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December 21, 2018
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December 21, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST



North Carolina unemployment rate unchanged in November
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.6 in November, after falling over the previous seven months.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce announced Friday that the unemployment rate decreased .9 of a percentage point from the same month a year ago. The national rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent.
The number of people working in North Carolina rose by about 3,400 over the month to over 4.8 million, which includes an increase of more than 68,000 over the year.



N. Carolina sheriff says he was paid $1 in first weeks
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The sheriff of North Carolina’s largest county says he was paid just $1 before taxes for his first few weeks in office.
The Charlotte Observer reports Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden told county commissioners Tuesday that no one had spoken to him about his salary since he was sworn in Dec. 4.
In November’s election, McFadden defeated incumbent Irwin Carmichael, who earned $191,626 a year.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Tonya Rivens says county officials first offered McFadden a $153,000 salary Thursday. Rivens says McFadden declined that and a higher amount, before accepting compensation on par with Carmichael’s.
County spokesman Rick Christenbury said he couldn’t verify if action was taken on McFadden’s pay. County manager Dena Diorio’s office said the salary issue was a “personnel matter” that she’d resolve directly with McFadden.



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.



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.



Museum acquires statue, complete with glitter, nail polish
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Museum of Art has acquired an impressive marble sculpture of the first king of Israel, which had disappeared from public view for 150 years.
The sculpture titled “Saul Under the Influence of Evil” was exhibited in Dublin in 1865 and then wasn’t seen again. Turns out, an English barrister had bought the statue and taken it to his country house in England.
The house later became a boarding school, which sold “Saul” to the museum earlier this year.
The public can watch conservators as they clean the statue in public at the museum, removing things such as glitter stuck in crevices. Curator John Coffey says students liked to dress up the statue as various characters at the holidays, and they left the remnants of those costumes on “Saul.”



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.



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.



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.



AP-WF-12-21-18 1620GMT