Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA:
Deadline nears to comment on moving of Confederate statues
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A committee studying the possible removal of three Confederate monuments on North Carolina’s Capitol grounds is accepting public comments for one more day.
So far, the committee that’s part of the North Carolina Historical Commission has received more than 5,400 comments on whether to move the statues to a Civil War battlefield as Gov. Roy Cooper requested. The committee will continue to accept comments through midnight Thursday.
The panel plans to report on the proposal this month to the full state commission. Cooper wants the monuments moved to the Bentonville battlefield site in Johnston County.
A 2015 state law approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly prevents the permanent removal of most Confederate monuments on state and local property without legislative approval. It also severely limits their relocation.
North Carolina man arrested in death of 1, another assault
BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been arrested and charged with killing one man and injuring the victim’s father.
Burlington police said in a news release that 29-year-old Randy Michael Riley of Guilford County was found by officers late Tuesday night.
Riley is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old William Joel Wiggs Jr. Tuesday afternoon. Police have not said how Biggs died.
Riley is charged with assault with intent to kill in an attack the victim’s father, 88-year-old William Joel Wiggs Sr. He was taken to a Greensboro hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Riley is also charged with armed robbery and theft of a motor vehicle. He’s being held in the Alamance County jail. It was not known if he has an attorney yet.
North Carolina police chief says it’s tough to fill jobs
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The police chief in North Carolina’s largest city says he is having a tough time filling the 174 openings on the force and needs leaders to boost pay to attract applicants.
The Charlotte Observer reports Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney told the city council Wednesday he’s trying to get the department out of a hole which produced a 20 percent decline in job applicants in the last two years.
Putney said higher pay would help. Until then, he said his department has started a marketing campaign to attract more candidates.
The department has about 1,800 people.
The Fraternal Order of Police has asked for a 15 percent base pay increase and a reduction in the number of steps needed for officers to reach full pay.
Superintendent says no more dismissals after 9 bomb threats
(Information from: WLOS-TV, http://www.wlos.com/)
SYLVA, N.C. (AP) – The superintendent of a North Carolina school system says she will no longer dismiss students from classes after receiving nine bomb threats in less than a month.
WLOS-TV in Asheville reports Jackson County Schools Superintendent Kim Elliott posted a message on the system’s web page saying students will be held accountable for their actions.
The first of the nine threats was received on March 15. The threats affected five of the system’s nine schools.
According to Elliott, two students have received sentences for their actions and others are going to court soon. She said in her message that she will keep students safe but will not dismiss classes. She also said students are tired of the pranks.
The Jackson County district attorney’s office declined to comment on the cases Thursday.
BODY IN WELL:
Man accused of killing girlfriend, dumping her body in well
COLUMBUS, N.C. (AP) – A man is accused of strangling his girlfriend and dumping her body in an abandoned well in North Carolina.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office tells news outlets Jeremy Lynn Bradshaw was arrested and charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of Karen Denise Jenkins. Authorities say her remains were found near Columbus.
Sheriff Donald J. Hill says Jenkins was reported missing with the Spartanburg County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office. In January, Polk County received her missing person report from Spartanburg County.
The Landrum, South Carolina woman was 46 years old when she disappeared and was last seen on her way to Polk County in November. She was dating the Columbus man periodically for almost three years.
It is unclear if Bradshaw has a lawyer.
Report doesn’t judge whether splitting districts makes sense
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina General Assembly study on potential gains and liabilities from breaking up large public school districts provides no judgment on whether deconsolidation is good for students.
The joint House-Senate committee wrapped up its work Wednesday by approving a report it will pass along to the entire legislature before it reconvenes next month. Some have questioned whether the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County districts are too large.
Panel members heard from school district leaders, education researchers and school policy analysts over several weeks. The report says existing studies don’t document a relationship between district size and educational performance, but it appears smaller schools contribute to improved student performance.
Some deconsolidation critics are worried it would lead to resegregation of the public schools or divide districts between rich and poor populations.
Federal tax changes won’t affect state coffers dramatically
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s nonpartisan legislative staffers say cash levels in state coffers won’t be significantly altered by last year’s federal tax overhaul compared to other states due to tax changes the General Assembly made years ago.
The explanation came during a revenue laws committee Wednesday. Members debated legislation that would align state tax laws to many new federal rules Congress approved on deductions, expenses and other changes. A staff memo says passing it would result in roughly $120 million in additional state revenues through mid-2020, primarily from business and investment tax changes.
Staffers say state changes since 2011 – made by Republicans – have diminished how the federal changes affect North Carolina revenues. For example, North Carolina taxes are calculated on income totals before certain federal deductions Congress curbed are included.
4 North Carolina college students arrested on drug charges
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say four North Carolina college students have been arrested on drug charges following a sweep of their fraternity house.
A statement from East Carolina University on Wednesday said members of the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force conducted a raid of the Phi Kappa Tau house west of campus.
Officials say the officers seized more than 2,500 bars of Xanax and two shotguns, and they said marijuana was being sold from the house. The raid occurred on Tuesday.
The four students appeared in court Wednesday and are free on bond. It’s not known if they have attorneys.
The national chapter of Phi Kappa Tau has issued an interim suspension for the local fraternity and is investigating the incident. Three other fraternities at ECU have been closed since January for violations.