Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Saving target means hundreds of millions more dollars needed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina government’s top fiscal analysts have officially set a goal for the state’s rainy-day reserve fund that once met should help fill large shortfalls encountered during most recessions.
A law approved last year requires a set percentage of annual revenue growth be transferred to the reserve, which already has more than $1.8 billion. The law directs the state budget office and the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division to come up with an annual target.
That target is a percentage of the previous year’s revenues – meaning for now reaching the goal would require increasing the fund by roughly $700 million over time.
State Budget Director Charlie Perusse told legislators in a memo the target percentage may change over time as revenue data increase.
DIABETIC TEST STRIP SHOOTING
Police: N Carolina couple shot, robbed during transaction(Information from: News & Record, http://www.news-record.com)
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) – Police say a North Carolina couple was shot during a diabetic test strip transaction.
Greensboro police Capt. Nathaniel Davis told The News & Record of Greensboro on Monday that 52-year-old Emmanuel Alexander and 52-year-old Wanda Alexander had agreed to meet a man on Jan. 23 to buy or sell the test strips, but were instead shot and robbed.
Emmanuel Alexander was killed in the shooting and Wanda Alexander is in critical condition, with gunshot wounds to her face and torso.
The U.S. Marshals Service arrested 24-year-old Lee Ernest Curry in Alabama on Friday night in connection with the shooting. He’s charged with first-degree murder, assault and robbery and is being transported to Greensboro.
It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.
Police are not looking for any other suspects.
2018 ELECTIONS-NORTH CAROLINA
Election calendar, management unclear 2 weeks before filing
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – About the only thing for sure about North Carolina’s 2018 elections is that voters ultimately will choose members of Congress and the General Assembly.
A tangled web of legislation and litigation stretching to North Carolina and the nation’s highest courts has brought uncertainty to how this year’s elections will be administered, even though candidate filing for some begins in two weeks.
Several court cases and proposals make murky the election calendar and its management.
Attorneys and legislators spent Monday digging in further the state Supreme Court’s decision last Friday that the Republican-controlled legislature went too far by how it created a combined state elections and ethics board. Court decisions also are pending on whether judicial primaries will be canceled this year and which General Assembly boundaries are used.
COAL ASH-DUKE ENERGY
Duke Energy won’t force neighbors to waive all legal claims
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Neighbors of Duke Energy Corp.’s unlined coal ash pits in North Carolina went to court after the company said their $5,000 “good will” payments required them to give up future health claims linked to contaminated well water, but now they’re ending the lawsuit.
Lawyers representing hundreds of neighbors of the company’s coal plants dropped their lawsuit last week and Charlotte-based Duke Energy posted an online clarification that people taking the money could not sue, but children blaming groundwater pollution for health problems would not be barred.
Coal ash is a byproduct from burning coal for electricity. It contains toxic heavy metals. Duke Energy denies neighboring water wells have been contaminated.
The $5,000 was separate from water bill payments after Duke Energy connects neighbors to new water lines.
CHILD PORN-COUPLE CHARGED
North Carolina couple arrested for child porn, child rape
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina have charged a husband and wife with child pornography and rape of minor children.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office told local media outlets that deputies responding to a report about a residence in Sneads Ferry last Saturday found Matthew Douglas Maynard and Diane Louise Maynard involved in sex acts with minors.
The sheriff’s office said the children were taken from the home and placed in the care of the Department of Social Services.
The Maynards, both 34, are charged with two counts of felony first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of felony statutory rape of a child. They’re each jailed, with secured bond set at $200,000, and were scheduled to appear in court on Monday. It’s not known if they have attorneys.
PREGNANT WOMAN SHOT
Man charged in shooting of pregnant woman, boyfriend
(Information from: The Herald-Sun, http://www.herald-sun.com)
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man has been charged in connection with the shooting of a pregnant woman who subsequently had an emergency delivery.
The Herald-Sun reports 26-year-old Torie Damonte Graves was arrested during a traffic stop and charged on Monday in the Jan. 23 shooting.
Durham police responding to a call found a 22-year-old woman and her 26-year-old boyfriend shot multiple times. Both were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, and the baby was delivered by a cesarean section. The condition of the couple and the child are unknown.
Graves is charges with multiple offenses, including assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and assault on an unborn child. It’s unclear whether he has a lawyer.
Police have not offered a motive.
New mental health agency board targets excessive spending
(Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The new board for North Carolina’s largest regional mental health agency has adopted policies targeting the lavish spending found by a state audit last year.
The Charlotte Observer reports Cardinal Innovations Healthcare’s new board of directors met Saturday and was handed control by the state. The board approved a corrective action plan, including seeking state approval to pay its CEO more than the set range, and barring board retreats at high-end venues, charter flights and using agency money to purchase alcohol.
A state audit released last May found the agency excessively spent on directors’ pay, conferences and Christmas parties. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services fired the Cardinal board in November for approving a severance package of $3.8 million for ousted CEO Richard Topping and other executives.
Power outage shuts down North Carolina college campus
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Classes and activities at a North Carolina college have been canceled after a power outage.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports the outage at Winston-Salem State University on Monday led officials to cancel a tour scheduled for UNC system president Margaret Spellings.
In addition to the tour, a memorial service set for Monday for a Winston-Salem State football player who was shot to death at a party at Wake Forest University was postponed. No new date has been announced.
Although power, which was lost late Sunday, was restored to the campus around 2 p.m. Monday, the cancellations remained in effect.
A statement from the school said work crews determined that the outage was caused by aging electrical infrastructure between Duke Energy’s high voltage feed and the university’s distribution system.