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NORTH CAROLINA-BALLOT BATTLE
Future of N. Carolina amendment questions on ballot in court
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge is ready to listen to arguments about how many constitutional amendments should be on North Carolina ballots this fall.
The move comes after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and interest groups sued to block some of the questions. Attorneys are expected in a Wake County courtroom Tuesday. Cooper, the state NAACP and Clean Air Carolina have requested the removal of referendums they say contain false and misleading questions written by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Cooper wants two of the six amendments removed. The other groups want four removed. Legislative leaders believe all six should be voted on.
Some of the challenged amendments would erode executive branch powers and shift them to the legislature. There’s also a voter identification amendment and one to reduce the state’s income tax rate cap.
NORTH CAROLINA-BALLOT BATTLE-THE LATEST
The Latest: Judge prevents finalizing North Carolina ballots
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge is ordering North Carolina election officials not to finalize ballots while she receives more information about lawsuits filed by two judicial candidates fighting a new law that would leave off their new political affiliations.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Rebecca Holt didn’t rule specifically Monday whether Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin and District Court hopeful Rebecca Edwards would have their party labels on the ballots, like their opponents. Holt asked lawyers for the candidates and for state officials the candidates sued earlier Monday to file briefs and prepare for an Aug. 13 hearing.
The General Assembly finalized a bill over the weekend that says a judicial candidate’s party won’t be on the ballot if the person changed parties less than 90 days before filing.
State election officials have said the deadline for language for statewide ballot items is this week. It’s unclear what a delay would mean.
Girl bitten by shark off North Carolina beach
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a shark bit a girl’s calf as she swam off North Carolina’s southeast coast.
The Charlotte Observer reports it happened Sunday morning off a beach on the east side of Bald Head Island.
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office released a report that states the shark bit the girl’s right calf as she swam, but she was on a sandbar when she was first heard screaming. The girl’s father ferried her to the beach on a surf board and a surfing instructor nearby witnessed the scene and called 911. She was taken to a hospital in Wilmington.
The Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety said in a statement the girl was “bitten by something believed to be a juvenile shark,” but the wound wasn’t life-threatening.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
Appeals court tosses key permits for Atlantic Coast pipeline
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A federal appeals court has thrown out two key permits for the Atlantic Coast pipeline.
Environmental groups say the ruling Monday by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means construction should be halted on the 600-mile natural gas pipeline.
The judges said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit was “arbitrary and capricious” because it provided no specific limits for the allowable impact on five threatened or endangered species.
They also vacated a right-of-way permit from the U.S. National Park Service because it allows the pipeline to pass underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway without explaining how the project would not be inconsistent with the scenic parkway, part of the National Park System.
Lead developer Dominion Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Panel summarizing constitutional amendments makes progress
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A panel tasked with writing summaries for the public describing six proposed amendments to North Carolina’s constitution on November ballots made progress while meeting the first time at full strength.
The Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission approved language Monday to describe two proposed amendments that would enshrine the right to hunt and fish and expand crime victims’ rights. Work on the other four amendments was delayed until lawsuits filed Monday challenging whether those questions should be voted on this fall are resolved.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein attended last week’s first meeting but couldn’t officially conduct business because Legislative Building Administrator Paul Coble was absent. Coble wanted to wait until the General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of legislation narrowing the panel’s work.
Police: Man suspected of breaking into business fatally shot
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Police say it appears that a 20-year-old man broke into a store in North Carolina and was fatally shot by the owner of the business.
News outlets report the owner of the American Beauty Garden Center called 911 to say he was responding to an alarm Monday morning, around the same time as officers responded to a call from an alarm company.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police statement says the owner called back and said that he’d shot someone. Officers located 20-year-old Justin Tyler Anderson behind the business. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Based upon the initial investigation, it appears Anderson broke into the business by smashing the front glass door. When the owner arrived at the scene, police say Anderson ran out the front door and was shot by the owner. An investigation is ongoing.
Once sentenced to death, killer due to be freed next month
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A killer once sentenced to North Carolina’s death row for killing a woman in a Durham church parking lot 30 years ago is being freed from prison next month.
North Carolina’s parole commission said Monday that 50-year-old James McDowell will be released before the end of his life sentence for first-degree murder. McDowell shot and killed Doris Gillie in her car as she was leaving the Durham Gospel Center after a 1987 prayer service.
The state Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission did not release documents Monday explaining its decision to release McDowell early. The commission decides parole questions for criminals who committed crimes before October 1994, when early release was eliminated.
The state Supreme Court in 1991 found errors in McDowell’s sentencing and converted his death sentence to life.
LEMONADE STAND STICKUP
Lemonade stand robber on the run; DNA could help track him
MONROE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a teenager who held up a North Carolina lemonade stand for $17 is still at large. They’re hoping to track him down through surveillance footage and possible DNA and fingerprint tests.
Union County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Tony Underwood said Monday that investigators are still looking for the suspect, who the 9-year-old lemonade vendor said pointed a black gun at him and took his cash box.