Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
Supreme Court: NC doesn’t have to redraw maps by next week
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court has delayed a lower-court order that would have forced North Carolina Republican lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional districts by next week because of excessive partisan bias in current lines.
The justices announced their decision late Thursday after legal briefs were filed for and against the GOP legislators’ request for a delay. Their lawyers successfully argued that a three-judge panel’s ruling last week declaring the state congressional map an illegal partisan gerrymander should be put on hold while similar cases from Wisconsin and Maryland before the Supreme Court are settled.
Voter advocacy groups and Democratic voters who sued over the map – heavily weighted toward Republicans – argued no delay was necessary because it would be struck down however the justices rule in the other cases.
Amazon releases finalist cities for second headquarters
NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon is narrowing the list of cities under consideration for its second headquarters to 20, with the largest concentration in the Northeast.
Amazon, based in Seattle, plans to invest $5 billion in the new headquarters and could employ as many as 50,000 people in and around the city it chooses.
Cities are in fierce competition to lure Amazon, which has revolutionized the way people shop.
The list released on Thursday includes the cities of Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Columbus, Ohio. It also listed northern Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland as potential sites.
Suit: Judges won’t weigh bond in Carolinas immigration cases
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A new lawsuit tries to force immigration judges handling cases in the Carolinas to consider releasing non-citizens on bond as immigration courts around the country do.
Two immigration-rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday contending three of the four immigration judges in Charlotte are refusing to conduct bond hearings even though they are required to do so.
The American Immigration Council and the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition say that means weeks of unnecessary detention for people who are eligible to be released on bond. The groups say detainees are forced to wait until after they are transferred out of the Carolinas before they can again seek bond in a different immigration court.
The U.S. Justice Department declined comment. Charlotte immigration court judges did not respond to messages seeking comment.
South awaits thaw from snowstorm, icy roads and numbing cold
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Southerners are awaiting an imminent thaw that would end days of icy roads, snow and numbing cold from a fierce winter storm that blasted their normally mild corner of the country.
For a third night, stare troopers warned of ice on roads as the snow that melts refreezes early Friday morning.
After sunrise, forecasters said, a major warmup would be on the way with highs by the weekend expected to reach more typical 50s and 60s (10s and 15s Celsius) for winter in the South.
At least 15 people have died from the midweek snow storm that battered the South from Texas to the Carolinas.
ELVIS-PAPER CUP AUCTION
Paper cup allegedly used by Elvis Presley up for auction
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – A paper cup allegedly used by Elvis Presley six decades ago in Oklahoma is up for auction, and bids have already surpassed $1,200.
North Carolina resident Wade Jones is a collector of all things Elvis. He tells the Tulsa World that the crumpled blue-and-white Dixie cup was snagged by a fan in April 1956, after Elvis performed at the Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Jones says a fan named June allegedly retrieved the cup the day after the performance, right before Elvis left town for a show in Oklahoma City. A letter accompanying the collector’s item says June had asked to keep the cup “as a little memento.”
Bids for the now-yellowed paper cup had surpassed $1,280 on eBay by mid-day Wednesday. Jones says the auction closes Sunday evening.
N Carolina: Sterilization victims to get final payment soon
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina officials say the third and final compensation payment to sterilization victims should be mailed soon, marking the end of a 15-year pursuit of financial help for them.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration tells the Winston-Salem Journal that officials are verifying the final number of qualified claimants and confirming addresses. Spokeswoman Gena Renfrow says payments will be prepared once that’s done.
About 7,600 people were sterilized under North Carolina’s eugenics program before it ended in 1974. The N.C. Industrial Commission has certified more than 200 victims, who have received two previous payments of $20,000 and $15,000.
The payments are being finalized nearly two months after a decision by the N.C. Court of Appeals rejecting arguments from the heirs of some victims about the law.
Women unhappy with gym owner’s video focusing on their butts
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
FLETCHER, N.C. (AP) – The owner of a gym in North Carolina says he’s surprised people have reacted angrily to a video he posted of women working out that focuses on their butts and includes comments such as “Hump Day.”
Blue Ridge CrossFit owner Tom Tomlo Jr. tells the Asheville Citizen-Times he made the video and added the comments and emoticons over the shots of the women and posted it Friday to the gym’s Instagram account. The video shows women exercising and wearing tight workout pants.
Tomlo says the video was shot in a sense of fun and that the women consented to it. Amanda Turlington of Arden says she didn’t agree to be in the video.
She says Tomlo took advantage of the women while they were in a vulnerable position.
WOMEN SAVED-ICY CREEK
Law enforcement officer saves women from icy creek
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a law enforcement officer in North Carolina rescued two women from a freezing creek after their vehicle ran down an embankment.
The Herald Sun of Durham reports officers were dispatched to a call Wednesday and Durham Police Cpl. J.J. Barazandeh was the first to arrive at the scene.
Police said in a Facebook post that he saw the two women clinging to the door jamb of a fully submerged car. The women, who were waist deep in water, were waving their arms and calling for help.
Barazandeh took off his duty belt and jumped into the icy creek. He was able to reach the vehicle and guide both women to the shoreline. Two passing motorists stopped and pulled them to safety.
Paramedics arrived and treated the women.