Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA
GOP candidate in undecided House race: operative got results
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Republican in the nation’s last undecided congressional election says he recruited a political operative who’s now at the center of a ballot fraud investigation because he produced election results in his rural North Carolina county and other Republicans vouched for him.
Mark Harris told The Associated Press on Monday he didn’t know before November’s election that state elections board investigators had accused McCrae Dowless of illegally handling ballots in 2016 and didn’t know that evidence went to federal prosecutors.
State elections officials suspect Dowless of tampering with or even discarding mail-in ballots last year.
Harris says he wanted to hire Dowless after the operative’s 2016 GOP primary candidate got an incredible 98 percent of Bladen County’s absentee votes.
Harris narrowly leads Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District race.
ICE ARRESTS-LEGAL FUND
Latino advocacy groups create legal fund for ICE arrestees
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The arrest of hundreds of undocumented immigrants in North Carolina last week has prompted two Latino advocacy groups to establish a legal fund.
The News & Observer reports Durham’s El Hispano Centro and Siler City’s The Hispanic Liaison announced Monday that they’ve created the “Liberation Not Deportation Regional Fund” to pay legal fees for affected families. The groups hope to raise $30,000 in 30 days.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers detained 200 people in North Carolina last week. Another 25 were detained at an arms manufacturer in Sanford. ICE regional director Sean Gallagher said his officers are forced to conduct more enforcement after local law enforcement agencies recently ended cooperation agreements.
The heads of the advocacy groups condemned what they call ICE’s “tactics to intimidate and frighten” Latino communities.
SCHOOL CLOSURE-LESBIAN SPEAKER
Priest explains why he cancelled speech by black lesbian
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A Catholic priest has defended his decision to cancel a Black History Month speech by a high school’s black lesbian alumna as well as his decision to cancel classes that day, saying he had to protect students from planned protests over the woman’s views on gay marriage.
Immaculate Conception Church pastor Rev. Chris VanHaight described Durham City Councilwoman Vernetta Alston in news reports as “a strong black woman” but a “problematic” choice because she’s a pro-gay marriage politician.
Alston has said the cancellation sends a “sad, regressive and life-altering message” to children.
VanHaight said he regrets Alston was disrespected, but he’s responsible for upholding Catholic teachings. He also said the school won’t invite politicians in the near future.
Father, son share jump with 82nd Airborne Division
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – A U.S. Army master sergeant has enjoyed what he calls the highlight of his military career by joining his son in a jump with the 82nd Airborne Division.
The Fayetteville Observer reports Master Sgt. Michael Mabry boarded a C-17 Globemaster III in January along with his 18-year-old son, William, and jumped into Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg.
For the elder Mabry, it was his 116th jump. For William, who’s a private, it was his sixth jump overall and first with the 82nd.
While they serve in the same division, William Mabry says he sees his father once in a while, but they keep it professional. Michael Mabry said he wants to be his son’s dad and not his noncommissioned officer, but he can give him guidance on being successful.
3 rare black coyotes killed during hunt in North Carolina
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Three rare black coyotes were among the nearly 150 coyotes killed during a massive hunting tournament near Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Charlotte Observer reports tournament organizer 704 Outdoors TV says the amount of coyotes killed over the weekend during the Carolina Coyote Classic tournament was double the amount hunted last year. The state Wildlife Resources Commission says black coyotes are uncommon. Tournament spokesman John MacPherson says black coyotes are highly sought after by hunters.
The tournament is in its sixth year and was created to reduce the coyote population and lessen its impact on the deer population. The state wildlife commission says predatory coyotes were first documented in North Carolina in 1938 and they are increasingly searching for food in urban areas.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-SHERIFF
Candidates in disputed sheriff’s race call temporary truce
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The men battling over a North Carolina sheriff’s seat have called a cease-fire, jointly deciding neither will be sheriff until state officials certify the election.
Republican candidate Jody Greene led Democratic incumbent Lewis Hatcher by 40 votes in unofficial results from November’s election. Several voters appealed to the state elections board, citing voting difficulties and questions about Greene’s residency.
The race is also connected to the ballot fraud investigation in the country’s last unresolved congressional race. The political operative at the center of that investigation worked for both the Republican candidate in North Carolina’s 9th District and Greene.
Despite no resolution, Greene took office in December. Per Wednesday’s settlement, news outlets report a sheriff’s captain is temporarily replacing Greene, while Hatcher dismissed a lawsuit that sought to recognize his authority.
Loosening North Carolina control of liquor considered again
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature is again weighing whether altering how liquor sales have been regulated for over 80 years is worth likely increasing the number of retail outlets but also increasing public consumption.
The General Assembly’s government watchdog agency released Monday a study advising lawmakers on the implications of privatizing the state’s government-run stores and wholesale operations.
North Carolina is one of 17 states that control directly the sale and distribution of spirits. Liquor is currently sold at over 400 local Alcohol Beverage Control stores.
The report doesn’t give an opinion whether to shift away from the control system, saying it should be evaluated carefully by a separate House-Senate study panel. But it did recommend incremental changes, such as opening ABC stores on Sundays if local governments agree.
STATE OF THE STATE
Legislature inviting Gov. Cooper to give biennial address
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is being invited to speak to a joint session of the General Assembly later this month.
The Senate approved Monday night a resolution for Cooper to give his biennial State of the State address the evening of Feb. 25. The House previously set the speech date as Feb. 18, but it was pushed back a week at Cooper’s request. The House must approve a version of the resolution with the new date before it’s finalized.
The state constitution says the governor “shall from time to time give the General Assembly information of the affairs of the state” and recommend legislation.