Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment


Associated Press

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 12:00 PM


VP Biden visiting NC to help Sen. Hagan

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden has rescheduled his visit to North Carolina for later this week to raise money in part to help Sen. Kay Hagan's re-election bid.

A spokeswoman for the vice president confirmed Wednesday that Biden would be in Chapel Hill on Friday. Biden's office released no additional information.

A Hagan spokeswoman said proceeds will go to a committee for Hagan, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the state Democratic Party She referred other questions to the vice president's office.

Biden postponed a fundraising visit in Durham last month.


NC audit says surplus bidding could be modernized

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state audit says North Carolina should consider modernizing bid procedures for surplus property or use a third-party auction firm to do the work, saying more money could be made.

State Auditor Beth Wood's office on Wednesday released a financial review of portions of the Department of Administration, which largely manages state government infrastructure and business operations.

The review says the online sealed bidding process prevents bidders from raising their offers if they are too low. It found that vehicles sold on eBay were selling more than 20 percent higher compared to the state's sales.

Auditors also say improved inventory security is needed for surplus property and for parts used on the state's motor vehicle fleet.

The review says the department agreed with the findings and is making changes.


NAACP: Street justice in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — The president of the North Carolina NAACP is criticizing what he calls a pattern of "street justice" in Wilmington and New Hanover County.

The Rev. William Barber II held a news conference Tuesday calling for more state and citizen involvement following several shootings involving law enforcement.

Since October 13, there have been four shootings involving law enforcement. Officers have shot and killed three people, wounded two others and a man was injured by a police dog. The State Bureau of Investigation has concluded its probe into one death, the others are ongoing.

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said he has always requested that the SBI investigate shootings involving officers and he and Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous are working together for a safer community.


Forum scheduled for UNCW to discuss gun violence

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Professors at the University of North Carolina Wilmington are gathering for a discussion on gun violence.

The community forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Room 1008 in the CIS building on the UNCW campus.

Mayor Pro Tem Earl Sheridan, a longtime UNCW professor, will introduce the discussion, which will include professors from various departments at the university.

A news release from the city says the upcoming meeting is the second of several planned public meetings designed to identify strategies to reduce gang violence.


NC rural areas losing road priorities

(Information in the following story is from: The Fayetteville Observer,

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Some officials in rural parts of North Carolina are worried about changes to the state's formula for road projects.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that state transportation officials say it's too soon to say how the changes next year will affect road priorities.

Janet Robertson with the Lumber River Rural Planning Organization said she's worried that the new formula focuses on quantity.

Some officials worry that improvements on local roads will complete with projects like widening Interstate 95

State officials say a nearly $2 billion projected loss in revenue means that transportation funds must be spent carefully.

Rick Heicksen with the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization says he thinks the Fayetteville urban area will be competitive with Raleigh and get its fair share of money under the new system.


NC commerce sec. says state attracting unemployed

(Information in the following story is from: The Charlotte Observer,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker says the state's effort to reduce unemployment is being hurt because the state is attracting jobless people.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Decker says the state is also suffering because of a gap between the skills workers have and the skills employers require.

Decker told a Charlotte women's commercial real estate group Tuesday the state has had problems lowering its 8.3 percent unemployment rate because North Carolina attracts people looking for work.

She says the state will have to take several approaches to solve the problems. Decker pointed out that rural areas have different problems than the Charlotte and Research Triangle Park areas.

North Carolina is creating a public-private partnership to take over efforts to market the state to companies seeking to move.


Asheville approves guns on playgrounds

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Asheville City Council has approved an ordinance to allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns at city playgrounds.

The move brings Asheville's ordinances into compliance with a new North Carolina law.

Council member Jan Davis said it was tempting to refuse to comply with the state law, but that would have risked losing the city's ability to ban guns in other areas.

North Carolina lawmakers this year approved a state law to prevent cities from banning concealed weapons at playgrounds.

The city also cannot ban concealed carry permit holders from having guns on greenways, biking and walking paths.

The city can ban concealed carry permit holders from having guns at athletic fields if the fields are being used for a "scheduled recreation event."


Light snow falls across North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Much of North Carolina got a dusting of snow.

The National Weather Service says light snow fell Tuesday and Tuesday night across much of the state.

Avery County had half-inch of snow near Beech Mountain. Parts of eastern Mecklenburg County also reported up to a half inch of snow briefly.

Trace amounts were reported elsewhere as far east as Fayetteville.

Cold temperatures were reported across much of the state early Wednesday. Temperatures ranged from 13 in Franklin to 39 at Cape Hatteras.

Cold temperatures are expected again Thursday morning before milder weather moves into the state.


Watergate investigator to speak at NC museum

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The lead investigator on the team that discovered the taping system inside President Richard Nixon's White House is discussing his experience working with the Senate committee that looked into the administration.

Eugene Boyce will talk Wednesday at a brown bag lunch at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. He'll talk about his experiences as assistant chief counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Boyce worked closely with Sen. Sam Ervin during the televised hearings about crimes committed during the 1972 presidential campaign.

The museum also is hosting an exhibit titled "Watergate: Political Scandal & the Presidency." The exhibit runs through Aug. 10, 2014, one day after the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation.

Visitors should bring their own lunch; the museum will provide beverages. Admission is free.


NC judge weighs improvement at poor schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge is taking stock of whether state officials are making progress in their duty to give every child a chance at a sound, basic education.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. opens a hearing in Raleigh on Wednesday. It will measure the state's compliance with state Supreme Court rulings dating back almost two decades that require the state to do more for children in its lowest-performing and poorest counties.

The hearing comes after two developments last week.

New statewide test results show that students in four of the five counties that are the focus of the case still lag way behind the statewide average.

The state Supreme Court ruled lawmakers fixed problems when they changed eligibility for a pre-kindergarten program for needy children.