Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
TROPICAL WEATHER-STATE FAIR DELAYED
Hurricane Michael delays NC State Fair opening to Friday
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – One of the country’s largest state fairs is delaying its start as the remnants of Hurricane Michael pass through North Carolina.
North Carolina State Fair manager Kent Yelverton said Wednesday the event won’t open as planned on Thursday. Yelverton says the fair will instead open Friday morning and run for 10 days instead of 11.
State Agriculture Department spokeswoman Andrea Ashby said forecasts of heavy rain and high winds led to the decision.
Michael came ashore in Florida on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. It is expected to pack wind gusts of 35 mph or more and dump several inches of rain in North Carolina.
Ashby said the fairgrounds will remain closed to the general public Thursday, though vendors and others with businesses to run will be admitted.
TROPICAL WEATHER-RECOVERY CENTERS
Another hurricane closes Florence centers in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Individuals and business owners in North Carolina looking for face-to-face help after Hurricane Florence will have to wait while Hurricane Michael crosses the state with heavy rains and wind.
Federal and North Carolina emergency management officials closed the state’s disaster recovery centers on Thursday because of the potential for severe weather from Michael.
There are more than 20 stationary and mobile centers in over a dozen eastern North Carolina counties hardest hit by Florence last month.
Government officials anticipate reopening the centers Friday morning. Displaced residents and businesses can still get help online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 1-800-621-3362.
Another freshwater mussel could get federal protection
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing protection for another species of freshwater mussel under the Endangered Species Act.
The service’s decision on Wednesday reflects the threat of pollution and climate change on freshwater mussels overall.
Atlantic pigtoe mussels are sometimes yellowish in color and shaped somewhat like a pig’s toe. They’re native to rivers in southeastern U.S. states ranging from Virginia to Georgia. But the species appears to have dwindled to seven populations in North Carolina and Virginia.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife said the Atlantic pigtoe could be at risk of extinction in 50 years.
The mussels need to live in clean and flowing waterways, but runoff has polluted rivers where they live. Climate change also has worsened the droughts and storms that can disrupt their habitats.
FBI offers reward in case of gold stolen from truck
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – The FBI is offering a reward for information about a Florida man charged in the 2015 robbery of a tractor-trailer carrying almost $5 million in gold bars.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday that it’s seeking Pedro Santamari, who’s from the Miami area and about 56 years old.
He’s charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery in interstate commerce and a firearm violation. The FBI’s wanted poster says Santamaria had a gun during the robbery in which he bound and dragged victims into nearby woods. An arrest warrant for him was issued in May 2016.
The tractor-tractor was robbed on an isolated stretch of Interstate 95 in North Carolina as it traveled from Miami to Boston in 2015. Two other men have been sentenced in the robbery.
BC-TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Official: Michael weakening over eastern Georgia
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Tropical Storm Michael continues to weaken as it over eastern Georgia as it makes its way toward the Carolinas. Early Thursday, the eye of Michael was about 90 miles (144 kilometers) northeast of Macon, Georgia and 45 miles (72 kilometers) west of Augusta. The storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to 50 mph (80 kph) and it was moving to the northeast at 21 mph (33 kph).
The National Hurricane Center says the core of Michael will move across eastern Georgia into Central South Carolina on Thursday morning. It will then move across portions of central and eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean by late Thursday or early Friday.
BLACK TEEN ARRESTED
Ministers call for firing of officer who arrested black teen
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A group of black ministers is calling for the firing of a white school resource officer who arrested a black teenage girl at her middle school in North Carolina.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports Winston-Salem police Officer Tyler McCormick arrested 14-year-old Rockell Baldwin this month. Baldwin’s mother, Tamkea McLean, also called Wednesday for McCormick’s firing.
A short clip of the arrest shared online shows McCormick and Baldwin on the ground in a parking lot. Baldwin is heard screaming for help while McCormick handcuffs her.
Baldwin says she was calling her mother and walked past McCormick, who tried to trip her. Chief Catrina Thompson says McCormick was responding to a fight when he arrested Baldwin. She says his body camera recorded the interaction. But that footage isn’t public record under state law.
Park Service allows overland bridge through Outer Banks land
RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) – The National Park Service is allowing a bridge on North Carolina’s Outer Banks through part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The park service said Wednesday that its administrators determined the 2-mile-long bridge on Hatteras Island would have no significant impact on the federal land.
The new bridge will reroute NC Highway 12 in the Pamlico Sound to avoid the “S Curves” area at Mirlo Beach in the village of Rodanthe, an area that is routinely covered with ocean water. The area was already one of the island’s narrowest before Hurricane Sandy caused more damage in 2012.
About 150 feet of the bridge will be constructed inside the national park. The rest is being built within the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and over water owned by the state.
N Carolina ferry routes to shut down as storm approaches
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Several ferry routes in North Carolina will shut down operations as Hurricane Michael is expected to enter the state with tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain.
State officials said in a news release that several ferries will make one round trip Thursday morning.
The ferries between Ocracoke and Cedar Island will make runs at 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., while the Ocracoke to Swan Quarter ferry will make a run at 7 a.m. and return to Ocracoke at 10 a.m.
Officials with the North Carolina Ferry Division will announce when the ferries will resume operations.