Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
TEACHERS OFF-SCHOOLS CLOSE
NC district closes schools as teachers lobby for pay raise
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Officials have voted to close schools in a North Carolina district as more than 1,000 teachers are expected to take a day off to lobby for better pay.
Local media outlets report the Durham Board of Education voted 6-1 Wednesday to close schools on May 16.
Teachers are expected to call out of work that day and head to Raleigh to urge lawmakers to raise pay and increase resources for students.
More than 1,000 Durham teachers are planning to attend the March for Students and Rally for Respect. The event starts with a march in downtown Raleigh to the legislative building as the lawmakers go back into session.
Teachers also plan to meet with House and Senate members to push for school safety improvements and repairs to crumbling buildings.
Judge accepts $10M settlement in NC islands power outage
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge has accepted a settlement that would allow those who lost power for days last summer on two North Carolina islands to divvy up more than $10 million.
News outlets report that a federal judge on Wednesday approved a plan under which PCL Civil Constructors would pay $8.1 million to businesses and $2.25 million to permanent residents and renters on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
Late last July, underwater electric transmission cables were inadvertently cut, prompting the mandatory evacuation of 50,000 visitors from the two Outer Banks islands.
The outage lasted from July 27 until Aug. 3. A class-action lawsuit said those on the islands suffered financial loss, stress and anxiety.
PCL denied wrongdoing in the settlement documents. Anyone who thinks they have a claim can go to www.obxsettlement.com .
RED WOLF PUPS
5 rare red wolf pups born at North Carolina Zoo
ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) – Five endangered American red wolves were born at the North Carolina Zoo last month.
Zoo officials tell local media the three females and two males were born April 15. All are healthy and doing well.
The wolves were driven to near extinction during the late 1960s, and there are only a few dozen left in the wild. Officials say the zoo’s breeding program has successfully bred 29 wolves since the program began in 1994.
Litters usually yield three pups. Officials say Thor, Hurricane, Thunder, Typhoon and Oklahoma won’t be on display while their mother is getting acclimated to them.
Last week, one of three red wolf pups born at the Durham Museum of Life and Science died. Testing is still being done to determine what happened.
CONSTRUCTION SITE DEATH
Woman dies after being crushed at SC construction site
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A woman has died following an accident at construction site in South Carolina.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts tells media outlets 49-year-old Diane M. Smith of Lumberton, North Carolina, was working on a scissor lift at a construction site on Tuesday afternoon.
Watts says Smith got trapped between the ceiling and the railing of the lift, crushing her. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was notified of the incident.
Corrections Department spokesman Jeff Taillon says Smith was working on a project for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.
SHERIFF’S CANDIDATE INVESTIGATED
AP, news organizations ask court to unseal search warrants
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Associated Press and other news organizations are asking a judge to unseal warrants involving a candidate for sheriff in North Carolina whose ex-girlfriend has accused him of putting a tracking device on her vehicle.
In a motion filed Tuesday, the news organizations asked a judge to unseal warrants involving the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office and Jason Reid, whose father is Sheriff Coy Reid. Jason Reid was a narcotics officer and is a candidate for the Republican nomination for sheriff in the May 8th primary.
A hearing is scheduled for May 7.
Reid’s ex-girlfriend told the Lincoln County sheriff she found a tracking device on her vehicle after Reid texted her several times, mentioning her location. The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the case.
Reid calls the allegations a smear campaign.
This story has been corrected to say Reid is a former narcotics officer..
Police plead for end to ‘paintball wars’ inspired by videos
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Police across the country have responded to hundreds of paintball fights in recent weeks.
Authorities say the trend began around the time an Atlanta rapper began posting YouTube videos encouraging people to trade real guns for paintball weapons.
But police say the well-intentioned effort to reduce gun violence led to a shooting death last month in Greensboro, North Carolina. And the fast-moving paintballs have caused injuries and property damage in Milwaukee, Detroit and Atlanta.
The paintballs travel up to 300 feet per second. At venues where people pay to play, participants often wear face masks and other protective gear.
The rapper 21 Savage began posting the videos in March with the message “Guns Down, Paintballs Up.” He and his friends recorded themselves having “paintball wars” around Atlanta.
STUDENT RALLY FOR GUNS
Students across the US walk out to support gun ownership
CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – Students across the U.S. participated in a school walkout Wednesday to support gun ownership.
The walkout was organized by New Mexico student Will Riley. More than 200 of his classmates walked out with him.
Riley said in the days before the walkout that about 300 schools planned to participate. The movement was called “Stand for the Second,” aiming to raise awareness of Second Amendment rights.
Walkouts were also reported in schools in Iowa, Michigan, Montana, New York and North Carolina.
Riley was named an honorary sheriff’s deputy last week by Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage for his efforts in organizing the walkouts.
Cage said Wednesday that he was highly impressed with the Carlsbad High School event.
AUCTION-TOWER IN OCEAN
Coast Guard tower-turned-bed-and-breakfast up for auction
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
ON THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, N.C. (AP) – A former Coast Guard light station that became a bed-and-breakfast in the Atlantic Ocean has been put up for auction.
Richard Neal tells The Charlotte Observer bids start at $10,000 for The Frying Pan Tower. The auction started Thursday for the platform that’s nearly 150 feet (50 meters) above the water and more than 30 miles (50 kilometers) off North Carolina’s coast.
Neal bought the tower in 2010 and negotiated an $85,000 price for it with the Coast Guard. The Charlotte man turned it into a B&B, where hundreds have stayed since he started renting rooms in 2012.
The tower was built in 1964 for $2 million to warn ships of the shallow Frying Pan Shoals.
Neal believes it’s time for a younger owner and that it’ll likely sell for six figures.