Associated Press

Company Blamed for Outer Banks Power Outage Facing Lawsuits

Lawsuits are pending against a construction company blamed for a power outage on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, forcing visitors off the beaches and leaving tourist-dependent businesses without income. At least three lawsuits filed this week seek compensation from PCL Construction. Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday he believes the company responsible should pay for damages once all the facts are known. Lawsuits filed in state and federal courts say the company building the long-needed replacement bridge over Oregon Inlet was negligent and should pay for the financial losses suffered by businesses at the peak of vacation season. About 50,000 tourists...

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Judges: No Special Elections for Redrawn NC Districts

Federal judges have rejected a request to hold special elections next March in state legislative districts once new lines are drawn to eliminate illegal racial gerrymandering. The three-judge panel issued its order late Monday. It means the next General Assembly elections won’t occur until November 2018. But the judges did tell Republican lawmakers that they’ll have to approve new House and Senate boundaries by this September — at least two months earlier than the time GOP leaders sought. The three judges told lawmakers to draw the new maps by Sept. 1 but wrote that they would extend the deadline...

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N Carolina Democrats Have Early Big Money Lead for Campaigns

The North Carolina Democratic Party has a large, early fundraising advantage over Republicans thanks to intensive efforts by Gov. Roy Cooper and others to try to take General Assembly control away from the GOP. The state Democratic Party raised nearly $1.7 million in the first half of the year. The North Carolina Republican Party total is one-fourth that amount. Democrats had $1.9 million in cash on hand while Republicans had $182,000. Figures were in campaign reports due last Friday. Cooper and party leaders already announced raising over $1 million for state House and Senate campaigns. The next elections are...

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N. Carolina Islands Go Dark, Ending Vacation for Thousands

A dreamy summer vacation turned into a messy, sweaty nightmare for 10,000 tourists on the Outer Banks when the power went off and air conditioners stopped humming, and officials ordered visitors to leave Friday because the outage could last days or perhaps weeks. People and cars lined up to get on ferries, the only way off Ocracoke Island. Gas stations ran perilously low on fuel and ice. Workers at a cafe improvised by using flashlights to make sausage biscuits on a gas stove and people searched for anything cold to eat or drink in the thick, humid air. “There’s...

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Judges to Hear Arguments on North Carolina Redistricting

Judges deciding when North Carolina must redraw its state legislative districts are set to hear from voting rights activists calling for special elections and Republican lawmakers urging a slower pace. A panel of three federal judges will hear their cases Thursday in Greensboro. Districts must be redrawn after the federal court ruled 28 House and Senate districts are illegally race-based. That ruling was upheld earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which returned the case to U.S. District Court to decide the next steps. The plaintiffs are seeking a special election before next year’s legislative session, while GOP...

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Cooper: Law Lets School Bus Cameras Catch Hurried Motorists

North Carolina motorists could be fined at least $400 if they pass a stopped school bus, according to a new law now in effect. Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday signed into law legislation that he suggested while still attorney general. The new law allows counties to adopt ordinances and cite motorists by using cameras installed on the stop-arms of buses. The penalties can rise to $1,000 on a third offense. Cooper and other supporters of the idea have said the cameras will reduce the number of motorists skirting around the buses and increasing the risks for striking children getting...

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UNC Scheduled for August Hearing in NCAA Academic Case

North Carolina is scheduled to appear before an NCAA infractions committee panel next month in its multiyear and oft-delayed academic case. Responding to records requests, UNC on Tuesday released a June 9 letter from the NCAA setting Aug. 16-17 for the hearing in Nashville, Tennessee. The letter requests that men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, football coach Larry Fedora and women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell attend. Williams and Fedora aren’t charged with a violation — Fedora wasn’t working at UNC during the time in question — but their programs are referenced in a broader improper benefits charge. Hatchell isn’t charged...

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Attorneys: Pressure for Better Schools Should Leave Court

After two decades fighting about public school funding for North Carolina’s poorest students, attorneys say it’s time for them to step away from the courtroom and leave ongoing disputes to a neutral outsider. Both sides in the landmark Leandro public school lawsuit are asking a state judge to appoint an independent consultant who will suggest further steps for state officials to improve education for all children. Gov. Roy Cooper’s office on Tuesday released the text of an executive order creating a commission of experts to suggest what the state needs to do next. The governor’s commission and the court-appointed...

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North Carolina Investigators Find 4 Dead Dogs at Burlington Kennel

Investigators have found four dead dogs in a North Carolina kennel after a walk-through of the business led to the removal of 18 animals. The Times-News of Burlington reports Randy Jones, spokesman for the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release the animals were taken from a kennel in the northern part of the county after a complaint of possible animal neglect. It’s not known how the dogs died. No charges had been filed as of Monday while investigators await the results of a necropsy. Jones said the animals didn’t appear to be emaciated and showed no...

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Cooper Says He’s Acting on Chemical in N. Carolina River

North Carolina’s governor says he’s directing state criminal investigators to see if a chemical plant violated any permits by discharging a lightly studied chemical into a river hundreds of thousands of people use for drinking water. Gov. Roy Cooper revealed his directions to the State Bureau of Investigation while speaking Monday to local officials in Wilmington. Cooper also promised chemical company Chemours will be barred from releasing the compound known as GenX into the Cape Fear River alongside its Bladen County plant, which employs nearly 1,000 workers. The chemical is used to make nonstick products like Teflon, replacing a...

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