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February 20, 2020
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February 20, 2020
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EST



Hundreds of dams lack emergency plans in rain-soaked South
Heavy rains and recent flooding across the Southeastern U.S. have highlighted a potential public safety concern for some dams. An Associated Press review has identified hundreds of high-hazard dams in the South that lack formal emergency action plans. Such plans typically include maps showing which areas could flood if a dam fails, as well as phone numbers for emergency personnel and addresses of homes that might need to be evacuated. The plans are required by most states for high-hazard dams whose failure could result in the loss of human life, but many dam owners still haven’t completed them.



45,000 gallons of raw sewage spills near creek
CLEVELAND, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say that corrosion in a pipeline led to 45,000 gallons of raw sewage spilling near a creek. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that the sewage spilled on Tuesday into a low-lying area near Swift Creek in Johnston County. The creek eventually runs into the Neuse River. A press release from Johnston County said the cause of the spill was a “pipeline material failure.” The county recovered about 180,000 gallons of combined sewage and rainwater and pumped into the county’s wastewater treatment process. Officials said the cause of the corrosion hasn’t been determined. The iron pipe will be replaced with PVC pipe.



Court affirms alleged Islamic State recruiter’s conviction
CINCINNATI (AP) – A federal appeals court in Ohio has affirmed the convictions of a North Carolina man in a terrorism case. Defendant Erick Jamal Hendricks was accused of trying to recruit people to conduct terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State group. A jury convicted Hendricks in 2018 on charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. Hendricks argued that there was insufficient evidence and that the court abused its discretion by denying him a new trial. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those arguments in a ruling Wednesday.



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.”áThey 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.”