Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Officials: Damage from Florence in North Carolina at $17B
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – State officials now say the damage in North Carolina from Hurricane Florence has approached $17 billion, an increase from a previous estimate.
The Office of State Budget and Management said in a news release the latest figure is based on new data from the N.C. Department of Insurance. The previous figure of $13 billion was based on estimates and projections.
A news release from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office said damage from Florence is historic compared to previous storms in North Carolina. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 caused $4.8 billion in damages. When adjusted for inflation, 1999’s Hurricane Floyd caused between $7 and $9.4 billion in damages. That means Florence has caused more damage than Matthew and Floyd combined.
Officials say the damage estimate for Florence may continue to change.
N Carolina Democrats raise $14M, referendum groups over $17M
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Democrats and allied groups kept raising massive amounts of cash in the fall campaign’s final weeks.
The state Democratic Party says it raised $6.5 million during the past three-plus months, bringing their two-year haul to $14 million. Campaign finance reports due this week also show the state Republican Party reported $4.7 million in the third quarter and $8.7 million overall.
State Democrats have been in an all-out effort to wrest veto-proof majorities from the Republicans in the House and Senate. A consultant for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says the governor has raised $7 million for the party.
Reports say committees working for or against six constitutional amendments submitted to voters by Republicans have raised over $17 million combined. One group opposing all the amendments reports raising $7.5 million.
NORTH CAROLINA-SCHOOL SHOOTING
Extra police planned at high school where student was shot
MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) – Police in a North Carolina town say they will have increased presence at a high school where a student was shot and killed by a fellow student.
Matthews Police Chief Clark Pennington said in a news release he will also be at Butler High School Thursday to greet returning students and staff.
Authorities have charged 16-year-old Jatwan Craig Cuffie as an adult with first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen.
Capt. Stason Tyrrell said a school resource officer and security officers encountered students running in a hallway Monday. Tyrrell said the resource officer found McKeithen and within minutes, a teacher notified school officials that she was with a student who wanted to turn himself in.
Classes were canceled Tuesday after the shooting and school was out Wednesday.
BUSINESS INTERSTATE 40
Business Interstate 40 closure moved back to Nov. 17
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina transportation officials have announced a change to plans to close a portion of Business Interstate 40 for construction.
Originally scheduled for Nov. 11, the N.C. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday the stretch of road through Winston-Salem now will be closed for construction on Nov. 17.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports officials said recent heavy rain forced the change.
This weekend’s planned closure of Peters Creek Parkway at the Business 40 bridge is also being pushed back. That bridge will now be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, until 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. The bridge is closed that weekend so that workers can finish work on the bridge expansion.
BIG DONOR-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina GOP, Causey, big donor subjects of complaint
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A former county Democratic Party official alleges a large donation from the North Carolina Republican Party to state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s campaign broke laws so a big donor could bypass individual giving limits.
Ex-Wake County Democratic Party leader David Bland filed accusations this week with the state elections board against Causey, the state GOP and Greg Lindberg.
Lindberg founded a Durham investment company that controls several insurance firms. He’s given $1.5 million to the party in the 18 months ending June 30. Finance reports show the party sent $240,000 to Causey’s campaign in July.
The complaint alleges donations to Causey are earmarked from Lindberg’s party giving. GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse says the giving complied with campaign laws.
A September federal subpoena seeks Insurance Department documents about Lindberg and related companies.
WANDERING BOY-FATALLY HIT
Police: Boy, 3, wandered from home, fatally hit on road
PATTERSON SPRINGS , N.C. (AP) – A 3-year-old boy is dead after police say he wandered away from a rural North Carolina home before dawn and was hit on a nearby road.
News outlets report that the North Carolina Highway Patrol says the boy was struck by two vehicles early Wednesday in the community of Patterson Springs and was killed.
Police Sgt. Ray Pierce says one driver spotted the boy on the shoulder and stopped, but couldn’t reach him in time.
Pierce says the boy’s parents were working third-shift jobs at the time and caregivers didn’t know the boy was gone. How he got out is still under investigation.
Pierce says both drivers who hit the boy stayed on the scene and aren’t expected to face charges.
Police say man found dead on track jumped from Amtrak train
ENFIELD, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a man whose body was found on railroad tracks had been a stowaway on an Amtrak train.
News outlets report Enfield police identified the man as Varcy Locklear of Pembroke.
Investigators think the man either fell or was trying to jump from the train as it was moving, and was struck and killed. His body was found on the tracks Tuesday.
Amtrak says the train, headed to New York from Charlotte, was delayed for about 45 minutes as police investigated the incident.
Enfield police, CSX and Amtrak police are investigating the death.
Alternative magazine ends publication, lays off staff
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – An alternative weekly magazine has announced it is ending publication in North Carolina’s largest city after 31 years, converting to a digital only product and laying off its staff.
Charles Womack, president of Womack Newspapers Inc., which bought Creative Loafing from SouthComm Inc. in 2014, announced Wednesday he is selling the Charlotte magazine to his son, Alex Womack, president of Womack Digital LLC.
The Charlotte Observer reports the seven full-time workers at Creative Loafing Charlotte were told of the decision Wednesday. Ryan Pitkin, the magazine’s former editor in chief, said the sale was unexpected, adding that he didn’t know what the plans were for the digital platform.
The magazine’s final print edition was on Wednesday.