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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 11:20 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.



US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off Japan
TOKYO (AP) – The U.S. military has identified five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan’s southern coast.
Search and recovery operations have ended after finding only one survivor, who was aboard the fighter jet.
The five crew members identified Wednesday were on a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft that collided with an F/A-18 Hornet during regular training. The warplanes crashed into the sea south of Japan’s Shikoku island.
The Marine Corps identified the crew members as Lt. Col. Kevin R. Herrmann, 38, of New Bern, North Carolina; Maj. James M. Brophy, 36, of Staatsburg, New York; Staff Sgt. Maximo A. Flores, 27, of Surprise, Arizona; Cpl. Daniel E. Baker, 21, of Tremont, Illinois; and Cpl. William C. Ross, 21, of Hendersonville, Tennessee.



Brother’s dogs kill North Carolina woman, injure 2 grandkids
MARIETTA, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina grandmother was killed and two grandchildren injured when they were attacked by four Rottweilers owned by the woman’s brother.
Citing a Tuesday statement from the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, news outlets report that 73-year-old Esta Currier died after the Monday afternoon attack. The 7-year-old and 9-year-old were airlifted to a South Carolina hospital. The extent of their injuries is unclear.
The sheriff’s office says the dogs were owned by Currier’s brother. Authorities say the dogs aggressively approached responding deputies, who shot and killed them. A bullet fragment or flying debris injured 56-year-old Brenda Walters, who is Currier’s brother’s wife. She was treated and released.
The sheriff’s office says the three were attacked when Currier picked the children up from a bus stop.



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.



University: Figure hung from noose was student art project
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina university says a figure hanging from a tree by a noose was part of a “student of color’s final art project.”
News outlets report the noosed figure was found at the University of North Carolina Charlotte on Tuesday. An email to the UNCC community said police determined it was an art project submitted as an end-of-semester assignment.
The university called depictions of lynching “hurtful, threatening, and offensive” and said the project was immediately removed. The university stressed the project wasn’t a response to the student government’s letter criticizing the reinstallation of the Silent Sam Confederate statue at UNC Chapel Hill.
Art Department Chair Lydia Thompson tells WBTV-TV the project was “not really there for public consumption” and wasn’t meant to stay up beyond the student’s final critique.



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.



AP-WF-12-12-18 1620GMT