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April 25, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch






Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



Video: Officer who fatally shot man said she had no choice
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police officer who fatally shot a black man in a parking lot after repeatedly ordering him to drop his gun was heard on bodycam video saying several times that she had no choice.
An 11-minute bodycam video released Wednesday by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police shows the moments leading up to and after the shooting of 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin outside a Burger King on March 25.
Officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Franklin. She was heard saying, “He pulled a gun. He wouldn’t drop it.” Later, she said, “All I know is I shot because he had a gun in his hand.”
A person could be heard groaning on the video, while a person inside the car where Franklin was shot was heard to say, “This is crazy, man.”



N Carolina’s poet laureate receives national award of $75K
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s poet laureate is one of 13 in the country to receive the first Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow awards.
The North Carolina Arts Council says in a news release that Jaki Shelton Green will receive $75,000 in recognition of her literary merit and to support her youth poet program.
Green plans to launch “Literary ChangeMakers” to support youth poets engaged artistically in civic and community activism, social justice and youth leadership.
The 65-year-old Green is North Carolina’s first black state poet laureate. She told The News & Observer of Raleigh last year that she wants to bring poetry to marginalized communities.
Awards of $50,000 to $100,000 each were given to poets in Maryland, California, Washington state, South Carolina, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Pennsylvania and Arizona.



North Carolina governor pushes for Medicaid expansion
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – In a roundtable discussion with rural hospital executives, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper sought to increase pressure on Republican senators to support legislation that would expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured adults who don’t meet current requirements. A similar bill was proposed in 2017, but failed after GOP opposition.
Executives from seven hospitals joined the Democratic governor at Wednesday’s event and expressed support for the idea. They said expanding Medicaid would help them reduce the cost of uncompensated care associated with high uninsured rates in their communities.
Some House Republicans this month filed another bill that would include premium and work requirements on expansion recipients, which Cooper doesn’t prefer. But even that measure faces an upward battle. Cooper’s greatest challenge is drum up support from Senate Republicans, who strongly oppose expansion.



Early voting sites open in 9th District primary for US House
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – Republican and unaffiliated voters can start casting early ballots in the North Carolina special congressional election prompted by findings of ballot fraud.
Early-voting sites open on Wednesday through May 10 in the 9th congressional district’s eight counties. Six counties have just one early-voting site open on weekdays during regular business hours. Mecklenburg County has seven sites.
Republican primary candidate and State Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte raised the most money through March. The National Association of Realtors’ political action committee is spending more than $1 million to support Realtor Leigh Brown.
A Washington, D.C. anti-tax group’s political action committee endorsed Bishop and bought ads targeting GOP rival Stony Rushing. The Club for Growth says Bishop can win the GOP nomination without a September run-off between the top two finishers.



Groups file lawsuit over approval of North Carolina bridge
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Local residents, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts have filed a lawsuit challenging approval by state and federal officials of a proposed new bridge on the North Carolina coast.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Raleigh.
A news release from the Southern Environmental Law Center on Tuesday says the $500 million Mid Currituck Bridge would lead to growth in undisturbed areas along the northern Outer Banks. The center’s attorney says the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. Department of Transportation have failed to consider less damaging and less expensive alternatives.
The groups also claim that NCDOT has shut the public out of the decision-making process. They say there has been no public analysis of the bridge and no opportunity for the public to weigh in on options since 2012.



North Carolina city takes step to change fair name
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city council has taken an initial step in changing the name of a fair after protests that it was offensive.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports Assistant City Manager Ben Rowe told members of the Fair Planning Committee on Wednesday that the city council decided the Dixie Classic Fair name must change, although no formal vote has been taken.
Some fair committee members objected to a news release about the name change that city officials wanted to send out Wednesday, saying it appeared to portray the panel as pushing for the change.
That news release said the committee will be soliciting suggestions for a new name, which would go into effect in 2020.
Last month, Winston-Salem removed a Confederate statue from downtown.



More North Carolina school systems plan for teacher rally
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Three school systems in southeastern North Carolina are making plans in response to the statewide teacher rally in support of higher salaries and legislative funding.
News outlets report New Hanover County Schools announced in a news release Wednesday that classes will be canceled on May 1, joining Brunswick County Schools, which said last week in was canceling classes in advance of the rally.
Pender County Schools announced last week that it’s proposing to send two staff members from each school to represent the district so classes wouldn’t have to be canceled.
An estimated 19,000 people marched last May to the Legislative Building.
Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has said he can’t support protests that force schools to close. He’s suggested holding the rally during spring or summer break.



Police investigate fight between hockey player, fan
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are investigating a fight involving a hockey player and a fan at a recent game.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports police say Elmira Enforcers goaltender Troy Passingham was walking to his locker room after a game with the Carolina Thunderbirds last Saturday when a fan squirted him with water.
The newspaper cites a video which it said showed Passingham either threw his equipment or took a punch at the fan, who is seen falling down. A person identified as the wife of Thunderbirds owner Barry Soskin also fell down.
Carolina and Elmira are playing for the Federal Hockey League championship. League Commissioner Don Kirnan said a conference call scheduled for Tuesday would determine what punishments will be handed down.


AP-WF-04-25-19 1020GMT