Morning Headlines: Thursday, November 5, 2015

Morning Headlines: Thursday, November 5, 2015

5:53am Nov 05, 2015
Credit: James Willamor via Flickr

Ethics Complaints Dismissed Against Gov. Pat McCrory

Two ethics complaints filed against Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year have been thrown out by the North Carolina State Ethics Commission.

One of the complaints lodged by the group Progress North Carolina Action said McCrory should have included on his economic disclosure statement cash and stock he received from online mortgage broker LendingTree from when he served on its board. The other complaint centered on trips he took that were paid for through the Republican Governors Association.

Progress North Carolina Action released last month's dismissal documents Wednesday after McCrory announced the decision. State law doesn't allow the ethics commission to publicly release its decisions.

The documents say the commission didn't find probable cause that McCrory violated laws overseen by the panel.

Progress North Carolina Action criticized the decision.

Duke Energy Drops 45-Mile Power Line Over Carolina Mountains

Duke Energy is changing its plans to improve a power plant near Asheville so a 45-mile power line won't need to be built across the mountains of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Duke Energy officials said Wednesday they will replace the coal-fired plant by 2020 with two plants that run on natural gas.

The utility's original plan called for a new plant in Asheville with a substation near Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a 45-mile power line over the Blue Ridge mountains between.

Environmental groups thanked Duke Energy for changing its mind. Several of them joined with property owners to say the giant power line would ruin views and disturb the area.

A group called MountainTrue says it hopes this decision will push Duke Energy to use more renewable energy sources.

Judge Charged With Trying To Bribe FBI Agent

Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina judge could face up to 37 years in prison if convicted on all charges related to trying to bribe an FBI agent to collect text messages in what the judge said was a family matter.

Superior Court Judge Arnold Jones II appeared in court Wednesday on charges including paying a bribe to a public official and corruptly attempting to influence an official proceeding.

Prosecutors say Jones approached the unnamed FBI officer a month ago and the two met Tuesday in Goldsboro to exchange $100 for a disk supposedly containing the data.

It's illegal for authorities to demand text or call information from a phone company unless a judge approves search warrants in an active case.

Jones' district includes three rural eastern North Carolina counties.

Fort Bragg Access Point Reopens After Workers Find 4 Shells

Officials at Fort Bragg closed an access gate after construction workers discovered four artillery shells.

A statement on the Army post's website said the Yadkin Road access gate was closed Wednesday afternoon. Crews working on the Interstate 295 construction uncovered four 155-mm artillery rounds.

The Fayetteville Observer reports the four rounds were removed for investigation and the gate was reopened by 4 p.m.

A Fort Bragg spokesman said there was no danger to the public, but a convenience store was closed and evacuated as a precaution.

Spokesman Tom McCollum said it's believed the shells had been there for up to 20 years, but it's not known how they got there. McCollum said shipping plugs were in the devices, meaning they were not in danger of exploding.

Lane Markings On Northbound Interstate 85 To Be Repainted

Contractors with the N.C. Department of Transportation will be working to make sure motorists can find their lane on a stretch of Interstate 85.

A statement from NCDOT says contractors will begin repainting lane markings on a 22-mile section of I-85 North from Mebane to Hillsborough beginning on Thursday in Orange and Alamance counties.

Officials say the project will require a moving closure with vehicles and workers going very slowly along the highway as new markings are being painted. Work will begin at 8 p.m., and is expected to wrap up Friday morning by 6 a.m.

NCDOT is encouraging drivers to pay extra attention for the safety of the workers, and allow extra time to reach their destinations safely.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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