Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST
ELECTION 2020-EARLY VOTING
Early voting means 2020 primary is already here for millions
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The Iowa caucuses haven’t yet happened, but millions of Americans are already free to vote. Many of the Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 offer early voting. That gives campaigns a chance to bank votes before results in the first four voting contests can reshape the trajectory of the race. Early voting began in person last week in Minnesota. California, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas are expected to see a strong early voting turnout, either by mail or in person, when it opens next month.
SEA TURTLES FREEZING
120 sea turtles ‘stunned’ during North Carolina cold snap
ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – Rapidly dipping ocean temperatures have been stunning sea turtles off North Carolina’s Outer Banks, causing them to float to the surface of the chilly waters and wash ashore in critical condition. The Virginian-Pilot reports that 120 sea turtles were brought to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island by Wednesday. Teams there are treating the turtles so they can be returned to the sea. Wildlife educator Karen Clark says the cold-blooded creatures can become temporarily immobile when water temperatures suddenly drop below 55 degrees. National Park Service biological technician William Thompson said water temperatures hovered around 55 degrees this week before dropping to 40.
Colorado think tank leader now heads NC’s Locke Foundation
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The new chief executive of North Carolina’s leading conservative think tank comes to the John Locke Foundation from a similar organization in Colorado. The foundation announced this week that Amy O. Cooke is now leading the 30-year-old group. Cooke worked for 16 years with the Denver-based Independence Institute, serving as executive vice president and director of its Energy and Environmental Policy Center. Cooke also will be publisher of the foundation’s Carolina Journal newspaper. Cooke is the foundation’s fourth CEO.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING CHARGE-NORTH CAROLINA
NC sheriff: Man held woman in ‘sexual servitude’ for 5 years
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a tip helped them capture a man accused of keeping a woman as a sex slave for five years. The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office says 48-year-old Salvador Escobar is expected in court Friday. The Asheboro man was arrested Wednesday after deputies received information from the National Human Trafficking Tip Line. A release says Escobar is accused of keeping a woman in “sexual servitude” by withholding basic needs in exchange for forced sexual acts since January 2015. Escobar is charged with felony human trafficking. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
WOMAN MISSING-SENTENCING HEARING
North Carolina woman slated for sentencing skips hearing
MORGANTON, N.C. (AP) – A woman who was scheduled to be sentenced for her part in a 2016 double homicide skipped out on her hearing. News outlets report 35-year-old Brandy Nicole Davis pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory after the fact of murder in March 2019 and was supposed to appear in court on Wednesday. Davis never appeared and arrest warrants have been issued charging her with failure to appear in court. Davis and three others were charged in the deaths of Albert Austin and Spencer Murray, who were found dead inside a burnt-out vehicle in Morganton.
WORLD’S WORST CAT-ADOPTION
Animal shelter says “world’s worst cat” is up for adoption
BAKERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina animal shelter says it has the “world’s worst cat” available for adoption. Mitchell County Animal Rescue in North Carolina is waiving adoption fees in the hope that someone will take the cat named Perdita off their hands. A tongue-in-cheek profile of the foul-tempered feline says her dislikes include “dogs, children, the Dixie Chicks, Disney movies, Christmas and last but NOT least … HUGS.” It says she likes lurking, pretending to be sick and “staring into your soul until you feel as if you may never be cheerful again …” The shelter says it’s received more than 50 applications to adopt her.
TEACHER PAY IMPASSE
NC teachers want info before responding to pay impasse
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s leading teachers lobbying group is seeking more input from members before determining a response to the extended state budget stalemate. Mark Jewell is presidentáof the North Carolina Association of Educators. He said Thursday that options include a teacher walkout. áA caucus within the teacher lobbying group already has been asking teachers how long they’d be willing to stay out of the classroom to get pay raises and benefits. State law says strikes by public employees are illegal. The Republican-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper haven’t been able to agree on a two-year spending plan.
WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT-LAWSUIT
Lawsuit: Woman reported sexual harassment, then got fired
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina grocery store worker who says she was fired after reporting sexual harassment at work has filed a lawsuit against the company. The Charlotte Observer reports the 54-year-old woman accuses an Ingles assistant store manager of inappropriate touching and crude comments toward her while on the job. She says the man also repeatedly expressed his desire to have sexual intercourse with her. The woman says she reported the behavior to the store manager and was fired. The woman filed the federal lawsuit Friday against the Asheville-based chain for employment discrimination. The supermarket didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.