AP-NC Newswatch

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November 21, 2019
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November 21, 2019
AP-NC Newswatch




Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST



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.



Interstate 85 ramp to close for 2 nights for NC bridge work
THOMASVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina transportation contractors plan to close an Interstate 85 ramp for two overnight periods this week.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says in a news release that the ramp from N.C. 109/Randolph Street onto southbound I-85 is set to close from 8 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday and again during the same hours from Friday evening to Saturday morning. The closure allows crews to perform preservation work on the bridge over the CSX railroad tracks.
The news release says that while the ramp is closed, traffic will be detoured? to follow I-85 North to Finch Farm Road to access I-85 South.



Police: 2 charged in NC robbery that ended in fatal shooting
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say two people have been charged in a robbery turned shootout in which one person was fatally wounded and two others were hurt.
News outlets report 22-year-old Danielle Miller and 19-year-old Andres Harris have been arrested on charges including assault with a deadly weapon. Winston-Salem police say a man went to sell Miller drugs Tuesday night and was confronted by Harris and Ajian Lynell Jones, who attempted to rob him.
Police say the trio got into a gun fight that wounded all of them and left an area home heavily damaged. Harris, Jones and Miller fled together in a car in which the two men were later found suffering gunshot wounds. They were hospitalized, and the 22-year-old Jones died. The other man also has been hospitalized.



The Latest: NC governor says facts on his side over pipeline
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says the “facts are on our side” when it comes to the legality of creating a special $58 million mitigation fund his office sought from utilities wanting to build a natural gas pipeline.
A private investigation requested by legislative Republicans and released Wednesday declared that information appears to show Cooper “improperly used the authority and influence of his office” to get the fund and put it under his control.
But Cooper told reporters at a pre-Thanksgiving turkey “pardoning” outside Cooper’s residence that a partisan General Assembly “is distorting facts” and knows there’s nothing wrong with the fund.
Cooper says his administration provided tens of thousands of documents to lawmakers and made individuals available to discuss the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. He says he was trying to boost economic development in eastern North Carolina, where the three-state pipeline is routed.



Mom charged after child dies in fall from airport escalator
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have filed a misdemeanor child abuse charge against a woman whose 3-year-old son fell from an airport escalator.
News sources report Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have issued warrants charging Jiterria Lightner in the death of 3-year-old Jaiden Cowart on Sept. 25 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The child was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries after the fall and died five days later.
WBTV reports Michael Greene, an attorney for Lightner, said his client and her three young children were waiting to be picked up at the airport when the accident occurred.



North Carolina Sen. Rick Gunn won’t seek reelection in 2020
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A five-term North Carolina state legislator known for advancing legislation that benefits the alcohol and restaurant industries and other business interests won’t seek reelection next year.
Republican Sen. Rick Gunn of Alamance County made the announcement on Wednesday. Candidate filing for 2020 legislative elections begins in less than two weeks.
Gunn says he’s stepping down because he wants to fulfill a longtime goal of working with his two sons in a joint business venture.
The 61-year-old Gunn joined the Senate in 2011 and is now a chairman of the commerce and insurance committee. He’s worked to ease alcoholic beverage control laws to help the state’s distilleries grow. Gunn may be best known for helping pass a 2017 measure that lets counties allow alcohol sales at 10 a.m., instead of noon.



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.



Whistleblower raises safety alarm about air traffic control
WASHINGTON (AP) – A whistle-blowing flight controller says changes in air traffic control procedures at a major center in Florida raise the risk of a mid-air collision, but the Federal Aviation Administration disputes the claim.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel said Wednesday that it notified the White House and Congress of the controller’s allegations.
The whistleblower’s complaint focuses on changes by managers at a center near Jacksonville, Florida, that controls flights over parts of five states and the Gulf of Mexico.
The FAA says the procedures in use at the Florida facility are used elsewhere around the country and comply with its standards for altitude separation of planes.



AP-WF-11-21-19 1120GMT