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Police: 2 assault transgender woman in N. Carolina bathroom
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say two women sexually assaulted a transgender woman at a Raleigh bar.
News outlets report 38-year-old Amber Harrell and 31-year-old Jessica Fowler are charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexual battery. Both were released on a $50,000 and a $30,000 bond respectively.
The woman told Raleigh police that she was inside the bar’s bathroom in December when Harrell and Fowler started verbally abusing her, exposed themselves and started touching her.
The woman says Harrell and Fowler continued to assault her outside the bathroom and ignored her and the bartender’s orders to stop.
It’s unclear if Harrell and Fowler have lawyers.
The state has come under fire for a 2016 bill that required transgender people to mostly use public restrooms matching their birth certificates. A replacement bill passed in 2017 rescinded that requirement.
N Carolina legislature begins, less politically imbalanced
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A less politically imbalanced North Carolina General Assembly begins its two-year session with Democrats holding more seats since Republicans took over the legislature in 2011.
The GOP still controls the House and Senate as one-day meetings are held Wednesday for swearings-in and choosing the top leadership posts in the chambers. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger are expected to remain at their posts.
Democrats ended the Republicans’ veto-proof majorities by winning 16 additional seats in the November election. That will give Gov. Roy Cooper and fellow Democrats more leverage in thwarting the GOP agenda and pushing their own.
Republicans now hold 65 of the 120 House seats and 29 of the 50 Senate seats. After Wednesday, the session begins in earnest Jan. 30.
Supporter donations help beleaguered North Carolina college
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Officials at a historically black private women’s college in North Carolina say they have received more than $1 million in donations in their attempt to stave off closure.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports Bennett College learned last month that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted to remove its accreditation based on years of financial struggles stemming from falling enrollment.
The college is now trying to raise more than $5 million by Feb. 1. Helped by social media and news coverage, donations to Bennett are approaching the $1.5 million mark. A Georgia pastor urged his congregation to collect $10,000, and it came up with $12,000. Bennett seniors are being asked to give $20.19, symbolic because it stands for their graduation year.
Group asks North Carolina House to not seat Democrat
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A conservative Christian group wants the North Carolina House to delay seating a winning Democratic candidate from November because it says there are questions about absentee ballots in the extremely close race.
The North Carolina Values Coalition filed documents with the House clerk and Speaker Tim Moore late Tuesday, the day before the General Assembly’s two-year session begins.
The coalition says Moore shouldn’t seat Rep.-elect Rachel Hunt, who defeated incumbent Republican Bill Brawley by 68 votes.
The coalition says its sister research organization found more than 300 mail-in absentee ballots with date discrepancies between voter and witness signatures. It also provided affidavits suggesting some people sought ballots when they no longer lived in the House district.
The state constitution says the House judges who serves in the chamber.
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The Latest: County: Put Confederate statue in indoor display
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina county where protesters tore down a Confederate monument has proposed returning the crumpled statue to public view as part of an indoor display.
A joint city-county government committee in Durham issued its recommendation Tuesday for creating an indoor display at the local government building near the grounds where the statue was torn down in 2017. The county commission would have to approve the plan.
The proposal is the latest move in a public debate in North Carolina about what to do with the statues that many say have racist origins. Another statue was torn down at the state’s flagship public university in 2018 and Winston-Salem city officials recently called for a statue downtown to be moved.
Durham’s statue was torn down following a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cunningham pledges family, children focus in lt. gov’s bid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina state legislator and U.S. Senate candidate says he’ll focus on helping families and children succeed through improved public education and a “durable” economy if elected lieutenant governor in 2020.
Democrat Cal Cunningham formally announced Tuesday his bid for the state’s No. 2 executive branch position on a Wake Community College campus.
The 45-year-old Iraq War veteran says he wants to work with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who is likely to seek re-election. Cunningham says he’ll be a champion for higher education access, Medicaid expansion and “common sense” gun laws.
Cunningham served one state Senate term and ran in the 2010 U.S. Senate primary.
Current Sen. Terry Van Duyn of Asheville already announced her lieutenant governor bid. Current Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest wants to be governor.
Parents of boy who died in hotel settle with North Carolina
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The parents of an 11-year-old boy who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a North Carolina hotel nearly six years ago have reached a settlement in their complaint against the state.
The Charlotte Observer reports the parents of Jeffrey Williams argued the state failed to properly inspect the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza in Boone or warn the public that another couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the same hotel room.
According to a copy of the agreement the parents’ attorney sent to the newspaper, the settlement amount is $100,000.
A state board found in 2014 that a contractor converted the hotel’s pool heater from propane to natural gas, violating manufacturer instructions. Carbon monoxide infiltrated a room on the floor above, killing Daryl and Shirley Jenkins of Longview, Washington, in April 2013 and Jeffrey about a month later.
North Carolina restaurant fined over wage, child labor laws
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina restaurant has been fined by federal officials who say it violated minimum wage and child labor laws.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a news release that Max’s Pizza in Surf City was fined $14,287 for violating requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to investigators, the restaurant required four minors, ages 16 and 17, to clean a meat slicer and a large dough mixer. Youth under 18 are prohibited from operating, setting up, adjusting, repairing, oiling or cleaning such machines.
Investigators say they also found the restaurant failed to make up the difference when tipped employees’ pay totaled less than $7.25 per hour. The investigation also concluded that the restaurant made illegal payroll deductions for tipped employees’ uniforms and failed to maintain required payroll records.