News Roundup

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that seven alumni of the UNC School of the Arts have filed a lawsuit in Forsyth Superior Court alleging that they were victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by faculty members in the 1980s and that school administrators did not intervene after the students reported the abuse.  The plaintiffs are asking that the suit proceed as a class-action and say that several hundred former students could join.  Keep reading for more news.

Passings.  There was sad news out of New Hanover, Iredell, and Transylvania counties recently where members of the local sheriff’s offices passed away due to complications from COVID-19.  Captain David “Mac” MacAlpine with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office died in mid-September.  MacAlpine worked at the office for nearly three decades and was popular with his colleagues.  Sergeant Gary Mayhorn had been with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office since 2003 and passed away this week.  Sergeant Donald Ramey of the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office passed away in late September.  Ramey was a Marine Corps veteran and had been with the office for four years.

Board Meetings. The Associated Press reports that the National School Boards Association wrote an open letter to President Joe Biden last week asking for federal assistance in preventing threats to school boards from people who are opposed to mask mandates and other policies related to the COVID pandemic.  This week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Attorney General Merrick Garland has directed the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to begin meeting with state and local authorities to formulate strategies to address the issue, including exploring whether criminal prosecutions are justified.

Booking Photos.  The Wilmington Star News reports that a Brunswick County detention officer has been fired after taking booking photographs of a person who was only wearing underwear and posting the photos to social media and the Sheriff Office’s online inmate list.  The Sheriff’s Office apologized for the incident to the person and the community in a Facebook post, noting that the office has policies in place to prevent such conduct but that they were not followed.

NBA Health Care Fraud.  The Associated Press reports that eighteen former NBA players were charged with federal crimes this week on allegations that they participated in a $2.5 million fraud scheme targeting the NBA’s health benefit plan.  The report says that the players are accused of making claims for reimbursement for health care services that they did not actually receive.  Terrence Williams, who was a first-round draft pick in 2009, is said to be the leader of the conspiracy.

Tree Intruder.  Folks in Winston-Salem are on the lookout for a disgruntled person with a chainsaw who people say is cutting down trees after people turn him down for unsolicited limb cutting and other tree work.  As the Winston-Salem Journal reports, oaks and firs are being toppled into yards and across driveways in apparent retaliation for not hiring a man who approaches homeowners suggesting that they hire him to trim branches or remove trees.

Patrol Car Vandalized.  WSPA News 7 reports that within hours of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office showing off a newly custom painted pink patrol car designed to raise awareness of breast cancer, Mackenzie Elaine Brown of East Flat Rock allegedly made a trip to the office to vandalize the vehicle.  She was arrested shortly thereafter based on footage from the office’s video security system.