Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING-GUN INSTRUCTOR
N Carolina Sheriff: Gun instructor accidentally shoots self
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a firearms instructor has been injured in an accidental shooting on the job.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement obtained by news outlets Monday that the instructor, a civilian employee, accidentally shot himself in the leg at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center on Sunday afternoon.
Deputies said they responded to the shooting range about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Raleigh, on a call that the instructor had shot himself while re-holstering his gun.
Investigators say the instructor was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered life-threatening. The instructor’s name hasn’t been released.
A government site says the center was built by the county for citizens, hunters, law enforcement officers and others to safely practice target shooting.
Tidal flooding closes Battleship North Carolina early
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – High tidal flooding forced the Battleship North Carolina to close early this week, and officials are warning visitors to check the website before planning a trip.
News outlets report Battleship North Carolina spokeswoman Stacie Greene Hidek says high tidal flooding is expected to continue through the next week and may result in further limited hours. The battleship closed early on Tuesday.
High tidal conditions and rising sea levels have increasingly become a problem for the battleship, which is moored along the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington.
Earlier this year, staff announced a $2 million effort to protect the ship and surrounding park from worsening flooding conditions. It received its first $400,000 grant in September from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Report on pipeline side deal with NC governor to be released
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican legislators are ready to unveil what private investigators found when they scrutinized an agreement between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s office and utilities seeking to build a natural-gas pipeline.
The retired federal agents planned to report their findings on Wednesday to General Assembly government oversight committees.
They were hired about a year ago to examine a 2018 “memorandum of understanding” between the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Cooper’s office. Pipeline builders would pay $58 million toward environmental mitigation, renewable energy and economic development projects along the proposed pipeline’s route.
The agreement was made public the same day a key state regulatory permit for the North Carolina section of the three-state pipeline was announced. Cooper administration officials have repeatedly said the mitigation package was not a prerequisite for the permit.
TOLL LANE CONTRACTOR FINES
NC highway contractor fined $30K per day for unfinished work
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – An Interstate 77 toll lane contractor is being fined $30,000 per day for unfinished work in North Carolina.
The Charlotte Observer reports the ongoing fines from Nov. 1 through Tuesday total $570,000. The project’s developer, I-77 Mobility Partners, and primary contractor, Sugar Creek Construction, were supposed to finish the project by Oct. 31. Failure to do so resulted in a $10,000 daily fine for each of the project’s three segments.
Construction on the $647 million toll lane project started in 2015. The last stretch of the 26-mile project opened to traffic on Nov. 16.
State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jennifer Thompson says unfinished work includes noise walls and paving. Mobility Partners’ director of corporate affairs, Jean Leier, said such work is completed as weather permits.
ODD-SHARKS OFF THE COAST
9 Great white sharks suddenly show up near the Carolinas
OUTER BANKS, N.C. (AP) – It’s not officially Shark Week but for trackers along the East Coast, several great white sharks are putting on a show.
The Charlotte Observer reports nine sharks tagged by the ocean data-gathering organization OCEARCH have appeared near the coast in a five-day span, including two that are about 12 feet (3.66 meters) long.
Tracking shows two sharks near Charleston, South Carolina. Five more are near the Outer Banks. It’s unclear why so many sharks are swimming near shore in the same region, but OCEARCH’s Chris Fischer told The Outer Banks Voice that the area is a key spot in the shark’s migration.
As expected, NC Medicaid managed-care won’t begin on time
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s Medicaid program won’t shift over to managed-care benefits as scheduled early next year, marking the largest casualty to date from the months-long budget stalemate between Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Republican lawmakers.
Tuesday’s suspension of the managed-care initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services was expected. Legislators and the Cooper administration hadn’t been able to reach an agreement on final spending and program changes needed to get managed care off the ground on Feb. 1.
DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen had said a deal was needed by mid-November. Legislators adjourned for the year last week.
Cooper has vetoed two bills containing the necessary managed-care language. He wants expansion of Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults to be considered along with managed care.
Report: Plane broke up in flight before hitting townhouse
(Information from: WSB-TV, http://www.wsbtv.com/index.html)
ATLANTA (AP) – A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says a small airplane broke up in flight before crashing into a Georgia townhouse last month.
WSB-TV says the preliminary report doesn’t identify the cause of the Oct. 30 crash but includes information investigators will use to determine it.
The single-engine Piper-28 slammed into the top floor of a townhouse killing North Carolinians 59-year-old pilot Leslie Csanyi Jr and 60-year-old Scott Lowrie.
The agency says shortly after takeoff from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, the pilot reported losing the vacuum gauge.
WSB-TV engineer and pilot Cliff Rogers says the vacuum gauge controls instruments in the cockpit that tell the pilot things such as direction, altitude and pitching direction.
The final report from the agency is expected to take several months.
Group hopes to prevent “opossum dropping” on New Year’s Eve
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A movement is growing in North Carolina to prevent the act of so-called “opossum dropping.”
The practice involves suspending an opossum in a transparent box on New Year’s Eve and slowly lowering it the ground as people count down to midnight.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported Monday that a western North Carolina town had conducted opossum drops for 24 years.
Brasstown in Clay County dropped its last opossum in 2018. But the organization Animal Help Now wants to prevent anyone from doing it elsewhere. That will require a change to state law that allows people to do anything they want to opossums for five days each year.
The group started a petition and gathered almost 160,000 signatures before the petition closed. The group says it’s continuing its legislative efforts.