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August 28, 2018
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August 28, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch




Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT


Judges: N Carolina congress map unlawful with partisan bias
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal judges have affirmed their earlier decision striking North Carolina’s congressional districts as unconstitutional because Republicans drew them with excessive partisanship, after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the case be re-examined.
The three-judge panel ruled Monday again for election advocacy groups and Democrats who sued to challenge North Carolina’s congressional boundaries.
Judges previously deemed the map an illegal partisan gerrymander that violated constitutional protections of Democratic voters. But the Supreme Court ordered them in June to take a second look based on a Wisconsin redistricting case in which justices found plaintiffs hadn’t proven they had the right to challenge the lines.
The Greensboro-based court raised the possibility that North Carolina’s 13 districts could be redrawn for this year’s elections. Some plaintiffs say new maps for 2020 would be more likely.



The Latest: UNC boards meet in aftermath of statue fall
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The trustees of North Carolina’s flagship university have begun a private meeting to discuss the aftermath of a protest that resulted in the toppling of a century-old Confederate statue on campus.
University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt addressed her trustee board publicly on Tuesday before they went into closed session. She says the statue known as “Silent Sam” has been divisive but tearing it down wasn’t the solution.
An agenda for the meeting says the trustees will receive a briefing on the criminal investigation, future public safety plans and legal options for the statue, which is now in temporary storage. The board of governors that oversees the statewide university system is having a special legal briefing later in the morning.
A week ago, protesters used ropes to pull down the statue during a demonstration attended by hundreds.



In Jamestown, a reckoning over American slavery’s beginnings
JAMESTOWN, Va. (AP) – Four centuries after some of the first enslaved Africans were brought to English-controlled North America, plans are underway to commemorate their arrival in Virginia and reckon with slavery’s legacy.
In 1619, Africans came on two ships that had recently raided what’s believed to have been a Spanish slave vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. Sailing into what’s now Hampton, Virginia, the ships traded more than 30 Africans for food and supplies.
English colonists took the Africans, likely from what is now Angola, to properties along the James River, including Jamestown. Visitors to historic Jamestown can see the spot where they landed and take a tour exploring the place where they lived.
Meanwhile, the federal “400 Years of African-American History Commission Act,” aims to develop programs acknowledging slavery’s impact.



Appeals court won’t block ruling on candidate party label
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republicans have been dealt another setback in their efforts to remove a state Supreme Court candidate’s party affiliation from the ballot.
The state Court of Appeals declined Monday to hear the request of GOP legislative leaders to block a lower court’s order that candidate Chris Anglin be listed as a Republican on the November ballot.
A trial court judge this month halted enforcement of a new law removing party designations next to the names of Anglin and a few other judicial candidates because they had switched their affiliation too close to filing.
Anglin was a registered Democrat until three weeks before he filed to run. He says the law unfairly targeted him.
The state Supreme Court could still step in, but time is dwindling before ballots must be printed.



North Carolina swimming coach arrested on child sex charges
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina swimming coach has been arrested on child sex charges.
The News & Observer cites warrants that say a 15-year-old girl reported meeting her coach, 32-year-old Nicholas Walkotten, at Durant Nature Preserve. That report sparked an investigation leading to Walkotten’s Aug. 16 arrest.
The Raleigh police warrants say Walkotten and the teen kissed and did other unspecified actions in his vehicle at the preserve. Police found pictures of Walkotten and the girl in the back of a vehicle as well as sexual texts between the two.
Walkotten is charged with taking indecent liberties with a child between June 1 and Aug. 1, as well as four statutory sex offenses. He was in custody Monday, his bail set at $1.5 million. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.



Senate wraps up approval of latest constitutional amendments
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have finalized two new constitutional amendments to submit to voters in November after a judicial panel’s ruling keeping those questions off ballots caused them to try again.
On near party-line votes the Senate voted Monday for amendments designed to comply with the judges’ decision last week. The House already approved the redone proposals last Friday as the Republican-controlled General Assembly called a special session to consider new amendments.
Both amendments would shift powers from the executive branch to the legislature when it comes to the state elections board and filling judicial vacancies. The referendum questions for each amendment also were altered – a response to the judges’ ruling.
Constitutional amendments aren’t subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, but his lawsuit led to the recent judicial ruling.



Trump nominating N. Carolina native Rushing for 4th Circuit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – President Donald Trump is nominating a North Carolina native who has worked for two current Supreme Court justices for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump announced Monday his choice of Allison Jones Rushing for the 15-member appeals court with jurisdiction over cases from the Carolinas, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Rushing would replace Judge Allyson Duncan, a Durham native retiring after 15 years on the court.
Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr recommended Rushing to Trump and praised her judicial experience. She must receive Senate confirmation.
Rushing is a partner in the office of a Washington law firm. She went to Wake Forest University and Duke law school and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and for Justice Neil Gorsuch when he was on the 10th Circuit appeals court.



Lane closures scheduled for Interstate 40 in Triad
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Lane closures are scheduled for a portion of Interstate 40 in North Carolina to allow workers to make repairs to median walls.
The N.C. Department of Transportation said in a news release repairs began in the eastbound lanes on Monday at mile marker 193, and it’s expected the lanes will be closed for about four weeks.
Starting next week, the work moves to overnight hours with both the left lane and the lane next to it closed, as well as the westbound lane next to the median.
The final two weeks of work will return to daytime hours. The left eastbound lane will remain closed as well as the left westbound lane. The project is expected to be completed by Sept. 21.