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August 24, 2018
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August 24, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch




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


University head: Confederate statue toppling was a surprise
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The head of North Carolina’s flagship university says activists who tore down a century-old Confederate statue this week took campus officials by surprise.
Chancellor Carol Folt said Thursday that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill expected about 100 people to peacefully protest the earlier arrest of an activist demanding removal of the memorial nicknamed “Silent Sam.”
Instead, a larger crowd gathered and dispersed, and then protesters returned to yank down the statue as banners hid their actions from police.
Folt says officials haven’t finished investigating what happened Monday night, but there have been dozens of campus protests in her five years on campus. She says all were handled in ways that seemed appropriate at the time.
The bronze statue erected in 1913 is in temporary storage.



The Latest: Updated amendment would ease legislative control
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are seeking to scale back the breadth of a proposed constitutional amendment that critics say would dramatically shift the balance of power from the governor to the General Assembly when it comes to boards and commissions.
A key House Republican released bills late Thursday that rewrite two amendments proposals. They’re expected to be debated when a special session begins Friday.
One proposal would delete from a previous amendment some language designed to make clear the legislature controls the appointments and duties of any board or commission it creates. Instead, the proposal only keeps the question of whether the legislature should make appointment decisions for the state elections board, not the governor.
The second proposal largely leaves in place from the original amendment legislation a plan to give the legislature more power by helping name people who could fill judicial vacancies.



North Carolina lottery raises record funds for schools
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s state-run lottery generated record funds for public education during the past fiscal year and once again beat its previous best for ticket sales.
The North Carolina Education Lottery announced Thursday it generated $670 million in profits for the year ending June 30 – the most since the lottery began selling tickets in 2006.
The lottery also announced ticket revenues of $2.6 billion, a 7 percent increase over the year before. Sales have increased every year.
The lottery has transferred nearly $6 billion in profits to the state since its inception. The General Assembly decided to use net lottery profits this fiscal year for prekindergarten, public school support personnel, transportation and building construction and college financial aid.



Police: Customers with no laundry help uncover drug front
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Detectives suspicious over a North Carolina laundromat’s low water bills and customers without laundry say they found out the business was a front for drug sales.
Citing search warrants, WNCN-TV reports police seized 12 pounds of marijuana, 184 hydrocodone pills and $60,000 from the Transform ‘N Go Laundromat in Raleigh and the owner’s home.
After receiving tips, police reviewed utility bills and found it used little water, according to a police report. Detectives wrote that surveillance showed a “steady stream of people enter the business without laundry” and leave quickly.
Booking records show the owner, 35-year-old Ronald Middleton, faces drug-related charges including trafficking marijuana.
No working phone listing for Middleton, who’s in jail, could be found. The public defender’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.



FBI, NC authorities launch school threat awareness campaign
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal agents and North Carolina law enforcement agencies are launching an awareness campaign to remind students that online school threats are not a joke – and are typically felonies.
The FBI and authorities in Wake County and elsewhere kicked off the #ThinkBeforeYouPost! campaign Wednesday. An FBI news release notes that hoax threats, when proven, can result in charges carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Agents say in the aftermath of recent school shootings in Florida and elsewhere, law enforcement around the county has dealt with more school threats, many of them hoaxes.
Law enforcement has to take every threat seriously, draining resources.
John Strong, the head FBI agent in the state, said a strong message needs to be sent with the new school year that threats against schools aren’t a joke – and can result in felony convictions.



North Carolina newspaper asks court to unseal lawsuit
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina newspaper has asked a state appeals court to order the public release of a lawsuit involving a car dealership owner charged in South Carolina with molesting a 15-year-old boy during a NASCAR weekend at Darlington Raceway.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that its attorney argued Wednesday that a Superior Court judge’s decision last year to keep the case sealed was overly broad and should be reversed by the state’s Court of Appeals.
An appeals court panel didn’t immediately rule on the newspaper’s request, which was opposed by a lawyer for parties in the sealed case. That attorney, James A. “Trey” McLean III, argued that the documents should remain sealed to protect children involved in the case.
Other news organizations, including The Associated Press, have supported the Observer’s appeal.



Confederate monuments to get slavery, civil rights context
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Three Confederate monuments on the North Carolina Capitol grounds will feature signs with historical context about slavery and civil rights, following a decision by a state historical panel.
The state Historical Commission also said Wednesday that a monument honoring African-Americans should be added to the grounds.
The commission decided Wednesday against moving the monuments, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s request to do so. Members said even if they supported relocation, a state law means the monuments must stay in place.
After the decision, Cooper decried a 2015 law passed by the GOP-controlled state legislature that sharply restricts the relocation of such memorials.
The decision follows the toppling of a Confederate statue Monday night on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



Driver hits wrong pedal, crashes into N Carolina eatery
(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina driver crashed into a restaurant after she hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes while parking.
Citing a Burlington Police Department release, the Greensboro News & Record reports no one was injured in the Wednesday wreck at a busy Brixx Pizza in Burlington.
The release says impairment isn’t suspected and no charges are being sought against 66-year-old driver Linda Boggs.
It says the building, Boggs’ vehicle, a light pole and a street sign suffered damages totaling about $4,200.