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December 12, 2018
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December 12, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST



Spotty ice expected on roads as thawing snow refreezes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Officials are warning of another day of dangerous road conditions after a wintry snowstorm walloped several Southern states.
While sunny skies helped North Carolina and Virginia thaw on Tuesday, temperatures dropped again overnight. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper warned that any moisture left on roads from melting snow could turn into ice again Wednesday morning.
The snow blanketed much of North Carolina with snow, and some areas saw accumulations of more than 2 feet (.6 meters).
Cooper also warned runoff from snowmelt could combine with an expected rainstorm this week to increase the flooding threat along some rivers. Rain was forecast for Thursday and Friday.
The storm was blamed for at least three deaths in North Carolina. The state’s Highway Patrol had responded to 2,300 accidents as of Tuesday.



Bill requires 9th District primaries if there’s new election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republicans aim to pass a law making clear new primary races also would be held for an unsettled congressional race next year if the state elections board orders a new election.
GOP legislators unveiled Tuesday a proposal that also keeps the current board in place to investigate absentee ballot irregularities in the 9th Congressional District until the probe finishes. The nine-member board would otherwise cease to exist as of Wednesday because of litigation unrelated to the 9th District.
Unofficial results show Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.
State law directs primaries be held when there’s a U.S. House vacancy. State Rep. David Lewis says holding new primaries makes sense because it appears absentee ballots were an issue during last May’s primaries in the district.



DA: Evidence linking suspect to 2016 rape was overlooked
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina district attorney says authorities last year didn’t investigate DNA evidence linking a 2016 rape to a man accused in the recent slaying of a teenage girl.
The News & Observer reports Robeson County District Attorney Johnson Britt said Tuesday that an investigation into the DNA linking Michael Ray McLellan to the 2016 rape “fell through the cracks.”
McLellan is charged with raping and killing 13-year-old Hania Noelia Aguilar, who was kidnapped from outside her Lumberton home in November. Her body was found weeks later.
Investigators said Monday that DNA was essential in linking McLellan to Hania’s death. Britt says that DNA was matched to DNA evidence already linked to a 2016 rape in which a man broke into a woman’s home and raped her at knifepoint.



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.



Deputy on leave after video posted of him roughing up teens
LILLINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy has been placed on administrative leave after a video posted to social media shows him roughing up two teenage girls recording an arrest on their cellphones.
The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office told news outlets the State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to review what happened.
The sheriff’s office says two deputies were responding to a complaint of illegal drug activity Monday and detained four people.
The teenagers, ages 17 and 14, began recording the arrest when the video showed a deputy grabbing the phone from the younger teen and wrestling her to the ground when she resisted. The girl kicked her phone to her sister. The deputy said the phone was evidence and then wrestled the 17-year-old to the ground.



Historically black North Carolina university off probation
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A historically black North Carolina university has emerged from probation placed by its accrediting agency.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges had put St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh on probation for the past two years, citing financial problems and questions of institutional effectiveness. Loss of accreditation could have forced the university to close.
On Tuesday, the association’s board of trustees announced it has removed St. Augustine’s from probationary status.
University president Everett Ward said that accreditation agency was impressed by how the university invested $1.7 million in a project which helped shift the university from doing its accounting manually to using software.
Officials said enrollment now stands at 767 students, down from between 970 and 980 last school year.



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.



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.



AP-WF-12-12-18 1120GMT