AP-NC Newswatch

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September 24, 2019
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September 24, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch





Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT

NC wild horse manager says a herd lost 28 horses in Dorian
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CEDAR ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina wild horse manager says more than half of one herd is thought to be dead after Hurricane Dorian storm surge slammed their island home.
Manager Woody Hancock told McClatchy news that 28 of the 49 horses on Cedar Island, between the Outer Banks and the mainland, are suspected dead. He says the herd is lesser-known than the Corolla heard on the northernmost parts of the Outer Banks. That herd didn’t suffer any losses.
He said 21 of Cedar Island’s horses survived, some managing to swim to safety. But dead horses have been washing up on beaches, while others remain missing.
The horses normally migrate to higher ground during storms, but Hancock says they didn’t have time as a “mini tsunami” overwhelmed the island on Sept. 6.


N Carolina sheriff accused of plotting killing is suspended
OXFORD, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff accused of helping plot the killing of a deputy has been suspended.
The attorney for Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins issued a statement Monday that said his client voluntarily agreed to the suspension. Thomas C. Manning says in the statement that Wilkins looks forward to “exoneration and resumption of his duties.”
Wilkins was indicted last week on felony justice obstruction charges over allegations that he discussed killing a former deputy.
Prosecutors say Wilkins learned in 2014 that deputy Joshua Freeman planned to release a recording of him saying “racially offensive” comments.
The indictment says Wilkins spoke with an unidentified third party about killing Freeman and coached the person on how to avoid being discovered by law enforcement.


UNC denies claims of bias in Middle East studies program
The University of North Carolina is disputing federal allegations of bias in a Middle East studies program it runs with Duke University.
In a letter Friday to the U.S. Department of Education, the university defended the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, saying it has been a leader in Middle Eastern language studies.
The department had said the consortium was breaking federal grant rules by focusing on cultural programs and placing too much emphasis on “the positive aspects of Islam” and not other religions.
UNC says that its Urdu language enrollment is the highest in the U.S. and that it organizes dozens of programs on national security annually. Still, the school said it will establish an “advisory board” to review consortium activities.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had ordered the investigation.


NC Republicans make case for new remap to be upheld
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republicans leading the North Carolina General Assembly say state judges should sign off on new legislative boundaries that the judges directed be drawn when they ruled 2017 maps were skewed illegally by GOP bias.
Attorneys for Republican lawmakers filed a legal memorandum explaining how dozens of House and Senate maps approved last week were created and comply with standards the judges laid out.
The lawyers wrote on Monday that their clients disagree with the partisan gerrymandering ruling, but followed the judgment to create an “unimpeachably fair, nonpartisan and transparent” process.
The plaintiffs who sued in the case have until Friday to make any objections to the plans. The judges could approve the districts as they are or alter them with the help of an outside expert.


NC officials aim to reopen Ocracoke highway by Thanksgiving
OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation aims to reopen the only highway on Ocracoke Island in time for Thanksgiving.
The department says in a news release that it’s already coordinated with the National Park Service and other agencies and has a detailed repair plan for N.C. Highway 12, which suffered what NCDOT describes as “catastrophic damage.”
Work will include a reconstruction of the dune line protecting the roadway and complete rebuilding of about 1,000 feet (304 meters) of roadway. The N.C. Ferry Division’s Dredge Manteo will pump sand from the old Hatteras ferry channel to supply sand for reconstruction of the dune.
The contract sets a target a date of Nov. 22 for reopening the roadway, with incentives for opening early.
Final completion is set for April 30.


Decisions on GOP mapmaker’s files shifted to single judge
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – One trial court judge will decide whether more computer files from a late Republican consultant who drew North Carolina’s electoral districts this decade can be made public.
A three-judge panel ordered Monday that legal conflicts over additional disclosure of documents from Thomas Hofeller’s computer hard drives is being transferred to Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier.
Hofeller’s files surfaced when plaintiffs in a redistricting lawsuit presided over by the three judges subpoenaed them. A few dozen documents were used in the trial.
But Hofeller documents surfaced in a federal census case and are now being sought in a voter identification lawsuit.
The three judges ordered the files remain confidential while Hofeller’s consulting firm designates those it wants private. That order expires late Friday.


NC Democratic leader revives budget override vote complaints
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Democratic leader in the North Carolina House says it’s plainly clear Republican counterparts have misled him and the public on how an unexpected override vote on Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget bill veto came about.
House Minority Leader Darren Jackson told reporters on Monday he’s so convinced Speaker Tim Moore’s top lieutenant told him no votes would be taken the morning of Sept. 11 that he’s taken a lie detector test. Jackson called on Moore, Rules Chairman David Lewis and two others to do the same and offered to pay for the tests.
Moore responded with his own news conference later Monday, calling the test dare a “sideshow” and “silly games.”
Most House Republicans but only about 15 Democrats were in the chamber that morning when the override vote occurred.


Dorian-flooded NC school to get iPads for displaced students
OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s top education official says the state will send hundreds of iPads to students and teachers on an island damaged by Hurricane Dorian.
North Carolina Public Schools said in a press release that Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Monday the department of public instruction would send 200 iPads to Ocracoke School, where flooding forced 185 students out of their building.
The department says it hopes the iPads will help students stay on schedule with schoolwork until their building can be reopened. Students are currently attending classes in a teaching center.
The release says the Sept. 6 hurricane flooded Ocracoke School with more than 3 feet (1 meter) of water.
Gov. Roy Cooper has asked President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster area so federal funds can be accessed.


AP-WF-09-24-19 1521GMT