Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
HOT TUB DEATH-PAROLE
Parole but still prison for man who strangled wives in tubs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A man sentenced to life in prison for strangling his first wife in a bathtub has been granted parole in North Carolina but will serve a life sentence in Pennsylvania for killing his second wife in similar circumstances.
Officials said Thursday that Timothy Boczkowski has been granted parole in the 1990 death of Elaine Boczkowski at their Greensboro home. He was charged in that case only after the death of his second wife, Maryann, who was strangled in a hot tub in her Pittsburgh home in 1994.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated Boczkowski’s 1999 death sentence because prosecutors had violated a judge’s order and allowed him to be extradited to North Carolina.
Prosecutors then used his 1996 North Carolina conviction to qualify him for the death penalty in Pennsylvania.
Moore is Republicans’ choice for another speaker term
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican lawmakers want the current top North Carolina House and Senate leaders to run their respective chambers for another two years.
Freshman GOP legislators and incumbents elected in November have agreed to support current House Speaker Tim Moore of Kings Mountain for a third term as speaker. Caucus members said they chose Moore as their nominee Wednesday by acclamation.
The next General Assembly session convenes Jan. 9 to elect a speaker, Senate leader and other officers. Moore is likely to win despite Democratic gains this fall because Republicans will hold 65 of the 120 House seats.
Current Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden already was picked as that chamber GOP’s nominee. Berger has been in the top job since 2011. Republicans still will hold 29 of the 50 Senate seats.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-CONGRESS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Elections chief seeks stability in board probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s election board chief is concerned about complications if the board’s absentee ballot investigation in a congressional district race is not resolved within the next couple of weeks.
The problems, according to Chairman Josh Malcolm, are conflicting directives from a three-judge panel and from the state legislature.
The judges agreed this week to delay enforcement of their ruling eliminating the current nine-member board as unconstitutional until Dec. 28. But a bill approved Wednesday and sent to Gov. Roy Cooper would keep that board in place until Jan. 31.
The board planned a hearing by Dec. 21 on the 9th Congressional District probe, but Malcolm suggested its work might not finish by Dec. 28.
Malcolm told the judges in a letter late Wednesday that extending the ruling delay further until the 9th District probe is settled would be in the public’s interest.
TRANSPORTATION GRANT-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina gets $60 million for road, bridge improvement
WASHINGTON (AP) – North Carolina is getting $60 million for road and bridge improvements thanks to a federal grant program.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the grants are made through Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, Transportation Grants. The program is designed to support road, rail, transit and port infrastructure across the country.
Of the total, $23 million will help the N.C. Department of Transportation replace 77 bridges in 17 rural counties. A $20 million grant will help the Research Triangle Regional Public Transportation Authority in Raleigh construct a new multimodal transit center in downtown to support local bus operations and pedestrian access.
Also, a $17.1 million grant will help the City of Hickory develop a 1.7-mile-long bike-pedestrian trail and a bridge over U.S. 321.
Construction company fined in death of worker who fell
(Information from: WBTV-TV, http://www.wbtv.com/)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A construction company whose employee died after falling out of an elevator has been cited for safety violations.
WBTV-TV reports that the North Carolina Department of Labor announced Wednesday that Gilbane Building Company is required to pay $20,300 in fines in connection with 24-year-old Juventino Mata-Hernandez’s May death.
Mata-Hernandez fell around 20 stories from a building that was under construction. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The department says safety violations include a bridging device not being secured to a hoist, mechanical issues with the hoist and the employer not maintaining programs for inspections.
Department spokeswoman Mary Katherine Revels says Gilbane has requested an informal conference.
N Carolina’s Bennett College appeals loss of accreditation
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – After two years of probation, one of just two historically black private women’s colleges in the country has lost its accreditation.
But the Greensboro News & Record reports that Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said Tuesday that the college has appealed the accrediting agency’s decision.
In 2016, the college was placed on probation that was later extended another year for failing to comply with the commission’s standards for financial resources and financial stability. Probation is limited to two years.
Without accreditation, Bennett cannot accept federal funds to cover tuition and other student expenses, dealing a blow to financial aid.
The 469-student college will remain open and accredited until Dawkins appears at a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges hearing Feb. 18.
Deadline approaches for Florence aid in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Home and business owners suffering damages from Hurricane Florence are running out of time to request federal government aid.
The deadline is Thursday night to apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. More than 99,000 applications for help after the September storm’s record rains and flooding have been filed.
People can apply by calling 1-800-621-3362, going online , visiting a local disaster recovery center or using FEMA’s mobile app.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office says more than $1 billion in state and federal resources for Florence response already has been approved.
Cooper earlier this week also wrote President Donald Trump asking for federal disaster assistance in 21 counties that received damages from Hurricane Michael’s remnants in October.
UNC Wilmington sets records in 2018 with gift, enrollment
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina at Wilmington is ending the calendar year with a pair of significant records.
The school recently announced it received a $10 million gift commitment from David and Helen Congdon to establish the David S. Congdon School of Supply Chain, Business Analytics and Information Systems. In addition, the computer information systems building will also be rededicated as David S. Congdon Hall.
David Congdon is a 1978 graduate of UNCW. His gift represents the largest outright gift commitment in university history.
In addition to the gift, UNCW set all-time enrollment records with total enrollment surpassing 16,700 and a 16 percent increase in graduate student enrollment.