AP-NC Newswatch

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January 15, 2019
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January 15, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST



UNC removes Confederate pedestal from campus overnight
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Crews removed remnants of a Confederate statue from the University of North Carolina hours after the school’s outgoing president ordered they be put into storage.
The university sent a statement early Tuesday confirming the work to remove the massive pedestal was happening at its Chapel Hill campus, hours after the announcement by Chancellor Carol Folt. Folt also said she was stepping down from her role at the end of the school year.
Folt said the items will be stored while their fate is decided. The statue was toppled by protesters last August.
WRAL-TV reports that crews with a large truck, a forklift and floodlights performed the removal and finished the work by 2:40 a.m., leading to cheers by a crowd that had gathered to watch.



Sheriff: North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper shot, wounded
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – Law enforcement agencies report a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has been shot and wounded and authorities are seeking a suspect.
Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard Jr. told reporters Monday that multiple law enforcement agencies have joined the Highway Patrol in searching for a suspect.
The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page that the trooper has been hospitalized in Greenville. The trooper’s identity wasn’t immediately released.
WNCN in Raleigh reports the shooting occurred around 5:45 p.m. on N.C. Highway 42 about 8 miles (12 kilometers) northeast of the community of Wilson. The television station also reported the patrol cruiser had a dozen bullet holes in the windshield, as well as front-end damage.
No additional details were immediately available.



North Carolina: Let ballot probe proceed despite GOP lawsuit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Attorneys representing North Carolina’s elections agency say a judge should let a ballot fraud investigation play out in the nation’s last undecided congressional race despite a Republican candidate’s lawsuit, especially since Congress may ultimately decide the winner.
State attorneys responded Monday to a lawsuit filed by Republican Mark Harris, who narrowly led Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District race before the investigation started.
Attorney General Josh Stein’s office says the judge shouldn’t order Harris declared the winner because the U.S. House indicated it’s also going to look into allegations that mail-in ballots could have been altered or discarded by a Harris subcontractor. The state lawyers say the federal oversight means Harris’ goal to be immediately declared the winner is unachievable, so the probe should run its course.



Republicans seek to defend voter ID law in federal court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators want to get formally involved in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s latest voter identification law because they say Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein can’t be trusted to defend it.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger filed a motion Monday to become legal parties in the state NAACP litigation against Cooper and state elections officials. Stein’s office likely would represent those defendants in court. The new law sets the details of a photo ID mandate added to the state constitution by voters in November.
Berger and Moore’s lawyers write that Cooper vetoed the implementing legislation and has been a longstanding voter ID opponent, while Stein sought to uphold a 2016 ruling striking down a prior voter ID law.



North Carolina state Sen. Louis Pate resigns, citing health
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Veteran state Sen. Louis Pate is leaving the North Carolina General Assembly, a few months after acknowledging health problems and a week since getting sworn in for another two-year term.
Pate sent his resignation letter Monday to Gov. Roy Cooper. The 82-year-old Mount Olive resident had started his ninth term in the legislature going back to 1995. He previously served four terms in the House.
Pate said in October an unspecified health issue had caused him to scale back campaigning for re-election in the 7th District. Pate says in his resignation letter that his recovery is ongoing and will preclude him from serving his constituents fully.
Now Lenoir and Wayne county Republican activists will meet to choose someone to serve out his two-year term through 2020.



Former US Interior boss takes job at investment company
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken a job at an investment company after leaving the Trump administration amid unresolved ethics investigations.
North Carolina-based Artillery One announced Monday that Zinke has been hired as managing director and will pursue investing opportunities in energy, financial technology and cybersecurity.
Zinke told The Associated Press he was “glad to be out of the swamp” after almost two years leading an agency that oversees 500 million acres of public lands. He’s denied any wrongdoing amid investigations into his private business dealings, a decision to block a tribal casino and other matters.
The former Montana congressman declined to give further details on the terms of his employment.
Artillery One says Zinke will be based in Montana and California but travel extensively overseas.



North Carolina Democratic Party spent $16M in past 2 years
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Democratic Party says it spent over $16 million during the past two-year election cycle – millions more than its Republican counterpart – on the way to picking up more General Assembly and statewide court seats.
The Democrats and hundreds of political committees had to file by late last week finance reports covering the last two weeks of the campaign through Dec. 31. The state Republican Party reported expenditures of nearly $10 million. GOP House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger said in separate filings they spent over $5 million combined, much of which went to support Republican colleagues.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper also helped raise millions for his party and legislative candidates. Democrats won 16 additional legislative seats in November to end Republican veto-proof majorities.



Police ID man who shot himself at North Carolina facility
COLUMBUS, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have identified a man they say killed himself after a standoff in a North Carolina detention center’s secured lot.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office identified the man Monday as 33-year-old Camden McWhirter. Officials say McWhirter was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of driving while impaired. They say McWhirter revealed he had a weapon at the detention center’s secured lot and after hours of negotiations, he shot himself.
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating.
Carl McWhirter says he is still recovering after his grandson, who had been diagnosed as bipolar, shot him last year. The elder McWhirter says he loved his grandson, calling him “a good boy.” He says his grandson had been free on bail and would not have wanted to go to prison.



AP-WF-01-15-19 1120GMT