Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
North Carolina Gov. Cooper vetoes ‘born-alive’ legislation
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed a measure written by Republicans and backed by social conservatives that addresses a doctor’s responsibilities if an abortion results in an infant born alive.
Cooper announced his decision Thursday – two days after the General Assembly sent him a measure telling health care practitioners to grant those newborns the same protections as other patients. Those who don’t could face a felony and active prison time, along with fines and potential civil damages.
Cooper’s veto message echoed those of abortion-rights supporters opposed to the “born-alive” measure. He says current laws already protect newborns and the bill “is an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”
It’s unclear if Republicans can override his veto. They’ll need some Democrat legislators to join them.
HANDICAPPED PARKING SPACES
NC Woman: Dog show reserved handicapped spaces for judges
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A disabled North Carolina woman says more than 20 handicapped parking spots near the Raleigh Kennel Club Dog Show were reserved for judges, forcing her to walk over a quarter mile.
Raina Jones tells WRAL-TV that trash bags covered the accessibility signs and notes labeled them for show judges. Jones says the judges were able-bodied and were missing handicapped parking tags.
She says she emailed the club and was told that the club couldn’t control if the other 50 or so handicapped spots were taken as parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Jones says she also reached out to the National Kennel Club, which she says told her that it expects clubs to comply with the law.
Jones says she is “only handicapped whenever other people take away her accessibility.”
SINKING CAR-WOMAN SAVED
Coast Guard officer hailed for saving woman from sinking car
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
MOYOCK, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say an off-duty Coast Guard officer saved a woman after her car veered into a chilly canal.
The Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday that the 29-year-old woman lost control of her car and drove into a 5-foot-deep canal near the town of Moyock.
Currituck County Fire and Emergency Medical Services said in a statement that the car began to sink. The woman climbed through the sun roof. But she couldn’t swim and began to panic.
Chief Warrant Officer Jeff Brundage of the Coast Guard was driving by at the same time. He dove into the 50-degree water to save the woman.
Tim Riley, deputy chief of the Currituck Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said in a statement that the community was lucky to have Brundage as a resident.
VOTING RIGHTS HEARING
US reps hold hearing on voting rights in North Carolina
WELDON, N.C. (AP) – Members of Congress want to hear about barriers to the ballot in North Carolina before Democrats in Washington propose changes later this year.
A U.S. House subcommittee conducts a field hearing on Thursday in the Halifax County town of Weldon. U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield of North Carolina and other Congress members plan to hear from people describing voting barriers.
Democrats in Congress are working on legislation to restore part of a federal law the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in 2013 that required many Southern states to get federal approval before changing voting rules that could affect minorities.
A similar congressional field hearing was Tuesday on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Others are planned for the next month in Cleveland, southern Florida and Birmingham, Alabama.
North Carolina transportation board OKs airport improvements
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The state transportation board has approved grants that will help provide safety improvements to six North Carolina airports.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says more than $2.1 million will be used to provide upgrades such as new lighting and improved aprons for aircraft parking.
More than $562,000 will go to Davidson County Airport to replace a system which tells pilots if they are approaching the runway at too steep or too shallow of an angle. Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport is getting close to $691,000 to design the runway, taxiway and apron rehabilitation with apron expansion.
Grants also have been awarded to Duplin County Airport, Kinston Regional Jetport, Mount Airy-Surry County Airport and Richmond County Airport.
PET SUPPLY RETAILER-JOBS
Pet supply retailer to create 1,200 jobs in North Carolina
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – An online pet supply retailer says it is opening a fulfillment center in North Carolina that will create 1,200 jobs.
The Charlotte Observer reports Chewy, whose corporate offices are in Florida and in Boston, announced on Wednesday that it will spend $55 million on the new center, which will be in Salisbury in Rowan County. It’s not known when the center will open.
Chewy specializes in pet food and supplies, such as chew toys, bird cages, fish tanks and litter boxes. It operates as an independent subsidiary of PetSmart, which purchased it in 2017.
The company has eight other fulfillment centers around the U.S.
Smokies campgrounds and picnic areas opening for spring
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) – Most campgrounds, picnic areas and roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are opening just in time for Easter weekend.
The partial government shutdown over the winter caused a small delay in facilities openings at America’s most visited national park. But spring opening day for a majority of facilities is scheduled for Friday. The remaining facilities will open between now and Memorial Day weekend.
Superintendent Cassius Cash says in a news release that staff has been working hard to hire seasonal employees, de-winterize water treatment and waste water systems, and clear fallen trees and limbs.
More information about specific facility openings and park events is available on the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm .
The park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border had more than 11.4 million visitors last year.
NORTH CAROLINA-DISPUTED ELECTION-SUBPOENAS
Federal grand jury investigating N Carolina ballot fraud
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal grand jury meeting in North Carolina is weighing whether to recommend criminal charges in the tainted congressional race.
The grand jury is meeting Tuesday through Thursday in Raleigh to review election irregularities in the 9th Congressional District.
State elections board spokesman Pat Gannon said Wednesday that the agency turned over extensive documents subpoenaed last month. Documents also were turned over by former Republican candidate Mark Harris.
Harris had a narrow lead after November’s election before details emerged that his political operative in rural Bladen County collected ballots from voters.
Leslie McCrae Dowless and four people Dowless allegedly hired to collect ballots were charged with state felonies, including possessing mail-in ballots. A state district attorney is investigating additional potential crimes in connection with activities leading up to the election.