Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
Judge weighs GOP victory claim in disputed N. Carolina race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge is considering a demand to order the victory of the Republican in the country’s last undecided congressional race despite an investigation into whether his lead was boosted by illegal vote-collection tactics.
A trial judge in the state’s capital of Raleigh hears arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit by Republican Mark Harris, who narrowly led Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District race before the investigation started.
Lawyers for McCready and the state elections board want the lawsuit dismissed. They say a completed investigation and planned evidentiary hearing is needed into allegations that mail-in ballots could have been altered or discarded by a Harris subcontractor.
Democrats in the U.S. House indicate they’ll also to look into the allegations.
Feral cats spayed, neutered at mobile clinic in Forsyth Co.
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina county is trying to limit the number of feral cats that live there by sponsoring a mobile spay/neuter clinic.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports about 50 feral cats were fixed this past weekend by veterinary students working in a trailer in Forsyth County.
The first-time event was co-hosted by the nonprofits Humane Solution Spay-Neuter Program and Forgotten Felines of Forsyth. Ten third-year veterinary students from N.C. State University operated on the cats.
The feral cats also received rabies and distemper vaccines, flea and tick treatments and microchips.
Community members trapped the feral cats and brought them to the clinic Saturday and Sunday. After the surgeries, residents returned the cats to the traps, where they will recover for two days indoors before being re-released to their habitat.
Cumberland Co. leads state in human trafficking arrests
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – State court figures shows that Cumberland County leads the state in arrests for human trafficking, a figure that the district attorney attributes to a task force focusing on the issue.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that law enforcement throughout the county filed 48 charges against 34 people last year for human trafficking, sexual servitude or involuntary servitude.
The numbers from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts show Wake County ranked second with 33 charges against 15 people.
Experts, advocates and investigators say the arrests mean Cumberland County law enforcement has made a concerted effort to pursue trafficking cases.
District Attorney Billy West says Cumberland County is one of the few in North Carolina with a task force focused on human trafficking.
Temperatures, wind chills plummet in Mid-Atlantic states
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Frigid temperatures and high winds will mean bone-chilling conditions in the Mid-Atlantic region into Monday.
The National Weather Service has issued wind chill advisories for Delaware, nearly all of Maryland, all but the southeastern corner of Virginia and portions of western North Carolina.
Forecasters say temperatures alone will fall to around 10 or single digits in the advisory areas by early Monday, but the wind chill factors could range from minus 5 to minus 15. The readings are expected to be even more frigid in far western Maryland, which was under a wind chill warning.
Monday’s high temperatures won’t be getting above freezing in most areas. The extreme cold caused organizers of one Martin Luther King Day Jr. service project event in Baltimore to delay work until Tuesday.
Jurors award $7M to trooper, wife for bus accident
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – A federal jury has awarded $7 million in damages to a North Carolina trooper and his wife for when a passenger bus plowed into the trooper’s sport-utility vehicle as he responded to an Interstate 40 accident.
Court documents show jurors decided Friday in New Bern that Trooper Chris Justice is entitled to $6 million from Greyhound Lines and bus driver J.L. Robinson. Their verdict also included $1 million for Lisa Justice.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the Christmas Eve 2014 collision occurred in Alamance County. Chris Justice was in his parked SUV with emergency lights flashing in the far-right lane when the bus struck from behind. Justice was seriously injured and still can’t work.
Greyhound had denied negligence, arguing the Highway Patrol shared responsibility for what happened.
ELECTION 2020-SENATE RACES
GOP senators try to figure how out closely to run with Trump
DENVER (AP) – Republican senators up for re-election in 2020 are trying to figure out how closely to align themselves with President Donald Trump.
Sen. Cory Gardner helped devise the GOP’s strategy of pushing Senate candidates closer to Trump in 2018. But heading into his own re-election bid in Colorado, he’s allowing more distance with the president.
Other Republicans, including Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Martha McSally of Arizona, are doing their own balancing acts.
Still, some Republicans will probably align themselves closer to Trump as they see the political power he brings to their home states.
Strategists say it’s much too early to assess how the partial government shutdown may affect the races. Republicans now control the Senate with a 53-47 majority.
CIVIL WAR STREETS-ATLANTA
Atlanta’s Confederate Avenue fades into history
(Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com)
ATLANTA (AP) – Residents in an Atlanta neighborhood are celebrating the renaming of Confederate Avenue.
But the fate of Atlanta’s many other Civil-War themed streets and markers remains undecided.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the switch from Confederate Avenue to “United Avenue” is among the latest changes amid nationwide debate over Civil War-themed monuments and symbols.
The newspaper reports that Atlanta is home to at least 25 streets believed to be named for military figures and leaders who supported the Confederacy during the Civil War.
A panel in 2017 recommended that other Atlanta streets be renamed, just as Confederate Avenue was. A city council committee is now exploring how to carry out that recommendation.
Western North Carolina Women’s March participants encouraged
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Participants in an annual Women’s March in western North Carolina say they feel empowered and encouraged by midterm election victories that raised the profile of women in politics.
The Citizen-Times reported thousands of people marched in downtown Asheville on Sunday for the city’s third edition of the march. Other versions of the march were held Saturday cities like Washington and New York.
The newspaper says the Asheville crowd was smaller than in previous years and dwindled to hundreds as marchers reached Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
Rally speakers recounted elections won by women last November. Longtime activist Mandy Carter of Durham urged young people to pledge to mobilize as the 2020 presidential election cycle began.
Women’s marches began in 2017 in response to President Donald Trump.