In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have dropped by 25%. Cases have declined by more than 30%. The share of tests coming back positive are also dwindling.



Health care obligations for NC retirees before Supreme Court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court is now considering whether the legislature’s decision 10 years ago to begin charging some retired state government workers and teachers a premium for health insurance violated an agreement the state made with those workers. The justices heard arguments Monday but didn’t immediately rule. Their decision could affect hundreds of thousands of retirees and the state with premium refunds and future expenses. Retirees argue the state was contractually obligated to offer premium-free benefits under a plan in which they paid 20 percent of their co-insurance. State attorneys say there was never a contract, and that lawmakers have adjusted insurance benefits often.



North Carolina man charged in deputy’s shooting during check
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office has charged a man after one of its deputies was wounded as they went to serve him an involuntary commitment order. News outlets report Robert Joseph Westrup appeared in court on Monday on charges of assault on law enforcement with a deadly weapon and attempted first-degree murder. Three Craven County sheriff’s deputies went to serve Westrup on Friday after his family expressed concern. According to the sheriff’s office, Westrup fired on the deputies and hit deputy Zachary Bellingham, who is recovering in the hospital. Westrup requested a court-appointed attorney on Monday and is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 14.



Virginia woman accused of stealing SUV with five kids inside
CURRITUCK, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina have accused a Virginia woman of stealing an SUV with five children inside after the driver had stopped to help her following a multi-car crash. The Currituck County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that the SUV driver stopped and got out to assist after witnessing the crash on Sunday. One of the drivers involved in the crash got out of their car, jumped into the SUV and drove off with the children. Deputies apprehended her after she stopped at a convenience store and ran. The sheriff’s office filed multiple charges against Markell Hancox of Chesapeake, Virginia, including second-degree kidnapping.



NC Democrat, LGBT-rights activist Allison dies at 74
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A transgender woman who became a strong Democratic activist on behalf of LGBT rights in North Carolina has died. Janice Covington Allison was 74. A friend says she died at a Charlotte hospital on Friday. Allison became the first transgender woman to represent North Carolina at the Democratic National Convention when she was elected a delegate to the 2012 convention in Charlotte. Allison also ran unsuccessfully for North Carolina Democratic Party chair in 2015, and was also the party’s diversity and outreach chair. State Democratic Party leaders called Allison a “champion for the transgender community.”



Woman wanted for killing in North Carolina found in Georgia
SOUTH FULTON, Ga. (AP) – Police say a woman wanted for a killing in North Carolina has been found in Georgia with her 2-year-old son. The South Fulton Police Department says 31-year-old Camille Singleton was taken into custody at a Walmart on Sunday. She’s a suspect in the killing of Inita Gaither in Clayton, North Carolina. Officers found the 68-year-old dead inside her home while conducting a welfare check on Thursday. Police say she and Singleton were related. Singleton’s son was the subject of an AMBER Alert issued Friday. He was found unharmed with his mother on Sunday and was placed in the care of family members. Police said Singleton would be extradited to North Carolina.



Missing couple found dead in North Carolina newspaper office
NEWTON, N.C. (AP) – Police say a missing couple were found shot to death inside a North Carolina newspaper office. Officers with the Newton Police Department and deputies with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office responded to calls Friday about the two missing people. WJZY reported they were 55-year-old Cindy Hull and 58-year-old Larry Brigham. Police were following up on leads around 11 p.m. when they found their cars parked outside The Observer News Enterprise on North College Avenue in Newton, police said, according to WBTV. Inside the business, police said they found Hull and Brigham dead with gunshot wounds, WBTV reported.



North Carolina state Rep. Dana Bumgardner dies
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina state Rep. Dana Bumgardner has died from cancer. North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore confirmed Bumgardner’s death on Saturday. The Gaston County Republican died at his home in Gastonia. He was in his fifth two-year term. He is survived by his wife Cindy, his children, Lauren and Austin, and his grandchildren Payton, Maggie, and Kate.