Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Special session being considered to revisit ballot questions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republican legislators are weighing whether to reconvene the General Assembly to rewrite two ballot questions that would alter the state constitution now that a court blocked them from being voted on this fall.
House Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis said Wednesday he’s recommended to fellow GOP members they call a special session. But he doesn’t know whether Republicans can bring back to Raleigh fast enough the 72 House members needed to approve alterations.
Senate leader Phil Berger’s office also says a special session is one option being discussed.
A majority on a three-judge panel Tuesday sided with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the state NAACP to block two questions because their language is unclear. Several parties in the case – including legislative leaders – filed appeals motions Wednesday.
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
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.
GENEALOGY DATA-RAPE ARREST
Police: Genealogy helps ID rape suspect in decade-old cases
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say they used online genealogical data to identify and track down a suspect in a series of unsolved rapes dating back a decade.
The Fayetteville Police Department issued a news release Wednesday saying that 43-year-old Darold Wayne Bowden has been charged with multiple rape counts related to six assaults from 2006 to 2008.
Lt. John Somerindyke said at a news conference that police submitted crime-scene DNA evidence to a company that compared it with online genealogical data.
He says that company narrowed it to Bowden as a person of interest, and they obtained a current sample of his DNA to confirm his link to the crimes.
Police declined to say how they obtained the current sample.
A police spokeswoman didn’t know if Bowden has an attorney.
CAR HITS RESTAURANT
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.
Judge: Constitution Party candidates can appear on ballot
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A new North Carolina political party has won a federal court victory so that a handful of its candidates can appear on the November ballot despite a new state law.
A judge on Wednesday halted enforcement of the law finalized in June that would prevent three candidates chosen by the Constitution Party of North Carolina’s convention from running because they had lost in another party’s primary in May.
The party sued the state elections board, calling it unconstitutional. The judge granted an injunction, writing that retroactively removing the candidates was an “erratic execution” of election laws. The Constitution Party gained official recognition from the state just before the sore-loser law passed.
The state elections board and Republican legislative leaders didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment on the decision.
Mentally ill man pleads guilty to helping radicals in Syria
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A mentally ill North Carolina man who the government for years fought to prosecute as an example to others considering joining militant fighters in Syria is pleading guilty.
Basit Sheikh’s plea bargain disclosed in a Raleigh federal courtroom Wednesday would see the 34-year-old released from prison in two years or less. His father says Sheikh would return to his family’s home in suburban Cary after release.
Sheikh was forcibly medicated for schizophrenia by government doctors so he could be prosecuted.
He was an early arrest in the FBI’s effort to find and arrest Americans before they join terrorist groups in Syria, and perhaps return home battle-hardened. He’s spent almost five years in custody since his arrested at Raleigh’s airport to start his journey to the Middle East.
POLE DANCING TEACHER
School district suspends pole-dancing teacher
RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) – A middle school teacher who moonlights as a pole-dance instructor has been suspended by a North Carolina school district.
A spokeswoman for Hoke County’s public schools didn’t specify why Kandice Mason was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.
Mason tells WTVD-TV that school officials saw a video of her pole dancing that she posted to her private Facebook account. She says school officials cited a policy that says employees are role models who are “responsible for their public conduct even when they are not performing their job duties.”
Mason says she isn’t ashamed of her part-time pastime and sees pole dancing as an artform and a good way to stay in shape.
Mason was due to start teaching sixth grade at West Hoke County Middle School.
DOLL MISTAKEN FOR BABY
Infant saved, stolen car found after doll mistaken for baby
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a man saw a doll inside a parked truck and called police about an unresponsive infant, leading to the recovery of stolen truck and real baby.
Lumberton Police Department Capt. Terry Parker tells The Fayetteville Observer that a woman reported her pickup truck stolen and 3-week-old baby missing Monday. Parker says the woman was taking two other children inside a house when someone stole the vehicle and baby inside it.
Police issued an alert, and Parker says the truck and baby were abandoned in a nearby parking lot minutes later. He says a man walking past the truck noticed a window was down and peered inside. Parker says the man saw a doll lying on the floor and called police.
Parker says no arrests were made as of Tuesday.