AP-NC Newswatch

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July 16, 2019
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July 16, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT



The Latest: Voter: Lawsuit tries ‘to unrig a rigged process’
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A Democratic voter has testified that a gerrymandering lawsuit against North Carolina lawmakers is “trying to unrig a rigged process.”
The first day of the partisan gerrymandering trial concluded Monday with Derrick Miller of Wilmington taking the stand. Miller is one of the plaintiffs.
Also, four former North Carolina governors released a statement supporting the lawsuit.
Miller said the redistricting process has made it impossible for anybody other than Republicans to control the state House and Senate. Miller acknowledged he’s been able to vote to elect a Democrat to the House by a comfortable margin but says gerrymandering makes surrounding districts extremely Republican.
Former Democratic Govs. Jim Hunt, Mike Easley and Beverly Perdue and Republican ex-Gov. Jim Martin blamed partisan gerrymandering for breaking the system of checks and balances no matter which party controls the majority.



Police: 3 kids found locked in back of U-Haul carrying drugs
NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities say three children have been rescued from the back of a U-Haul truck that was carrying drugs in Tennessee, and three North Carolinians have been charged in the case.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol told reporters Monday that a bystander in Cocke County called authorities last week to report seeing children being locked in the truck. Trooper Owen Caudill pulled over the U-Haul and found a 1-year-old, 5-year-old and 8-year-old locked in the back. Temperatures hovered in the low 90s.
Authorities say troopers then noticed the smell of drugs coming from the vehicle. Authorities say a passenger surrendered some marijuana and an ensuing vehicle search uncovered crystal meth, cocaine and drug paraphernalia. Eric Larue, Lakiza Williams, and Willie Green Jr. were all arrested on charges including child endangerment.



North Carolina school superintendent suspended with pay
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s second largest school system has suspended its superintendent with pay but without saying why.
A statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg School on Monday confirmed that Superintendent Clayton Wilcox was suspended, but the statement didn’t say when it happened and it provided no additional details.
The Charlotte Observer reports that in January, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board gave Wilcox a unanimous vote of confidence. The board granted pay and benefits increases totaling $37,000 annually and approved a two-year contract extension, to 2023, at a salary of $307,000.
Six months later, the board held a special, closed “superintendent evaluation” meeting on June 5. That was followed a closed session on Friday.
Wilcox has been on the job for two years.
CMS chief engagement officer and ombudsman Earnest Winston will serve as acting superintendent.



Sports, horse betting bill for Cherokee gets final OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s only federally recognized American Indian tribe could soon offer sports and horse wagering to patrons at its two casinos.
The General Assembly gave final approval Monday night to a measure that would give the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians the authority to offer the additional betting. The House voted for the measure that had already cleared the Senate three months ago.
The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk. A Cooper spokesman says the bill will be reviewed before he makes a decision on whether to sign it.
The sports-book option took shape after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law last year that made most sports gambling illegal. State law already lets the Eastern Band offer live poker, slot machines and video-style games.



Report: Superintendent bypassed committee to award contract
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Documents released after a public records request show that North Carolina’s school superintendent bypassed a committee recommendation and awarded a contract to a different company.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports North Carolina is switching from the Amplify program to test K-3 students under the Read To Achieve program to the computer-based Istation program in a three-year, $8.3 million deal.
The documents released Friday showed the Amplify mClass program was the committee’s choice. Superintendent Mark Johnson says rankings which favored Amplify were based on “misstatements of fact.” The state Department of Public Instruction denies reports that the committee had recommended Amplify.
Johnson spokesman Graham Wilson says the committee’s recommendation was bypassed because a whistleblower told DPI that an unidentified committee member didn’t disclose a prior business relationship with Amplify.



Police: 8-year-old North Carolina girl shot inside townhome
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police say an 8-year-old North Carolina girl was shot and wounded inside her townhome during an argument in the parking lot at her complex.
Durham police tell WTVD say an argument which broke out early Monday morning resulted in gun shots being fired.
A news release from Durham police say responding officers found an 11-year-old boy with an injury to his arm and an 8-year-old girl with a gunshot wound to her back. Officers initially thought the boy had been shot, but an examination at a hospital showed he had been cut by debris.
The girl what a police spokesman says in a non-life-threatening injury.



Cooper campaign says it raised $4.5M so far in 2019
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s re-election campaign says it took in more than $4.5 million during the first six months of this year.
Cooper’s campaign said Monday the total is more than twice than what his campaign raised during the same period four years ago, when he was attorney general and prepared for a gubernatorial bid. He narrowly defeated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in November 2016.
The Cooper for North Carolina committee says it had over $5.6 million in the bank as of July. Cooper’s actual campaign report for the first half of the year hasn’t been filed – it’s not due until July 26.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is also running for governor in 2020. His fundraising total hasn’t yet been made public.



Fundraiser launched to replace vandalized portraits
(Information from: WITN-TV, http://www.witn.com/)
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) – A fundraiser has been launched on social media to help replace several portraits of African American musicians torn down in a North Carolina city.
WITN in Greenville reports the portraits were posted in the city of Kinston as part of the North Carolina Arts Council’s efforts to bring recognition to local African American artists that have made an impact in music. The portraits also were part of the city’s beautification effort.
The Facebook fundraiser has been established to help raise $3,500 to go toward replacing the portraits.
There have been no arrests in the case.



AP-WF-07-16-19 1020GMT