Morning Headlines: Thursday, November 19, 2015
McCrory Officials Talk About Prison Contracts
Two Cabinet-level officials in Gov. Pat McCrory's administration say the governor never directed them to extend or expand prison maintenance contracts held by a company owned by a McCrory donor and friend.
Department of Public Safety Director Frank Perry and State Budget Director Lee Roberts gave the response to a question Wednesday while appearing before a General Assembly committee.
Roberts told the panel how he evaluated at McCrory's request whether it was cost effective to keep private maintenance at three prisons. The administration extended contracts for Graeme Keith Sr.'s company for another year. Now they're set to expire again.
Report Says State Scores B+ Overall In Disaster Preparedness
A report shows North Carolina is relatively well prepared to face the risks posed by extreme weather changes.
The "States at Risk: America's Preparedness Report Card" gave the state a B+ overall for natural disaster preparedness. The report breaks down into five threat categories: extreme heat, drought, wildfires, and inland and coastal flooding.
The report comes six weeks after a major rainstorm saw significant flooding throughout southeastern North Carolina.
In a statement, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin says information from reports like this can be used to help plan for the future and mitigate risk.
The report is a collaboration of ICF International and Climate Central. It's designed to provide states a benchmark to assess risks and implement action plans to increase their preparedness levels.
Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Charges From Fatal Wreck
A 20-year veteran of the Winston-Salem Police Department has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a traffic accident that killed a man earlier this year.
48-year-old Sgt. John William Leone Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday in Forsyth District Court to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. Leone was accused of causing the death of Alan Edward Dunnagan.
The judge hearing the case ordered Leone to perform 200 hours of community service. His next court date would be May 18, 2016.
Authorities say Dunnagan was driving in his pickup and had gone through a green light. Police say Leone's cruiser collided into Dunnagan's pickup. Prosecutors said Dunnagan suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his spine, ribs and sternum. Dunnagan died from his injuries 10 days after the crash.
Student Selling Gun Causes Guilford Lockdown
Eight Guilford County schools were placed on lockdown Wednesday. A high school student with a gun was the reason.
Education officials at Guilford County Schools said the teenager took the handgun to Ragsdale High School on Wednesday and planned to sell it.
Col. Randy Powers with the Guilford County Sheriff's Office said the gun was loaded, but didn't have a round in the chamber. Powers said some students saw the teen with the gun and notified the school resource officer.
Powers said the teenager fled, but was located nearby.
Guilford County Schools has not said whether the boy has been disciplined, but the student handbook says any student who takes a firearm on school grounds will receive a one-year suspension.
North Carolina Prepares For 2nd Toll Project At Charlotte
Transportation officials are working on a proposed contract for a second toll road project in the Charlotte area.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the state plans to award a contract for the addition of toll lanes on parts of Interstate 485.
The move comes as some state lawmakers are urging officials to cancel a contract to build told lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte.
The Department of Transportation plans to award the contract in July. DOT says construction could begin in early 2017 and be completed in about two years.
A number of officials are upset that the toll lanes on I-77 north of Charlotte will be managed by a private company. The plan for the I-485 project calls for state management of the roads.
The Associated Press contributed to this report