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ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-CONGRESS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Man in ballot probe declines to talk to board
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Newly released correspondence shows the man at the center of a North Carolina absentee ballot probe declined a formal request this week to be interviewed by elections board investigators.
The State Board of Elections released a letter, dated Dec. 16, to an attorney for Leslie McCrae Dowless. The board’s letter to attorney Cynthia Singletary requests an interview with Dowless, but notes that the board isn’t invoking its power to compel testimony.
The letter also informs the attorney that her client’s alleged actions during the 2018 election and before are “under criminal investigation” by the board’s investigators. They are looking into irregularities with the Nov. 6 vote in the state’s 9th District.
Singletary declined the board’s interview request on Tuesday.
Dowless and Singletary didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday. Singletary has previously said her client didn’t break any campaign laws.
New voter ID law immediately challenged in N Carolina court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The new North Carolina law detailing how a voter photo identification requirement is carried out has been challenged in court moments after the General Assembly completed the override of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure.
Six voters filed the lawsuit in Wake County court Wednesday afternoon, less than 15 minutes after the state House completed the override in a 72-40 vote. The Senate already voted to override Tuesday.
The photo ID law passed a month after a constitutional referendum mandating it was approved.
Still, the plaintiffs say the law violates the state constitution and retains requirements within a 2013 photo ID law that federal judges struck down. The voters argue the restrictions will harm black and American-Indian residents disproportionately and creates a financial cost to voting.
Power restored to N Carolina city after widespread outage
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – Power has been restored to a North Carolina city that suffered a widespread outage for about seven hours after a transmission line was cut.
News outlets report about 22,000 customers in New Bern lost power Wednesday afternoon. Duke Energy says a vegetation management crew damaged a transmission line while clearing an area. City police say power was restored later that night.
The power outage clogged the streets with undirected traffic and forced restaurants to close. Nine schools in the area were without power, and CarolinaEast Medical Center relied on a generator to continue its operations.
All Craven County offices closed early for non-essential personnel. Normal operating hours are expected to resume Thursday.
Cooper: Apple ‘open recruiting situation’ for North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper hasn’t given up yet on Apple creating more jobs soon in North Carolina.
In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, Cooper declined to comment on why the state didn’t land thousands of new jobs that Apple announced last week would go to Austin, Texas. Cooper says he’s staying silent because he called Apple an “open recruiting situation” that could potentially yield more employment.
People familiar with recruitment efforts said last spring Apple was strongly considering North Carolina for its new corporate campus. Cooper and the legislature also made cash incentives more attractive to big companies through legislation.
Cooper says the state is still in a good position economically, pointing out decisions by Honeywell International and Advance Auto Parts to move headquarters to North Carolina.
BOIL WATER ADVISORY-TOWN
Leak leads to boil water advisory in North Carolina town
WALNUT COVE, N.C. (AP) – A water leak has led officials in a small North Carolina town to post a boil water advisory.
Officials in the town of Walnut Cove said in a Facebook post that the fire department found the source of the leak and stopped it Wednesday. However, town officials are still recommending to residents that they boil water for one minute to kill any potential disease-causing organisms in the water.
The leak created low water pressure and service outages.
Residents are also being asked to conserve water.
3 killed, 1 hurt in plane crash near Georgia airport
BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. (AP) – Authorities say three people died and another was wounded when a single-engine plane crashed near a north Georgia airport.
News outlets report authorities say the passenger wounded in the Wednesday night crash at the Blairsville Airport was taken to a trauma center. The condition of the passenger was not immediately known.
Authorities did not immediately release the names of those involved in the crash. Blairsville is about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Atlanta and is in Union County, which borders North Carolina.
The flight path of the plane is unclear, as is the cause of the crash. An investigation is ongoing.
BODY INSIDE CAR
Maintenance worker finds body inside car off embankment
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A state transportation worker has found a body inside a car that went down an embankment on U.S. 421 in North Carolina.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports workers with the N.C. Department of Transportation were performing maintenance Wednesday when they discovered the vehicle and reported it to police shortly before 11 a.m.
Winston-Salem police said the car, which was not visible from the highway, appeared to have left the north side of the road and gone down the embankment to where it came to rest.
It’s not known when the accident occurred, and the victim’s identity hasn’t been released pending notification of family members. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
16 released after NC sheriff withdraws from ICE program
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Less than two weeks after a North Carolina sheriff announced an end to an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 16 people under ICE detainers have been released.
WRAL-TV reported Tuesday that the Wake County Sheriff’s Office released those who served their time or posted bond. Sheriff Gerald Baker says the ICE detainers will not be honored for 79 people who remain in custody on state charges.
Baker announced on Dec. 7 an end to Wake County’s participation in the federal 287(g) program, in which local law enforcement agencies check the immigration status of people they’ve arrested.
ICE said in a statement the move would prompt a more “at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites” in the Raleigh-Durham area.
Mecklenburg and Durham counties have also ended agreements with ICE.