3 more people die of the flu in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Three people died of the flu in North Carolina last week, down from the previous week and a sign that the illness is in decline.
In all, the state Department of Health and Human Services says 85 people have died from the flu since the season began in November.
Deaths from the flu peaked in late January, when 12 were reported in one week. A year ago, 59 people died from flu-related symptoms during the six-month season that concludes in mid-May.
Of the 85 deaths, 61 were among people between the ages of 24 and 65. Statistics show 19 people aged 65 or older died from flu-like symptoms and five were under age 18.
DOCTOR'S STOLEN IDENTITY
Man accused of taking doctor's identity surrenders
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A Fayetteville man who police say stole a physician's identity and used it to write prescriptions and operate a fake clinic has surrendered to police.
The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said 60-year-old Wright Gillies surrendered to deputies on Thursday.
Gillies is charged with felony identity theft and misdemeanor practicing medicine without a license. He was released from jail on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He makes his first appearance In court on Friday.
An investigation began in November after authorities discovered Gillies was treating people and dispensing drugs without a license. Authorities allege that Gillies was giving out flu shots and treating young children.
Lawmen raided and shut down the RF Medical Clinic Wednesday afternoon.
ARMY GENERAL-SEX CHARGES UPDATE
Army general pleads guilty to 3 lesser charges; maintains innocence on sex assault counts
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - An Army general accused of sexual assault has pleaded guilty to three lesser charges that could send him to prison for up to 15 years.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair still faces five charges, including sexual assault, in his military trial before a jury of five generals at Fort Bragg.
A female captain nearly 20 years his junior says the general twice forced her to perform oral sex. But by pleading guilty to the lesser charges, Sinclair's lawyers think they will strengthen his case at trial by potentially limiting some of the salacious evidence prosecutors can present.
The former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.
Opening statements are expected tomorrow.
1 more winter storm targets North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Winter is taking one more icy swing at North Carolina.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that stretches from Transylvania County in the west to Alamance and Person counties in the central piedmont. The warning is in effect until noon on Friday.
Forecasters called for an icy mix of precipitation developing across the mountains, piedmont and foothills Thursday night, changing to rain Friday morning before ending.
Toward the west, precipitation was expected to start as rain and sleet before changing to all sleet and then to freezing rain in the early morning.
The forecast calls for up to 3 inches of snow and sleet for the Triad, followed by a quarter-inch accumulation of ice before turning to rain.
AHOSKIE FIRE DEATHS
Police say 2 girls killed in Ahoskie house fire
AHOSKIE, N.C. (AP) - Police in Ahoskie say two girls have died in a house fire, while their father and another child were injured.
A statement from police said firefighters and officers responded to a call of a house fire around 3 a.m. Thursday.
The girls, aged 12 and 13, were pronounced dead at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.
According to police, the girl's father, 54-year-old Earl Drake, and an 8-year-old child, were airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Virginia.
Chief Troy Fitzhugh said Ahoskie police and the State Bureau of Investigation are looking into the cause of the fire.
In the past two days, six people across North Carolina have died in fires. Among the deaths are a woman and her blind father, who died in a fire Wednesday at an Edgecombe County home.
Gay hiring fears hurt Baptist agency fundraising
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Uncertainty over a short-lived proposal to open employment to gays at Kentucky's largest private child care agency prompted many supportive churches to withhold giving last year, creating a multi-million dollar shortfall.
Sunrise Children's Services depends on giving from Kentucky's Baptist congregations - and government funding. But Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director Paul Chitwood says offerings dried up last year amid donor concerns the proposal to allow gay workers might succeed.
The Sunrise board ultimately rejected the proposal, unwilling to begin hiring gays at Sunrise just to ensure future government contracts. Supporters now hope a fundraising drive will cover $5 million of the roughly $7.5 million shortfall.
Meanwhile, experts note religiously-affiliated groups operating with government funding could be increasingly held to new standards as gay right protections advance in several states.
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