Associated Press

Confederate Statue Toppling Cases Start with a Dismissal

Problems identifying protesters on video hindered North Carolina prosecutors on Monday as they sought to hold demonstrators responsible for toppling a Confederate statue last summer. A judge dismissed the criminal cases against the first two defendants to appear in a series of individual trials, and he found a third not guilty. Trials for five others are to be held at a later date. Prosecutors showed videos of protesters bringing out a ladder, attaching a rope and yanking down the statue in front of a Durham County government building in August 2017. But defense attorneys successfully argued through a series...

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North Carolina Legislators Cautious on More Online Sales

Legislators sounded cautious and divided Thursday about the North Carolina lottery’s latest pitch to expand online sales, with some worried it could cannibalize ticket sales at convenience stores and complicate flushing out illegal video sweepstakes parlors. The North Carolina Education Lottery has been examining “digital instants” already being offered by lotteries in three other states. They are essentially electronic scratch-off tickets in which players can win cash prizes from their computers or smartphones. Players pay for tickets from debit cards or checking accounts. An outside performance audit the lottery paid for says online games could generate another $130 million...

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North Carolina Health Officials Report 17 New Flu Deaths

State health officials said Thursday 17 more people have died from the flu in North Carolina, the fifth straight week in which more than 10 people have died from the virus. There were no pediatric deaths in the latest report issued by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The death toll for the 2017-18 season is 165, including 132 deaths in the last five weeks. Experts say this season nationwide is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. According to a government report released last Friday, 1 of every 13 visits to the...

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North Carolina School-Choice Advocate Joining National Group

The founding president of a North Carolina group that successfully lobbied legislators to authorize more charter schools and create three taxpayer-funded scholarship or grant school-choice programs for K-12 children is leaving his job. Darrell Allison with Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina said Thursday he would leave at the end of the month to become a director and political strategist at the national school-choice group the American Federation for Children. Allison became the North Carolina group’s president in 2005. He said he’s proud of North Carolina implementing so many education reform initiatives since 2011. That’s when Republicans took...

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Cooper Unveils North Carolina Workforce Development Plans

Gov. Roy Cooper says upgrading North Carolina’s workforce is a big deal for his administration, so he’s laying out how he wants to make citizens ready for jobs today and prepared for future industries. Cooper laid out his “NC Job Ready” initiative Tuesday while speaking at a career and technical education high school in Raleigh. Some of his workforce priorities overlap his public education efforts to raise the graduation rate and increase the number of residents with post-secondary education or credentials. He wants easier access for training in high-demand fields, better internet and expanded workplace and employer-led learning opportunities....

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House, Senate Adjourn, Plan to Return in May

The North Carolina General Assembly is officially on hiatus for the next three months, as long as the courts or a veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper doesn’t force them back. The House and Senate adjourned Tuesday with both chambers approving a resolution they won’t return to Raleigh for votes again until May 16. Lawmakers left behind on Cooper’s desk one bill — a wide-ranging proposal that creates a solution for school districts and new class-size limits next fall. But it also includes items involving the state elections and ethics board and a proposed natural gas pipeline many Democrats...

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North Carolina Requiring New Steps to Reduce GenX Emissions

North Carolina environmental regulators have ordered a chemical company to take further steps to reduce emissions of chemicals that have questionable health effects. The state Department of Environmental Quality issued a notice of violation Monday telling Chemours to take more actions to control emissions of GenX and other compounds at its Bladen County plant. The notice orders the company to do a better job of cutting back on air emissions with particles that can settle and contribute to groundwater contamination. Delaware-based Chemours didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. State lawmakers and regulators have been taking a closer...

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Ex-NFL Player Gifts 20 Tons of Sweet Potatoes for ‘Yam Jam’

A former NFL player who traded one field for a thousand acres of another has gifted for his alma mater 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes — for “Yam Jam.” The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Jason Brown had the 20 tons of root vegetables dumped on the front lawn of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday morning to be bagged and donated to local food banks. Sweet potatoes and yams are different vegetables. Brown, a North Carolina native, left the league after seven years in 2012 to start First Fruits Farms, with the goal of relieving...

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State Court Won’t Change More House Districts

A late effort by Democrats and voting rights groups to change legislative districts before candidate filing begins in North Carolina has been rejected by state judges. A three-judge panel denied a request Monday by the plaintiffs in a long-standing state redistricting case to have several districts in and around Charlotte and Raleigh altered so they are identical to those approved by federal judges in a similar mapping lawsuit. The U.S. Supreme Court last week decided those map changes should be delayed while Republican lawmakers appeal, but the plaintiffs in the state case argued a state court could still intervene...

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Federal Appeals Court Blocks N Carolina Appellate Primaries

North Carolina appellate court primaries apparently won’t happen after all this year now that a federal appeals court has blocked a judge’s ruling directing they be held over the wishes of the Republican-controlled legislature. A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday halted last week’s preliminary injunction by U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles. She had decided that partisan primaries must go ahead this year for the state Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court despite a state law last October canceling them. But attorneys for Republican lawmakers said it would have created a two-tiered judicial...

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