Associated Press

Protesters Topple Confederate Statue in North Carolina

Protesters in North Carolina toppled a nearly century-old statue of a Confederate soldier on Monday at a rally against racism. Activists in Durham brought a ladder up to the statue and used a rope to pull down the Confederate Soldiers Monument that was dedicated in 1924. A diverse crowd of dozens cheered as the statue of a soldier holding a rifle fell to the ground in front of an old courthouse building that now houses local government offices. Seconds after the monument fell, protesters began kicking the crumpled bronze monument. The Durham protest was in response to a white...

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Judge: Wrongly Imprisoned Man Must Have Competency Exam

A man freed after 30 years on death row will undergo a competency evaluation as a judge considers whether his lawyers in a lawsuit are properly representing him. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle ruled Friday that Henry McCollum must be evaluated before his lawsuit can proceed against investigators who put him behind bars. A court-appointed advocate argues McCollum was steered into dubious financial arrangements by his lawyers and he lacked the mental capacity to understand his representation agreement with them. McCollum and his half brother were released from prison in 2014 because of DNA evidence and later pardoned of...

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Former N Carolina Senator Rand Named to Lottery Commission

A once-powerful Democratic leader in the North Carolina General Assembly is returning to state government, this time as a lottery commission member. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed former Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand of Fayetteville to the commission, replacing Kim Griffin. He’ll fill a term that ends next August. Rand served in the Senate for all or parts of 12 terms before his 2009 resignation. As majority leader and Senate Rules Committee chairman, Rand was the top lieutenant to longtime Senate leader Marc Basnight and played a big role getting laws passed in 2005 to begin the lottery. Rand left...

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Moore Blames Overzealous Lawyers for Legal Aid Money Cuts

North Carolina’s legal aid groups were puzzled when lawmakers this summer cut state funding to help poor clients with legal troubles. Now a top legislator has disclosed some reasons why it happened. The House removed a provision from the state budget that had set aside money from part of court fees. The money went to three groups that help low-income people with civil matters. House Speaker Tim Moore recently said that reports of overzealous legal aid attorneys are one of the reasons for the cut. He mentioned a case where he says small-time landlords faced extensive demands and frivolous...

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Trubisky Shines for Bears in Preseason Loss to Broncos

Mitch Trubisky threw for 166 yards and led three scoring drives after Mike Glennon struggled for Chicago, before the Denver Broncos scored two long touchdowns in the closing minutes to beat the Bears 24-17 in the preseason opener on Thursday night. Though the Bears have insisted Glennon is their starter, Trubisky just might have created a quarterback controversy. Denver’s Trevor Siemian did nothing to hurt his standing as the leader for the starting quarterback job, while Paxton Lynch did little to close any ground. Third-stringer Kyle Sloter threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with about six minutes...

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Criteria for New Maps Include Politics, Not Race

North Carolina Republican legislators have decided election results can play a role in how dozens of General Assembly districts will be drawn, but the racial makeup of people living within those boundaries won’t. GOP members of the House and Senate redistricting committee voted Thursday for the criteria that will be used to redraw boundaries later this month. Federal courts have thrown out nearly 30 districts drawn in 2011 as illegal racial gerrymanders, and judges have told the legislature to approve new maps by Sept. 1. The committees decided the mapmakers can look at past election results when drawing districts....

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Award-Winning Drama Teacher Sues District for Discrimination

A drama teacher has sued his North Carolina public school district for racial discrimination in staffing and unfair compensation. The Herald Sun of Durham reports 30-year Hillside High School drama teacher Wendell Tabb filed the lawsuit against Durham Public Schools on Wednesday. The lawsuit says DPS refuses to staff the predominantly black Hillside’s award-winning drama program as it does with other schools’ programs, forcing Tabb to perform the work of multiple teachers. The lawsuit also says Tabb hasn’t been compensated for performing non-program-related duties, despite asking for district assistance since 2004. The lawsuit alleges the district’s non-compliance stems from...

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GOP Wants Cooper Fundraiser with Lawyers Scrutinized

The North Carolina Republican Party is questioning a fundraiser Gov. Roy Cooper held at a trial lawyers’ convention, but Cooper’s campaign says the event complied with state law and the GOP complaint is baseless. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes asked state election officials Wednesday to investigate Cooper’s event in mid-June at a Sunset Beach resort where the North Carolina Advocates for Justice was holding its annual meetings. The General Assembly was still in session at the time, so Advocates for Justice or its political action committee could not give to Cooper’s campaign or solicit donations. Hayes’ complaint says the fact...

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N Carolina Gov’t Leaders Put More Meat on Medicaid Proposal

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has unveiled more details about its vision for overhauling North Carolina’s Medicaid program for 1.8 million recipients and the medical community. The Department of Health and Human Services released a draft report Tuesday for the program it would like to operate starting in mid-2019. A 2015 state law directed Medicaid move from reimbursing providers for each service performed to paying a flat amount for each patient covered by new managed-care companies or local networks. Federal regulators must sign off on changes. Tuesday’s roadmap would require more General Assembly approval because it would end existing...

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Pfizer to Invest $100 Million in N Carolina for Gene Therapy

Biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. plans to invest $100 million in a North Carolina plant to focus on a process by which genetic material is introduced to counter defective or missing genes. The company confirmed Gov. Roy Cooper’s news on Monday that it will expand its Sanford operations in preparation for producing gene therapy medicines based on technology developed at UNC-Chapel Hill. Cooper’s news release says the investment will lead to 40 new jobs. Pfizer last year bought a Chapel Hill-based company developing gene-therapy treatment for neuromuscular conditions and diseases affecting the central nervous system. Pfizer is also planning to...

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