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MISS USA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Lawyer from North Carolina wins Miss USA 2019
RENO, Nev. (AP) – Cheslie Kryst of North Carolina has been crowned Miss USA 2019.
Alejandra Gonzalez of New Mexico was the first-runner up, and Oklahoma’s Triana Browne the second-runner up during the competition Thursday night in Reno, Nevada.
Kryst earned a law degree and an MBA at Wake Forest University before becoming a civil litigation attorney who does pro bono work to reduce sentences for inmates.
The 27-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, said during the final round that she was glad to be competing in Nevada because it’s the first and only state in the nation with female majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
In ‘lawless’ world of service dogs, many families suffer
APEX, N.C. (AP) – The service dog industry, especially dogs for people with autism or PTSD, has exploded in recent years. But a near complete absence of regulation has left needy, desperate families vulnerable to incompetence and fraud, according to The Associated Press.
The North Carolina attorney general’s office has received more than four dozen complaints against a company that trained service dogs for autistic children. Clients who paid many thousands of dollars say their dogs couldn’t respond to basic commands or were aggressive toward people or other family pets. State officials in Virginia, Colorado and Illinois have brought similar cases in recent years.
Properly training a service dog can take up to 1 1/2 years. But the Americans with Disabilities Act does not require that a service dog be professionally trained or certified.
North Carolina budget plan soon to clear House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Republican state budget proposal is about to clear the North Carolina House, but Democrats could have much more to say about a final plan before it becomes law.
The House scheduled for Friday the second of two votes on a two-year budget bill. The chamber gave it tentative approval Thursday by a vote of 61-54. The measure now will go to the GOP-controlled Senate, which will approve a competing version.
Democratic legislative gains in November mean Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper should have more negotiating power because his vetoes can withstand Republican override attempts. This follows six years of veto-proof control by the GOP.
The House measure spends nearly $24 billion next year. The plan contains no Medicaid expansion – something Democrats have said is a top priority.
New fishing rules designed to protect vulnerable shark
BOSTON (AP) – The rules for recreational shark fishermen are going to get more difficult to try to protect a vulnerable species of shark.
An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has signed off on changes to the size limits for Atlantic shortfin mako sharks in state waters. The panel says the new standards stem from an assessment of the shark’s population that found it was being overfished.
The panel says it’s also making the changes to respond to a determination by the International Commission on the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas that said its member countries must reduce the catch of shortfin makos by 72 to 79 percent to stop the population from further declining.
Shortfin mako sharks are listed endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
COLLEGE CAMPUS SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Body of student slain in shooting arrives home
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The body of a North Carolina student whom classmates and police have called a hero for stopping a gunman in his classroom has returned home.
Television footage of the police escort of 21-year-old Riley Howell showed dozens of people holding U.S. flags lining the street as the procession turned into the funeral home in his mountain hometown of Waynesville.
Howell’s mother then hugged every police officer in the procession, which had brought Howell’s body about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Charlotte.
Authorities say Riley tackled the gunman in his University of North Carolina-Charlotte classroom Tuesday evening. He died, along with another student, 19-year-old Ellis Parlier. Four other students were hurt.
The funeral home has not posted funeral arrangements for Howell.
COLLEGE CAMPUS SHOOTING-VICTIMS
Athletic outdoorsman, tech enthusiast killed in NC classroom
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Riley Howell had an athlete’s physique and loved being outdoors on his family’s farm. Ellis Parlier studied computer technology and liked video games.
Both college students were killed Tuesday when a gunman opened fire in their anthropology class at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Four other students were wounded.
The family of 21-year-old Howell remembered him in a statement Wednesday as “a big, muscular guy with a huge heart.” Police said Howell was also a hero, having tackled the gunman before he could shoot more people.
A friend of 19-year-old Parlier said he was passionate about video games and had a caring personality. Jeremy Shue told CBS News he had known Parlier since the 6th grade.
University Chancellor Philip DuBois said Wednesday the four injured students are expected to recover.
Senate ban on wind-power projects in eastern NC advances
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Future big wind-power projects would be blocked permanently across wide swaths of eastern North Carolina in legislation supporters say would protect military flight paths and ultimately the region’s installations.
The state Senate Commerce Committee voted Thursday to recommend the measure pushed by Majority Leader Harry Brown, who represents Camp Lejeune. Other Senate Republicans representing bases also on board are worried wind farms could create liabilities in the next round of base closings.
The prohibition on building, expanding or operating wind turbines from about 100 miles (160 kilometers) inland to the Atlantic coast is based on a map developed by an engineering firm and the state Commerce Department.
The bill advanced over objections of those who said the military doesn’t need a blanket prohibition and has allowed some farms to go forward.
DUKE ENERGY-GRID COSTS
New rate-case option for NC power companies OK’d in Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A new option for utilities operating in North Carolina to have their electricity rates set for multiple years at once rather than annually has cleared the state Senate.
The 27-21 vote on Thursday marked another round in a political fight between bill supporter Duke Energy Corp. and big corporate electric consumers who oppose it. Environmental groups also are against the measure, which would allow Duke or Dominion Energy to seek rate changes stretching out five years from the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
Duke Energy and allies say the option could lead to more predictable rate changes and better planning for infrastructure projects. Responding to criticisms the change could lead to less public scrutiny of rates, Democratic Sen. Dan Blue said regulators would have even more opportunities to examine utility operations.