Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment
VIRUS OUTBREAK-UNIVERSITIES-NORTH CAROLINA
N. Carolina State University moving undergrad classes online
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina State University will move all of its in-person undergraduate classes online starting next week, according to an email sent to students from Chancellor Randy Woodson. The announcement comes just one day after the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill halted physical instruction on its campus. Several coronavirus outbreaks have occurred since classes began at both campuses on Aug. 10. And on Thursday, N.C. State reported two more COVID-19 clusters. Both campuses have offered students housing refunds. UNC System President Peter Hans said a small number of irresponsible students have prompted the transition to fully remote learning.
LAWMAKER CHARGED-NORTH CAROLINA
Republican who drew lines called gerrymanders faces charges
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina lawmaker who played a prominent role in Republican redistricting plans has resigned from the state House after being accused of federal fraud and tax violations. Prosecutors say North Carolina state Rep. David Lewis conducted a scheme to transfer money from his campaign committee to help his ailing farm. According to a plea agreement, Lewis will plead guilty to making false statements to a bank and failing to timely file a 2018 tax return. Prosecutors say they won’t recommend active prison time. Lewis had been a chief legislative author of Republican redistricting plans in recent years and the resulting litigation that followed.
N.C. judge won’t halt use of touch-screen vote-mark machines
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge has ruled certain touch-screen ballot-marking machines will remain in use in the state this fall. The judge rejected a request by the state NAACP and voters who wanted ExpressVote machines barred from future elections. They’ve been used in roughly 20 counties. The names of the voters’ choices are printed on the ballot and correspond with bar code data that’s printed on the same ballot and tallied by a separate counting machine. Judge Rebecca Holt wrote no ExpressVote tabulation errors have been reported and there’s no evidence their use will increase the spread of the coronavirus.
COUNTY COMMISSIONER-TAX CHARGES
Ex-county commissioner sentenced to prison for tax fraud
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina county commissioner has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison after pleading guilty to filing false federal tax returns and failing to file a return. The U.S. Department of Justice says former Forsyth County commissioner Everette Witherspoon Jr. will have to report to federal prison in October. U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder also ordered Witherspoon to pay about $211,000 in restitution. According to prosecutors, Witherspoon filed tax returns in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and failed to report income he made as a commissioner and under-reported income he made through his mental health company.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SHOPPING CENTERS-BANKRUPTCY
Owners of 2 shopping centers plan to file for bankruptcy
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – The owner and operator of two North Carolina shopping centers has announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 1 with a restructuring deal already in place with most of its unsecured lenders. News outlets report the announcement by CBL & Properties of the proposed bankruptcy plans comes the day after it reported an $81.4 million loss for the second quarter, compared with a $35 million loss a year ago. CBL owns and operates Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem and Friendly Center in Greensboro. Most of its properties closed from mid-March to late May because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BC-NC-UNIVERSITY SHOOTING-SURVIVOR ACCOUNT
Survivor recounts ‘horrors’ of fatal UNC-Charlotte shooting
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A survivor of last year’s fatal shooting at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte has written a first-hand account of the “horrors” he witnessed in a classroom that day. The Charlotte Observer reported Thursday that Drew Pescaro posted the account on the Medium.com blog. He told the Observer that he hopes his story of ongoing recovery from the shooting will offer people some feelings of hope. Pescaro recounted on Medium that he froze when the shooting began and that he was in pain so debilitating that he couldn’t get up to flee. He said that the shooter whispered his ear that people “all die eventually.”