Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Gov. Cooper: Judges got it wrong on elections board ruling
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says a three-judge panel got it wrong by deciding a North Carolina Supreme Court decision meant only a small portion of a law combining elections and ethics duties into one agency should be struck down.
Cooper’s attorneys asked Tuesday for the justices to intervene quickly and void the entire law approved last April by GOP lawmakers.
The governor’s legal motions come a day after the three trial court judges decided the Supreme Court’s ruling in January only meant sections of the law related to the combined board’s membership were thrown out. Combining the board remained intact.
Cooper wants a stand-alone elections board again in which Democrats hold a majority of seats.
A new law taking effect next week retains the combined board but retools its membership.
COASTAL FLOODING-NORTH CAROLINA
Road on North Carolina’s Outer Banks reopens to motorists
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) – The only highway on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is reopened to traffic.
The N.C. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that N.C. Highway 12 is open for travel from the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe.
Coastal flooding forced transportation officials to close parts of the road on Monday.
Although the road has been reopened, officials did warn that there could be additional ocean overwash at high tide and that travelers should expect sand and water on the road.
VIDEO-OFFICER-JAYWALKER BEATEN-THE LATEST
The Latest: North Carolina city releases documents beating
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Documents released by a North Carolina city show its police department did not properly handle an investigation of the beating of a black man accused of jaywalking by a white officer last year.
The Asheville Police Department released documents Monday in the case of former officer Christopher Hickman, who resigned after an investigation of the arrest of Jermaine Rush last August. The city released the documents after police camera video was given to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
The documents show a supervisor responded to the use of force against Rush, but did not send the information to superiors immediately.
All charges against Rush have been dismissed. The city is asking that other police camera video be released to the public to be transparent about what happened.
The city did not provide contact information for Hickman.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Regulator: Pipeline permits have no link to Cooper agreement
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina environmental regulator says a separate monetary agreement reached by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office with developers of a multistate natural gas pipeline had nothing to do with her department’s decisions on key project permits.
Assistant Secretary for the Environment Sheila Holman answered questions Tuesday from the General Assembly’s energy policy committee about where things stand on approving the Atlantic Coast Pipeline through eastern North Carolina.
GOP legislators have criticized Cooper’s deal in which Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other utilities would pay $58 million for environmental mitigation, renewable energy and economic development projects along the pipeline route. The legislature passed a law to send that money to area school districts instead.
Cooper has strongly denied Republican arguments that the $58 million was a condition for permit approvals.
North Carolina reports 6 homicides in 2018, ahead of 2017
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city is reporting six homicides over 42 days during 2018, ahead of the pace set in 2017.
Police tell the Winston-Salem Journal that the six homicides compare to just one at the same time last year. There have been arrests in four of the cases, but police say suspects are still being sought in two of those cases.
The most notable case is the death of 21-year-old Winston-Salem State University football player Najee Ali Baker, who was fatally shot while at a party on Jan. 20 on the campus of Wake Forest University. A 16-year-old was charged in the case, but police are still looking for 21-year-old Jakier Shanique Austin, who is believed to have shot Baker.
Hog industry lawyers: Jury needn’t hear other waste methods
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Hog industry attorneys defending federal lawsuits claiming that spraying liquefied animal waste over farm fields harm North Carolina neighbors don’t want jurors to hear about alternative methods used elsewhere.
U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt and attorneys on Tuesday discussed trial details ahead of the first of what could be dozens of nuisance cases that could alter profits and processes in the country’s No. 2 pork-producing state. Britt called the trials starting next month involving hundreds of neighbors a “massive” legal undertaking.
Lawyers defending a subsidiary of Virginia-based pork giant Smithfield Foods say jurors shouldn’t be told that hog waste applied to Midwest fields is injected or turned directly into soil rather than sprayed into the air over it.
Neighbors say winds leave their homes covered in filthy droplets.
CHARLOTTE-CIVIC PRIDE SIGNS
North Carolina’s largest city using signs to promote pride
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s largest city is relying on street signs to encourage civic engagement and neighborhood pride.
Officials with the city of Charlotte say eight new “Can Do!” signs were erected, with each including a message and hashtag encouraging people to share what they love to do in that public space.
The eight new signs, installed on Monday, are inspired by feedback received in contest, through social media and from a middle school. One of the signs suggests looking up at the sky. That sign will be posted in a park.
A Spanish-language sign which translates to “run with your dog” will be posted at a nature preserve. Also, a series of dance-inspired signs will run along North Davidson Street, inviting passers-by to show off their best moves.
TAX OVERHAUL-NORTH CAROLINA
N Carolina revenues surged with new year, but does it last?
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Tax money stuffed North Carolina’s coffers as the calendar turned to 2018, but that alone doesn’t mean the state will have a significant surplus when the fiscal year ends in June.
State Budget Director Charlie Perusse (per-ROOS’) says individuals paid $165 million more in estimated tax payments during December and January than previously projected.
Perusse’s office believes the increase occurred largely because people overpaid estimated state taxes around the new year to deduct more on 2017 federal income tax returns, before the federal tax overhaul law begins with 2018 returns. Perusse says stock market performance also contributed to the uptick.
Perusse expects the payment surge to mean lower payments and higher refunds in April. That could eat away revenue growth.
Through December, state tax collections were basically even with projections.