Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Early voting hours after work, Sundays higher than 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina voters will have more time overall this fall to cast ballots early in person, particularly after work and on Sundays.
The state elections board says cumulative voting hours at early-voting sites statewide are nearly double those in the last midterm election in 2014. The General Assembly this year ordered more uniform site hours, particularly requiring weekday hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. That helped evening hours nearly double, too.
County and state election boards also approved Sunday voting times that are more than three times 2014’s total hours.
The number of early voting locations fell by 17 percent compared to 2014. Some counties reduced the number of sites to comply with the uniform hours mandate.
Early in-person voting goes from Oct. 17 through Nov. 3.
OUTER BANKS BRIDGE
Long-delayed Outer Banks bridge to open in December
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
MANTEO, N.C. (AP) – A new Outer Banks bridge in North Carolina that was delayed by years of legal challenges is expected to open in December.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Virginia, reports the Bonner Bridge is among highway projects totaling more than $1 billion expected to be completed soon.
When it opens, the $246 million Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet will have taken nearly three years to build. The bridge was designed to last 30 years when built in 1963.
The state Transportation Department first included a replacement bridge in its 1989-1990 budget . Environmentalists and the state reached agreement on the project three years ago.
Another project in the works is the first passenger ferry to operate between Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. It’s expected to arrive next month and begin operating in 2019.
MAYOR FOUND DEAD
Mayor, wife of small North Carolina town found dead at home
LEGGETT, N.C. (AP) – The mayor of a North Carolina town and his wife have been found dead at their home.
News outlets report the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office withheld the identities of the victims found Thursday, but Leggett Town Commissioner Teresa Summerlin identified them as Mayor Gary Skelton and Jackie Dawn Skelton. The sheriff’s office says suspects are in custody, but their identities haven’t been disclosed.
Summerlin says Jackie Skelton was an oncology nurse at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, and didn’t show up to work Thursday. Her coworkers requested a welfare check, which led to the discovery of the bodies.
Gary Skelton was a banker at BB&T in Rocky Mount until retirement. He was in his second term as mayor of the eastern North Carolina town with a population of around five dozen.
Police: Officers injured in crash by man running red light
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina police say two officers have been injured in a crash caused by a man running a red light.
Wilmington Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron tells The StarNews 21-year-old Juwan Wright ran the light Thursday morning and crashed into an unmarked police car driving through an intersection. She says that crash then caused the unmarked car to hit another unmarked police car.
She says all three drivers suffered minor injuries. The intersection was a few blocks from the city’s police headquarters.
Wright is charged with a red light violation and exceeding the speed limit. It’s unclear if Wright has a lawyer who can be contacted for comment.
Florence could cause life-threatening surf along US coast
MIAMI (AP) – Florence could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents along parts of the U.S. East Coast this weekend as the storm swirls across the Atlantic.
Though weakened to a tropical storm, Florence is expected to regain hurricane strength as it nears Bermuda.
Forecasters say it’s too soon to tell where the storm will go because there’s still a lot of uncertainty in its long-term track.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm’s maximum sustained winds early Friday were estimated to be 65 mph (104 kph). Florence was centered about 985 miles (1,585 kilometers) east-southeast of Bermuda and is moving west at 7 mph (11 kph).
Forecasters say two low pressure systems off the coast of Africa behind Florence also have high chances of developing into tropical storms.
There are no coastal watches or warnings currently in effect.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLEDGE
Jury says developer broke pledge to build affordable housing
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina jury says a developer broke promises to build affordable housing on land purchased below market value in a historic black neighborhood.
The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that the 2015 lawsuit between developer StoneHunt LLC and the Cherry Community Organization in Charlotte dates back to 2004. The lawsuit says the group sold land below market value to StoneHunt under agreement StoneHunt would build affordable housing for senior, disabled or low-income tenants.
But the group says StoneHunt only built homes reserved for people older than 55, which didn’t satisfy the agreement’s requirement of disabled tenant or income-restricted units.
The group won about $1.6 million against StoneHunt in July. Court records say StoneHunt filed for bankruptcy last week.
StoneHunt President Stoney Sellars hasn’t responded to the newspapers requests for comment.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Commission OKs summaries for final 2 amendments
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A special panel tasked with creating summaries for the public on proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution has finally completed its work after courts this week upheld two more referendums for the ballot.
The three-member Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission approved the explanations for the additional amendment questions on Thursday. The amendments would swing powers over filling judicial vacancies and state election board member choices from the governor – currently Democrat Roy Cooper – to the legislature.
The commission’s two Democrats – Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein- voted for the two summaries, while the lone Republican voted no, calling language in each speculative.
Since last month, the panel has approved summaries for six amendments going on the November ballot. The explanations will appear in a statewide voters’ guide and go to local elections boards and media outlets.
VOTING RECORDS-NORTH CAROLINA
Prosecutor: Voting record demands delayed to after election
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have backed off requiring North Carolina state and local elections officials from providing potentially tens of millions of ballots and voting documents before the end of the month.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh wrote to the state elections board Thursday acknowledging the board’s challenges in complying with the subpoenas received last week. An assistant prosecutor says he anticipates postponing the response until January as long as the documents sought are preserved. He says he’ll provide the same delay to more than 40 county boards who received subpoenas.
Election officials raised concerned this week about fulfilling the subpoenas as they prepare hurriedly for the November midterm elections.
Reasons for the subpoenas aren’t certain. The Raleigh prosecutor recently announced charges against 19 non-U.S. citizens for illegal voting.