Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Green thumbs up from Democrat after House speaker cuts lawn
KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina Democratic voter decided the grass was greener supporting the Republican candidate in her district – who happens to be powerful state House Speaker Tim Moore – when he surprised her with mowing her lawn.
Gwendolyn Feemster of Kings Mountain says Moore visited her house last weekend with campaign fliers. Moore is seeking re-election to his local district.
The Shelby Star reports Feemster asked Moore what he had done for Kings Mountain and joked he could help her by cutting the grass. Illness and other factors prevent her from doing it.
The newspaper says Feemster came home the next day and found Moore mowing. Moore says he figured had time to help someone.
Feemster is a registered Democrat but says she now plans to support Moore in November.
NC police search for suspects in firework attack on bar
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina are looking for whoever threw a firework that exploded amid people sitting outdoors at a North Carolina bar.
Asheville police released surveillance video showing an SUV whizzing past the patio tables just before the firework explodes, showing the area with sparks as people scramble for safety. Customers scatter as several smaller explosions follow.
Police say one of the customers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the early Wednesday attack on the Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge.
The victims have not been identified. Police are seeking suspects, and have not identified a potential motive.
Panel says firefighter’s cancer death was in ‘line of duty’
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Industrial Commission says a firefighter’s death from cancer was a “line of duty death.”
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the ruling in the death of Asheville Fire Department Engineer Will Willis is only the second such in state history for a firefighter’s cancer death. Willis died Feb. 27, on his 34th birthday, from a rare form of kidney cancer.
Chief State Fire Marshal Brian Taylor says the ruling sets a precedent, and benefits Willis’ family. His family will receive disability benefits and his children will get a free college education at a state public university. His name will be added to a state memorial in Raleigh.
A 2013 Centers for Disease Control study said firefighters were more likely than the general U.S. population to die of cancer.
BUSINESS I-40 CLOSURE
Business I-40 to close in Winston-Salem for bridge removal
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The next shutdown of Business Interstate 40 through a North Carolina city involves taking down a bridge.
The N.C. Department of Transportation says in a news release that contractors will close the highway in both directions Friday between Cloverdale Avenue and Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem for the bridge demolition.
Closures will take place from 10 p.m. Friday until 4 p.m. Sunday.
The latest shutdown is in advance of the two-year closure for the improvement project.
Traffic will be detoured in opposite directions using Cloverdale Avenue, West First Street and Peters Creek Parkway.
STATE EDUCATION CHAIR RESIGNS
This story has been corrected to show that North Carolina’s governor is Roy Cooper.
N Carolina Board of Education chair announces resignation
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Board of Education chair has announced he’s resigning early, citing issues with other members having to serve past their terms.
News outlets report 79-year-old Bill Cobey submitted his resignation Thursday. Cobey’s term on the board would have ended in March. His resignation goes into effect after a Sept. 6 board meeting where a new chairperson will be elected. The resignation means Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will be able to appoint a successor to complete the term.
Cobey has served as the chair for more than five years and says he wants to “move on so that others can lead.” He also says he wants to avoid serving past his term’s expiration, which board members Wayne McDevitt and Tricia Willoughby are doing despite their terms ending last year.
OFFICERS CHARGED-NORTH CAROLINA
Video shows white trooper yanking black driver to ground
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – New video of a white North Carolina state trooper yanking a black driver to the ground is being reviewed to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
A judge ordered the release Thursday of dashboard video showing Trooper Michael G. Blake arresting Kimberly Ingram in March.
The video shows Blake dragging Ingram out of her car and appearing to knee her in the back while handcuffing her.
Ingram filed a civil suit against the Highway Patrol. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Thursday she is reviewing the case to determine if charges are warranted against Blake.
Separately, Blake already faces criminal charges in the beating of a Raleigh pedestrian in April.
Defense attorney Joe Cheshire said Blake has served the state honorably and videos shouldn’t be taken out of context.
RAINFALL RECORDS-NORTH CAROLINA
Rainfall records set across North Carolina during soggy July
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Rainfall records were set across North Carolina during July, and the National Weather Service suggests August will bring more wet weather.
The weather service reported Cape Hatteras got 20.31 inches (50 centimeters) of rain last month, well above the normal of 4.99 inches (12.66 centimeters), based on a 30-year average. It’s the wettest July on record and the second wettest month ever, trailing only the 21.40 inches (54 centimeters) that fell on Cape Hatteras in September 1999 due to Hurricane Floyd.
Wilmington, with 17.10 inches (43 centimeters), and Asheville, with 6.58 inches (16 centimeters), also set records for the month.
National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Badgett said while the specific weather pattern has yet to be determined, the run of wet weather is expected to continue in August.
911 OUTAGE-MINNESOTA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Vendor blamed for 911 outage in 3 states
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Officials in Minnesota say a third-party vendor performing work on a 911 system caused a widespread service failure in Minnesota, and that the outage affected North Dakota and North Carolina too.
Several cities and counties scrambled to broadcast backup emergency phone numbers during the hour-long outage Wednesday afternoon. Telecommunications company CenturyLink, which operates 911 networks in the three states, said Thursday it’s investigating the causes.
Dana Wahlberg, director of Minnesota’s Emergency Communications Networks, says some callers were still able to reach emergency services during the interruption. The department is reviewing how many emergency centers were affected.
CenturyLink Spokesman Frank Tutalo says a third-party vendor’s work affected service. He did not immediately return messages seeking comment on the vendor and the scope of the outage.