Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Tribe’s push to build casino spurs Carolinas political fight
CATAWBA INDIAN NATION, S.C. (AP) – Two of the Carolinas’ most prominent American Indian tribes are battling over geography and lucrative gambling turf.
The Cherokee in North Carolina already have two casinos in the mountains and say their opponents should stay in their own state to the south.
The Catawba of South Carolina argue such boundaries are artificial and shouldn’t affect their effort to gain a foothold in the industry. They hope to revive efforts to build a casino along an interstate in North Carolina where they say they have a historical and legal claim to land.
U.S. senators from both states back the Catawba, but their efforts may not be enough. A bill they’ve sponsored in Congress has drawn opposition from North Carolina lawmakers and the Cherokee tribe, among the state’s most prolific campaign donors.
ELECTION 2020-SENATE-NORTH CAROLINA
Trump endorses North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – President Donald Trump has endorsed North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, handing a significant political asset to the first-term Republican senator seeking reelection next year in the closely divided state.
Trump tweeted late Tuesday his “Full and Total Endorsement” to Tillis as he already faces a primary challenger. Garland Tucker has made Tillis’ initial opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration for a U.S.-Mexico border wall a campaign issue. Tillis later reversed himself and supported the declaration.
Trump praised Tillis for being someone who is “Strong on the Border and fights hard against Illegal Immigration.”
Democrats also are lining up to take on Tillis, including three current or former state legislators and a county commissioner.
North Carolina is a key presidential battleground state, too. Trump won there in 2016 by nearly 4 percentage points.
NC wind energy future bill leaves out ban or moratorium
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislation designed to prevent wind turbine projects from interfering with North Carolina military training operations – threatening the future of installations – no longer contains outright bans on their construction.
The Senate bill initially demanded a permanent prohibition of wind farms across large sections of the state labeled “high-risk” for aviation training. The full Senate later agreed to a three-year moratorium.
There’s no moratorium or prohibition in the latest version approved Tuesday by the House energy committee. Now it simply directs state regulators who decide on permits to get more information from military commanders.
House Majority Leader John Bell helped fashion the updated measure now heading to another committee. Bell says it protects the state’s military economy and gives some certainty to wind energy companies looking for sites.
Judge upholds $6.6M judgment against rapper Yo Gotti
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge is refusing to throw out a $6.6 million judgment against rapper Yo Gotti.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports the rapper, whose legal name is Mario Mims, appeared in court Monday asking for the decision to be vacated.
Singer Young Fletcher’s manager Michael Terry filed a lawsuit accusing Mims of shirking a $20,000 deal to rap on one of Young Fletcher’s songs and thereby boost sales. Terry says Mims didn’t sign paperwork necessary for putting the song on streaming services.
Mims said he was never served the lawsuit and therefore hadn’t been able to defend himself.
Terry’s lawyers say Mims was served after a May 6, 2018 concert. Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Todd Burke said Mims waived any challenge by not responding to the lawsuit.
Mims’ attorneys say they plan to appeal.
EX-TEACHER-SEX ABUSE CHARGES
Former North Carolina teacher pleads guilty to sex charges
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina high school science teacher accused of abusing almost 20 victims during his career has pleaded guilty to child sex charges.
News outlets report the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office says 50-year-old Michael Earl Kelly entered a guilty plea Tuesday. Prosecutors had filed approximately 60 charges against Kelly, including indecent liberties with a child and indecent liberties with a student.
Kelly had been arrested in February 2018. Search warrants said Kelly had shared pornographic images with some of his students at Isaac Bear Early College High School via a Snapchat group.
He was sentenced to between about 17 1/2 years and 31 1/4 years in prison.
BEACH RENTALS-EVENT LIMIT
North Carolina coastal town ponders limit on rental events
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (AP) – Another North Carolina coastal town is involved in controversy as it considers limits on the number of weddings and reunions at rental homes.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports the Southern Shores town council proposes to limit houses to three special events per year and require a permit.
Under the proposal, owners would have to create a site plan, a traffic plan and get permission from the state alcohol commission if adult beverages are served. Officials could also find out who is running the party and where it is.
Realtors and builders have objected to the proposal.
The nearby town of Duck is telling people they will be arrested for trespassing if they try to access the beach through land owned by a homeowners association. There’s already been one arrest.
North Carolina bill seeks to rehire retired teachers
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A bill aimed at addressing North Carolina’s teacher shortages by rehiring retired educators is close to final passage at the General Assembly.
The House overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan legislation on Tuesday and returned the measure to the Senate, which passed a different version earlier. One more affirmative Senate vote would send the bill to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk for his signature.
Under the bill, retired teachers could work in high-need schools and earn a salary similar to entry-level teachers without jeopardizing their retirement benefits. Those teaching special education, science, technology, engineering or math would earn a little more.
If the IRS decides the bill doesn’t comply with federal regulations, it would be repealed and the teachers would be dismissed to ensure the state retiree system follows pension rules.
PROPOSED SOCCER STADIUM
Soccer club owner, North Carolina developer propose stadium
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The owner of a North Carolina soccer club has joined a developer in announcing plans for a stadium project which includes a 20,000-seat stadium and almost $2 billion in private development in the state capital.
News sources report North Carolina Football Club owner Steve Malik and Raleigh developer John Kane would build the project south of downtown Raleigh. The plan, revealed on Tuesday, would include 125,000 square feet (11,612 square meters) of retail and restaurant space, 1.6 million square feet (148,644 square meters) of office space, 1,200 hotel rooms and 1,750 apartments.
The stadium would host the USL Championship team NCFC, as well as the N.C. Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League.
Malik and Kane both said it would take public money to get their project off the ground.