Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Florence: Severe flooding feared near South Carolina coast
BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) – Rivers swelling with the floodwaters of former Hurricane Florence are threatening to swamp communities near the South Carolina coast, leaving thousands ready to evacuate.
More than a week after Florence crashed into the Carolinas, all the water from heavy rains is nearing the coast. Authorities in Georgetown County, South Carolina, say they’ve put up to 8,000 people on alert for possible evacuations starting Monday in expectation of a “record event” of up to 10 feet (3 meters) floodwaters.
Officials are especially eyeing gauges along the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers and said people should be ready to leave homes in the potential flood zones before potentially life-threatening flooding begins setting in as early as Tuesday.
Florence struck the Carolinas Sept. 14, dumping heavy rains and claiming at least 43 lives on its slow passage north.
Groups banding together to oppose all 6 amendment questions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Several election advocacy and civil rights groups often critical of North Carolina Republican legislative policies are working to fight all six constitutional referendums GOP lawmakers put on fall ballots.
The North Carolina NAACP, Democracy North Carolina, ACLU of North Carolina and North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections planned a Monday news conference in Raleigh to unveil their “By The People” campaign. The effort will include paid advertising, community events and grassroots organizing.
Lawmakers agreed to submit to voters questions on whether to alter how judicial vacancies are filled and the composition of the state elections and ethics board. Other amendments would require photo identification to vote, lower the cap on income tax rates, expand crime victims’ rights and enshrine the right to hunt and fish.
CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER DIES
High school runner collapses at cross-country meet, dies
(Information from: The Pilot, http://www.thepilot.com/)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A high school cross-country runner has collapsed at a North Carolina meet and died.
News outlets report officials say Union Pines High School senior Samantha Davis died early Sunday. Davis was also a member of the high school band, which shared a post on Facebook post confirming her Sunday death.
The Pilot reports Davis had what seemed to be a seizure during the Saturday morning race. Davis’ mother, Rebecca Davis, previously has said her daughter suffered a softball-related injury in 2016 that resulted in seizures and an epilepsy diagnosis.
A GoFundMe for the teen says she collapsed at the meet and remained unconscious. It says the fundraising goal of $2,000 to help cover the Davis’ family expenses has been surpassed, with nearly $12,000 being raised by Monday.
TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Interstate 95 reopened across North Carolina
BLADENBORO, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor has announced that Interstate 95 has been reopened to all traffic within the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper announced the surprise development Sunday night in a news release.
The major highway runs north-south across the eastern part of the state and runs just east of Fayetteville. Officials had thought portions of the highway would continue to be underwater for days, but Cooper said floodwaters had receded faster than expected.
Parts of the highway had been closed since Sept. 15 due to Hurricane Florence.
INSURANCE CAMPS-FLOOD VICTIMS
Insurance camps to be set up in flood-battered NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Insurance camps will be held this week in two flood-battered communities in North Carolina to help storm victims recover from Hurricane Florence.
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said representatives from approximately 20 insurance companies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will set up Tuesday in a village-like setting at a Lowe’s store parking lot in New Bern. Agents will answer questions and help file insurance claims.
On Wednesday, the camp will be set up at a Lowe’s parking lot in Jacksonville.
In a news release, Causey said the camps will give residents a chance to have direct contact with their insurance companies and others who can help them get their lives back on track as soon as possible.
Congress considering nearly $1.7B Florence relief package
WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress is starting to consider almost $1.7 billion in new money to aid recovery efforts from Florence.
Lawmakers already are facing a deadline this week to fund the government before the start of the new budget year Oct. 1, and members of Congress will try to act on the disaster relief along with separate legislation to fund the government.
The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee says the money would be available as grants to states to help rebuild housing and public works, and assist businesses as they recover from the storm.
GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey says it’s “a first round” and that lawmakers are ready to act quickly if the federal disaster relief agency also needs more money.
TROPICAL WEATHER-WILD HORSES
North Carolina’s wild horses still being counted after storm
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – At least three of North Carolina’s wild horse herds on the Outer Banks have survived Hurricane Florence, but caretakers are still trying to account for one herd living on a hard-hit barrier island.
The News & Observer reports that the condition of the Shackleford Banks Herd was still unknown Sunday.
The president of the nonprofit Foundation for Shackleford Horses said the uninhabited island is still inaccessible, so it has been impossible to survey the entire herd of 118 horses. She said about 30 horses have been spotted so far, and all appeared to be healthy.
The Carolla, Rachel Carson Reserve and Cedar Island horse herds weathered the storm fine.
Staff members are planning to make trips to the island this week to check on the Shackleford Banks herd.
TROPICAL WEATHER-CONNECTICUT NATIONAL GUARD
Connecticut guardsmen return from hurricane relief mission
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) – Members of the Connecticut National Guard are being welcomed home after helping with hurricane relief efforts in North Carolina.
The 11 guardsmen, assigned to a UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, have spent more than a week in the state. They’re scheduled to return to the Windsor Locks Readiness Center on Sunday.
Their missions have included bringing first responders and thousands of pounds of equipment and supplies into areas hit hard by Hurricane Florence.
They’ve also transported stranded civilians and their pets from towns isolated by flood waters and brought critical equipment to elder care facilities.
Major General Fran Evon is commander of the Connecticut National Guard. He says such missions are “what we train for” and “a major reason why many of us serve our state and nation.”