Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
SCHOOL-REPORTED SHOOTER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Schools to open after noise mistaken for shots
(Information from: WECT-TV, http://www.wect.com/)
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (AP) – School officials in North Carolina are making preparations to get the school day started late after a report of an active shooter at a school turned out to be malfunctioning water heater.
Pender County schools spokeswoman Miranda Ferguson said in an email that Topsail Elementary and Middle are opening for staff and staff at Topsail High School will be informed soon about opening. She says bus routes for several schools will run on a three hour delay.
Ferguson said there was a report of an active shooter at Topsail High School on Friday morning after noises were heard coming from the top of the building. The report provoked a massive response by law enforcement and caused the school district to reroute buses and put schools on lockdown.
Capt. James Rowell of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office was quoted as saying in local reports that deputies swept the school but found no evidence that any shots had been fired. He says deputies did find an HVAC unit that was malfunctioning and making sounds similar to gunshots.
Man charged with causing disturbance over online threat
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of threatening several counties has been arrested.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports 20-year-old Patrick Colby Banks was charged Thursday with causing a public disturbance. He’s set to appear in court Friday. Court records say he posted on Facebook that he would be famous after sending “a message to this little town the injustice will no longer be tolerated.”
He listed several counties and said “no innocent bystanders will be hurt.” The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says several schools were locked down.
Records say Banks was on probation at the time of his arrest for a conviction of possessing of a weapon of mass destruction. He was previously charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
It’s unclear if Banks has a lawyer.
FBI: SUV stolen in 13-year-old girl’s kidnapping found
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say they have found the SUV stolen during the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl at a North Carolina mobile home park, and now hope to identify a person seen in a surveillance video.
The FBI said in a statement that the green Ford Expedition was found Thursday in the Lumberton area, about eight miles (12 kilometers) from the mobile home park where Hania Noelia Aguilar was abducted Monday.
Investigators are also seeking help in identifying a person seen on surveillance video walking near the kidnapping scene.
Relatives say the eighth-grader went outside Monday morning to start a relative’s SUV to prepare to leave for the bus stop. Police say a man then forced her into the SUV and drove off.
The FBI is offering a $15,000 reward.
Officials: ‘Backcountry style’ advised for visitors to coast
The National Park Service says visitors to an uninhabited barrier islands in North Carolina’s should plan on a trip without toilets after recent storms damaged the restrooms there.
Cape Lookout National Seashore says on its Facebook page that visitors needing a restroom will have to go “backcountry style” on Shackleford Banks and adopt “Leave No Trace” guidelines: Visitors must bring their own toilet paper and bury solid human waste at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails.
The island’s restrooms were closed after recent hurricanes.
Officials suggest visitors answer nature’s call by using mainland facilities before taking a ferry to Shackleford Banks. Reachable only by boat or ferry, the popular fishing and recreation destination is a narrow island about 8.5 miles (13 km) long that’s populated by wild horses.
North Carolina city gets scooters off streets to review laws
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina city have ordered a fleet of scooters off of its streets for now so they can revise ordinances to accommodate them.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports city officials last week asked Bird Rides Inc. to remove the scooters after they were found lying on sidewalks, impeding foot traffic or being used in bike lanes, where motorized vehicles are prohibited.
The scooters have become popular around the state since they were introduced in the summer. City staff members told the Greensboro City Council in October that Bird dropped off 100 scooters around town in August and eventually distributed at least 450 scooters.
City spokesman Jake Keys said city officials will likely present an ordinance for the city council to consider at its Nov. 20 meeting.
Protesters nationwide seek to protect Russia investigation
NEW YORK (AP) – Protesters nationwide have called for the protection of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Several hundred demonstrators gathered Thursday in New York’s Times Square and chanted slogans including “Hands off Mueller” and “Nobody’s above the law” before marching downtown.
In Chicago, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin joined several hundred protesters at Federal Plaza.
Crowds also turned out at the White House and in Greensboro, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Las Vegas and many other places.
Organizers say the naming of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is a “deliberate attempt to obstruct the special counsel’s investigation.”
Trump asked for Jeff Sessions’ resignation and then replaced him with Whitaker, his chief of staff. Whitaker has criticized Mueller’s probe.
DMV attributes long lines to staffing, tech issues, Real ID
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s DMV chief attributes recent extremely long lines at driver’s license offices to staffing and technical issues on top of high customer demand, especially for upcoming “Real ID” requirements.
Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Torre Jessup told a legislative oversight committee Thursday about challenges facing the state’s 113 license offices and how they’ve being addressed.
DMV office customer transactions during peak summer months this year were almost 37,000 higher statewide compared to last year as people came in to get license upgrades that meet federal security demands by October 2020.
Jessup says retaining license examiners remains difficult, adding up to 28 percent of them could be absent on any given day because they’re receiving worker’s compensation, using short-term disability or taking federally-authorized leave to care for family members.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE-PERMIT
Permit needed to build pipeline temporarily halted by court
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court ordered a temporary halt to a water-crossing permit needed to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that’ll run from northern West Virginia into North Carolina.
News outlets report the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order Wednesday after environmental and citizen groups asked the court to stay the permit. Lawyers for the groups wrote the project’s so-called “Nationwide 12” permit can’t meet conditions stipulating that stream crossings must be completed in 72 hours, and that structures authorized by the permit cannot impede fish from swimming upstream or downstream.
The Army Corps of Engineers originally issued the permit before the court suspended that verification in July. During that time, the pipeline decided to use a method that some say violates those conditions.
A pipeline spokesman says the project would temporarily suspend some waterbody crossings.