Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Storms destroy Pennsylvania houses, cause power woes
Homes have been destroyed in Pennsylvania and hundreds of thousands of utility customers were left without power after severe thunderstorms struck the Eastern Seaboard.
At least 420,000 customers from South Carolina up to Maine and in Ohio were without power just before midnight Thursday.
In Pennsylvania, Delaware County Emergency Management Director Tim Boyce told WPVI-TV on Friday that eight homes were destroyed and dozens were damaged.
More than 100,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in the Philadelphia suburbs early Friday. More outages occurred in western Pennsylvania, where storms caused flooding, mudslides and road closures.
Trees also toppled in New Jersey, which initially had more than 25,000 homes and businesses without power.
The weather also caused damage, outages and commuter delays across New York’s Long Island.
North Carolina police officer expected to survive shooting
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – A police officer in North Carolina was wounded when multiple shots were fired during an FBI raid.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries. He was part of an FBI operation that was serving a search warrant in Gastonia.
John Strong is a special agent in charge of the FBI’s North Carolina office. He told the newspaper that the Gastonia police officer was part of an FBI task force that focuses on gangs, drugs and organized crime.
Strong said multiple shots were fired and that one person is in custody and is being questioned about the incident.
Strong said it wasn’t clear if officers returned fire. He said the person being questioned lives at the home where the search warrant was being served.
Some homeless shelters bar men over security concerns
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Cold weather is hitting western North Carolina but fewer homeless shelters are allowing men inside.
The Citizen Times reports that the Asheville Homeless Coalition called a “code purple” for Friday. That means organizations will open shelters from the cold.
But in recent years, a number of shelters have said they would no longer host men. The shelters cite growing security concerns and an inability to ensure the safety of women and children. They also said they need more support from local police.
A yearly census of the homeless in the area found that more than 70 percent were men.
Police: Man gets naked at church, punches churchgoer in head
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina arrested a man who they say stripped naked at a church and punched a church member in the head.
Gastonia police told news outlets 39-year-old Christopher Patton Gossage became disruptive inside H.I.S. Frontline Ministry on Sunday. When church leaders tried to escort Gossage out, investigators say he took off his shirt, ran inside and grabbed the preacher. He was taken outside, where he took off the rest of his clothes and threw a punch.
Police said officers struggled with Gossage during his arrest and said he tried to avoid handcuffs by spitting on an officer and trying to bite another officer.
Police charged Gossage with indecent exposure and several misdemeanors. He’s in jail on bond. It’s not known if he has an attorney who can comment.
Prosecutors announce guilty plea in $9M Medicaid fraud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a man has pleaded guilty to a scheme that defrauded North Carolina Medicaid of at least $9.4 million through businesses claiming to help at-risk youth.
The Charlotte-based U.S. Attorney’s Office says in a news release that 39-year-old Tony Garrett Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday to health care fraud conspiracy and tax evasion.
The news release says that Taylor conspired with others from 2015 to 2017 to submit fraudulent reimbursement claims for services that were never provided. Prosecutors say they used a series of entities purporting to offer behavioral health to at-risk youth. Three others have pleaded guilty in the scheme and a fourth is awaiting trial.
A defense attorney for Taylor didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.
NC teacher accused of asking students about God suspended
FOUR OAKS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school district is investigating complaints that a teacher asked students about their beliefs in God.
Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Jim Causby told news outlets the teacher is suspended with pay while the district looks into the reports. He didn’t provide additional detail on the circumstances surrounding the complaints.
Causby stated that “it is never appropriate for a teacher to segregate students based on religious, political or personal beliefs.” He added that it’s not appropriate for a teacher “to even ask” what students’ beliefs are. He said students should never be instructed not to share classroom activities with parents.
News outlets say the incident happened at a high school about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Raleigh.
Federal laws prevent students from being required to answer questions about religious practices.
SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS-NORTH CAROLINA
NC legislators pass bill to close sexual assault loopholes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have approved a wide-ranging sexual abuse bill that closes two loopholes involving assault brought about by years-old court decisions.
Both the Senate and House on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that closes loopholes involving revocation of consent and sex with a person incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature.
Advocates said North Carolina is the only state in the country where a woman can’t revoke consent to have sex once sex has begun. They also said North Carolina is one of fewer than 10 states where sexual assault laws don’t recognize people who were incapacitated because of their own action as victims.
The bill fixes those two issues as well as making it illegal to drug someone’s drink.
NC legislature goes home, still without budget resolution
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has gone home for a brief respite still without a final two-year budget and Medicaid deals after nine months of legislating.
The legislature adjourned its session late Thursday, but lawmakers will come back in two weeks for congressional redistricting and possible negotiations between House and Senate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper vetoed the GOP’s two-year budget bill in June. Republican leaders this week still couldn’t locate a Senate Democrat or two to join them in completing a veto override, even after unveiling a bill that could have raised teacher and university pay even higher than the budget directs.
There’s still no movement on Medicaid expansion, which Cooper wants. And funding to carry out Medicaid managed care is stuck in a vetoed bill.