Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
LONGLEAF FILM FESTIVAL
Movie about Carolina Chocolate Drops opens NC film festival
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s fifth annual film festival is opening with a documentary feature about the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group of three African Americans who turned to an 87-year-old fiddler as a mentor.
The Longleaf Film Festival opens Friday with a showing of “Don’t Get Trouble in Your Mind,” which documents the journey of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and their relationship with fiddler Joe Thompson, who died in 2012. That relationship led the group to revive the black string-band tradition.
The film from John Whitehead is one of three that will show Friday at the N.C. Museum of History.
Various films will be shown Saturday, when panel discussions focused on diversity and opportunity in filmmaking and legal issues will be held.
The awards ceremony will be held Saturday evening.
North Carolina town to get beach access for handicapped
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina coastal town is set to unveil its first fully handicapped beach access.
Officials in Kill Devil Hills say a grand opening and dedication ceremony is set for Monday at 10 a.m.
Improvements to the beach access include a wooden handicap ramp as well as several fixed position mats and roll out mats to accommodate wheelchair entry onto the beach. The new wooden ramp was built to give wheelchairs a quick and easier path from the parking lot to the beach.
In addition, the town has also purchased three additional beach wheelchairs for anyone to borrow and enjoy the water line.
The town says on its Facebook page that the improvements honor former town Commissioner William “Bill” M. Pitt for his community involvement and devotion.
COLD CASE-DIRECTOR’S KILLING
Man arrested in 1985 killing of Hollywood TV director
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Police have arrested a man charged with bludgeoning and strangling to death a Hollywood TV director more than three decades ago.
Authorities say the FBI arrested Edwin Hiatt Thursday in Burke County, North Carolina, after DNA evidence linked him to the 1985 death of Barry Crane in Los Angeles.
The LAPD says Hiatt acknowledged to investigators that he killed Crane, who directed or produced such 1970s and 1980s hits as “Mannix,” “Mission: Impossible” and “The Incredible Hulk.”
Crane was 57 when his naked body was found wrapped in bedsheets in the garage of his luxury home.
The case went unsolved until police got a DNA match to Crane’s suspected killer last year.
Hiatt will be sent to California to face a murder charge.
It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.
BABY KIDNAPPED-NORTH CAROLINA
Police find baby who was kidnapped by suspects in ski masks
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in western North Carolina say they have found a 7-week-old baby girl who was kidnapped by a man and a woman who were wearing ski masks.
Asheville police tweeted Thursday evening that the baby was kidnapped in Biltmore Park, a mixed-use area that has retail stores.
Less than three hours after the initial tweet, authorities said the baby had been found safe in adjacent Henderson County. Authorities say a car believed to have been used in the abduction was also found in Henderson County.
It is unclear whether investigators have made any arrests.
Virginia county chosen for jail opioid treatment program
CHESTERFIELD, Va. (AP) – A Virginia county is one of 15 localities around the country chosen to participate in a national program to expand medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in jails.
Chesterfield County will receive scholarships for five staff members to attend training programs. Experts will work with jail officials to create treatment guidelines, manage medication administration and educate jail staff about addiction.
Chesterfield also will develop a plan with local health officials to ensure people can access treatment after they’re released.
The program is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Arnold Ventures, a national philanthropy headquartered in Houston.
Other sites chosen to participate include: Cook County Jail in Chicago; Lewis and Clark County Detention Center in Helena, Montana; and Durham County, North Carolina.
Carolina Panthers offered $120M in tax breaks to relocate
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The South Carolina Senate has agreed to provide $120 million in tax breaks to the Carolina Panthers to move their practice fields and team headquarters out of North Carolina.
The27-15 vote Thursday came after contentious debate with several senators questioning whether public money should be given to a billionaire NFL owner and the $3.8 billion proposed economic benefit of the new facility is wildly exaggerated.
The bill, enthusiastically backed by Gov. Henry McMaster, would exempt the Panthers from paying state income taxes for players, coaches and other employees for 15 years as long as they use the money to build their new complex near Rock Hill.
The team will continue to play games 15 miles (24 kilometers) north in Charlotte, North Carolina.
McMaster is expected to quickly sign the bill.
Court: Were N Carolina lawmakers sneaky or rights violators?
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court is deciding if state legislators were just sneaky when they took surprise action to cut incoming Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s powers, or if they violated the state constitution.
The state Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Thursday in a lawsuit by government reform group Common Cause and voters. They claimed the legislators’ December 2016 session was illegal because lawmakers called it so quickly that the public had no time to weigh in.
The attorney defending top Republican lawmakers said the right is general and there’s no requirement of giving some minimum notice before taking action.
The plaintiffs claim that legislators violated the state constitution’s right “to instruct” representatives by giving just two hours’ notice before taking dramatic action.
SCHOOL SHOOTING-FIGHTING BACK
Hero students highlight shift in school shooting guidance
BALTIMORE (AP) – The actions of students who died tackling gunmen at two separate U.S. campuses a week apart have been hailed as heroic. At a growing number of schools around the country, they also reflect guidance to students who are told, at least in some situations, to do what they can to disrupt shootings.
A majority of school districts have now embraced such an approach, with experts saying educators need to give staff and students as many options as possible in the worst-case scenario.
Many schools have stuck with the traditional approach of locking down a school and letting law enforcement confront the shooter, especially in grade-school settings. Encouraging students or faculty to do otherwise, critics say, could make them more of a target.
Associated Press writer Dan Elliott in Denver contributed to this report. Melia reported from Hartford.