Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
School building, officer mandates clears N Carolina House
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – More building safety and campus police officer requirements for North Carolina’s public schools would occur if a bill that cleared one chamber of the General Assembly becomes law.
The House voted unanimously Monday for a measure that includes several policy recommendations made by a study committee formed in response to the deadly Florida school shooting in February. The bill now heading to the Senate would require all school buildings to undergo annual vulnerability assessments and middle and high schools to create student-to-student counseling programs.
Special training for school resource officers would be mandated, while charter schools would have risk management plans and hold safety drills.
House Speaker Tim Moore blocked debate and votes on several Democratic amendments containing gun-control restrictions and other items, saying they weren’t relevant to the bill.
Bill prevents primary losers to run in new parties this fall
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina legislators think it’s wrong that a primary election could switch and run in November as the nominee of a new political party.
The House approved omnibus election legislation Monday that would in part extend the state’s current “sore loser” prohibitions to situations anticipated this year.
The Green Party is a new party, and the Constitution Party could be approved this week. Those parties would select their party candidates by convention. The bill says a candidate who lost in a primary race last month would be ineligible to run for the same office this year with a new party.
The measure returns to the Senate after an amendment to remove the prohibition failed. The bill also requires criminal background checks on many state and county election board workers.
Charter school power for 4 N Carolina towns clears Senate
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Four municipalities near North Carolina’s largest city unhappy with conventional public school offerings for their students are very close to getting the option to build their own charter schools.
The Senate gave its final approval by 27-18 Monday to a measure providing the authority to the Charlotte-area communities of Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius to apply for them to create the non-traditional public schools.
These charter schools could give enrollment preference to town children. No other municipalities have charter-school authority, and critics say the measure would exacerbate racially imbalanced schools.
The bill now returns to the House, which approved it last year when only Mint Hill and Matthews benefited.
Since it’s a local bill, it wouldn’t be subject to Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto if it gets final legislative approval.
MURDER FOR HIRE
North Carolina man accused of hiring hitman to another man
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal court documents show a North Carolina man went online to hire a hitman to poison another man.
Authorities say 26-year-old Bryant Riyanto Budi of Matthews is charged with one count of using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire. He was arrested last Friday.
Local news sources cite an affidavit from Christopher Nasca of the Department of Homeland Security which said Budi went online to hire a hit man to kill another man he said “has been making my life a living hell and extorting me for a year now.” Budi actually exchanged online messages and phone texts with undercover agents.
Authorities said Budi also arranged to buy a radioactive substance, which he had shipped to the home of a friend, and sprinkle it on the man’s food.
Study: School-choice program positive on student scores
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A study shows North Carolina students attending private and parochial schools with aid from taxpayer-funded scholarships did better on standardized exams than public school students taking the same test.
The report by North Carolina State University researchers released Monday is based on scores of 500 public and private school students who voluntarily took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills last year.
The researchers wrote the Opportunity Scholarships Program showed a “positive, large and statistically significant” effect in math, reading and language. Study authors cautioned test participants comprised a small percentage of the 5,600 students receiving vouchers last year.
The state currently spends $45 million annually on the program and Republicans plan to raise it by $10 million annually. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper opposes vouchers and wants the program phased out.
Amber Alert: 7-month-old abducted by registered sex offender
DANVILLE, Va. (AP) – An Amber Alert has been issued for a 7-month-old girl who police say was abducted by a registered sex offender at a gas station in Virginia.
News outlets cite the alert issued by Virginia State Police, which says Emma Grace Kennedy and 51-year-old Carl Ray Kennedy could be headed to North Carolina, following the Sunday night kidnapping.
According to the alert, Carl Kennedy was armed with a knife when he assaulted the infant’s mother at a Kwik Stop and took the girl. Police have not disclosed a possible relationship between Carl Kennedy and Emma Kennedy.
Authorities say Carl Kennedy is registered as a sex offender in North Carolina, and is currently out of jail on a $250,000 bond for drug distribution.
Pennsylvania man found dead off North Carolina beach
BUXTON, N.C. (AP) – Park officials on the North Carolina coast say the body of a Pennsylvania man was found floating in the ocean.
The National Park Service said in a news release the unidentified 79-year-old man was discovered 30 yards from the beach Saturday near the north end of Buxton at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.
A bystander who tried to resuscitate the man, and emergency personnel continued efforts to revive him after responding to a call around 2 p.m.
Although rip currents were forecast for the area and the man was found in the water, the park service said the cause of death is unknown.
It’s the first swimming-related fatality off Cape Hatters National Seashore area in 2018. There were seven swimming-related fatalities in 2017 and eight in 2016.
North Carolina county attorney 1 of 2 killed in wreck
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A county attorney in North Carolina is one of two men killed in a weekend wreck.
Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Matt Hardee told news outlets that 34-year-old Patrick Pait of Lumberton was one of the men killed in a head-on collision Sunday in Cumberland County.
Pait had been the county attorney for Robeson County for the last four years.
The other victim was 66-year-old Donald Rightnour of Fayetteville.
Hardee said both men were driving pickup trucks and died at the scene. Hardee says Rightnour’s truck crossed two lanes of traffic and hit Pait’s truck.
The Robeson County Commission canceled a meeting scheduled Monday night.