Associated Press

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brevard.edu

Brevard College is pulling all of the school's investments out of fossil fuels to make a public statement that something has to be done about climate change.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that trustees voted Friday to get rid of any investment in fossil fuels from the college's $25 million endowment. Officials estimate about 4 percent of the Transylvania County school's portfolio is in fossil fuels like coal.

UNC Law School via WUNC

A panel at the University of North Carolina is recommending the elimination of three university centers, including one whose director has been an outspoken critic of Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP lawmakers.

Multiple media outlets report the UNC Board of Governors panel discussed its recommendations Wednesday. For months, it has been reviewing all 240 centers and institutes that conduct research and policy analysis in the UNC system.

UNC-Chapel Hill's Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity is one of the three centers recommended for closure.

Durham County Sherriff's Office/AP via NPR

A grand jury in North Carolina has indicted a man on three counts of murder in the shootings of three young Muslims in what authorities have said was a dispute over parking spaces.

Television stations WRAL and WTVD reported a grand jury in Durham County handed up the indictments Monday for 46-year-old Craig Hicks.

No one answered a phone call from The Associated Press at the courthouse, which closed midday for impending ice and snowstorm.

Jeremy Loeb/WCQS

North Carolina's first major winter storm brought snow and ice to western N.C.  The combination of precipitation and cold weather made for a dangerous accumulation of ice on roads and sidewalks.  Walking was treacherous in downtown Asheville, with ice-coated sidewalks offering no grip.  Roads were similarly dangerous. 

*Update: Wednesday 7:02am

Governor Pat McCrory is warning motorists in North Carolina of treacherous road conditions later this week as extremely cold temperatures would freeze or re-freeze what has already fallen.

ar15.com

Search warrants show the suspect in the shooting deaths of three Muslim college students in North Carolina had a stash of a dozen firearms in the home he shared with his wife, along with a large cache of ammunition.

Records filed in Durham County Superior Court on Friday list items recovered by police from the Chapel Hill condominium of Craig Stephen Hicks, the 46-year-old charged with three counts of murder.

wral.com

Thousands of people converged on North Carolina's capital to call on Republicans leading state government to reverse and repeal laws they say have abridged voting rights and denied Medicaid coverage to more working people.

The state NAACP and more than 100 advocacy groups staged the 9th annual "Moral March on Raleigh" on Saturday. Demonstrators came with a long list of grievances and demands, ranging from raising the minimum wage and the earned income tax credit. Abortion rights and gay rights activists also were represented.

Yousef Abu-Salha / facebook.com via WUNC

Family, friends and supporters gathered Thursday for services for three young adults shot in North Carolina in what police call a parking dispute.

Funeral services were planned for one of Raleigh's largest mosques, where the families are longtime members. But, with a crowd estimated at 5,500, the service was moved to athletic fields across from the mosque. The fields are owned by North Carolina State University, where two victims had graduated and one was a student.

Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via Associated Press/NY Times

The FBI says it's opened a "parallel preliminary inquiry" in connection with the shooting deaths of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill to determine if federal laws were violated.

A statement issued on Thursday said the FBI is continuing to provide assistance to the Chapel Hill Police Department to process evidence related to the shootings.

Police have said they are investigating whether religious or ethnic hatred motivated shooting suspect Craig Stephen Hicks in any way, and federal investigators have said hate crimes haven't been ruled out.

wbhm.org

One former and one current magistrate have filed a lawsuit against North Carolina court officials, claiming that being forced to preside over same-sex marriages violates their religious freedoms.

Media outlets report Charlie Smoak, who was a Moore County magistrate for 10 years, and another magistrate listed in the lawsuit as "Jane Doe" over fear that she might lose her job, are targeting the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Angie Newsome via carolinapublicpress.org

Economists at the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory's administration agree for now there will be a small shortfall this fiscal year relative to North Carolina's $21 billion state government budget.

They released a report Tuesday saying they anticipate the gap between actual and expected tax collections to be $271 million.

2011 NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

The longtime executive director of the State Employees Association of North Carolina has resigned amid questions about possible financial improprieties at the group.

Dana Cope announced his departure Tuesday, saying he had blurred the line between his personal life and his professional life.

David Schaper NPR

Senate Republicans say their bill to rework North Carolina's gasoline tax will provide a short-term break to motorists while making road-building revenues more stable. Opponents argue it's just a tax increase in disguise.

The full Senate meets Wednesday to debate and hold the first of two required votes on a measure that reformulates the tax.

First, the bill would reduce the gas tax from 37.5 cents per gallon to 35 cents starting March 1 through the rest of 2015. The tax floor would be 35 cents moving forward.

Heribert Proepper/AP Photo

The federal government holds hearings this week to get public comment on plans to lease hundreds of thousands of acres off the coast of the Carolinas for wind energy development.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified three areas in federal waters that could be leased for putting up wind turbines.

One of the areas is off the Outer Banks. The other two are offshore south of Wilmington and east of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

John Fletcher/Black Mountain News

The North Carolina Democratic Party is promoting the party's No. 2 administrative leader to its top job heading into the critical 2016 elections.

Hundreds of party activists meeting Saturday at a Pittsboro high school elected Patsy Keever of Asheville as chair. She got a majority of the votes cast among the five seeking to succeed outgoing Chair Randy Voller.

Keever has been 1st vice chair since 2013. She's been a state House member, county commissioner and two-time congressional candidate.

AP PHOTO/GERALD HERBERT

Two companies are seeking approval to be the first to blast the Atlantic Ocean's bottom with sound waves to find oil and gas deposits.

