Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
BOX CAR DERBY DEATH
Man dies after box car derby wreck in North Carolina
BREVARD, N.C. (AP) – Police have confirmed that a man has died from injuries nearly a week after a box car derby wreck in western North Carolina.
Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris told news outlets Monday that 66-year-old Gary Kendrick died at an Asheville hospital over the weekend.
The Brevard man was one of six people hurt May 27 when a 13-year-old driving a wooden box car lost control and ran into the crowd at the White Squirrel Festival.
Kendrick had been flown to Asheville with head injuries. Most of the others were treated at a Brevard hospital.
Harris said he does not expect any charges to be filed.
VETERANS’ GROUP SWINDLED
2 charged with defrauding North Carolina veterans’ groups
TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man and woman have been accused of swindling money from three veterans groups.
News outlets reported that 65-year-old James Marion Benfield of Taylorsville and 46-year-old Elizabeth Dixon have been charged with embezzlement.
The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office started investigating thefts last week from the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 48 in Alexander County. The group reported that nearly $6,000 was missing. Benfield was treasurer of the organization.
The Statesville Record & Landmark reported that Benfield also held positions with an American Legion chapter and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Alexander County. Both organizations have reported missing money.
The total amount of missing money has not been released.
It was not known if Benfield and Dixon have attorneys.
Amber Alert: Sex-offender may be taking baby to the coast
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina and Virginia are following up on tips as they search for a 7-month-old girl they say was abducted at knifepoint from the baby’s mother.
Police in Danville, Virginia, said Emma Grace Kennedy was taken by her father, 51-year-old Carl Ray Kennedy at a convenience store near the North Carolina state line.
Virginia State Police issued an Amber Alert saying the infant faces “extreme danger.”
An update Monday night said Kennedy may have been spotted in Seven Springs, southeast of Raleigh, and could be headed to Oak Island on the North Carolina coast.
Authorities said Carl Kennedy is registered as a sex offender in Asheboro, North Carolina.
Finley reported from Norfolk, Virginia.
Follow Martha Waggoner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc.
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.