Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
SHERIFF DEPARTS DEMOCRATS
Retiring NC sheriff leaves Democrats, citing leftward shift
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff has left the Democratic party, citing “an anti-law enforcement sentiment.”
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan says he’s now officially registered as “unaffiliated.” The 54-year-old is retiring in November after 12 years as sheriff, and blames a leftward shift for his decision to not run again.
He says his decision was clinched by “over the top” comments from former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who, in reference to Republican tactics, said “When they go low, we kick them.” But Duncan says he’s not endorsing “the negativity of the right” with his disaffiliation.
Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Jeff Rose says Duncan is conflating national events with the local party, which he says hasn’t experienced an ideological shift.
N Carolina lawmakers return for second step on Florence aid
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina lawmakers are going back to work to decide on approving hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up from Hurricane Florence and help the storm’s victims.
The General Assembly prepared to reconvene Monday the special session that Gov. Roy Cooper began two weeks ago. At that time, the GOP-controlled legislature located $56 million and eased rules on voter registration and public school calendars for the hardest-hit counties.
Now GOP leaders say they’re ready to set aside nearly $800 million more. Cooper last week unveiled a $1.5 billion recovery plan and asked for $750 million of that this week as a down payment, with a focus on housing, farmers and schools.
This legislative gathering is expected to last only one day. It comes three weeks before General Assembly elections.
Inmate missing from North Carolina prison
RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina are searching for an inmate who is missing from a minimum security state prison.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety said in a statement that 44-year-old inmate Cul P. Jones was reported missing from the facility from Hoke Correctional Center on Sunday night.
Jones is described as a black man, 6 feet tall (1.8 meters), and weighing 184 pounds (83 kilograms) with black hair and brown eyes. Officials say Jones, who is originally from Halifax County, was serving a sentence for burglary that started in 2014 and he was scheduled for release in 2023.
Principal who asked student to remove Trump jersey replaced
ANGIER, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school district has replaced a high school principal for asking a student to remove a jersey with “Trump” on the back.
News outlets report the Harnett County School District announced a new Harnett Central High School principal in a Friday release that said students had the right to wear “clothing expressing political messages.”
Parent Mike Collins told WTVD-TV his son wore the jersey to an Oct. 5 football game with a patriotic theme. Collins says Cindy Gordon asked the 18-year-old to remove the jersey or leave, saying it was “too political” for some attendees.
Collins family attorney Tony Buzzard said they’re pleased, but didn’t know if further action will be considered.
The district’s release didn’t mention Gordon by name. It’s unclear whether she’s still employed. Reports didn’t include comment from her.
POLICE CHASE-FATAL CRASH
Pursued driver killed in fatal crash during police chase
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say one man was killed in a police chase in North Carolina.
Wake Forest town spokesman Bill Crabtree tells news outlets that Wake Forest police initiated a pursuit Sunday night.
According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the pursued vehicle was driven by 35-year-old Marcus Richardson, who lost control, went into the left lane and slammed head-on into a van. Richardson died at the scene.
The van driver was hospitalized with minor injuries.
Authorities have not said why police attempted to stop Richardson.
Hurricane-walloped North Carolina votes again after Big 1
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – For a Southern state regularly exposed to major hurricanes, call it a fall election Florence-style.
In 2016, North Carolina voters cast their ballots just four weeks after Hurricane Matthew hit with devastating floodwaters. This year, they’re voting about seven weeks after Hurricane Florence.
That leaves North Carolina lawmakers quickly changing rules for voter registration, the state elections board struggling to track down storm-displaced voters, and activists complaining more needs to be done so that those with lives upended by the cyclone’s epic flooding are able to vote.
The State Board of Elections is spending $400,000 for various types of ads to get out the post-hurricane vote. And lawmakers will be back Monday to possibly entertain measures to make the election run as smoothly as the calm of a hurricane’s eye.
Greensboro says 1M gallons wastewater spilled during Michael
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – The city of Greensboro says flooding from Tropical Storm Michael caused more than 1 million gallons of untreated wastewater to overflow from its facilities.
The city announced the spills Saturday evening. It says the largest discharge was 800,000 gallons that flowed over a 16-hour period into a creek.
According to the News & Record , the city says the downstream areas were inspected and cleaned up where necessary.
Flooding during Hurricane Florence last month also caused sewage overflows in Greensboro.
BC-TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Officials criticize slow cellphone restoration
MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Florida officials are criticizing telecommunications carrier Verizon for taking too long to get cellphone service restored for parts of Florida’s Panhandle.
Gov. Rick Scott late Sunday mentioned that residents in coastal Bay County were still “waiting” on Verizon while AT&T was working in the county hit hard by Hurricane Michael.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis expressed his frustration at Verizon on Twitter on Monday. He said that the company had no service in Bay County for six days and that “we need the same response” from Verizon as “we have seen from our electric companies.”
Patronis is from Bay County and his family owns a restaurant in Panama City Beach.
Verizon responded back on Twitter telling Patronis it was working “urgently” and that the company “knows how important the ability to connect is, especially when storms happen.”