Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
GOP’s budget recipe about complete before going to Cooper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina legislature’s budget recipe for next year is almost complete and headed for Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
One more affirmative vote at the General Assembly is required before the nearly $24 billion plan receives final legislative approval. That’s scheduled for the House on Friday. The Senate already finished its debate and votes.
The House took over five hours Thursday before giving the measure initial approval on a nearly party-line vote. Republicans negotiating the plan for the year starting July 1 are emphasizing higher teacher and state employee pay, particularly for troopers and correctional officers.
Democrats say the changes fall short and criticized the GOP for failing to let them offer amendments.
Cooper can sign the bill into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
UNC HEALTH CEO
UNC Health Care CEO, also medical school dean, to step down
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina Health Care System’s CEO and dean of the university’s School of Medicine says he will step down as both.
Dr. William Roper told news outlets Thursday he will step down in May 2019. Over the past 14 years, Roper has overseen the system’s expansion to a 13-hospital network with nearly $5 billion in annual revenue.
A planned merger between UNC Health Care and Charlotte-based Atrium Health fell apart in March, and would have created North Carolina’s largest health network.
Weeks later, Roper told The News & Observer he wanted to remain with UNC. But, he said Thursday his departure has nothing to do with the deal and that he was not forced out.
Officials say they will soon begin a nationwide search for Roper’s replacement.
North Carolina bank robbery suspect shot by police
SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina have shot a man who they say robbed a bank and stabbed a person who tried to stop him from entering a store.
Salisbury police told local media outlets the man robbed a First National Bank branch and led officers on a chase to Thomasville, about 30 miles (136 km) away.
Authorities say the suspect left the car and tried to run into a hobby shop. The store owner tried to stop him from coming in, but the suspect stabbed that person multiple times. Police officers confronted the suspect, and after their stun guns failed to affect him, one of the officers shot him.
The suspect’s identity hasn’t been released.
North Carolina man found guilty in 1-year-old’s death
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been found guilty in the shooting death of a 1-year-old girl more than two years ago.
Local news outlets report the jury convicted Ramone Jamarr Alston on Thursday in the death of Maleah Williams, who was shot on Christmas Day 2015 as she played outside the family’s Chapel Hill apartment.
According to law enforcement, Maleah was killed when shots were fired from a car leaving the apartment complex.
Two other were arrested in the shooting, but charges were dropped against one of them and trial is pending for the second.
Alston’s lawyer argued that while their client was there at the time of the shooting, prosecutors couldn’t prove he was responsible.
Charter schools authority for 4 towns get initial OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Four North Carolina towns surrounding Charlotte could operate their own charter schools under legislation that’s received tentative approval in the state Senate.
The measure given initial OK on Thursday is a Republican response to town leaders unhappy with overcrowding and construction within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. The bill would give those towns the option to create the non-traditional schools and give enrollment preference to residents.
Critics warn municipal residents would face higher taxes to operate such schools and that the bill could lead to further racial divisions in the public schools. Five Republicans voted against the measure, but it still passed 30-20.
A final Senate vote is expected early next week. The House approved a slightly different version last year that included only two of the Mecklenburg County towns.
CHILDREN LOCKED IN ROOM
Police: 3 North Carolina kids found padlocked inside room
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina found three children padlocked inside a room at an apartment, and their mother is charged in the incident.
The Kinston Police Department told local media outlets that officers responding to a call found the children ages 4, 6 and 8 sleeping on the floor of the room. The Lenoir County Department of Social Services was contacted, and unspecified arrangements were made for the children.
Authorities say 36-year-old April Christine Berry returned to the apartment about 90 minutes after officers reached the scene Wednesday. Berry is charged with child abuse and is in the Lenoir County jail on a $3,000 bond. It couldn’t be determined Thursday if she has an attorney.
DRIVING SHOOTING DEATH
North Carolina man dies days after being shot while driving
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has died several days after he was shot while driving down a city street.
Durham police said 23-year-old Willie Pete Robinson Jr. died Tuesday after being shot early Saturday morning.
Police say Robinson was able to drive several blocks before his car crashed.
No arrests have been made. Police said a passenger in Robinson’s car suffered minor injuries in the wreck.