Morning Headlines: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Morning Headlines: Tuesday, October 6, 2015

7:39am Oct 06, 2015
League Of Women Voters via Flickr

Here are some of the stories we're following today:

Many City Residents Head To Polls Today

Residents in some of North Carolina's largest cities are choosing their mayors and council members, or whittling down the number of candidates for November.

Municipalities in nearly two dozen counties — many of them in urban areas — hold elections Tuesday.

Topping the ballot in Guilford County will be three mayoral candidates.

They include incumbent Mayor Nancy Vaughan, newcomer Devin King, and Sal Leaone.

Voters will also cast their ballots in the Greensboro City Council’s third district race.

In Charlotte, current Mayor Dan Clodfelter and former Mecklenburg County Commission chair Jennifer Roberts are in a runoff for the Democratic nomination. The winner takes on Edwin Peacock, who won the Republican primary last month, in next month's general election.

Raleigh voters will choose between Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Bob Weltzin. The leading vote-getter wins a two-year term.

North Carolina Legislation Overrules Local Fracking Ordinances

The final bill approved by the North Carolina General Assembly before it adjourned this year included language stopping local governments from trying to delay or restrict a new form of natural gas drilling in their backyards.

Last week's legislation is designed to reinforce a ban on cities and counties from ordinances that prohibit directly or indirectly fracking. It says local regulations are invalidated and unenforceable.

Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews is a longtime fracking proponent. He says the measure addresses any misunderstanding local governments may have about the legislature's previous intent.

At least two counties have passed fracking moratoria this year. Lee County has been considering a delay and zoning restrictions.

People unhappy with the law don't like how the legislation passed in the final minutes of this year's General Assembly.

It was contained in the final "technical corrections" bill disclosed publicly around 4 a.m. last Wednesday.

The fracking provision was never heard in an open committee.

Chatham County Commissioner Jim Crawford says that's not the way democracy should work.

McCrory Visiting Eastern North Carolina Farms After Rains

Gov. Pat McCrory is checking in on how torrential rains and flooding affected eastern North Carolina's farming industry.

McCrory scheduled visits Tuesday to Bladen County after a morning storm update with the media at the Brunswick County Emergency Operations Center in Bolivia.

He'll travel to a vineyard in Elizabethtown to discuss the heavy rains and their effects on agriculture with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. Then, the governor and Troxler will go down to Clarkton to visit a cotton grower.

North Carolina farmers suffering from wind or flood damage or power outages are being urged to call the  state Agriculture Department to seek assistance.

Duke University Receives $25M Gift To Build $50M Arts Center

Duke University has received a $25 million gift to help build a new $50 million performing arts center.

In a statement Monday, Duke President Richard Brodhead says "the arts building represents a major step in Duke's commitment to supporting the artistic work of our students and faculty."

The gift comes from David M. Rubenstein, who is chairman of the school's Board of Trustees and a longtime supporter of the arts.

The 71,000-square-foot facility will feature a dance studio, several multi-use studios, a performance theater, library, offices, classrooms and more. Construction is expected to take two years.

The new arts center at Duke is the largest and most recent in a series of university investments in arts facilities, programs and faculty that total close to $100 million over the last decade.

Police Make Arrest In Vandalism At News & Observer Building

Police in Raleigh have arrested a man who they say broke into the offices of The News & Observer newspaper and damaged property inside.

Department spokesman Jim Sughrue said detectives charged 23-year-old Ethan Michael Mangum on Monday with two counts of breaking and entering and two counts of damage to property.

The charges stem from the incident at the newspaper and at First Presbyterian Church several blocks away.

The newspaper reported that the suspect threw computers through windows, tossed administrative files outside and left several bloody smears. Publisher Orage Quarles III said no one was injured during the vandalism.

Police say the church had broken windows and that blood traces were left behind.

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