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Protesters Rally In Charlotte, Fayetteville

Protests have continued around the nation and in North Carolina this weekend, aimed at calling attention to police killings of unarmed black men.  In Fayetteville Saturday, marchers waved signs along the curb of Ski-bo Road, chanting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." Passing motorists honked their horns in support.  Police didn't have an estimate of the number of marchers.  And in downtown Charlotte yesterday afternoon, about 60 people protested at Trade and Tryon streets. The Charlotte Observer reports that the “Day of Resistance” demonstration remained peaceful, and lasted about an hour, as protesters chanted “no justice, no peace,” and “hands up, don’t shoot.”

OFFICER FIRED OVER FACEBOOK POST

A veteran Salisbury police officer has been fired for making what officials called an "inappropriate and inflammatory posting" on his personal Facebook page. Police Chief Rory Collins said in a statement that the posting by Officer William Torrence "was made concerning current events taking place in our nation."  Torrence's post referred to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer. Torrence had been on the force for 22 years.

PROTESTERS WANT INQUIRY IN TEEN’S DEATH

Hundreds of protesters joined the state chapter of the NAACP in a march in Bladenboro Saturday calling for a thorough federal investigation into the death of a black teen that initially was ruled a suicide.  Protesters carried signs, sang songs and chanted, the Fayetteville Observer reports. State NAACP President the Rev. William Barber said the organization wouldn’t leave Bladenboro until everyone was satisfied that Lennon Lacy's death had been thoroughly investigated. Federal officials said Friday that they're reviewing the investigation of the 17-year-old's death. His body was found hanging from a swing set at a trailer park in August.

4 HORSES DIE IN BURKE  COUNTY FIRE

Burke County authorities are trying to find out what caused a barn fire that killed four horses.  An Icard Township fire official said firefighters arrived on the scene Friday to find the barn engulfed in flames, with the roof collapsed – too late to save the horses. The barn near Connelly Springs stored hay and farm equipment. Deputy fire chief Jeff Icard said there was no water supply in the area. Firefighters had to shuttle water by tankers from a half-mile away.

INSURANCE ENROLLMENT SMOOTHER

Insurers and advocates say the first month of the Affordable Care Act health insurance enrollment period has been calmer than the same stretch last year in North Carolina. New customers have until the end of Monday to sign up for coverage that starts in January. Existing customers must make changes to information in their accounts if they want it reflected in plans starting January. The overall enrollment period ends February 15.  Officials say customers are more knowledgeable and there have been fewer technical problems this time around. Neither the federal government nor the three insurers offering plans in North Carolina have released latest enrollment numbers for the state. 

And South Carolinians also have until Monday to sign up for health insurance through the federal exchange if they want coverage to start Jan. 1.  Customers in the state have more choices for 2015 – one new company has joined the market and the state's largest insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, has doubled its offerings and expanded plans' provider network.

PANTHERS HOST TAMPA BAY

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera says running back Jonathan Stewart WILL start this afternoon’s game against Tampa Bay. But DeAngelo Williams is doubtful, with a broken hand. Quarterback Cam Newton also will sit out as he recovers from back injuries suffered in a car accident Tuesday.  Game time is 1 o’clock at Bank of America stadium in Charlotte.

MALLARD CREEK WINS FOOTBALL CROWN

Mallard Creek won North Carolina’s 4-AA high school football championship last night, defeating Wake Forest High, 25 to14.  Also this weekend:

  • Shelby defeated Clinton 31-7 for the Division 2A title. 
  • East Lincoln won the 2AA title over Washington, 14 to 13.
  • Crest easily won the 3A championship 24 to 3 over Havelock.
  • And Northern Guilford defeated Weddington 14 to 7 in the 3-double-A division.
  • On Friday, New Bern beat Charlotte Catholic 23 to 15 for the 4A championship.