Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
SUPREME COURT-REDISTRICTING-NORTH CAROLINA
NC redistricting fight turns to state courts after ruling
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Opponents of North Carolina’s district maps are putting their hopes in state courts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts aren’t the place to settle partisan gerrymandering disputes.
An election reform group, the state Democratic Party and voters will go to court next month to try to persuade state judges that Republican-drawn General Assembly districts discriminate against Democrats based on political beliefs and voting history.
Voting-rights advocates across the country have vowed to turn to state litigation after Chief Justice John Roberts wrote Thursday that federal courts have no authority to determine whether partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.
The pending case filed in Wake County court marks at least the eighth lawsuit challenging North Carolina maps since 2011.
North Carolina’s freshwater fish record falls after 36 years
WAGRAM, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s decades-old freshwater fish record has fallen.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission says angler Alphonso Jackson caught a 2-pound, 1-ounce redbreast sunfish June 10 while fishing the Lumber River in Wagram.
It broke the record set 36 years ago by 5 ounces.
The 43-year-old Maxton resident used a cricket as bait. He says he was fishing with his three children in a pond that day but decided to move when they weren’t having any luck. He then caught the massive sunfish.
The commission this week said Jackson had the fish weighed on certified scales at a grocery store in Maxton.
BODY IN POND
Body found in pond behind Durham senior living facility
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a pond behind a senior living community.
The Durham Police Department says the body was found Sunday.
The man has not been publicly identified. It is unclear whether he was a resident of the senior living community.
The pond is about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) southwest of Duke University.
Pipeline protester who chained himself to excavator charged
(Information from: The Roanoke Times, http://www.roanoke.com)
IRONTO, Va. (AP) – A man who chained himself to an excavator to protest the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline has been charged with two misdemeanors.
The Roanoke Times reports 26-year-old Michael James-Deramo is facing misdemeanor counts of entering private property to damage it and preventing the operation of a vehicle.
Virginia State Police used a mechanized lift Friday to remove James-Deramo.
The 300-mile (483-kilometer) natural gas pipeline is being built in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. It has used eminent domain to acquire project space.
The Blacksburg resident in a statement released by the organization Appalachians Against Pipelines says he has “watched as this pipeline has wreaked havoc” on the land and people’s lives.
The newspaper reports authorities in Virginia and West Virginia have charged about 40 people who have attempted to block construction since work began last year.
North Carolina man charged in 3 indecent exposure cases
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Law enforcement authorities in North Carolina say a man accused of exposing himself to children and women three times this year is now in custody.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on Saturday said 35-year-old Peletisala Maka has been charged with two counts each of felony indecent exposure, felony indecent liberties with a minor and misdemeanor indecent exposure.
Police say Maka first exposed himself to a woman May 16. Most recently, authorities say strangers offered Maka a ride to a church on Wednesday. Once at the church, he began masturbating in front of a 10-year-old child.
Police say officers responded in every instance, but Maka fled each time. He was arrested Friday.
Maka is at the Mecklenburg County Jail. Records don’t list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Crews working to restore power to Outer Banks destinations
HATTERAS, N.C. (AP) – Utility crews are working to restore power to two popular North Carolina Outer Banks destinations.
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative in a statement Saturday morning said power has been restored to most of Hatteras Island and all of Ocracoke Island.
The company says the communities of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo are still without power.
The cooperative has 7,600 customers on Hatteras Island. It attributed the outage to a problem on Dominion Energy’s system, which provides power north of the Oregon Inlet.
The cooperative says its crews are now working at a substation in Waves.
This is one of the busiest periods for the Outer Banks because of the approaching Fourth of July holiday.
A days-long power outage in the summer of 2017 that affected Hatteras and Ocracoke led to mandatory evacuations.
CHILD KILLED-STRAY BULLET
Man charged in death of 5-year-old boy caught in crossfire
RED SPRINGS, N.C. (AP) – A man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy who police in North Carolina say was caught in crossfire.
A Robeson County Sheriff’s Office release says 24-year-old Donovan Travale Locklear was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Alva Paisley Oxendine Jr.
Oxendine was in the backseat of his mother’s car when he was struck by a bullet June 5. Authorities say the shooting stemmed from a fight between two groups that had fought earlier during the day and agreed to meet up at that location to fight a second time.
Locklear’s bail was set at $500,000. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.
Sheriff Burnis Wilkins says investigators are continuing to seek out other individuals involved in the fight.
FATAL LION ATTACK
Fatal lion attack nets 3 ‘serious’ violations for center
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina labor officials have cited an animal sanctuary for safety violations after a lion fatally mauled a 22-year old intern last December.
The state Occupational Safety and Health Division issued a citation for three “serious” violations to the Conservator’s Center.
Because Alexandra Black was an unpaid intern, the division could not issue a direct citation for her death. Officials issued a citation Thursday after determining that other employees were exposed to hazards.
In an investigation following Black’s death , the division found that the center had ineffective procedures to secure dangerous animals and did not do adequate inspections and maintenance on animal enclosures. The division also found that the center had an inadequate emergency response plan in the event of an animal escape.
The center faces penalties of $3,000.