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February 20, 2019
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February 20, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Fouled waters reveal lasting legacy of US mining industry
RIMINI, Mont. (AP) – Every day many millions of gallons of water loaded with toxic metals flow from some of the most contaminated mining sites in the U.S. and into surrounding lakes and streams without being treated.
The Associated Press has found the torrent is poisoning aquatic life and tainting drinking water sources in Montana, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and at least five other states.
The AP examined 43 mining sites under federal oversight using data from public records requests and independent researchers.
The records show that at average flows, more than 50 million gallons (189 million liters) of contaminated wastewater streams daily from the sites.
In many cases, it runs untreated into nearby groundwater, rivers and ponds, a roughly 20-million-gallon (76-million-liter) daily dose of pollution that could fill more than 2,000 tanker trucks.

Follow Matthew Brown at https://twitter.com/matthewbrownap



4 Republicans already in running to seek Jones’ old seat
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – More Republicans have announced they are seeking an eastern North Carolina congressional district seat now open following this month’s death of U.S. Rep. Walter Jones.
News outlets report that state Reps. Michael Speciale and Phil Shepard announced Monday their plans to seek the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District. State Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Michelle Nix has formed a campaign committee. And Phil Law, who ran unsuccessfully against Jones in the 2016 and 2018 GOP primaries, already said he’s running, too.
Jones represented the Republican-leaning 3rd District for more than 20 years before his death Feb. 10 at age 76.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hasn’t yet set an election schedule for the primaries and the general election to fill out the remainder of Jones’ two-year term.



N. Carolina elections board calls challenged House candidate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The apparent Republican winner of the country’s last undecided congressional election is expected to explain why he stuck with a North Carolina political operative with a shady track record that even the GOP candidate thought about protesting in the past.
North Carolina’s elections board is expected to hear testimony on Wednesday from Mark Harris. He led Democrat Dan McCready after November’s election, but the race wasn’t certified after allegations against a Harris contractor who focused on mail-in ballots in two rural counties.
Harris said he sought out and hired Leslie McCrae Dowless because he delivered votes , including for a Republican rival in the 2016 GOP primary.
The elections board is expected to either declare Harris the winner in the 9th congressional district or order a new election after the multi-day hearing.



Winter weather to impact western portions of North Carolina
North Carolina is the target again for more winter weather as forecasters call for a variety of precipitation from the mountains eastward.
The National Weather Service says a winter weather advisory is in effect for northern and central piedmont counties through noon Wednesday.
Forecasters said rain was expected to spread across central North Carolina Tuesday evening, possibly beginning as light to moderate snow. The rain or wintry mix will then change to freezing rain along and north of Interstate 85 during the overnight hours, with ice accumulations of less than a tenth of an inch expected.
Across the North Carolina mountains, the weather service has posted winter storm warnings and advisories ahead of a system expected to create icy conditions with a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain.



Schools Superintendent Johnson announces “NC2030” goals
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elected public schools chief is holding up the goal of making the state the best to learn and teach in by 2030.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced on Tuesday evening details of his “NC2030” plan at a Raleigh event attended by educators and business and community leaders.
The strategy includes improving pre-kindergarten programs, encouraging interest in trade and high-demand fields and providing more training to early-career teachers. He also seeks teacher pay raises of at least 5 percent and substituting high-pressure testing for personalized learning to evaluate proficiency. Many items require legislative approval.
Johnson announced an online “dashboard” funded by The Wallace Foundation to help with school leadership strategies. A teacher appreciation campaign also is coming, paid in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.



Man who escaped police while handcuffed recaptured
LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a man who escaped from a patrol car while handcuffed has been recaptured.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that deputies found 50-year-old Clarence Jackson Crutchfield at a residence in Denver on Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office said Crutchfield was seen in a car with several others in an area where there had been a report of breaking and entering. Crutchfield was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car when it was discovered he was wanted on multiple felony warrants. When a deputy returned from searching for another suspect, the rear window of the patrol car was down and Crutchfield was gone.
Crutchfield was to appear before a magistrate, when he would be served with a number of felony and misdemeanor warrants.



Republicans unveil plan to aid small business with insurance
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Senate Republicans are offering their own solution to help North Carolina small businesses offer reasonably-priced health insurance that includes many state and federal coverage requirements.
Their measure filed Tuesday would help loosen restrictions for what are called “Association Health Plans,” thanks in part to a U.S. Labor Department ruling last year.
Under the legislation, these plans would be expanded so companies, sole proprietorships and the self-employed could band together for health insurance with leverage similar to larger companies. The bill also would allow businesses of different industries and across state borders to be in the same plan.
Bill co-sponsor Sen. San Bishop of Charlotte says consumer protections include a pre-existing condition coverage mandate.
The senators cite a congressional report suggesting the proposal could benefit up to 110,000 North Carolina residents.



Officials: Man dies while jumping from car to avoid police
(Information from: WXII-TV, http://www.wxii12.com)
DOBSON, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Highway Patrol says the body of a man who jumped from a moving car to avoid police has been found on the side of the road.
WXII -TV in Winston-Salem reports the patrol said felony warrants had been issued for 49-year-old Billy Gene Blevins. Investigators say Blevins told a passenger in the car he was driving on a Surry County road Monday that he was going to make a run for it after seeing law enforcement in the area.
The patrol says Blevins jumped from the car and it hit him. Troopers say the passenger took the wheel, not knowing Blevins had been hit. The passenger went back to get Blevins and encountered authorities.
Troopers said the unidentified passenger will not be charged.
An autopsy is being performed.