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N Carolina elections board picks chair as key decision looms
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina elections board has a new leader ahead of a decision on what kind of voting machines are secure against efforts to alter ballots.
The state Board of Elections voted Tuesday to make nonprofit executive Damon Circosta of Raleigh its new chairman. Gov. Roy Cooper last week picked Circosta as the Democrat to replace former chairman Bob Cordle, who resigned after telling a crude joke .
Circosta was politically unaffiliated last year when he was named chairman of a different version of the elections board. He now joins two other Democrats and two Republicans.
The elections board later this month is expected to decide whether the next generation of voting machines should be required to furnish a paper printout so voters can read and confirm their ballots.
SEA TURTLES-BRIGHT LIGHTS
Group fears bright lights attracted sea turtle hatchlings
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, N.C. (AP) – Volunteers who watch sea turtles nest fear more than 100 hatchlings were lost because they were attracted to artificial lights instead of the light of the moon.
Nancy Fahey of the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project tells The StarNews of Wilmington that 112 sea turtle hatchlings broke through their shells early on Aug. 1 after volunteers had quit watching the nest. She says she found turtle tracks under a pier and other places.
She hopes the city can find a way to address problems with artificial lights.
Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens says most structures with problematic lighting predate the city’s lighting ordinance. He says one solution may be to ask property owners to shield bright lights when a nearby nest is nearing the end of its incubation period.
WEST NILE VIRUS
North Carolina mosquito tests positive for West Nile virus
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials say a mosquito in North Carolina has tested positive for West Nile virus.
Citing a Monday statement by New Hanover County, news outlets report the virus was found in a mosquito trap in Wilmington. The county says spraying to control the insect population will start Tuesday evening.
County Health Director Phillip Tarte says there is no cure or vaccine for the mosquito-borne illness. West Nile doesn’t impact most people who are infected. People who are impacted most often develop mild symptoms including fevers and body aches, though the virus can occasionally cause severe disease or even death.
Tarte recommends people prevent mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, pants, insect repellant and limiting outside activity during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
AIRPORT WORKER KILLED
North Carolina authorities identify airline worker killed
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina have identified the man killed at the Charlotte International Airport when a baggage-hauling vehicle he was driving flipped, pinning him underneath.
News outlets report Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police identified the man as 24-year-old Kendrick Darrell Hudson. Hudson was an employee of Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines.
Police said in a statement that Hudson was transporting baggage on an airport vehicle called a tug when he made a hard right turn to avoid hitting luggage that had fallen on the tarmac, but the tug hit it and rolled over.
A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Labor said Monday the agency has opened an investigation that’s likely to take several months.
Piedmont operates many American Eagle flights in Charlotte, a major hub for American.
North Carolina governor signs order on firearm safety
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive directive to have its top law enforcement agency train local law enforcement agencies on threat assessment and to improve the quality of information that the state provides for background checks for firearm purchases.
Cooper announced the changes on Monday at a school safety summit in Greensboro. He says in a news release that an inventory by the State Bureau of Investigation last year found over 284,000 instances of criminal convictions that weren’t reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The order directs the SBI to continue to identify gaps in reporting criminal convictions. It also directs the SBI to provide behavioral threat assessment training to local law enforcement agencies.
The directive also includes orders on suicide and firearms storage.
Sheriff’s office: Man spiked wife’s rum with methamphetamine
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office has charged a man with spiking his wife’s rum with methamphetamine after she told him she wanted a divorce.
The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office tells news outlets that the woman went to a local hospital after drinking the rum and going a day without sleeping. A test showed the woman had meth in her system, and deputies filed charges against 47-year-old Michael Joseph Kirkum, including assault on a female and resisting arrest.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer said the woman told deputies that the night of the incident, she had told her husband that she wanted a divorce and was in contact with a lawyer.
Kirkum is jailed with bail set at $100,000. It’s not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
Restaurant that got racist letter is overwhelmed by support
SILER CITY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina restaurant that received a racist, threatening letter says it ran out of food after it was overwhelmed by customers who came to show their support.
The owners of A&I’s Chicken Shack in Siler City said on Facebook the restaurant had to close Sunday. They said some “drove miles” to show support. The restaurant plans to reopen Tuesday.
Andre Chaney, who is black, is one of the owners. He says he found the letter Wednesday. News outlets report it contained a racist epithet and was signed “white nationalists.”
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office is investigating to determine who sent it and whether it constitutes a hate crime. Sheriff Mike Roberson says felony charges could be filed.
Siler City is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Raleigh.
SCHOOL SAFETY SUMMIT
Partnerships encouraged to keep students out of courts
GIBSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor and chief justice are encouraging each county to create a partnership between schools and law enforcement to help students who commit minor offices stay out of court.
Gov. Roy Cooper and Chief Justice Cheri Beasley spoke about the partnerships Monday in Gibsonville before they appeared at a Back to School Safety Summit in Greensboro. Eight counties have the partnerships, and more than 30 others are developing them.
Each partnership develops an agreement that establishes guidelines for addressing student misconduct without court or law enforcement involvement.
In North Carolina, school-based referrals make up about 40% of the referrals to the juvenile justice system. Most of these referrals are for minor, nonviolent transgressions. In the 2016-2017 school year, 8% of school-based referrals were for serious offenses.