Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Republicans re-elect members to UNC board, despite turmoil
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators are re-electing current members of the state university system’s governing board despite months of recent turmoil in which three top administrators were forced out or left earlier than planned.
The state House elected on Wednesday a slate of six candidates to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors offered by Republican lawmakers. Five currently are on the 28-member board, which sets policy for the 17-campus system.
Democrats criticized the slate of candidates, saying the election process didn’t follow state law. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson said the current board is doing a “terrible job” and new and diverse voices are needed.
Absent from the slate was a black Democratic board member. Not all current members can keep serving as the board’s size is being lowered.
Bill to attract Carolina Panthers HQ to S Carolina advances
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A proposal to change South Carolina labor laws to attract the Carolina Panthers to move their practice facility and headquarters across the North Carolina state line continues its quick journey through the Legislature.
Budget writing committees in both the House and Senate passed the bill Wednesday, which allows the state to classify football players, coaches and other team officials as full-time employees so the team can get tax credits and other incentives.
For the first time, there was some opposition. Senators questioned whether moving the facility would help the whole state, or just Rock Hill, which is near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Panthers owner David Tepper met privately with the governor and legislative leaders in South Carolina last week. He has not discussed his thoughts publicly.
HURRICANE NAMES RETIRED
Hurricane names Florence, Michael retired by meteorologists
MIAMI (AP) – The names of two hurricanes that caused widespread devastation from Florida to Virginia last year have been retired.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Florence and Michael will be replaced with Francine and Milton. The new names will first appear during the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season.
Names are retired when hurricanes are so destructive that recycling them would be insensitive. Eighty-eight names have been dropped from the list for the Atlantic and Caribbean since storms were first named in 1953.
According to a NOAA statement Wednesday, Florence caused at least 51 deaths in September amid record flooding across the Carolinas and Virginia.
Michael made landfall in October with 155-mph (250-kph) winds. The hurricane was blamed for at least 45 deaths from Florida’s Panhandle through Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
County: Some services restored after ransomware attack
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in a North Carolina county say some, but not all, services have been restored after a ransomware virus led to a shutdown of its entire computer network.
Orange County officials said Wednesday that staffers have disinfected 20 of the more than 120 infected computers.
Officials say aid from Person County helped the sheriff’s department’s patrol division function with little disruption, including one top-level priority, establishing access to a database that gives deputies access to criminal histories. Deputies could write reports, but they just couldn’t submit them over the county network.
Officials say they’re aiming to re-establish Register of Deeds office services Wednesday.
Officials don’t believe any data was impacted and they say early detection and rapid response meant the damage wasn’t as severe as originally anticipated.
Farm bill attempts to aid North Carolina hemp production
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and a key legislator say proposed rules for hemp production will help position North Carolina farmers to compete and thrive in the emerging industry.
Troxler, Sen. Brent Jackson and other senators on Wednesday unveiled the new state regulations in Jackson’s annual “Farm Act” legislation.
The hemp proposal comes after a new federal law permits wide-scale production following pilot programs were initiated in North Carolina and other states. Hemp producers would still be licensed and could only grow hemp that contains a very low amount of THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high.
Industrial hemp can be used for paper, clothing, construction materials and biofuels. Troxler says interest in hemp is surging in North Carolina, with over 600 licensed growers and 400 registered processors.
USC’s new president ready to ‘fix’ school after scandals
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The new president of the University of Southern California says she wants to be a part of “fixing” the school following a series of high-profile scandals – including the massive college admissions bribery case that broke last week.
Carol Folt, a biologist and former chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will become USC’s president on July 1.
Rick Caruso, the chairman of the board of trustees, said Wednesday that Folt’s selection shows the university is ready to move forward.
Folt said the scandals didn’t give her pause about taking on the job.
She’ll replace interim President Wanda Austin. Austin stepped in after C.L. Max Nikias resigned last summer amid reports the school ignored complaints of widespread sexual misconduct by a longtime campus gynecologist.
USC PRESIDENT-THE LATEST
Latest: USC students want transparency from new president
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Students say they hope the University of Southern California’s new president is transparent about recent scandals plaguing the school.
Carol Folt was introduced as president on Wednesday, a week after a college bribery scandal came to light involving USC and other universities nationwide.
Graduate student Myla Bastien says Folt must be honest with students about what happened and outline a clear plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Accounting major Jason Chang agreed, saying students want transparency from school officials.
Folt will assume the presidency on July 1, taking over from interim President Wanda Austin. Austin stepped in after C.L. Max Nikias stepped down last year amid reports the school ignored complaints of widespread sexual misconduct by a longtime campus gynecologist.
Tractor-trailer spills grease, diesel fuel after collision
(Information from: WITN-TV, http://www.witn.com/)
WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (AP) – The road rose up to grease some motorists in North Carolina after a tractor-trailer overturned and spilled its load on the highway.
The North Carolina Highway Patrol tells WITN in Greenville that the tractor-trailer driver ran a stop sign on a road in Martin County on Wednesday and collided with an SUV.
The patrol says the trailer spilled the grease it had collected from local restaurants as well as its diesel fuel. A trooper says it took more than three hours to clean up the mess.
No injuries were reported. The tractor-trailer driver, 58-year-old Larry Roberts of Littleton, was charged with failure to stop at a stop sign.