Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Passenger protections for NC ride-sharing users considered
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina lawmakers are seeking more protections for ride-sharing service users following the death of a college student this year in South Carolina.
The House Transportation Committee scheduled Tuesday debate on legislation pushed by House Majority Leader John Bell.
Bell and other legislators recently proposed a requirement that drivers for Uber, Lyft and similar companies display illuminated logo signs. The idea came after police say a University of South Carolina student mistakenly got into the car of someone impersonating an Uber driver in March. She was later killed.
South Carolina legislators initially introduced a similar logo sign idea, but instead mandated that drivers display their license tag numbers on a sign on the front of their vehicles. Ride requesters can match the numbers with what the company sends them.
SENSELESS VIOLENCE-JUDGES PLEA
N. Carolina judges plead with locals over ‘senseless’ crime
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Two North Carolina judges have made impromptu emotional pleas to stop the “senseless” violence in Guilford County.
The Greensboro News & Record reports the judges this week addressed the greater Guilford community while handing down the sentences in two murder cases.
Superior Court Judge David Hall on Monday sentenced a man to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder and armed robbery. Hall told the court that the murder was senseless and the robbery that took place days later is indicative of the mindset that has “devoured” most of the county.
Days earlier, Judge Lora Cubbage scolded a 27-year-old woman accused of ordering the death of a 16-year-old. Cubbage, who is black, shouted that the woman shouldn’t “tell me another black life matters if it doesn’t matter to you.”
SHARK ATTACK-NORTH CAROLINA
Teenager’s leg amputated after weekend shark attack
ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (AP) – A 17-year-old who was attacked by a shark on the North Carolina coast over the weekend says she had a leg amputated.
High school junior Paige Winter issued a statement Monday through Vidant Medical Center in Greenville thanking people for helping her following the attack at Fort Macon State Park on Sunday.
Winter said while she has extensive injuries, including damage to her hands, “I will be okay.” She is recovering at Vidant and said she will require more surgeries. She said she would continue to stay positive and thankful that it wasn’t worse.
The hospital describes the teen as “an unwavering advocate” for marine life, and says Winter “wishes for people to continue to respect sharks in their environment and their safety.”
RACIST RECEIPTS-STORES CLOSED
Chain closes North Carolina stores over racist receipts
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A national chain has closed two of its North Carolina stores and two workers were fired after racist names were added to two customer receipts.
News outlets report Smoothie King announced that it closed the stores in Charlotte after the receipts were issued Sunday.
Photos of the receipts were posted on Twitter. In one instance, an employee listed the n-word as the customer name on a receipt. On the other, a Korean customer was listed as “Jackie Chan.”
A company statement said both workers were terminated and the two stores involved will be closed “until the franchisees and their respective teams complete further training” to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The company also said it is continuing to investigate to ensure that anyone else involved has been fired.
OFFICERS CHARGED-NORTH CAROLINA-AUTOPSY
N Carolina man in taped beating died of cocaine, neck injury
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An autopsy says a North Carolina man videotaped while being beaten by law enforcement officers last year died in February of cocaine poisoning and a neck injury suffered while being restrained.
The newly released state medical examiner’s report says 30-year-old Kyron Hinton began yelling and damaging things while inside a private home in Raleigh. Someone restrained him. The report says damage to Hinton’s throat and cocaine in his system sent his heart into deadly rhythm problems.
Hinton died Feb. 23, one day after receiving an $83,000 settlement stemming from his beating.
In April 2018, Hinton was punched and bitten by a law enforcement dog confronting him as he stood in a road. A Wake County K-9 deputy was fired last month after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges in the case.
TROPICAL WEATHER-COAL ASH
Study: Heavy metals in North Carolina lake bottom extensive
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Duke University scientist says a toxic stew of coal ash has spilled repeatedly from storage pits at a Wilmington power plant into an adjoining lake, and flooding from Hurricane Florence was only the latest example.
Duke geochemistry and water quality professor Avner Vengosh says in the research published last month that the amounts of lead, cobalt and other heavy metals detected in the lake’s sediment equal or exceed the pollution from the country’s worst coal-ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee, in 2008.
Vengosh’s peer-reviewed findings highlight the risk of thousands of tons of coal ash stored near waterways across the hurricane-threatened Southeastern United States.
Duke Energy owns the lake and the ash. Company spokesman Bill Norton says the lake was designed as a buffer between storage basins and the nearby Cape Fear River. State environmental officials report no significant pollution in the river since Florence.
This story has been corrected to show that the study was published last month, not last week.
FORMER COACH-SEX CHARGES
Former basketball coach agrees to plea deal in sex case
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A former Fayetteville basketball coach accused of over 100 sex offense charges with underage minors over a 13-year span agreed Monday to a plea deal that requires him to spend several years in prison.
WRAL in Raleigh reports Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons sentenced Rodney Scott to serve a minimum prison sentence of 20 years and a maximum of 29 years in connection with the assaults of seven males and one female victim who ranged in age from 13 to 16 years old after Scott agreed to the deal.
According to prosecutors, the crimes began in 2003 and continued into 2016. Police said Scott used basketball to entice his victims. He had been jailed on a bond which had approached $22 million.
Alterations to ID qualifications for voting signed by Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has signed into law altered rules on how student and government employee identification cards can qualify as voter IDs, which are required for casting ballots in North Carolina elections starting next year.
Cooper announced Monday that he signed four bills, including the ID measure, which also gives colleges and government agencies a second chance in November to meet requirements. The previous law said institutions couldn’t apply again until 2021 if their ID’s didn’t qualify in March, which happened to many University of North Carolina system campuses.
Cooper also signed a bill adding two new hiking trials to the state park system – the current federal Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and a yet-built state Wilderness Gateway Trail. Another new law expands the immunizations that pharmacists can administer.