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NORTH CAROLINA-VOTER ID
N. Carolina lawmakers propose allowing range of voter IDs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators implementing a new change to the state constitution are thinking about allowing a relatively broad range of photo identification to validate voters who cast in-person ballots in future elections.
Proposed legislation state Senate staffers circulated Tuesday would require voters to show a driver’s license, passport, state university ID, tribal enrollment card, or a new type of photo ID issued free by county elections boards. IDs that expired after a voter’s 70th birthday also would be accepted.
The General Assembly returns to work next week after voters this month approved a state constitutional amendment requiring photo identification to vote in person.
Federal judges struck down a 2013 voting law requiring photo ID, ruling Republicans passed it to discriminate against minorities. Republicans say they were protecting election integrity.
Lawsuit continues against novelist Sparks, school he started
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge says the former headmaster of a private Christian school founded by novelist Nicholas Sparks can continue to sue the author, the North Carolina school, and the foundation Sparks created to support it.
U.S. District Judge James Dever III ruled last month that a jury should decide whether the author of “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook” defamed Saul Hillel Benjamin and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Sparks allegedly told parents, a job recruiter and others that the former Epiphany School of Global Studies headmaster suffered from mental health problems. Benjamin was in the position for less than five months and said he was forced out.
Attorneys have proposed settlement discussions for next month and a potential trial starting in March. Sparks’ public relations firm and attorneys didn’t respond when invited to comment.
ASHEVILLE SHOOTING DEATH
New trial ordered as jurors weren’t told about defense law
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appellate court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted in a fatal shooting he argued was self-defense.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the state Court of Appeals said Tuesday that jurors in Kelvin Oyakahil Irabor’s first trial weren’t told about the state’s “stand your ground” law. The 33-year-old Irabor was convicted last year of murder in the 2015 shooting of Dondre Keyshaw Nelson. Irabor admitting to shooting Nelson and said it was in self-defense.
The appellate court says in its unanimous opinion that a jury could have decided the state’s stand your ground law applied to the shooting. It says trial testimony indicated an altercation precipitated the shooting, and Irabor said then that he was afraid of what Nelson would do.
Official: 911 call about active shooter prompts lockdowns
CARRBORO, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say a 911 call reporting an active shooter near an elementary school and daycare turned out to be false.
Carrboro Police Capt. Chris Atack said the department received a 911 call around 11 a.m. Tuesday reporting an active shooter, but said police “have no reason to believe this is a legitimate active shooter,” adding that an investigation into the call is underway.
Carrboro Elementary School Principal Jillian LaSerna said in a statement that the school would remain on a soft lockdown. Parents were directed to town hall to pick up their children.
Carrboro United Methodist Childcare Center Director Achlee Alston said by telephone that police found nothing when they searched the building and they’ve lifted the lockdown.
Carrboro is adjacent to Chapel Hill.
Felon’s sentence stands after driving SUV through house
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A felon who plowed his speeding SUV through a sleeping woman’s bedroom while fleeing North Carolina law officers can’t claim he was wrongly convicted based on insufficient evidence he caused more than $1,000 in damage.
The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Donald Leon Gorham II was rightfully convicted of speeding to elude arrest through three counties and a neighborhood near Burlington.
Gorham tore through Reidsville’s city limits at 80 mph (130 kph), hit a guardrail, steered up a driveway, splintered through a house, and clipped a shed. A woman was lying in her bed with her head less than a foot (.3 meters) away from where Gorham’s Chevrolet Tahoe passed through the house.
Gorham was convicted as a habitual felon and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
NC SHERIFF-RACIAL PROFILING
North Carolina sheriff dubs county ‘drug hub’ of Southeast
GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff targeted in a lawsuit seeking to block him from applying to help enforce immigration laws said he wants more officers to stop drug traffic he says is fueled by Mexican cartels.
News sources report Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson told county commissioners Monday that he needs 18 more officers in next year’s budget. In addition to rejoining a program which lets local agencies perform immigration enforcement, Johnson plans to rent county jail space to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house detainees being deported.
The sheriff’s office previously had an agreement with ICE. The Justice Department sued Johnson in 2012, saying his office routinely targeted and discriminated against Latinos.
A federal judge rejected the lawsuit, but Johnson’s office lost funding while it was removed from the program.
PLAYOFF GAME-FANS BANNED
High school’s football fans banned from game after fight
(Information from: WNCT-TV, http://www.wnct.com)
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Students at a North Carolina high school whose football team is in the playoffs have been banned from seeing their opening postseason game after an on-field brawl in a previous game.
WNCT in Greenville reports the N.C. High School Athletic Association announced the ban on South Central High School students after they got into a brawl with players from D.H. Conley High School on Nov. 1 on South Central’s field.
The NCHSAA determined D.H. Conley students didn’t start the fight and thus avoided punishment.
Pitt County Schools said several South Central students would be banned from future games, but didn’t specify that no students would be prevented from attending the playoff game.
The association said if South Central wins Friday’s game against South View, students can attend future playoff games.
NCDOT awards contracts for 2 new replacement ferries
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to build two new replacement ferries to go into service in 2020.
The department said in a news release that Gulf Island Shipyards of Houma, Louisiana, will build the two ferries for just under $23 million. The two new ferries, tentatively named the Avon and the Salvo, will carry 40 vehicles each and replace the smaller Hatteras-class ferries Kinnakeet and Chicamacomico.
A new, 38-vehicle river-class ferry is scheduled for delivery in March 2019 to replace the Thomas A. Baum on the Hatteras Inlet route. The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke villages is also slated to begin operations next May.
The North Carolina Ferry System operates 21 boats on seven regular routes across five bodies of water.