Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Appalachian Regional Commission announces $44.4M initiative
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced $44.4 million for 54 projects affecting coal-impacted communities in Appalachian states.
The commission said Tuesday that the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative aims to create or retain over 5,700 jobs. It said the initiative also seeks to leverage more than $39 million in private investment, create or retain 2,940 businesses and train thousands of workers and students.
More than $14.6 million will develop business incubators, increase access to capital and provide other services in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Over $13 million will support broadband development in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
And more than $8.3 million will focus on strategies to strengthen recovery in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
HOUSE SPEAKER-DUKE ENERGY
House speaker sees no conflict between lawsuit, utility bill
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore is suing Duke Energy on behalf of the family of a farmer electrocuted in 2016.
The Republican says he sees no conflict of interest as the utility seeks passage of legislation that could alter how power rates and profits are set.
WRAL-TV reports Moore filed the negligence lawsuit last year in Cleveland County, where he lives. The lawsuit alleges a power line that the tractor’s sprayer boom touched was too low. Moore said this week the lawsuit could go to trial in February.
Duke Energy lobbyists have been working this year to pass a rate-setting bill, which could get a final vote as early as Thursday in the House. The company says the lawsuit is being treated like any other personal injury matter.
Rural broadband spending measure heading to NC governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Another spending proposal that contains another small portion of the North Carolina state budget bill idled since Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto is now heading to his desk.
The House gave final legislative approval on Tuesday to a measure which expands a recently created matching grant program to improve rural broadband access. It directs $15 million be set aside for the program annually for the next 10 years.
The bill is the latest “mini-budget” measure that Republicans have advanced by taking provisions from the vetoed budget and running them separately.
More spending measures addressing transportation and community college spending will be considered on Wednesday by the House. The full Senate is slated to debate bills that would fund a new juvenile justice initiative and enact several tax-related measures in the budget.
Video shows sheriff’s deputy throwing punch at woman
(Information from: WRAL-TV, http://www.wral.com)
DUDLEY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office is reviewing an incident captured on video that showed a deputy punching a woman he was trying to remove from the county fair.
News sources say a video they received showed two people being led out of the Wayne County Regional Agricultural Fair by the sheriff’s deputy last Saturday.
WRAL reports Tziah Kelly said she got in the middle while deputies were trying to break up a scuffle involving her 16-year-old brother. She acknowledged that she pulled away from a deputy as she was being led out, and he then took a swing at her. The video shows her swinging back before the two were separated.
Kelly was charged with resisting arrest and other offenses.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office professional standards division is investigating.
COLD CASE-DIRECTOR’S KILLING
Man charged in Los Angeles with 1985 death of TV director
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Prosecutors have charged a man in the cold-case killing of a TV director who worked on “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and other shows more than three decades ago.
The district attorney’s office in Los Angeles said Tuesday that 53-year old Edwin Jerry Hiatt is facing one count of murder with a special allegation that he used a deadly weapon to kill director Barry Crane.
Officials say Hiatt was linked to the 1985 killing with DNA evidence.
Hiatt was arrested in North Carolina and is awaiting extradition to California. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney.
Investigators believe the 57-year-old Crane was bludgeoned with a large ceramic statue before being found with a telephone cord wrapped around his neck.
Former NC Blue Cross CEO found guilty of DWI, child abuse
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) – The former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina has been found guilty of charges stemming from a car crash on an interstate while his two daughters were in the vehicle.
News sources report Patrick Conway was found guilty of driving while impaired and misdemeanor child abuse in a Randolph County courtroom Tuesday. Court records show Conway was charged after a June 22 crash on Interstate 85 in Randolph County in which his SUV collided with a tractor-trailer.
Conway’s attorney, Jonathan Megerian, argued that North Carolina child abuse laws aren’t intended to be applied in cases in which children aren’t injured and when the risk of injury is accidental. However, Judge Sarah Neely Lanier ruled Conway guilty on all charges.
Megerian said he will appeal the judge’s verdict.
Police chief to retire, come back for GOP convention
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The police chief in North Carolina’s largest city says he will retire at the end of the year, but will return next year and work through the Republican National Convention.
The Charlotte Observer reports Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney had said previously that he planned to stay on the job through the convention, which is scheduled for next August. The city gave no explanation for the unique decision, which was announced on Monday.
City Manager Marcus Jones said in a statement that he wanted Putney to return because of Putney’s experience with the city’s handling of the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and his involvement with the GOP convention planning.
Putney has been chief since 2015, replacing former Chief Rodney Monroe.
Flight attendant may have exposed passengers to Hepatitis A
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Health officials in North Carolina say more than a dozen people may have been exposed to hepatitis A on a recent flight.
News outlets report the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it was notified on Oct. 1 that a flight attendant had a confirmed case.
The Mecklenburg County Health Department says it contacted 18 Charlotte-area passengers who were on the American Airlines flight Sept. 21 from San Francisco to Charlotte. Spokeswoman Rebecca Carter says those passengers have since been vaccinated.
American Airlines released a statement saying it’s in close contact with the CDC and public health officials and will coordinate with them on any required health and safety related measures.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by contaminated food or water.