Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
Voter ID details clear North Carolina Senate, heads to House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Photo identification requirements to vote in person in North Carolina have cleared one legislative chamber.
The Senate gave its final approval Thursday to the measure detailing qualifying IDs and exceptions. The measure received initial Senate approval Wednesday and now goes to the House, where it’s likely to be debated next week in the ongoing lame-duck session.
The legislature is acting weeks after a constitutional amendment mandating photo voter ID got approved in a statewide referendum. The Senate legislation carries out that amendment.
Two ID bills passed earlier this decade by Republicans were blocked, one by a veto and another by federal judges.
Two Democrats joined all Republicans voting Thursday to back the legislation, which allows many more types of qualifying IDs compared to what was allowed in 2013 legislation.
GIRL ABDUCTED-MULTISTATE SEARCH
Search locates teen girl 900 miles from North Carolina home
RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) – Investigators tracked a kidnapped girl across multiple states and found her safe in Oklahoma, 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) from her North Carolina home.
The FBI said in a news release that 13-year-old Aubrey Acree of Rutherford County, North Carolina, was found safe late Tuesday night in Checotah, Oklahoma.
Authorities arrested 23-year-old Jacob Gardea of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on charges including child abduction. It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney. No phone listing could be found for him in a public records search.
Investigators say a key eyewitness account helped them pinpoint a vehicle used in the abduction and track it. Aubrey had been reported missing by her mother Monday.
Authorities have notified her family and are working to return her to her western North Carolina home.
4 mariners rescued after boat loses mast off North Carolina
CAPE LOOKOUT, N.C. (AP) – The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued four mariners whose sailboat lost its mast in a storm off the North Carolina shore.
News outlets report officials received a distress call Monday, located the 55-foot (17-meter) sailboat Tuesday and had the four men back on land by Wednesday.
The men were uninjured, but in addition to being demasted, the boat’s steering gear was damaged.
The crew had left Annapolis, Maryland, on Saturday and was headed to Miami when they became caught in the storm 100 miles off North Carolina’s Cape Lookout.
The commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba, Capt. Michael Turdo, praised his crew, saying the situation “could have quickly taken a turn for the worse” with deteriorating weather.
Ex-VA patient’s positive TB test prompts NC center testing
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Patients and staff at a Veterans Affairs center in North Carolina are being tested for tuberculosis after a former patient tested positive.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that the Fayetteville VA Medical Center’s interim director, Carl Bazemore, sent a memo to staff members earlier this month saying the patient who tested positive was in the center’s care from May 8 through Oct. 5.
Fayetteville VA spokesman Jeffrey Melvin says it’s hard to tell when the patient contract tuberculosis. Melvin says it’s unknown whether anyone tested positive as of Wednesday.
Individual notices have been issued to 172 potentially exposed employees and 238 veterans.
Bazemore says the patient’s initial TB test was negative and the bacteria count was low, meaning the potential for spreading the disease is minimal.
North Carolina police officer accused of domestic violence
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police officer is accused of assaulting a woman in a domestic dispute.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Buncombe County sheriff’s deputies arrested Asheville police officer Ronnie Adam Dodd on Sunday.
Deputies say the 37-year-old struck a woman on the chin with a plastic coat hanger, pulled her by the hair and shoved her out the door. He’s charged with misdemeanor assault.
Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse says he wasn’t on duty at the time. He’s been placed on investigative suspension, which is paid.
Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams said Tuesday that he’s been notified of Dodd’s arrest, per an agreement with police and the sheriff’s department requiring notification of potential officer misconduct that could affect pending prosecutions.
Dodd has posted bail and can’t contact the woman. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.
MISSING GIRL-NORTH CAROLINA
Police: Body found in North Carolina is kidnapped teen girl
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Investigators believe a body found in North Carolina is a 13-year-old girl kidnapped from her home three weeks ago.
Authorities said at a news conference Wednesday that preliminary tests show the body found a day earlier is that of Hania Aguilar.
The body was found in a body of water in Robeson County about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the mobile home park where she was kidnapped on Nov. 5 after going outside to start a relative’s SUV before school.
Police say a man forced the teenager into an SUV and drove off. The SUV was found several miles south of her mobile home park. The body was found a few miles farther away.
INTERSTATE 795 EXTENSION
Transportation officials to hold hearings on I-795 extension
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (AP) – State transportation officials have scheduled three public hearings to gauge sentiment about plans to extend Interstate 795.
The N.C. Department of Transportation is holding hearings beginning Thursday in Faison to pitch the idea of extending I-795 south from Goldsboro to Interstate 40 in Sampson County.
Subsequent meetings are scheduled for Goldsboro on Dec. 3 and Mount Olive the next afternoon.
The department’s ultimate goal is to extend I-795, which now runs between Wilson and Goldsboro, from Goldsboro south to I-40 near Mount Olive and the Sampson-Duplin county line.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports U.S. 117 is already a four-lane divided highway between Goldsboro and I-40. Making it an interstate would involve widening shoulders and eliminating access from side roads, homes and businesses, and replacing them with interchanges.
ELECTION 2018-9TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Possible absentee ‘irregularities’ examined in Congress race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina elections board is investigating potential absentee ballot “irregularities” in the 9th Congressional District – a probe that apparently led board members to delay finalizing the district’s election results.
Elections board spokesman Patrick Gannon confirmed probe details Wednesday, the day after the board voted to push back a decision on the 9th District until at least Friday.
Gannon separately said a board investigator took absentee ballot request forms and ballot envelopes from Bladen County, partially in the district. Bladen elections board Chairman Bobby Ludlum said the investigator took “several” mail-in ballot envelopes right after Election Day.
Republican Mark Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the eight-county district. The state board’s web site shows less than 700 mail-in absentee ballots were cast for the race in Bladen County.