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ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
Evidence in contested congressional race gets airing Feb. 18
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s new elections board will hear evidence later this month about alleged ballot fraud as it seeks to resolve the nation’s last unsettled congressional race.
The five-member State Board of Elections, created last week, said Monday it will hold the Feb. 18 public hearing to weigh evidence collected by investigators and arguments from representatives of Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The hearing could last two days.
The new board could declare a winner or order a new 9th District election.
Harris narrowly led McCready after November’s election. The previous elections board refused to declare the Republican a winner until investigators could look into allegations that mail-in ballots in Bladen County could have been altered or discarded by a Harris subcontractor. A court declared the previous board unconstitutional.
COLLEGE CHEERLEADER-RAPE ALLEGATION
College cheerleader wants coaches removed after alleged rape
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A cheerleader at a North Carolina college wants her coaches fired immediately, saying they failed to report her rape to a school official.
The News & Record of Greensboro reports the unidentified woman who attends North Carolina A&T State University alleges she was raped at a Greensboro apartment complex last fall. The woman says on social media that her coaches met her allegation with “a lack of empathy and responsibility.”
The story was first reported by online site HBCU Gameday.
Sexual misconduct is a Title IX violation. Students don’t have to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator, but the website said a school employee must and encourages doing so within 24 hours.
School spokeswoman Tiffany Jones said privacy laws prevent the school from discussing the matter.
Former House speaker among ethics panel appointments
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Three former legislators – including a House speaker from the late 1970s – could soon join a newly reconstituted North Carolina State Ethics Commission as the choices of General Assembly leaders.
The state Senate agreed unanimously Monday on how to fill four of eight commission slots. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper picks the other four.
Legislative leaders are appointing former Speaker Carl Stewart of Gaston County, along with recent Sen. Shirley Randleman of Wilkes County, ex-Rep. Roger West of Cherokee County and former Shaw University President Clarence Newsome. The House still must approve these appointments.
A separate ethics commission was in place for decades until the legislature tried in 2016 to combine duties with the elections board. Courts struck down the combined panel’s composition, leading to separate panels starting Jan. 31.
Contracts awarded to 5 for N Carolina Medicaid managed care
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s health agency has awarded four conventional insurers and one physician partnership the contracts to treat most of the state’s Medicaid patients.
The state Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday the winning bidders that will care for 1.6 million Medicaid recipients starting late this year or early next year.
The awards mark the biggest step to date in shifting Medicaid from traditional fee-for-service coverage to those in which companies or medical networks get flat monthly amounts for each patient covered. The contracts’ value is around $6 billion annually for up to five years.
AmeriHealth Caritas, WellCare, UnitedHealth Care and Blue Cross and Blue Shield all were awarded statewide contracts, while a group called Carolina Complete Health will receive a contract for two regions of the state.
15-year sentence for man accused of Islamic State recruiting
AKRON, Ohio (AP) – A North Carolina man accused of trying to recruit people to conduct terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State group has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in Ohio.
A jury in Akron found 38-year-old Erick Jamal Hendricks guilty last year on charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
Hendricks was arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2016, on a federal complaint filed in Cleveland.
Authorities say he contacted people over social media trying to recruit them.
Federal Judge John Adams sentenced Hendricks Monday.
Hendricks’ attorney asked for a 10-year sentence, saying the government provided no evidence showing specific planned attacks.
North Carolina ax murderer to be freed on parole in 2 years
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A killer who crushed a man’s head with an ax while robbing his North Carolina home will go free despite his life prison sentence.
The state’s parole commission said Monday it will free Jeffery Short in July 2021. He was convicted of burglary and first-degree murder in 1985.
Court records show Short and another man broke into a Gastonia house looking for a rumored $100,000 stash. When Robert Steele came home and surprised the burglars, Short hit him in the head with an ax.
The commission said it also planned to release Sticardo McCuller on parole in 2022. He was serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder in Wake County in 1993.
North Carolina allows parole for crimes committed before the state ended the practice in 1994.
Autopsy: Man in Smokies died from meth; bear fed on his body
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Park officials say an autopsy found that a man whose body was discovered being eaten by a bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in September died of accidental methamphetamine intoxication, not a bear attack.
A park news release Monday says officials decided to euthanize the bear that was feeding on the body of 30-year-old William Lee Hill Jr. of Louisville, Tennessee.
Officials say they didn’t know the definitive cause of death at the time but decided to euthanize a few days later for public safety reasons after consulting with wildlife professionals and further understanding the bear’s aggressive behavior.
Officials estimate 1,500 bears are in the park along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, and though very few show aggressive behavior toward humans, bears that pose a threat to visitor safety are euthanized on rare occasions.
North Carolina women’s college surpasses fundraising goal
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A historically black women’s college in North Carolina has soared past the fundraising goal it set in hopes of avoiding losing its accreditation.
Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins announced Monday that the school has raised $8.2 million. She made the announcement before students, alumnae and supporters in the school’s chapel. College leaders said the total doesn’t include cash and checks that arrived Monday.
The Greensboro school set last Friday as a deadline to raise $5 million to avoid losing its status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dawkins says the school has raised enough to produce additional resources and “should be in good shape.”
High Point University President Nido Qubein announced Friday that his school would donate $1 million to Bennett.