Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Dorian expected to cause flooding along Carolinas coast
As Hurricane Dorian slogs up the Carolinas coast, forecasters are predicting high storm surges and drenching rains that could trigger widespread flooding and unleash environmental hazards.
The National Weather Service on Wednesday issued a Hurricane Warning for the entire Atlantic coast from northern Georgia to southern Virginia, predicting a “potentially life threatening storm surge” up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) around the North Carolina-South Carolina line. Some areas in the region expected to be impacted by Dorian are still recovering from Hurricane Florence, which caused widespread damage in September 2018. Problems then included flooded hog and chicken farms, inundated sewage treatment plants and breached dam at a power plant near a coal ash landfill.
Meteorologists predicted Dorian’s eye would skirt the coast, potentially making landfall before brushing past Cape Hatteras.
STOLEN GUNS-UNLOCKED CARS
North Carolina police cite rise in guns taken from cars
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina police department says it’s concerned about a sharp increase in the number of firearms stolen from vehicles.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told a news conference on Wednesday that it’s seen an increase of nearly 20% in the number of firearms stolen from unoccupied vehicles in the city.
Officials also pointed out that there were at least three instances in 2019 in which violent crimes were committed in firearms stolen from vehicles were used.
The department also says that of the 516 guns stolen from vehicles so far this year, 232 guns were taken from unlocked vehicles.
At the same time last year, the department reported 435 firearms stolen from vehicles.
Following ruling, NC legislators set redistricting meetings
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislative leaders have scheduled redistricting committee meetings following a ruling by state trial judges that struck down House and Senate maps for excessively favoring GOP candidates.
The meetings set for Monday appear to signal GOP leaders will comply with the judges’ order to draw new boundaries for the 2020 elections, instead of filing an appeal. Meeting agendas hadn’t been released as of Wednesday.
Senate leader Phil Berger said after the ruling his chamber would move forward adopting a “nonpartisan map.” House Speaker Tim Moore’s office had no comment.
The judges on Tuesday found nearly 80 House and Senate districts violated the state constitution because Republicans manipulated lines to make it nearly impossible for Democrats to win majorities. The judges gave lawmakers until Sept. 18 to enact districts.
TROPICAL WEATHER-STORM LESSONS
Weather-tested residents brace for Dorian on Southeast coast
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (AP) – Weather-tested residents along the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas are using their past experience with intense storms to guide them as they safeguard their homes and decide whether to heed evacuation orders.
Johns Island resident Ed Bandarovich (ban-DARE-o-vitch) said Tuesday that he decided it was better to be safe than sorry and has boarded up his home.
Dorian weakened to a Category 2 hurricane Tuesday after slamming into the Bahamas as a terrifying Category 5 storm with 185 mph (298 kph) winds.
The threat of a direct hit on Florida had all but evaporated, but Dorian was expected to pass dangerously close to Georgia and South Carolina – and perhaps strike North Carolina – on Thursday or Friday.
North Carolina judges toss districts drawn for GOP advantage
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina trial court has rejected state legislative district maps, saying lawmakers took extreme advantage from drawing districts to help elect a maximum number of Republicans.
The three-judge panel of state judges ruled Tuesday that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far it diminishes democracy.
Republicans argued there’s no clear way for judges to know what kinds of redistricting are unacceptable. Democrats and their allies said the districts were so gerrymandered they unconstitutionally insulated politicians from changing voting behavior.
Common Cause and other plaintiffs asked the court to order half the House districts and 21 of 50 Senate maps redrawn quickly.
An appeal is expected and the outcome could be months away. The state Supreme Court’s composition is 6-1 in favor of Democrats.
North Carolina foster mother charged in 1-year-old’s death
PINEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities are charging a North Carolina foster mother in the death of a 1-year-old boy who was left inside a hot car in a shopping center parking lot.
News outlets report Pineville police say warrants charge 42-year-old Dawn Aberson-Vanden Broecke with involuntary manslaughter. Police say Broecke has cooperated with investigators and is expected to turn herself in to police.
According to police, officers responding to a 911 call last Thursday found the child unresponsive in his child seat. They said the woman had left the baby in the car and gone to work at a store at the shopping center. Police said the child had been left in the car “for a prolonged period.”
Emergency personnel performed life-saving measures, but the baby was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Assessment team to gauge safety of river in North Carolina
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – An assessment team is taking a look at a river in North Carolina to see if boaters, rafters and fishermen can use it again.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports a technical team launched boats on the Nantahala River on Tuesday to assess potential hazards and to lessen risks associated with landslides.
One week ago, the U.S. Forest Service closed an 8-mile (12-kilometer) section of the river to boating due to debris. David Uchiyama, a N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman, says four landslides on Aug. 25 brought down 5,000 cubic yards of debris onto U.S. 19/74 in the Nantahala Gorge.
While the road was cleared on Aug. 26, tons of other debris in the river created potentially hazardous conditions for those who would usually be on the river for Labor Day weekend.