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January 28, 2019
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January 28, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Duke medical school apologizes over complaint about Chinese
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke University’s medical school dean has apologized after an administrator admonished students over speaking Chinese in a school building.
Megan Neely, a professor and administrator in the biostatistics master’s program, wrote an email Friday urging students to “commit to using English” in the building housing the program and professional settings. She said two faculty members complained about students loudly speaking Chinese in a common area and wanted to know their names.
In response, Dr. Mary Klotman, the medical school dean, wrote a letter to students in the program saying there was no restriction on using foreign languages in conversations with one another.
Klotman said Neely has stepped down as the program’s director of graduate studies. Neely, who remains an assistant professor, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.



N Carolina accepting individual tax returns starting Monday
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina tax officials are ready to start accepting individual tax returns from residents.
The North Carolina Department of Revenue said it will open the 2019 individual income tax season Monday. That’s the same day that federal tax filing season is scheduled to start.
Those who electronically filed state tax returns before Jan. 28 should start getting acknowledgements Monday.
State tax officials say that enhanced identity theft protective measures could cause some refunds to take longer than normal.
Tax returns are due on April 15.



Legislator announces US Senate bid; Goodwin re-elected chair
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina Democratic legislator is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Thom Tillis.
State Sen. Erica Smith, from Northampton County in the northeast, announced her 2020 bid to unseat Tillis on Saturday through social media and at a Democratic Party gathering in Charlotte. Smith is a math instructor and ordained minister first elected to the legislature in 2014.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller also announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination last week. Primaries are in March 2020.
Smith’s announcement came as 500 members of the Democrats’ executive committee met. There current party Chair Wayne Goodwin was re-elected for another two-year term. He was the only candidate. Former state Rep. Bobbie Richardson was elected first vice-chair, defeating current first vice-chair Aisha Dew and another candidate.



US Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina enters hospice care
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Republican congressman who has represented North Carolina for over two decades has entered hospice care.
A news release issued Saturday on the official government page for U.S. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. says that his health has declined since he recently broke his hip and that he’s in hospice care.
He had been battling ailments in recent months. He was granted a leave of absence from Congress in late 2018 after missing a number of votes.
Jones was re-elected to the U.S. House in November after running unopposed in a district that includes Kinston, Greenville and New Bern. He has served in Congress since 1995.



GOP offers 2 new picks for North Carolina election board
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Republican Party has offered two replacement nominees for the state’s reconstituted elections board that is expected to examine a still-unresolved congressional race.
The move came after questions about whether a new law disqualified two of the party’s original picks.
State GOP Chairman Robin Hayes wrote a letter Saturday to the governor offering new nominees David Black of Concord and Kenneth Raymond of Winston-Salem.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper had said two previous nominees appeared to be disqualified by a state law that prohibits certain “electioneering” activities in the past four years.
One previous nominee began a super PAC in 2018, while another used to lead the conservative Civitas Institute.
Cooper will pick two from a list of four GOP nominees to join three Democrats on a five-member board that will be created Jan. 31.



North Carolina judge takes precautions after juror threats
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge has taken safety precautions after jurors reported intimidating behavior including a man following them from a parking area.
The Greensboro News & Record reports Judge David Hall, who’s overseeing a murder trial, was upset to hear the news on Friday. He’s now limiting who can attend the trial and ordering juror names to be kept secret.
The newspaper reported four jurors said they were followed from a parking area into the courthouse by a man wearing colors associated with the same gang as the defendant.
The trial is for Chauncey Slade on charges he killed a gang member and another man in 2015.
The newspaper reports that courthouse security found the man who jurors accused of threatening behavior, and he was charged with obstruction of justice.



North Carolina coastal parks resume normal operations
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – Several iconic attractions on North Carolina’s coast are resuming regular operations now that the government shutdown has ended.
The National Parks Service issued a news release saying that Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and the Wright Brothers National Memorial would have normal operations starting Saturday.
The announcement comes a day after President Donald Trump signed a bill to reopen the federal government for at least a few weeks.
National Parks of Eastern North Carolina Superintendent David Hallac issued a statement thanking Outer Banks residents for helping federal employees during a shutdown that left many furloughed.



North Carolina man gets long sentence for molesting girl
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison after he was found guilty of molesting a young girl for months while driving her to and from a school bus stop.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports a Forsyth County jury found 45-year-old Gabriel Lynn Burns guilty on Friday of statutory sex offense by an adult offender and taking indecent liberties with a minor.
Assistant District Attorney Pansy Glanton said Burns sexually abused the girl repeatedly from between November 2016 and March 2017. Glanton said Burns touched the girl inappropriately numerous times and would molest the girl every day during those trips to and from the school bus stop and in the house, either in her bedroom or his bedroom.
Burns denied the allegations in his testimony.



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