Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 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.
North Carolina farmers start counting flood losses
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Farmers in western North Carolina are adding up their losses after the heavy rains from Subtropical Storm Alberto.
Hendersonville farmer Randy Edmundson thinks about 70 of his 110 acres (44 hectares) are under water after the storms. Edmundson told the Asheville Citizen-Times many of his crops have drowned and the wet conditions will delay planting.
He says up to 45 acres (18 hectares) of sweet corn will be lost. Edmundson says two acres of strawberries, his squash beds and half of his crookneck and zucchini squash were destroyed. Young cucumbers and tomato plants are gone.
He says the loss is sweet corn alone was worth about $60,000.
Edmundson knows many farmers face the same problems.
He says it will probably be about three weeks before he can plant new crops.
FIREMAN’S WIFE KILLED
Wife of North Carolina firefighter dies in mobile home blaze
LELAND, N.C. (AP) – The wife of a North Carolina volunteer firefighter has died in a fire at a mobile home.
Brunswick County Fire Marshal Scott Garner told local news outlets that Kimberly Eggleston suffered severe burns in Thursday’s fire and was taken to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center, where she died.
Garner said Eggleston was the wife of Winnabow volunteer firefighter Edward Eggleston, who was at work and responded to the call about the fire.
The Winnabow Volunteer Fire Department said it would be taking up donations for the firefighter and his family.
The cause of the fire wasn’t known on Friday.
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.
Bears spotted in North Carolina county; no attacks
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Wildlife officials in one North Carolina county say it’s not unusual that bears have been sighted near homes and businesses.
News outlets reported one bear was spotted near a movie theater in Winston-Salem on Thursday.
One or two bear sightings had been spotted in Clemmons, southwest of Winston-Salem, earlier this week.
Forsyth County Animal Control Lt. David Morris said there have been no reports of bears attacking anyone.
Jodie Owen with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said that sightings of black bears in Forsyth and Guilford counties are common in the spring every year.
Her advice is the same every year, too. Leave the bears alone and they will probably move away without prodding.
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.