Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
ENDANGERED WOLVES-ILLEGAL KILLINGS
Politics, killings stifle wolf recovery amid hefty price tag
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Illegal killings and political resistance have undercut the return of two species of endangered wolves despite more than $80 million in government spending.
Wildlife officials warn the red wolves of North Carolina could be gone from the wild within a decade. In the Southwest, Mexican gray wolves continue to struggle despite recent gains.
Biologists say poaching has a big effect.
The Associated Press found that over the last two decades, more than half of Mexican wolf deaths and about one in four red wolf deaths resulted from gunshots or were otherwise deemed illegal.
Their recovery has been further hindered by opposition over attacks on livestock or game animals.
A third wolf type – the Western gray wolf – has thrived since reintroduction and could soon lose federal protection.
Julian Castro to join McDonald’s strikers in N Carolina
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro plans to join McDonald’s workers who are striking on the same day as the fast food giant’s annual shareholder meeting in Dallas.
The Fight for $15 says in a news release that Julian Castor of Texas will join strikers on Thursday in Durham, North Carolina, the site of more than a dozen such jobs actions nationwide.
Striking cooks and cashiers plan to travel to the shareholder meeting, where they will attend a video town hall hosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s also seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
Castro says he’s standing with workers in their fight for fair pay, better working conditions and the right to unionize.
From 2014 to 2017, Castro was secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Obama.
North Carolina governor issuing paid parental leave order
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is using the power of his pen again to promote policies his administration considers supportive of women in the workplace and family-friendly.
Cooper’s office says the Democratic governor on Thursday will sign an executive order addressing paid parental leave. In recent months, Cooper signed orders addressing protections for pregnant state employees and the pay gap between female and male state workers.
One order requires agencies under Cooper’s control to provide workplace adjustments to pregnant workers unless it would impose an undue hardship on the organization. The other prevents agencies in his administration from reviewing salary histories of job applicants. That prohibition is designed to narrow pay inequities based on gender.
ELECTIONS BOARD-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
N Carolina elections board deciding what to pay new director
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s elections board has money on its mind as it plans to hire a new executive to run operations.
The State Board of Elections meets Thursday to discuss what to pay Karen Brinson Bell as the next executive director starting June 1.
Bell last week was selected to take over as state elections director after current director Kim Strach was ousted from the job she’d held since 2013. Strach was promoted to the job under Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory, but the elections board is now back in Democratic hands following lengthy litigation.
Bell is a Duplin County native now living in South Carolina who was formerly a regional staffer for the state elections board and ex-director of Transylvania County’s elections board.
Coastal Land Trust purchases 182 acres surrounded by forest
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – The Coastal Land Trust has purchased 182 acres surrounded by the Croatan National Forest, marking the second time it’s used settlement money to save North Carolina land.
The trust said in a news release earlier this week that it’s purchased the property in Craven County, using grant money and funds from a $7.3 million settlement between the state Transportation Department and the Sierra Club. The deal closed May 1.
In November, the Wilmington-based conservation organization used settlement money to buy 113 acres at the Gale Creek Preserve near Newport.
The settlement between the state and environmental groups involved the new U.S. 70 bypass in Havelock.
PROJECT VERITAS-LIBEL LAWSUIT
NC judge dismisses libel case against Project Veritas
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge is dismissing a lawsuit claiming a North Carolina woman was libeled by a conservative group that produces “sting” videos intended to embarrass liberal organizations and media outfits.
U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger on Wednesday stopped the trial against Project Veritas, founder James O’Keefe and its tax-exempt social welfare affiliate Project Veritas Action before jurors considered the case.
Attorneys for O’Keefe and the organization known for videotaping people without their knowledge argued successfully that Shirley Teter’s lawyers hadn’t proved the videos depicting her were published despite knowing the information was false or not caring whether they were false.
The 71-year-old Asheville woman claimed online videos released by Project Veritas Action Fund linked her to a purported plot by Democratic operatives to incite violence at Donald Trump campaign rallies.
VP Pence: Congress should pass trade deals, not investigate
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – Vice President Mike Pence says Democrats in Congress need to focus on passing trade agreements that help North Carolina workers, rather than extend unfounded investigations of President Donald Trump.
Pence made the comments at a Union County textile plant on Wednesday during his trip to the state. The afternoon tour and speech at Parkdale Mills in Monroe fell in between two private functions.
Soon after flying into Charlotte, Pence participated at a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. He was scheduled later to attend a “Trump Victory” fundraising event in Greensboro.
Pence responded at Parkdale after word that Trump walked out of a planned White House meeting with legislative Democrats on Wednesday after learning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters earlier the president was “engaged in a cover-up.”
UNC School of the Arts chancellor resigns to take new job
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts says he is resigning to become chief executive of UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina.
Lindsay Bierman made the announcement Wednesday, saying his resignation takes effect on July 31. The UNC Board of Governors approved Bierman’s appointment during its regular meeting in Chapel Hill.
Bierman starts his new job on Aug. 12. He succeeds Brian Sickora, who served as director and general manager of UNC-TV from July 1, 2016 until last October. Two others have served in interim capacities at UNC-TV.
Bierman came to UNCSA after 17 years at Time Inc., where he worked with a variety of people on cross-platform audience, content and franchise development for numerous mainstream brands, including Southern Living.