North Carolina News – October 20

North Carolina News – October 20


NC GOP leaders send new budget-bargaining offer to Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Republican legislative leaders have sent another budget-bargaining offer to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The offices of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said the joint proposal was taken to Cooper’s office Tuesday. It arrived two weeks after Cooper provided his counteroffer to the initial pitch from GOP lawmakers. A state budget was supposed to be in place July 1, but slow work at the Legislative Building combined with still-significant differences with Cooper have extended talks from the summer into the fall. The goal is to locate a middle-ground measure that Cooper would be willing to sign into law.


Sheriff’s office: Former worker tried to set fire at plant

TAR HEEL, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman is facing attempted arson charges after authorities say she tried to set fire to a break area at a Smithfield Foods plant and used a hammer to vandalize five cars belonging to management. News outlets report that the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office says a former Smithfield employee threw a jug filled with accelerant onto a canopy in the plant’s break area in Tar Heel last week. Deputies say witnesses identified her as Latasha Bittle. Two days later, officials say a woman broke the windows of five vehicles and was heard saying she would “burn the plant down and shoot it up.” A person who answered at Bittle’s attorney’s office said there’s no comment.


Court: Judge erred mentioning race, faith to possible jurors

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court has ruled that a judge went too far by discouraging fellow Black residents from avoiding jury duty and mentioning religious affiliation at the same time. The Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered a new trial for a man convicted in Guilford County. The majority opinion declares that Superior Court Judge Lora Cubbage’s comments during jury selection violated the defendant’s right to a trial before an impartial jury. Cubbage spoke when a potential juror said he couldn’t act as a juror because of his religion. A dissenting judge wrote her words were inappropriate but not enough to vacate the conviction.


UNC may keep affirmative action in admissions, judge says

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that North Carolina’s flagship public university may continue to consider race as a factor in its undergraduate admissions. The ruling goes against a group working to undo affirmative action. Students for Fair Admissions argues that race-based admissions puts white and Asian students at a disadvantage. But Judge Loretta Biggs says the University of North Carolina showed it has a compelling reason to pursue a diverse student body, and measurable benefits that result. The group’s president, Edward Blum, told The Associated Press he’s appealing and hoping the Supreme Court will consider this case together with his suit against Harvard University.


North Carolina police see bank robbers switch getaway cars

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Three men accused of robbing a bank in North Carolina had one flaw in their plans to elude police. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say in a news release that shortly after the men robbed a Bank of America branch on Friday, an officer saw them in a car turning into a nearby neighborhood and watched them trying to switch getaway cars. According to police, officers tried to stop the car but the driver kept going and crashed on a dead end street. The suspects were captured after police say they considered trying escape by running across Interstate 77.


EPA unveils strategy to regulate toxic ‘forever chemicals’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is launching a wide-ranging strategy to regulate toxic industrial compounds used in products including cookware, carpets and firefighting foams. Environmental Protection Agency head Michael Regan says his agency is taking a series of actions to limit pollution from a cluster of long-lasting chemicals known as PFAS that are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells and even food. The chemicals are associated with serious health conditions, including cancer. The plan announced Monday in North Carolina is intended to restrict PFAS from being released into the environment, accelerate cleanup of PFAS-contaminated sites such as military bases and increase investments in research.


2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two longtime Democratic congressmen with a combined six decades of experience have announced plans to retire at the end of their terms. Eighty-one-year-old Rep. David Price of North Carolina and 68-year-old Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania said Monday that they will not seek re-election next year. The news comes just days after Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky announced his own decision to retire. The men cited various motivations, including the realities of redistricting and a desire to spend more time with their families. But the decisions underscore the challenges Democrats face as they try to hang on to their majorities in Congress in 2022.


Ex-boyfriend charged in death of North Carolina woman

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman who was reported missing last week has been found dead in South Carolina, and authorities have charged her boyfriend in her death. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said in a news release that 30-year-old LaPorscha Baldwin was found dead on Thursday in Fairfield County, north of Columbia, South Carolina. She was reported missing on Oct. 10 after failing to report for work after going to church. On Saturday, police in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, arrested 35-year-old Charles Williams Combs of Charlotte and charged him with first-degree murder. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say Combs is awaiting extradition to North Carolina.

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