Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
ELECTIONS BOARD-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Director’s job is lone item on NC elections board’s agenda
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Democratic-controlled state elections board could soon have a new chief administrator.
The five-member board scheduled a Monday conference call in which the executive director’s appointment is the lone action item. Kim Strach has been at that position since 2013 and recently led the investigation into absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District.
Strach was the choice of the board when Republicans held a 3-2 majority. She kept the post as GOP legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper fought in court over the past two years about the board’s composition.
Strach joined the board staff in 2000. She worked on campaign finance probes that led to action against Democratic House Speaker Jim Black and Gov. Mike Easley, as well as Republican state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell.
ONLINE CHARTER SCHOOL
N Carolina charter school seeks split from for-profit firm
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s statewide school board is deciding whether to approve an online charter school’s desire to break away from the for-profit company that helped it get off the ground.
The state Board of Education on Monday is expected to vote on whether to let North Carolina Connections Academy split from education company Pearson and become a locally run independent school.
Connections Academy and a second virtual charter managed by a different company opened in 2015. Both have received D grades for their academic performance for the past three years and are on the state’s list of “continually low-performing schools.”
The Connections Academy board wants to hire several vendors to provide the different services now offered by Pearson, which it pays $10 million per year.
Another delay has NC trying to lease passenger ferry
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina will try leasing a boat to take passengers between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands because the ferry that was supposed to do the job has been delayed — again.
Spokesman Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division tells The News & Observer of Raleigh that the most recent delay is because inspectors found the aluminum welds in the hull were substandard. Work was halted and then resumed in March.
The $4 million boat originally was supposed to be completed in April 2018. It’s designed to seat 98 people inside and another 26 outside.
Hass says the state has found a similar catamaran-style ferry in New Jersey that’s available for the summer. The state needs to bring the boat to North Carolina and run the route to make sure it’s suitable.
NC House budget includes money for Martin Luther King spire
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina House budget includes $1.5 million for a 100-foot spire in Fayetteville to honor civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
The Fayetteville Observer reports Rep. Elmer Floyd persuaded his colleagues to amend the House budget at the last minute to include money for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
The Democratic legislator says the spire could attract visitors to Fayetteville.
The spire could have a light or flame at the top. Preliminary designs show a base with a building, waterfalls and displays. A statue of King was built at the park in 2007.
The Senate still must approve the money for the MLK spire.
Bills seek special consent for pelvic exams under anesthesia
Lawmakers in several states want to make sure women needing surgery have a chance to say no to a medical student examining them while they’re under anesthesia.
Bills introduced in roughly a dozen states this year would require that women undergoing gynecological surgeries give explicit approval to a pelvic exam beforehand.
Patient consent for such exams has gained renewed attention given evolving cultural attitudes in the #MeToo era.
Utah became the seventh state overall to require specific consent. Similar bills have passed the legislatures in Maryland and New York.
Some medical experts say the proposals are unnecessary intrusions into patient care.
TRYON PALACE-FIELD TRIPS
Scholarships given to visit Tryon Palace, 1st state capitol
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – Almost 2,000 students will receive scholarships to take a field trip to Tryon Palace in New Bern, North Carolina’s first permanent state capitol.
Tryon Palace officials say 1,775 students at 16 Title 1 schools will receive scholarships to visit the historic site . Title I schools meet certain guidelines for the number of students who are economically disadvantaged.
The Tryon Palace Foundation raised the money for the field trips with donations from individuals. The foundation president says the field trips are important because experiencing history is different from merely reading about it.
Most of the schools receiving the scholarships are in eastern North Carolina.
Applications to attend a field trip next year will be accepted Aug. 15 through Sept. 30.
NC high school junior heads directly to college
(Information from: The Daily News, http://www.jdnews.com)
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A high school junior who has received more than 90 college offers with scholarships totaling over $1.4 million says she has decided to start at North Carolina Central University in the fall.
The Daily News of Jacksonville reports that 16-year-old Nyquasia Brown will go to NCCU in Durham from White Oak High School as part of an expedited program. She was able to enter White Oak with credits and graduate in three years.
While attending high school, she has held down two jobs to help her mother support her three siblings.
Brown was accepted to the honors college at the historically black NCCU, where she plans to major in political science and minor in criminal justice. Then she plans to attend law school.
NORTH CAROLINA-DISPUTED ELECTION
North Carolina ‘bathroom bill’ sponsor bidding for US House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina legislator best known as the architect of the state’s so-called bathroom bill three years ago is racking up contributions and endorsements as he runs in the repeat of a congressional race marred by a ballot fraud scandal.
State Sen. Dan Bishop of Charlotte is a leading contender among 10 candidates in next week’s GOP primary in the 9th Congressional District special election. Some voters say their choice doesn’t depend on Bishop’s sponsorship of a 2016 state law that prevented anti-discrimination rules protecting LGBT residents.
GOP political consultant Paul Shumaker says Bishop’s backing for House Bill 2 will help him in the Republican primary. Shumaker said the law’s opponents will likely support Democrat Dan McCready in a general election if Dan Bishop is the GOP nominee.