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June 24, 2018 - 12:00 am


Transgender rights battle returning to North Carolina court

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More than a year after North Carolina undid its "bathroom bill," a legal battle is simmering over its replacement.

Transgender plaintiffs will argue Monday before a federal judge that the current law enacted as a compromise in March of 2017 continues the harms of its predecessor. Lawyers representing Republican legislative leaders say the case should be dismissed because plaintiffs can't prove the new law is harming them.

That dismissal request, along with one by fellow defendant the University of North Carolina, will be the focus of Monday's hearing.

A group of transgender North Carolinians revised a lawsuit over the original "bathroom bill" to take on the 2017 replacement, saying it continued its predecessor's harms by preventing local officials from passing laws to protect LGBT rights.


Danger of rip currents evident already off Carolinas' coasts

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — On a single day in June, 25 people who had ventured into the ocean waters of the coast of the Carolinas had to be rescued after being caught in a rip current.

With the goal of reducing the risks, the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad is offering classes every Monday between Memorial Day and Labor Day to teach swimmers who are caught in rip currents how to survive.

Rip currents are narrow channels of water that can move as fast as 8 feet a second. They can pull swimmers out to sea.

At least two people have died in rip currents in North Carolina this month, including a Virginia man who bystanders said was trying to rescue his daughters.


South Carolina man tries to rescue dog at NC waterfall, dies

BREVARD, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say a South Carolina man died while trying to rescue his dog at a North Carolina waterfall.

News outlets report 42-year-old John Shaffer died Saturday after going over Rainbow Falls in the Pisgah National Forest, just outside Gorges State Park in the western part of the state.

Lake Toxaway Fire and Rescue Chief Carmon West says Shaffer was carried over the falls when he jumped into the water to rescue his dog. Crews searched for five hours before recovering his body Saturday afternoon.

West says it was the first death at Rainbow Falls since 2016, when a 24-year-old TV news anchor from Georgia, Taylor Terrell, fell 185 feet (55 meters) from the falls. Terrell was wading in the stream that flows over Rainbow Falls when she lost her footing.


Teen who stood alone against gun violence to receive award

WILSON, N.C. (AP) — A teen who was the only student to walk out of his North Carolina high school during a national protest of gun violence is one of six who will share BET's Humanitarian Award.

The award typically goes to one person. But this year, the network is honoring six people, whom it calls "humanitarian heroes."

Among them is 16-year-old Justin Blackman, the only student to walk out of Wilson Preparatory Academy on March 14. Students across the country walked out of classes that day, one month after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

When students left classes April 20 to mark the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Blackman shared a photo showing dozens standing with him.

Blackman will receive his award Sunday.


NC water tests show water filter removes GenX chemical

(Information from: The Fayetteville Observer,

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Officials say water filters installed at six homes all removed a potentially harmful chemical made at an eastern North Carolina plant.

Results of the tests posted by the state Department of Environmental Quality show the activated carbon filtration systems all removed a chemical called GenX and a dozen other compounds from water near the Chemours plant in Bladen County.

The chemical has been found in hundreds of private wells around the plant and the state has been investigating how harmful it might be for years. There are no studies on how GenX might affect humans.

Department of Environmental Quality Director of Waste Management Michael Scott told The Fayetteville Observer the test data is encouraging, but more time is needed to see how long the filters last.



Crash: US House candidate who beat Sanford undergoes surgery

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina lawmaker who's running for Congress has undergone two major surgeries, including one for a spinal fracture, after being injured in a recent highway accident.

Spokesman Michael Mule says via email that state Rep. Katie Arrington is expected to make a full recovery, adding Sunday's two complicated surgeries went "extremely well." Mule says she should be up and walking within days and remain hospitalized two more weeks.

The 47-year-old Arrington repeatedly highlighted U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford's criticism of President Donald Trump as she defeated Sanford in a recent GOP primary.

Authorities have said Arrington and a friend were southbound Friday on U.S. Highway 17 when a vehicle traveling the wrong direction hit theirs. The driver of the other vehicle died. The driver of Arrington's vehicle sustained serious injuries.


Stray target practice bullet wounds passing trucker on I-40

BENSON, N.C. (AP) — Investigators say a truck driver on Interstate 40 in North Carolina was accidentally wounded by a man shooting target practice in his yard.

Johnston County deputies said Colton Kinsey did not have a proper backstop to stop the bullets as he fired a gun in outside a home in Benson Friday afternoon.

Deputies told news outlets that one of the bullets struck the driver of a passing 18-wheeler heading westbound on I-40. He was able to stop his rig safely and was being treated at the hospital. His name was not released.

Kinsey was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. It wasn't known if he had a lawyer.


Police officers wound man in North Carolina in shootout

DUNN, N.C. (AP) — Authorities say police officers in North Carolina shot and wounded a man who fired his gun at them and missed during a domestic dispute.

Harnett County deputies said 27-year-old Trevor West is expected to survive after the shooting at a home in Dunn around 11:30 p.m.

Deputies say West will face four counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at the four officers and a number of other charges when he gets out of the hospital.

The sheriff's office said in a news release West was waving a gun and fired at officers who responded to the domestic violence call.

Authorities say Harnett County deputy Ethan Core and Dunn Police officer Holly Pendergraph fired back at West.

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.

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