Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Mourners to say goodbye to Billy Graham, ‘America’s Pastor’
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Mourners are gathering to pay respects to the Rev. Billy Graham at a funeral that marks the culmination of more than a week of tributes to “America’s Pastor.”
The service is scheduled to start at noon Friday and to include performances by musicians who shared the stage with Graham at his crusades. The Rev. Franklin Graham will deliver the main funeral address for his father after personal messages from Billy Graham’s three daughters and younger son. President Donald Trump is expected to attend, but isn’t expected to speak.
The funeral planning began a decade ago with Billy Graham himself, and grew into his family’s desire to capture the feeling of the crusades that made the world’s best-known Protestant preacher of his era.
Parks, historic sites directors no longer at their jobs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The top leaders for North Carolina’s state parks and historic sites are no longer on the job.
Department of Natural and Cultural Resources spokesman Neel Lattimore said Wednesday was the last day of employment for state parks director Michael Murphy and historic sites director Keith Hardison. There were no reasons given for their departures.
Personnel information provided by the department showed Hardison had been director of the Division of State Historic Sites for over 10 years, and Murphy began as parks director in 2014. Both made over $100,000 annually.
Murphy didn’t return a phone call to his home Thursday evening. Attempts late Thursday to locate Hardison’s phone number were unsuccessful. Carolina Journal, which first reported their departures, said it contacted Hardison, but he didn’t want to talk about his situation.
FLU DEATHS-NORTH CAROLINA
Flu deaths in North Carolina reach 253, exceeds 2017 total
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Flu deaths in North Carolina this season have exceeded the count for all of last season with about three months left.
The state Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday that 18 people died from the flu last week, and along with 35 deaths attributed to the flu from previous weeks, the death toll for 2017-2018 has reached 253.
Last year, 218 people died from the flu in North Carolina.
Last Friday, U.S. health officials said fewer visits to the doctor in the previous week were for fever, cough and other flu symptoms than during the previous two weeks. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they’re cautious about saying the flu season has peaked but called the downturn encouraging.
Loan of $1.5M to N Carolina civil rights museum is forgiven
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A civil rights museum in North Carolina won’t have to repay a $1.5 million because it raised enough money to have the loan forgiven.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports the city of Greensboro announced Thursday that it has forgiven the loan to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. The city had agreed to forgive one dollar of the loan for every dollar the museum raised.
Museum co-founder Skip Alston says he received an email saying the museum raised enough money to have the loan cleared.
The museum honors the sit-in movement that began Feb. 1, 1960, when four black freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University refused to leave the whites-only lunch counter at the Woolworth store. The museum opened in 2010.
Special election suggested for some House districts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An attorney leading another challenge to North Carolina legislative districts wants Wake County House boundaries changed for this year’s elections, but a lawyer for Republican state lawmakers says it’s too late for that.
Three state judges asked the lawyers Thursday how litigation by advocacy groups and voters should proceed. No decisions were announced.
The plaintiffs contend four districts must revert to 2011 boundaries because the state constitution prevented lawmakers from changing them last summer without specific court orders. Complicating the case is the U.S. Supreme Court blocking a federal court ruling so last year’s lines are in use for May primaries.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Allison Riggs suggested holding special Wake County House primary elections this summer if her clients succeed. GOP lawyer Phil Strach says that would cause disruption and uncertainty.
FBI, local police launch investigation into school threats
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The FBI is joining with North Carolina police detectives and the state’s second largest school system in an investigation into threats of violence at four separate schools.
A news release on Thursday said the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Police Department will work with the FBI on the incidents, all of which occurred on Wednesday.
In one instance, a resource officer at Community Middle House School was told on Wednesday of a threat of a school bus being shot at. Authorities found the student, spoke with the parents and followed up before allowing the student to return to campus. Later Wednesday, officers responded to a call of communicating a threat, and the caller said they received a Snapchat from a person who threatened students at the school.
DOG SAVES MAN
Dog saves North Carolina man’s life by barking at house fire
(Information from: The Daily Advance, http://www.dailyadvance.com/)
SHAWBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man says his dog saved his life by waking him from a nap and barking when his home caught fire.
Adrian Woodley tells The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City that his dog Shadow growled and barked on the afternoon of Feb. 21. The 48-year-old Woodley says Shadow jumped out of bed but stopped at the curtain that divided the bedroom from the rest of the mobile home in Currituck County.
Woodley heard breaking and cracking sounds and then saw smoke in the hallway when he moved the curtain back.
He and Shadow escaped the mobile home, which was destroyed. Woodley says Shadow, who is several months old, is his hero.
Remains belong to North Carolina woman missing for 10 years
LAWNDALE, N.C. (AP) – Remains found by hunters have been identified as those of a woman missing from a North Carolina assisted living facility for a decade.
Local media outlets report that rabbit hunters found human remains two weeks ago in Cleveland County. This week, the remains were identified as those of Mouy Tang.
Tang was 46 when she wandered away from Unique Living assisted care in Lawndale in September 2008. The remains were found less than a mile from that facility, where Tang had been living for 16 years. She had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and diabetes.
Authorities are treating the case as an accidental death.