Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
APRIL THE GIRAFFE-OFFSPRING
April the Giraffe’s son will move from NY to North Carolina
HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. (AP) – Like a lot of parents, April the Giraffe will be seeing her fast-growing offspring off to a new chapter in the fall.
Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York says April’s son Tajiri (tah-JEER’-ee) will be moved in late October to the Carolina Wildlife Conservation Park , outside of Raleigh, North Carolina.
April’s pregnancy drew more than 232 million YouTube live views during a seven-week period. She gave birth to Tajiri in April 2017.
She won’t be an empty nester for long. April’s due to deliver another big bundle of joy around March of next year.
Bloods gang leader gets 20 years for racketeering conspiracy
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A man who prosecutors describe as a Bloods gang leader has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy.
The Charlotte Observer reports U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney told Pedro Gutierrez that he wished he could have imposed a longer sentence Tuesday. Whitney recommended sending Gutierrez to Colorado’s federal Supermax prison, ADX Florence.
Prosecutors said the 45-year-old spent rose to the top of the United Blood Nation Gang and directed crime all over the East Coast while imprisoned in New York. Gutierrez was accused of ordering the 2011 gang war in North Carolina that led to the six-month lockdown of five prisons.
Gutierrez maintained his innocence while addressing the court after sentencing. He told the clerk of court he wanted to file an appeal request immediately.
Gem of a donation set to net N Carolina Goodwill thousands
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – More than 175 diamonds are a Goodwill’s best friend.
Citing a Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina release, news outlets report a Greensboro resident recently donated an 18-karat, white gold necklace featuring 176 diamonds. Appraised at $6,480, the necklace has attracted 10 bids on Goodwill’s online auction .
The necklace’s price has risen from $1,650.99 on Aug. 31 to $5,002.01, as of Wednesday morning. The bids jumped Tuesday, as news outlets began to report on the find.
Vice President of Retail Operations Celeste MacMurdo said in a release that putting the necklace up for online auction attracts more bidders. The Goodwill plans to funnel the proceeds to its mission of providing free and low-cost job training and placement services.
MacMurdo praised Greensboro residents’ charity.
SEAPLANE EMERGENCY LANDING
Seaplane makes emergency landing in North Carolina lake
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ARDEN, N.C. (AP) – Landing gear issues have prompted a seaplane to make an emergency landing in a North Carolina lake.
Skyland Fire and Rescue Chief Ryan Cole tells The Asheville Citizen-Times no injuries were reported in the Tuesday afternoon landing at Lake Julian. Cole says the pilot of a Howell Scott T Searey amphibious aircraft was having issues with the landing gear coming down.
Cole says the Asheville Regional Airport notified the fire department of the issue. He says the plane may have been capable of landing at the airport, but the pilot determined landing on the 300-acre (121-hectare) lake would limit damage to the aircraft.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the agency is investigating.
EX-COUNCILMAN-SEX CRIME CHARGE
Ex-councilman charged with child sex crime in North Carolina
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina city councilman who resigned under pressure has been charged with taking indecent liberties with a 10-year-old boy.
The Fayetteville Observer reports a lawyer for 49-year-old Tyrone A. Williams says the former Fayetteville City Council member turned himself in Tuesday.
Williams resigned from the council in May, after nearly a month of calls to resign from fellow councilmembers. An audio recording of a December meeting had surfaced in which he told a developer he could resolve a minor property title issue for $15,000. Williams maintained he did nothing wrong.
According to warrant paperwork, the sex charge also stems from December, but few details are available.
In a statement, Williams’ lawyer called the charges “despicable and baseless,” asserting they arose from Williams’ “very contentious relationship” with his ex-wife.
NORTH CAROLINA-BALLOT BATTLE
Supreme Court: 2 amendments fought by Cooper to be on ballot
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court has decided two proposed amendments to the state constitution addressing judicial vacancies and the state elections board will be on ballots this fall.
The state Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed a lower court decision denying a request by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to block the questions for those amendments from appearing on ballots. Cooper had argued the questions remained flawed even after the Republican-controlled legislature altered them in response to an earlier court ruling.
The decision means there will be six referendum questions on the November ballot. Cooper and Democratic allies have criticized the proposals because they would swing control over filling bench vacancies from the governor to the legislature and give General Assembly leaders direct say over who would serve on the elections board.
Judges: Too late for new congressional map for fall election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A panel of federal judges has agreed it’s too late to create a new congressional map for North Carolina’s fall elections, even though the judges declared the current lines illegal partisan gerrymanders.
The judges issued their order Tuesday, a week after they ruled for election advocacy groups, the state Democratic Party and Democratic voters who sued and accused Republican legislators of excessive partisan bias while drawing the 2016 map. The judicial panel had raised the possibility of drawing new boundaries now and holding this year’s elections under them.
The case victors told the judges last week a new map would be too disruptive. The judges agreed Tuesday, writing a new schedule likely would confuse voters and depress voter turnout.
This means congressional candidates will keep running under current lines.
North Carolina schools get $22M in safety grants
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s top education official says the state’s public schools are getting a security boost as the new school year starts by using much of the funds lawmakers set aside this year for safety and mental health programs.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced at a Raleigh news conference Tuesday that education officials have distributed $22 million in safety grants since July, adding cameras and hundreds of new campus-based police officers across the state.
The increase in protection comes after the General Assembly approved $35 million to respond to school shootings and violence. Funds were also earmarked to create an anonymous school safety tip line and mobile app and expand mental health services.
Johnson expects the tip line and mobile app to begin operating before next school year.