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Hundreds to attend North Carolina summit on opioid epidemic
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein are among featured speakers at a two-day in-state gathering of experts in the fight against opioid addiction and abuse.
The state Department of Health and Human Services says 800 people are attending its Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit starting Tuesday in Raleigh.
Participants will interact with local and national leaders in opioid treatment and medical training, as well as those who promote and communicate prevention efforts to the public. Tuesday’s speakers also include a retired Navy admiral whose son died from an overdose. He and his wife began a community-based opioid prevention initiative.
The department held a similar summit in 2017, where Cooper announced an “NC Opioid Action Plan.” An updated plan will be unveiled at this week’s summit.
MUSLIM STUDENTS SLAIN
N Carolina court filing: Video shows 3 slain Muslim students
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A court filing by North Carolina prosecutors suggests the deaths of three Muslim university students in 2015 were captured on cellphone video.
WRAL-TV reported Monday that prosecutors want a judge to allow an analysis by a Tufts University psychologist who specializes in unconscious discrimination and stereotyping.
Professor Samuel Sommers says the “cell phone video of the shootings” that he reviewed not only show no evidence that the students insulted defendant Craig Hicks, “there was insufficient time for much interaction before Hicks began shooting.”
Sommers’ affidavit doesn’t specify whether Hicks videotaped the crime.
Hicks is expected to enter a plea to the murder charges on Wednesday. Durham County’s new district attorney said in April she was scrapping plans to seek the death penalty in order to speed up a trial.
NC teachers group unhappy with legislative budget proposals
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Leaders of North Carolina’s largest teacher lobbying group will keep pressing for more public education funding because they say their pleas during a Legislative Building rally last month were ignored.
The North Carolina Association of Educators held on Monday outside a Raleigh school the first of several news conferences across the state as part of its “Truth Tour.”
NCAE President Mark Jewell says competing House and Senate Republican budget proposals left out sufficient funds for hiring more school social workers and nurses, for across-the-board teacher and support staff salary increases and for expanding Medicaid. Thousands of teachers pressed these items during the May 1 rally.
Jewell says he’s more optimistic NCAE ultimately will be heard because ally Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper now has more negotiating leverage with his veto stamp.
HURRICANE MATTHEW RECOVERY REPORT
Report: North Carolina hurricane fund distribution broke law
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The General Assembly’s government watchdog agency says North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety broke the law and didn’t follow legislative directives when distributing $9 million after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
The report released Monday determined a lump-sum, up-front payment of over $5 million to one grant recipient violated state law. The Program Evaluation Division also says some of that money intended for emergency shelter and short-term housing benefited private developers and landlords, rather than directly helping hurricane survivors.
The state emergency management director told legislators the violation was inadvertent due to ignorance about the law. Mike Sprayberry says the questioned spending was designated for affordable housing projects in hurricane-ravaged areas.
Still, a legislative committee voted to send the report to other oversight committees and the state attorney general for review.
Regulatory bill passes Senate absent TV landfill ban repeal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The legislature’s annual attempt to reduce or alter North Carolina regulations has advanced through the Senate, absent a provision allowing landfills to accept computers and televisions again.
The chamber voted 39-5 on Monday for the “Regulatory Reform Act of 2019” after a bill sponsor deleted language that would have repealed the landfill prohibition started in 2011. Supporters of such bans are worried about sheer numbers of TVs and computers and their chemicals. Recycling and disposal programs have declined and markets for such goods have taken a downturn.
The measure now heading to the House also alters plumbing codes by increasing the number of people before a drinking fountain or toilet is required in construction. It also eases a monetary matching requirement for Charlotte Motor Speedway to access landfill cleanup funds.
OCEAN DEATH-NORTH CAROLINA
Ohio man dies in water off Cape Hatteras National Seashore
BUXTON, N.C. (AP) – A man from Ohio has died in the waters off Cape Hatteras National Seashore at a time when a high risk of rip currents was forecast.
Seashore officials say in a news release that the 53-year-old man from Bellbrook, Ohio, died Monday in the Atlantic Ocean near Buxton. A family member brought the man to shore, where bystanders unsuccessfully administered CPR.
National Park Service rangers and local emergency responders came to the scene. The cause of death won’t be known until a medical examination is performed, although officials described it as water related.
A high risk of rip currents was forecast for most of the beaches along the seashore on Monday. That means that “wind and/or wave conditions support dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the surf.”
HEROIN OVERDOSE DEATHS
Town issues alert after 5 heroin overdoses, 2 of them fatal
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in eastern North Carolina have issued an alert after five people overdosed on heroin in the span of 36 hours. Two of those people died.
Elizabeth City police tell news outlets that they issued the “overdose alert” after responding to the overdoses on Thursday and Friday. A news release says police used Narcan in several attempts to save the victims’ lives.
Three agencies – the police, Pasquotank County sheriff and the emergency medical services chief – issued the alert about the heroin.
Emergency officials believe the heroin could be mixed with fentanyl or carfentanyl. Federal authorities say fentanyl is 30 times to 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.
N Carolina utility limits water usage in moderate drought
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Lack of rainfall in southeastern North Carolina is prompting the utility providing drinking water to about 200,000 customers around Wilmington to impose restrictions on the use of water.
The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said Monday the region faces a moderate drought so it’s limiting how and when customers can water lawns and plants. The authority says that so far this year the Wilmington area has received less than two-thirds of the rain it normally sees.
The rules include watering lawns on alternate days during overnight, early morning or evening hours. Permits are needed to water new landscape plants.
The restrictions come at the same time as parts of North Carolina’s mountains and foothills are coping with flash flooding after days of heavy rain.