Latest North Carolina News:
FELONS VOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
Eased voting rules on NC offenders delayed through primaries
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina appeals panel has delayed through the primary elections a lower court ruling that had ordered officials to immediately allow felony offenders still on probation or parole to vote. But the majority on the three-judge Court of Appeals panel also ruled Tuesday that the eased voter registration rules must be used in the November elections. Appeals are pending and more are likely. A trial court panel struck down in March a 1973 law that prevents these voting rights to be restored while the person is still on probation, parole or post-release supervision. Tens of thousands of felony offenders could be affected.
Officials: Inmates escape NC prison, found hours later
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials in North Carolina say two inmates escaped a prison, but were caught hours later. The Department of Public Safety says Craig Guess Jr. and Arlo Swink Jr. escaped from the Robeson Confinement in Response to Violation Center in Lumberton shortly before 3 p.m. Monday and were found nearby on foot three hours later. Officials are investigating how they escaped. Officials say Guess and Swink were serving 90-day periods of confinement for violations of their post-release supervision. Guess was convicted of attempting to obtain property under false pretenses in 2019 and Swink was convicted of a drug offense in 2021. Officials say the men were sent to a higher custody level facility and will be charged with felony escape.
Housing shortage, soaring rents squeeze US college students
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – College students squeezed by a massive housing shortage and rising rents are living in motels, commuting long distances or sleeping in their cars. Officials at some schools said the pandemic muddied projections for on-campus housing last fall. But the lack of affordable housing has been a longstanding problem at other colleges, including many in California. UC Berkeley is fighting homeowners who oppose the university’s plans for more housing. The University of Tennessee announced a new housing lottery for the fall in order to accommodate a larger freshman class. Apartment List says rents in Knoxville have gone up 36% since March 2020.
Blue-ribbon panel makes NC education recommendations
MORRISVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A blue-ribbon commission has recommended ways to improve North Carolina’s public education, from preschool to universities. The Hunt-Lee Commission backed 16 proposals in a report released Monday. The commission was formed to address inequities in student outcomes. The bipartisan commission included education leaders, legislators and representatives of government agencies. The report praises current successes in education while also urging the testing of new ideas, such as monetary incentives and benefits to make early-childhood education an attractive career. The commisision is named for former four-term Gov. Jim Hunt, current Sen. Michael Lee and former State Board of Education chairman Howard Lee.
Former NC Rep. Moore leaving behind bid to return to House
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina state House member who pleaded guilty in 2019 after a campaign finance investigation says he’s leaving behind his General Assembly return bid a few weeks before the primary. Former Rep. Rodney Moore of Mecklenburg County announced over the weekend that he was going to withdraw his candidacy for a House seat. The Democrat served in the House from 2011 through 2018. He told The Charlotte Observer that he’s dealt with health problems in recent weeks. Moore was indicted in 2019 after an investigation found his committee has failed to report more than $140,000 in contributions and expenditures. He ultimately pleaded guilty to one count.
Weary of many disasters? UN says worse to come
A new United Nations report says disasters are on the rise and are going to get worse. In the late 20th century, the world had some 90 to 100 disasters per year. Now a new UN report says disasters that range from climate change to COVID-19 are going to jump to about 560 a year by 2030. One scientist likened the trend to multiple illnesses that weaken a body’s immune system. He says it’s not just the disasters themselves but the accumulated risk, how they add up and ping-pong against each other.
OBIT-DOWLESS-NORTH CAROLINA-DISPUTED ELECTION
Dowless, key figure in NC absentee ballot fraud probe, dies
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The key player in a North Carolina absentee ballot fraud probe that led to a do-over congressional election has died. The family of Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. and a friend confirmed he died Sunday at his daughter’s Bladen County home. The friend told The Associated Press that Dowless had been diagnosed with an advanced form of lung cancer. He was supposed to go on trial this summer for more than a dozen state criminal counts related to absentee ballot activities. Witnesses told state officials that Dowless directed his assistants to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates.
North Carolina conducts alcohol enforcement, 250 charged
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Agents with North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement Unit charged more than 250 people in a series of coordinated actions over the weekend. Officials said the charges included alcohol, drug, firearm, driving and gambling offenses. In addition, police seized six firearms, including an AR-15 rifle illegally possessed by a convicted felon. Officials said 77 fake IDs and an illegal distillery were also seized. Twenty cities across the state were targeted in the enforcement action, which took place Friday night.