Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina governor to appeal for federal disaster aid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor says he’ll keep seeking federal aid for more than a dozen western counties damaged by flooding, landslides and mudslides in the spring.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday his office will appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to deny his request for a major disaster declaration for 13 counties.
A FEMA declaration would open the door for funds for affected people and communities. The agency’s director declined to provide aid, in part saying state and local governments could handle the damage caused in May.
Cooper said in a release that five people died because of the storms, with home and business damage and washed out roads and bridges. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already declared four western counties affected by the rains disaster areas to help farmers.
NORTH CAROLINA-BALLOT BATTLE
N Carolina court: Constitutional changes misleading, blocked
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A divided judicial panel says two proposed North Carolina constitutional amendments that would diminish the powers of the state’s governor are misleading and shouldn’t appear on ballots in November.
The three-judge panel split 2-1 on Tuesday in ruling that the language adopted by the Republican-led General Assembly doesn’t fairly and impartially describe the decisions facing voters.
The ruling blocks two challenged amendments of the six that lawmakers approved in June.
One would let legislators have more control over filling judicial vacancies now nearly always decided solely by governors. The second constitutional change would make clear lawmakers control appointments for boards and commissions that decide rules for everything from natural gas fracking and how community colleges should run.
The judges said they hurried their ruling to allow time for an appeal.
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Fate of 3 more Confederate monuments in NC to be discussed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Less than two days after protesters at the University of North Carolina’s flagship campus toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier, a committee plans to announce its recommendation for three other 20th-century monuments on the state Capitol grounds.
A study committee of the state Historical Commission is expected to recommend Wednesday whether the three Confederate statues in Raleigh should be relocated. Gov. Roy Cooper asked last year that they be moved to a Civil War battlefield.
The full commission is then expected to vote on the committee’s recommendation. The committee could vote to move the monuments, leave them in place or re-interpret them.
The vote follows the toppling of a statue known as “Silent Sam” on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus Monday night.
COLORADO FAMILY KILLED-THE LATEST
The Latest: Man advised of charges in family’s murder
DENVER (AP) – A man whose pregnant daughter was killed, along with his two granddaughters, sobbed with his face in his hands as a Colorado judge read formal charges against his son-in-law.
Shanann Watts’ father, Frank Rzucek Sr., shook visibly Tuesday as District Judge Marcelo Kopcow read the charges against Christopher Watts.
Shanann’s brother, Frank Rzucek Jr., rubbed his father’s shoulders and glared unflinchingly at his brother-in-law. A bailiff stood between them.
Christopher Watts stoically answered “Yes sir” as the judge asked whether he understood the murder and other felony charges against him and the penalties they carry, including the death penalty.
Christopher Watts is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Shanann, and 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.
Watts didn’t enter pleas Tuesday. The judge set the next hearing for Nov. 16.
DOLL MISTAKEN FOR BABY
Infant saved, stolen car found after doll mistaken for baby
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a man saw a doll inside a parked truck and called police about an unresponsive infant, leading to the recovery of stolen truck and real baby.
Lumberton Police Department Capt. Terry Parker tells The Fayetteville Observer that a woman reported her pickup truck and 3-week-old baby stolen Monday. Parker says the woman was taking two other children inside a house when someone stole the vehicle and baby inside it.
Police issued an alert, and Parker says the truck and baby were abandoned in a nearby parking lot minutes later. He says a man walking past the truck noticed a window was down and peered inside. Parker says the man saw a doll lying on the floor and called police.
Parker says no arrests were made as of Tuesday.
3D GUN-LAWSUIT-THE LATEST
The Latest: Judge: President, Congress should eye 3D guns
SEATTLE (AP) – A federal judge hearing arguments over a settlement that allows a company to post online plans for printing 3D guns said the overall issue of such untraceable plastic weapons should be decided by the president or Congress.
U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik said Tuesday that he’ll rule on the legal issues involving the settlement between the company and the Trump administration.
He added, however, that “a solution to the greater problem is so much better suited” to the president or Congress.
Lasnik previously issued a restraining order blocking the online release of the plans. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia want the judge to make it permanent.
Washington state Assistant Attorney General Jeff Rupert argued that the government’s decision to allow Texas-based Defense Distributed to post the 3D gun plans threatens public safety and should be reversed.
A lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department disagreed, saying it is already illegal to possess plastic guns and the government is fully committed to enforcing that law. He argued that the states are focused on the wrong statute.
Lasnik repeatedly questioned that logic, asking how the government can be vigorously enforcing a law banning plastic, undetectable guns but not proactively stopping them from being made.
Sheriff: 75 malnourished animals found at N Carolina home
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
COLUMBIA, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina woman has been arrested after authorities say they found 75 malnourished animals in her backyard.
The Virginian-Pilot reports 39-year-old Christy L. Edwards, of Columbia, is charged with animal cruelty. Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman says deputies visited the property Friday and Saturday after receiving a tip.
He says they found animals including chickens, donkeys, horses, goats, a pig and a turkey without food or water. He says that “when you see a pig with his ribs showing, that’s pretty bad.”
Liverman says the animals have since been checked by a veterinarian and taken to a Currituck County farm.
CRIME VICTIMS AMENDMENT
Crime victims’ amendment backers planning to spend $5M
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Backers of a proposed crime victims’ amendment to North Carolina’s constitution are preparing to spend $5 million leading up to the referendum this November.
The leader of efforts to approve a North Carolina version of a victims’ rights amendment, similar to what’s known as “Marsy’s Law” in other states, identified the amount in an interview.
The group announced it started airing its first commercials on the radio Tuesday promoting a “yes” vote.
North Carolina voters approved a crime victims’ amendment two decades ago, but the update would expand those rights and make clear victims can seek redress in court.
Chris Sinclair directs the North Carolina campaign. He said its money would come from the national Marsy’s Law group, which was started by a wealthy tech company founder.