Sandhills_Sentinel October 23, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A report by the state of North Carolina says black infants born in the state are more than twice as likely to die than white infants.

News outlets report Gov. Roy Cooper’s office released the 2018 North Carolina Infant Mortality Report on Monday. It says the state has achieved its lowest infant death rate in 31 years, but there remains a large disparity in the survival of black and white infants. Cooper says it shows the need to expand access to affordable health insurance.

For white babies, the rate has remained steady at 5 deaths for every 1,000 births. For black babies, the rate is 12.2 deaths per 1,000 births. Back in 1988, the rate for white babies was at 9.6, while black infants had a death rate of 19.8.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge has quickly dismissed an effort by Republican leaders at the North Carolina legislature to move a lawsuit challenging the congressional map they drew in 2016 from state court to federal court.

U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan ordered on Tuesday that the partisan gerrymandering case be returned to Wake County Superior Court, where the litigation was originally filed last month.

Flanagan rejected the arguments of the lawmakers who wrote last week the venue change was necessary because a new map would conflict state redistricting rules with the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act. Flanagan called those arguments speculative. She also wrote a recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion which found partisan gerrymandering matters beyond the reach of federal courts.

State judges already had a set a case hearing for Thursday.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republicans leading the North Carolina Senate are advancing two additional tax-related bills largely gleaned from the vetoed state budget. Only one got full bipartisan support.

The Senate Finance Committee voted on Tuesday for measures, which are scheduled for floor votes on Wednesday.

A bill receiving widespread backing would increase standard deductions for individual income tax filers next year by another $750 to $1,500 — essentially raising the zero-tax bracket. The measure also directs companies like Amazon to collect sales taxes on consumers buying products they offer through third-party retailers.

Democrats opposed the other measure that would reduce the corporate franchise tax rate by one-third by 2021, saying $1 billion in cumulative lost revenue through mid-2024 could cover other needs. Republicans say franchise taxes are essentially duplicative property taxes on businesses.


GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina school system has suspended three students after they missed a deadline to get vaccinated.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Pitt County Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said the system sent warnings to almost 300 kids who hadn’t been immunized. Johnson says the district follows state law, which requires parents get their children immunized within 30 days of enrollment. She confirmed the three suspensions.

According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, children who don’t show immunization records by the end of the 30-day period are “prohibited from attending school or child care” until the immunization process starts or the documents are provided.

School officials say that as of last week, the three children were on “medical suspension,” which is not a disciplinary action.


GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man has been charged after deputies say he kidnapped a teenager who he threatened to kill and two children.

News sources report the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25-year-old James Smith and charged him with kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats.

Investigators say he kidnapped a person at least 16 years old and two children ages 8 and 9. According to arrest warrants, Smith threatened each victim with a gun and told the 16-year-old “I will blow your head off.”

Smith appeared in court on Tuesday. He was placed in jail under a $458,000 secured bond. It’s not known if he has an attorney.


HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say one person was seriously wounded in a shooting outside of a fast-food restaurant.

The Huntersville Police issued a statement saying the victim was shot in the parking lot of a Wendy’s and taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. They didn’t offer further details on the victim’s ID or gender.

Police say three suspects fled in a sedan.

It wasn’t clear what preceded the shooting. Huntersville is north of Charlotte along Interstate 77.


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city has voted to change the name of its annual Dixie Classic Fair.

News outlets report the Winston-Salem City Council voted Monday night to change the name to the “Carolina Classic Fair” starting in 2020.

Community members had said the previous name was divisive. The fair has been an annual tradition for more than 130 years.

Council member D.D. Adams suggested the fair’s name be changed to Carolina Classic. She says Winston-Salem used to have two, segregated fairs: “The Carolina Colored Fair” and “The Dixie Classic Fair.” She says the new name combines the two old ones.

The name change is expected to cost $97,000. The money will be used to replace signs and order new banners.


SALUDA, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina have identified a hiker who fell from a waterfall and died over the weekend.

Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge confirmed to McClatchy news group on Monday that 28-year-old Aaron Post of South Carolina died after sliding down Big Bradley Falls on Saturday.

He says he heard the hiker was taking a photo at the top of the remote Saluda, North Carolina, spot when he lost his balance and tumbled down.

In a Facebook post Saturday, the Henderson County Rescue Squad said they extracted Post from a rugged area and flew him in a helicopter to a hospital.

Hiking websites say the waterfall drops 75 feet (23 meters.)

News outlets reported in 2017 that a 47-year-old hiker died in a fall at the same spot.

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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