Morning Headlines: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Morning Headlines: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

6:13am Dec 23, 2015

North Carolina Population Surpasses 10 Million People

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that North Carolina has become the ninth state to surpass the 10 million mark in population.

Estimates released by the bureau on Tuesday said that by adding an average of 281 people per day during the last year, North Carolina's population topped the 10 million threshold, making it the ninth-most populous state in the U.S. with 10,042,802 people.

The report said North Carolina's population gain between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, trailed only Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and Washington.

Gov. Pat McCrory credited a growing economy, great colleges and universities and quality of life for making North Carolina a desirable place to live.

McCrory added that the state's transportation system and other infrastructure need to be upgraded as North Carolina continues to grow.

US Attorney Resigning From Position At Start Of 2016

Thomas Walker, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, has announced he is resigning from his post.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the 51-year-old Walker's resignation takes effect on Jan. 7, 2016.

Walker was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011.

During Walker's tenure, a federal criminal grand jury began a probe in July of expensive contracts for high-ranking employees at the state Department of Health and Human Services and for a consulting firm that was hired on a no-bid, $3.2 million contract that later was expanded to more than $9 million.

Subpoenas have been issued to former DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, who announced her resignation a week after the state government office received subpoenas for her.

Challenger Comes Forward in Winston-Salem Mayoral Race

A frequent critic of Winston-Salem policy is seeking a run for mayor.

JoAnne Allen is looking to collect enough signatures to appear on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports Allen often speaks during the public comment period at City Council meetings.

In a statement, Allen says she wants to “lift Winston-Salem out of the clutches of hopelessness over the past 15 years." That time period coincides with the time current mayor Allen Joines has held the post.

Allen needs to gather the signatures of at least 6000 registered voters by September 23rd.

Joines has no challengers from within the Democratic Party, and no Republicans have filed for the position.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Arraigned On Charges

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl made his first appearance before a military judge to face charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

Bergdahl was arraigned Tuesday during a short hearing. He deferred entering a plea and did not decide whether he wants to face a court-martial with a jury or one with just a judge.

Bergdahl answered "yes" and "no" to questions about whether he understood his rights and the court proceedings. He wore an Army dress uniform with a dark blue jacket and pants and had closely cropped hair. He mostly sat still in his chair and walked with his head down as he left the courtroom.

The arraignment was held at Fort Bragg. If convicted at a general court-martial, Bergdahl could get life in prison on the misbehavior charge and up to five years for desertion.

Bergdahl, 29, of Hailey, Idaho, walked off his post in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province on June 30, 2009. He was released in late May 2014 as part of a prisoner swap, in exchange for five detainees in Guantanamo Bay.

Truck Carrying More Than 2,000 Piglets Overturns

Police say a truck crash stranded thousands of piglets and drivers on a North Carolina highway.

Authorities say the tractor-trailer carrying more than 2,000 piglets overturned Tuesday on Interstate 40 south of downtown Raleigh, causing damage that triggered traffic problems for hours. They said a number of pigs died, but an exact figure wasn't available.

The police report said the truck was headed west on I-40 about 10:30 a.m. when a car changed lanes in front of it, leading to a collision. According to the report, the tractor-trailer went off the interstate, across an access ramp and hit a guardrail, causing the rig to overturn.

The truck was removed from the scene, but officials said some closures would stay in effect into Tuesday night as road repairs continued.

No serious injuries were reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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