AP-NC Newswatch

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May 15, 2019
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May 15, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





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



Audit of NC county struggling with corruption to cost $351K
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The audit of a North Carolina county dealing with a public corruption scandal will cost $351,000, nearly three times more than originally quoted.
The Asheville Citizen Times reports Minnesota-based firm CliftonLarsonAllen was hired more than a year ago to audit Buncombe County government’s 2017-18 financial statements.
Prosecutors say Georgia contractor Joe Wiseman bribed ex-Buncombe County officials Wanda Greene, Mandy Stone and Jon Creighton for years with items including spa treatments in exchange for contracts worth millions of dollars. They await sentencing on fraud and corruption charges.
The audit has found “material weaknesses” and “significant deficiencies” that could majorly impact the reviewed financial statements. Some of these issues include unapproved raising of the limits on county-issued credit cards, and unreviewed reimbursements through expense reports.



NC ‘bathroom bill’ sponsor wins GOP redo of tainted election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republicans want the sponsor of a headline-grabbing “bathroom bill” that voided anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people to represent them in a special congressional election needed after last year’s contest was deemed too tainted to stand.
State Sen. Dan Bishop on Tuesday topped nine other GOP candidates seeking the 9th Congressional District nomination. He won almost half of the ballots cast in an election that drew less than 10% of eligible voters.
Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready on Sept. 10, as well as Libertarian and Green candidates.
McCready is a former Marine and Harvard MBA who seemed to narrowly lose last year’s race to Republican Mark Harris. An investigation then found Harris ignored warnings and paid a political operative who illegally collected mail-in ballots.
Harris opted not to run again.



4 arrested in connection with assault after playoff game
QUINCY, Mass. (AP) – Transit police in Massachusetts say four people have been arrested in connection with an assault just hours after the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes in a playoff game.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police posted surveillance images of five suspects online, many wearing Bruins clothing, and announced Wednesday that based on numerous tips from the public, four had turned themselves in.
They were identified as 21-year-old Stiles Bezema, of Wrentham; 31-year-old Antonio Green, of Agawam; 29-year-old John Pritoni, of Norfolk; and 23-year-old Thomas Pritoni, of Norfolk. They are charged with aggravated assault and battery resulting in serious injuries.
Police say the victim suffered facial fractures in the attack at the North Quincy Station at about midnight Friday.
No arraignment information was immediately available.



Craft beer sales deal on tap for North Carolina Senate panel
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposed agreement reached between North Carolina alcohol wholesalers and small breweries over who distributes their beer as they grow is on tap in a state Senate committee.
The state House already approved the measure sought by the state’s largest microbreweries in the state, which don’t like current limits on self-distributing their products. Now it’s going before the Senate commerce committee on Wednesday.
Current law says once a brewery sells more than 25,000 barrels in a year, third-party distributors take over all sales, marketing and pricing. A compromise announced in March would double self-distribution to 50,000 barrels.
The number of craft breweries in the state has grown this decade from 45 to over 200. Only a couple of these brewers produce enough now to potentially benefit in the near future.



N Carolina state patrol highlights law for cars to move over
SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina law officers are trying to spread the word that motorists are required to change lanes or slow down when they near stopped patrol cars flashing emergency lights.
The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program holds an awareness event Wednesday at the Highway Patrol station in Smithfield. It’s marking a day that memorializes law officers who died on duty nationwide. Many of them have been killed alongside state roads.
One was Lumberton Police Officer Jason Quick, who died in December after police say a passing car struck him as he tried to walk across the highway during an investigation.



Duke Energy executive says SC treating utility unfairly
(Information from: The Index-Journal, http://www.indexjournal.com)
GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) – An executive at Duke Energy says the company has been unfairly treated by South Carolina regulators angry at other utilities in the state.
Duke Energy Government and Community Relations District Manager Theo Lane says he thinks the Public Service Commission wants to show it will punish utilities after Santee Cooper and South Carolina Electric & Gas cost ratepayers billions of dollars for two nuclear plants that were never finished.
Regulators earlier this month called a Duke Energy proposal to increase electric bills by about $20 per month “tone deaf” and the company agreed to an increase of less than $5.
The Index Journal of Greenwood reports Lane told a Rotary Club meeting Tuesday that he has never seen regulators act like that in 30 years in South Carolina.



Harvest of shark species to be cut to avoid overfishing
BOSTON (AP) – Federal regulators say there will be a reduction this year in the harvest of a species of shark that is subject to commercial fishing.
Fishermen catch spiny dogfish from Maine to North Carolina on the East Coast for use as food, though there is a limited market for the shark in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this year’s quota for the dogfish will be a little more than 20 million pounds, which is slightly less than fishermen have harvested in most recent years.
NOAA says the reduction in quota, which is nearly 50 percent from 2018, is important to make sure overfishing doesn’t occur. Quotas are slated to rise in 2020 and 2021 to levels that are higher than the size of the typical harvest.



Windows honoring Baptist leader in Texas removed from chapel
(Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com)
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Stained-glass windows honoring some religious leaders who helped shift the Southern Baptist Convention to a more conservative stance have been removed from a North Texas chapel.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday that the windows featured dismissed Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson . He was fired last May amid criticism of his responses to rape allegations made years apart by two students.
The MacGorman Chapel windows were unveiled several years ago and funded by contributions.
Seminary board officials criticized Patterson for his email to campus security in 2015 saying he wanted to meet alone with a student who said she’d been raped, to “break her down.”
Patterson also was criticized for his contradictory responses about a rape allegation in 2003 while leading Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina.


AP-WF-05-15-19 1521GMT