Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
DUKE ENERGY-EXCREMENT TO ENERGY
Duke Energy ties pig poop gas to lines for power plants
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Duke Energy Corp. is finally converting methane gas from North Carolina’s plentiful hog operations into gas that could be burned at electric power plants.
The country’s second largest electric company said Tuesday that for the first time it is piping purified methane from industrial-scale hog farms into natural gas lines that supply power plants.
The milestone comes more than a decade after North Carolina legislators directed the company to start using animal waste to generate a fraction of the electricity it sells.
The biogas project captures methane from the hog waste of five Duplin County hog farms, pipes it into a central cleaning system nearby and then pushes the gas into pipelines where it can be used at a plant more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away to generate power.
Second person charged with helping infant smoke marijuana
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been charged with helping an infant girl smoke marijuana in a video seen by millions online.
Allan Maldonado made a short appearance Wednesday in a Raleigh courtroom on misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and marijuana possession. Arrest warrants say he helped cause the 1-year-old girl to smoke marijuana in videos that sparked outrage after they went viral last week.
Maldonado, who’s 18, asked the judge to appoint a public defender.
The girl’s mother was arrested last week on charges including child abuse and marijuana possession. The baby was placed with child protective services.
One video showed the hand of an adult holding the cigarillo to the girl’s lips. The child appears to inhale and lets out a puff of smoke.
Family Dollar to pay $45M in gender bias lawsuit settlement
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Family Dollar has agreed to pay $45 million to settle a gender bias lawsuit that dates 16 years ago.
The Charlotte Observer cites the settlement in a Wednesday report as saying 37,000 female managers of Family Dollar stores allege they were paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same job, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
The discount retailer’s headquarters are in Matthews, North Carolina, with over 8,000 stores throughout the country.
U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn signed off on the settlement March 14. It pertains to compensation paid to affected managers from July 2002 to November 2017.
Family Dollar denied any wrongdoing, saying that it “has treated all employees fairly with regard to salaries.”
North Carolina prison officials assaulted in 2 attacks
MAURY, N.C. (AP) – A state agency says officials at a North Carolina prison were attacked in separate incidents.
The N.C. Department of Public Safety said a prison officer at Maury Correctional Institution in Greene County received a non-life threatening injury after an inmate attack around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Spokeswoman Sonja Bennett-Bellamy said the officer and was taken to a local urgent care center and is expected to soon return to work.
Bennett-Bellamy said the inmate is undergoing a mental evaluation.
A second attack occurred about two hours later when an inmate walked up behind a case manager and hit them on the head with his fist. A supervisor trying to break up the scuffle was also hurt. Neither of the injuries was serious, and Bennett-Bellamy said officials don’t believe the incidents are related.
CHARLOTTE POLICE-2019 VACATION
North Carolina police already restricting 2019 vacations
(Information from: WBTV-TV, http://www.wbtv.com/)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police officers in North Carolina’s largest city are being warned a year ahead not to plan on vacations early in 2019 because of major basketball events.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Maj. Gerald Smith told WBTV in Charlotte that the department won’t be able to give vacations during February and March. Officers received an email saying there will be no vacations between Feb. 13-17 for NBA All-Star activities. There’s also no vacation between Feb. 26-March 2 for the CIAA men’s and woman’s tournaments.
Following the CIAA tournaments, Smith said single-day vacations will be restricted between March 5-10 because of the ACC men’s tournament.
The president of the Fraternal Order of Police said he thinks the restrictions stem from a lack of officers, and he said restricting vacations will put a strain on officers.
Solar jobs on the rise in Florida
MIAMI (AP) – The Solar Foundation says solar jobs are on the rise in the Sunshine State.
The organization’s 2017 census shows that solar employment declined 3.8 percent nationwide, from 260,077 jobs in 2016 to 250,271 in 2017. But solar jobs increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia, including Florida, Minnesota, Utah, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Florida added 330 jobs from 2016 to 2017.
The non-profit encouraged state officials to look at solar power as a key strategy for building local economies and supporting high-quality careers.
California remained the state with the leading number of solar jobs in 2017.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY-MAN SENTENCED
North Carolina man gets 8 years in prison for child porn
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for possession of child pornography.
The U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Wednesday that 43-year-old David Michael Shope of Huntersville was also sentenced to serve 15 years under court supervision and to register as a sex offender.
Prosecutors say Shope used peer-to-peer software to deliver multiple videos that depicted the sexual abuse of children. Those videos actually were given to an undercover detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Court records show law enforcement also found conversations from a public chat room on one of Shope’s laptops. The various chats involved Shope posing as a female with a younger daughter who was sexually interested in other females with younger daughters.
CONCERT SCAM-HAWAII-THE LATEST
The Latest: Sentencing postponed Hawaii concert scam
HONOLULU (AP) – Sentencing has been postponed again for a man who pleaded guilty in a Stevie Wonder concert scam.
Marc Hubbard was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday. His lawyer William Harrison asked that the hearing be postponed so he and his client can review a pre-sentence report prepared by probation officials. A judge rescheduled sentencing for April 6.
Hubbard pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2016, saying he lied about his ability to secure Wonder for a fundraising concert. In 2012, the University of Hawaii paid a $200,000 deposit then began selling tickets before learning that neither Wonder nor his representatives had authorized a show.
Thousands of ticket purchases had to be refunded, causing embarrassment for the school and prompting investigations.
Hubbard’s sentencing has been postponed several times.