Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Bill making North Carolina sheriffs work with ICE advances
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican lawmakers unhappy with recent decisions by newly elected sheriffs to stop assisting federal immigration agents are now pushing legislation that would force them to hold defendants if requested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A House judiciary panel approved legislation Wednesday that requires sheriffs in all counties to fulfill ICE detainer requests, which can be used to hold criminal suspects up to 48 hours. These holdings currently aren’t mandatory. Sheriffs elected last year in urban areas in and around Raleigh, Asheville and Durham have announced they won’t honor these requests.
Bill sponsor Rep. Destin Hall says a few “sanctuary sheriffs” are putting politics ahead of public safety.
Immigrant advocates opposed the measure. They’re already urging Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to veto any final bill that comes to him.
POLICE SHOOT ARMED MAN
Students protest fatal shooting by North Carolina police
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A group of students walked out of a North Carolina school to protest the shooting death of a man who police say was armed and ignored requests by officers to drop his weapon.
News outlets report several dozen students at the Northwest School of the Arts walked out of class Wednesday to protest the shooting death of 27-year-old Danquirs Franklin on Monday. Students carried signs which said “Stop killing us!” and “Police killed an unarmed black man.”
The walkout followed two nights of vigils for Franklin at the Burger King restaurant where Franklin was killed.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said restaurant workers called police after the man acted suspiciously. Putney said the man walked outside, where officers ordered him to drop the gun before he was shot.
NC House agrees to repeal corporal punishment in school
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Corporal punishment would be permanently prohibited in North Carolina’s public schools in legislation advancing a year after the last two school districts gave up that option.
The House voted 94-16 on Wednesday for legislation repealing the process by which local school boards can choose to use spanking.
Districts allowing corporal punishment declined over the years as it fell out of favor due to societal changes and research discouraging it. Graham and Robeson county schools were the last to allow it.
Approval was bipartisan, with Republicans casting the only “no” votes. GOP Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County lamented the legislation, saying spanking is an effective disciplinary tool the state shouldn’t take away.
Corporal punishment in schools has been banned in over 30 states.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
N Carolina may ban wind power near coast, military flights
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina could permanently ban big wind-power projects from the most energy intensive parts of the state’s Atlantic coast.
Legislation introduced Wednesday by Republican Sen. Harry Brown would prohibit sky-scraping wind turbines within about 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the coast between the Virginia border and the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base. Brown says he’s trying to protect air routes around the state’s major military bases.
Environmental groups say the Pentagon already has procedures protecting military flight paths.
Brown says the legislation is not trying to shut down one of the East Coast’s first wind farms, which is spread across Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. The operation of more than 100 turbines, each standing more than 30 stories tall, is one of the largest taxpayers in the two impoverished counties.
Former US Rep. Ellmers running for lieutenant governor
DUNN, N.C. (AP) – Former U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina is running again for elected office, this time to become the next lieutenant governor.
The Harnett County Republican made her announcement on Wednesday, weeks after she floated the idea to seek the No. 2 statewide executive office in 2020. Current GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is planning to run for governor. Several Democrats and Republicans already are running to succeed Forest.
Ellmers was first elected to Congress in 2010, upsetting Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge. She served three terms but lost to current Rep. George Holding in the 2016 Republican primary after redistricting had them running for the same 2nd District seat.
After leaving Congress, Ellmers worked as southeast regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Steel company building new mill in Kentucky
BRANDENBURG, Ky. (AP) – A steel company has announced it will build a $1.35 billion mill in a rural Kentucky county.
Nucor Corp. said Wednesday it will build the new steel plate facility at Brandenburg. Nucor’s project in the Meade County community about 45 miles southwest of Louisville is expected to create 400 jobs. The company says the average salary will be about $72,000 per year.
The announcement came shortly after Kentucky economic development officials approved about $40 million in state incentives for Nucor.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority voted in favor of the incentives during a special meeting.
Gov. Matt Bevin was among state and local officials attending the economic development announcement in Brandenburg.
POWER PLANT-COAL ASH
Federal utility eyes removal of coal ash from Memphis plant
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A federal utility is eying options to unearth and move toxin-laden coal ash from a Memphis power plant to an off-site landfill.
A new Tennessee Valley Authority report rules out options at the Allen Fossil Plant that would leave coal ash totaling 3.5 million cubic yards where it is now.
The authority wrote that the land, which is owned by local governments and the International Port of Memphis, could house future economic development.
High levels of arsenic and other toxins were found in Allen monitoring wells in 2017, spurring fears that an aquifer could be tainted. Testing has since deemed the public water supply unaffected.
A decision on coal ash removal hinges on a federal review and an ongoing state investigation.
Allen’s three coal-fired units were retired last March.
MASS TRANSIT-PROJECT ENDED
Board votes to end proposed North Carolina light rail plan
(Information from: The Herald-Sun, http://www.herald-sun.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina board has decided to halt a light-rail project which would have linked two major universities.
The Herald-Sun of Durham reports that after a closed-door session on Wednesday, GoTriangle general manager Jeff Moore recommended to the board of trustees that the $2.7 billion project linking UNC Hospitals with Duke University and stops in-between be discontinued.
Agency officials noted opposition from Duke, which had expressed concerns over running the line outside its medical center, and how noise, vibrations and trains could disrupt emergency traffic and patient care. The school, whose property was considered key to the project moving ahead, refused to sign an agreement with GoTriangle to continue working on the rail line.
The proposed 18-mile (28-kilometer), 19-station line was also approaching deadlines which may have forced cuts.