State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

LEXINGTON. (AP) — Two parents have been arrested in a child abuse case in which a 6-week-old was diagnosed with life-threatening injuries, a North Carolina sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that deputies received a report on Saturday that an infant was brought to a local hospital. Detectives determined that the child sustained the injuries during the past week while in the care of its parents, the news release said.

Following an investigation, the sheriff’s office arrested Zachery Ryan Honeycutt, 23, and Destiny Alisa Watts, 18. Both are from Lexington.

Honeycutt was charged with felony intentional child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, and Watts was charged with felony negligent child abuse. Both parents were taken before a Davidson County magistrate before they were jailed under $200,000 secured bonds apiece. Their first court appearances were set for Tuesday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office said the child remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Howling coyotes signals pups are moving, not Halloween

RALEIGH (AP) — Wildlife officials in North Carolina are advising residents to expect to hear some howling this week, not because Halloween is approaching but instead because young coyotes are leaving their parents to strike out on their own.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission said in a news release Monday that people could see and hear more coyotes in the coming weeks. The commission said the pups may travel up to 300 miles before they settle down in a place not already occupied.

Commission biologists say as the young coyotes roam, they expect an increase in reported sightings.

According to the commission, littermates often travel together before splitting off in search of a mate. Young coyotes will yip, howl and bark to keep track of each other, as well as other coyotes whose territories they are passing through. The hollow tone of their howl and a tendency to vocalize rapidly in a constant stream of sounds can make two coyotes sound like twenty, the commission said.

Falyn Owens, the agency’s extension biologist, suggests that eliminating easy food sources and creating an active deterrence can help coyotes maintain a healthy fear of humans. Owens also said actively scaring off coyotes helps show them where they’re not welcome.

NC State Fair celebrates 2021 event despite low attendance

RALEIGH (AP) — Organizers are celebrating the 2021 NC State Fair despite seeing its lowest attendance total in more than a decade due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With preliminary totals collected through Sunday, officials said the fair drew 821,463 people, a 12% drop from 2019, the year before the pandemic erupted, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Attendance this year dropped lower than any year since 2008, when 765,067 people flocked to the midway, rides and exhibits.

“The 2021 State Fair was absolutely wonderful and exceeded expectations,” N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a news release. “It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to put this on, but it was absolutely worth it. Seeing people enjoying themselves and experiencing a bit of normalcy was a great feeling.”

North Carolina chose not to ask fairgoers to wear masks or be vaccinated this year, though it urged both as COVID-19 precautions.

Saturday saw the highest attendance with 126,715 and Sunday was next with 102,135, the only days the fair reached six-figure attendance.

Police: 1 dead, 2 wounded at apartment shootings in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — A man died and two others — including a teenage girl — were wounded after shootings at a central North Carolina apartment complex, police said.

Officers arriving at the Rolling Hills Apartment complex in Winston-Salem on Monday evening located the 16-year-old girl and a 31-year-old woman, both with gunshot wounds, Winston-Salem police said in a news release Tuesday.

An additional shooting victim who had been driven away from the complex for medical help was located in a bank parking lot, according to news outlets. There Kelvin Rayvon James Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The two wounded were taken to the hospital and were in stable condition.

Investigators determined James had been in a verbal dispute with another male, leading to gunfire in an apartment building breezeway, the release said. Investigators believe the two who were wounded “were incidentally struck by the gunfire and were not targeted,” the release said.

The investigation was continuing Tuesday, and no arrests had been announced by police. James’ death is the 33rd homicide in Winston-Salem this year, compared to 23 homicides at this time in 2020, police said.

Former hospital executive wins $10 million in discrimination case

CHARLOTTE (AP) — A former top executive in a North Carolina-based health care system who claimed in a lawsuit that he lost his job because he is a white male was awarded $10 million by a federal jury on Tuesday.

In his 2019 lawsuit, David Duvall said he lost his job as senior vice president of marketing and communication at Novant Health due to efforts to diversify top leadership positions, news outlets reported. The jury said Novant Health failed to prove that it would have dismissed Duvall regardless of his race.

A Novant Health spokesperson said the Winston-Salem-based company would comment on the decision later Tuesday. There was no indication of whether the company would appeal the verdict, which came at the end of a weeklong trial.

Duvall said in his lawsuit that he was fired in 2018 without warning or explanation shortly before his fifth anniversary with the company. He said he was replaced by two women, one Black and one white. Duvall, who worked in Mecklenburg County, accused Novant of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits race and gender discrimination in the workplace.

Novant Health says on its website that it employs more than 35,000 workers and has more than 2,300 physicians at nearly 800 locations in three states.

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