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MILITARY KIDS-SEX ASSAULT
AP Investigation: US military overlooks sex abuse among kids
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Even as the U.S. military confronts rape in the ranks, it frequently fails to protect or provide justice to the children of service members when they sexually assault one another.
That’s according to an Associated Press investigation which found that assaults reported on military bases often die on the desks of prosecutors. Other cases don’t make it that far because military investigators shelve them, despite requirements they be pursued.
Instead of punishment or rehabilitation, offenders may be shuffled into the civilian world.
The Pentagon doesn’t know the scope of the problem. AP documented nearly 600 sex assault cases among military kids on base since 2007 in the U.S. and abroad.
Officials said they take seriously “any incident impacting the well-being” of service members or families and promised to take “appropriate actions.”
Retooled N Carolina oil and gas panel holding first meeting
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A retooled state panel directed to regulate North Carolina’s nascent fracking industry is finally holding its first meeting.
Members of the state Oil and Gas Commission planned to gather Wednesday in a government building in downtown Raleigh to learn about their new jobs and pick its leaders.
The commission is supposed to establish where oil and natural gas drilling can occur and enforce rules the panel creates.
Commission meetings got delayed several months ago after it became unclear how many members could attend or how many actually had been appointed. Delays also were related to the members’ state ethics filings.
Commissioners are picked by the governor and legislative leaders. The legislature altered the commission following a 2016 state Supreme Court ruling that struck down its composition.
MOM-SCHOOL BOMB THREAT
Sheriff: N. Carolina woman threatens to bomb son’s school
HIDDENITE, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a North Carolina woman threatened to bomb her son’s school because she was upset that he was being punished.
Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman tells WBTV-TV that 29-year-old Barbara Elizabeth Sherrill made threats about placing bombs at East Alexander Middle School. Sherrill’s son reportedly got into an altercation and was being disciplined by school officials.
Sherrill told others about the bombs and said law enforcement “better hope they find them before they go off.” The Charlotte Observer reports Bowman’s office received reports Monday about the threats. A statement from authorities says no threats were found after the school was searched.
The Lenoir woman was charged with felony false report of mass violence on education property. She’s jailed under a $20,000 secured bond.
It’s unclear if Sherrill has a lawyer.
Supreme Court rejects Cooper motion on election board ruling
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina Supreme Court has upheld a lower-court order tossing out a small portion of state law creating a combined elections and ethics board.
Tuesday’s ruling by the justices denied a request by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to get the entire law struck down. Cooper disagreed with a three-judge panel that determined a Supreme Court decision from January about the board’s constitutionality produced a narrow result.
The Supreme Court ruling confirms that a board composed of four Democrats and four Republicans was voided. The Republican-led legislature adjusted that portion of the law last month to create a ninth member belonging to neither major party. Those tweaks take effect Friday.
So Cooper also filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to block that adjustment and the combined board from being chosen.
ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE
GOP now wants federal prosecutors to probe pipeline deal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina Republicans continue to attack Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over a $58 million agreement his office reached with utilities poised to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Now, the GOP hopes their criticism will get the attention of federal prosecutors.
State Republican Party leaders asked Tuesday for a federal investigation of whether Cooper broke the law with the memorandum of understanding, calling it possible extortion.
The memo said the money would have gone to environmental mitigation, economic development and renewable energy. Republicans say the agreement is fishy because it was announced the same day state regulators approved a key permit.
Cooper and a top environmental regulator say the permit and future payments had no connection. A Democratic Party spokesman said Tuesday’s allegations are just another GOP conspiracy theory.
3rd nor’easter fouls roads, moods as millions face cleanup
BOSTON (AP) – The third major storm in two weeks has lashed the Northeast with hurricane-force winds, heavy snow and widespread power outages and now millions of people are facing yet another cleanup.
The storm on Tuesday buried some towns beneath 2 feet of snow.
The National Weather Service says Derry, New Hampshire, got 25 inches. Burrillville, Rhode Island, and Kezar Falls, Maine, both got 20 inches.
High winds and blowing snow led meteorologists to categorize the storm as a blizzard in parts of New England, including Boston. Gusts approached 70 mph on Cape Cod.
At one point, more than a quarter-million people were without power in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Utility companies say they’ll have extra crews out on Wednesday to restore power to those still without it.
Robbers kill teacher, injure pastor in house fire
(Information from: WNCN-TV.)
LITTLETON, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina are searching for two suspects after a Sunday school teacher was killed and a pastor severely injured after a home invasion robbery ended with a house fire.
Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams tells WNCN-TV the couple arrived at their North Carolina home Friday morning and found the robbers inside. The sheriff says the suspects made the woman drive to a bank and withdraw $1,000 before forcing the couple inside the home and setting it on fire.
Williams says the husband escaped but couldn’t rescue his wife. The fire killed Nancy Alford, who taught at Sanford Memorial Baptist Church in Brodnax, Virginia. John Alford suffered burns and smoke inhalation. He preached at the church for the past 10 years.
The robbers fled in the couple’s car, which has been recovered.
North Carolina sheriff’s deputies kill man who fired at them
LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy has shot and killed a man who fired on him and other deputies as they responded to a call about a domestic dispute.
The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that a woman told deputies late Monday she was assaulted by 61-year-old Briscoe Tim Woodell.
The news release said Woodell threatened to shoot deputies. A special response team and hostage negotiators were called in, and after a brief standoff, Woodell came out of a barn on his property and shot at the deputies.
Emergency personnel treated Woodell, but he died en route to the hospital.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting. The deputy identified in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.