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May 25, 2018
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Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT


Construction worker dies in elevator fall at 33-story tower
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A construction worker has died after falling out of an elevator on the 19th floor of a structure being built in North Carolina’s largest city.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said 24-year-old Juventino Mata-Hernandez was working on a 33-story tower when he died Wednesday afternoon in downtown Charlotte.
The building is being built near the Carolinas Panthers Bank of America Stadium. The bank has leased most of the office space. It’s expected to open next year.
Police said in a news release that Mata-Hernandez fell from the construction elevator when it was at the 19th floor.
The Occupational safety and Health Administration will investigate the death.



GOP budget includes ‘living wage’ minimum for state workers
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Thousands of the lowest-paid state employees would receive substantial salary increases in the North Carolina budget bill moving quickly through the General Assembly.
Republican budget-writers announced Thursday that rank-and-file workers in state agencies would receive 2 percent raises, with all full-time worker salaries reaching at least $31,200. Currently the salary floor is just over $24,300, so raises could approach 30 percent for those near the current minimum.
The State Employees Association of North Carolina described the proposal as creating a “living wage” equating to $15 per hour. SEANC (see-NICK) Executive Director Robert Broome says it would help those workers who haven’t benefited much during the economic recovery.
The budget is likely to be voted on by the House and Senate next week.



Worker breaks down describing restaurant crash in 911 call
BESSEMER CITY, N.C. (AP) – A worker at a North Carolina restaurant where a man drove through the front wall, killing two family members, broke down when she recognized the driver.
In a 911 call released Thursday, the Surf and Turf Lodge worker says she knows Roger Self and thinks he drove into the building on purpose Sunday.
Then as she realizes members of his family are badly hurt, she breaks down.
The worker told the 911 operator that Self’s family said he had been severely depressed and hadn’t left the house in a while before they went out to eat.
Authorities say Self sat with his family, then got into the SUV and drove it through the wall of the Bessemer City restaurant, killing his daughter and daughter-in-law. He is charged with murder.



Funeral on Friday for North Carolina trooper killed in wreck
NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina state trooper killed in a crash while chasing a suspect will be remembered in his hometown before being laid to rest.
Visitation for Trooper Samuel Newton Bullard will start at 10 a.m. Friday at the Walker Center at Wilkes Community College.
A funeral will follow at 1 p.m., then a procession will take his body to a private graveside service at Macedonia Baptist Church in Ronda.
The 24-year-old trooper was chasing a driver who fled a license checkpoint early Wednesday when his patrol car bridge support along Interstate 77 in Yadkin County.
Bullard had been a trooper for three years, and friends and family said it was his dream job.
Troopers say 22-year-old Dakota Whitt has bene charged with murder in Bullard’s death.



Gov. Cooper: Republican $35M school safety plan not enough
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republicans at the General Assembly say the school safety funding package in the upcoming state budget is a good first step that will address critical needs, but Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper thinks it comes up short.
House and Senate GOP leaders announced Thursday that $35 million in the budget adjustment bill that could be voted on next week are dedicated to safety improvements. The money would hire school safety personnel, make security improvements and expand a student mobile app.
Cooper sought $130 million toward school safety for the coming fiscal year. The Republican plan gives less than what Cooper wanted for hiring school psychologists and social workers, and the funding isn’t permanent.
Republicans also plan to seek Medicaid changes that could pay for additional student health services.



Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson at long last
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially charged conviction.
Trump said Friday he was correcting – quote – “a wrong that occurred in our history and to honor a truly legendary boxing champion.” He was joined in the Oval Office by WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, retired heavyweight titleholder Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, whom Trump credited with championing the pardon.
Johnson, who crossed over into popular culture decades ago, was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act for traveling with his white girlfriend. That law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.”



North Carolina’s public university board elects new leaders
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The panel that oversees North Carolina’s public universities is changing leadership.
The University of North Carolina Board of Governors on Thursday elected Greenville businessman Harry Smith as chairman. Smith is replacing Asheville attorney W. Louis Bissette Jr., who headed the board for almost three years.
Smith is a graduate of East Carolina University, a member of the school’s athletic booster club and a notable contributor to Republican politicians.
The panel also elected Randy Ramsey as its vice chair and Pearl Burris-Floyd as secretary.
Ramsey is a former North Carolina State University trustee and founder of Jarrett Bay Boatworks, a Beaufort company that makes and repairs sport fishing boats. Burris-Floyd is a former state legislator from Gaston County who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill.



Baby sitter charged in child’s death in North Carolina
KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina have charged a baby sitter with the death of a 7-month-old boy.
Cleveland County deputies told news outlets that 24-year-old Garrett Clay Fredrick of Kings Mountain has been charged with first-degree murder.
Deputies say Fredrick was watching Damion Bell while the boy’s mom and her boyfriend went to dinner Sunday night. When the couple returned, Fredrick told them something was wrong with the baby but he had not called for help.
Investigators say Fredrick left the home when the couple called 911. Bell had outstanding warrants pending.
The boy was taken to a hospital and Kings Mountain and was later transferred to a Charlotte hospital where he died Tuesday.
Fredrick is being held in the jail. It was not known if he has an attorney.



AP-WF-05-25-18 1020GMT