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North Carolina News – March 29, 2022

North Carolina News – March 29, 2022

NC trial judges again allow more felony offenders to vote

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina judges have struck down a state law that prohibits people convicted of felonies from registering to vote while they are still serving probation, parole or other supervision. While appeals are possible, Monday’s ruling ultimately could allow tens of thousands of additional people to register to vote. The judges’ decision expands on a preliminary injunction issued last August in a trial challenging a state law that delays the restoration of voting rights for some offenders who aren’t serving prison or jail time. That injunction was essentially blocked, but Monday’s ruling makes it more permanent. The judges say the law discriminates against Black residents and is unconstitutional.

POLICE PURSUIT-FATAL CRASH

Police: Man killed in crash while fleeing police

SANFORD, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say a man fleeing officers was killed in a crash. News outlets report that Sanford police said officers were called to the Fastee Mart on Lee Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Monday after a man drove through the front of the store and was stealing from inside the business. Police say officers found extensive damage to the store and the man, identified as Scott Reid of Raleigh, drove away, refusing to stop for officers. Police say officers pursued Reid, who crashed head-on into another car and died at the scene. Two people from the other car were taken to hospitals with injuries that police say aren’t considered life-threatening.

LITHIUM MINING PUSH

US seeks new lithium sources as demand for batteries grows

NEWRY, Maine (AP) — The United States will need far more lithium to achieve its clean energy goals, and the industry that mines the chemical element is poised to grow. The industry also faces a host of challenges from environmentalists, Indigenous groups and government regulators. Lithium is distributed widely throughout the Earth, but the U.S. is home to just one active lithium mine, in Nevada. The element is critical to the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are rechargeable batteries seen as critical to reducing the carbon emissions created by cars and other forms of transportation.

SHOOTINGS-RESEARCH TRIANGLE

4 killed, 4 hurt in North Carolina’s Research Triangle area

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Police say four people were killed and four more were wounded in two cities in North Carolina’s Research Triangle last weekend. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that in Durham, two people died Saturday night after being shot just before 9 p.m. in the eastern part of the city. Officers arrived to find two people fatally shot inside a car, including a 17-year-old. There were three shootings in Raleigh, police said. A 22-year-old man was killed and two others were injured at around 9 p.m. Friday.The next day, two unrelated shootings just 15 minutes apart left one dead and another seriously injured. Police said two people were arrested in the Saturday shootings.

MOUNTAIN WILDFIRES

Crews battle wind-driven wildfires in western North Carolina

BRYSON CITY, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say wind-driven wildfires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park have burned hundreds of acres in western North Carolina and forced the evacuation of several homes. The fires also prompted officials to close several trails and backcountry campsites in the nation’s most-visited national park. The park covers more than 520,000 acres straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Crews from the National Park Service, North Carolina Forest Service, Bryson City Fire Department and Bureau of Indian Affairs were working to contain the fires. Officials said both fires were started from power lines knocked down by high winds and were estimated to be 10% contained as of late Saturday night.

INSURRECTION CHALLENGES-EXPLAINER

EXPLAINER: Why the 14th Amendment has surfaced in midterms

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Some attorneys and voters are using a rarely cited section of the 14th Amendment dealing with insurrection to try to stop some U.S. House members from running for re-election this year. First-term Republican firebrands Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have been among those targeted. Their opponents are citing a section of the amendment that was designed to prevent members of Congress who had fought on the Confederate side during the Civil War from returning to the institution. One law professor says it’s a novel legal theory that will have a difficult time succeeding.

MICROSOFT-INCENTIVES

Microsoft gives up on seeking $20 million in NC incentives

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Microsoft Corp. won’t seek taxpayer-funded economic incentives valued at about $20 million related to two announced job expansions in 2019 in North Carolina. The company wrote the state’s Economic Investment Committee this month requesting the grant agreements be terminated. According to WRAL-TV, the company said it wasn’t “willing to share” employee data that would prove they met job-creation requirements for the Job Development Investment Grants. Microsoft announced in October 2019 that it would create 430 jobs in Charlotte. Microsoft unveiled plans less than two months later for 500 new jobs in Morrisville. Microsoft’s letter said it has more than 2,500 full-time employees in North Carolina.

BC-US-AFFORDABLE-HOUSING-FEDERAL-FUNDING

Affordable housing, long overlooked, getting federal boost

BOSTON (AP) — States and localities are increasingly tapping federal funds to help finance efforts to build more affordable housing, repair dilapidated units or reduce their homeless numbers. Housing advocates believe the money from the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds could transform the way communities address the growing homelessness problem and a shortage of affordable housing. Several places, including Washington, D.C., the state of Massachusetts and Clark County, Nevada, have allocated tens of millions of dollars for new homes. Others, like the state of New York, the city of Austin, Texas, and Maricopa County in Arizona are investing in upgrades to their homelessness outreach and preventive efforts.

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