Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
TROOPER KILLED-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Slain N. Carolina trooper remembered for heroism
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina authorities say a trooper shot and killed during a traffic stop was an 11-year veteran of the patrol.
The Highway Patrol issued a news release identifying the trooper as Kevin Conner, who was based in Columbus County. The patrol said Conner was shot and killed early Wednesday during a traffic stop in the county, and the suspect was later apprehended.
Patrol commander Col. Glenn McNeill Jr. said Conner was a hero and is being mourned.
WRAL-TV reports Conner was credited with helping save lives after a 2011 fiery head-on crash in Columbus County. WRAL says Conner used an extinguisher to put out flames and that he and another trooper provided first aid while waiting for paramedics.
Early in-person voting has started in North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina residents who don’t want to wait to vote until Election Day can now cast ballots in person in their home counties.
Early in-person voting began Wednesday in all 100 counties. More than 300 locations ultimately will be open through Nov. 3. Early votes can be cast by registered voters and those who want to participate in what’s called “same-day registration.” Otherwise it’s too late to register this fall if someone wants to vote by mail or on Election Day Nov. 6.
Early-voting sites are open nearly double the number of cumulative hours compared to four years ago, even as the number of early-voting sites declined by 17 percent. That’s the result of new state law and actions by county and state election boards.
Inmate who escaped from North Carolina prison still loose
RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) – Prison officials say an inmate is still on the loose three days after breaking out of a North Carolina prison.
Prisons officials said Wednesday that 44-year-old inmate Cul P. Jones hasn’t been found. He was reported missing from Hoke Correctional Center on Sunday night.
State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diana Kees says they haven’t yet determined how Jones escaped from the minimum security prison.
Jones is originally from Halifax County and was serving a sentence for burglary that started in 2014 and he was scheduled for release in 2023.
The escape is described as a black man, 6 feet tall (1.8 meters), and weighing 184 pounds (83 kilograms) with black hair and brown eyes.
Highway sheds Jefferson Davis name, but marker remains
(Information from: The Herald-Sun, http://www.herald-sun.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina county has repealed a 1959 resolution that named a U.S. highway stretch to honor Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but for now, the marker will remain.
The Herald-Sun reports the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to repeal the resolution designating the local stretch of U.S. 15 as part of the Jefferson Davis National Highway.
Commission Chairman Mark Dorosin says the county wanted to “formally correct the historical record.” County Attorney John Roberts says the initial resolution never had any legal effect, as there is no federally recognized Jefferson Davis Highway.
But the fate of a stone pillar topped with a bronze plaque honoring Davis remains unsettled. The county doesn’t have the authority to take it down.
The county plans to petition the state to learn who owns it.
Wendy’s worker who put ‘Chubby’ on customer receipt fired
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – A franchise owner of a North Carolina Wendy’s says an employee who called a customer “Chubby” on an order has been fired.
News outlets report the Carolina Restaurant Group issued a statement Tuesday that says they apologized to customer Jimmy Shue and terminated the employee, whose identity hasn’t been released. Shue says he went to the Gastonia restaurant this month and ordered two sandwiches, providing the cashier with his name “clear as day.”
He says he then noticed the receipt listed his name as “Chubby,” which he says was an attempt to make fun of his weight. He says another employee then hesitantly called out “Chubby” to alert him the order was ready and restaurant patrons laughed. He says he was embarrassed and left, later contacting Wendy’s corporate.
Judges rule North Carolina elections board unconstitutional
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A three-judge panel says changes made to North Carolina’s elections board over the last year were unconstitutional, but said the board can remain in place through the November elections.
Tuesday’s ruling agrees with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s argument that the Republican-controlled General Assembly went too far in limiting his authority to name the board.
However, a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot would allow lawmakers to name board members. Cooper twice sued to keep it off the ballot. After it was rewritten to remove attempts to strip the governor of powers to appoint members of other boards and commissions, the lawsuit was thrown out.
Elections board spokesman Pat Gannon told The News & Observer of Raleigh the board is still reviewing the order and had no comment.
HURRICANE MICHAEL-THE LATEST
The Latest: 124,500 have no power 1 week after hurricane
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – Emergency management officials say some 124,500 customers are still without power a week after Hurricane Michael ripped through the Florida Panhandle.
Officials said Wednesday that 54 percent of hard-hit Bay County is still without electricity and about 98 percent of customers in inland Calhoun County still don’t have power to their homes. In rural Jackson County, which borders Alabama and Georgia, 83 percent of customers have yet to have power restored.
State officials also say 1,157 people were still in shelters Wednesday.
North Carolina governor signs Florence emergency spending
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor is moving fast to authorize legislation spending $400 million to quickly help people and communities reeling from Hurricane Florence and setting aside another $450 million for upcoming needs.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said Tuesday he signed into law the legislation passed late Monday.
Cooper said in a statement the emergency spending bill marked a good step toward storm recovery. The Democrat is urging the Republican-dominated legislature to spend more for affordable housing, farmers and more.
The bill’s quick passage and Cooper’s quick signature marked a pause in the sharp partisanship that’s typified North Carolina’s government for years.
Most of the money will come from the state’s emergency reserves. The state has about $2 billion in rainy-day funds, and this year’s state budget left $560 million unspent.