Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Senate panel backs more training, less solitary confinement
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Reducing prisoner solitary confinement, decreasing some correctional officer work-shift lengths and reinstating an exam for officer promotions are among proposals made by a North Carolina Senate committee examining prison safety.
The Insider government news service reports the Senate panel made its final recommendations to chamber leaders on Monday after several meetings this year. The committee was created in response to the deaths of five workers in prison attacks in 2017, as well as to address problems with the recruitment and retention of correctional officers.
Report recommendations also include improving mental health service access for both officers and prisoners and re-establishing a separate Cabinet-level department for corrections separate from the Department of Public Safety.
The committee also had discussed the pros and cons of offering 8-hour work shifts compared to 12-hour shifts.
SHARK ATTACKS TEEN
Report: Shark bites teen in second NC attack in 2 weeks
OCEAN ISLE, N.C. (AP) – A teenager says he was bitten by a shark while surfing off the southern coast of North Carolina.
WSOC reports 19-year-old Austin Reed is expected to be fine after receiving what officials have described as a “marine bite” in Ocean Isle, North Carolina.
Reed’s grandmother tells news outlets her grandson’s injury resembled a “deep tooth bite.” Reed’s father says his son had surgery to close an approximately 10-inch (25-centimeter) wound on his foot.
The News & Observer reports that if confirmed as a shark bite, this would be the second shark attack in North Carolina this month. Last weekend, 17-year-old Paige Winter lost most of her leg from a shark bite received at Fort Macon State Park.
The Washington Post reports Winter’s father punched the shark five times before it released Winter.
SCHOOL SHOOTING THREATS
School district apologizes for not reporting shooting threat
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) – The superintendent of a North Carolina school district says it’s unacceptable that his district didn’t alert authorities to two school shooting threats.
The News & Observer reports Orange County Schools Superintendent Todd Wirt apologized at a Monday school board meeting for the handling of the threats in May.
The threats were found written on bathroom walls at Cedar Ridge High School. The school principal and resource officers didn’t alert their superiors. Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood says the deputies violated agency policy.
Several community members spoke, expressing concern about the communication. A teacher in the same district was arrested in May after allegedly threatening to “shoot up” her school. Other teachers knew about that threat for days before alerting administrators.
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.