AP-NC Newswatch

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May 14, 2019
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May 14, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT



Candidates face off in GOP primary for NC congressional race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republicans are deciding who should carry their banner into a high-profile congressional race in a North Carolina district lacking a delegate in Washington because last year’s election was tainted by ballot fraud.
Republican and unaffiliated voters in the 9th Congressional District cast ballots Tuesday to decide which GOP candidate will face Democrat Dan McCready.
The general election will be Sept. 10 if one candidate collects more than 30 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s primary. If no one tops that milestone, that September date will be used for a runoff between the top two Republicans and the general election will be Nov. 5.
The special election was required after the state elections board found last year’s contest tainted when Republican Mark Harris used a political operative who improperly handled mail-in ballots.



Man charged in son’s death 20 years after remains found
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been indicted on a murder charge decades after his son’s skeletal remains were found under a highway billboard.
News outlets report 57-year-old John Russell Whitt was also indicted Monday on a charge of concealing a death.
For years, 10-year-old Robert Adam Whitt’s identity remained a mystery. The case was revived when Orange County Investigator Tim Horne connected with a genetic genealogy consultant and discovered a possible cousin.
Investigators then developed a scenario in which John Russell Whitt killed his son and his wife and dumped their bodies along Interstate 85. Horne says charges in Myoung Hwa Cho’s death may follow. Her body was found in a Spartanburg field in 1998.
Whitt is in a Kentucky federal prison for robbing people at ATMs and carrying a weapon during those robberies.



Tornado leaves damage but no injuries in North Carolina
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (AP) – Officials say that a tornado roared through Wake County, North Carolina for up to eight miles, uprooting trees and damaging houses and roads throughout the town of Zebulon. No injuries have been reported.
Two rounds of severe weather moved through central North Carolina on Monday, dumping heavy rain on the region. WRAL reports that winds from the tornado ranged from 86 mph to 135 mph. Nearly 7,000 people lost power in Wake County at the height of the storm.
The storm also caused widespread power outages in Chatham, Nash, and Franklin counties.
Darrell Alford, the deputy director and chief of operations for Wake County’s fire services and operations, said the county’s emergency dispatch center received over 60 calls in the first hour of the storm.



Catholic Diocese of Charlotte to publish list of abusers
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte will publish a list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse, following other U.S. dioceses.
In Monday’s announcement, Bishop Peter Jugis said the 46-county diocese is committed to finishing investigations into clergy abuse and publishing names of the accused by year’s end. The Charlotte Observer reports that sexual abuse survivors criticized the diocese for not taking action sooner.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests released the names of five priests that once lived or worked in the area who it said had been accused of sexual abuse.
Rene Anctil of the organization told the newspaper that “it is good they will release the names (but) I am not sure why the delay. They already have all the info.”



N Carolina panel comparing fracking regulations around US
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The state commission directed to regulate oil and gas fracking that could someday rise in North Carolina is sorting out regulation of the nascent industry.
The North Carolina Oil and Gas Commission meets Tuesday in Raleigh and will discuss how the state compares to others in details like how far wells must be from water supplies and neighbors.
The commission has held six meetings in the 14 months since it was revamped after lengthy legal fights.
Commissioners are picked by the governor and legislative leaders. The legislature altered the commission following a 2016 state Supreme Court ruling that struck down its composition.



N Carolina teacher accused of storing student’s gun in class
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina teacher is accused of storing a student’s gun in her classroom.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports Paisley Magnet School teacher Sarah Melissa Wilson was arrested Monday and charged with helping a minor possess a firearm on educational property.
Winston-Salem police say a student told Wilson about the gun and gave it to her last month. They say the 25-year-old Wilson allowed the student to pick it up at the end of the day.
The arrest comes as authorities investigate reports of a gun at the school last week. Police say the same weapon was involved in both incidents and charges are being sought against the initial juvenile and another who also possessed the gun on campus.
Wilson’s out of custody and may appear in court May 30.



Democratic NC elections board replaces top administrator
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Democratic-led elections board will have a new chief administrator.
On a party-line 3-2 vote Monday, the State Board of Elections chose Karen Brinson Bell as the next executive director starting June 1.
The action means Kim Strach will be out of the job she’s held since 2013. Strach recently led the investigation into absentee ballot fraud in the 9th Congressional District, which prompted a new election.
Strach was the board’s choice when Republicans held a 3-2 majority. She kept the post as GOP legislators and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper fought in court the past two years about the board’s composition.
Bell previously worked at the state board and was a county elections director. Recently she’s worked for a nonprofit election administration group led by Strach predecessor Gary Bartlett.



VP Pence scheduled for NC fundraiser benefiting Tillis
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Thom Tillis are the featured guests at a fundraiser next week in North Carolina for both the Republican National Committee and Tillis’ re-election campaign.
An invitation obtained on Monday by The Associated Press says the fundraising dinner will be May 22 in Greensboro. The invitation sets donation ranges from $2,800 to $35,000. Party officials issuing invitations include RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and national GOP fundraiser Louis DeJoy, who lives in Greensboro.
The joint Pence-Tillis event is organized in part by a committee composed of President Donald Trump’s committee and the RNC. It appears to signal support from the president for the first-term senator, who last week got a Republican primary opponent in retired financier Garland Tucker of Raleigh.



AP-WF-05-14-19 1520GMT