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Confederate group tries again to delay statue removal
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A Confederate group has gone to court again to delay a North Carolina city’s decision to remove a statue from a downtown corner.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the United Daughters of the Confederacy filed an amended motion for a preliminary injunction Thursday. In its amended lawsuit, the UDC says removing the statue would infringe on constitutional rights regarding free speech, unlawful seizure, due process of law and equal protection under the law.
The UDC wants the court to decide, among other things, whether the statue falls under a state law that forbids removal of publicly owned memorials without state permission.
City Attorney Angela Carmon says Winston-Salem will proceed with plans to move the statue ahead of a court hearing scheduled for Feb. 14.
OUTER BANKS BRIDGE
Pedestrians, cyclists get first crack at new coastal bridge
NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) – State and local officials are giving people on two legs and two wheels a chance to experience the new bridge on North Carolina’s Outer Banks before the cars take over.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says in a news release the 2.7-mile (4.3-kilometer) replacement for the old Bonner Bridge will be opened to pedestrians and cyclists on Saturday. A special blessing and a wreath-laying ceremony are also scheduled.
NCDOT says due to safety precautions, scooters, skateboards and roller blades will not be allowed.
The new bridge is supposed to open in mid-February. It spans Oregon Inlet, connecting N.C. Highway 12 and Hatteras Island to the mainland. It’s the only access to the island other than ferries, and it runs parallel to the existing span, which was built in 1963.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
New board gets private preview of Congressional race probe
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A reconstituted North Carolina elections board has received a private preview of what investigators have uncovered in their probe of absentee ballot irregularities in the country’s last unresolved congressional race.
Chairman Bob Cordle said the new five-member board received a “full briefing” Thursday on findings in the 9th Congressional District race. They met behind closed doors with attorneys and investigators for nearly four hours.
Cordle says that information will be heard by the public in a Feb. 18 hearing. He says the board will vote at the hearing’s close whether to certify the 9th District results, order a new election or do something else.
Unofficial results show Republican Mark Harris leading Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. A previous iteration of the board refused to certify Harris as the winner.
PIZZA DRIVER MURDER-PAROLE
N Carolina pizza driver’s killer gets to be freed on parole
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man sentenced to life in prison for killing a pizza delivery driver and pocketing about $20 will be released after almost 30 years.
The state parole commission said Thursday it’s releasing 43-year-old Shantu Jenkins in January 2022. Jenkins was 18 when he and five other young men decided to find someone to rob in High Point. They came across and killed a pizza delivery driver, then took his cash. Each man got about $20.
The parole commission also will parole a 43-year-old killer serving a life sentence for shooting a man during an argument in Columbus County. William Gray will be released in January 2021, 29 years after his victim died in a Fair Bluff park.
Parole is considered for crimes committed before practice ended in 1994.
North Carolina school system cancels classes due to flu
WEST JEFFERSON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school system is canceling classes because of a flu outbreak.
Ashe County Public Schools announced Thursday that classes are canceled for both students and staff Friday because of a local increase in flu cases. Superintendent Phyllis Yates says 452 students were out sick from the system’s five schools and early learning center. Another 38 students who came to school were sent home.
Yates also says 30 teachers are out sick and substitutes couldn’t be found to replace them.
Yates said work crews will deep clean and disinfect the schools on Friday with hopes of reopening on Monday. All local sports activities are canceled, but she added that Ashe County High School could play games outside the county if the host school wants them to come.
North Carolina legislator ordered to stay away from wife
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina legislator is the subject of a domestic violence complaint by his wife.
Records show the wife of Rep. Cody Henson of Transylvania County applied and received a temporary protective order last week directing that Henson not contact her.
Kelsey Henson wrote in her Jan. 30 request that she is separated from her husband and needed the order to keep her and their children safe. The Transylvania Times reported Thursday the order remains in effect until a Feb. 19 court date.
Cody Henson didn’t return a phone call Thursday at his legislative office seeking comment, but Henson told the newspaper the situation is a family matter that he looks forward to resolving amicably through the legal process.
Henson is a second-term Republican representing Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties.
Crime commission panel makes school safety recommendations
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A state criminal justice panel is urging more police officer training, building vulnerability assessments and school violence data to help make North Carolina’s K-12 schools safer.
A special committee within the Governor’s Crime Commission released a report Thursday, with more than 30 recommendations addressing school safety following last February’s school shootings in Florida.
The panel of law enforcement, court and local government officials and nonprofit leaders didn’t recommend any broad gun-control legislation. But it did ask lawmakers to create a method for a court to order guns be taken temporarily from people determined to be dangers to themselves or their communities.
The report says lawmakers also should debate whether permanent funding for police officers in every school is now necessary.
The legislature approved several school safety provisions last year.
TODDLER RUN OVER
Police: Father backs over toddler who ran into car’s path
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a toddler who was run over by his father is in serious condition.
News outlets cite a Wilmington police release that says the father was backing out of the driveway Wednesday morning when the 17-month-old boy ran out of the house and into the vehicle’s path. The boy’s father was taking another child to school.
The family has not been identified.
No charges have been filed. Police are continuing to investigate.