AP-NC Newswatch

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December 31, 2021
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December 31, 2021
AP-NC Newswatch


Latest North Carolina News:


NC reports record COVID-19 cases, raising hospital concerns
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has reported a record one-day number of additional COVID-19 cases as the omicron variant spreads. The state Department of Health and Human Services said 18,571 additional positive tests were reported on Thursday. That smashes the previous record during the pandemic of 11,581 set in January 2021. The number of people identified by DHHS as hospitalized COVID-19 patients also has more than doubled since early December, reaching over 2,250. That number should grow following the spike in positive tests. Incoming DHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley says his agency is concerned about hospital capacity, particularly due to those who are unvaccinated and who have underlying health conditions.



Top NC senator backing bill requiring appeals court votes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A top Republican lawmaker says legislation could soon surface that would require state appellate judges to disclose publicly how they voted privately on orders issued by their courts. Senate leader Phil Berger said Thursday that the proposal stems from court action that ultimately led the state Supreme Court to delay the March primary until May while redistricting litigation is heard. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals orders in early December didn’t describe whether individual jurists supported or opposed decisions. Berger spoke in Raleigh after the House and Senate held non-voting sessions at the Legislative Building.



Recusal order means NC voter ID case should soon resume
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court has declared there are two paths that an individual justice can take when weighing a request to be removed from hearing a case due to an alleged conflict of interest. The state Supreme Court order was filed last week but emailed to attorneys Thursday. The order should help resume a long-watched case over whether the 2018 constitutional amendment requiring photo voter identification is legitimate. The state NAACP wants two justices to be disqualified from hearing the case. The court declared that a justice can decide for themselves or get the rest of their court colleagues to decide.



EPA fines South Carolina plant $1.1M after odor complaints
CATAWBA, S.C. (AP) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will fine a South Carolina paper mill $1.1 million after regulators received thousands of complaints over a “noxious” rotten egg-like smell coming from the plant. The EPA announced Wednesday that the New Indy factory in Catawba has agreed to take action to curb the amount of hydrogen sulfide it releases. Regulators found the plant was emitting high amounts of the smelly gas that can cause irritation and other problems for people. The EPA says the proposed consent decree will help address the pollution that affected communities surrounding the plant. Residents complained earlier this year that the smell was wafting across counties and even into neighboring areas in North Carolina.



Police: 2 boys shot at NC high school basketball tournament
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – Police say two boys were shot during a halftime of a high school basketball holiday tournament held at Catawba College. News outlets report that Salisbury police said the shooting occurred Wednesday night in the lobby outside the gym during halftime of the Sam Moir Christmas Tournament. Police Chief Jerry Stokes says investigators believe one person fired shots that struck the two boys, but the shooter wasn’t in custody. One boy was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the other was being treated at Rowan Medical Center. Their conditions weren’t known. Rowan-Salisbury Schools canceled the remainder of the tournament. 



North Carolina officer killed on duty remembered at funeral
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Hundreds of law enforcement officers from North Carolina’s largest city gathered for the funeral of a colleague killed last week when she was struck by a semi-truck while responding to an accident. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Mia Goodwin was remembered Wednesday at the service for her dedication to her family, her faith and her job. Authorities say she died when two semi-trucks collided on Interstate 85. She and other officers had been assisting troopers with an earlier wreck. A truck driver faces charges. Goodwin leaves behind her husband and three small children. She had just returned from maternity leave.



Western NC sheriff: 3-year-old shot Christmas Day has died
EDNEYVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A 3-year-old girl flown to a western North Carolina hospital on Christmas Day for treatment of what officials described as an “accidental self-inflicted shooting” has died. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday that Aylee Gordon died late Tuesday at Mission Hospital in Asheville. The sheriff’s office said previously that a 911 caller reported Saturday that a child “had gained access to a firearm and had accidentally been shot.” An investigation is ongoing and it’s unclear if charges will be filed. A spokesperson for the sheriff says the father of the child is a retired captain at the sheriff’s office.



States diverge on police reforms after George Floyd killing
DENVER (AP) – Democratic lawmakers in California, Maryland and Washington passed far-reaching policing reforms this year in response to the 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. But the first full year of state legislative sessions since the killing sparked a summer of racial justice protests produced a far more mixed response in the rest of the country. A number of states implemented incremental reforms, such as banning chokeholds or tightening rules around use of body cameras. But several Republican-led states responded by granting police even greater authority and passing laws that cracked down on protesters. Police reform legislation also hit a wall in Congress.