Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
SEVERE WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Refreezing still threatens North Carolina roads
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor is warning drivers that melting snow could refreeze again overnight and cause a treacherous morning commute for a third day.
Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Tuesday that overnight temperatures could again dip into the 20s or teens overnight after rising above freezing across much of the state during the day. That creates the potential for treacherous black ice on roads again during Wednesday’s commute.
Cooper said that 60 school districts remain closed after the storm dumped more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) of snow in western parts of the state. A National Weather Service map indicates that more than a third of the state’s 100 counties had accumulations of 6 inches (15 centimeters) or more.
The governor says crews have restored power to a half-million customers, leaving only about 38,000 households without power Tuesday morning.
Retail chain Cato to settle federal discrimination probe
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal officials say a nationwide investigation found that a North Carolina women’s clothing retail chain discriminated against pregnant workers and workers with disabilities.
The Charlotte Observer reports The Cato Corporation has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigation. The agency announced Monday that the Charlotte-based company denied reasonable accommodations for those workers and made some workers take unpaid leave or terminated them because of their disabilities.
The agency says Cato’s practices violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An EEOC release says Cato has agreed to update its policies to prevent discrimination against those workers.
It says a claims process will allow the settlement to be distributed to workers terminated because of their pregnancy or disability.
Cato’s website says it has more than 1,000 stores in 32 states.
Environmental groups suing over offshore drilling tests
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Environmental groups are suing President Donald Trump’s administration over plans to conduct offshore drilling tests.
A lawsuit from several environmental groups including OCEANA and the Southern Environmental Law Center filed Tuesday in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, aims to stop issuance of permits for the use of seismic air guns.
The Trump administration has authorized five such permits, which aim to find oil and gas formations deep below the Atlantic Ocean floor from Delaware to central Florida. Environmentalists say the blasts can disturb marine mammals.
South Carolina Republican state Sen. Stephen Goldfinch represents portions of the coast. He says he understands constituents’ fears about the potential for oil-related environmental problems but says seismic testing could lead to the discovery of natural gas deposits, which could be an economic boom.
PREGNANT WOMAN KILLED
DA: Pregnant woman shot, killed knew man charged
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a North Carolina woman who authorities say was seven months pregnant.
News outlets report 21-year-old Markez Jaquan Mcgriff was arrested Sunday during a traffic stop. He’s charged in the death of 26-year-old Thailia Christina Thomas on Dec. 5. He’s also charged with shooting and injuring Thomas’ roommate, 33-year-old Inda Davis.
District Attorney Billy West said during a Monday hearing that medical tests will determine whether a charge will be filed in the death of the fetus.
West says Mcgriff was invited to the residence to visit Thomas. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Sean Swain says Thomas and Mcgriff had met online. It’s unclear what led to the shooting.
Reports didn’t include comment from Mcgriff’s lawyer, David Smith.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-CONGRESS
More time may be needed for North Carolina election decision
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The head of the North Carolina elections board is suggesting more time may be needed to decide whether a new congressional district election is necessary due to absentee ballot fraud allegations.
Chairman Joshua Malcolm wrote state judges Monday that those subpoenaed in the 9th Congressional District case have said they need more time to produce additional records. Malcolm says the delays may “lengthen the timeframe” the board initially contemplated. The board previously scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the district race on or before Dec. 21.
The schedule is important because a new session of Congress begins Jan. 3. Unofficial results show Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. The board could call a new election or declare a winner. Without resolution, the seat likely will become vacant.
VAN DUYN-LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
North Carolina legislator to run for lieutenant governor
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state senator wants to become the next lieutenant governor.
Democratic Sen. Terry Van Duyn (dine) of Asheville announced her campaign plans in a social media post Monday.
Van Duyn is a retired computer systems analyst who succeeded Sen. Martin Nesbitt after he died in 2014. She is currently the Senate Democratic whip.
Van Duyn says she’s running in 2020 because Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper “needs a strong ally in his fight for working families.” Cooper is expected to seek re-election that year, too.
Former Davidson County Sen. Cal Cunningham announced two weeks ago that he is preparing his own Democratic bid for lieutenant governor.
The current lieutenant governor, Republican Dan Forest, is term-limited and is planning a gubernatorial run.
Governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately.
Plane carrying Carolina Hurricanes makes emergency landing
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – A passenger says a Swift Air charter plane carrying the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes made an emergency landing in Oklahoma over the weekend after a noxious smell filled the cabin.
The Boeing 737 landed at Tulsa International Airport about 4 a.m. Saturday while traveling from Long Beach, California, to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The aircraft was returning the hockey team to North Carolina after a game.
The team’s vice president of communications, Mike Sundheim, was on the flight. Sundheim said Monday that passengers could smell something similar to burning plastic.
Once on the ground, Sundheim says technicians replaced a malfunctioning air data computer and took off again after a delay of about two hours.
No injuries were reported.
Phoenix-based Swift Air hasn’t responded to telephone and email requests for comment.
SEVERE WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Pedestrians warned of ice from skyscraper
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina’s largest city are warning pedestrians of ice falling from a downtown skyscraper.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police shut down one street Monday after reports of ice falling from the Duke Energy Center. Police advised on their Twitter page that travelers should find an alternate route.
The Charlotte Observer reports Wells Fargo owns the 48-story tower. Spokesman Josh Dunn confirmed that ice was dropping from the building. Warning signs and protective scaffolding were placed over the building’s entrances and exits.
A year after the building opened in January 2010, police had to close surrounding streets after, according to police, ice melting on the building started “coming down in big sheets.”