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May 16, 2018
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT

 

SESSION OPENS
As thousands of teachers march, N Carolina legislature opens
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The opening day of North Carolina’s General Assembly session will be marked by thousands of teachers descending on the Legislative Building to lobby for more school funding and higher salaries.
The gavels go down on the House and Senate floor meetings at midday Wednesday. The legislature’s chief chore for the next several weeks is to adjust the state government budget.
Lawmakers will be met by public school teachers marching from the headquarters of the North Carolina Association of Educators, which organized the “March for Students and Rally for Respect.” Their late-afternoon rally is scheduled in front of the Legislative Building.
The rally recently follows teacher protests and even strikes and walkouts in several other states.
Legislative Building visitors are sure to face entrance delays with new metal detectors and scanners.

 

 

TEACHER PROTESTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Thousands of North Carolina teachers set to rally over pay
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Thousands of teachers are set to hit the streets of North Carolina’s capital, bidding to force a political showdown over wages and funding for public school classrooms in this conservative, tax-cutting state.
As many as 15,000 teachers are expected to gather Wednesday morning in Raleigh as the Republican-dominated state legislature begins its annual session. More than three dozen school districts that educate more than two-thirds of the state’s 1.5 million public school students will close classrooms.
North Carolina’s main teachers’ advocacy group favors Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal to raise salaries by delaying planned tax cuts. Republican legislative leaders say that’s not going to happen.
Previous strikes, walkouts and protests in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma have led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding.

 

 

SMOKING INJURY CLAIM
Court: City doesn’t owe worker hurt while smoking on break
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that a city employee is not owed workers’ compensation for an injury suffered while smoking during a lunch break.
The appeals court judges said Tuesday that Larry Brooks’ fall in 2015 was due to underlying conditions combined with his decision to smoke, not his employer’s actions. Brooks supervised a utility crew for Winston-Salem.
Brooks was taking a lunch break during work when he smoked an electronic cigarette in a city truck, had a coughing fit and fell after stepping out of the vehicle, according to court documents. A doctor said high blood pressure, high blood sugar and the coughing contributed to the fall that injured his back.
Court documents also note the city’s policy against smoking tobacco on city vehicles.

 

 

CRAFT BEER LIMITS
North Carolina beer distribution law: Brewers’ suit bubbling
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A legal challenge is bubbling against a North Carolina law requiring popular beer-makers to hand over substantial control of their product to outside distributors.
Lawyers representing two Charlotte craft breweries filed court documents Tuesday seeking communications between state legislators and beer wholesalers, one of the state’s most powerful political interest groups.
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Noda Brewing Co. sued after years of stymied attempts to change a law forcing brewers to hand over distribution to another company if they sell enough beer in a year to roughly fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.
The moves come after a judge last week refused to dismiss the lawsuit against the state, which alleges North Carolina’s beer distribution law is unconstitutional.

 


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COOKIE DOUGH SPILL
N Carolina cookie dough spill spreads sweet stuff on street
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A truck carrying cookie dough created a sticky situation when it had lost some of its load on a North Carolina highway.
Pender County officials tell news outlets the truck’s cargo was sent onto U.S. Route 17 northeast of Wilmington near the New Hanover-Pender county line. The spill happened shortly before noon Tuesday and delayed traffic into the evening rush hour.
Firefighters posted a photo on Facebook of the more than a dozen yellow containers on their sides.
An official told The StarNews of Wilmington the load could’ve been waste that was thrown away. The News & Observer reports temperatures were around 80 F (27 C) so it’s unlikely the dough would’ve baked on the road anyway.
It is unclear where the truck came from or where it was going.

 

 

OFFICERS CHARGED WITH ASSAULT
3 North Carolina officers charged with beating suspect
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say three North Carolina law enforcement officers have been indicted on criminal charges in the beating of a pedestrian.
A Wake County grand jury issued the indictments Tuesday against two state troopers and a deputy sheriff.
The Highway Patrol says troopers Michael G. Blake and Tabithia L. Davis have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and willfully failing to discharge duties.
The Wake County Sheriff’s office confirmed that Master Deputy Cameron Broadwell also was indicted, but referred questions about the charges to the district attorney.
The deputy and troopers were involved in the arrest of Kyron Hinton in Raleigh in early April. Hinton said at a news conference Tuesday that he needs to have surgery on his eye because of the beating.

 

 

ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE-THE LATEST
Latest: Pipeline spokeswoman: Work can go on despite ruling
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A spokeswoman for the lead developer of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline says a federal court order vacating a key permit does not mean work on the multistate project has to stop.
Jen Kostyniuk is director of communications for Dominion Energy. She said in an email Tuesday night that “we will continue to move forward with construction as scheduled.”
That position is at odds with attorneys for the environmental groups that sued over the permit, who say the order means all construction must cease.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order earlier Tuesday that said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had not provided specific limits for the allowable impact on threatened and endangered species in what’s called an “incidental take statement.” The order did not directly address construction or other work.
Kostyniuk says that the company is committed to working with the agency to address the concerns raised by the court’s order.

 

 

OIL PIPELINE-SECURITY
Security company seeks settlement in Dakota Access dispute
MANDAN, N.D. (AP) – A private security company accused of operating illegally in North Dakota during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline says it would be willing to pay fines to settle the case as long as it’s not required to admit wrongdoing.
North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board has invited North Carolina-based TigerSwan to submit its best settlement offer.
The board sued last June, alleging the company operated without a license while working for the pipeline developer. TigerSwan maintains it provided consulting services that don’t require a license.
TigerSwan wants to settle the case so it can be licensed in North Dakota. Officials say not being licensed in one state can affect the company in other states.
The board declined to comment on whether a settlement offer with no admission of wrongdoing would be acceptable.