North Carolina's Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Friday one of the two companies starting the approval process for seismic testing wants to start as early as this spring.

Dan River Recovering from Coal Ash Spill as Fines Weighed

Feb 2, 2015
Gerry Broome/AP

A year after the sudden collapse of an old drainage pipe triggered the third largest coal ash spill in U.S. history, regulators say they are still working to determine how much to fine the nation's largest electricity company.

Rep. Susan Fisher Says Protect Abortion Care

Jan 30, 2015
William Woody/Asheville Citizen-Times

Abortion-rights groups are worried that Republican legislators will try to override rules proposed for North Carolina abortion clinics that activists contend balance patient safety with access to the procedure. 

Bob Geary via indyweek.com

North Carolina's NAACP leader has challenged new rules about public assembly in the state Legislative Building as part of protests targeting policies by the GOP-led Legislature.

About 75 people marched to the building with the Rev. William Barber on Wednesday for a demonstration as lawmakers reconvened this year's session.

After prayers and speeches, Barber asked the group to follow him in a lap around the Rotunda between chambers.

Angie Newsome via carolinapublicpress.org

The first work day at the General Assembly usually brings an early flurry of bills. Nearly 30 were filed by late Wednesday afternoon in the House and Senate. The bills include those that would:

— allow magistrates and workers under a county Register of Deeds to refuse to perform marriage duties because of strongly held religious objections. Chief sponsor: Sen. Phil Berger, R-Rockingham.

— invite Gov. Pat McCrory to deliver his State of the State address Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. Chief sponsor: Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson.

AP Photo

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says moving closer to drilling offshore of the Carolinas is a step in the right direction.

The Obama administration on Tuesday included tracts off the coast in a draft proposal of areas that could be opened to drilling later this decade.

McCrory chairs the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition consisting of coastal state governors favoring offshore energy development.

AP/Gerry Broome

Gay marriage is front and center on this year's first real work day at the North Carolina General Assembly.

Senate leader Phil Berger filed a bill Wednesday that would allow magistrates to refuse to preside at same-sex weddings and assistant registers of deeds to not issue licenses based on religious convictions. But they wouldn't be involved in traditional marriages either.

Berger had said he'd file a recusal bill after judges last October struck down North Carolina's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

wral.com

A top governor of North Carolina's public university system says it's a coincidence that rewriting rules for finding a new president got started more than a week before the sudden replacement of the current leader was announced.

Members of the University of North Carolina board met Tuesday as they start revamping the framework for replacing UNC system President Tom Ross next year. Rewriting the 18-year-old search guidelines was set in motion before the surprise announcement earlier this month that Ross was being forced out.

Angie Newsome via carolinapublicpress.org

The North Carolina legislature is back in town and ready to work for the year following a two-week break.

The House and Senate planned to reconvene the General Assembly session at midday Wednesday. Little debate was expected on the first day, but lawmakers were expected to file an early flurry of bills. Two chambers elected Republican favorites Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger to their leadership posts on Jan. 14, then went home.

Some lawmakers in the Carolinas say drilling for oil and natural gas offshore will be boost the states' economies and help the nation toward energy independence.

But conservation groups warn such drilling could endanger coastal tourism with the possibility of oil spills onCarolinas beaches.

The Obama administration on Tuesday included an area off the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia in its draft proposal of tracts on the Outer Continental Shelf that could be leased between 2017 and 2022.

ncleg.net

A former legislator recently reassigned from a post in the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources is returning to the General Assembly, this time on new House Speaker Tim Moore's staff.

Moore announced Friday he's hired Mitch Gillespie of Marion as a senior policy adviser. He's among a dozen people on Moore's staff at the start of his two-year term.

Momentum has slowed for a proposal to shift control of North Carolina's Medicaid program from the Department of Health and Human Services to a new eight-member panel of health experts.

The General Assembly's government watchdog oversight committee met Wednesday but didn't vote as previously expected on legislation recommended last week by one of its subcommittees.

ncleg.net

North Carolina's new environmental secretary has replaced two assistant secretaries at the state agency.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart announced Tuesday that Division of Water Resources Director Tom Reeder has been named as the new assistant secretary for the environment. Reeder has helped head up the response to the Dan River coal ash spill.

He replaces Mitch Gillespie, who has been named director of western outreach in Asheville. A former state legislator, Gillespie is a Republican from nearby Marion.

Associated Press

Pat McCrory is on his first announced overseas trade mission as North Carolina's governor, visiting Britain on a short economic recruitment trip.

McCrory spokesman Josh Ellis confirmed the governor arrived there early Tuesday morning and would remain there until Thursday. Ellis says the governor's activities include meeting with executives of companies Ellis declined to name because they involved competitive economic development matters.

ncleg.net

The North Carolina General Assembly is heading back to work with a new group of 170 legislators for the next two years.

The legislature scheduled its one-day organizational session to begin Wednesday morning.

Republicans who remain in charge of the House and Senate are expected to elect their favorites to run the chambers — Phil Berger of Eden as Senate leader and Tim Moore of Kings Mountain as House speaker. Lawmakers will go home until Jan. 28, when they'll begin in earnest to file bills and debate legislation.

biltmore.com

Fans of the PBS series "Downton Abbey" can see costumes from the show at the Biltmore House in Asheville.

Biltmore House will host an exhibition titled, "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times," Feb. 5-May 25. The show will include more than 40 costumes from the television series.

Biltmore House was built in the 1890s for the Vanderbilt family. The Downton costumes will be displayed in groupings themed on events from the fictional show, with connections made to real life at the Vanderbilt estate during the same early 20th century era.

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