AP-NC Newswatch

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June 11, 2020
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June 11, 2020
AP-NC Newswatch



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



‘One Tree Hill’ stars ask fans to help fire N.C. professor
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Celebrities from the former hit TV show “One Tree Hill,” are calling on a university in North Carolina to remove a professor after he called the state’s governor “Massa Cooper.” Mike Adams tweeted in May he dined with six men and said he “felt like a free man who was not living in the slave state of North Carolina” before adding “Massa Cooper, let my people go!” Actress Sophia Bush and her former co-star, Hilarie Burton Morgan, are now calling on fans of the TV show to take action to remove Adams from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. The show had been filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.



Prep for high N.C. absentee ballot demand gets Senate OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Changes to mail-in absentee ballot rules in North Carolina to help operate a fall election during the pandemic has received tentative approval from the state Senate. The measure is a response to the expected spike in demand for absentee ballots from people at higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19. Wednesday’s Senate debate was more divisive than a similar discussion in the House two weeks ago. The measure expands the options for registered voters to receive an absentee ballot request form. And there’s $27 million for things like upgrading elections security, recruiting in-person poll workers and stocking up on personal protective equipment.



NC Republicans abandon effort to keep Trump in Charlotte
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposal by a North Carolina state legislator to keep President Donald Trump in Charlotte for the Republican National Convention will not go up for a vote. The Republican National Committee oversees the convention, and its chairwoman now says Jacksonville, Florida, is the top site for Trump to accept his party’s nomination. The last ditch-effort by state Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County contradicted Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s insistence that the state could not promise a full capacity crowd because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Trump will speak elsewhere, the RNC insists some of its business activities will continue to be held in Charlotte.



Statue of ex-Panthers owner removed from outside stadium
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A statue of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been removed from outside the NFL team’s stadium. Richardson announced in 2017 that he was putting the team up for sale after a Sports Illustrated report, citing unidentified sources, said he made sexually suggestive comments to women and directed a racial slur at an African American team scout. áA team statement said it was concerned about possible attempts to take the 13-foot statue down, but didn’t elaborate. A crane lifted the statue from its pedestal to be trucked away Wednesday. The team didn’t say where it would be relocated.



Bill to reopen N.C. gyms, bars sent to skeptical governor
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature has passed another bill overturning parts of Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order that keep certain businesses closed to discourage COVID-19’s spread. The House voted on a largely party-line vote on Wednesday for the measure written by Republicans, many of whom have been critical of Cooper’s slow pace to loosen restrictions on the state economy. The governor already vetoed a bill last week would let bars reopen outdoors and give restaurants additional outdoor seating options, and he’s been skeptical about the new measure, which also would allow gyms to reopen.



Trump: No change at bases named for Confederate officers
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he is ruling out changing the name of Army bases named for Confederate Army officers. This comes two days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper indicated he is open to a discussion of such changes, which have been urged by prominent retired Army officers and others. The issue has arisen periodically but is gaining new attention as the nation wrestles with questions of race after the death of George Floyd in the hands of Minneapolis police. In a series of tweets, Trump wrote, “My administration will not even consider” changing those Army base names.



Jacksonville is front-runner for Trump convention speech
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Jacksonville, Florida, is the front-runner to host the celebration marking President Donald Trump’s acceptance of his party’s nomination for reelection. That’s according to Ronna McDaniel, who heads the Republican National Committee. She said in a radio interview Wednesday that reports of a final decision are “definitely premature” but that Jacksonville is the favorite now. The Democratic governor of North Carolina balked at promising Trump a full-blown convention in Charlotte without social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic. The RNC voted Wednesday night to allow the party’s more mundane business, including discussions over the platform, to be held in Charlotte because of contractual obligations.



Judge: Prisons must create testing plan for all inmates
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge says the state prison system must come up with a plan to test all inmates for COVID-19. Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier is hearing a lawsuit filed by prisoners and civil rights advocates seeking action to reduce the virus’s threat behind bars. Rozier wrote this week that inmates are likely facing unlawful “cruel or unusual punishments” in part because correction officials have failed to offer widespread testing. Prison leaders have kept to a policy whereby mass testing has occurred in only two prisons. Rozier also signaled his order will tell prison officials to find more ways to release prisoners early.