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CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina county removes Confederate statue
PITTSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A Confederate statue has been removed overnight from a historic North Carolina courthouse.
Chatham County officials issued a news release late Tuesday night saying work had begun to take down the soldier that stood in front of the courthouse in Pittsboro since 1907.
News outlets report that a subdued crowd of several dozen watched the work. Even the base of the statue was gone before dawn.
It has been rare for public officials to take down Confederate statues in North Carolina since the enactment of a 2015 state historic monuments law restricting the removal of public monuments.
But county officials argued in court that the monument was private property, owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and a judge hearing the group’s challenge declined to block the removal.
HOSPITAL SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Relatives question why man was shot 5 times at hospital
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Relatives of a man who was shot and killed at a North Carolina hospital say they have questions, including why a police officer shot him repeatedly.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that relatives of Treva Smutherman raised their questions publicly at a lawyer’s office Tuesday, the day before a funeral was scheduled for the 31-year-old.
Authorities have said Smutherman tried to take a deputy’s weapon while in the emergency room of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center on Nov. 6. Fayetteville police say the deputy was shot in the ensuing struggle.
Police say a nearby Fayetteville police detective shot and killed Smutherman, who was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. He had been arrested on armed robbery charges.
Attorney Allen Rogers says the family questions why Smutherman was shot five times.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Report: Info points to improper action by Cooper on pipeline
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Private investigators say information they collected appears to show Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper improperly used his authority to make builders of a natural-gas pipeline agree to a $58 million mitigation fund under the governor’s control.
The ex-federal agents released a report on Wednesday to the Republican-controlled legislative committee that hired them a year ago to review the January 2018 side deal between Cooper’s office and utilities working on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Cooper’s environmental department announced a key water permit had been issued the same day the “memorandum of understanding” with the governor’s office was unveiled.
Cooper and aides have said repeatedly the mitigation package wasn’t a prerequisite for the permit. Republicans weren’t convinced, leading to work by the investigations firm.
Wednesday’s report didn’t focus specifically on whether crimes occurred.
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.
Reopening N Carolina Highway 12 delayed by storm repairs
OCRACOKE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the only state highway on Ocracoke Island will not reopen at the end of the week as originally planned.
A news release from the department on Tuesday says while of N.C. Highway 12 didn’t receive any structural damage from last weekend’s storm, there were dune breaches in the area under repair after Hurricane Dorian. This highway section has been closed since Dorian struck in September. It’s unclear when it will reopen.
Meanwhile, NCDOT says Highway 12 on Hatteras Island should open again on Wednesday if no additional damage is found. The highway in Dare County has been closed since 5 p.m. Saturday due to the powerful weekend storm that washed out several dunes and blew sand and ocean water onto the highway.
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.
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.