Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Unsuccessful abortions focus of bill in N. Carolina Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The abortion debate is intensifying in North Carolina over a Republican measure supporters say will ensure doctors care properly for live babies delivered in unsuccessful abortions.
Abortion-rights activists argue the proposal slated for state Senate floor debate late Monday is unnecessary for a non-existent problem and is designed to intimidate physicians and women who need medically necessary later-term abortions.
The bill requires health care practitioners to treat medically a child born alive after an abortion like any person. They could face a felony with active prison time and monetary penalties if they don’t.
Social conservatives present data showing post-abortion live births occur and describe adults who say they survived them.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper criticized the measure through a spokeswoman, raising expectations he’d veto it if given legislative approval.
North Carolina’s auditor discusses watching Medicaid costs
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s auditor is talking about her efforts to watch the spending of billions of dollars on Medicaid, the combined state and federal program to help the poor.
Auditor Beth Wood on Monday speaks to the conservative John Locke Foundation about her investigations into how the $15 billion Medicaid program handles money.
Wood’s office released a performance audit in January saying that how North Carolina pays to treat the mentally ill, substance abusers and people with disabilities leaves too much money to regional managed-care agencies.
Auditors said the state Medicaid office should set targets for profits the entities can keep from the fixed monthly rates received for each patient covered. The auditors calculate that the entities have retained almost $440 million in “excess savings” over three years.
O’Rourke making first NC visit as presidential candidate
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke is making a quick run through North Carolina – a presidential battleground and early primary state.
O’Rourke planned “meet and greet” events on Monday in Charlotte, Greensboro and Chapel Hill. The former Texas congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate candidate announced his bid for the Democratic nomination last month. Monday marks his first visit to the state as a presidential contender.
North Carolina’s party primaries will be held March 3, 2020.
O’Rourke’s events will be held at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing in Greensboro and at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
North Carolina kids to get bicycle helmets with initiative
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – More than 3,000 children across North Carolina will get bicycle helmets thanks to an initiative aimed at reducing injuries and deaths.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says in a news release that it uses funds from the sale of the ‘Share the Road’ specialty license plates to pay for bike helmets distributed at safety events by government and non-government agencies.
The department says a record 101 organizations applied to participate in the program this year.
In addition to the 3,320 helmets being passed out, recipients will get a pair of front and rear bike lights to further enhance cyclist safety. Helmets will be delivered by May 1.
$12M grant goes to N Carolina for post-hurricane counseling
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that North Carolina will receive a federal grant of more than $12 million to expand crisis counseling services to Hurricane Florence survivors in 28 counties.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that the grant is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Cooper’s office said in a news release on Friday that the grant will continue a counseling program called Hope 4 NC that began after Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina in 2016.
The release says the program helps storm survivors obtain long-term counseling, housing support, and other social services.
Hurricane Florence struck in September. More than 40 people died in North Carolina from the storm.
MONSIGNOR RESIGNS-SEX ALLEGATION
Priest named as 2nd in charge of Charlotte diocese
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte says a priest who helps investigate claims of sexual abuse and misconduct by fellow clergy has been named second in command of the 46-county diocese.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Bishop Peter Jugis announced the appointment of Father Patrick Winslow on the diocesan website Friday. Winslow is pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte, a position he’ll maintain.
Winslow replaces Monsignor Mauricio West, who the diocese said resigned March 25 after a “credible allegation” of sexual misconduct. West served as the diocese’s vicar general and chancellor.
Winslow takes over those roles effective April 29.
West has denied the allegation.
Cast, crew get 1st look at ‘Bolden,’ film about jazz pioneer
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Cast and crew members are among the first to see the musical biopic “Bolden,” which first started filming in 2007 in the Wilmington area.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports about 120 people attended an invitation-only screening Saturday of the movie about pioneering jazz musician Buddy Bolden.
Writer, director and financier Dan Pritzker began filming the movie 12 years ago, then followed up with reshoots in 2009 and 2010. In 2015, Pritzker scrapped major parts of the script, then rewrote, recast and reshot much of it in Wilmington, Atlanta and New Orleans through 2016.
So many people worked on the film that the credits run for 12 minutes.
The film stars Gary Carr (“Downton Abbey”) as Bolden, who died in the Louisiana State Asylum in 1931.
The movie opens nationwide May 3.
Death penalty sought in North Carolina child abuse death
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a North Carolina man convicted of killing a 2-year-boy and who they say was the drug dealer and pimp for the child’s mother.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports the sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin Monday for 33-year-old Charles Thomas Stacks of Winston-Salem. Stacks was convicted last week of first-degree murder in the death of Jaxson Sonny Swain in August 2015.
Evidence showed Stacks repeatedly slammed the child on the ground.
Prosecutors said Stacks was angry that Jaxson’s mother owed him for drugs and that she left him alone with Jaxson and without any heroin. They say Stacks whipped, kicked and hit Jaxson because he wasn’t potty-trained and didn’t call him “sir.”
Prosecutors said Stacks was the pimp and drug dealer for Jaxson’s mother.