Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
Replacement scramble on as legislative hopefuls drop out
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Local North Carolina party activists are scrambling for replacement candidates now that several General Assembly hopefuls are dropping out of races.
The Insider state government news service reported Wednesday that 10 challengers of incumbent House or Senate members are pulling out of their races or have already withdrawn. Local party leaders have until next week to choose replacement candidates whose names would appear on ballots. The previous candidate’s name remains even if a successor candidate is chosen later.
Dropouts include seven Democrats, two Republicans and one Libertarian in a year when both major parties are fielding candidates for nearly every one of the 170 legislative seats.
Incumbents who now may face replacement candidates include Republican Sen. Deanna Ballard of Watauga County and Rep. Dennis Riddell of Alamance County.
N Carolina won’t allow candidates to accept cryptocurrencies
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Candidates for political office in North Carolina will not be allowed to accept campaign donation in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
In a July letter, State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach told Emmanuel Wilder that cryptocurrencies cannot be valued reliably, and state campaign finance laws are written with monetary limits defined in U.S. dollars.
The News & Observer reports Wilder is a Republican challenging incumbent Democrat Gale Adcock in House District 41. He had asked earlier this year if he could accept donations in digital currency.
In 2014, the Federal Election Commission said candidates for federal office could accept Bitcoin donations. But Strach says the board isn’t confident it could regulate cyptocurrency contributions.
Wilder said in a statement that he’s disappointed but appreciative of the board’s consideration.
SCHOOL FUNDING LAWSUIT
Public schools owed $750M by state bring lawsuit
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina school districts are suing state officials to collect hundreds of millions of dollars owed to schools across the state.
The North Carolina School Boards Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning, reviving a decades-long legal battle over nearly $750 million in state fines never placed in a school fund between 1996 and 2005. The state’s constitution requires certain fines and forfeitures collected by state agencies to be placed in a fund for public schools.
School districts first sued the state in 1998, and the case reached the state’s supreme court. Wake County Superior Court ruled in favor of the districts in 2008, but stopped short of ordering the legislature to pay, saying it was beyond the scope of judiciary powers outlined in the state’s constitution.
Police: Officer shot at man driving toward him at NC airport
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A police officer fired shots at a man who he says was trying to run him over in a parking deck at a North Carolina airport.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney tells news outlets that an officer responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport tried to approach the car Tuesday night. He said he fired his weapon when the suspect drove toward him.
The suspect fled, and police say a man with gunshot wounds arrived at a Charlotte hospital shortly thereafter.
The man and his vehicle matched the description an airport worker gave police, who are investigating whether he’s the suspect. The wounds are believed to be non-life-threatening. The department’s internal affairs bureau also is investigating.
Athlete, Duke resolve lawsuit over sexual misconduct policy
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A breach-of-contract lawsuit brought against Duke University by a soccer player accused of sexual misconduct has been resolved, but neither party will reveal the terms.
The News & Observer reports the case ended Monday, months after Ciaran McKenna won a permanent injunction preventing Duke from punishing him with a six-semester suspension.
Another student had accused McKenna of sexual misconduct during a 2015 encounter. He was found responsible in an internal disciplinary process at the university, but his lawsuit contended Duke mishandled the case. His lawyers used his signed letter-of-intent and scholarship letter to argue Duke broke its agreement with the player by holding two campus hearings, going against written procedure.
His attorney, Emilia Beskind, says McKenna is currently a student at Duke in good standing and with no disciplinary record.
MILITARY IMPERSONATOR-HELICOPTER-THE LATEST
The Latest: Man gets 6 months for impersonating general
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge had stern words as he sentenced a man to six months in prison for impersonating an Army general while landing a chartered helicopter at a North Carolina corporate headquarters.
U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle also imposed a year of supervised release for Christian Desgroux on a charge of impersonating a military officer. Desgroux, who pleaded guilty in June, will be credited for more than five months in jail since he was arrested last year.
Federal agents say Desgroux landed the helicopter last November at the corporate campus of SAS Institute, saying he was on a mission authorized by the president. Authorities say the false story was meant to impress a woman who worked there.
Boyle sharply questioned Desgroux about why he wore a general’s uniform despite never serving in the U.S. military.
The judge said: “So it was like Halloween every day of the week?”
Firefighters: Man dies after falling out of tube in river
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A man who was pulled from a North Carolina river has died following what rescuers believe was a tubing accident.
Asheville Fire Department spokeswoman Kelley Klope tells news outlets in a statement that 63-year-old Lawrence Ham died Tuesday afternoon. She says the Sumter, South Carolina man had fallen out of a tube in the French Broad River.
Klope says two men who were eating lunch along the river jumped in and pulled Ham from the water. Kenny Waldron and Jacob Cabe were doing CPR when rescuers arrived. Ham was taken to a hospital but could not be revived.
She says the river was running higher and faster than usual following days of rain.
RED WOLVES-NORTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR
North Carolina gov: Endangered wolf protection should stay
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s governor is urging federal authorities not to reduce protections for endangered red wolves that can only be found in the state.
In a letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper asked the agency to maintain the current five-county conservation area for the wolves.
Only about 35 red wolves remain in the wild, all in eastern North Carolina.
In June, the federal government proposed shrinking the current conservation area and lifting restrictions on shooting wolves that leave it. North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton says such changes could lead to the species’ extinction.
Cooper’s request clashes with the stance taken by North Carolina’s own Republican appointee-controlled Wildlife Resources Commission, which opposes federal red wolf recovery efforts.