Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. EDT
USING AAA WHILE BLACK
Police can’t find white woman in racist rant that went viral
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they can’t find the white woman recorded threatening her black neighbors while they waited for AAA.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police tell news outlets they attempted to serve a warrant Tuesday on 51-year-old Susan Westwood for misusing 911. Criminal summons for communicating threats and simple assault were issued last week.
And now police have released audio from the 911 calls . Leisa and Mary Garris called twice to report harassment. Westwood called 911 as well, telling the dispatcher she would pay $2,500 “to get them out of here.”
Westwood has since been fired from the $125,000-per-year job she boasted about while the sisters recorded the encounter.
The sisters’ attorney Michael Phillips says the apartment complex has agreed to initiate a process of evicting Westwood.
Insurance commissioner sending challenged donation to feds
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey says he’s sending money his campaign received from the state Republican Party to the federal government, whose investigators already are scrutinizing a leading state political donor.
Causey told WRAL-TV it was the FBI’s idea to send in the $240,000 received in July. The agency told him he couldn’t return it to the GOP.
A state elections complaint filed Monday by a former county Democratic Party official alleges the money came from $1.5 million Durham investment firm founder Greg Lindberg. The complaint claims Lindberg gave the money to the Republican Party to bypass individual donation limits to campaign committees.
Causey and a state GOP leader said campaign finance laws were followed.
Federal investigators have subpoenaed the Insurance Department seeking information on Lindberg and related companies.
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics
UNC SYSTEM PRESIDENT
Hospital CEO to serve as interim UNC system president
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The chief executive officer of UNC Health Care is stepping in as the interim president of the University of North Carolina system.
Officials said in a news release Thursday that Dr. William Roper has been named interim president of the system, effective Jan. 1. He takes over from Margaret Spellings, who last week announced her resignation.
In addition to being CEO of UNC Health Care, the 70-year-old Roper is dean of the UNC School of Medicine and a vice chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Roper held leadership positions in the White House for both Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Spellings was education secretary from 2005 to 2009 under President George W. Bush.
North Carolina confirms its season’s first flu-related death
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina has confirmed the state’s first flu-related death as flu season picks up.
The News & Observer in Raleigh reported Thursday that the illness claimed the life of an adult in the central part of the state.
Health officials did not name the person or offer other identifying details to protect the person’s privacy. They said the person died this week.
State Epidemiologist Zack Moore said in a statement that people should get a flu shot.
Flu season starts Oct. 1 and runs through May. Nearly 400 people died in North Carolina during the last flu season.
Flu deaths can happen any time of the year. But they increase when temperatures drop and the virus becomes more active.
2 arrested in teen’s fatal shooting at N Carolina barn party
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – Two people have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a high school senior at a North Carolina barn party.
News outlets report that 19-year-old Xzavier D’Andre Gibson was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon, while 23-year-old Takeem “Mudd” Haywood Norris Turrentine turned himself in on first-degree murder charges Wednesday.
Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said Wednesday that 18-year-old Rashiaya Melton was an innocent bystander who didn’t know her shooter. She was shot in the head early Sunday and died Monday.
Blackwood said there are no more suspects, but police would still like to talk to “people of interest.”
He also said that the owner of the party’s venue, Smokehouse Valley Farm, could face civil or criminal penalties.
TVA HELICOPTER USE
Audit: Tennessee Valley Authority helicopter use broke rules
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Valley Authority’s inspector general says the organization’s use of a nearly $7 million executive helicopter wasn’t always cost effective, and broke federal travel rules.
News outlets report that an internal audit of TVA helicopter use was released this week. It says many trips executives made on their helicopter were too short for such aircraft, like traveling between Knoxville and Chattanooga. Auditors determined that it cost around $1,100 to make the trips between the cities separated by roughly 100 miles (160 kilometers), and saved 15 to 24 minutes compared to driving.
The report says violations included flying without proper documentation and justification.
TVA spokesman Jim Hopson says the federally owned electric utility is working to improve its procedures, but that officials disagree with some conclusions about travel rules.
N Carolina school board may OK takeover 2nd lagging school
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s statewide school board could order a second academically low-performing school to be taken away from local control and turned over to hired school operators or be closed.
The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether Wayne County school leaders must turn over or shut down Carver Heights Elementary School starting next year.
Only about 18 percent of the Goldsboro school’s students were proficient in skills expected at their grade level, the lowest of the six elementary schools that were under takeover consideration. The rural, 3rd- through 5th-grade school scored in the bottom 5 percent statewide last year.
A state takeover could mean replacing teachers and administrators. Parents and local school officials are resisting losing control.
Harvey recovery: 500 free trees offered Saturday in Houston
HOUSTON (AP) – About 500 trees will be given away Saturday in Houston as part of recovery efforts following last year’s Hurricane Harvey.
The Texas A&M Forest Service on Thursday announced plans to host the event associated with the NASCAR Green Race for Trees Campaign. It’s also a project of the Arbor Day Foundation, the Harris County Master Gardener Association and Texas A&M AgriLife.
The free trees for Houston residents will replace those damaged and destroyed by Harvey, which struck in August 2017.
Staff forester Monica Singhania (sing-HAH’-nee-uh) says the trees, in containers, are live oaks, bald cypress, bur oaks and red maples. Saturday morning’s giveaway is at Hermann Park.
Singhania says more than 1,000 trees were given away during similar events Oct. 13 in Houston and Oct. 20 in Port Aransas (uh-RAN’-suhs).