Associated Press

Vehicle Thefts Rise in N Carolina After 10-Year Decline

Vehicle thefts are on the rise again in North Carolina after a decade-long decline. The State Bureau of Investigation says 15,007 vehicles were stolen in North Carolina in 2016. That was nearly 4,000 more stolen vehicles than the year before, but a steep decline from the nearly 30,000 stolen vehicles reported in 2006. Authorities aren’t sure what caused the increase, but say new technology that allows thieves to intercept a key fob signal and replicate it so the car can be stolen could be a factor. Steven Watkins of the Division of Motor Vehicles told The News & Observer...

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Election, Prescriber Rules Altered with New 2018 Laws

All or portions of roughly 20 state laws take effect Monday in North Carolina, with some changing how judges are elected or how doctors prescribe powerful pain medications. New political parties also have an easier time getting on state ballots, while new drivers will get more information on how to respond when an officer pulls them over. ___ MORE PARTISAN RACES A legislative shift starting two decades ago that ultimately made trial and appellate court races officially nonpartisan affairs comes full circle with two new laws taking effect that make them partisan again. But whether those approved by the...

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3 More North Carolina Flu Deaths Raise Season’s Toll to 12

Three new flu deaths, including the death of a child, have been reported in North Carolina, raising the state’s death toll so far this season to 12. That’s according to numbers released Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Health. The deaths were reported between December 17 and 23. The child, who lived in central North Carolina, is the first pediatric death reported in the state for the 2017-2018 flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nine pediatric flu deaths have been reported across the country as of Dec. 16. The CDC says that many children...

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NC Governor’s Emergency Declaration to Free Up Heating Fuel

North Carolina’s governor has signed an emergency declaration to allow heating fuel to be more easily distributed during a bitter cold snap. Meanwhile, roads are being treated in South Carolina’s coastal counties because of a forecast of light freezing rain. Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order loosens restrictions on drivers transporting heating fuels such as propane. It also puts in extra measures to prevent price gouging. A winter weather advisory was in effect for counties along the North and South Carolina coasts with some freezing rain possible through Friday morning. The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced that it was...

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Former Prosecutor Misses Chance to Reinstate Law License

A former North Carolina district attorney has skipped a hearing to argue for reinstatement of her law license. Local media outlets report former Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline missing a hearing earlier this month before a disciplinary committee of the North Carolina State Bar. Cline hasn’t practiced law since she was ousted in 2012. She had been accused in a series of newspaper stories of prosecutorial misconduct and publicly accused a judge of bias after he ruled against her in several high-profile cases. Another judge ruled her accusations were groundless and ordered her removed from office. The State...

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Lawsuit: Sam’s Club Discriminated Against North Carolina Transgender Worker

A transgender woman said in a lawsuit Wednesday that she was called “it” and “thing” by co-workers and then wrongfully fired from a North Carolina Sam’s Club store after repeatedly complaining about harassment. The federal lawsuit by Charlene Bost seeks unspecified monetary damages and asks the court to order the big box retailer to train employees to prevent future harassment of transgender workers. It says Bost was wrongfully fired in 2015 from the Kannapolis store in retaliation for her complaints. Transgender people around the country are increasingly taking employers or schools to court to demand that their rights be...

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N Carolina Considers Asking Dead to Pay Back Extra Benefits

Families of dead North Carolina state employees who received too much money from a disability program may be asked to pay back the benefits. But the state might not get much back. It doesn’t plan to ask relatives to reopen estates, and it’s likely most of the 50 people who have died and were paid from the transitional disability income plan have already closed their estates. The decision to look into benefits given to people who died while collecting them came up last summer, about the same time the state began collecting the extra $870,000 doled out from the...

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Census: Carolinas Among States Seeing Most Population Growth

New Census estimates show that North Carolina and South Carolina are among states with the biggest population increases in 2017. The Census data released in late December shows that North Carolina held onto its spot as the ninth most populous state in the U.S. with nearly 10.3 million people. It ranks just behind Georgia and just ahead of Michigan. It also ranks fifth in terms of numeric growth, picking up about 117,000 residents between 2016 and 2017. South Carolina has topped 5 million residents after gaining nearly 65,000 new residents. That ranks South Carolina 10th by numeric growth. The...

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NC to Test Drinking Supplies for Chemicals Emerging as Risks

North Carolina environmental regulators will start testing the state’s major supplies of drinking water to learn whether people are ingesting industrial chemicals whose health effects are poorly understood, a state official said Friday. Monitoring could start next month for nearly two dozen unregulated chemicals that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies as “emerging contaminants” needing more study, State Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Jamie Kritzer said. The testing is an outgrowth of concerns that a Chemours Co. chemical called GenX used to make Teflon and other coatings was in Wilmington’s chief water supply. The broader testing, to include Norman,...

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North Carolina Sues Pharmaceutical Over Opioid Scheme

North Carolina state government lawyers are suing a pharmaceutical company whose former leaders already face criminal charges elsewhere related to an alleged nationwide bribery scheme involving a powerful opioid. Attorney General Josh Stein announced an unfair trade lawsuit Thursday he filed in Wake County Superior Court against Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics for an unlawful marketing campaign he says rewarded doctors who prescribed the drug Subsys. Subsys, a mouth spray, contains fentanyl and is approved only for cancer patients dealing with extreme bouts of pain. It’s 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the lawsuit....

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