AP-NC Newswatch

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May 8, 2018
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May 8, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch

 

 

Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EDT

 

NORTH CAROLINA-PRIMARY
US House members, legislators seek N Carolina primary wins
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina voters are choosing their parties’ nominees in dozens of legislative and congressional primary races congested with contestants.
More than 35 current General Assembly members and eight congressional incumbents are trying to advance through Tuesday’s primary elections.
Sitting members of Congress seeking re-election include House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Rep. Patrick McHenry, the chief deputy whip in the House. The most threatened GOP incumbents may be Reps. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte and Walter Jones of Farmville.
A little over 4 percent of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters cast ballots before Tuesday through early in-person or traditional absentee voting. Some registrants had no primaries in which to vote because there are no statewide races on Tuesday’s ballot.

 

 

TEACHERS OFF-SCHOOL CLOSE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Big NC school districts close for teacher rally
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – More large school districts in North Carolina plan to shut down for one day next week as teachers greet returning legislators with demands to increase education funding.
The state’s largest and third-largest school districts announced Monday they will be closed on May 16, following a similar move by the second largest district last week.
The Wake County Public School System said about a quarter of its 10,000 teachers in and around the state’s capital city asked for the day off to participate in the rally. Guilford County schools canceled in the wake of nearly 2,000 expected teacher absences, twice the number of available substitutes.
The rally is being organized by the state’s association of educators, whose members are unhappy with the Republican-controlled legislature’s decisions on teacher salaries and school funding.
Second-largest Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Friday canceled classes for the protest.

 

3:20 p.m
North Carolina’s largest school district is shutting down for one day next week, allowing up to 10,000 teachers to attend a rally demanding better working conditions and education funding.
The Wake County Public School System said Monday it will be closed on May 16, the same day state lawmakers open their annual session. About a quarter of the teachers employed in and around the state’s capital city asked for the day off to participate in the rally. The district’s 160,000 students won’t make up the class time.
The rally is being organized by the state’s association of educators, whose members are unhappy with the Republican-controlled legislature’s decisions on teacher salaries and school funding.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools on Friday canceled classes on the protest day. Durham County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools will also close.

 

 

STATE BUDGET
N Carolina lawmakers expect $357M surplus, uptick next year
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly will have several hundred million dollars more to work with as budget-writers adjust the second year of state government’s two-year spending plan.
The legislature’s fiscal agency and Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget office have adjusted revenue figures upward for the fiscal year that ends June 30 and for next year. The projections come after all the money received at the mid-April tax deadline was counted.
A memo says the state expects to collect $357 million more than anticipated this current year. These extra collections also caused state economists to predict another $277 million at the state’s disposal next year.
These numbers are small compared to the roughly $23 billion annual budget, but it could help pay for one-time or recurring expenses. The legislature reconvenes next week.

 

 

SHERIFF’S CANDIDATE INVESTIGATED
Sheriff candidate: Investigation of him is ‘dirty politics’
NEWTON, N.C. (AP) – A sheriff’s candidate in North Carolina says he wasn’t involved in the sealing of a search warrant that shows authorities are investigating him for possible misdemeanors including stalking.
No charges have been filed against Jason Reid, who described the investigation “dirty politics” at a news conference Monday.
Reid is a candidate in Tuesday’s GOP primary for Catawba County sheriff. He’s the son of the current sheriff and a former narcotics officer.
A judge unsealed a redacted version of the warrant Friday after The Associated Press and other media groups filed a motion.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint last August about a tracking device found on the vehicle of Reid’s ex-girlfriend. Reid said Monday the devices are stored in a room where the woman had waited for him.

 

 

PRIMARY-EARLY VOTING
Early-voting turnout tepid, heated local races help slightly
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – About one out of every 25 registered voters in North Carolina cast ballots before Tuesday’s primary elections, but heated local and regional contests have given a slight boost to otherwise tepid turnout.
State elections board data show 293,000 of the state’s 6.9 million registered voters either voted at early-voting sites before they closed Saturday or turned in mail-in absentee ballots. That’s slightly over 4 percent turnout.
This year’s elections were expected to be lower-turnout affairs because there are no races for governor or U.S. Senate on the ballot. The legislature also canceled this year’s judicial primaries.
But there are more contested primaries than usual for the General Assembly and for Congress. That could help overall turnout exceed the 12 percent recorded in 2006 once ballots cast Tuesday are counted.

 

 

ELECTION SECURITY-STATES
State election systems still waiting for security checkups
With the midterm primaries about to go into full swing, the Department of Homeland Security is playing catch-up in helping to ensure that state election systems are secure against cybertampering by the Russians or others bent on mischief.
The department says it has completed on-site risk assessments of election systems in just nine of 17 states that have formally requested them so far. It has pledged to do so by November for every state that asks.
The security reviews are designed to identify any weaknesses that could be exploited by hackers.
Homeland Security officials attribute the backlog to increased demand for such reviews since the 2016 presidential election. They say they are devoting more money and shifting resources to reduce wait times.
The security reviews typically take two weeks each.

 

 

TURKEY-US PASTOR-TRIAL
Secret witness testifies against US pastor in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey’s state-run news agency says a witness testifying anonymously against a U.S. pastor claimed that the American helped Kurdish militants and aimed to create a Christian Kurdish state.
Anadolu Agency said Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson rejected the claim, however, in the second session of his trial on Monday, insisting that he never permitted “politics in church.”
The 50-year-old evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, faces up 35 years in prison in Turkey on charges that he aided terror groups and engaged in espionage. The pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church denies any wrongdoing.
The case has strained ties between Turkey and the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted in Brunson’s defense last month, saying: “They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is.”

 

 

PARTY BUS DEATH
Owner cited over license, insurance after party bus death
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina party bus owner was cited for insurance and license plate problems after a college student fell out of the vehicle last week and died when she was hit by two cars.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced Monday that Victor Rabb was issued citations after investigators determined the bus was uninsured and was displaying a fictitious license plate at the time of the accident last Tuesday.
Police say Rabb has surrendered the bus to investigators for inspection. A home phone listing for Rabb rang disconnected.
Police say 20-year-old Polly Rogers fell out of an emergency window and was hit by two vehicles. Officials say that the bus was rented by a fraternity at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and was heading to a bar.