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Alligators, fish tested for GenX far from chemical plant
(Information from: The StarNews, http://starnewsonline.com)
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Scientists are expanding their search for a little-studied industrial compound by testing whether it’s collecting in the bodies of alligators and fish about 100 miles from the chemical plant where it is made.
The StarNews of Wilmington reports that North Carolina State University researchers and Cape Fear River Watch started taking samples in May from alligators, catfish and striped bass in the Cape Fear River. The study aims to establish if GenX and several related compounds are collecting in their bodies.
The state Department of Environmental Quality earlier this year tested for GenX in fish from a lake near The Chemours Co. chemical plant in Bladen County. Officials have not released their findings, though they planned to discuss them with Robeson County residents last week.
DEPUTY CRUISER HIT
Man charged after hitting North Carolina deputy’s cruiser
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – A man has been arrested after he drove his car into a sheriff’s deputy’s vehicle in North Carolina.
News outlets report no one was hurt in the wreck Tuesday in Forsyth County.
Twenty-four-year-old Alexander Jared Franklin of Kernersville has been charged with assaulting a government employee, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a gun by a felon and several other charges.
The sheriff’s office said Franklin was accused of firing a gun in Davidson County and had been involved in a dispute in Guilford County.
He was arrested after deputies say he was arguing with a construction crew and then drove into a responding officer’s vehicle.
Franklin’s first court appearance is scheduled June 28. It was not known if he has an attorney yet.
PSYCHIATRIC CENTER SUSPENDED
North Carolina suspends operations at psychiatric center
MARSHVILLE, N.C. (AP) – State officials in North Carolina have suspended most operations at a psychiatric center after allegations of physical abuse and faulty treatment.
News outlets reported the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said Monday it has taken action against Anderson Health Services in Marshville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Charlotte.
The facility opened last year to treat teens with histories of physical and sexual abuse, suicide attempts, and assault.
A report this month said some teens at the center stole drugs, obtained a knife, a hammer and a chair leg that was used as a weapon.
State officials plan to move patients to other facilities.
Anderson Health operator Alfred Owens referred questions to an attorney, who said the company disputes the state’s allegations and is appealing.
As deadline nears, N Carolina governor wants to talk budget
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – By law Gov. Roy Cooper has until early next week to decide what to do about the North Carolina budget adjustments on his desk, but he’s apparently ready to talk about them in public.
Cooper scheduled a Raleigh news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the budget.
The Republican-controlled General Assembly gave its final approval late last week to a nearly $24 billion plan for the year starting July 1. The Democratic governor has until next Monday to sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature.
Cooper and his allies haven’t been happy with what the GOP put inside the plan and what it left out. Cooper wanted more money for teacher raises and recommended some income tax breaks taking place in 2019 be blocked.
North Carolina gets $147M grant for highway improvements
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s senators say the U.S. Department of Transportation will award nearly $150 million for infrastructure projects across highway corridors in eastern parts of the state.
U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, and Gov. Roy Cooper, told news outlets in statements Tuesday that the $147 million grant will help widen up to 25 miles (40 kilometers) of Interstate 95 and upgrade parts U.S. Route 70 to make it Interstate 42. It’s unclear when construction will begin.
Parts of I-95 will be widened near Fayetteville. U.S. 70 will become I-42 with upgrades from I-40 to Morehead City.
The projects will decrease traffic congestion, improve emergency preparedness during natural disasters and enhance access to four military bases. 300 miles (480 kilometers) of fiber optic cable will also be installed along both highways.
N Carolina election rule changes gets final legislative OK
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislation containing several election administration changes has cleared the North Carolina General Assembly and is now at Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.
The Senate voted 30-12 Tuesday for the legislation, which would require many state and county election board workers to receive criminal background checks.
The measure would extend the state’s current prohibitions on losing primary candidates from running again in the fall for the same office as a write-in or independent candidate. This “sore loser” provision would now also apply to new political parties choosing their candidates by convention. The Green Party and possibly the Constitution Party will be on ballots this November.
The measure also says candidates in this year’s free-for-all trial and appellate court races will have their registered party affiliation or unaffiliated status beside their names.
Judicial remap in 2 largest North Carolina counties approved
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judicial remapping plan in which District Court judges in North Carolina’s two most-populated counties will no longer be elected by all county residents has quickly passed the General Assembly and is heading to Gov. Roy Cooper.
The Senate agreed 28-14 Tuesday to House changes to a bill that allocated District Court seats in Mecklenburg County to eight election districts, which also formed new Superior Court districts. The House decided Wake County District Court judges also would be voted on from election districts as well, not countywide.
The bill in part addressed population imbalances in Mecklenburg Superior Court districts that Republicans worried were unconstitutional. Democrats say the measure diminishes powers of Wake and Mecklenburg voters and narrows residency requirements for candidates.
Cooper has been critical of recent judicial redistricting efforts.
Sexual-assault kit tracking bill OK’d by Senate committee
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A bill establishing a statewide tracking system for sexual assault evidence kits so victims can follow them through the process has approval from one North Carolina legislative committee. But some legislators are asking where’s the money.
A state Senate committee gave a favorable report to a new version of the bill Tuesday and sent it another committee.
The bill also orders creation of a working group to determine priority for the testing of rape kits that have languished for too long.
Sen. Shirley Randleman told senators who questioned the lack of funding in the bill that officials need to know the precise extent of the problem before appropriating money.
The action follows an audit which showed North Carolina has about 15,000 untested rape kits. Officials say about one-third are untestable.