Morning Headlines: Monday, December 7, 2015
High Court Weighs A Sheriff's Free Reign To Fire Deputies
North Carolina's Supreme Court will consider whether county sheriffs can fire deputies that didn't do enough to support them with donations or volunteer work at election time.
The high court on Monday hears from attorneys for four deputies who sued after they were fired by Mecklenburg County Sheriff Chipp Bailey. The four said they were fired because they didn't donate to Bailey's 2010 re-election campaign.
Sheriffs hold the only local government offices created under the state Constitution.
Courts have previously ruled that while deputies are paid by county taxpayers, they aren't county employees as such and don't enjoy the same job protections when they exercise their free-speech or association right
NC Panel Considers State's 1st Alligator Hunting Season
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is holding public hearings about the possibility of having the state's first alligator hunting season.
Commission spokesman Ryan Kennemur tells The Virginian-Pilot that hunters would need a permit allowing one alligator per season.
Alligators could be killed with such weapons as harpoons, bow and arrows, or clubs known as wooden pegs but not with guns.
The season would likely run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1. Nine public hearings are scheduled early next year.
Two years ago, biologists traveled hundreds of miles in boats in the middle of the night shining lights toward shorelines and counting the bright eyeballs of alligators. Researchers spotted more alligators than in previous years, but there was no way to pinpoint a number.
Bill Clinton Helping Wife's Campaign In Durham, Greensboro
Bill Clinton is visiting North Carolina to help raise money for his wife's presidential campaign.
The former president appears at private events for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in Greensboro and in Durham on Monday. The minimum ticket price for the Greensboro event is $1,000 while the minimum price for the Durham event is $500.
Bill Clinton is expected to attend more than a dozen December events for his wife as the end-of-the-year campaign finance deadline approaches.
Hillary Clinton appeared at North Carolina fundraisers earlier this year.
Duke Energy wants 50, not 40-year license to manage river
Duke Energy has a new hydropower license to manage the Catawba River for the next 40 years but wants that license extended so it can manage the waterway for the next half century.
The Charlotte Observer reports that during three years of negotiations, the utility agreed to protect additional land in the river basin if it got a 50-year license.
But last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the utility only a 40-year license.
While Duke has proposed protecting more land, putting fish passages around dams and increasing water releases downstream from dams, the government said such steps only merit the shorter license term.
Duke has a month to ask the government for a rehearing on the license term or any other aspects of the license.
Newton Keeps Panthers Perfect With 41-38 Win Over Saints
Cam Newton passed for five touchdowns, capped by a 15-yard scoring strike to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:05 to go, and the unbeaten Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South with a 41-38 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Carolina, the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, has the ninth 12-0 start in league history.
Newton, who was 28 of 41 for 331 yards, twice had to lead the Panthers back from fourth-quarter deficits as the Saints (4-8) tried desperately to avoid a four-game losing streak. Jonathan Stewart had a 5-yard scoring run on a pitch from Newton.
Drew Brees passed for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Saints linebacker Stephone Anthony returned a fumble 31 yards for a score and also became the first NFL player to return a blocked extra-point kick for 2 points in NFL history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.