AP-NC Newswatch

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April 25, 2018
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April 25, 2018
AP-NC Newswatch




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


City: Financial donations needed most in tornado recovery
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina city says it has distributed supplies to those affected by a tornado but now needs financial donations and volunteers.
News outlets report Greensboro Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson said Tuesday that financial support for those repairing homes or finding new ones is needed most. He says people are asked to consider contributing to tornado relief funds or signing up for one of many volunteer efforts.
The city said in a statement that thanks to residents and businesses, Greensboro and its nonprofit partners have been able to give supplies to those impacted by the April 15 tornado.
Wilson says in the statement the city has the necessary supplies and warehouse space is reaching capacity, so financial help will be the biggest need going forward.



North Carolina summer camp co-founder faces assault charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The co-founder of a former North Carolina summer camp is charged with indecent liberties with a child in connection with allegations of sexual assault.
Local news outlets report authorities say 52-year-old Ricardo Mata was arrested in March after police say the parents of an 8-year-old girl told them Mata had sexually assaulted her while she attended his camp, PlaySpanish, in 2017. The girl was 7 at the time.
PlaySpanish closed last summer.
Mata was arrested again last week after authorities say he took indecent liberties with another child last fall. He’s in the Mecklenburg County jail. It’s not known if he has an attorney.
The Charlotte Observer reports at the time of Mata’s first arrest, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a hold on him, meaning he could be deported.



Government: Wild red wolf population could soon be wiped out
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Federal wildlife officials say the only wild population of endangered red wolves is unsustainable and could be wiped out within years.
The prediction comes in a five-year review of the status of the species released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The report says only about 40 wolves remain in the wild in North Carolina, down from a peak of nearly 120 a decade ago. Another 230 wolves live in captivity.
The main purpose of the report was to evaluate the wolves’ endangered status, which it says should be maintained. More detailed recommendations for conservation efforts will come in a separate document.
Environmentalists contend the decline is due to neglect by federal officials who have halted releases of captive-born wolves and other actions that bolstered the wild population.



Help sought after woman disappears from North Carolina motel
(Information from: The Wilson Daily Times, http://www.wilsondaily.com)
WILSON, N.C. (AP) – The family of a Pennsylvania woman is seeking the public’s help after she disappeared after a stay at a North Carolina motel.
The Wilson Times reports local police say 32-year-old Sianeh Togbah Sherman stayed at a Sleep Inn near Interstate 95 on April 9. Family members say they were last in contact with her on April 10, and said she was in good spirits. The family says she was pursuing a modeling career.
Sherman is the mother of a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. She is from Atglen, about 55 miles (88 km) west of Philadelphia.
Officers found Sherman’s belongings in the hotel room. Police say Sherman was driving a 2005 Volkswagen Touraeg with a Pennsylvania license plate.
Wilson police are working with the Pennsylvania State Police in the case.


Lawyers wrap up case blaming pork giant for ghastly smells
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Jurors in North Carolina are getting a roundup of testimony in a lawsuit filed by neighbors of an industrial-scale swine operation.
The 10 plaintiffs contend that open-air cesspools of hog waste inflict intense, putrid smells on them that can’t be removed from clothing or household fabrics.
Lawyers for Virginia-based Smithfield Foods’ hog-production division who closed their case Tuesday maintain that the smells, traffic and noise don’t hurt the neighbors’ ability to enjoy their own property.
The jury has heard three weeks of testimony. This is the first of a series of test cases by more than 500 neighbors against the low-cost, high-volume methods used by the Chinese-owned company.
Lawyers for the neighbors say alternative methods don’t cause such a nuisance, but the company uses open-air cesspools because they’re cheap.


This story has been corrected to show that this lawsuit involves a portion, not all, of the more than 500 neighbors suing under nuisance claims.



North Carolina town council backs creating charter schools
MATTHEWS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina town council has voted to support legislation allowing it to create its own charter schools.
Local news outlets report the Matthews Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 Monday to endorse the bill sponsored by Republican State Rep. Bill Brawley. Matthews is a suburb of Charlotte.
While the town said the bill is not an effort to break away from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, system officials say the measure would undermine public education across North Carolina. The CMS board was scheduled to discuss its opposition to the bill during a meeting on Tuesday.
The board has already said approval of the bill could force reassignment, meaning hundreds of Matthews students would have to be moved out of one high school. They say it could also drive up taxes for town residents.



Man arrested after police chase, shots in North Carolina
FRANKLIN, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have arrested a man who led an officer on a chase and rammed his patrol car before the officer shot at him.
WLOS in Asheville reports the Franklin Police Department said 28-year-old Joseph Cyphers bought gas at a convenience store Monday without paying for it. When officer Randy Dula approached him, police say Cyphers sped off.
Authorities say Cyphers slowed several times before stopping, and when Dula got out of his car, Cyphers backed into it. The officer fired his weapon and the truck sped off before Cyphers stopped again.
Dula was treated for minor injuries. Cyphers was not hurt.
Police said Cyphers was jailed on several charges, including assault with a deadly weapon on a government official. It’s not known if he has an attorney.



Group won’t endorse lawmakers who voted for HB 2 replacement
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s leading gay rights group says it won’t endorse in this year’s General Assembly elections incumbents who voted for legislation last year partially repealing the “bathroom bill.”
Equality North Carolina announced its decision Tuesday, two weeks before primaries. It could affect dozens of legislators, especially Democrats historically more likely to receive backing. Equality NC opposed both the 2016 law also called House Bill 2 and the replacement law.
HB 2 required transgender people to use public bathrooms corresponding to their birth certificates, and barred local government non-discrimination ordinances. The replacement law kept bathroom policy in the state’s hands and delayed new ordinances until 2020.
Interim Executive Director Matt Hirschy says in a video the group must hold legislators accountable for actions, and the replacement law “doubled down on discrimination.”