AP-NC Newswatch

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March 14, 2019
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March 14, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Students file lawsuit against colleges in bribery scandal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Two college students have filed a lawsuit against the University of Southern California, Yale University and other colleges where prosecutors say parents paid bribes to ensure their children’s admission.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco and alleges the students were denied a fair opportunity for admission.
Erica Olsen and Kalea Woods say they were denied a fair opportunity to apply to Yale and USC.
They say the alleged scheme allowed “unqualified students” to be admitted to “highly selective universities.”
The lawsuit also named the University of California, Los Angeles, Wake Forest, Georgetown University and others.
More than 50 people were charged earlier this week.
Prosecutors have said wealthy parents paid to rig standardized scores and bribed sports coaches to get their children into elite universities.



Cherokee may regain control of sacred mound after 200 years
FRANKLIN, N.C. (AP) – Ownership of an ancient mound in North Carolina may return in part to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, two centuries after European settlers took the land.
News outlets report the Franklin town council voted this month to move forward with plans to deed control of the Nikwasi Mound to the nonprofit Nikwasi Initiative. The town currently controls the land, but the transfer would split control among the town, the tribe, Macon County and Mainspring Conservation Trust.
Franklin Vice Mayor Barbara McRae says the move is an opportunity to “reverse that wrong” by allowing the tribe some representation in the mound’s management. Calling the plan “amazing,” Cherokee representative Juanita Wilson says nobody would lose anything.
The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources says the mound was built around 1000 A.D.



Flash & crash: Man accused of Walmart flashing, hit-and-run
KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police say a man flashed a woman at a North Carolina Walmart and then crashed into a car while trying to make a getaway.
News outlets report Kernersville police say Justin Zachary Irvin stood in the Walmart parking lot Tuesday and exposed himself to a passing woman. When he tried to flee, he crashed into a car, and then fled again.
Police responding to the indecent exposure call found him nearby.
According to Forsyth County Detention Center records, the 35-year-old is charged with indecent exposure, hit-and-run, violating the seat belt law, speeding and reckless driving. Reports didn’t include comment from him.
Kernersville is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Winston-Salem.



Man testifies attackers took $42K prosthetic leg as trophy
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man who awoke to a stun gun and baseball bat beating in 2016 has testified that his attackers took his $42,000 prosthetic leg as a trophy instead of cutting his head off.
News outlets report Aaron Sanders testified against Patrick Wayne Christopher on Tuesday, during the first day of Christopher’s trial on charges that include attempted murder and burglary. Sanders suffered broken bones in the attack.
Sanders says he had asked his girlfriend, Holly Mesker, to move out the day before the attack. Mesker is Christopher’s ex-wife and is serving a prison sentence for her role in planning the attack. She and the other man who broke into Sanders’ home agreed to testify against Christopher.
Christopher’s attorney says prosecutors built their case without fingerprint or DNA evidence.



The Latest: 7 GOP senators now against Trump border order
WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican Sens. Mitt Romney and Sen. Lamar Alexander have endorsed a resolution passed by the Democratic-controlled House to block President Donald Trump from using emergency powers to fund his long-promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.
That brings to seven the number of Republicans who have announced they will cross Trump on a vote expected for Thursday afternoon, ensuring the measure will pass.
Romney was the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a sometimes critic of Trump; Alexander is among the senior guardians of the Senate as an institution. Lawmakers oppose Trump’s action because they see the power of the purse as Congress’ prerogative.
Romney said that “this is a vote for the Constitution and for the balance of powers that is at its core.”
Trump has promised to veto the measure and is sure to be sustained by his House GOP allies.



Elections chief seeks law changes on absentee ballot forms
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections chief wants lawmakers to put additional restrictions on handling absentee ballot forms after her agency’s investigation into actual absentee ballots that affected a congressional district race last year.
State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach made several legislative recommendations to a House committee on Wednesday. Strach led the board’s probe into absentee ballot irregularities that led last month to the board calling a new election in the 9th District.
A political operative in southeastern North Carolina and several workers were charged two weeks ago with illegal ballot handling and other charges.
Strach says she’d like to see increased penalties for election-related crimes. She also focused on the third parties that collect forms from people who want to receive a ballot by mail.



Wake Forest president says wrongdoing limited to 1 coach
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The president of Wake Forest University says the school was itself a victim of an admissions scheme involving a volleyball coach.
University President Nathan Hatch issued a statement Wednesday saying coach William Ferguson, who’s on leave, is the only school employee accused of wrongdoing. Prosecutors say the scheme also targeted a number of other universities.
Hatch says outside lawyers reviewing the university’s admissions process have determined Ferguson acted “independently” and no one else at Wake Forest assisted him.
Prosecutors allege a college counseling business directed money to the women’s volleyball program and a camp controlled by Ferguson in exchange for help getting a student admitted. Ferguson’s lawyer didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Hatch says that student remains enrolled and appears to not to have known about the transaction.



Bill heading to Cooper delays voter ID until 2020 elections
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina lawmakers have quickly sent to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk legislation that delays a photo voter identification requirement until 2020.
The House voted unanimously on Wednesday to push back implementation, originally expected to begin with municipal elections later this year.
But rules carrying out the requirement haven’t been finalized, and an unexpected election to succeed late U.S. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. suggested implementation would have to begin within days.
The Senate approved the delay Tuesday.
Republicans say they’ll decide later whether to extend Friday’s deadline for the state election board to approve ID cards from colleges and government agencies as complying with the law.
The University of North Carolina system said each of its campuses likely would ask Wednesday that the board approve their cards as meeting the standards.



AP-WF-03-14-19 1520GMT