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ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina ballot fraud hearing postponed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina elections staffers are postponing a hearing next week into allegations of possible ballot fraud in the country’s last undecided congressional race after last week’s disbanding of the state elections board authorized to subpoena witnesses and hold hearings.
The announcement Wednesday came after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said he won’t try to ram ahead with a Democrats-only elections board, raising doubts the Jan. 11 hearing could take place.
Republicans refused to nominate GOP members for a temporary elections board to fill in until a new law creates a new board at the end of the month.
The elections board was dissolved on Friday by state judges who in October declared its form unconstitutional. A revamped board takes effect Jan. 31.
Deputies fired 8 gunshots to subdue lion after fatal attack
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s report says three tranquilizer darts and eight gunshots were needed to subdue a lion that fatally attacked a zoo intern.
A newly released Caswell County Sheriff’s Office incident report details deputies’ response to the fatal attack Sunday at the Conservators Center near Burlington. The lion killed 22-year-old intern Alexandra Black as she helped staff members clean an animal enclosure.
The sheriff’s report says center CEO Doug Evans shot the lion with three tranquilizer darts that failed to put the animal to sleep. Deputies then shot the lion six times as it continued to move around its enclosure. A seventh shot appeared to fell the lion, and Evans advised deputies to fire a final shot into the animal’s heart to ensure it was dead.
SUPREME COURT-NEW JUSTICE
New justice to be sworn in on North Carolina Supreme Court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A civil rights attorney elected to North Carolina’s highest court is taking office.
Anita Earls is being sworn into office as a state Supreme Court associate justice on Thursday. The Democrat defeated Republican incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson in November.
Earls founded and led the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice. She was a deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Justice Department during the Clinton administration. Earls also served the state elections board and taught at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Maryland.
She earned her law degree from Yale.
Utility: 2018 was wettest year for Tennessee Valley
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A federal utility that serves parts of seven southeastern states says 2018 was the wettest year on record in the Tennessee Valley.
Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks says the utility measured a basin average of 67.1 inches of rain across the valley in 2018, beating the previous record of 65.1 inches in 1973. A TVA rain gauge in Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, measured 118.8 inches last year.
TVA says the Tennessee Valley region normally averages 51 inches of rain a year. In addition to providing power for nearly 10 million people, the wide-spanning utility’s other duties include managing the 652-mile Tennessee River and its tributaries with a series of 49 dams.
Brooks says another 2 inches of rain is in the forecast as 2019 begins.
Suit over N Carolina legislative maps stays in state court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Litigation challenging North Carolina legislative districts on arguments they excessively favor Republicans to the point of violating the state constitution will remain in state court.
A federal judge Wednesday ordered the case stay in Wake County Superior Court, where Democrats and election reform advocates filed their partisan gerrymandering lawsuit in November. U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan wrote she’d explain her reasoning later.
Last month, Republican lawmakers sought to move the lawsuit to federal court because they said the way plaintiffs wanted House and Senate maps redrawn conflict with federal laws. The plaintiffs said no such conflict exists and seek a state trial in April.
One GOP senator said last month Democrats ultimately want the case heard before the state Supreme Court, where five of the seven justices will be registered Democrats.
Court: Trump campaign not responsible in gun assault claim
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court says President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign organization isn’t responsible for a state director accused of pointing a loaded pistol against another Trump supporter’s knee.
The state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that former campaign worker Vincent Bordini can’t revive his lawsuit against the Trump For President organization.
Bordini last year dropped his lawsuit accusing former North Carolina campaign director Earl Phillip of assault with his .45-caliber handgun as the two rode in a vehicle. Phillip said it never happened.
Appeals judges ruled that the Trump campaign couldn’t be sued because Phillip was working in 2016 as an independent contractor with minimal direction from higher Trump campaign officials.
Judges said campaign managers hadn’t been told of earlier incidents of Phillip erratically waving his gun around people.
UVa Wise looking to boost enrollment with tuition discounts
(Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com)
WISE, Va. (AP) – The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is looking to boost enrollment by offering discounted tuition to out-of-state students from Appalachia.
The Daily Progress reports that the college is pushing a proposal for reduced tuition to counter declining enrollment.
The proposal would affect students from the federally defined Appalachian region, which stretches from New York to Alabama and includes all or parts of 13 states.
The College at Wise is close to the geographic center of the Appalachian region. Chancellor Donna Henry hopes the proposal would bring in about 100 additional students.
Del. Terry Kilgore has a bill that would reduce tuition for out-of-state Appalachian students that will be considered by lawmakers during this year’s legislative session.
TigerSwan loses bid for attorney fees in North Dakota case
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – A North Dakota judge has refused to award attorney fees to a North Carolina security company that won a court case in the wake of protests over the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
North Dakota’s Private Investigative and Security Board sued TigerSwan in 2017, alleging the company that handled security for the pipeline developer illegally operated without a state license.
Judge John Grinsteiner dismissed the case, and TigerSwan sought reimbursement for at least $165,000 in attorney fees. Grinsteiner last month rejected the request, saying the board’s case wasn’t frivolous even though the board lost.
TigerSwan hasn’t decided whether to appeal.
The board has appealed the dismissal of its case to the state Supreme Court and also is seeking up to $2 million in fines against TigerSwan through an administrative complaint .