Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Trial starting in defamation lawsuit against author Sparks
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The trial is getting underway in a lawsuit that accuses novelist Nicholas Sparks of defaming the former headmaster of a private Christian school he founded in North Carolina.
Saul Hillel Benjamin accuses Sparks of telling Epiphany School parents, a job recruiter and others that Benjamin suffered from mental illness.
The jury in the trial beginning Wednesday in Raleigh will decide whether the private K-12 school in Spark’s hometown of New Bern, the author and the foundation Sparks created to support the school should pay damages.
Benjamin’s lawsuit alleges that the author of “Message in a Bottle” and “The Notebook” defamed him and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Benjamin was in the headmaster’s position for less than five months and says he was forced out.
FALSELY LABELED CRABMEAT
Seafood processor pleads guilty to falsely labeling crabmeat
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges that he falsely labeled $4 million worth of foreign crabmeat as produced in the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Justice says Phillip R. Carawan, of Columbia, admitted Tuesday to falsely labeling more than 179,000 pounds of crabmeat and selling it to wholesale membership clubs and other retailers.
A department statement says Carawan also admitted that he and his company, Capt. Neill’s Seafood Inc., couldn’t meet customer demands for domestic blue crab. It says he made up the difference by using crabmeat purchased from South America and Asia. He also admitted that as early as 2012, he had company workers repack foreign crabmeat into containers labeled “Product of USA.”
Carawan is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
Conversation starters ready to go on ‘ReCONNECT NC Day
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Looking for substantial communication that doesn’t involve cellphones or social media? North Carolina State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues is offering ways to sit down and converse about weighty topics while building positive relationships.
The object of Wednesday’s “ReCONNECT NC Day” is to try and build new bridges as the divisive arguments of the 2020 presidential elections approach.
The “Civic Conversations” like those being held in Charlotte, Greenville, Wilson, Elkin and Wilkesboro will emphasize listening first to understand the views of others. A Cary barbershop is hosting a discussion with police officers. The group Teach for America is involved in a Rocky Mount community conversation.
These meetings are part of a three-year institute initiative designed to respond to what it calls the increasing disconnect among North Carolina residents.
Virginia National Guard to name armory for vet with NC ties
(Information from: The Daily Advance, http://www.dailyadvance.com/)
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) – The Virginia National Guard is naming an armory after a World War II veteran who was a combat medic on D-Day.
The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reports the armory in Norfolk will be renamed Wednesday in honor of Arnold Lindblad Sr., who died 16 years ago. His daughters, Karen and Synda Lindblad, live in Elizabeth City while his son, Steven, lives in Suffolk, Virginia.
The three discussed their father’s life with The Daily Advance. Lindblad was a chief warrant officer when he landed with the 29th Infantry Division on beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Steven Lindblad’s chance encounter a couple of years ago with Maj. Gen. Timothy Williams led to the armory being named after Arnold Lindblad.
MURDER SUSPECT-PREGNANT WOMAN
North Carolina man sought in pregnant woman’s death
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are searching for a man wanted in the death of a woman who they say was 24 weeks pregnant.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have charged 35-year-old Edward Silk Garner Sr. with offenses including murder in the death of 28-year-old Alesha Shantel Summers. Garner had not been apprehended as of Tuesday evening.
Police also say he took his two children from the scene, and left with Edward Silk Garner Jr., who voluntarily came to police headquarters on Tuesday morning after seeing his photo on various media outlets.
Police say the two children were found safe with relatives at separate locations. Officers later found the car belonging to the elder Garner.
HALTED BRIDGE PROJECT
North Carolina agency ends bridge project over funding
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation has stopped working on a bridge project that didn’t score high enough on a state improvement plan to receive funding.
The StarNews reports the agency announced Tuesday that is now ending planning and design work on the Cape Fear Crossing, which would’ve added a fourth Wilmington-area crossing to the Cape Fear River. The estimated $1 billion bridge was first pitched over two decades ago and has been caught up in heated debate ever since.
The idea that the river needed another crossing was strongly supported by area residents, but the exact location of the bridge caused neighborhood-level backlash. Residents complained that a new bridge could ruin the quiet pace of their neighborhoods while officials argued that it would help the region better handle growth.
Top NC Republican lawmakers go on campus to promote budget
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s leading Republican legislators visited a public university to highlight millions of dollars in funding for campus construction and programs in their proposed state budget, held up in a stalemate with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger and other lawmakers visited North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro on Tuesday. The News & Record reports Moore later visited UNC-Greensboro, which also would benefit from budget provisions.
Cooper vetoed the budget in June, criticizing the presence of corporate tax cuts and absence of Medicaid expansion. House Republicans have lacked enough override votes. Moore said later Tuesday he isn’t giving up on an override and urged community members to ask Democratic lawmakers to join Republicans.
The legislators met with school chancellors and other university officials.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Groups ask NC regulators to revoke 2018 pipeline permit
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Environmental groups that promote renewable energy want North Carolina regulators to cancel a key state water quality permit issued to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Leaders of the North Carolina Climate Solutions Coalition and Friends of the Earth announced a petition Tuesday to the Department of Environmental Quality, asking that the January 2018 permit be revoked.
Legal challenges have delayed construction of the 600-mile (965-kilometer) pipeline, which is designed to carry natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.
The petition says the department’s water quality division lacked key information about the pipeline’s potential extension into South Carolina. It says additional infrastructure built in Robeson County will disproportionately harm members of the Lumbee tribe who live there.
Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Co. are building the pipeline.
This story has been corrected. The group’s name is North Carolina Climate Solutions Coalition, not North Carolina Climate Solutions Network.