North Carolina

Firefighters say the Party Rock Wildfire near Chimney Rock and Lake Lure has been fully contained, thanks in part to 0.4 inches of rain that fell Monday night through Tuesday. Firefighting crews have begun packing up and dismantling their fire camps Tuesday morning as they head for home. 

As dry conditions move east from North Carolina's mountains, five counties are now in an 'exceptional' drought - the highest level as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

State officials say exceptional drought has now spread to Graham, Macon, and Swain counties, joining them with Cherokee and Clay counties. More than 40 percent of North Carolina is now in some stage of drought, up from 30 percent last week.

The state Medical Examiner's Office late Monday released the autopsy of Keith Lamont Scott. It shows Scott died of gunshot wounds to the back and abdomen, but lacking in whether Scott was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the shooting. 

In an effort to diversify magnet schools, the CMS board will begin placing heavy priority on a student's socio-economic status in student assignment decisions. That's part of the first phase of the board's student re-assignment plan passed unanimously Wednesday night.

Among the factors the district will take into account are income, parents' education levels, and English language fluency. The changes will only affect students applying to enter magnet programs.

The Colonial Pipeline Company says it expects to have the damaged pipeline up and running again by Sunday afternoon, reducing fears of a possible gas shortage and price increases at the pump.

The pipeline exploded and erupted into flames on Monday while a crew was making repairs related to a September gas spill. One environmentalist likened the scene to a "geyser of fire." One worker died in the incident, and four others were injured.

In April, 2015, then-Charleston police officer Michael Slager allegedly shot an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, eight times in the back as he fled a traffic stop. Now, nearly a year and a half later, a court will decide whether Slager was justified in the shooting.

Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense delivered opening statements Thursday to a jury of 11 white people and one black man who were selected earlier in the week.

With mere days to go before the election, a federal judge in Winston-Salem is hearing arguments over the cancelations of up to 4,500 voter registrations in the eastern half of North Carolina.

Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

It all began on the front porch of Claire Kimmel's house in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Kimmel has been a beekeeper in this Blue Ridge Mountain town for about six years. She keeps seven hives in her front yard.

One morning this past September, Kimmel's 6-year-old granddaughter was visiting for the day. The child was playing out on the front porch when she noticed something her grandparents had overlooked.

"Bean-daddy," she said to her grandfather, "why are there dead bees on the porch?"

www.physiciansfoundation.org

Doctors in North Carolina are feeling the effects of certain national health care trends but bucking others. The Physicians Foundation's 2016 survey shows high burnout but lower hospital consolidation in North Carolina.

www.americashealthrankings.org/reports/annual

North Carolina showed the most improvement of any state in a major public health report released Thursday. But its ranking is still below average, like most of the South.

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