Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

North Carolina's highest court says legislators can shift substantial control over public schools that educate 1.5 million students to the elected superintendent.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed the state budget bill Wednesday for the second year in a row, blaming legislative Republicans for a spending plan he says doesn't do enough for teacher pay, school safety and the environment.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly approved last week its $23.9 billion proposal, which adjusts the second year of the two-year budget approved in 2017. Cooper had until Monday to sign the bill, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

Lawyers for the world's largest pork producer don't want jurors to hear about the finances of a company whose industrial-scale hog operations caused a stench so bad it made life miserable for its rural neighbors.

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TRYON, N.C. (AP) — A TV news anchor and a photojournalist were killed Monday when a tree fell on their vehicle in North Carolina as they reported on flooding and severe weather associated with Subtropical Storm Alberto, the television station said.

WYFF-TV Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer both worked in the Greenville, South Carolina, market for more than a decade, anchor Carol Goldsmith said on air, breaking the news.

"Mike and Aaron were beloved members of our team — our family," Goldsmith said.

A father and son who belong to a secretive evangelical church in the foothills of North Carolina pleaded guilty Friday to federal criminal charges in an unemployment benefits scheme that former congregants have said was part of a plan to keep money flowing into the church.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina legislative leaders said Thursday they're committing to a big expansion of tax breaks to attract employers promising thousands of jobs, a move that comes as people familiar with recruitment efforts tell The Associated Press tech giant Apple is strongly considering the state for a new corporate campus.

The recent wave of teacher activism sweeping through conservative, tax-cutting states has washed into North Carolina, where educators have pledged to fill the streets and bring their demands for better pay and school resources to legislators' doorstep.

JIM WARREN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday quickly rejected a challenge to regulators who decided a clean-energy advocacy group broke electric-service rules by selling solar power to a church.

The justices heard oral arguments less than four weeks ago in the case involving NC WARN, which installed solar panels on a Greensboro church's roof and sold electricity to the church at rates below what Duke Energy Corp. subsidiaries charged.

More schools are canceling classes next Wednesday as teachers prepare for a rally at the legislature.

Orange County and Iredell-Statesville schools will join Wake, Durham, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Guilford and Mecklenburg schools in closing on May 16.

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North Carolina's attorney general on Wednesday challenged regulators for allowing Duke Energy to start charging consumers hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up coal ash dumps and add a potential profit margin.

State Attorney General Josh Stein's office said in a filing to the North Carolina Utilities Commission he considers its decision to pass along what could total billions of dollars for handling the potentially toxic chemicals in coal ash to be "unlawful, unjust, unreasonable, or unwarranted."

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North Carolina's highest court is deciding whether a clean-energy advocacy group illegally sold solar power to a church as part of its plan to undercut the monopoly of the state's electric utilities.

Jim Warren, Associated Press

North Carolina's highest court is taking up a case that could force new competition on the state's electricity monopolies.

The state Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider the Utilities Commission's decision to fine clean-energy advocacy group NC WARN for putting solar panels on a Greensboro church's rooftop and then charging it below-market rates for power.

The commission told NC WARN that it was producing electricity illegally and fined the group $60,000. The group said it was acting privately and appealed to the high court.

Jeremy Loeb/BPR

Duke Energy Corp. will pay a $156,000 penalty for polluting ground and surface waters with potentially toxic coal-ash waste around three power plants, an amount one critic compared Friday to a couple of days salary for the company's CEO.

The penalty is less than a slap on the wrist for the country's No. 2 electricity company, which generated $23 billion in revenue and reported paying CEO Lynn Good $21.4 million last year, the Sierra Club's David Rogers said.

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — As teachers in multiple states protest for better pay, a new study warns that the fast-growing South region must invest more in public schools and higher education to ensure its homegrown talent shares in its economic prosperity.

The South Carolina House of Representatives has taken a surprise step and killed a solar energy bill that passed a key vote last week.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Drive past clustered hog sheds containing thousands of animals in the country's No. 2 pork-producing state on the wrong day and the reason hundreds of North Carolina neighbors are suing in federal court is clear: it really stinks.

The question facing jurors in a federal lawsuit starting Monday is whether the open-air animal waste pits that proliferated over a generation generate intense smells, clouds of flies and noise.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Health officials in North Carolina say the death toll from the flu for the 2017-18 season has increased its record-setting total to 342.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services says 11 flu-related deaths were reported last week, and there were three deaths in previous weeks found to have resulted from the virus.

Of the 14 deaths, 13 were age 65 and older, while the other death involved someone between the age of 5 and 17.

The Green Party has become North Carolina's fourth official political party thanks to a new law offering more options to qualify, giving more candidate choices to some voters this fall.

The Supreme Court has already heard a major case about political line-drawing that has the potential to reshape American politics. Now, before even deciding that one, the court is taking up another similar case.

Duke Energy's board showed last year that it really wants to keep CEO Lynn Good on the job, boosting the severance package she could get if forced out the door and raising her reported compensation to $21.4 million, according to a company report released Thursday.

NC Democrats Talk Up Gun-Law Proposals

Mar 20, 2018
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Several North Carolina Democratic lawmakers unveiled gun restriction and school safety proposals Monday in response to the Florida school shooting, calling those "common sense" ideas that Republicans have already supported elsewhere.

The five House and Senate members from urban counties unveiled gun changes similar to those that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week that he wanted the GOP-controlled General Assembly to approve.

MURPHY, N.C. (AP) — When Brian Hogan got a call that his wife had suffered a massive heart attack, he knew he had to get to the hospital fast. So Hogan asked his neighbor to take care of his 10-year-old daughter, then headed 60 miles east to the intensive care unit in Asheville, North Carolina.

What happened next would eventually expose a practice by a child welfare agency that illegally removed potentially hundreds of children from their homes in this poverty-stricken mountain community.

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hundreds of times a year across North Carolina, officials who control everything from the taxes you pay the city to the tuition required to attend public universities meet behind closed doors to conduct sensitive business on behalf of the public they serve.

A North Carolina congressional candidate said the website she used when she campaigned for another office is now owned by a Russian.

Duke Energy said its top executive's compensation has more than doubled over the past two years. 

RICHMOND, Va. — Civic leaders in town after town along the 600-mile (966-kilometer) route of a proposed natural gas project have posed for similar photographs, smiling and accepting poster-sized checks from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Woody Durham, the retired "Voice of the Tar Heels" who called North Carolina football and basketball games for four decades, died Wednesday. He was 76.

David Boraks/WFAE

A week after allowing Duke Energy a rate increase that includes charges for coal ash cleanup for about half its North Carolina consumers, state regulators on Monday began considering raising prices on an additional 2 million customers.

The state Utilities Commission opened a hearing on the company's request to charge an extra $539 million a year to customers of its Duke Energy Carolinas subsidiary in central and western North Carolina. That translates into a 14 percent increase for the typical residential customer's $104 monthly bill, a spokesman for the Charlotte company said.

A Washington-based group asked North Carolina ethics officials Monday to investigate some of state House Speaker Tim Moore's business interests and interactions with state environmental regulators over the site of an old poultry plant.

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 North Carolina election administrators are asking state lawmakers for additional money and changes in the law to improve the security of registration and balloting from external and internal threats.

State elections board Executive Director Kim Strach wrote Tuesday to General Assembly elections oversight committee leaders.

Strach's requests follow warnings by federal officials nationwide about Russian hackers during the 2016 elections. Two local election workers also pleaded guilty last year following separate investigations.

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