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February 20, 2020
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February 20, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



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



Cooper among speakers at service for late Lt. Gov. Jordan
MOUNT GILEAD, N.C. (AP) – Family, friends and political cohorts of the late Bob Jordan remembered the former North Carolina lieutenant governor at a service in his hometown. Gov. Roy Cooper and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles spoke at the service held on Wednesday at a high school in Mount Gilead, in Montgomery County. Jordan was a state senator and later lieutenant governor from 1985 through 1988. He lost the 1988 gubernatorial election to Republican Gov. Jim Martin. Jordan died Sunday at age 87. He was known for his commitment to public education, affordable housing, the rural economy and conservation.



North Carolina state Rep. Linda Johnson dies at age 74
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (AP) – One of the chief budget writers in the North Carolina House has died. A funeral home says Rep. Linda Johnson of Cabarrus County died on Tuesday. Johnson had been in the House since 2001 and was most recently one of the three senior chairs of the House Appropriations Committee. She had already said that she wouldn’t seek reelection this year. Now local GOP activists will have to choose someone to fill the remainder of her two-year term. Johnson’s funeral will be Saturday at a Kannapolis church. Gov. Roy Cooper and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis are among those lamenting Johnson’s death.



N. Carolina State University wins $6M apprenticeship grant
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $6 million grant to North Carolina State University that will fund apprenticeship programs in the artificial intelligence industry. The News & Observer reports that North Carolina State’s program will be one of 28 funded nationally to teach workers skills and help them get jobs without needing four-year degrees. According to details released at a conference attended by federal and state officials Tuesday, the apprenticeships will be aimed toward current information technology employees who may be unemployed or looking to start a new tech career. Participants will be able to take 20- to 40-week courses with tuition and fees paid.



Sheriff: Argument leads man to set mobile home on fire
LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s office says a man angered after arguing with his mother damaged several vehicles and set a mobile home on fire. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office cited witnesses as saying 34-year-old Scott Andy Norman throwing items on the fire in the mobile home and breaking windows in three vehicles with a stick in Tuesday’s incident. Both Norman and his mother refused medical treatment. Norman is charged with second-degree arson and injury to personal property. He appeared before a Lincoln County magistrate and jailed under a $20,000 secured bond. It’s not known if he has an attorney.



Actor Ruffalo visits North Carolina on anti-pollution effort
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo has visited North Carolina to push for policies to eliminate the pollution of chemicals from industrial products. Ruffalo spoke on Wednesday at a Legislative Building news conference in Raleigh to highlight the challenges of communities affected by what are known as “forever chemicals.”They include GenX, which has been used at the Chemours plant near Fayetteville.áState legislators and southeastern North Carolina residents also spoke. Ruffalo is known for his roles in the “Avengers” movies. He also recently played an environmental defense attorney in “Dark Waters.”



Case dismissed against former NC State football player
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A federal court has dismissed a criminal case against a former N.C. State football player who was accused of a money laundering-related charge. U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad issued a written order earlier this month dismissing the charge of conspiracy to commit promotional money laundering against Eric Leak, according to court documents. A prosecution motion preceding the dismissal noted that the court found that Leak’s conduct didn’t constitute a violation of the statute he was charged under. Prosecutors had previously alleged that Leak bribed college athletes and their families to choose a company he owned that offered services including financial management to athletes.



Courts make photo ID less likely in N Carolina 2020 voting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals court has joined a federal judge in ruling against the state’s newest voter photo identification law. Tuesday’s unanimous decision means it’s increasingly unlikely that North Carolina voters will have to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in this year’s elections. The decision reverses last July’s lower court ruling, which said a challenge of the law wasn’t likely to win at trial. Now state and federal courts have ruled it appears Republicans still showed ‘discriminatory intent’ when they passed a December 2018 law to implement the ID requirement that voters approved in a constitutional referendum that year.



Hat’s off: Court reverses trooper firing over lost headgear
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – An appeals court says a North Carolina state trooper shouldn’t have been fired for losing his hat and lying about it in a case that’s spanned a decade and multiple trips through the courts. The case began in 2009 when former Trooper Thomas Wetherington lost his hat during a traffic stop. The matter has gone to the state Supreme Court once before and generated over 1,000 pages of legal briefs, rulings and evidence. The appeals court determined Tuesday that the patrol failed to consider factors outlined by the high court when it upheld his firing.



AP-WF-02-20-20 1120GMT