Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
VP visits North Carolina for convention, trade, fundraiser
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to North Carolina to celebrate the approach of next year’s Republican National Convention, to visit a textile plant and to attend a political fundraiser.
Pence is expected to arrive in Charlotte at midday Wednesday to participate in an RNC kickoff meeting. The convention will be held in August 2020. He’s then set to tour Parkdale Mills in Monroe and speak to employees about what the vice president’s office says are the benefits from a new trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the U.S.
Pence also is the special guest at a “Trump Victory” fundraising event in Greensboro. U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis will be there. Tillis’ campaign is raising money, too, for his own reelection campaign next year.
Teacher charged with threatening to ‘shoot up’ her school
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina teacher has been charged with threatening to “shoot up” her school.
A news release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office says Kristen Thompson was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of communicating a threat of mass violence.
The sheriff’s office says Thompson abruptly resigned Friday from Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough. It says other teachers reported that Thompson “made threats to shoot up the school.”
A phone listing for Thompson rang unanswered Tuesday afternoon. A sheriff’s spokeswoman said investigators didn’t have information on whether Thompson has a lawyer who can speak on her behalf.
Thompson’s name didn’t appear on the school’s website Tuesday, but an archived version indicated that she worked with children in the special education program.
NC speaker, Senate leader testify at employment bias trial
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Two of North Carolina’s most powerful legislators have taken the witness stand this week in a federal employee discrimination case involving the former head of the General Assembly’s nonpartisan fiscal analysis office.
House Speaker Tim Moore answered questions on Tuesday in a Wake County courtroom from lawyers for ex-Fiscal Research Division director Marilyn Chism and for the state. Senate leader Phil Berger testified on Monday.
Chism is a black woman who alleges she was forced out of her job in 2011 because of her race and gender.
Current U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis was speaker when Chism resigned and testified last year. Tillis denied race and gender playing any role. The trial has progressed in fits and starts due to Hurricane Florence and the federal government shutdown.
FLORIDA LENDER-RESTRAINING ORDER
North Carolina stops Florida lender from operating in state
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s attorney general has been granted a temporary restraining order to prevent a Florida-based payday lender from doing business in the state.
A news release from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office on Tuesday says a Superior Court judge granted his request to stop Miami-based Approved Financial from soliciting, making or collecting loans in the state.
According to Stein, Approved Financial, which is not licensed to operate in North Carolina, has offered illegal online payday loans at interest rates ranging between 120 to 200 percent, far above limits allowed by state law.
The complaint also says Approved Financial communicates with consumers via email and phone, but has asked borrowers to travel to South Carolina to get their money.
The company didn’t immediately respond to an email on Tuesday seeking comment.
Police: Man rescued from waters at North Carolina beach dies
EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (AP) – Police say a man rescued from the ocean on the North Carolina coast last weekend has died.
Emerald Isle police confirmed on their Facebook page that 48-year-old Robert Ray Patterson of Jacksonville died on Tuesday.
Officials say Patterson had apparently been carried out by rip currents with other swimmers on Sunday. Three of those swimmers were pulled ashore by surfers, while Patterson was taken to a nearby hospital.
Patterson is the sixth person to drown on Carteret County beaches in 2019. Of the total, four have occurred in Emerald Isle, and the other two drowned at Atlantic Beach.
Senior prank forces North Carolina high school to close
ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina school system say a senior prank that went too far forced them to cancel classes at a high school which was built nearly a century ago.
Spokesman Les Atkins of the Roanoke Rapids Graded School System said Tuesday that toilet paper was rolled across the courtyard at Roanoke Rapids High School, doors were glued shut, interior doors were spray painted and vegetable oil was spread onto the school’s historic hardwood floors.
The school, built in 1921, is one of the oldest in the state.
Police Chief Bobby Martin described it as “a senior prank that went a little bit overboard.” He estimated damages at $7,200, and said investigators are reviewing surveillance video.
Assistant Superintendent Larry Catalano declined comment on what discipline would be handed out.
Woman trying to escape accused of assaulting jail officers
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Arrest warrants filed by a North Carolina sheriff’s office say a woman injured five female officers at a county jail when she tried to escape.
News outlets report a news release from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office says detention officers were trying on Monday to escort 21-year-old Shyann Althea Newsome when she ran toward a door at the Wake County jail.
Arrest warrants say Newsome hit one officer in the knee, pulled another officer’s hair, stomped on a third officer’s foot and hurt the wrists of two others.
Multiple charges were filed against Newsome stemming from the escape attempt. She was already accused of threatening a man and a woman with a knife.
Newsome is jailed on a $62,000 bond, and it’s not known if she has an attorney.
BIG FLAG FLAP
North Carolina city tries to stop store from flying US flag
STATESVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina city have filed a lawsuit to force a recreational vehicle store to take down a U.S. flag which they say is too large.
News outlets report the flag is 40 feet by 80 feet (12 meters by 24 meters) and flies above Gander RV in the city of Statesville, north of Charlotte.
City officials say the store was granted a permit to fly a U.S. flag, but it’s nearly twice what city codes allow. Fines of $50 a day have been levied retroactive to Oct. 15, amounting to approximately $11,000.
Gander RV has rejected the city’s requests to take down the flag.