Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
N Carolina Democrats, Republicans gather for conventions
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Activists for North Carolina’s major political parties are gathering separately this weekend for their annual conventions to energize the faithful heading into the fall elections.
The state Republican Party’s annual meeting begins in earnest on Friday in Hickory. Democratic Party leaders and delegates meet Saturday afternoon in Raleigh for their convention.
GOP sessions Saturday feature speeches by several notable politicians, including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, State Treasurer Dale Folwell and President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Saturday night the GOP holds a “Gala Honoring the 2nd Amendment,” with U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis as a top-tier speaker.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is the keynote speaker at the Democrats’ Sanford-Hunt-Frye breakfast Saturday morning before the convention.
BUILDING COLLAPSE THREAT
Building in North Carolina city in danger of collapse
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) – Officials in a North Carolina city have closed a city block because of the threat of a building collapse.
News outlets reported a block was closed Thursday because of the threat of collapse of a three-story building housing a business on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.
Wilmington spokeswoman Malissa Talbert said those living in the building have been evacuated as crews work to stabilize the building. The street is expected to be closed for two weeks.
The owner of the first-floor business, Jake Motsinger, says he has not been allowed to retrieve products he’s sold online. Motsinger says renovations were expected to start next week, but engineers discovered structural concerns.
Most other businesses on the block are open, though the street is closed.
TOWN OFFICIAL-ASSAULT CHARGE
New charges filed against North Carolina town commissioner
CHOCOWINITY, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina town commissioner accused of multiple offenses over the last year is now a wanted man after running from deputies trying to arrest him on new charges.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office told local news sources Chocowinity Town Commissioner Curt Jenkins ran from deputies Thursday as they attempted to arrest him on a stalking charge.
Last month, Jenkins was jailed under a $500,000 bond for charges of assault by strangulation and second-degree kidnapping. He’s also previously faced charges for violating his conditions of release in a previous assault case.
Jenkins turned himself in on the charges last month.
Suspect shot by police after North Carolina wrong-way chase
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A suspect has been shot by police following a chase that was headed the wrong way on a North Carolina street.
Winston-Salem police say an SUV was being chased by police Thursday before it went through an intersection and then went the wrong way on the city’s north side. The suspect was shot after his SUV hit several vehicles.
WXII-TV in Winston-Salem reports the chase stemmed from an investigation into an armed robbery. Officers surrounded the car, but the SUV got away and police and the suspect exchanged gunfire.
The driver was eventually cut off by police before the SUV driver turned around and went southbound on northbound University Parkway before police surrounded the vehicle the second time and the suspect was shot.
CONFEDERATE STATUE COSTS
North Carolina school doesn’t know statue protection cost
(Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com)
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – The University of North Carolina says it doesn’t know how much it spends to protect the Silent Sam Confederate statue.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reported the school’s police chief said last summer it would cost about $620,000 annually to watch the statue full time.
The newspaper reported UNC Police Chief Jeff McCracken wrote Chancellor Carol Folt in August with the estimate the department was spending about $1,700 per day to watch the statue, which has been subject to protests.
UNC police spokesman Randy Young said Thursday there is no firm figure on what it costs now to protect the statue. Young says last summer’s letter was about a specific need at a specific time. Young says there is no estimate on what has been spent on the monument.
SHOOTING WRECK DEATH
3 arrested in shooting that led to North Carolina death
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Three men have been arrested in a shooting earlier this week that led to a wreck and a man’s death in North Carolina’s largest city.
News outlets reported that the three men arrested in Charlotte on Thursday night are 21-year-old Demahj Wright, 19-year-old Oyontai Bostic and 20-year-old Demetrey Leake.
All three have been charged with murder in the death of 25-year-old Tevin Snow.
Police say Snow was shot late Monday morning and lost control of his car and crashed into a guard rail. He was taken to Carolinas Medical Center where he died Tuesday.
It was not known if the men have attorneys yet.
Police have not released a possible motive for the shooting.
2 members of secretive NC sect charged with fraud conspiracy
Two members of a secretive church in North Carolina have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in an alleged unemployment benefits scheme.
Marion Kent Covington and Diane Mary McKinny were charged Thursday in U.S. District Court in Asheville.
Prosecutors say 63-year-old Covington and 65-year-old McKinney decided in 2008 to lay off employees at Covington’s business so they could collect unemployment benefits. But the employees continued to work.
Most employees were members of the Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. Prosecutors say Covington used his leadership position in the church to force them to comply.
The Associated Press reported in September that authorities were looking into unemployment-claims issues at congregants’ businesses. That report was part of the AP’s ongoing investigation into claims that church leaders had abused congregants for years.
Rape kit tracking system advances at N Carolina legislature
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly have advanced legislation creating a statewide tracking system for sexual assault evidence kits.
Identical bills receiving Senate approval and tentative House approval Thursday stem from a February audit that counted about 15,000 untested rape kits were held by law enforcement agencies across the state.
Attorney General Josh Stein has said it would cost about $10 million to test the entire backlog. The bills don’t contain money, but instead first create a working group to decide testing priority for the backlog. Republican lawmakers said they wanted to get the testing process in place before deciding how much money to test those kits deemed necessary to review.
This backlog is different from any kits currently awaiting testing at the State Crime Lab.