AP-NC Newswatch

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December 22, 2021
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December 22, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch


Latest North Carolina News:


Drought conditions plaguing much of North Carolina
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The combination of an extended period of abnormally dry weather and above-normal temperatures has plunged much of North Carolina into drought, and projections for 2022 suggest conditions won’t improve. The Fayetteville Observer reports that in the latest drought map, a belt of “severe drought” extends from roughly Statesville through Charlotte and the Fayetteville area into northeastern North Carolina. The U.S. Drought Monitor says severe drought means water users should eliminate nonessential uses of water and prepare for possible mandatory water restrictions. Early projections tied to a La Nina weather system in the equatorial Pacific show it could continue into 2022.



North Carolina man’s body found in house fire; cause unknown
VALE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has died in a house fire, and investigators are trying to determine the cause of the blaze. The Hickory Daily Record reports investigators identified the man as 63-year-old Robin Greeson Martin of Vale. Capt. Aaron Turk of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said the medical examiner is still working to determine a cause of death. Catawba County Deputy Fire Marshal Jennifer Lowrance said Monday’s fire started in the interior bedroom of the home. Lowrance said while investigators know where the fire started, they don’t know what started it.



North Carolina man killed by wrong-way driver on I-85
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says a man was killed when the car he was driving on Interstate 85 was hit by another car headed in the wrong direction. News outlets report 37-year-old Noah Cameron, was heading home from his job when a wrong-way driver ran into his Chevrolet early Sunday. A family member told WSOC that he was driving home from his job in Matthews. Officials said Cameron died at the scene of the crash, near Moose Road and the town of Landis in Rowan County. The other driver was hospitalized with serious injuries,



North Carolina governor grants pardon to man freed in 2016
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has pardoned a man who had spent nearly 24 years in prison after allegations he sexually assaulted his 9-year-old daughter. The man, Howard Dudley, was freed in 2016 after his daughter recanted her testimony. The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the governor’s pardon makes Dudley eligible to file a claim for compensation under state laws for people wrongly convicted of felonies. Dudley maintained his innocence from the start. He was convicted in 1992 of first-degree sexual offense and taking indecent liberties with a minor. A judge in 2016 vacated Dudley’s convictions and ordered his release, calling the daughter’s recantation credible and believable.



Four charged after I-40 blocked by drivers doing stunts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says charges have been filed against three adults and a teenager in connection with car stunts that shut down a portion of Interstate 40. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports patrol spokesperson Sgt. Christopher Knox said troopers responded to reports of vehicles blocking all eastbound lanes of I-40 near Aviation Parkway, close to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday. The newspaper reported video posted on Instagram showed at least two cars spinning in circles in the middle of the highway, while a small crowd of people stood nearby cheering them on.



Cooper pushes for COVID boosters, won’t reimpose mandates
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and top state health officials are making a push ahead of the holidays to expand free at-home testing and encourage vaccinated individuals to get a booster. But they declined to reimpose statewide mandates – even as they warned on Monday of a huge COVID-19 surge fueled by the omicron variant. Over two-thirds of North Carolina adults have received at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine. But Cooper said 62% of vaccinated people have not yet received boosters. Early studies suggest the vaccinated will need a booster shot for the best chance at preventing an omicron infection.



Judges deem law addressing child sex abuse unconstitutional
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Judges have ruled that a North Carolina law cannot temporarily lift the statute of limitations to allow people who were sexually abused as children decades ago to be able to sue in civil court. The measure had passed the state legislature unanimously in 2019. But a three-judge panel ruled Monday that the state constitution bars the legislature from reopening the statute of limitations. The judges stressed that they felt bound by precedent and suggested that the issue may be better suited for the North Carolina Supreme Court to consider instead of the panel. It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would be appealed.



NC Gov. Roy Cooper to endorse Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday said he plans to endorse Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley in the coming days. He was asked about recent comments in which he appeared to back his party’s presumptive Senate nominee. Beasley is the first black woman to serve as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. The path toward the nomination was cleared for her last week when state Sen. Jeff Jackson left the race. U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and ex-Rep. Mark Walker are the leading Republican candidates working to secure their party’s nomination.