NC General Assembly wraps up most of its 2021 work
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly has wrapped up nearly all of its work for the calendar year. The Republican-controlled legislature held floor votes Monday on several measures before leaving Raleigh. Some bills are heading to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. One of the bills that Cooper is expected to veto would prohibit the spending of private money to run elections, something that happened in 2020. Lawmakers are scheduled to return in late December, but only for limited purposes such as veto overrides and redistricting changes. This year’s work session began in January and is among the longest dating back to the 1960s.
POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CAROLINA
N. Carolina police officer kills man wielding machete
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a North Carolina police officer shot and killed a man who lunged at him with a machete and yelled at officers to kill him. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said Sgt. R.T. Phillips shot 33-year-old Adam McKnight after Phillips and other officers attempted to disarm him. McKnight also asked officers, including Phillips, to shoot and kill him. The confrontation began Sunday afternoon when officers responded to a call that a man was threatening the occupants of a home. McKnight died after being taken to a local hospital.
Western NC Reps. Fisher, Turner leaving their House seats
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two Buncombe County Democrats in the North Carolina state House are planning to leave the legislature. Veteran Rep. Susan Fisher of Buncombe County announced Monday on the House floor that she will step down Dec. 31. And four-term Rep. Brian Turner said in a news release that he won’t seek reelection in 2022, citing longer and unpredictable General Assembly sessions. He will serve out this two-year term. Fisher is a former Asheville school board leader who was appointed in 2004 to a House seat when that lawmaker switched to the Senate. Local Democratic activists will pick who completes Fisher’s term.
NC state controller wants education spending order halted
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A trial judge earlier this month ordered North Carolina officials to allocate $1.75 billion to address education inequities. But the chief bookkeeper for the state government’s finances is now asking an appeals court to block that decision. An attorney for State Controller Linda Combs last week wrote to the Court of Appeals and said that complying with the judge’s order would force her to violate the state constitution and other laws. At issue is whether Judge David Lee has the authority to direct funds be spent to address a longstanding school funding lawsuit called “Leandro.” Republican lawmakers say only the General Assembly can appropriate funds in state coffers.
CHARLOTTE VIOLENCE-WEEKEND DEATHS
Three killed, two injured in weekend violence in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina’s largest city say three people were killed and two others suffered life-threatening injuries after a weekend of violence. The Charlotte Observer reports Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a series of shootings occurred within a 15-hour period, including a triple shooting early Sunday in northwest Charlotte. Police said they discovered the shooting after responding to a noise complaint. Police also said a 14-year-old girl was killed in a second shooting on Saturday afternoon and an 18-year-old was arrested in her death. Police also reported a third homicide occurred around 6 p.m. Saturday in a community just west of Charlotte Douglas International Airport
MISSING GIRL-ONLINE CHAT
Florida teen safe after leaving home with man she met online
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A 14-year-old girl who was taken across state lines has been found safe days after leaving her home in Florida with a man she met playing an online video game. North Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Rand says a more than 10 years older than the girl picked her up on Saturday outside her home. She called her mother hours later saying she was cold and hungry, and authorities were able to ping her cellphone in North Carolina. The chief says the FBI is investigating and authorities are seeking relevant information from the maker of the “Free Fire Max” game.
Fire at Pilot Mountain State Park burns hundreds of acres
PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — Fire crews in North Carolina are working to control a fire in Pilot Mountain State Park that has already burned hundreds of acres. North Carolina Forestry Service spokeswoman Christie Adams says the fire that covered about 300 acres Monday morning. It grew by about 75 acres overnight. Adams says a team arriving Monday would take over management of the fire. There are about 30 to 40 people involved in the fight. The fire was first reported Saturday evening in the area of the Three Bear Gully Trail. Adams says the cause hasn’t been determined. On Monday, the N.C. Forest Service announced a ban on all open burning.
Researchers try producing potato resistant to climate change
BANGOR, Maine (AP) — University of Maine researchers are trying to produce potatoes that can better withstand warming temperatures as the climate changes. Gregory Porter is a professor of crop ecology and management. He says warming temperatures and an extended growing season can lead to quality problems and disease for the state’s potato crop. Maine farmers are coming off of a banner year thanks in part to the success of the Caribou russet, which was developed by UMaine researchers. Around the world, research aimed at mitigating crop damage is underway. A recent NASA study suggested climate change may affect the production of corn and wheat, with corn yields projected to decline while wheat could see potential growth.
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