AP-NC Newswatch

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July 11, 2018
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July 11, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch




Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


N Carolina school system upgrades security at 50 schools
(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer, http://www.fayobserver.com)
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school system plans to finish security upgrades at all 52 public elementary schools before school starts next month.
Cumberland County’s assistant superintendent for auxiliary services, Tim Kinlaw, tells the Fayetteville Observer that the school system’s 18 middle schools and 17 high schools will be finished during the year. The projects were originally scheduled to be completed in three years, but were accelerated to be done within 12 months after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school in February.
Kinlaw says the security upgrades – which include buzzers, cameras and controlled access – are meant to buy time for school staff to put the campus in lockdown and protect students. He compared the security changes to those implemented at airports and courthouses.


North Carolina hospital seeks to resume low-risk deliveries
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina hospital is asking the state for permission to resume traditional and low-risk deliveries.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center said in a news release Tuesday it has submitted an application to state regulators to renovate two floors of the main hospital with a late 2019 completion date.
The project would include expanding and updating the neonatal intensive care unit, which would have 51 private rooms, with two reserved for twins.
Chief executive Julie Ann Freischlag, who is also dean of the medical school, said the service would be available to all women in the Winston-Salem area.
Wake Forest Baptist stopped the practice 41 years ago.
Forsyth Medical Center, also in Winston-Salem, has had the bulk of Forsyth County’s deliveries since 1977.


10 North Carolina firefighters accused of setting blazes
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities have arrested 10 North Carolina volunteer firefighters and accused them of setting fire to abandoned buildings and woods over a year and a half.
News outlets report Robeson County Sheriff Ken Sealey said in a statement Tuesday the firefighters were from the Fairmont Rural and Orrum fire departments, and were involved in a conspiracy to set the fires over the last 18 months.
The sheriff said there are approximately 90 arson-related charges in the investigation with more charges expected.
Sealey said a former Maxton police officer and a state corrections officer were among those arrested.
Sealey’s statement didn’t cite a motive. None of those charged have been identified.
Bail for the former police officer corrections officers is set at $200,000. Bail for the others is $100,000.



Cooper unhappy constitution amendments on ballot, not bonds
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says he would have rather the Republican-controlled legislature put a statewide school bond package on ballots this fall, instead of several constitutional amendments that he considers “bad government.”
Cooper told reporters Tuesday he was disappointed that lawmakers decided against putting a nearly $2 billion school borrowing measure up for a referendum, saying construction needs for local districts are great. A 2016 state study put school building and infrastructure needs at $8 billion over five years.
The General Assembly instead asked voters to consider six constitutional amendments. Cooper is not likely to work to pass any of them. He says four of them are wrong-headed ideas, and two others – expanding crime victims and affirming the right to hunt and fish – are unnecessary.



Sam Esposito, NC State coach and ex-White Sox, dies at 86
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Sam Esposito, the North Carolina State baseball coach who played in the 1959 World Series for the Chicago White Sox, has died. He was 81.
The school says on its website he died Monday at a nursing home in Newland. A cause of was not given.
Esposito won 513 games for the Wolfpack and led them to four Atlantic Coast Conference baseball titles and third place in the 1968 College World Series.
He also was an assistant coach for 12 seasons on the men’s basketball team. He was on the staff of coach Norm Sloan for the school’s first national title in 1974. After the 1977-78 basketball season, Esposito became a full-time baseball coach.
Esposito played 10 seasons in the major leagues, nine with the White Sox as a utility infielder. He is a member of the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete.



SC police: Suspect in North Carolina woman’s death is dead
CONWAY, S.C. (AP) – Police say a suspect in the death of a North Carolina woman whose body was found in South Carolina last month has himself been found dead.
Horry County Police Capt. John Harrelson told news outlets that investigators have determined that William Sneeringer of Myrtle Beach killed 41-year-old Jennifer Dawn Fitchett of Middlesex, North Carolina, and left her body in some woods.
Fitchett’s body was found June 30 by a person walking in the woods.
Harrelson said Sneeringer was found dead in the backyard of a home on July 6. An Horry County police report said a shotgun was found beside Sneeringer.
Harrelson said police continue to investigate the killing to determine the circumstances behind Fitchett’s death.



Clingmans Dome Tower in Great Smokes closing for repairs
FORNEYS CREEK, N.C. (AP) – One of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park closed on Tuesday for repairs.
The Clingmans Dome Observation Tower on the North Carolina-Tennessee state line is about 6,600 feet (2010 meters) above sea level, and the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.
Park spokeswoman Dana Soehn says the tower will be is closed through July 27.
Visitors will not be able to climb the tower while an overlay is installed on the lower ramp. But the Clingmans Dome parking overlook is open and offers scenic mountain top views. Also open are the visitor contact station and store, the trail up to the tower, and all access to the trailheads in the vicinity.



Purple martins reign for a few weeks on this NC bridge
MANNS HARBOR, N.C. (AP) – It’s time once again to slow down for birds on one bridge along North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
From mid-July through August, state transportation officials lower the speed limit at dawn and dusk along the William B. Umstead bridge over the Croatan Sound at Manns Harbor.
The 20-mph-speed limit goes into effect to protect the more than 100,000 purple martins that use the bridge as their home before their annual migration to Brazil. The birds roost under the west end of the bridge at night. They depart at dawn for feeding before returning at sunset.
The state Transportation Department also activates flashing lights on the bridge.
To view the flock, check out Dare County’s multi-purpose pier at the end of the bridge.



AP-WF-07-11-18 1021GMT