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March 4, 2019
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March 4, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST



N Carolina elections board to set date for US House election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections board is expected to set a date for voters to decide who will fill a congressional seat still vacant after November’s result was tainted by ballot fraud concerns.
The state elections board is expected to decide Monday when to hold new party primaries and the general election for the 9th congressional district.
The board decided Feb. 21 that the new election was needed after hearing four days of evidence that a political operative working for Republican candidate Mark Harris hired people to collect mail-in ballots. The board agreed that left votes vulnerable to being changed or discarded.
It’s illegal under North Carolina law for anyone other than a voter or immediate family member to handle ballots.
Democrat Dan McCready is running again in the new election. Harris won’t.



No trial date set for man accused of slaying Muslims in 2015
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – After four years, no trial date has been set for the man accused of gunning down his Muslim neighbors in North Carolina.
The News & Observer reports Durham County District Attorney Satana Deberry released a statement this month calling the case “one of the oldest pending homicides in Durham.” She says she’s working to resolve litigation to move the case forward.
Craig Hicks is charged with first-degree murder in the February 2015 killings of 23-year-old Deah Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.
Members of different congregations gathered Saturday for the fifth Interfaith Food Drive in honor of the victims. At the drive, Barakat’s brother, Farris Barakat, said he’s torn between having “time to heal a little bit” and wanting swift justice.



No injuries in 6-hour standoff with soldier at Fort Bragg
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) – Officials at Fort Bragg say a soldier’s family is safe after a domestic disturbance resulted in him barricading himself inside the house.
Fort Bragg public affairs officer Tom McCollum tells The Fayetteville Observer the soldier’s family had left the home shortly after the disturbance started Saturday evening. McCollum says authorities negotiated with the soldier for around six hours before he agreed to leave the house.
McCollum says the soldier was a member of the Special Operations Command. Special Operations Command spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer couldn’t identify the soldier or what charges he might face. Bymer says Fort Bragg Military Police are investigating.
Eight to 10 homes were evacuated during the barricade. McCollum says the soldier had a privately owned AR-15 rifle and possibly a pistol.
No one was injured.



North Carolina revokes Airbnb broker’s real estate license
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – State regulators say a well-known entrepreneur in western North Carolina has had his real estate license stripped for keeping at least tens of thousands of dollars owed to Airbnb owners whose properties he managed.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the North Carolina Real Estate Commission permanently revoked Shawn Johnson’s broker license last month after he acknowledged multiple violations in a consent order.
The outlined violations include running an unlicensed firm and breaking Asheville’s ban against most short-term vacation rentals.
In interviews with the newspaper, Johnson appeared to contradict what he signed in the consent decree. By way of explanation, he said he “didn’t feel like fighting” the commission. He says the revocation hasn’t hurt business.
Johnson is involved in multiple lawsuits regarding ownership of the properties.



Asheville eases off crackdown on bookstore’s needle exchange
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city has backed off its crackdown on a needle exchange run out of a bookstore.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Asheville officials announced Friday they rescinded notices of violation against Firestorm Books & Coffee and The Steady Collective.
The city cited the program run by the groups for violating zoning rules in August. The said the bookstore was similar to a “shelter,” but the groups argued the program is an accessory use of the space, which is 96.5 percent of the time a community space. They appealed in September, calling the scrutiny unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Asheville spokeswoman Ashley Traynum-Carson says the operators have agreed to formalize their commitment to have an on-site medical professional. The needle exchange is now zoned as a medical clinic, instead of a shelter.



North Carolina Democrats see opportunity in do-over election
ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (AP) – A ballot-fraud scandal that has led North Carolina to order a do-over congressional election could give the Democrats a strong shot at taking back a seat that has been held by the Republicans since John F. Kennedy was in the White House.
Democrat Dan McCready has a head start in fundraising and name recognition, and the allegations of ballot tampering have cast a shadow over the GOP that could help him win in the deeply conservative 9th Congressional District.
An election date has not been set.
But there are also fears that the scandal could cut both ways, with fatigue and disillusionment over the electoral system keeping some voters home.
Bladen County resident Glendell Robinson said he hopes his fellow voters can overcome fears that their votes won’t count.



14 fire departments battle fire at North Carolina motel
OAK ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – A fire department in North Carolina says more than a dozen fire departments have worked together to fight a weekend fire at a two-story motel near the coast.
News outlets report the Oak Island Fire Department says crews responded to the blaze at the Ocean Crest Motel late Sunday night. It’s unclear if anyone was injured when the fire engulfed the 10,000-square-foot motel. Photos of the blaze show portions of the motel’s walls and roof collapsing.
The department says the fire has since been contained. It says assisting crews began to leave the scene around 2 a.m. Monday, though some crews will be on scene throughout the morning to fight hotspots.
The cause of the fire is unclear, and the department says an investigation is ongoing.



Man shot, killed by officers in NC after setting fire
MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (AP) – Police say they shot and killed a man who jumped from the window of a North Carolina home with a sword after setting a fire in a bedroom.
Newsoutletsreport that Mount Holly Police responded to a domestic disturbance Saturday morning in the Dutchman Meadows community.
Police released no details on the identity of the man who died or the officer who shot him.
After setting the bedroom on fire and jumping out a second-story window, Police Chief Don Roper said officers caught up to the man and shot him after a confrontation. He died at the scene.
Police say nobody else was injured.



AP-WF-03-04-19 1620GMT