Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
MONTFORD POINT MARINES
A separate war: Pioneering black Marines endured, prevailed
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – It took an executive order to break down barriers for black men to join the U.S. Marine Corps, and even then they still faced obstacles.
But the pioneering men who broke the Marines’ color barrier in the 1940s now recall how they persevered and prevailed.
President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 executive order banned discrimination in government and defense industry employment because of “race, creed, color, or national origin.”
That gave men like John Thompson a chance to defend a country that denied them the rights they wanted to fight for. Thompson was trained at a segregated camp called Montford Point, adjacent to Camp Lejeune.
The 94-year-old Thompson says the Marine Corps was an elite group – and despite the hindrances, he wanted to belong to an elite group.
DEPUTY FATAL SHOOTING
N. Carolina deputies cleared of wrongdoing in fatal shooting
(Information from: Rocky Mount Telegram, http://www.rockymounttelegram.com)
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Three North Carolina deputies who killed a man in February have been cleared of wrongdoing.
The Rocky Mount Telegram reports District Attorney Robert Evans announced Wednesday that the Nash County Sheriff’s deputies won’t face charges related to the fatal shooting of 28-year-old Jonathan Ramirez.
Authorities say deputies were responding to an attempted sexual assault and Ramirez was identified as the suspect. Deputies confronted Ramirez. Sheriff Keith Stone says that’s when Ramirez pulled out a weapon and deputies fired. Authorities say the deputies’ body cameras weren’t recording at the time.
The newspaper says Evans’ office declined to release the state Bureau of Investigation’s report on the shooting. The SBI says the report must be obtained through Evans’ office. Stone says the deputies returned from administrative leave over a month ago.
Some don’t want superintendent at N Carolina PTA convention
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s PTA is holding its annual convention and the group’s welcome for the state’s schools superintendent is getting some opposition from some members.
The North Carolina Parent Teacher Association holds its annual convention in Charlotte on Friday and Saturday with a focus on leadership. The state PTA is a century-old volunteer organization advocating for students. There are nearly 1,000 Parent Teacher Associations in schools across the state.
An online petition launched last week urges the association to rescind its speaking invitation to State Superintendent Mark Johnson. About 100 people have backed the drive, saying Johnson is largely silent about increasing public school funding and supporting teachers but often advocates for charter schools and vouchers that help students attend private schools.
ELECTION 2020-SANDERS-NORTH CAROLINA
Sanders makes 2 North Carolina stops during Southern swing
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making his first public appearances in North Carolina for his 2020 presidential bid as part of a long weekend traveling through the South.
Sanders’ campaign says the Vermont senator will hold outdoor rallies at midday Friday in Asheville and late in the afternoon in Charlotte. The Asheville event will be held at the Salvage Station venue and the Charlotte event will be on the Central Piedmont Community College campus.
Sanders’ campaign says he’ll talk about the need to restore voting rights, reform K-12 education, eliminate poverty and address environmental racism.
Sanders’ weekend tour also will take him to South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
HATTERAS BEACH ACCESS
National seashore on Hatteras Island gets new beach access
BUXTON, N.C. (AP) – A new beach access and parking area is opening along Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
National Park Service officials say the new access opens Friday in Buxton, at a site that previously served as a base for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Buxton Beach Access is located at the end of Old Lighthouse Road. It includes space for 50 cars to park, portable restrooms and a non-slip wheelchair beach access mat.
A permanent restroom facility with showers and other site upgrades are being planned.
Bypass construction to alter exit on North Carolina road
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – State transportation officials say a construction project will close an interchange in eastern North Carolina for a month.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says both lanes of U.S. Highway 264 West will be closed beginning Monday so workers can replace the approach slabs for the bridge at the Greenville interchange. The project is expected to take one month.
Westbound drivers on U.S. 264 to Stantonsburg Road in Greenville will be detoured to Exit 73A and head toward Exit 71 and Mozingo Road. They will exit there, turn left at the end of the ramp, cross over U.S. 264 and turn left onto U.S. 264 East toward Stantonsburg Road.
The new bypass is scheduled to open by November.
LOCAL SALES TAXES
More sales tax options for NC counties get House support
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – All of North Carolina’s counties would have more choices on how to spend additional sales tax revenues that local voters approve in legislation advancing at the General Assembly.
The base sales tax rate in the state is 6.75%. Counties can collect more if voters agree in referendums. Ninety-four counties have power to raise the rate to 7.25%, while the other six can reach 7.5%. More than 40 counties have approved these higher taxes.
The measure approved overwhelmingly on Thursday keeps these maximum rates in place. But counties would have the option if voters agree to earmark up to a half-cent toward public education, for any “general purpose,” or for both. Current law limits sales tax increases for a “general purpose” to a quarter-cent.
The measure now goes to the Senate.
Republican tax package gets initial North Carolina Senate OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – This year’s favored tax package for Republicans at the North Carolina General Assembly has received preliminary Senate approval.
The proposal advanced in a near party-line vote Thursday is almost identical to tax provisions contained in the House’s state budget proposal approved two weeks ago.
For businesses, the rate on the franchise tax most corporations pay would decrease by one-third over two years. For individual tax filers, the standard deduction would increase slightly in 2021, meaning more low-income earners would pay no tax. And companies like Amazon and eBay would be told to collect sales taxes on consumers who buy products they offer through third-party retailers.
A final Senate vote is expected next week. Democratic opposition increases the likelihood that Gov. Roy Cooper would veto legislation containing this package.