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North Carolina News – April 28, 2022

North Carolina News – April 28, 2022

ELECTION 2022-SENATE-NORTH CAROLINA

McCrory, Walker attend last NC Senate debate; Budd absent

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — The final scheduled debate for North Carolina’s Republican Senate primary next month featured former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker largely agreeing on issues and criticizing rival Rep. Ted Budd for his absence from another television forum. Walker and McCrory took the stage for an hourlong debate that ran of stations statewide Tuesday night. They responded to questions on immigration, COVID-19 and Russia’s war against Ukraine among others. Budd hasn’t joined colleagues in four GOP debates. His spokesperson says Budd’s focused on finishing a tour of all 100 counties. Early in-person voting begins Thursday for the May 17 primary.

CHARTER SCHOOL INVESTIGATION

Audit: NC charter school falsified enrollment for more money

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state audit says staff at a now-closed North Carolina charter school falsified enrollment numbers to obtain more than $400,000 in state money. State Auditor Beth Wood’s office also said in Wednesday’s report that Bridges Academy in Wilkes County misused almost $79,000 in taxpayer funds to support a preschool it had opened in 2020. The academy closed last year amid an investigation. The audit’s findings were referred to the local district attorney, as well as to the IRS and state Revenue Department. The report says the academy didn’t prepare and submit required income forms for contract workers.

FATAL DRIVE-BY SHOOTING

2 arrested in targeted drive-by shooting in North Carolina

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say two people have been arrested after a targeted drive-by shooting in which a man was killed and a 14-year-old boy was wounded as he waked down the street. The Winston-Salem Journal reports officers with the Winston-Salem Police Department responded on Tuesday to a reported shooting and were told that 27-year-old Miguel Angel Fuentes Nava was driven in a private vehicle to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The injured teenager was driven to a local medical center, where he was treated and released. One of the two suspects is a 17-year-old who has been taken to a juvenile detention center.

AP-US-CAWTHORN-GUN-AT-AIRPORT

TSA: Airport security finds loaded gun in Cawthorn’s bag

Officials say a loaded gun was found in North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s carry-on bag at an airport security checkpoint. It’s the second time in a little more than a year that a weapon has been found in his possession at an airport in his home state. Transportation Security Administration spokesperson R. Carter Langston said that when Cawthorn went through a Charlotte Douglas International Airport checkpoint with the gun Tuesday morning, TSA officers notified Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. Police say Cawthorn acknowledged that the gun was his and he was issued a citation for possession of a dangerous weapon on city property.

FELONS VOTING-NORTH CAROLINA

Eased voting rules on NC offenders delayed through primaries

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals panel has delayed through the primary elections a lower court ruling that had ordered officials to immediately allow felony offenders still on probation or parole to vote. But the majority on the three-judge Court of Appeals panel also ruled Tuesday that the eased voter registration rules must be used in the November elections. Appeals are pending and more are likely. A trial court panel struck down in March a 1973 law that prevents these voting rights to be restored while the person is still on probation, parole or post-release supervision. Tens of thousands of felony offenders could be affected.

SCHOOLS REPORT

NC judge drops price to cover school plan, omits spend order

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has cut the amount of money needed to comply with a plan to address educational inequities by more than half. But he also declined to leave in place the crux of another judge’s order that directed cash from government coffers be sent to state agencies to cover a fiscal gap. Special Superior Court Judge Mike Robinson ruled in long-running public education spending litigation on Tuesday. Robinson omitted from the order another judge’s decision that had directed money be moved without legislative approval. An appeals court has blocked such action. The state Supreme Court will next take up the so-called “Leandro” litigation.

PRISON ESCAPE

Officials: Inmates escape NC prison, found hours later

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — Officials in North Carolina say two inmates escaped a prison, but were caught hours later. The Department of Public Safety says Craig Guess Jr. and Arlo Swink Jr. escaped from the Robeson Confinement in Response to Violation Center in Lumberton shortly before 3 p.m. Monday and were found nearby on foot three hours later. Officials are investigating how they escaped. Officials say Guess and Swink were serving 90-day periods of confinement for violations of their post-release supervision. Guess was convicted of attempting to obtain property under false pretenses in 2019 and Swink was convicted of a drug offense in 2021. Officials say the men were sent to a higher custody level facility and will be charged with felony escape.

BC-COLLEGE-HOUSING-CRUNCH

Housing shortage, soaring rents squeeze US college students

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — College students squeezed by a massive housing shortage and rising rents are living in motels, commuting long distances or sleeping in their cars. Officials at some schools said the pandemic muddied projections for on-campus housing last fall. But the lack of affordable housing has been a longstanding problem at other colleges, including many in California. UC Berkeley is fighting homeowners who oppose the university’s plans for more housing. The University of Tennessee announced a new housing lottery for the fall in order to accommodate a larger freshman class. Apartment List says rents in Knoxville have gone up 36% since March 2020.

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