Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
BILLY GRAHAM DAUGHTER-CANCER
Billy Graham’s daughter asks for prayer in cancer fight
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz has asked people to pray for her as she fights breast cancer.
Lotz said in a post on her website this week that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in August. She said she is having surgery Sept. 18.
The North Carolina-based evangelist and author said she was disheartened at first, but has been encouraged by putting her faith in God. She writes: “Pray for God to heal me in whichever way He deems would bring Him the most glory.”
Graham is the second-oldest of Billy Graham’s five children. She joined her siblings in addressing the funeral for their father in March, saying then that she believed her father’s death was a strategic message from Heaven to wake up Christians.
After court ruling, amendments panel has more work to do
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Now that North Carolina courts have ruled six constitutional amendments will be on the November ballot, a special panel must meet again to finish writing explanations for the public.
The Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission is scheduled to meet Thursday. Comprised of the North Carolina secretary of state, attorney general and Legislative Building’s top administrator, the commission already has approved summaries for four amendments submitted to voters by the General Assembly.
Now the panel must explain two more amendments because the state Supreme Court this week upheld ballot questions reworked by lawmakers. Those amendments would alter how judicial vacancies are filled and how the state elections board is composed.
The explanations will appear in a statewide voters’ guide and go to local elections boards and media outlets.
GlaxoSmithKline to cut 650 US jobs, reinvest in R & D
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will cut 650 jobs across the United States.
The News & Observer reports the United Kingdom-based company notified the North Carolina Department of Commerce on Wednesday that it will cut 100 jobs at its Research Triangle Park office, and 450 field sales jobs across the country. GlaxoSmithKline is also cutting 100 positions at its Philadelphia office.
The field sales cuts were reported to the North Carolina agency because those positions report to an executive based at the Research Triangle Park site.
The company says it plans to reinvest the savings from the cuts into research and development. The cuts in North Carolina and Philadelphia target back-office functions.
Employees were notified Wednesday, and most will leave by November.
GlaxoSmithKline employs 15,000 people in the United States.
Upcoming redistricting is a backstory of 2018 midterms
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The task of drawing new boundaries for thousands of federal and state legislative districts is still about three years away, yet the political battle over redistricting is playing out in this year’s midterm elections.
A lawsuit challenging the current districts recently threw uncertainty into North Carolina’s congressional races. Another suit resulted in a redrawn map in Pennsylvania. And ballot initiatives seeking to make the redistricting process less partisan are headed to voters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah.
At the same time, Democratic and Republican groups are pouring millions of dollars into state races seeking to ensure they have officeholders in position to influence the next round of redistricting.
The results from the 2020 census will be delivered to states in spring 2021. That will trigger a mandatory once-a-decade redistricting for U.S. House and state legislative seats.
CEMETERY-BODY FOUND-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina couple visiting grave find shooting victim
HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a husband and wife visiting their granddaughter’s grave found a man’s body lying nearby.
High Point police said in a news release a caller told a 911 dispatcher the body was lying next to a mausoleum just inside the cemetery Tuesday.
Authorities identified the victim as 28-year-old Xavier D. Luckey of Thomasville, adding that he had been shot at least once. The caller said Luckey had no pulse when they found his body, and emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.
Investigators declined to provide additional information, including a motive behind the shooting. So far, there have been no arrests in the case.
VOTING RECORDS-NORTH CAROLINA
Investigators seek massive North Carolina voting records
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal investigators in North Carolina are seeking an enormous number of voting records from dozens of state and local election offices weeks before the midterm elections.
Documents and the state elections board confirmed the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh issued subpoenas recently on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the state board and local boards in more than 40 counties. Their requests – which the state elections board estimates would cover well over 20 million documents – may signal their expanded efforts to prosecute illegal voting by non-U.S. citizens.
The same federal prosecutor, Bobby Higdon, announced two weeks ago that 19 foreign nationals were charged with registering to vote or casting ballots illegally because they weren’t citizens. His office had no comment Wednesday.
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.
PLANT CLOSING-SMITHFIELD FOODS
Smithfield Foods closing meat distribution center
CLAYTON, N.C. (AP) – Smithfield Foods is closing a North Carolina meat distribution center and laying off about 100 employees.
The state Commerce Department posted a notice Wednesday in which Smithfield Foods said it will close the operation in the Johnston County town of Clayton by the end of next month.
Most of the workers being laid off are warehouse operators and supervisors.
Smithfield Foods’ extensive pork-raising operations in North Carolina have made news this summer. The world’s largest pork processor has lost three federal lawsuits and jurors decided it should pay more than $500 million in damages to neighbors who complained of intense nuisances from odors, flies and rumbling trucks at industrial-scale hog operations.