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October 26, 2018
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October 26, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


North Carolina public university board has emergency meeting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s public university board is holding an emergency session amid news reports that Margaret Spellings is leaving as president of the state’s 17-campus system.
In a statement, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors said it would hold an emergency session Friday morning to “consider an executive personnel matter.”
A spokesman for Spellings, the former U.S. education secretary, did not respond to calls, emails or text messages Thursday.
Spellings is halfway through the five-year contract she started in March 2016.
The former member of President George W. Bush’s cabinet was selected after the Republican-majority North Carolina university board forced out her predecessor, who got the job under Democratic control.
Some power brokers in the Republican-dominated state legislature saw her national reputation as giving her too much independence.



Head of secretive North Carolina sect named in fraud filing
The leader of a secretive North Carolina church has been named in federal court records as someone who “promoted” an unemployment fraud scheme involving her congregants.
Jane Whaley is the leader of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale.
She was named in a document filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Asheville that describes a fraud conspiracy charge faced by one of her trusted advisers, Kent Covington.
Covington’s lawyer said his client was expected to plead guilty.
Court records do not indicate Whaley has been charged with any crime.
In an investigation of claims of physical and emotional abuse at the church, The Associated Press reported in September 2017 that authorities were looking into unemployment practices.
Since then, four people have been charged and two have pleaded guilty.



Soap believed to be cocaine lands dealers, buyer behind bars
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Police say the only clean part of an intended drug deal at a North Carolina airport was the fact that the drugs in question were actually soap bars.
The News & Observer reports Raleigh-Durham International Airport officers arrested 43-year-old Tarvares Hargrave, 40-year-old Jason Anderson and 44-year-old Luz Ortega on drug-trafficking charges Oct. 5. But when the results of a laboratory test came back, police filed different felony charges Tuesday.
Police initially believed Anderson, of New York City, and Ortega, of New Jersey, sold 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of cocaine to Hargrave. Instead, according to an arrest warrant for Anderson, Hargrave received “10 bars of Ivory soap wrapped in thick plastic wrap.” But it’s a crime to take part in what someone believes is a drug deal.
It’s unclear whether Anderson and Ortega knew the package was soap.
It’s unclear whether the three have lawyers.



Family sues over death after deputies repeatedly used Tasers
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
ALBEMARLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina family has filed a lawsuit over the death of a black man who was shocked repeatedly during a 2016 encounter with sheriff’s deputies.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the family of Marlon Lewis alleges in a lawsuit filed this month that two Tasers were fired 26 times in the encounter, amounting to excessive force.
The suit seeking damages of at least $250,000 names the Stanly County sheriff, two deputies and Axon Enterprise, the company that makes Tasers. The lawsuit contends that Axon knew that the models used produce charges that are more powerful than is safe.
Scott MacLatchie, the lawyer for the deputies, says officers showed restraint since Lewis repeatedly grabbed for their holstered guns. An autopsy found Lewis died from cocaine toxicity, not electrical shocks.



Police: Armed white man confronts black GOP volunteer
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say an armed white man confronted a black Republican volunteer at a polling place and has been arrested.
Volunteer Derek Partee tells The News & Observer that three white people angrily approached him Wednesday at a poll in Charlotte. He posted pictures of the people on Facebook, saying they were calling him racial slurs and threatening him. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say in a release that the armed man was carrying a BB gun. His identity hasn’t been released yet.
Partee says the people approached him asking about his party, but “they didn’t care whether I was a Democrat or a Republican, they just cared that I was black.” Police say the other people won’t be charged because they were found to have not violated any laws.



The Latest: Crash kills 3 men repairing power lines
CHIPLEY, Fla. (AP) – A third utility company worker has died after a pickup truck pulling a U-Haul trailer hit them while they were repairing lines damaged by Hurricane Michael in Florida’s Panhandle.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the crash happened Wednesday evening near Chipley, which is north of Panama City. One of the three workers was initially hospitalized with critical injuries but then reported dead Thursday.
Sgt. R.C. Livingston says the vehicle was driving on State Road 77 when it went onto the shoulder and struck the men.
Livingston says the victims are 52-year-old George Cecil of Cole Rain, North Carolina; 22-year-old Ryan Barrett, of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina; and 60-year-old James Ussery of Chipley, Florida.
The highway patrol says 37-year-old John Goedtke is charged with DUI manslaughter, felony vehicular homicide and leaving the scene.



Complaint: Poll worker handed out Democratic flyer in NC
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A former Republican candidate for the North Carolina legislature says he saw a poll worker handing a Democratic Party flyer to a voter.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports the Forsyth County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to investigate Kris McCann’s complaint about the worker at the Southside Library early-voting site.
McCann says he was voting Monday when he saw a poll worker “with Democratic information” talking to someone at a voting station. He says the worker and lead poll worker Don Wolford refused to give him her name.
Elections Director Tim Tsujii says workers can’t distribute campaign literature. He says the woman is still working at the site.
Meanwhile, in Lewisville, voter Deborah Wesley says she’s considering a formal complaint against a poll worker who thanked her “for voting the party of Lincoln.”



Man sought in ’16 fatal shooting charged with murder
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Authorities say a man sought in a fatal shooting in Syracuse two years ago has been brought back to upstate New York and charged with murder after being caught in North Carolina.
Syracuse police say Thursday that 40-year-old Eduardo Robles Vazquez has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police say he’s charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Gerald Solomon of Syracuse. Officials say Solomon was shot on July 28, 2016 and died at a hospital eight days later.
Detectives learned the suspect had left the Syracuse area and was believed to be in North Carolina. Police say detectives and U.S. Marshals caught Vazquez in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Oc.t 9.
He’s being held in a Syracuse jail. Officials didn’t know if he has a lawyer yet.



AP-WF-10-26-18 1020GMT