This News Roundup was written on Wednesday prior to UNC’s closure on Thursday and Friday in anticipation of the arrival of hurricane Florence. Our thanks go out to all of the state and local officials, law enforcement agencies, and emergency response personnel who are working to keep North Carolinians safe during the storm. Keep reading for more news.
Prisoners Moved. WRAL reports that the state is evacuating hundreds of prisoners and correctional staff from certain medium- and minimum-security facilities that may be affected by Florence. At the time of writing, details on the moves were scarce because of security concerns.
September 11. The nation marked the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on Tuesday. As the New York Times reports, President Trump led a ceremony in Pennsylvania that honored the passengers who gave their lives to thwart the United Airlines Flight 93 hijacking by bringing the plane down before it could be flown into Washington and used for an attack. The Times piece notes that Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary Mattis led a commemoration at the Pentagon and that several ceremonies were held in New York.
Silent Sam. There were dueling demonstrations on UNC campus again last weekend with regard to the ongoing Silent Sam controversy. On Saturday, groups in favor of reinstalling Silent Sam in its original location held an “Evening Prayer Service for Silent Sam” while a group advocating its permanent removal held a potluck and food drive nearby. The Daily Tar Heel reports that UNC Police arrested eight people after demonstrators and law enforcement officers clashed. Smoke grenades eventually were deployed to disperse the crowd.
Criminal Justice Debt. The NC Poverty Research Fund, in coordination with local NAACP chapters and other groups, is hosting a community forum entitled “The Crushing Impact of Criminal Justice Debt in Orange County” on Thursday, September 20 from 6-8pm at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. Our very own Jamie Markham is on the panel for the forum. More information about the event is available at this Facebook link.
Leggett Tragedy. CBS 17 reports that Gary Skelton and his wife Jackie were found shot to death in their home in Edgecombe County late last week. Gary was the mayor of Leggett, a small Edgecombe town. Several arrests have been made in connection with the murders.
Hedgepeth. Friday was the six-year anniversary of the death of Faith Hedgepeth, the UNC Chapel Hill student who was killed in her off campus apartment and whose murder remains unsolved. Chapel Hill Police renewed their call for any information that will help them close the case, which they continue to work using new technologies that become available. There’s a $40,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
Immigration Judges. Politico reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Justice Department plans to increase the number of immigration judges by 50 percent by the end of the year. Federal immigration courts have had a tremendous backlog of cases for years and the backlog has grown as the Justice Department now refers all immigration cases for prosecution.
Baseball Suspension. Detroit Tigers fans got some disappointing news late last week when they learned of two high-profile suspensions affecting the team. In a departure from the ordinary, the suspensions didn’t come as the result of performance enhancing drugs or corked bats or malicious pitches. Instead, long-time Tigers broadcast announcers and known nemeses Mario Impemba and Rod Allen were suspended from their booth duties because the pair broke into an intense physical fight immediately following a recent Tigers win.