Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Court: Schools may be due hog giant’s environmental payments
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina judges are setting up a court battle to decide whether the world’s largest pork producer will keep paying for environmental projects as it promised 18 years ago or if the millions should go to public schools instead.
A divided state Court of Appeals resurrected a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Smithfield Foods’s 2000 agreement to pay up to $2 million a year for 25 years. The state attorney general has largely decided who got the money.
The court determined a trial should decide if the payments are actually penalties for bad behavior. The state constitution requires that schools get penalty payments.
Smithfield agreed in the same 2000 deal to phase out open-air hog waste pits within five years. The cesspools are still used on hundreds of farms raising Smithfield’s hogs.
Wild horse herd hit by losses welcomes new foal
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
COROLLA, N.C. (AP) – A herd of wild horses in North Carolina that has suffered a stretch of deaths and banishments has welcomed a new foal.
The chief operating officer of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, Jo Langone, tells The Virginian-Pilot that a mare gave birth to a filly last week. This is the herd’s fifth foal this year, though one has died. Langone says the herd has about four foals annually, but another one may be born before the year ends.
Six of the herd’s about 100 horses were sent to a corral for recovering wild horses after repeatedly leaving the 7,500 acres where the horses are contained. Two other horses died of natural causes, one horse was killed by a vehicle and another horse died following a fight with another horse.
BEAR STUCK IN CONTAINER
Authorities look out for bear with head stuck in container
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Residents in western North Carolina are concerned about a fate of a bear that’s been spotted several times in recent weeks with a plastic container stuck to its head.
WLOS-TV reports that it has gotten multiple reports and seen multiple images of the bear in Henderson County since early August.
State Wildlife Resources officials advise people to call them immediately but not approach the bear if they see it.
Wildlife officials say the bear is able to breathe and drink with the container but likely isn’t able to eat. They are using people’s tips to search for the bear with drones.
Carolyn Elisius is a resident who saw the bear cross the road recently. She tells the television station she’s been thinking constantly about its welfare.
PULLED FROM FIERY CRASH
Neighbors pull driver from fiery crash in North Carolina
KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina authorities say people living near a crash scene helped pull a driver to safety before the car was engulfed in flames.
WRAL-TV reports that the crash happened Sunday night in Knightdale.
Troopers say the car was traveling 80 mph or higher when it left the road, hit a driveway and went airborne. It then hit the ground and caught fire.
Authorities say neighbors heard the crash and ran to the scene. It took them several attempts to break into the rear window and get the driver’s door open. Authorities say the neighbors pulled the man out just before flames engulfed the car.
The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
2018 MIDTERMS-YOUNG VOTERS
$30 million poured into effort to energize young voters
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Democrats know who their voters are. They just have to figure out how to get them to the polls in November.
That’s where NextGen America comes in.
The group founded by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is in the midst of a $30 million-plus campaign in 11 battleground states to contact young voters, get them registered and have them pledge to follow through in November.
At a recent event on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, NextGen used therapy dogs to attract students and register them to vote.
The goal is to empower young voters in states with competitive races for Congress and other seats.
Wisconsin freshman Kellen Sharp says he’s excited to vote. He and others at the Madison event think young people are more energized than ever.
BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY FATAL ACCIDENT
Teen dies in accident along Blue Ridge Parkway
ARDEN, N.C. (AP) – A car accident along the Blue Ridge Parkway has killed one person.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the crash Saturday night killed a 16-year-old girl from Cowpens, South Carolina.
The newspaper quotes from a National Park Service news release saying the girl died after being ejected from a car that went down an embankment near the French Broad Overlook.
The news release says a 21-year-old man was driving the car northbound and trying to pass another vehicle when he left the road in a curve and rolled 200 feet down the embankment. Speed is believed to be a factor.
The girl was a rear passenger in the vehicle.
NOAA funds projects to reduce bycatch with engineering
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A group of organizations is getting more than $2 million in grants to use engineering to try to reduce bycatch in fisheries.
Bycatch is the term for when fish and other animals are accidentally caught with gear that was seeking a different species. Bycatch poses problems for rare species of dolphins, turtles, sharks and other animals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awarding more than $2.3 million to 14 projects as part of its 2018 Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
One of the recipients is Duke University, which will test the applicability of sensory-based bycatch reduction technology. Duke’s project seeks to reduce sea turtle bycatch in North Carolina.
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is getting money to create a tool to reduce bycatch among recreational Gulf of Maine fishermen.
Woman says dog saved family after bear broke into her house
(Information from: WRAL-FM.)
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – A woman says her dog has died after warding off a bear that broke into her family’s North Carolina home.
WRAL reported Saturday that the incident occurred in Black Mountain, a town outside Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Tiffany Merrill said she thought she was going to die when the bear broke in. She yelled to her children to shut their doors.
Her dog Pickles quickly appeared. Merrill said the five-pound dog “started barking and got the bear’s attention and got the bear outside and he saved my life.”
Merrill said she couldn’t save her dog’s life. She said she “wanted to go out there and jump on the back of the bear and save my dog.”
She now finds herself grieving. She said Pickles “was always with me.”