AP-NC Newswatch

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January 18, 2019
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January 18, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Trump staffing up to fend off potential primary challenge
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is staffing up to fend off any potential primary challenger.
The Virginia-based campaign is announcing Friday that former White House official Nick Trainer will lead its delegate and party organization efforts ahead of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
No party challenger has emerged within the GOP to face Trump, who is broadly popular among the party’s base and has enormous institutional advantages as a sitting president. The announcement is an indication that Trump isn’t resting easy.
The campaign says Trainer will lead a team of three regional directors in organizing state-by-state delegate selection and the convention whip operation. Both would be crucial to Trump beating back any intra-party rival.



North Carolina elections board let green card holder vote
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge has chastised election officials in North Carolina who let a Korean woman with a green card vote in three elections.
The News & Observer reports Hyo Suk George had lived legally in the country for nearly two decades before a town council member at church encouraged her to vote. She registered in Columbus County with a driver’s license, Social Security number – and a green card. George voted in 2008, 2010 and 2016.
On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle said the board of elections in Whiteville “ought to be a little smarter than” accepting a green card as proof of voter eligibility. Green card holders are not U.S. citizens.
George, 70, faced prison for illegal voting, but Boyle let her go with a $100 fine.



N Carolina’s Cape Hatteras park vandalized during shutdown
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – Cape Hatteras National Seashore on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is being vandalized while park staffers are furloughed during the ongoing partial federal government shutdown.
The Charlotte Observer cites a Thursday alert from the Outer Banks Preservation Association that says visitors have torn up National Park Service signs, left human waste outside bathroom and done “doughnuts in the sand” on vehicle-free beaches.
The National Park Service confirmed the incidents to the newspaper, and said human waste had been found as recently as Thursday outside two restrooms.
The association warned that NPS could deny the public access, but Cape Hatteras Superintendent David Hallac says problems haven’t risen to that level yet.
The park reopened some restrooms and picked up trash last weekend.
Other national parks across the country have reported vandalism.

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: https://apnews.com/GovernmentShutdown



Juror goes into labor, resulting in murder case mistrial
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A mistrial in a North Carolina murder case has been declared, as a juror went into premature labor after deliberations had begun.
Citing a release from the Mecklenburg County district attorney’s office, The Charlotte Observer cites a release that says deliberations began Wednesday in the first-degree murder trial of 32-year-old Lionel Octavius Price, but the juror went into labor before deliberations were to resume Thursday morning.
Price was charged in the 2016 killing of 40-year-old Fredrick Antwone Butler.
State law bars judges from replacing a juror with an alternate after deliberations have begun. Prosecutors say the case “remains pending.”
The report didn’t include comment from Price’s lawyer.



Police: School bus driver assaulted 7-year-old with autism
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a school bus driver assaulted a 7-year-old boy with autism.
News outlets report that the principal of Overton Elementary School contacted Salisbury police on Monday to report Gladys Oshields King. Police said in a release that they spoke to a witness and reviewed video from the school bus before charging King.
The child was not injured in the assault.
Shane Church told WBTV-TV that his son is nonverbal and thus couldn’t tell him what happened. Church says police told him his son was hit in the chest. He says King had driven his son for two years, and he had trusted her.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools says it’s cooperating with police and conducting an internal investigation.
Reports didn’t include comment from King or a lawyer.



Probe: Miscommunication over barriers preceded statue’s fall
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – An investigative report says the University of North Carolina declined to put up portable barricades around a Confederate statue the night it was toppled because of concerns they would be unsightly.
WBTV obtained a draft of the investigative report . The television station reports that the campus police chief believed the concerns from Chancellor Carol Folt’s office amounted to a directive not to use the barriers. Folt said she hadn’t meant for her concerns to be perceived as an order, according to the report.
The report cites miscommunication between police and administrators, as well as insufficient staffing and training for officers as contributing factors that allowed the statue to be torn down in August 2018.
Media representatives of the university system and the Chapel Hill campus declined to make further comment.



Charlotte mayor headlines with Cooper at King Day service
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The mayor of North Carolina’s largest city will share the stage with Gov. Roy Cooper and others at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. service for state government employees.
Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is the special guest speaker for Friday’s King holiday observance at First Baptist Church in downtown Raleigh.
The historically-black congregation has shared the service locale over the years with the historically-white First Baptist Church at the opposite corner of Capitol Square.
The service usually features music by the state employees’ choir and the announcement of the annual winner of the John R. Larkins Award, which honors a state worker who has shown commitment to justice and equality.



Shutdown delays disaster relief for some N. Carolina farmers
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
CAPE FEAR, N.C. (AP) – The federal government shutdown is delaying disaster relief for some North Carolina farmers.
The Fayetteville Observer reports the shutdown has mostly closed the federal Farm Service Agency responsible for a document required in farmer applications for state disaster relief. North Carolina set aside $240 million to assist farmers who sustained losses during Hurricane Florence and Michael last year.
The program is overseen by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and applications require certifications of acreage by the Farm Service Agency. State Department of Agriculture Chief Deputy Commissioner David Smith says about 900 farmers are waiting on that certification and more than 7,000 farmers say they need the program’s help.
The Farm Service Agency says it won’t be working on relief programs when some offices open Friday and Tuesday.