Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
TROPICAL WEATHER-TOXIC SITE
Tests find heavy metals in river after coal plant dam burst
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina environmental officials say despite the gray muck in the Cape Fear River near a Wilmington power plant, tests so far show heavy metals contained in coal ash are within water quality standards.
The state Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday that samples collected within two weeks of Hurricane Florence crashing aground in Wilmington found no excessive results for arsenic, lead, chromium and other metals.
Duke Energy says results from samples it collected and tested at an in-house lab showed no negative impacts to the river from its Sutton power plant. Flooding from Florence overtopped a dike at a plant cooling reservoir, flooding an adjacent dump containing 400,000 tons of coal ash.
The Charlotte-based electric utility says the state’s test results released Thursday align with its own.
Autopsy: Man found bound, bagged, shot in head
HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) – An autopsy report of a man found dead in a North Carolina lake says he was tied up and shot in the head with a shotgun.
News outlets report the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released the autopsy of 31-year-old Sircorious “Cory” Brion’t Griffin on Thursday. Griffin’s family reported him missing in July. His body was found the next day in High Point Lake.
The report says Griffin’s legs were tied together several times by green plastic wrap and a plastic bag had been placed over his head. It lists his cause of death as a shotgun wound to the head and classifies his death as a homicide.
Police found a vehicle in August thought to be involved in the slaying. Further details haven’t been released.
North Carolina civil rights leader receives ‘genius grant’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina minister who’s been arrested at least 14 times as he fights for poor people and civil rights issues says he’s overwhelmed to have received the recognition popularly known as a genius grant.
The Rev. William Barber of Goldsboro was one of 25 people named as MacArthur fellow Thursday. Each will receive $625,000 over five years to use as they please.
Barber says the MacArthur Foundation “doesn’t share these grants so that you sit down.” On Thursday, he participated in a Fight for $15 protest in Chicago.
The foundation noted that Barber “is effective at building unusually inclusive fusion coalitions.”
Barber is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, a revival of the movement started by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He also founded the “Moral Monday” movement.
UNC STADIUM NAME
UNC stadium plate swaps father for son, citing 1898 massacre
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will remove references to William Kenan on a plaque at Kenan Memorial Stadium, replacing him with another William Kenan – his son. The university is distancing itself from William Rand Kenan Sr.’s involvement in an 1898 massacre targeting black North Carolinians.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said in a Wednesday letter that the decision to change the honorific reference to focus on stadium donor William Rand Kenan Jr. followed consultation with the Kenan family.
The younger Kenan’s name is on UNC’s business school, but he wanted the stadium dedicated to his parents’ memory.
Last month, sportswriter Craig Calcaterra reported the elder Kenan was the commander of “a white supremacist paramilitary force which massacred scores of black residents of Wilmington.”
New tracking system for rape kits, federal grant announced
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina government’s top lawyer says a new tracking system for pending sexual assault evidence kits and new funds toward completing untested kits sitting in local law enforcement agencies will help bring victims justice.
Attorney General Josh Stein announced the new tracking system Thursday at the State Crime Lab. It will provide real-time updates for authorities, attorneys and victims themselves.
Stein’s office says a $2 million federal grant will help reduce the 15,000 untested kits in existence. The money also will go toward ensuring all kits have barcodes and training sexual assault investigators.
The General Assembly approved the tracking system’s creation and a committee to study prioritizing work on the untested kits – both recommended by Stein. He’s said it would cost about $10 million to test the entire backlog.
North Carolina Democratic spokesman apologizes for tweets
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The lead spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party has apologized for tweets that used derogatory language about women, which he posted while he was in a previous job.
Communications Director Robert Howard said he sent the tweets while he was trying to become a comedian. The tweets, sent between 2011 and 2013, were first reported by NC Insider, a state government news service.
Among the tweets, Howard expressed excitement that actress Reese Witherspoon was hit by a car on the same day in 2011 that nude photos appeared of two other female celebrities. Howard tweeted, “Greatest day ever?”
Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds says she and party Chairman Wayne Goodwin accepted Howard’s apology.
North Carolina Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Michele Nix says Howard’s tweets were “utterly inappropriate and offensive.”
Anti-Semitic graffiti found on North Carolina college campus
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
BOONE, N.C. (AP) – Officials are trying to determine who painted anti-Semitic symbols, including a swastika and a reference to the Holocaust, in a pedestrian tunnel at a university in North Carolina.
Appalachian State University associate vice chancellor Megan Hayes told the Winston-Salem Journal the graffiti was found last Sunday. It was on a wall in a tunnel that is frequently painted with murals and information about school events.
Hayes says that within an hour of it being found, students had painted over it. She says university officials don’t know who did it.
A picture of the graffiti was posted on the Facebook page of the Watauga County NAACP. It shows a Jewish Star of David with an anti-Semitic message, as well as a swastika on a red flag.
Antsy at the airport: Insects colonize family car in 3 days
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina family returned from a three-day trip to find their car parked at the airport had been possessed by a colony of ants.
The Charlotte Observer reports Caroline Tedder Hacker lodged a complaint on Facebook on Sunday, warning people not to park in a certain section of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s parking lot.
She said the car’s interior and engine were infested with ants, and her 11-month-old daughter had ants crawling on her during their ride back to Greensboro. She said the colony had been inside long enough to build a nest in the corner of the engine.
Airport officials told the newspaper they offered to pay the cost of cleaning, in addition to waiving parking costs. They said ants tend to surface around this time of year.