Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
UBER UNWANTED RIDE
Woman says NC Uber driver took her on an unwanted ride
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A Boston woman says she and her friend were essentially held captive by a chatty North Carolina Uber driver who turned their 15-minute ride into a 45-minute drive without their consent.
Sara Alfageeh tells The Charlotte Observer that the driver told her he was taking a different exit, and then ended the trip on the app. She said on Twitter that he drove them off-route to continue the conversation.
Alfageeh says she called a friend and loudly said they were close to the hotel. She says the driver then repeatedly told her they were minutes away, later letting them out about seven minutes from the hotel.
Alfageeh reported the driver on Tuesday, and Uber says he’s been suspended. She said they didn’t apologize.
Storms leave 200K without power across South
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Damaging storms have left more than 200,000 people without power across the southern United States, and forecasters say more are on the way.
The Storm Prediction Center says wind damage including fallen trees that pulled down power lines and struck buildings happened along a line from Texas to Alabama. A few isolated tornadoes were reported.
More than 70,000 homes and businesses are without power in Arkansas, and more than 30,000 outages each are reported in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, where crews are out working to remove toppled trees and clear blocked roads.
Forecasters say storms are moving eastward, and more severe weather is possible on Thursday in Alabama and Georgia all the way up the Eastern Seaboard to Pennsylvania. Flooding already is causing travel problems near Philadelphia.
After fervent debate, immigration bill goes to Senate floor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Directives upon North Carolina sheriffs to check immigration records of all jail inmates and recognize federal requests to hold them are headed to the Senate floor after more impassioned debate.
The measure approved Thursday in the Senate Rules Committee responds to several recently elected sheriffs who no longer comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers. The detainers ask that people who may be in the country unlawfully be held up to 48 hours. Compliance is now voluntary.
The dissenting African American sheriffs said this week they’re being unfairly targeted by Republicans, suggesting partisanship and race are reasons. But bill supporters say the bill ensures all sheriffs protect the public from criminals.
The bill advanced after several immigrants pleaded with legislators to reject it, citing fears that it would separate families.
TURTLE NEST VANDALIZED
NC protection program says vandal dug up sea turtle nest
OAK ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – Advocates for sea turtles say a hefty fine is in store for whoever dug into a nest of loggerhead sea turtle eggs in North Carolina.
The Oak Island Sea Turtle Protection Program says the nest was tampered with on Monday. Sand was displaced from the covered hole, and it was burrowed into.
The News & Observer reports none of the eggs were broken or harmed. But the group wants beachgoers to know that disturbing sea turtle nests carries a federal fine up to $50,000 and possible prison time.
Last week, a woman was arrested in Miami after police said she stomped on sea turtle nests and poked them with a stake.
Loggerhead turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Sheriff: Inmates choked man with sheets, stole wedding ring
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff says three inmates attacked another inmate, choked him with bed sheets and stole his wedding ring.
News outlets report Randolph County inmates Timothy Wayne Harris, Isaac Martin Dove, Devin McLaurin Owens, and Michael Sesar Fiscal are charged with assault by strangulation and other offenses in the attack. A county sheriff’s office statement says the men choked the other inmate last week, bent the man’s arm backward and snatched his wedding ring.
It says the ring has since been recovered. Authorities have not said what motivated the attack or where the ring was found.
The sheriff’s office says the charged inmates were set to appear in court this week. It’s unclear if they have lawyers who represent them on the new charges.
Cooper, legislators meet face to face on budget negotiations
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and legislative budget writers have met to discuss what it will take to agree soon on the next state spending plan.
Cooper and Republican legislative leaders confirmed Wednesday’s breakfast meeting at the Executive Mansion. Cooper is capitalizing on his expanded leverage now that fellow Democrats can uphold his vetoes if they’re united.
One of Cooper’s top priorities is expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of people. Cooper’s office said the governor suggested a two-track negotiation, with one group looking at health care issues and another discussing everything else.
Legislative Republicans largely are opposed to expansion. Senate leader Phil Berger’s spokesman said chamber Republicans are pleased Cooper wants to keep negotiating on other budget provisions. House senior budget-writer Jason Saine said Wednesday’s meeting was encouraging.
Sex abuse lawsuit deadlines extended by North Carolina House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina House members have backed overwhelmingly a longer period of time for victims of child sexual abuse to sue perpetrators for damages as adults.
The measure now heading to the Senate following Wednesday’s vote of 104-10 extends the statute of limitations for a victim from 21 years of age to 38. The bill also would give older adults outside the proposed age cap a two-year window to file lawsuits.
The legislation comes with increased awareness nationally about sex abuse cases, such as those within the Roman Catholic Church and in youth organizations.
Bill sponsor Rep. Dennis Riddell says many victims aren’t coming to terms with the abuse until much later in life and should be able to seek redress. Civil cases require lower levels of proof than criminal matters.
CENSUS CITIZENSHIP QUESTION
Judge: New documents warrant further look at census question
A federal judge says he’s inclined to reexamine whether a proposed 2020 census citizenship question violates the rights of minorities after reviewing newly discovered documents from a deceased political operative.
U.S. District Judge George Hazel of Maryland ruled Wednesday that plaintiffs have produced enough evidence to warrant reopening the case, even though he already has ruled in their favor on other grounds.
His ability to consider altering his ruling based on the new evidence would depend on a federal appeals court returning it to him.
Voting rights activists argue newly discovered emails between the late GOP mapmaker Thomas Hofeller and a current Census Bureau official show the citizenship question was intended to discriminate.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether the citizenship question should be included.