Latest North Carolina News:
FERTILIZER PLANT FIRE
Thousands flee homes near N. Carolina fertilizer plant fire
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – An uncontrolled fire at a fertilizer plant has forced thousands of people to evacuate in North Carolina. Firefighters warn that chemicals at the site near Wake Forest University could cause a large explosion. Authorities urged people within a mile of the Winston Weaver Company to take shelter elsewhere. No injuries have been reported since the fire started Monday night, but officials say a huge explosion could still happen through Wednesday. Firefighters had to pull back as 600 tons of ammonium nitrate burns. Winston-Salem’s fire chief says that’s more than what exploded in a Texas fertilizer plant blast that killed 15 people in 2013.
ELECTION 2022-NORTH CAROLINA-CAWTHORN
N. Carolina Rep. Cawthorn seeks to block candidacy challenge
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn has sued to block efforts seeking to prevent him from running for Congress this year. The Republican congressman filed a federal lawsuit a few weeks after some voters urged the State Board of Elections to disqualify him. They cite his involvement in the January 2021 rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot and a provision in the U.S. Constitution on insurrections or rebellions. Cawthorn’s lawsuit says the candidate challenge process violates his constitutional rights, and the constitutional provision doesn’t apply to him. The congressman said Tuesday that he’s never engaged in an insurrection against the United States.
BIRTH CONTROL-NO PRESCRIPTION
Birth control without prescription now available in NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Women in North Carolina are now able to obtain birth control pills and patches from a pharmacy without a prescription. The provision took effect Tuesday. It is part of a broader law expanding certain pharmacists’ dispensing powers that was approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly and signed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over the summer. Emergency contraceptives were already available over the counter. Harnett County Republican Sen. Jim Burgin championed the bill. He says the new law could prevent abortions in North Carolina.
CLERK OF COURT-REMOVAL
NC appeals judges vacate removal order of local court clerk
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state appeals court panel has vacated a 2020 order by a trial judge removing the elected clerk of Superior Court for Franklin County. The Court of Appeals on Tuesday raised procedural and constitutional questions about the sanction of Patricia Chastain. The trial judge removed Chastain because of numerous actions that he wrote “demonstrated a reckless disregard for the high standards of her office.” Chastain appealed. The appeals court says it’s unclear exactly whether the trial judge considered her acts “corruption or malpractice” in her office or simply “misconduct.” The appeals judges also say her due process rights were violated.
ELECTION 2022-SENATE-NORTH CAROLINA
Beasley leads NC Senate fundraising; GOP side stays close
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democrat Cheri Beasley remained the top campaign fundraiser ahead of next fall’s U.S. Senate race in North Carolina at the close of 2021. The former state Supreme Court chief justice said Monday that her campaign raised more than $2.1 million for the three months ending Dec. 31, and had $2.8 million in the bank. On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Ted Budd’s campaign raised a little more than former Gov. Pat McCrory in the fourth quarter and had a little more cash in the bank. Beasley’s political position has improved now that her two top Democratic rivals left the race. The primary for both nominations is May 17.
ALLEGED BOMB MAKER
Feds: Man taught bomb making to person targeting authorities
Federal authorities say a man who teaches military tactics in North Carolina has been charged with showing someone how to make a bomb that would kill people in federal law enforcement. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that 38-year-old Christopher Arthur has been arrested. Arthur had been on the FBI’s radar since at least 2020. That’s when federal authorities say one of Arthur’s tactical instruction manuals was found in the home of a man who was killed in a shootout with police in New York. The FBI said it received information that the man was attempting to organize a militia against the U.S. government. Arthur runs a company called “Tackleberry Solutions” in Mount Olive. It’s 70 miles southeast of Raleigh.
N. Carolina justices won’t step aside in redistricting case
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Three North Carolina Supreme Court justices have decided they won’t step aside from hearing a blockbuster redistricting case this week, Associate Justices Anita Earls, Sam Ervin IV and Phil Berger Jr. denied on Monday the recusal motions targeting them from lawyers covering both sides of the litigation. Their decisions likely mean all seven justices will listen to remote oral arguments Wednesday in the challenges to the state’s recently enacted congressional and legislative districts. The absence of justices from proceedings could have tilted the outcome as to whether lines approved for the next decade will be upheld or struck down.
FIRE DEPARTMENT-CONDUCT CLAIMS
EMS crew moved from NC fire department over conduct claims
ADVANCE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina county said it was moving an emergency medical services crew out of a community’s fire department over multiple reports of unprofessional conduct by fire personnel. Davie County has terminated its agreement for housing an EMS transport unit, staff, equipment and supplies at the Advance Fire Department. County Manager David Bone informed Chief Rodney Miller of the change in a letter dated Jan. 21. The letter says EMS staff witnessed inappropriate behavior by fire department workers and their guests, including unwanted physical touch and winemaking inside the station. The county and fire department have entered a new agreement to move the EMS unit to a different facility in the community.