Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
PRISON WARDEN SUED
NC prison warden sued for violence involving inmates, guards
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The former warden of one of North Carolina’s most dangerous prisons is being sued by an inmate who says his life was endangered because the administrator didn’t reduce threats posed by inmates and even guards in the gang-infested lockup.
A federal jury in Charlotte on Thursday deliberated whether to hold accountable former Lanesboro Correctional Institution superintendent Lawrence Parsons.
Lawyers for convicted killer Stacey Wynn contend that during the administrator’s tenure, violent inmates frequently attacked other prisoners with knives and officials often failed to find the weapons. Investigators found a collection of bloody blades hidden in the ceiling of the office used by one of Parsons’ unit managers.
The lawsuit is the first of five by inmates who say Lanesboro’s leaders allowed or even encouraged prisoners to attack other inmates.
Amendments are ballot twist in North Carolina power struggle
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An intense power struggle between North Carolina Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will shift to voting booths this fall.
All 170 General Assembly seats are up for election in November, and Democrats angry with the state’s rightward shift this decade are raising a huge war chest for campaigns.
Republicans added a twist by putting six constitutional amendments on the fall ballot. Some of the questions could boost conservative voter turnout and help GOP legislators. Some also would wrest even more power from Cooper, who’s been unable to press his agenda with GOP veto-proof majorities in the legislature.
Political enmity between Cooper and Republicans took off when Cooper was attorney general and opposed GOP laws, including the state’s “bathroom bill” involving transgender people.
TRAFFIC STOP-OFFICER HURT
Police: Man tried to kill officer during traffic stop
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina police officer was injured when a man he tried to arrest drove off during a traffic stop and dragged the officer along.
Rocky Mount police told media outlets 21-year-old KaShard Raheem Howell of Nashville was stopped Wednesday by officers and Nash County sheriff’s deputies. Howell was wanted for probation violations.
Cpl. Brad Summerlin said when Officer C.R. Robinson approached Howell’s car to take him into custody, he drove away with Robinson partly inside the car. Investigators say Howell sideswiped another car while Robinson was holding on and before the officer was thrown from the car.
Robinson was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Summerlin said Howell was captured after a brief chase.
Howell is being held in the Nash County jail. His status couldn’t be determined Thursday.
Panel to summarize 6 constitutional amendments invites input
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A state panel that will provide explanations to voters on six proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution on November ballots is inviting the public to offer suggestions.
The Constitutional Amendments Publication Commission meets July 31 to prepare official written summaries of referendum questions that will be made available to citizens. The summaries won’t be on ballots, but separate short captions the panel writes for each of the six amendments will.
The three-member commission is accepting proposed language for summaries and captions through July 25.
Lawmakers submitted last month referenda addressing voter ID, judicial vacancies, crime victims’ rights, board appointments, income tax rates and hunting and fishing.
Secretary of State Elaine Marshall leads the commission. Attorney General Josh Stein and Legislative Building administrator Paul Coble are the other members.
NC ZOO-RHINO NAME
NC Zoo holds contest to name newborn female rhino
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Zoo is asking the public to come up with a name for the female southern white rhinoceros born there earlier this month.
The new calf was born to mom Linda and dad Stormy on July 2. Stormy became a father again on July 13 when a second female baby southern rhino was born to mom Kit.
Rhino keepers at the zoo have developed a list of seven names to choose from, including Boadicea, a Celtic warrior queen; Diana, goddess of wild animals in Roman mythology; Grace O’Malley, Irish queen and naval captain; Nandi, Queen of the Zulus and mother of Shaka Zulu; and Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands who fought against Nazi occupation during World War II.
The vote continues through 5 p.m. Tuesday.
LESBIAN LICENSE PLATE-THE LATEST
The Latest: North Carolina DMV OKs license plate
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has approved a woman’s request for a specialty license plate to honor her wife after initially turning her down.
The NCDMV initially rejected the request by Amy Bright of Greenville for a plate reading “LSBNSNLV,” for “lesbians in love,” saying it had the right to deny any license plate it deems “offensive to good taste and decency.” DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup said Wednesday he approved the plate, saying it was a mistake to reject it in the first place.
Jessup said in a statement that he has left a voice message for Bright to apologize and to let her know about her request being approved.
Bright had said she would sue if an appeal was denied.
Police: Bank teller shot by gunman with big wig, pink jacket
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina say a bank robber wearing a big wig and a pink jacket shot and wounded a teller before getting away with money.
Durham police spokeswoman Kammie Michael says in a statement that the holdup occurred Wednesday afternoon at a SunTrust branch in that area.
Michael says the suspect wore a wig with long dreadlocks, in addition to sunglasses, a pink jacket and black pants. Police released surveillance photos of a suspect holding a gun and a wad of cash who they’re seeking.
Michael says the teller was shot in the arm but the injury didn’t appear life-threatening. The teller was taken to a hospital.
DUKE-RATE INCREASE DENIED
Duke Energy Carolinas rate cut means increase for households
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Electricity rates will increase slightly for thousands of North Carolina households even though state regulators rejected Duke Energy’s most recent rate hike request.
The Charlotte-based company on Wednesday outlined the impact of last month’s decision by the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Duke Energy said it means a slight decrease overall.
But Duke Energy Carolinas residential customers will get a tiny increase immediately and see an added 1.2 percent after four years. The typical household served by its subsidiary in central and western North Carolina will see its bill rise by about 84 cents a month from around $104.
At the same time, industrial and other customers will see their bills cut by an average of 1.6 percent to nearly 4 percent.