CITY COUNCIL-OPEN MEETING
Judge: City Council’s team building is open to the public
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has ruled that Asheville’s City Council cannot block the public from a team-building exercise that council members had scheduled as part of an annual retreat. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that Buncombe County Superior Court Judge Steven Warren made the ruling Tuesday. One council member was against closing the team-building portion of the meeting. Media outlets that included the Citizen-Times had asked the judge to stop the public from being barred. Similar parts of past retreats have been open. But city Attorney Brad Branham argued the five-hour portion of the retreat was an informal gathering. The judge ruled that time was subject to state open meetings laws.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina eviction moratorium extended to June 30
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday evening announced a three-month extension of the statewide eviction moratorium that had been set to expire at the end of March. The updated executive order comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directed states to extend protections through June 30. The CDC order applies to all standard rental housing but doesn’t cover those living in hotels, motels or other temporary guest home rentals or individuals making over $99,000 a year. Cooper signed two other orders on Tuesday. One directive extends to-go alcohol sales by a month until 5 p.m. April 30, while the other expedites unemployment insurance claim processing.
N Carolina NAACP sues to have Confederate monument removed
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP has filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of a Confederate monument which stands in front of a county courthouse. The lawsuit filed Tuesday names members of the Alamance County Board of Commissioners as defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the monument glorifies slavery, secession and white supremacy, and that county officials have refused to move it from in front of the Alamance County Courthouse in Graham. They say the monument’s presence poses a threat to public safety and stands in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. Commission Chairman John Paisley didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.
VOTER LITERACY TEST-NORTH CAROLINA
North Carolina lawmakers begin pushing literacy test repeal
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s constitution still includes an unenforceable relic of the Jim Crow era — a voter literacy test. Some state lawmakers have started the process again to do away with it. A House judiciary committee voted unanimously on Tuesday for a bipartisan measure that would allow voters to decide next year whether to eliminate that section of the constitution. The voter literacy requirement was added to the constitution in 1900 and used to keep many Black citizens from casting ballots. The 1965 Voting Rights Act made such tests unlawful, but in 1970, North Carolina voters defeated an amendment to remove the section.
AP interview: EPA head committed to ‘scientific integrity’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to restore what he calls “scientific integrity” at the EPA. And one way Michael Regan is trying to do that is by reversing Trump administration actions that sidelined many academic scientists as advisers in favor of industry figures. Regan says in an Associated Press interview that the “reset” of two advisory panels will return the EPA to its time-honored practice of relying on advice from a balanced group of experts. Regan says “scientific integrity is a foundational value for EPA.” And he says he’s is committed “to ensuring that every single decision we make meets rigorous scientific standards.’’
Robinhood to build customer service center in North Carolina
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The stock-trading app company Robinhood will build a customer service center in North Carolina and create nearly 400 jobs by 2025. The company and Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced the investment on Tuesday. Cooper’s office says the California-based company will hire analysts, customer service staff and operations personnel at a Charlotte-area location. A Commerce Department document says Robinhood chose North Carolina for its third customer service center over locations in four other states. A state committee approved an incentives agreement whereby Robinhood could receive $3 million in payments over 12 years if it meets job-creation and investment thresholds.
ROAD RAGE DEATH-NORTH CAROLINA
N Carolina authorities ID car in fatal road rage shooting
LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — Investigators have identified the car involved in a road rage shooting on a North Carolina highway that left a Pennsylvania woman dead last week. The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect vehicle is a silver, four-door Chevrolet Malibu manufactured between 2008 and 2013 with a North Carolina license plate. It’s believed to be the car from which someone fired shots that killed 47-year-old Julie Eberly of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Her husband was not injured. Authorities say the couple’s vehicle came close to the shooter’s vehicle while merging into another lane on Interstate 95, north of Lumberton. The couple was driving to the beach.
Judge denies motion to block removal of Asheville monument
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A judge in North Carolina has denied a group’s request to block the planned demolition of a monument to Confederate governor Zebulon Vance in the city of Asheville. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the temporary restraining order was sought by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the North Carolina 26th Troops, Inc. Buncombe County Superior Court Judge Steven Warren denied the group’s motion on Monday. The city plans to demolish the 75-foot granite obelisk in Pack Square Plaza. City spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said the judge’s decision means the city will not be stopped in taking steps toward removal as it waits for a final court decision on the planned demolition.
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