Morning News Briefs: Tuesday, November 14th, 2017
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Special Master Offers Draft Maps For NC Legislature
An outside expert appointed by a federal court to help draw some North Carolina legislative districts that judges worry remained unconstitutional has suggested changes.
Stanford University law professor Nathaniel Persily filed Monday his preliminary House and Senate plans. The special master also requested formal responses from Republican legislative leaders who originally drew the boundaries and from voters who successfully sued over them. The judges wants Persily's final proposal by Dec. 1.
The judges have said four districts redrawn last summer by GOP legislators still appeared to preserve illegal racial bias, so Persily said he redrew compact replacements for them. He also retooled several districts in and around Charlotte and Raleigh because of potential state constitutional problems.
Recount Possible In High Point Mayoral Race
Elections in Guilford County were a week ago, but one major race could still be contested. A thin margin separates the candidates for Mayor of High Point.
Once the unofficial votes were tallied on Election Night, Jay Wagner squeaked ahead of Bruce Davis to win by just over 50 votes. Davis had a slight edge among Guilford County precincts, but Wagner was able to make that up with help from the city’s neighborhoods just across the Davidson County line.
The unofficial results will become official this week when the county hold its canvass of the vote. Currently, Davis is within one percent of Wagner’s total.
If that holds true after the canvass, he can ask for a recount.
Federal Agents To Investigate North Carolina Church Fire
Federal agents are helping investigate a church fire in North Carolina where "anti-gay hate group" was spray painted in several places outside the building.
Authorities say firefighters were called to the Providence Baptist Church in Vale around 2 a.m. Monday.
Authorities say the fire appeared to be concentrated in a downstairs area of the church where Sunday school classes were held. They say there also was smoke damage to the sanctuary upstairs at the Catawba County church.
Pictures from the scene showed "anti-gay hate group" spray-painted in orange on a garage door and a sidewalk.
Feds Might Add More Fisheries To Turtle Protection Program
Federal fishing regulators are considering requiring more commercial fishermen to assist with a program that seeks to protect sea turtles.
The National Marine Fisheries Service requires observers to be placed on fishing boats in some fisheries to collect data that help with minimization of harm to turtles. The service says it wants to include a group of mid-Atlantic fisheries to the program next year because of the need to collect more data about accidental catch of sea turtles.
The service wants to include mid-Atlantic fisheries that fish with gill nets.
Norfolk Leaders Voting On Atlantic Coast Pipeline Easements
The Norfolk City Council is set to decide whether to grant easements for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to cross two drinking water reservoirs, the only ones in its path.
The Virginian-Pilot reports the council will consider the issue Tuesday. Senior city staffers and Dominion Energy, the 600-mile natural gas pipeline's lead partner, say they're confident it can be safely routed under the reservoirs.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and other environmental advocates are asking the council to put a hold on the request.
If the city rejects the request, Dominion and its partners could turn to eminent domain.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would start in West Virginia, cross Virginia and run into North Carolina. A spur off the main line would run from near the North Carolina-Virginia border to Chesapeake.