Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Another voter ID law challenge filed in federal court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina NAACP and several local chapters have sued in federal court challenging anew voter photo identification law. They contend it suffers the same discriminatory flaws as a 2013 voter ID law struck down previously by federal judges.
The civil rights groups filed the lawsuit Thursday and announced details at a Raleigh news conference. It came a day after Republican legislators overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of their voter ID bill. Some voters filed a separate state court lawsuit challenging it right after Wednesday’s override.
The new law implements details of a constitutional referendum mandating voter ID approved last month. It expands the qualifying IDs compared to the 2013 law and provides exceptions, but NAACP attorney Irv Joyner says the requirements are still tainted by racial animus.
State board: Sheriff candidate shouldn’t have been sworn in
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Election officials say a local North Carolina sheriff’s candidate shouldn’t have taken office while formal protests in the race are pending.
State board spokesman Pat Gannon confirmed Thursday the Columbus County elections board was told this week not to issue a certificate in the race between incumbent Lewis Hatcher and challenger Jody Greene.
Results showed Greene ahead by less than 40 votes. Media outlets report the county board dismissed protests and in early December, Greene was sworn in. But Gannon said Hatcher should still be sheriff for now, citing the state constitution.
Gannon also said the state board is collecting documents and information related to Columbus County absentee voting this fall. Columbus abuts the 9th Congressional District, where absentee balloting in Bladen and Robeson counties is already being investigated.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Cooper documents go to lawmakers questioning pipeline memo
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration says it’s provided thousands of pages to Republican legislators about a $58 million side deal Cooper’s office reached with utilities planning to build a natural gas pipeline.
Cooper’s office announced Thursday the electronic posting of the documents.
GOP leaders sent multiple requests for information this year about last January’s memorandum of understanding reached with Atlantic Coast Pipeline developers. The governor’s office called legislators’ demands a political fishing expedition, largely rebuffed until now.
The money would have been disbursed for environmental mitigation and other projects, but lawmakers passed a law essentially intercepting it for public schools near the pipeline route.
A statement announcing the documents said the memorandum had nothing to do with the “rigorous and fact-based” review of a water permit developers ultimately received.
OBIT-FORMER DUKE ENERGY CEO
Former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers dies at age 71
Jim Rogers, the former chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, has died. He was 71.
Randy Wheless, spokesman for the Charlotte, North Carolina-based utility, confirmed through family members that Rogers died Monday at his home in Louisville, Kentucky. The cause of death wasn’t known.
Rogers became president and CEO of Duke Energy after its 2006 merger with Cincinnati, Ohio-based Cinergy, which he had headed for 11 years. He retired at the end of 2013, stepping down as part of a settlement with the North Carolina utilities regulator, ending an investigation into the company’s takeover of in-state rival Progress Energy.
Rogers co-chaired fundraising campaigns to create downtown museums, and had a role in helping Charlotte host the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Governor announces 4 companies bringing nearly 700 jobs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper says four companies are bringing nearly 700 jobs to North Carolina.
In a series of announcements Thursday, Cooper’s office said Cognizant, a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process services, is expanding its Charlotte operations with 300 jobs. Cognizant currently employs more than 960 people in Charlotte.
The governor’s office also announced LGM Enterprises LLC will create 145 jobs and launch a company at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Lenoir County. LGM operates a jet charter service and plans to launch a plant that paints and refurbishes aircraft.
Catawba County is getting 237 jobs through Isotopen Technologien München, a group of specialized radiopharmaceutical companies, and Shurtape Technologies, a manufacturer and marketer of adhesive tape and consumer home and office products.
Police: Argument over snoring leads to stabbing at motel
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say an argument over snoring led to a stabbing at a motel.
Wilmington police told news outlets 54-year-old Guillermo Moreno-Vasquez was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
Investigators say Moreno-Vasquez and another man got into an argument in their motel room Wednesday, and that led to the stabbing. The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening. It’s unclear which man’s snoring sparked the argument.
Police responded to the motel after receiving a report of a man coming to the front desk with a large knife covered in blood. Police say the two men work for a Texas construction company and were rooming together while working a job in Wilmington.
It’s not known if Moreno-Vasquez has an attorney.
SHOOTING DEATH-SUSPECT SOUGHT
3 arrested, 1 being sought in fatal North Carolina shooting
FREMONT, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have arrested three men in a fatal North Carolina shooting and are looking for a fourth suspect.
Fremont police tell news outlets they are looking for 30-year-old Brandon Demarcus Haynes. He is charged with first-degree murder in last weekend’s shooting death of 43-year-old Nacarsa Ronyell Ford. Investigators said Ford was shot multiple times late last Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers said Haynes should be considered armed and dangerous.
Police have arrested 31-year-old Brandon Lee Williams, 26-year-old Dequinta Laquell Horne and 26-year-old Tyheim Pitt and charged them each with first-degree murder. The three men are being held without bond in the Wayne County jail. It’s not known if they men have attorneys.
I-77 TOLL LANES
Contractor: Interstate 77 toll lanes won’t open until 2019
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The private contactor building toll lanes on Interstate 77 in North Carolina says they won’t be done until 2019.
The Charlotte Observer reports I-77 Mobility Partners said the northern section of the project from near Hambright Road in Huntersville to N.C. Highway 150 in Mooresville, will now open in the first quarter of 2019. The contractor said the entire 26 miles to Charlotte will open by summer 2019.
The Observer reported last month that an N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman said the contractor expected to finish the northern section by the end of 2018.
Javier Tamargo, CEO of I-77 Mobility Partners, said in a statement Wednesday that unforeseen weather helped delay the project timeline, but that a new timetable is still ahead of the October 2019 contract deadline with NCDOT.